Monthly Archives: April 2015

Three Ways Native Advertising is Changing the Game in Social Media Marketing

A major topic at Hubspot’s Inbound Publishers Summit last week in Boston was the evolving role of native advertising. Though we’ve seen incredible growth in content produced online in recent years, the explosion has only just begun, and many companies are scrambling to harness the power of digital content. One way that publishers are already doing this (aside from producing said content, of course) is by deploying native ads within it. With native ad spending projected to increase by 35% to $4.3 billion this year, it’s safe to say that the industry’s interest has been officially piqued. Interestingly, 71% of advertisers reported employing native ads in social media content only. How is that affecting current social media advertising practices? Here are three ways:

1.       We already know that social media users essentially ignore generic branded content, so the more appropriate your promotional content is for the context, the better your chances are of your social media audience actually seeing it. Native advertising offers brands an opportunity to connect with users on platforms that are constantly changing to provide better user experiences.

2.     In the SEO and content marketing realms we hear the mantra “Content is King” repeated at every possible opportunity, but a more accurate spin on it for native ads could be “Context is King.” Having a tightly defined audience is key for success in native advertising, though many brands still struggle to define what that success means for their business. On social this can be particularly tricky—is a native advertising campaign’s success measured in shares? Clicks? Reach? New definitions for ROI on social media may emerge as brands learn to use native ads more effectively.

3.   Many social media platforms have offered their own paid ad and native ad services for a while now, but these are heavily reliant on publishers to produce the content streams where they’ll appear. Publishers are in a prime position to capitalize on advertisers’ reliance on their content, and indeed many of them are beginning to offer their own agency services to do just that. Without their own content alliances or production arms, social media platforms could lose out.

Social media users now have more ways to customize their feeds, control their personal information, and block out the content they don’t want to see than ever before. Brands are tasked with maintaining an in-depth understanding of who their audiences are, what they want, and when they should give it to them—the less relevant the message, the more likely it is to be tuned out. It’s a landscape that’s constantly changing (see Buzzfeed’s recent pitch of its POUND (Process for Optimizing and Understanding Network Diffusion tool) which means businesses must be constantly optimizing their social media marketing plans.

Stay tuned for native ad developments outside of the social media space. Google’s own content delivery platform is currently invite-only, and could roll out any day now.

RLSA – A Search Advertiser’s Secret Weapon

Remarketing Lists for Search Advertising, or RSLA, is a powerful advertising tactic that aids you in retargeting your paid efforts towards prospects that have already visited your site. By gearing both your ad copy as well as your budget with existing prospects in mind, you can dynamically serve different, more aggressive ads designed to capitalize on the previous brand exposure without presenting the prospect with the same messaging and copy that they’ve already seen.

 

What are the Benefits of RLSA?

First and foremost, there is a proven correlation between prior exposure and increased click-through rate (CTR), which quite simply means that a prospect who has already had prior exposure to your brand or website is significantly more likely to click/convert on your ad unit. RLSA allows you to take advantage of this fact by filtering the ad units displayed to use copy that is new and unique to a repeat visitor, instead of beating them over the head with the same ad copy over and over again.

 

Additionally, RLSA allows you to minimize risk while testing for new keyword opportunities. Imagine being able to target for a new set of keywords, while minimizing spend by exposing return users only to your new ad copy.

 

How Can I Implement RLSA?

If you are already an AdWords user, implementing RLSA into your existing ad workflow is very straightforward. After adding your remarketing list or lists into your AdWords account, create a new Audience within your existing search campaign and add your list(s) to that audience. Ensure that you select ‘Bid Only’ to tell Google to modify your spend threshold for previous visitors, and then save and close your campaign.

RLSA can be a highly efficient targeting tactic that will help convert prospects who already have prior experience with your site or brand. Using RLSA in conjunction with careful monitoring of your analytics and paid performance allows you to tweak and optimize your advertising campaign on the fly, using up-to-the-day data to inform your targeting decisions.

Retargeting: The Advertising Pros and Cons

Ever heard of retargeting? If not, get this: we’re pretty sure that your online activities are being retargeted right now by advertisers. This is more accurately called “behavioral advertising.” Simply put, display ads take previous behavior from your browser cookies and re-targets you in the future with ads.

Think of how this can positively impact your customers. You can send them similar pitches regarding your service or product. However, there are two potential downsides to this.

1. Retargeted display ads have a diminishing return - Think about when you get hit with the same messages on a consistent basis. Over time, you begin to ignore them. This is no different with retargeting.

2. The ads only target people who have expressed interest - Your initial ads target new people constantly, but retargeted won’t follow anyone who hasn’t clicked on the initial ad. As a result, they have a lower cost per lead when compared to other forms of ads.

Nonetheless, there are also a couple of important upsides to retargeting. Here are the positive effects:

a. Find relevant customers.

Retargeted ads have the potential to take you to other relevant websites. Customers you’ve retargeted are potentially searching for other keywords and going on new websites. If you research the activity of your prospects, you’ll soon find new niches to include in your advertising.

b. Increase the probability of a sell.

Also repeated messaging can turn off customers, there are certain buyers who simply need more exposure. Retargeted does this to great effect, allowing you to increase conversions with certain products. As is always key in sell, following up is important.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this short primer on retargeting! Take the pros and cons into consideration when testing out this form of advertising.

How to Improve Your Conversion Rates for Your Website

While getting traffic to your website isn’t always easy, it’s certainly doable. Increasing conversions on your website, however, is another matter.

Marketing on its own doesn’t generate profits; web conversions do. This is the rate at which the leads that enter your site come in to purchase your goods or services. A lot of people neglect optimizing the sales funnel and instead focus on generating more traffic. As a result, you end up putting more energy into a presumably untested conversion funnel, churning potential customers at a faster rate.

Conversely, when you optimize your site’s conversion funnel, you’re making it much easier for customers to buy, increasing your bottom line. You’re no longer trying to make up the difference to account for lost customers.

To help you on your journey to increase conversions, here are four tips you can start using right now.

Tip 1: Streamline Your Web Design

One of the biggest perpetrators of lost conversions is bad web design. Clunky, cluttered, and ineffective navigation often leads to disoriented visitors. No matter how good your copy may be, a confused user isn’t going to want to buy from your site.

Make sure your site is easily navigable  on a mobile device and make the calls to action simple to understand.

Tip 2: Increase Your Copy Quality

Just as with web design, your copy is central in keeping customers on your site. Make sure what you’re asking the reader is clear and defined. Imagine what the reader will see the first time he or she comes upon your site. Do they understand what to do next? Is your first headline going to hold their attention?

Use copy to encourage users to stay on your site longer (in other words, invest). The longer they stay, the greater the chance you have of converting them to a paying customer.

Tip 3: Capture Their Email Address to Continue Engagement

The email address is the most personal form of communication online. And that’s the best reason to capture an email: to continue the conversation where it’s most personal.

This also makes it easy to follow up and demonstrate your product’s value. The standard ‘Contact Us’ form asks for email addresses, but go the extra mile and build an email list.

Tip 4: Invest in Lead Generation Content

Content like this is of the highest quality, coming in the form of a video, white paper, demo, or anything else your visitor would find valuable. You’ll find that many site offer free PDFs and guides in exchange for an email or a social share.

Put in the time to make this educational content, and you’ll be sure to gain more customers, fast!

What did you think of our tips? Do you have any of your own to share? Let us know in the comments.