So, you are ready to invest some of your hard-earned savings on marketing, and you are looking for immediate results – such as sales leads, web traffic and customer engagement. You want to target specific audience groups and you need to be able to measure performance in order to improve what you are doing on an ongoing basis. If these are your goals, a digital advertising strategy is very probably the right option for you to go for.
A quick note… Digital advertising is not what we at Abacus refer to as “digital marketing”, which we term to mean any activities that are not usually/directly paid for – search engine optimisation (SEO), social media strategy, email campaigns, content creation and online PR. Yes, there can be costs involved in terms of third party link building, sales promotions and special offers, but these are different types of costs to those inferred by digital advertising.
The benefit of a digital marketing strategy is that it delivers robust long- term results that will probably cost a lot less than a digital advertising strategy. However, as we all know, “cost” is not the same as “value”, which means that you need to undertake an analysis of different marketing media to choose the options which are most effective for your business.
The key to a successful digital advertising campaign is testing. In order to maintain your success, you should constantly learn from your experiences and seek to improve and refine your strategy. What works today can be completely ineffectual tomorrow, so it’s vital to keep analysing to avoid complacency.
The other main thing is the importance of tracking and analytics – we see so many examples where businesses don’t set this up optimally, thereby limiting the efficacy of what they can achieve.
The key benefits
Let’s first of all take a closer look at the five key benefits that are derived from a digital advertising strategy. Together, they make digital advertising a valuable option for many organisations.
1. Instant results
Once your campaign is set up, you start seeing results right away – in terms of visitors to your website, sales leads, actual sales, follower numbers, and so on.
2. Effective targeting
Big data makes it much easier to accurately target your customer segments and personas according to demographic and/or psychographic profiles.
3. Performance analysis
You can see how your investment is performing at any point, so you can optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of your activities to deliver the best possible value at all times.
4. Flexible framework
You can edit your campaigns easily and quickly, so you can test ideas to find out what works best in terms of campaign messaging, times of the day/week, and geographical regions.
You can start small and ramp things up as and when you are ready to do so – there is no huge and risky investment to get things off the ground.
Three main areas
Digital advertising is an investment in one of three main areas:
1. Search engine advertising
2. Social media advertising
3. Network display advertising.
Search engine advertising
Google AdWords allows you to be seen when your potential customers are searching for the kind of products and services that you provide. When you have a Google Ads campaign in place, you only need to pay when someone clicks on the advert to visit your website. The service is designed to help you attract more site visitors, boost sales and increase brand engagement. You can use Google Ads to target local, national and international customers and you can set and reset your budget whenever you wish, so you won’t ever spend more than you can afford.
To make the most of search ads, you simply need to produce a campaign advert that informs people about what you do, and make sure that it shows up for relevant keywords that your customers might search for when looking for your services. Your ad can be seen across multiple devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets. You can also obtain instant access to reports that will tell you how your campaign is performing, and the information you are given will help you decide whether changes are required. It’s also possible to create a number of different ads so you can see which ones are the most efficient. A good tip is to make sure you have Google Analytics set up on your website as well as Search Console.
Though Google accounts for 83% of UK traffic, it’s never wise to overlook what its competitors have to offer. The search giant’s nearest rivals are Bing (12%), Yahoo (2.5%) and Microsoft (1.5%), with other search companies making up 1% of the industry. It’s advisable to focus on Google initially before rolling campaigns out to the other main search services. Once you have rolled out effective, efficient campaigns to Google, Bing, Yahoo and Microsoft, you will be picking up 99% of all UK search traffic with minimal effort.
Social media advertising
As you might expect, Facebook dominates the market when it comes to social media, enjoying 64% of the market. However, this does not mean you should ignore other social media channels. Let’s take a closer look at the main social media advertising platforms.
Facebook advertising is one of the most effective ways to connect with your target audience and allows you to serve up to two billion people. Facebook ads can be run on any budget, and the service allows you to target potential customers based on categories such as demographics, behaviour and contact information. The service offers simple reports that are easy to make sense of, and you can get your campaign underway with very little technical expertise.
The second-most powerful social media channel in terms of advertising is Twitter, with 15% of the market. There’s no minimum budget, and you only need to pay for specific results, including gaining extra traffic to your site and attracting new followers. You can tailor your ads and campaigns to make sure that they are aligned directly towards your business targets, and can maximise reach by promoting your Tweets. You can use the targeting features to reach people in specific geographical locations, people that follow certain accounts or connect with people with particular interests. Twitter Ads are based around auctions, and it’s possible to opt for automatic bidding if this is the right fit for your needs. Twitter polls are also a great idea to drum up interest and engagement.
Pinterest is the third-most powerful service, with 10% of the market. The service is designed to speed up conversions and is often described as a visual search engine. Many well-known brands use Pinterest to boost the number of links back to their sites (it works well for SEO too). You can make the most of Pinterest by creating high-quality visuals that entice customers to your site, with the site being noted for its high user engagement levels. With Pinterest, you can quickly find out what is currently trending and create pins relevant to these topics to stimulate interest in your brand.
YouTube is by far the world’s most prominent video streaming site and has 4% of the market. TrueView ads allow you to connect with potential customers when they view or look for YouTube videos, and you only pay if they watch at least 30 seconds of your ad or click on it. Real-time insights are available, telling you not only how your campaign is performing but also giving you the information you need to enhance it. YouTube is a Google-owned company, which means the process of setting up a campaign on one service should be simple once you’ve got one up-and-running on the other.
Instagram is a Facebook-owned photo-sharing service with 3% of the market. With Instagram, your ads appear in a bold format designed to appeal to potential customers, and it’s possible to create both photo and video ads up to 60 seconds in length. Valuable Instagram features include carousel and stories ads, with the service offering the same powerful advertising resources as its parent company. If you’ve ever set up a Facebook ad campaign, the process of getting your Instagram equivalent underway is straightforward.
LinkedIn may only have 1% of the market, but this doesn’t mean you should dismiss it right away considering its B2B advertising potential. Home to more than 560 million active professionals, LinkedIn allows you to target would-be customers by job title, industry and more. The service can help you attract professionals to events, boost brand awareness and generate leads. Flexible pricing options are available, and you can end your campaign at any point. It’s also possible to personalise your ads to target specific people.
Network display advertising
With network display advertising, you can place ads on third-party websites that share your intended demographics, only paying when your ads are clicked on and web users are sent to your website.
When you opt for display advertising, you can choose from several calls to action (CTAs). The most obvious option is to encourage people to visit your site.
It’s vital that you select the right target audience for your business, whether you are aiming to attract a niche subset or are hoping to win over the biggest and widest range of people possible. Not only can you decide how much you want to spend, you can choose which days the ads are displayed to customers, as well as the time of day you want to serve them. It’s possible to set up as many different campaigns as you like. This is ideal for those that wish to continually test and refine their campaigns to get the best possible results.
The Google Display Network enables you to create a wide range of ad types, including interactive, video, text and image-based ads before placing them on the most relevant sites and showing them to those that are most likely to find them appealing. There are many other display networks to consider, but Google is the biggest, and the easiest, to enter. However, other networks might perform better, especially where niche markets are concerned.
Remarketing is a display network option that we really like. It works by capturing the IP address of site visitors and costs around 10% of pay-per-click ads. You can continue to show users your ads for up to a year after they visit your website. There are many options available when it comes to remarketing, and these include standard, dynamic, video and customer list remarketing as well as remarketing lists for search ads.
What is the best strategy?
What works for one business won’t always be right for another, which is why it’s so important to devise your marketing strategy with great care. It’s vital to examine the broader context of your marketing plan, assessing the financial goals set out in your business proposition at the same time as you work out your marketing budget. Your website also needs to be fit for purpose, capable of winning over customers and enhancing your brand image if your efforts are to be successful. If it is not up to scratch, you ought to sort it out first. Also, you may need to review your overall brand proposition to ensure your message is clear, authentic, professional, credible and appeals to your intended audience.
Digital advertising services from Abacus
As an integrated strategic marketing consultancy, Abacus marketing offers a full range of digital advertising services. Our stringent planning process ensures your needs are met and the right people are targeted, giving you a considerable edge over your competitors. To find out more, simply send an e-mail to email@example.com or call us on 020 7795 8175. Please visit www.abacusmarketing.co.uk to view the digital advertising solutions we have delivered for other clients.