Relying on free traffic to drive conversions or gather leads is something of a gamble. It means you run the risk of low conversions or leads. In this blog, we take a look at how digital advertising can solve that.
The Digital Ad Transformation
Less than a decade ago business owners would happily pay for advertising. They were buying space in newspapers and magazines, on radio, billboards and television. From small budget classifieds to national television campaigns, business owners were happy to buy ads.
There was arguably no way to measure the return on investment (ROI), apart from surveys or a noticeable increase in growth. Since there was no realistic alternative, this was accepted as normal.
It was a system that worked for the media and their customers for decades. Media empires were built on it!
First came the internet, which eventually meant the end of the traditional media monopolies. And then along came Facebook. Brands could now make a page to reach lots of people (almost) for free. They could engage with their customers directly.
And while social media was also changing how people read news and entertainment, Google was changing how people searched for everything, including news and services.
The Organic Misconception
As digital marketing evolved, the word “organic” became a term. It generally refers to engagement from content that isn’t boosted. Sometimes people even think it means “free”.
As soon as that word “free” becomes involved, business owners’ eyes light up. Many set up a Facebook page and an Instagram profile, thinking it will be all gravy from there.
Very occasionally, it works! But for the majority of small-to-medium business owners, that’s not the case.
Three facts about organic content marketing:
- It’s not actually free: Someone needs to create content. That takes time, and as we all know, time is money! How much money your time is worth is up to you. (We think it should be worth lots!)
- It’s not scalable: If you’re getting organic traffic, how do you then get more of it? Publish more organic social media content? Write more blogs? Focus on getting shares?
- It’s not reliable: If you’re using content to make sales, increase store visits or gather leads, it’s got to be reliable. Organic traffic is not.
Note: There is still a place for “organic” digital marketing! For example, some brands have very engaged communities of fans or users. It fits nicely with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy too.
We’re strong believers that if you take the time to make content, people should see it. And furthermore, the right people should see it! Especially if you want to sell products or services online.
Advertising ROI Becomes Measurable
With more content being posted on more pages, it was inevitable that Facebook would begin charging for advertising space. It was just as logical they would restrict how many people a business could reach, too. This led to a lot of sad faces on people who failed to see the bright side.
Google pioneered interest-based targeting through keywords. Facebook then took it to a new level, using data gathered from users. Instagram is part of Facebook. It uses the same Ads Manager platform.
Facebook introduced measurable reporting for things like “reach” and “impressions”. There were other stats like “clicks” and “engagement”.
For the first time, business owners and managers could see their return-on-investment (ROI) in real numbers. It even became possible for these networks to predict how many people would engage with the advertising!
Digital Ad Targeting
Facebook, Google and other networks offer ways to target users with ads. Facebook uses interest and behaviours. For Google, it’s keywords. Location targeting is available for all networks, but the options vary.
That means it’s possible to target people who are more likely to engage with your brand. And although Google Ads can get expensive, Social Media advertising doesn’t have to be. Especially when you’re smarter about your targeting.
Smart targeting is about knowing who your potential customers are. It’s also knowing who they are not!
How “Lazy” Social Media Ad Targeting Wastes Money
Have you ever seen an advert on Facebook or Instagram that is irrelevant to you? It’s highly likely that it’s the result of “lazy” targeting.
For example, we’re marketers, and we spend a lot of time researching. A quick check of our gathered interests via Facebook ad preferences reflects that. Some of the digital ads we see as a result help us discover new things. We love that!
Unfortunately, there are a lot of advertisers who target us for digital marketing services. That is a total waste of money! So is spraying ads toward a demographic without even using interests or behaviours. That is quite common for companies with large budgets. But it’s still wasteful, and potentially harmful to your brand.
A poorly targeted ad can have the opposite effect advertisers were hoping for. Think about it: If you see an Instagram ad that is irrelevant, are you likely to give that brand a second look? It’s unlikely.
It’s true that digital advertisers need to experiment to learn. However, the difference between lazy targeting and experimenting is being able to think like a potential customer. That’s done by researching. Which leads to tactical targeting.
Logically, it is unlikely that a strategic process would lead to a lazily targeted ad.
Smarter Targeting, Better ROI
An experienced digital marketer should have a process for the way they target. These processes evolve from researching customer behaviours or interests and experimenting responsibly.
That’s another reason it’s a huge advantage to get help from a digital marketer with advertising experience: In essence, you’re getting the benefit of experiments paid for by other businesses.
To give an analogy, imagine you own a car that has engine trouble. An experienced mechanic will probably find the issue quickly and get you back on the road. The apprentice might take a bit longer, and not be able to figure it out.
Having a go yourself risks spending a lot of time – and possibly money – learning before you maybe get it right. And, you might even make it worse.
Imagine if you could get a mechanic who could get you back on the road, and teach you how to avoid future issues.
That’s similar to how we like to work. We take the time to figure out what your business needs are. Then we research, looking for any edge we can find.
We create and optimise your digital ads. We’ll report back to you to explain the results. We can also keep managing your advertising, and/or teach you or a staff member how to do some of it.
Digital advertising, especially social media ads, should be part of your marketing plan. Organic social media reach is inefficient, and unreliable, because you can’t be sure you’re reaching the right people. So, if you’re selling online, or looking to promote a store location, ads will become essential.
If you are anything like the majority of business owners we’ve spoken to, learning the skills required is too time-consuming. Or, it’s just not your thing. And that is fine! After all, you started your business to sell what you’re good at.
By choosing an experienced agency like Aspiring Digital, you’ll have a better chance to get the most out of your investment. You’re also safeguarding your brand. And, you’ll have the option to take over management of the ads with guidance.