Although digital marketing has become mainstream as we can see on advertising investment trends but also through the size of leading technology companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, there is still plenty of room for improving the implementation of basic online advertising practices. There is still a large number of businesses struggling to provide first and foremost human resources for in-house online marketing or are unable to pay the services of specialized marketing agencies. With that being said, it will be essential to go through the basic concepts at the very beginning, which will be known to some of you. Working daily with clients we see that a greater number of businesses do not have optimized websites with good content. Traditional businesses often have a problem with measuring the effects of their online traffic, whether organic coming from the good content they share online or paid traffic coming from online advertising. That is why we should go through elementary concepts of digital advertising as well as through ways of measuring online traffic.
How do we define our digital marketing goals?
We do know that we need an online presence, so we build websites, we share content, we create Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles and so on. But do we know, what exactly we expect from our online communication? Whether our goals are measurable and quantified or not? Do we have different goals for different platforms and channels? Our marketing plan should provide the answers to these questions. Our marketing plan is derived from our business plan, and our online communication ideally should be clearly associated with our sales plans and clearly defined marketing goals.
Ideally, our web is our sales funnel. We are getting traffic from different sources such as Google and Facebook. Our task is to direct this traffic to our persuasive and educational content as well as towards contact forms or cart in case of e-commerce. Contacts acquired through our web or lead generation campaigns are fuel for our sales team. Typical online marketing goals are online sales, lead generation, newsletter subscription etc. Once we have quantified online marketing goals we can test different traffic sources and compare prices in order to optimize our online communication. This process is continuous.
People usually visit our websites by finding related content on Google. Besides, we are getting web traffic from social networks, primarily Facebook, from newsletters and directly when people type our website domain into their website browser if we are lucky enough. Google Analytics Traffic Sources Dashboard shows key traffic quality indicators. When we talk about traffic quality please keep in mind that this is a relative concept. Anyway, Average Session Duration, Number of Sessions per visit, Conversions, and Revenue if defined, are good indicators of traffic, thus our website content quality. It is of utmost importance to track the behavior of users on our website, which shows how much they are interested in our content and therefore how much they are interested in the services and products we offer.
Simply put, if traffic from Google is generating conversions, and traffic from your newsletter does not focus on your content and Search Engine Optimization to get more traffic from Google.
If your goal is to get leads and Facebook paid traffic generates more leads, you should think about increasing your Facebook promotion budget.
Having a great website does not guarantee you will receive significant traffic because the online market is very competitive. For this reason, paid advertising is a great way to test and scale your business model. When you initially start paid promotion, Facebook could be your first choice since Facebook made it easy to advertise directly from your page. This is a good first step. However, please keep in mind that serious advertising requires the use of more advanced tools available through Facebook Business Manager. Facebook offers a wide range of campaigns, and it can be complicated to decide which campaign type to run. Start with Facebook Engagement targeting campaigns, even if you are running e-commerce or traffic is your primary goal. This way you will get most of Facebook targeting algorithm and its learning curve. Although it may sound strange, do not complicate with niche targeting in the beginning. Allow the widest audience possible to give Facebook time and audience pool needed to generate a user profile that will most likely respond to your communication. Ultimately, the engagement you achieve through paid targeting brings an extra reach on the network thanks to the viral effect. Keep in mind how the Facebook algorithm works. For your Facebook post reach shares and comments are the most important parameters.
Online conversion means certain predefined action by the user on our website. In Google Analytics, a conversion is the completion of an activity that is important to the success of your business, such as a completed sign up for your email newsletter (a Goal conversion) or a purchase (a Transaction, sometimes called an E-commerce conversion). Conversion tracking is important to determine how successful our online communication is. But this is just a part of the puzzle. Equally important fact is that conversions are required for conversion bidding online promotion. When we start online promotion we are typically buying impressions or clicks. This is referred to as CPM or CPC model. We are getting people’s attention and hoping they will engage. In order to precisely measure the results of our advertising efforts, we have to target conversions. Once we get enough conversions Facebook and Google will enable conversion bidding. To put it simply, we are spending when we get concrete results only. Let’s say we are selling a product for 99 USD and our gross margin is 50%. This means we can pay for every online conversion up to 45 USD. This can be applied to any business model as long as we know how much any predefined goal is worth to us, such as an online conversion, filled form, generated lead or downloaded content.
Google Analytics Goal
Google starts analyzing our website once we enable indexing. There are many parameters that are analyzed such as, keywords and meta tags, loading time, back links and others in order to connect our website with users searches on Google. Idea is to show people the most relevant traffic. This process is autonomous and takes place continuously. In order to give Google more data about our business goals, it is necessary to set up Google Analytics goals. This is rather straightforward and simple task. Just by clicking admin panel on Google Analytics and choosing Goals feature we are getting a dashboard with Goals templates. We can choose usual template such us newsletter Subscription which is Destination Goal. This means we want to get people on a certain web page on our website. Duration Goals are, as you can imagine, determining the length of time that users need to spend on a particular web page. Besides these goals, you can choose pages/session, event ( eg. played a video) and smart goals once available. If none of the above is important for your business model you can choose custom goals and define your own goals as desired. We are setting up goals to give Google data about our desired users. Once we record enough goals we can use conversion bidding, target ROI and optimize our Google Advertising. This is crucial if we are to scale our business up to market limits.
Attribution models and UTM tags
Once we are done with setting up goals and conversions we are ready to advertise on different platforms. Besides Google and Facebook, there are many different specialized advertising platforms. If we have a different active campaign at the same time it could be difficult to connect results with a specific advertising platform, campaigns or ads. To properly monitor the campaign results, it is necessary to define the attribution model.
If we think about user behavior, we often think about the user who visits our website once and completes the contact form or buys something on our website. In reality, user behavior is more complicated. Before let’s say, buying on our website, a user may interact with many different sources, and may visit our and our competition websites multiple times. Here is an example of a customer who finds our site by clicking on one of our Google Ads. She returns one week later by clicking over from a social network. That same day, she comes back third time via one of our email campaigns, and a few hours later, she returns again directly and makes a purchase. There are different attribution models and we will not get into details. For now, it’s important to emphasize the need to specifically label individual campaigns so we can monitor and analyze the effects of different campaigns. This is usually achieved by UTM links. UTM builder is available, but we can also set the parameters that are important to us. Website URL and Campaign Source are required to build UTM link. Besides, you can determine campaign medium, campaign name, term, and other variables.
Digital Advertising Trends
Now, you may think digital advertising may be complex matter given the number of different task, platforms, data, and measurements, and you may ask yourself if all this is worth the effort. I would like to help you answer this question with a few numbers showing advertising spending projection.
Digital advertising spending will rise from 273 billion USD this year to 427 billion USD in 2022. At that time digital spending will be greater than spending on all other advertising channels combined, including Television. This means online advertising is becoming the dominant way of promoting products and services. In spite of this, there is a great room for progress in this field for all of us, as most advertisers use only basic advertising tools. It’s a chance for all of us. Let’s use it!
Online traffic sources – What is your tactic?
What is your ideal online tactic? What is the best platform? What is your best traffic source, and what to focus on?
To be honest, I have no idea. In order to answer these questions we need to analyze your business, we need to test different campaigns, copyrights, creatives. Although this sounds like a problem, it really is not. All we need to do is to continue testing in order to get enough data. We analyze business, traffic, and content. Once we get positive ROI and good figures we can use a wide reach in order to get the maximum market share. This is exactly what we will show through two case studies today.
Case study one – online media promotion
First, let me say a few words about the online media business model. There are a few revenue streams typical for online media. First and most important, (this is particularly true of larger media with strong brands) so cold premium advertising or directly sold ads. Online media have direct contact with advertisers (companies promoting their products and services) and they have their own inventory pricing. They agree upon the price, and this price is usually expressed through CPM (meaning cost per mile or cost per thousand impressions). Impression means loading of an ad on a media website. What usually happens is that media are not able to sell whole inventory (meaning they have more users and more traffic than available customers, advertisers because the prices of premium ads are high). Remaining traffic online media sell via advertising networks such as Google AdSense/AdX.
Price of this traffic is determined by the market in real time. These ads are usually more favorable to advertisers. With that being said, it is easy to recognize the main goal of online media, and that is to get a maximum number of users online.
This case study is all about getting new users and maximum traffic to one of our online media websites. In this case study, we will show you how to get new users online, how to increase traffic and how to get positive ROI out of advertising through Facebook’s own ad network called Audience Network. So, we will take a look into the website we are talking about, we will take a look into the Facebook Ads Manager that we use to get new users and huge traffic, we will take a look into Google Analytics. And finally, we will take a look into the Facebook Audience Network Monetization Manager, the place where we can see our ad revenue. We will take a closer look into Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audience which are the main tools for paid promotion this time.
Case study – Automotive
Second case study for today I chose from traditional businesses so we can apply this practice to the large number of industries. And one of our favorite industries is a car industry. Anyway, this can be applied to real estate, finances, health services, IT and other.
Basically, we were helping a car dealership from California to generate leads. We know that the two most important factors when buying a car are test drive and sales agents skills. That is why it is crucial to get people to the dealership so they can see the car, so they can talk to the sales agent and find out financial terms.
We were using Facebook promotion, but this time we had our own contact form. We did not want to use the one from Facebook because we wanted to get people to fill the form, which indicates a strong intention, thus greater probability that one will buy a product. When you use Facebook lead form, one click is all it takes to get all needed contacts. This is not suitable for a higher value product.