Mobile Marketing is a Must-Have :
The march toward mobile continues as steadily as ever, and now that the holiday shopping stats are in it is a valuable time to look over how businesses advertised and how shoppers shopped. In a report that documented the largest marketers’ spending habits (and by large meaning those who spent $1 million+ annually for search, display, mobile and social marketing), one can better understand platform performance for mobile.
“Mobile certainly isn’t going anywhere,” says Phil Thow, President of digital marketing agency, SEM Media Group. “It’s widely reported that mobile now drives over 50 percent of all social activity. Mobile has surpassed desktop in internet usage, and together with tablets, mobile accounts for 60 percent of all time customer’s spend online.”
Similarly reported is that the mobile market is also a younger market, with 70 percent of adults 18 to 24 viewing retail content on a mobile device.
“As we study the heavy-hitters in digital advertising,” says Phil Thow, “we see that they spent nearly half of their search budget aimed at mobile marketing, even though mobile conversions only made up 30 percent of all search conversions.” Advertisers, by this metric, obviously believe in the power of mobile marketing even if it tends to driver fewer conversions than desktop searches.
“What’s noteworthy about mobile searches is their ability to serve a customer during an in-store visit both at the top and the bottom of a conversion funnel,” explains Phil Thow, whose company, SEM Media Group, specializes in mobile marketing.
At the top-end of a conversion funnel, a customer can use a mobile device to search for a specific brand of item while in store if he/she isn’t finding it on the shelf. For a mid-level conversation, the customer may search for brand/product reviews while holding the product in-hand. At the bottom end of conversions is when a customer uses a mobile device for price comparisons.
Where mobile marketing is showing gains is with click-through rates. Click-through rates are consistently highest on mobile devices, which means the ads are engaging and capturing the customer’s attention. The lower conversion rate, though, is likely a holdover that customers are more willing to complete a purchase in the comfort and safety of their home rather than on their mobile device.
“The desktop may still be at the top of the pile for conversions,” says Phil Thow, “What we’re seeing here at SEM Media Group is what all the reports have shown, and that is that mobile marketing does a better job of getting the customer’s attention and driving them to a website or landing page. So if one wants to get in front of consumers, they will have to strongly consider investing heavily in mobile marketing.”
Should a Brand Outsource its Content Marketing? :
According to a recent finding, senior executives from over 50 global brands, including Coca-Cola, Nestle, GE, and Adobe, said they wanted to create their content marketing in-house. In fact, 100 percent of these brands said as much.
But when asked what agency the brand would select when they did outsource content marketing, the overwhelming answer was “NOT a social media agency,” as they were “too trendy.”
“To be a relevant, successful PR agency today one’s company has to be universal and universally creative,” says SEM Media Group President, Phil Thow. “It’s not enough to be really good at one or two types of creative content. Brands are looking to hire a few different ‘boutique’ agencies to cover all their bases. Just like SEM Media Group, a competitive agency has to understand all forms of content creation and delivery.”
When a brand is looking to outsource its content creation, there are some important criteria it should consider.
“The first is for the brand to know exactly why they want to hire an outside agency like SEM Media Group,” says Phil Thow. “Is it because they lack the right talent in-house? Or do they need help with strategy development?”
By knowing why the brand needs the expertise of a PR agency, it will help them identify the best shortlist of candidates.
“Strategy comes before all else,” says Phil Thow of the second criteria. “Strategy and tactics are two different things entirely. At SEM Media Group, we always insist a brand or company have a strategy in place before we start discussing the tactics we’ll use to follow the strategy. For instance, saying a company needs a social media presence is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.”
Equally important to agencies like SEM Media Group is knowing where to end, not just where to begin. “Any good strategy should include success criteria and key performance indicators,” says Phil Thow. “Knowing how success will be measured and marked is considered. That doesn’t meaning getting X number of new fans on Facebook, but increasing sales leads, or generating a shorter sales cycle. It’s not always about the metrics.”
If a business is ready to outsource content marketing, it must spend some in-house time to know exactly what it’s looking to gain from outside expertise. A brand shouldn’t turn to an agency to tell them what they need. They should have that in mind already and then ask the agency how they can help them achieve their content marketing goals.
More Money Being Spent on Paid Search :
The top-spending 500 web merchants in the U.S. with the largest paid search budgets sank even more money into paid search digital marketing. In fact, the average increase in spending for all 500 merchants was an 18 percent growth in 2014 over the previous year, with Amazon coming in with the largest overall increase.
“Search engine marketing is still the digital advertising form that soars above the rest,” says Phil Thow, President of SEM Media Group. “And it doesn’t seem to be budging off its perch.”
Just considering Amazon, which itself bids on 3 million keywords, the company increased its spending on paid search by 56 percent in 2014.
SEM Media group has been tracking these reports on digital marketing and paid search to be able to adjust their online advertising strategies for their clients. “We pore over reports like these to not only know what successful companies are doing, but why,” says Phil Thow. “I consider these reports as the proverbial canary in the mineshaft.”
The results have shown substantial increases in e-commerce and web traffic. SEM Media Group noted that by honing paid search advertising, from bidding on keywords to developing a stronger landing page, conversion rates on some high-dollar products more than doubled for some of the top e-retailers.
The equation is proving to show that spending more on paid search is also yielding more business. One of the newer Google search campaigns that retailers are using is Google’s product listing ads (PLAs), which was introduced in 2012. Many searches for specific products are now yielding a horizontal row of product images above the first page of query results. With these “hyper results,” Google ads can show more dynamic pay-per-click ads with more specific keywords and descriptions.
“When retailers use PLAs to their fullest advantage,” says SEM Media Group President, Phil Thow, “they are finding that their customers are much more motivated to make a purchase from these highly visual ads.”
There is a lot of insightful information SEM Media Group pulls from Internet Retailer researchers who pull together all aspects of spending, marketing, and budgeting from the most successful, and often largest, retailers on the web.
“Any business that does business online should take a long, serious look at their digital marketing budget,” says Phil Thow. “The dollars spent on paid search can literally make or break any e-commerce website.”