They say that in 2017 digital ad spend will exceed that of television. That’s a lot of money. But more importantly, what does this tell us? Have companies finally come around to the fact that their best and biggest audiences are on digital?
This would be a change from the challenge of 2016, which was to prove that ad spend on digital would have a definite and verifiable return on investment. Measuring that has been difficult – but this year it seems that unrealistic expectations and reliance on fads have evened out to let the essentials shine in the light of experience.
Fears and imaginary flights
In the last few years of digital marketing there was concern that money was being wasted on a medium that seemed unlikely to woo customers to the point of sale and was unreliable in its reporting. There was also much of the opposite mind – that digital was a new revelation in marketing that would sweep the board and send sales skyrocketing.
None of these fears nor over-blown expectations have come to fruition. Instead digital has come to be more understood as a long-term process – its growth dependent on both technological advancements and public engagement. So, fears have been somewhat assuaged by the advent of mobile, video and programmatic media buying that guides advertising to pin-point targeting and more personal connection. Digital advertising has morphed from a fairly decorative function on a desktop to pocket-size convenience that is now wearable, entertaining and valuable with regard to information.
In ten major countries, more searches take place on mobile devices than anything else. Video is currently the heart-capture game. With the development of programmatic advertising allowing advertisers to buy ad space that is relevant, at the best price, and with an array of targeted opportunity, video is set to increase banner display and ad spend by 50% by 2019. The increasing sophistication of this technology has opened the door to customising content and delivery to match unique habits of consumers.
Fads in fast-flicker
Digital has been down some exciting roads that have petered out on the fickleness of fashion and a constant change in trends. Bottom-line sales results were often overshadowed by satisfaction with likes and shares which, while gratifying, don’t actually bring home the bacon. How does digital affect sales? What is the most stable, long-term and worthwhile approach to digital marketing?
- Determine your metrics: sales, new customers acquired, cost per acquisition, etc. – and make sure a fad is not the route you want to explore. There are a number of tools to help you connect the dots on everything you need to report on, managing prospects and leads across both marketing and sales funnels.
- Remember, proving ROI helps executives understand what’s working – what has worked in the past, and what can work in the future. Your measurements are your proof.
- Customise a dashboard with everything executives want to see. To get funding for your digital marketing campaign you’ll need to show proven results from previous campaigns and why a new approach will be feasible and successful.
- Even if you win your battle, fear of fads and attachment to too much fake information on the Internet is an uphill struggle – and you will need a sound, well-calculated strategy before you begin, with the focus on authenticity and honesty.
Interaction in the form of downloads, comments, etc, is great for brand imprint – but interaction is not the end game – eventually sales need to lead from this engagement. Social media is simply a new media channel – and ultimately your product should still be meeting customers’ needs. Digital is a fun way to build relationships with the optimum goal of sales. But no matter the level of sales results – your interaction via the digital route is still a vital part of marketing reach and branding imaging that just wouldn’t be there if you didn’t create great content and valuable interactive connections to begin with.
Proving the pudding
Proving the promise of return on investment is a challenge. Your goal should be to show how you can provide specific, measurable outcomes that contribute to the overall goals of the business.
- Plan for the consumer journey. Your customers will need to find you, reach you, be made aware of your brand, product and services, engage or connect with you in real-time, give feedback and post queries, etc. (this, as alluded to before takes time and dedication to master)
- Make sure your digital profile is based on a product that provides a solution or fulfills a need. Empower your campaign by creating relevant content that can add value to your recipients. Connect and engage in real-time conversations.
- Use analytics across: Google analytics, Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc, to understand your customer’s digital journey and needs.
- Create a custom-designed and personalised experience using information shared or provided by customers.
- Have a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) plan. A vast amount of content is dropped on the world daily – and if you’re using Google AdWords, Facebook ads, Twitter, etc., you will need a clear strategy to invest in the right set of PPC for your campaign.
- And there’s always something new to add to the mix. Investigate Gamification, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things, etc. Immerse your customers in the experience of your brand, your product, and your connections.
- Know where you want to go before you begin. Hoping, guessing, imagining doesn’t work. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you can’t measure it. A strategic business goal or purpose is vital. That is the only way you will be able to check your progress and see if you are genuinely meeting expectations – yours, the company’s and the customers.
The Can-Do Company
Ideas are what we thrive on. Ideas that determinedly initiate plans of action. The challenge of any idea is the solution that brings it to life – winning on both brand image and affordability. From digital and social media marketing through multi-media advertising, design and print, events and recruitment – we match ideas with creativity, and innovation with successful strategy.
When motivation is driven by inspiration and ingenuity, we CAN DO anything!
Learn more: www.thecandocompany.co.za