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Digital marketing: an expert overview of a rapidly changing sector

Digital marketing: an expert overview of a rapidly changing sector

Specialist knowledge can help you achieve more punch for your promotional pound

Businessman John Wanamaker is famously attributed with the quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Today there’s no excuse for wasting half of your money on advertising and even less excuse for not being able to track what works versus what doesn’t and making the necessary adjustments to drive more relevant leads to your business.

The pace of change in advertising is accelerating. Technology changes quickly, but organisations typically move slowly, which leaves a gap. Businesses that can adapt to change and provide digital solutions that customers need will succeed.

Media consumption is shifting to video. In 2020 we will see users watch more video online than via a traditional TV. We know that money follows eyeballs and as more users consume content in this way they will also increase online spending.

From recent Google research, we know that there are approximately 34 million small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe. 33 per cent have no website and 75 per cent haven’t invested in digital marketing as yet.

Key findings from the biggest players in the industry

Facebook

• Digital attention has never been higher. The size of the audience pool has increased both in terms of users and the amount of time spent on the platform per day. We have seen a 75 per cent increase in traffic in some cases.

• Competition. Some advertisers are pausing or downscaling budgets, which means there’s more available inventory at a lower cost measured in cost per click.

• Engagement. It’s higher than ever before. Your customers are willing to engage with your brand, so serve them now and do business later.

• Conversions. Some sectors are growing and there’s an opportunity to build brand awareness with existing customers, prospects and new audiences.

• Strategy. Understanding who’s on Facebook and what your current audience breakdown looks like will be important in determining which Facebook marketing strategies you should employ and how. Facebook is a great place to hold industry chats or discussions, whether it’s with a different audience or your current customers.

Microsoft

• Desktop searches. Microsoft recently launched its new Edge browser, which provides a Chrome experience. With people being at home more because of the coronavirus crisis, desktop searches are increasing.

• Search. Terms are increasing with more users online. There’s been a rise in research terms for future purchases, automotive for example. In addition, people are still booking holidays, but terms like ‘cancellable’ are increasing. Utilising Microsoft also gives you access to prospects via Linkedin, which is perfect for business-to-business brands.

• Strategy. We find that too many businesses copy Google campaigns, whereas for best results campaigns should be built from scratch and optimised for the Microsoft Advertising platform. Bing offers marketers the opportunity to reach a niche audience who are older and wealthier. 71 per cent of Bing users are 35 and above, while one third have a household income of over £100,000.

Google

• Popular searches. Consumers have been attempting to stay productive and learn new things, which has meant searches for puzzles, board games and staying fit have increased.

• Cost per click. There’s been a drop in cost per click activity as some advertisers scale back. 50 per cent of ad clicks are stable, but 25 per cent are experiencing a reduction.

• YouTube. YouTube Live is growing in popularity, along with cooking and online learning. A whole new audience is engaging in co-activities, not just watching.

• Strategy. While 2019 focused on audience targeting through remarketing lists for search ads and custom affinity audiences, 2020 will focus on targeting audiences at specific touchpoints throughout the buying journey. Savvy marketers will speak to their target audience at the right time and in a way that enables customer growth, instead of bombarding them with one message for a direct sale.

Amazon

• Number of staff. Amazon is planning to hire an additional 100,000 staff to cope with increases in demand.

• Conversion rates. These are increasing on Amazon.

• Strategy. 65 per cent of UK shoppers start their searches on Amazon, not Google. Amazon ads still have low cost per click bids on its ad platform and you no longer have to be on Prime to compete on Amazon. Amazon is easy to set up with professional help.

Twitter

• Users. Twitter has seen an increase in the number of users, as well as the time an average user spends on the platform.

• Strategy. Twitter is a great marketing tool for a number of reasons: it allows sharing and promoting of branded content quickly to expand reach, allows companies to provide effective customer support and can be used as a search engine tool for prospects to find and learn about your company.

• Communication. Due to the increase in usage, it’s the perfect time to converse with your followers, share the latest updates about your company and address your audience.

LinkedIn

• Users. LinkedIn was already seeing steady growth in overall user engagement, but as with all online platforms, usage went through the roof during lockdown. Engagement with COVID-19 content specifically would suggest business leaders are looking for answers and to better understand what’s happening and how they should respond to the pandemic.

• Content. Now is the perfect time to post engaging content and videos. We know that on LinkedIn images garner over six times more engagement than text-only content.

• Targeting. You can get your message in front of the right people when they’re most engaged by targeting them with LinkedIn advertising. LinkedIn data is differentiated because members have professional incentives to keep their profiles accurate and up to date. Franchise businesses can utilise member-generated demographic data to reach the right audience, including job title, company, industry, seniority and more.

Key digital challenges faced by franchisors

We have a franchise team within Push and work with many large franchising clients. We’re also a partner for the British Franchise Association and have run joint events at Google with its members.

We see the key digital challenges faced by franchisors as:

• Uncertainty about where to start when setting up franchisees and how to decide on where to invest marketing budgets.

• A lack of data on which franchisees need more support and which are performing well.

• Attempting to save time and resources, while providing franchisees with transparency when it comes to digital marketing.

• An inability to oversee how multiple locations are performing across Google, Microsoft and Facebook and control smaller budgets that need to be spent efficiently.

• How to share reports across the network.

• How to protect franchisee’s paid accounts from click fraud and limit ad wastage.

Boosting your client base

Franchises have typically either engaged with a full-service agency or done it themselves.

It can be costly to use a full-service agency, but the danger of doing it yourself is that poor keyword selection and incorrect targeting can occur. Businesses then lose faith in the platform and feel it isn’t right for them.

Google and Microsoft offer BETA versions of their services, which are released early to partners to test new features and stay ahead of the competition. However, franchises that do their digital marketing in-house don’t get initial access to such features.

An example of this is form extensions, which are perfect if you need to introduce a new service but cannot update your website. You can use form extensions so that users do not even need to visit your website in order to make contact.

We created Adinvestor, which is a way for businesses to access our team of highly experienced account managers, who oversee the management of your paid ad campaigns while giving you access to our performance measuring platform.

The software allows you and our team to highlight which locations are performing well and those who need more support. It also provides detailed reporting and visual representation about the health of an account and highlights optimisation opportunities, as well as giving feedback on competitors.

Once set up, we give a franchise business access to its own dashboard to keep an eye on budget pacing, ads, keyword performance and more.

The author

Ian Franklin is new business development manager at Push Group

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