If you’re struggling to pivot your marketing, you’re not alone. Dollars are limited, and thousands of companies — not just in Texas but across the nation and world — are struggling to determine how best to use their marketing budget. While we at Integrate don’t have the means or purpose to change the entire U.S. (at least not yet 😉), we have a duty to help local businesses in our community determine the best ways to spend their marketing budget — whether that’s a little or a lot — to weather this storm of a pandemic.
In our second Pivot Don’t Pause webinar, we’ve brought in Tara, Integrate’s Head of Digital who’s an expert on all things digital marketing and advertising and leads our team of digital marketing and data analysts. In the webinar, she goes over an array of tactics you can be implementing right now, from Google Ads Smart Campaigns to Connected TV Advertising, Google My Business and more.
We’ve included a brief recap of the most important points below! And, we definitely recommend watching the video, since the audience asked so many thoughtful questions throughout (we left out some of the other important tips to keep the recap brief!).
The Digital Landscape is Changing
Compared to traditional marketing tactics like billboards and in-person walk-ins, digital marketing is working so much more effectively for our clients right now. Speaking from experience we’ve witnessed:
- Across our clients’ campaigns, we’re seeing a 25% increase in conversion rates.
- Digital advertising is becoming cheaper due to other companies pausing their spend.
- 32% of people strongly agree they’d make a greater effort to support local businesses.
What To Do if You’re New to Digital Marketing
Outside of “using this time to build a website,” you’re probably wondering what else you should be focusing on digitally speaking. Here are three things you should implement next:
Google Ads Smart Campaign
Google Ads Smart Campaigns make PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, easier for the novice digital marketer looking to get their brand name out there or attract more leads. It’s a great tool for businesses with a small marketing budget or those who lack the technical experience of creating an ad campaign from scratch.
- Super user-friendly – you can set up a campaign in about 15 minutes
- Google automates and optimizes your ad campaign for you (meaning you won’t have to spend time researching the best keywords)
- You can manage all of your campaigns via the Google App
- You don’t have access to as much data as manual
- You have less control of ad placements
- Can be less effective than a regular ad campaign because you’re not as hands-on – seeing which keywords and tactics Google is using
Google Shopping Ads
This year, Google announced that Google Shopping Ads are now FREE for merchants. They typically fall into the category of display, meaning you can include an image, item price and company name.
Google Video Builder
In addition to Shopping Ads, Google also announced the FREE new beta tool, Google Video Builder. It’s specifically designed for smaller businesses that don’t have resources to create videos from scratch. With these, you can use Google’s creative assets to create YouTube video ads ranging from 6 to 15 seconds. You can learn how to sign up here.
What To Do if You’re Familiar with Paid Search
Trends have changed significantly and are still changing. So, if you’ve set these campaigns up pre-pandemic, you almost have to revisit everything. Here’s what we recommend you do first:
- Optimize your mobile bids: Since March 2020, mobile traffic has decreased about 25% each month as compared to February. Remove your current bid settings, record new raw data and determine what settings to make then.
- Revisit day parting settings: Wordstream reported search volume after midnight has increased by about 15%. The typical data has changed, so you should take another look at your website traffic to determine any changes.
- Look at conversion rate by device or audience segment: Conversion rates are trending in crazy directions depending on your industry. Nonprofits are experiencing a 23% increase in conversions, while real estate listings have seen a -25% decrease in conversion rates, according to a Wordstream report. At the same time, though, real estate agents themselves have seen a 30% increase. If you haven’t looked at CR by device or by different audience segments (where you also might have made bid adjustments), go back and revisit.
- Revisit your automated bidding strategies: You might be overbidding because competition has fallen out. Consider reverting to a manual bidding model vs. automated to avoid overspending since the data is so volatile right now.
- Don’t “set it and forget it”: Please don’t set your campaigns and leave them be. You’re literally throwing money away by doing this. A good rule of thumb is at least once a week, but we typically spend an hour a day on bigger campaigns.
Consider Advertising on Connected TV (CTV)
When we say connected TV, we’re referring to the commercials served over a streaming device, such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, etc. Connected TV is the shiny new toy you get as a child on your birthday. And it’s continuing to inherit scale, especially right now when everyone’s home, according to industry experts:
- Since the pandemic, weekly watch times have risen by 1 billion hours, according to Nielson.
- The Trade Desk, a Popular Agency demand side platform (DSP), found that ad spend on connected TV grew 100% YoY.
- EMarketer estimates that CTV ad revenue is expected to hit $11 billion in 2021 up from around $7 billion in 2019.
- Great for branding, which helps audiences positively recognize your brand. They don’t involve users to perform a specific action, but help users recognize and trust your brand more.
- CTV enables you to target audiences and reserve them ads across devices, such as on their smartphone or computer.
- Your audience reach is more than what’s on paper. Impressions for CTV equal the number of devices, not the number of users watching. Multiple people can be watching an ad on one device.
- Lots of ways to target your audiences, including household targeting.
- Most streaming devices don’t allow direct response to action, which basically means people are just watching a commercial vs. clicking on an ad and visiting your site. So, take into account all of your digital efforts (i.e. PPC, display, email, etc.), not just CTV.
In terms of budget, it depends on who you want to reach and how often you want to reach them. Are you targeting a few suburbs? The city of Houston? Or the state of Texas? You also have to think about how often you want to serve your ad. Do you want to serve three times a day or twice a week?
Ultimately, let the data dictate your decisions. Depending on your goals, you can start with a few thousand dollars and make a difference in some targeted markets. But the main cost will be readying a stream-worthy ad that meets the specs of Hulu, YouTube, etc. The cost in connected TV is mostly upfront with developing the ad itself.
Additional Tactics for Small Business
Even if everything is seemingly going digital, people may still need to physically go to your local operating location or contact you via phone. According to Google, four out of five consumers are using search engines to find information such as addresses, contact details and updated business hours in light of the pandemic.
If you haven’t already, we recommend going through Google My Business and completing the following:
- Claim your business
- Update your profile attributes and keep it current (i.e. show new or modified services or no-contact delivery)
- Add links to fundraising and gift card campaigns
- Show live inventory of your products
- Respond to customer reviews & more importantly promptly respond to negative reviews
- Upload high-quality images of your inventory or businesses
Now’s the Time to Pivot, Don’t Pause Your Marketing
We’ve gone over a lot, but one thing you must not forget in all of this digital and online world we live in: we’re all human. People can see through brands that capitalize on social issues as a marketing ploy, according to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer. Your customers are real people, and you have to be sincere in your efforts. You’ve got to be aware of the current environment and respond appropriately.
On top of that, and with respect to everything that’s going on, always keep your customers’ needs top of mind. Do they need delivery options? Do they need in-store or curbside pickup? Think about what they really need from you as a business, and that will inform what marketing decisions you make now and, well, forever.
It’s time to pivot.