Once upstarts, digital media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter have become mainstream. Savvy marketers have developed playbooks of best practices, and they iterate rapidly as the platforms evolve.
At Percolate’s Transition 2016 conference, Karl Meinhardt, vice president of social and digital marketing at Albertsons, and I discussed the ways new advertising opportunities are pushing the limits of advertising. Here are three trends we see among smart marketers in as we look to 2017:
- Moving from vanity metrics to return on investment: You say your latest campaign got 7 million impressions and broke records for engagement? So what? People may Like the hell out of your Facebook presence, but if it’s not boosting sales, then it’s not working for you. This isn’t a phenomenon confined to social media. Way back in 1996, Nissan ran an ad featuring a toy soldier falling from the jaws of a dinosaur into a tiny sports car, all to the strains of Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me.” People loved it. It was voted the best ad of 1996. There was just one problem: While the ad was wowing critics, sales actually fell. Smart marketers know this and focus on one metric above all others: ROI.
- Connecting online and offline: Some of the hottest startups in recent years have bridged the virtual with the actual–think Uber, which makes rides appear out of thin air with a few swipes of your smartphone, or Tinder, which does something similar for dating singles. There’s a good reason for this: Most of life still occurs beyond the periphery of the smartphone or laptop screen. Since some 94 percent of purchases still occur offline, according to eMarketer, ecommerce alone doesn’t indicate the success of your campaigns. In a recent campaign run by a luxury retailer, for instance, 67 percent of in-store sales came within a day of seeing an online ad. Connecting offline sales to online ad exposure is essential to determine whether or not a campaign actually worked. Now that it’s possible to do that, why wouldn’t you?
- Using data to inform business strategy: You’ve already heard a ton about data–data this, data that. That’s because advertisers used to have little visibility into their audiences, so they defined potential consumers using broad demographic data, and then launched “spray and pray” approaches to hit everyone who might possibly become a customer someday. Now we can use data to reach the people who are most likely to buy the product or service we’re advertising. For instance, a Fortune 500 financial-services brand began 2014 with a direct-response campaign. Fusing its customer-relationship-management data with media platforms, it went on to merge first- and third-party data, to better understand its customers and enhance campaigns to reach more of the right people. This year, the brand is using insights gleaned from its ad operations and learning agendas on digital media platforms to inform its global marketing strategy.
The best marketers view paid social, mobile and video platforms as a foundation to drive performance, closed-loop marketing and unique insights–which make all of your marketing smarter.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.