Digital Marketing Insights with Yichen Liu
For businesses, marketing is a crucial, powerful, and necessary tool for connecting to your audience at the right place and the right time. As technology continues to advance, it makes sense that marketing increasingly becomes more digital. Amongst the many benefits of connecting to consumers online, digital marketing is a measurable form of marketing that’s cost-efficient and allows you to target ideal customers online and through social media — which is why it has become so popular.
Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in digital marketing is not only crucial to keeping your business relevant, but it’ll pull your company ahead of your competitors. (Caution: Some of your competitors might already be advertising, so right now might be a great time to look into it). I got to chat with Movetic’s executive director of digital marketing, Yichen Liu, to find out all about Google ads, social media trends, Omni-Channel, and more.
I have heard about Omni-Channel – Can you tell me what it means and why companies should use it?
Traditionally, Omni-Channel refers to the concept of establishing cohesive touch points for a user. For example, Bank of America leverages Omni-Channel to deliver a consistent banking experience to all its customers. Whether at a teller, ATM, mobile phone or desktop computer, BOA customers can use the same ATM card/pin number or username/password to deposit checks, withdraw money, and check their balance.
How we approach Omni-Channel is very similar. Throughout the execution of a marketing campaign, we ensure that all branding, look/feel, voice, and messaging are consistent regardless of medium or channel. The power of a consistent message, whether you see it on Google, Facebook, YouTube, magazine, or billboard, is that it reinforces the message as a strong position.
When we’re running a campaign, we make the entire campaign as consistent as possible across every single channel. (media, graphics, messaging, etc.) For Dew Tour, as an example, we’re running this campaign for their event in Breckenridge, Colorado and we’re running it across tons of different mediums, you know. Across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google – both search and display – and we want to make sure that, no matter where the audience is, they’re seeing a cohesive message, look and feel. It reinforces the brand and the message so I think that’s the point of Omni-Channel.
And that’s just an event. It applies to e-commerce, too. One example that’s not Omni-Channel is when I was on this e-commerce site. In a span of 10-minutes, I saw three deals from them: one was a 15% off, one was a 10% off, and one was, I think 5% off. It was really inconsistent and it confuses people. So, whenever we run campaigns, we try to make it as homogenous as possible (within campaigns) because that is when we see the best results for our clients.
Oh, ok! That totally makes sense. So, going from there, what is the AIDA model?
Great question! It’s over 100 years old and a psychologist, who was really into sales, founded it. It started as a sales model but went really to become one of the most notable marketing models to date. The AIDA model is an advertising and sales framework and stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. As a framework, it’s a funnel that describes a consumer’s journey and helps us understand where a brand or product/service stands, depending on what stage the consumer is at. Then, we pair the medium and type of advertisements that are best suited for that stage.
One example is when companies launch a new product – like a really cool soft drink or piece of apparel – and they will start right off saying “Buy this! Buy, buy, buy!” when what they should really be doing is reinforcing the “why?’s” Such as “Why should someone buy this? What makes this different?” A big mistake that companies often make is investing heavily into direct response advertising (action stage) at the beginning of a product life cycle. If you can focus on the “why,” more people will be interested from the beginning.
Right! How do you measure effectiveness with your campaigns?
That’s a loaded question and I really like this one. This is something that I think we do that is really different from what a lot of other agencies do. The TLDR, a little Reddit joke, which stands for “Too Long, Didn’t Read”, (laughs) is that each campaign is different.
Typically, before a campaign even starts, a lot of agencies will focus on traditional metrics like, “What’s your CPC?” – which is cost per click. Or “what’s your click-through rate?” Which is clicks ÷ impressions. It’s all these little, tiny metrics that are all specific to the campaign but they’re really important.
At Movetic, we try to ask these high-level marketing questions – such as market share, growth rate, operating margins, customer lifetime value, and revenue goals. After we ask these questions, it brings the conversation to a strategic partner level versus a typical agency/client interaction. We’re not only here to help their brand but also to help out with their high-level business goals. Once we have a strong grasp of the company profile, we set both top of the funnel awareness goals and bottom line profitability goals.
Got it. What are you seeing as the latest trends with Social Media? (Facebook, Insta, etc.)
We’re reaching this point of critical mass where social media is getting really saturated and competitive. You don’t have that many people joining because everyone is already on there. More people are using digital media in 2017 than ever before.
On average adults spend over 5 hours a day on digital devices and a big fraction of that is on social media. As more time is spent on social media, more and more companies will be competing for those eyeballs. On the other end, users are creating more and more content. We have the best cameras and equipment in our pockets and purses. We’re getting to a point where companies are almost competing against consumers. If companies want to compete at all and fit into the feed, they have to at least parallel – if not exceed – the content that people are putting out there.
From an advertising point of view, advertisers should understand that social media is two-way communication. If your content is bad or if your messaging doesn’t hit, then you don’t stand a chance. The best brands have budgets for investing in content and those are the companies that should take advantage of having the money to create something incredible. Privacy is also something that we are dealing with.
Since Apple launched the latest Safari update, a new feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) which prevents cookies from staying longer than 1 day on the browser. This makes tracking extremely difficult. Industry leaders such as Google and Facebook have already voiced their opinions. It’s a big deal because Safari owns over 13% of the market.
Any new trends or insight for running ads on Google?
Well, PPC stands for “pay per click”, which is a general broad category and a general way to pay for advertising. It used to be CPM, which is cost per thousand impressions. So, that’s how advertising used to be is “How much does it cost to serve a thousand eyeballs?”
Earlier this year, Google completely redid the interface for AdWords for the first time and they introduced some new features – household income targeting and better keyword data. You can target by households now. I can run a campaign for people who are searching for…. let’s say they’re searching for Dew Tour. I can run the same campaign by household income. So, maybe if they make $100,000 or more, I’ll run an ad for a VIP ticket – versus a regular ad – because of their income.
Also, the other thing that’s really interesting is there’s a new way that we (Movetic) have been running campaigns by device. So, if somebody comes up on desktop, they would see the ad differently than if they were to pull it up on mobile. We keep the tone and voice on theme of the campaign, but we gear the CTA and messaging to the medium. So that tactic has worked pretty really well.
That’s insane! And pretty creepy! Anyway – How can B2B (business-to-business) companies take advantage of digital marketing?
B2B companies are the same as B2C (business-to-consumer), just with longer closing cycles and more cooks in the kitchen that you have to please. But, I try not to separate them too much. It’s basically selling to a bunch of people versus selling to just one. This does need to be taken into consideration as the customer usually needs more information and takes longer to close. One significant advantage of B2B companies is that they usually have a higher average order value and profit margins.
I think it’s insane how you can search for something on Google and it’ll pop up as an ad on Facebook or Instagram the next day. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy when I verbally talk about a product to someone and the same thing happens…
There is so much data that’s collected on us. Someone actually has done a test where they put an iPhone next to a Spanish-speaking radio – when nobody in the household spoke Spanish – and the next day, they had ads in Spanish on their social media.
Wow, that’s crazy. What kind / size of brands should be taking advantage of PPC (pays-per-click) or social advertising?
I’d say that digital advertising is for everyone… But, it’s not. Smaller or up-and-coming companies with smaller ad budgets should focus their dollars on content and advertise only if the campaigns are specific or geo-targeted enough. Content lasts forever on your website or social channels and an ad is only going to be there for as long as you’re paying for it. So in the beginning, you can make your dollars last a lot longer by creating really powerful content. Companies with over $10M revenue or more with high margins are in the best position because you can actually compete. If you don’t have the budget and you’re up against these big companies, you’re just going to get priced out of it.
E-commerce direct to consumer companies are also well positioned.
What kind of creative ads are performing the best right now?
Hands down video. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), audiences are almost “10x more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content than blogs or related social posts”. For Dew Tour, our video campaigns are consistently beating out other formats in engagement but other ad formats such as canvas ads do better driving clicks. It depends what the goal is. If the goal is just for awareness then videos are the way to go but if the goal is more so for clicks, we’ve tried canvas ads – which is new on Facebook – those are really good for clicks. Or just a single image ad is also really good for clicks. It just depends.
Another type are people. Have you seen the South Park episode where a girl – literally – turns into an advertisement? *In South Park voice* “Does she know she’s an ad?”
I haven’t! I need to get into South Park because I feel like everyone is always quoting it and I’m usually clueless. I should get on that.
[laughs] So, towards the end of the episode, a girl from their school finds out she’s an advertisement and it’s making fun of influencer marketing because people are literally starting to turn into ads these days. You’ll see it a lot on Instagram celebrities with millions of followers and you’ll see all the paid ads and #ad posts. Well, influencer marketing is seeing humongous growth and the lines between content and endorsement grow blurry similar to what we saw with product placement and the movies.
It’s true! It’s crazy how people make a living off of being an Instagram “celebrity.” And how you’ll see a product in movies where the label is perfectly placed toward the camera. What do you think the future of creative ads is?
Where I’d like to see it go is on our terms. One of the reasons I was so into digital was because I started with search – like, Google search. I really like the idea of search because it’s the first time in advertising where you’re not getting something shoved down your throat or you aren’t getting ads thrown in your face.
When you’re searching something and you have a genuine interest or an intention, you’re looking for something. If you’re looking for cold medicine, you have an intention to stop being sick. If I’m searching for something, it’s the only time it’s appropriate for companies to show you their ads because they’re giving you more options to help you with your wants or your needs. Verses when you’re on Facebook and you’re scrolling the feed and *boom* here come all these intrusive ads. I hope advertising turns like that and more companies make it more relevant to you and more at the time that you actually need it. Nobody likes to receive a random ad when it doesn’t apply to you.
Totally. And I’m also super skeptical when I see those random ads on my feed if they don’t apply to me. Do you see a significant shift from print to digital marketing right now?
Total digital ad dollars eclipsed print a long time ago. Which is even more surprising is that digital ad dollars actually surpassed television last year – a big milestone in itself. It’s crazy that it happened in 3 or 4 years when television took 20-30 years to get to the level it’s at. And mobile is rising even faster and mobile is just a subset of digital.
However, with all the consolidation to digital I find myself enjoying analog so much more. Since we’re all staring at screens all the time, it’s nice to go to the old nostalgic analog things that make me really happy. There’s something romantic about shooting film or listening to a record player. Which is why the right print piece if done appropriately, could make a really great impression and stand out. It’s a really good opportunity because it isn’t as competitive as it used to be, meaning it won’t cost as much.
Yup, totally with you on that. I love shooting on my film cameras or listening to vinyl but I even take advantage of writing in my notebook versus taking notes on my laptop. There’s a totally different feeling with analog that makes it feel a lot more special and rare.
Thank you, Yichen for filling us in on the latest trends of digital marketing. If you have any further questions about digital marketing, feel free to give us a shout via our contact page!