In 2017 we cant as small businesses we cant afford to stay in the sidelines and watch as this mammoth takes over and ruins our local small businesses for good. The state of technology and its advance, cripples us that are not in the know, and catching up is costly and time consuming.
Whilst I know that this video is not local to South Africa, the battle to educate is real, and it doesnt change, no matter what country you are in. The truth is that we access the internet via Google, Facebook, Twitter, the list goes on… And if we are not going to be thinking like you and me, and accessing our niche market via the same means we use those platforms then we are doing something wrong.
You have to know that not every paid online advertising model is a perfect fit, for example, a roofing company will have to follow a completely different solution to a blanket manufacturer. Such is the same for a publisher vs a marketplace. Im not saying that you wont need to advertise online, it really depends if youre growing a following or selling something. If youre wanting to do both, then you need to be looking at an earned media and paid for strategy.
All in all this is a great clip that highlights the conundrum from both sides.
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The current industry problem
The majority of big brands know very little about ATL-aligned digital brand lift strategies, and that they can cement and amplify longevity in brand lift through quantifiable, trackable, exploitable data, generating brand lift that is not limited to the campaign alone.
Let’s look at this as a relationship. For argument’s sake, the lack of digital brand lift in online promotions or campaigns is sharply akin to a one-night stand, and the consumer is the ‘one-night stand’. The digital campaigns that activate will only ever be a fly-by-night; the one-of-a-kind prizes brands offer are data points such as the opt-in, collected on the basis of the consumer’s interactions for remarketing. The one-night stand in its infinite glory.
What is not well-known by most is that, statistically, online competitions and promotions have no genuine consumer-data value at all. After a competition or promo win, winners may have zero intention of buying the product nor converting to brand only because they won; their goal could purely be “free stuff”. Competition triathletes are a breed of online users, and of social media platforms especially, who are growing faster than we data-junkies care to admit. However, this tiny bit of data facilitates the understanding that changes the ball game considerably. It boils down to this:
Brands are probably buying into false online-engagement data and success metrics, limiting the true velocity of digital brand lift and resulting brand identity/loyalty achieved long after the campaign ends. When applying this to brand campaigns and brand content, it’s clear we have a hit-and-miss.
Often consumers who’ve been profiled and captured are only ever exposed to the brand the next time the brand decides to do a campaign. The consumers have been segmented and profiled; 12 months later, the brand tries to reignite the same data assets, not once considering that the consumers probably disengaged when the last campaign ended, as no digital brand lift strategy existed to keep them interested and neither value in between campaigns was offered nor attempts to forge stronger interactions or identity association.
What does this mean?
A sweet spot has been forming with digital brand lift and identity loyalty or identity association, and that consumer brand-identity loyalty/association is forged through longevity and continuum of active engagement long after the campaign ends. Primarily, in the digital arena, we achieve digital brand lift and identity loyalty specifically through optimised content-marketing efforts in social media to activate positive growth and/or upward shift in consumers’ perception and brand awareness.
Identity loyalty or brand identity association is easily explained: Think of that one brand you believe in, not one you merely like or subscribe to but one you recommend to those you love, knowing the brand will follow through and cement your loyalty. Got that brand in your head?
Identity loyalty, however, does not happen by accident, nor is it an out-of-the-box application. For it to work, brands need to be highly data-proficient, maximising data strategically and using it to facilitate connections with aligned consumers. Once achieved, a marketing oasis is created with customers who ally with brand, and as long as the brand identity is clear, concise and clearly outlines the brand’s values and ideals consistently through content marketing, for example, it can attract devoted consumers like bees to flowers.
Ford, Harley Davidson, Apple, Air Jordan and Nike have all perfected this. Let’s evaluate a Nike Women campaign that is nailing it with viral video and developing exceptionally strong identity loyalty and brand lift. Called #betterforit, this is the story of Margot and Lily. “Two sisters — total opposites — make a bet that pushes them both way outside their comfort zones. One is a fitness YouTube celebrity with no friends, and one a rebel with no clue but loads of friends…”
What’s most interesting with this campaign is the digital brand lift strategy:
- To facilitate and entice consumers to buy outfits worn in the YouTube episode
- To promote the download of the latest workout
- To activate the NIKE Training Club (NTC) mobile app
- To connect coaches and experts to consumers embarking on this challenge, and for consumers to easily get the advice they need to get #betterforit
Digital brand campaigns can be data-rich and insight-poor, lacking the understanding that social-media and brand-lift strategies are not an ATL output. ATL-type campaigns in social media are the very reason Google and Facebook have algorithms that attack brand spam. Social media is as personal as it gets with a consumer — it’s as close as you will ever be. Identity loyalty is forged here, by clear communication of your values, by aligning with the consumer’s identity. Identity loyalty and brand lift (ad recall) are totally within your control, and may be amplified to achieve specific outcomes. Things don’t just happen; it’s a discipline designed to get specific long-term results.
If brands are going to compete for the online space and the online consumer, as detailed in my previous column, then it makes sense to start focusing upon the things that matter, such as digital brand lift, to drive brand entrenchment two years down the road.
Way back in 2014, we heard the faint whispers of this “Mobilegeddon” that was coming for all of us, brands especially; needless to say, we are finally there. However, that being said, the global data and facts don’t lie: eMarketer estimates (and it hasn’t been wrong yet ) that mobile will account for about 72% of US digital ad spend by the end of 2019, coupled with Google’s tech-forward audiences who are online on their mobiles for more than 74% of their time. We may safely assume that marketers need to start responding to consumer behavior, as SA is not as far behind the curve as most believe.
Given the deep penetration that mobile has, as per my first column, marketers need to start paying attention to their mobile efforts, marketing strategies and digital marketing budgets, as well as molding the creative to the awesome capabilities programmatic and mobile offer.
Search has evolved so much over the last five years, due to the super computers we call mobile devices, and the “always-on” device is becoming the “always-on companion”, therefore driving the need for contextualised creative, all the while with the need to remember that nothing in this world can connect with a human better than a human. Neither programmatic, nor SEO, nor content marketing — none of these can forge that connection better than a real person, but we can damn sure come close!
1. Use all the available data to understand what your audience wants
Do this by leveraging the technology and molding the creative that is interesting and relevant to the consumer.
Some of you may already be using your market research and CRM to inform digital campaigns, but there is an entire boatload of data you could be missing out on: website data such as your most popular products, or audience data such as time of engagement, interests and places, contextual data like location, device, screen 1, 2 or 3, etc.
The key point here is: Know all the data before you make a decision on what your audience needs; figure out where you can be smarter with your creative.
2. Collaboration is a prerequisite
In my experience, it’s all too often that the digital, creative and production agencies are brought into the campaign process at different times, often well after the media strategy has been decided.
What’s missed is that, if we bring the creative in with the digital agency and brand from the beginning, we can build more creative relevant strategies around your target audience.
3. Communication is vital
Looking at a typical campaign, the process is frequently that one party does one portion of the work and then it’s handed over to the next party, yet it more than likely comes with no insightful data.
By involving everyone from the get go, you can ensure the ongoing communication and a much more-effective campaign.
4. Maximising programmatic
Programmatic advertising allows the brand to reach their target audiences in the moments that matter, when they make a decision, changing how we buy and sell media. In doing so, it changes the way we have to look at creative in the programmatic sphere.
There is a wealth of data available through programmatic, from first-party analytics and third-party audience data to the contextual inputs such as devices. Get smart. Leveraging all the data and insights from all the campaigns that you run may be a daunting task, and may very well require a huge change to your processes, but it’s the key to amplifying programmatic and creating more efficient, smarter campaigns.
Ensuring that the creative team is working with the planning team and that they all work with the analytics team will enable you to maximise the value of your programmatic by creating unique, niche, customised campaigns for current and potential audiences.
- Creative agencies: The opportunity is that you can deliver the “creative proposition” in the right context to the right audiences, lending its way to impactful memorable content.
- Digital media agencies: The opportunity exists to ensure that all parties have the right creative and that production agencies have the right format for the media buys. This opens the doors so you can offer a greater breadth of service to your clients.
- Production agencies: Efficiencies can be created with access to data, and insights; data-driven creative creates a far more-structured environment and process that can create efficiencies, even with campaigns that do not rely upon any dynamic creative.
- Brands: The long-ranging effects — of how brands reach users will depend upon data-driven insights that inform brand strategy, content strategy and marketing strategy when applied correctly — are vast but, in order to achieve all of this, marketers need to change their mindset. A collaborative, iterative strategy for the long-term marketing strategy.
Once all of this is achieved, your creative may be the powerhouse of your programmatic success.
Hold on to your chairs marketers, brands and publishers, your world is about to drop off its axis.
I have on many occasions written about the massive move Facebook is going to be making, and I have on many occasions written about why you need SEO, but this time it is to warn you that you need it NOW.
Why now? On Thursday last week, the 30th of June 2016, all our comfortable marketing worlds were shattered when Facebook announced on its blog, the new algorithm update.
Facebook have moved to obliterate all your “free” marketing efforts as the algorithm is changing to send less traffic to your content sites.
The reason being says Facebooks Vice president of product management Adam Mosseri “The growth and competition in the publisher ecosystem is really, really strong, We’re worried that a lot of people using Facebook are not able to connect to friends and family as well because of that.”
Firstly, it was never your audience to begin with, so the panic we all feel is somewhat exaggerated by this realisation. Let’s dive deep into what this means for us locally. SocialFlow reported earlier this month that the reach of publishers has already dropped by 42%, and since most publishers generate about 70% of their traffic from Facebook, especially here is SA, it’s a rather bleak outlook.
It’s not like the writing wasn’t on the wall, we have all seen the little alerts Facebook pops out suggesting you should boost your post, well the future could mean exactly that. Let’s say you create this awesome Facebook post to this amazing article or offer you have and as you hit the post button Facebook gives you a message that reads: pay x amount to reach this audience. Your reaction would be along the lines of “NO that’s my audience!”… But the real answer is: No, its Facebooks audience. And we should probably get used to that as this is probably the only way we will reach those audiences.
This of course also means the cost of Ads on Facebook will go up.
Let’s look at Auto play video that took Facebook by storm, the question is: do you know why there was a sudden boom from brands and publishers to provide video? The video view counts with Facebook’s “auto play”, even though they may have been somewhat massively inflated, were through the roof, the perfect solution for publishers to prove their social media ROI, and this in turn caused a storm in the marketing world, you have to remember that the news feed does not give your video an unlimited supply of attention, it just looks that way. There is a list of 20 publishers that Facebook paid to make it look that way. Buzzfeed being one publisher that made millions off of this video move.
Gone are the days when there was a native advertising sweet spot, from now on a publisher on Facebook will be issued with a tag that says NATIVE, and this will hurt marketers and publishers as it breaks the illusion that we publishers or marketers are buying access to sacred audiences. The tag allows the brand to access all insights from a post that they are “tagged” in. It works like this: you will be able to see how much traffic you generate from NATIVE Ads rather than seeing organic traffic, this will allow marketers to calculate how big that ROI margin is and I promise you, you will be feeling like you have been robbed.
This algorithm change also means that publishers can share branded content from their official pages to drive traffic organically, but we will be having to rely on Native ads and paid advertising inside Facebook which poses a budget problem down the line.
Let’s look at how we can save this massive loss in traffic from Facebook. SEO is the only answer, it’s the only way to secure earned organic traffic. The principles of SEO do not change; quality content principles don’t change. I know some of you are saying Social is one of the pillars of SEO, yes and no. Social signals will always play a part in SEO ranking, but those are short lived, and have a life span of 48hrs in SERPs if you’re lucky. SEO on the other hand is also applicable inside social media, you just have to find the right SEO person for the job and that might be difficult with the number false guru’s we have trailing the net.
It’s not about their listing on Google, everybody is an SEO on Google Ads, its about finding the SEO that has the knowledge to give you that will equip you for the future. That will guide you and assist you not spew out an audit that means nothing to you. Choose wisely as the next 18months will be critical if you don’t.