Even when we’re adults and out on our own, we still call our moms for everything, especially when we don’t feel well. Just last night I called my mom to tell her I had a sore throat and a headache. She gave the typical mom answer and said “gargle with warm salt water and go to bed early and get some rest.” The next morning I woke up and was browsing the internet catching up on what was going on in “Bachelor Nation”, and I kept seeing ads for Dayquil. Coincidence?
Now, what I didn’t tell you before, was that that afternoon I went to Walgreens to buy some Dayquil, cough drops, and tissues, and when I purchased them, I did so with my Walgreens card. Before I went to Walgreens, I also looked up symptoms of strep throat and symptoms of the common cold. Just by doing these simple things, I was targeted because of what online behaviors I showed (behavioral targeting and/or keyword targeting) and where I had recently been (mobile conquesting). Digital advertising allows us to get so targeted, that some people might think it is “creepy”.
When you hear about the different ways that we can target people with digital advertising, you might start to feel a bit uneasy, but you are feeling that way as a consumer. Flip that around, it is a way to reach highly qualified potential customers! Your competitors are taking advantage of the advanced technology when it comes to serving ads to a targeted audience, don’t have the “fear of missing out”.
See, digital advertising isn’t creepy; it’s hyper targeted based on individual behaviors to create a customized experience, so go ahead and embrace the ads for those gadgets, gizmos, and trinkets.
There’s a lot to know about Digital. In fact, there’s a TON of information out there. However, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
What is Digital Advertising? This is when you buy advertising space across websites, mobile apps, and even social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, where audiences are targeted with the help of specific information about their online behaviors, interests, and purchasing habits. What you might not know, is that digital advertising doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you’re looking into adding digital advertising into your media mix, here are 8 things you should know before getting started (in no particular order):
Your competitors are already doing it. You are not alone when it comes to digital advertising. Take Facebook for example. There are over 5 million businesses on Facebook that are spending money each month on advertising to their specific users. Most of these are small to medium sized businesses. Facebook is a monster (in a good way) tool to use for your business. There are thousands of ways you can target your specific audience. How do you do that? That’s just Facebook! 2019 is going to hit a milestone. It’s going to be the first year that advertisers are spending more money on digital than on traditional advertising. We expect digital ad spending to reach over $129 billion dollars this year.
2. Make your advertising mobile. According to emarketer, time spent with smartphones and tablets increasingly skews towards mobile apps, rather than mobile website. In fact, app usage accounted for almost 90% of smartphone time, and over 75% of tablet time in 2017. That’s a lot of time for the 81% of adults in the US that own a mobile device and the 52% that own a tablet. In addition to that, businesses have spent, in total, more than $58 billion on mobile. We know people are spending money on mobile, and we know that people spend a lot of time on mobile. What exactly is it? Mobile Advertising, what we refer to as Mobile Conquesting is using location based, demographic, and behavioral targeting to reach consumers with digital ads (display and video) on their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). There is so much versatility with Mobile Conquesting, one of the major reasons a lot of local advertisers turn to this product to advertise. From specifically targeting competitors and events to promoting your business only during the time it rains are just some of the capabilities of Mobile Conquesting. ROI is important to everyone, and one way to do that with mobile is to track in-store visits, for those of you with brick and mortar locations. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how many people are walking into your store because of your digital campaign?
3. Hyperlocal advertising is the new black. Local advertisers have the ability to determine the geographical area where your ads are served. We refer to this as geo-targeting. This can be done in many ways. You could start with targeting a specific mile radius around your business. You could target your ads to be displayed only in certain zip codes. You can also target the city in which your business is located. There are ways to scale larger too, but for small and medium size businesses, those are the best ways to start. Focus on your local area, one of the biggest benefits of digital marketing. Then, as you grow, you can expand your targeting area. Being able to focus on your community, on your neighborhood, and in only the areas that matter for your business is one of the reasons advertisers love digital. You can zero in on what’s most important to you.
4. You can track metrics with digital. With digital advertising, you have access to so much data. It just depends on what you want to see. For starters, Google Analytics is a great, free, tool that Google has that can be installed on your website. It’s easy to learn as they have free classes. It’s straight forward and you can go at your own pace.
We provide monthly reports that include impressions, clicks, conversions, and view throughs on all reports. In addition, for certain products we are also able to provide website/app breakout, creative performance, device performance, and top keywords. View-throughs are when someone sees your ad online, they don’t click on it, but venture to your site at a later time. Those are important because not everyone clicks on ads. They may see the ad and come to your site later, or they may just open up a new tab on their browser so they don’t lose their spot. Either way, we track those. Conversions, mentioned above, are key. This is what you want someone to do when they come to your website. Do you want them to fill out a contact form? Apply for financing? Start a live chat with one of our agents? Tracking conversions tells you what people are doing when they come to your website after being served your ad.
5. Use video when you can Not every business has video they can use as part of their creative. However, you can create video easily. With apps like Ripl and Legend, making video ads has become a lot easier, especially for the small to medium size business that can’t pay outrageous production fees. Some of the best performing video ads we have run were actually “homemade” video ads shot by clients on their smartphones.
Why should you use video in your marketing when possible? 80% of internet users can remember a video ad they have seen in the last 30 days. Also, 90% of consumers claim that video will help them make a purchasing decision. Video can be King, as long as it’s a good video.
6. Diversify. One of the best abilities that digital advertising has is the ability to utilize many digital platforms/products at the same time. One of the newest forms of digital advertising out there is OTT or “Over The Top” video advertising. With the ability to target the “cord cutters”, this new platform can serve ads on Roku, Slingbox and even TV apps like Fox and CBS. There are 168.1 million people watching content through services like these. That’s a lot of people that you can be advertising to and send in your direction that you might not be able to reach if you are only doing broadcast TV and cable.
7. Ad spending is affordable. We all have marketing budgets. With Digital Advertising, though, it is so streamlined. With services starting as low as a penny per impression, digital can be purchased by any company. Here’s the kicker… you get to target a much more specific audience of users: Those most likely to be interested in your product or service. There is so much data out there that allows us access to it so businesses like yours can target effectively. Some companies will have a Digital Buyer or hire a company to do the ad buying for them. This accomplishes a few things. One, it cuts down the amount of time you need to spend researching how to accomplish everything we’ve talked about above. It allows you to focus on running the business that you own. Lastly, it allows you to be provided with reporting on how well your campaign is performing.
8. It can be easy to understand. The key here is to find yourself an expert. That may be your local radio station, TV station, newspaper publishing company or ad agency. We’ve all learned the information inside and out, and can break it down in a very simple, clear manner that allows you to understand it. Just because you don’t know the world of digital advertising doesn’t mean it’s complicated. It’s not. Find yourself the right partner that can explain it to you, one that you trust, and that is truly interested in helping your company grow.
Digital advertising is growing. More and more businesses are spending more and more money because it works. We are all spending more time online, which means you have more opportunity to reach your targeting audience while they browse on their favorite device. Invest in yourself. Invest in your company. Invest in Digital Advertising. It has become a must have as part of your marketing mix.
To some AI sounds superficial or in many ways impossible. AI technology is super sophisticated and therefore can be very hard to comprehend. Therefore, many do not realize how powerful this strategy can be for businesses online.
In its simplest form, AI is showing your display or video ads to people across all devices, using machine learning to target consumers based on who is engaging with the ad.
So, what is machine learning and how does it work? There are a zillion factors that go into the algorithms and methods and how this technology was developed. It is important to understand the sole purpose behind this technology is to make marketing meaningful by predicting the potential of every moment, so that marketers can deliver amazing experiences that get real results. Sounds like a dream right?
When a moment presents itself like when a digital consumer visits a website, AI usually has less than 100 milliseconds to leverage all available data about the visitor to make the best decision and execute the ideal delivery of the advertiser’s message. Success is achieved when we delight the visitors into taking an action or a conversion like a phone call, click or even a store visit.
One of the AI modeling techniques developed helps classify a marketing moment or event. For example, in marketing terms will the person respond favorably to the ad or not? The models use a wide array of data, including patterns of user behavior across the web, first-party data (online visit data) and data made available with permission by the brand websites and segment data from 3rd party providers (offline visits and even purchase behavior).
AI targeting dissects data every minute of a campaign by evaluating historical info about that campaign. One of the data points looked at is who is converting on the advertiser’s website after seeing the ad. The machine learning sets boundaries and limits on the converters from the non-converters with minimal error. Behind this line is an equation that weights all of the features – that is, the data descriptors – that we know about each user and each moment. Then the technology seeks to find more people like these converters based on their behaviors and patterns all in real-time. Each minute it is constantly learning, refining and then delivering at a much more astute way that any human could fabricate on their own.
With the influx of web activity every minute of the day and so much exposure to messages and advertising, many advertisers have a hard time finding their core audience online or they are having difficulty getting their audience to respond.
This machine learning assists in doing some of that heavy lifting and helping advertisers refine who they are talking to in a way people never thought it could be possible.
Some of the top digital trends on the rise are video marketing, artificial intelligence and chat boxes.
Video Marketing is anticipated to climb and climb. Video has always been an important marketing tactic, but it is changing. By 2020, 85% of all consumer internet traffic will be made up of video. And gone are the days of fancy overproduced videos. Consumers want genuine and good content that is entertaining and informative and put a lower a priority on dazzling special effects and fancy edits of high-end footage. They want it to be real.
OTT can be targeted to certain demos and behaviors like Moms and Sports nuts or even isolated to certain areas or neighborhoods with a geo-fence. AdWeek notes, “While watching a program, two out of every three people use a second screen to look up information about a product they saw during that program.” Talk about the power of advertising!
OTT is not the only place video can be consumed. Pre-roll video on YouTube and other publisher websites that allow video is another great way to capture people on their phones, laptops and other devices.
A pre-roll ad is a video advertisement that automatically plays directly before a featured video, on both mobile and desktop. These ads are commonly :15 or :30 seconds in length. It has proven to be a great format for brand awareness, brand engagement, brand favorability, and purchase intent.
Mobile Conquesting is one of our most popular products. As consumers spend more of their online time on smartphones and tablets, it’s important to include a mobile strategy in your digital marketing. Mobile Conquesting allows advertisers to use both location-based targeting combined with demographic and behavioral targeting to reach desired consumers on their mobile devices with video ads.
Video is changing and so is digital targeting, by leaps and bounds now with machine learning, AKA Artificial Intelligence (AI). Machine learning gets to the heart of your target consumers based on who is engaging with the ad, and showing your ad to more people like those. Utilizing this tool really helps advertisers get their campaigns in front of the most receptive audience. As digital consumers, we want a more personalized experience and are more likely to purchase if ads are customized to us.
These live chat conversations are not with Chatbots, but with real humans, trained live agents to be precise. These chats can play a critical role in improving the customer experience and allow marketers to better engage with their website visitors, without really doing a whole lot. They offer real-time assistance to the user, and proactive interaction where they ask questions to understand the real problem and provide lead data to advertisers.
Video, mobile, machine learning and chat agents are a small taste of some of the top digital trends this year. Stay on top of these new trends and work to incorporate them in your next marketing plan before the next wave of trends is upon us. Be relevant.
How many of us have felt like Facebook is listening to our phone conversations? I swear I just mentioned these new Kendra Scott earrings to my friend and now I’m seeing them in my news feed? Disturbing! Right? Or is it just effective?
It is absolutely unnerving. You feel like you just mentioned to a friend, or even just thought about an item and then you go on Facebook and there it is right in your News Feed. You are not alone in this feeling, almost everyone who uses Facebook has some variation of this happening and has had the same feeling of being spied on. So, Facebook must be listening in on us in some way, right? If not, how is this happening, and for so many people?
Are you convinced? Although the test doesn’t 100% disprove the idea, there have been more tests and security experts trying to prove Facebook listens in on our phone but they too come up short in finding any evidence.
What does Mark Zuckerburg have to say about all of this? Well, when he was directly asked this question by Congress last year he gave an emphatic “No.” He said, “No. Let me be clear on this: You’re talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around that we listen to what’s going on through your microphone and use that for ads,” Zuckerberg replied. “We don’t do that.” He said no, yet the conspiracy theory continues to thrive on social media with many still unsure of the truth.
One of the main reasons the conspiracy theory is so believable is because the ads truly do appear to be THAT accurate and targeted. So, if they are not listening in, how are they getting the targeting so right?
The answer is complex. There are in fact a tremendous amount of other ways for Facebook to come up with targeting options. For example, have you taken a quiz on Facebook? Have you posted anything on Facebook? Have you checked in somewhere? Have you “liked” something? Do you have “friends” on Facebook? Have you shared any information online? Have you opted into apps and websites and just clicked “I agree” to terms and conditions? Likely you have, and the digital eye in the sky is watching our every move. It doesn’t even have to be on Facebook, you just have to go online and or have a phone.
Tracking pixels are constantly in motion in the background, raining down with every click and measuring our activity. What sites are we looking at? What are we clicking on? What sites are we lingering on longer? What sites do we bounce off immediately? Millions of data points are consistently and constantly being tracked and connected behind the scenes to determine our online behavior. This technology allows us to be put into targeting categories that define our demographics, interests and behaviors so advertisers can easily and sometimes eerily market ads to the right person. Ads can be hyper-targeted because tech companies know what websites we are visiting. Online activity is constantly tracked which allows not only Facebook to track our likes and dislikes, but Google and many others as well.
It is not just online. The technology also knows were we go, places we frequent often, maybe even the brand of coffee we drink. How? Through our geolocation data. Consider this example, most days of the week I leave my house around 7:50 am and drive my two kids to school, oftentimes, I stop and grab a coffee at my local Starbucks. I don’t check in anywhere or report to anyone where I am going, but my phone does, and it is always with me. I pull through the carpool line at the high school. My phone is pinging my latitude and longitude location and bouncing off cell towers. My Bluetooth is on, of course, how else would I take a call but through my car connection? I repeat this activity a few times in the morning and I’ve now put myself into a category of “parent of high school aged child.” Why? Simply because I am near the school most weekday mornings at a certain time. I move along, I hit Starbucks on my way to elementary school, my phone is still reporting my location and I also paid with my app, so not only my location is recorded but also my exact purchase. I move onto elementary drop off and put myself into the “mom of elementary age child” category, and the saga continues.
Technology can report what we have recently purchased. Stew on this for a moment. It has also been reported that Google knows about 70 percent of all payment card purchases in the US. 70%! That is a huge number. So that dress I purchased online yesterday? I’m going to see ads for dresses online today.
This type of data exists on all digital consumers and their friends. Even if you’ve never searched for a certain product online, if your friends have, you’re much more likely to see ads for that. The same goes for just being in the same location as someone else. Despite all of these facts, the conspiracy theory does still exist and it does make people nervous. If you fall into that category, consider the fact that it would be completely illegal for an app like Facebook to listen in without your permission. If they were in fact secretly recording people’s conversations and using that information for targeting ads, they would be breaking the Wiretap Act, and if caught violating its billions of users, they would be subject to trillions of dollars in liabilities.
Frankly, listening is not even needed for ad targeting, that’s so 2010!
When Apple’s Siri first came out back in 2011 the technology was a novelty. It was cool to test out and sometimes provided informative results, but often the results were laughable. Not many people predicted voice search would become a major digital trend of the future.
Voice search is defined as a speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field. Some examples of programs that have voice search capabilities are Google Assistant, Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa. The proliferation of smart phones and other small, web-enabled mobile devices has spurred interest in voice search.
Three years ago, Google said that 20% of all searches were initiated by voice. While they haven’t updated that statistic yet, with more than a billion devices globally that feature the Google Assistant, it’s very likely that the percentage of searches initiated by voice has increased dramatically.
In fact, there’s so much interest that 41% of adults (and 55% of teens) use voice search daily. Also, by 2020, Comscoresays that 50% of all searches will be voice searches. With the projected growth with this tool many businesses are questioning how to stay ahead. A new study from Uberall, says 96% of businesses are not voice search ready. Are you part of that group? If you are, it’s time to make some changes.
The number one factor contributing to low voice search scores is inaccurate business information across online directories. Here are some of the areas of error:
Hours of operation
Understanding what consumers are searching for with voice search is important. According to a Google survey people want to get information about deals and sales, personalized tips, information about upcoming events, customer support and more, all of which are important to any business:
How does Voice Search Impact SEO Rankings?
Since the point of SEO is to rank websites accurately so users can find the best information for their search as quickly as possible, user experience is ultimately, at the forefront of search engine optimization (SEO). Because of that, search engines are placing a higher emphasis on voice search. Keep in mind that voice search SEO and traditional website SEO are different. Therefore, some factors that affect one, may not affect the other. For example, voice search SEO is more conversational resulting in long sentences showing up in search queries, such as “Where can I find a plumber in Phoenix” rather than typed Google searches, which tend to be shorter like “plumbers in Phoenix”.
Does Voice Search Drive Website Traffic to My Website?
The answer is yes. Voice Search works the same way as traditional SEO. Since that’s the case, you still want to ensure that your business shows up in the search results.
So now that you know all of this, how does your business get found in Voice Search? Here’s a quick overview of areas of focus:
Voice search is here and we’ve included it in all our SEO offerings for our partners, including search through Amazon. For most local businesses, 90% of their traffic is from Google, and a very small percentage is from Amazon. Our optimization is platform agnostic, which means we are doing good things for websites, regardless of the search engines. Amazon does have an immediate impact on local business with voice search, and our SEO plans and recommendations account for that.
Considering that nearly all the steps you can take to optimize for voice search are beneficial to your Search Engine Marketing efforts overall, the decision to focus on voice optimization should be an easy one. Incorporating this strategy has several benefits businesses are rewarded with, including:
Increase in website traffic
Increase in brand awareness and visibility
Connect better with consumers
Enhances customer engagement
Can provide a higher scope of conversions and sales
Voice search offers so many opportunities. It can change the way that we connect with and communicate with our customers. Having your business ready for it can prove to be an efficient method to improve customer relationship management.
PPC, Pay Per Click, Google AdWords and now Google Ads are all different names for paid text ads on google search returns. They generally appear at the top of your search reruns or at the bottom and in some instances in the first position in the “snack pack” returns (the listing under the map image).
They can be an important part of a business marketing strategy, but just because people understand what PPC is, does not mean this should be the ONLY digital strategy you should include.
PPC can deliver a message to an audience looking for something in particular that they type in, but what about that other set of the universe, that has not searched yet? Or what created the need for the search to begin with?
Studies have shown that 94% of users skip search ads and head straight to organic results. And this is just the people that are being targeted by search, but in the world of the internet, there is so much more to digital than just search. As digital consumers, we consume and use online tools in many ways. We use mobile apps, buy items online, find out news, research, order items for store pickup, listen to music, watch how-to videos, check Facebook feeds, text, buy and trade stocks, online bank and so much more.
So, yes Google is a great tool, but it is not the only way to reach people online. As a matter of fact, PPC does not create demand it merely captures it. So as marketers we must also create the need, the want and desire. Investing in one strategy is never going to solve all your marketing goals and challenges.
How do we create the demand and what tools can we use?
It starts with your sales funnel and understanding what strategy aligns well with your goals. As consumers we are in and out of various stages of the buying cycle. And each level plays a role in buying decisions.
In building a brand, you need awareness. 70% of consumers will click on a business that they know. Some digital tactics that work well in building brands are OTT, video pre-roll, Native & Display by targeting online behaviors. Ask us about these solutions and how they can help your business!
You have heard the phrase, opposites attract. Well the same holds true for your media mix. Traditional media like radio and television work hand in hand with digital. Digital marketing can include tactics like SEO, online display or native and social media across all online devices.
First, it is important to understand your audience and to realize there are many ways to reach them. Traditional marketing like radio and TV can be great for brand awareness as well as reach and frequency. Some may categorize traditional media as a more passive marketing approach, while digital is more active and can be extremely targeted. The combination of these strategies can really complement each other and work together to solve your marketing goals.
Consumers sit at various levels of a sales funnel and a great media mix can help close the loop on conversions and sales. Traditional media efforts can create the awareness of a need and digital can convert the need or want into action.
We also live in a busy and connected world. And consumers stay very connected in multiple ways. In 2016, it was reported that the average household has more than 7 connected devices. And it is forecasted that by 2021, there will be 13 networked or connected devices per person.
And the ability for consumers to adapt and receive messages from multiple places has almost become commonplace. One can be surfing the internet on his or her laptop, checking out a Facebook newsfeed on their phone, with the TV on a program and have Alexa streaming audio all at the same time.
According to a custom survey of Nielsen’s Media Enthusiast Community, 45% of respondents watch TV while using digital devices very often or always.
Digital devices are often used in tandem with TV and audio to augment users’ overall experience. 71% of respondents said they have looked up information related to the TV content they were viewing, while 51% did the same for audio. There are also e-commerce opportunities as 35% of TV viewers and 25% of audio listeners have shopped for the products and services advertised on the main platform.
In that busy and connected world, comes a flood of activity and advertisements. So the importance of being relevant and targeted and where consumers are is a necessity. The best way to reach prospective customers is to target them wherever they are – on any device!