Inspired Marketing Insights – Crystal Ball Edition
It’s that time when everyone in the world will make predictions for the coming year. What’s hot, what’s not, and what’s been left in the dust.
Our predictions for 2015 come action packed with supporting data and ideas for how to use them.
Native Advertising – An Idea Who’s Time Has Come
Even if you don’t know the name, you’re familiar with native advertising. In short, a native ad is one that “match the form and function of the platform on which it appears”.
You’ve seen them before, on your Facebook feed or on a news article. It looks like a piece of legitimate content but somewhere the words “Sponsored” or “Advertiser Paid” tell you that someone paid to have that content shown there.
Native ads are not like traditional display ads, which just show a short call to action like “Buy Now!” or “Call Today for a Free Quote!” Native ads look and feel like valuable content to their audience.
And the numbers behind native advertising are staggering. According to Business Insider, companies spent over $4 billion in 2013, almost $8 billion in 2014, and are expected to spend over $10 billion in 2015.
BI also notes that customers are generally well disposed towards native ads and they have a high click through rate among mobile users (over 1%).
How to take advantage of this?
The best performing native ads are highly targeted, focus on the right platform, and are in the form of valuable content.
Make sure you tightly define your audience (understanding their demographic data is key) and create appealing content (tying back to their buyer modality).
Experiment with native advertising. Measure the results carefully and then evaluate wider implementation. Not all businesses will benefit from using native advertising.
Marketing Attribution – No More Guessing
As marketing becomes less art and more science, there has been a dramatic push in 2014 for companies to do a better job of knowing which marketing activities are generating the highest return on investment.
Companies have always faced a trifecta of challenges associated with getting line of sight for dollars spent to money made:
- Marketers struggled with clarity – Many traditional marketing professionals resisted the clarity that came with attribution or lacked the sophistication to understand how to do it.
- Marketing wasn’t tracked – Companies knew how much they were spending but failed to build systems in place to tie those dollars to results. Significant gaps continue to exist in marketing campaigns that make this challenging
- Marketing was messy – Possibly the worst part, often times no single marketing activity was responsible for a closed sale. Sometimes it was a TV ad, a circular in the paper, and a display ad working in combination.
With the expansion of business intelligence tools available, the excuses for not knowing how your money is doing are vanishing.
We expect that in 2015 companies will focus heavily on improving their marketing attribution but will struggle with the multitude of tools and approaches to doing it.
They will be forced become more sophisticated in their marketing efforts or will seek out marketing companies like Inspire to help them refine their marketing attribution.
How to take advantage of this?
Make sure you have tracking tools in place for your biggest marketing expenditures.
Depending on your primary approach, you advertising should have call tracking numbers, landing pages, and custom coded mailers. Internally you should be logging the source of all sales and verify it against your tracking tools. Do not rely on the memories of your customers or your employees. People forget. Software doesn’t.
Make sure you have an internal system in place, like a spreadsheet, to track all of your inputs and outputs. Over time you’ll be able to use your tracking tools in conjunction.
Outline where you spend advertising dollars, implement tracking systems, and roll up the data. Over time you will see trends in the costs of acquiring new business and can make better decisions about allocating advertising spend.
Mobile Marketing Climbs to the Top
With the trend of access of the web through mobile devices continuing to accelerate, the need to market in a mobile friendly has become acute.
We see that in 2015, any company whose website is not mobile responsive and whose online experience is not optimized for mobile will see a significant drop in business.
How much does mobile matter?
- Mobile users will only wait 5 seconds before abandoning your website
- Customers multi-screen – this means they may start on one platform and end on another
- Mobile users abandon non-mobile websites over 30% of the time, regardless of load speed
- 57% of users won’t recommend a business with a bad mobile website
How to take advantage of this?
The good news is that many of your competitors have not adopted mobile as a core part of their marketing.
You need three things to properly set-up your business for success with mobile marketing:
- A mobile responsive website
- Mobile responsive landing pages (for your advertising traffic)
- Mobile friendly ads (for your online advertising)
Make sure to integrate click to call and click to contact activities on all places. Mobile is an amazing opportunity to eliminate barriers between you and your customer. But only if you do it right.
What does this mean for Inspire clients?
The good news is that we’re already ahead of the curve on two of the three trends highlighted here!
If you have a website that we’ve built, you’ll find that it’s already mobile responsive.
If we’ve got an ongoing marketing engagement with you, we’ve already built out reports that you get on a monthly basis that highlights the sources of business. We continue to refine this process leveraging new tools and options as they become available to narrow results down even further.
Native advertising is an exciting development and with the changes that have occurred, we’re in a position to promote your content further than it’s been found before. We’re currently studying opportunities for clients for whom we provide advertising and content generation services.
The biggest challenges in this space exist for companies whose services are primarily local. Finding effective native advertising platforms (beyond social media) that are also able to tightly focus on delivering local results is critical to ensure the best possible return on investment (no point in having your promoted content show up in Philadelphia if you only provide service in Phoenix).
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