The digital landscape is changing constantly. We’d like to think it’s changing now, more than ever, but new things are coming up with greater speed every day. I’m always excited to see changes that shake things up. I’m excited whenever I see new marketing concepts, metrics, channels, new targetings, and new tools to show people more relevant ads. But sometimes we forget that we don’t need shiny new concepts, metrics, channels, targetings, and tools to do a good job. And sometimes, mixing the old with the new could be your next big thing.
I have listed 6 things that made me stop and rethink how I approach marketing. Some topics are fresh, while some are old but often overlooked, because they are so obvious.
1. Understand business
You need to do your homework – whether you’re a CMO, someone working in the marketing department within a company, or working in a marketing agency. You need to have a genuine understanding of the business and the competition. What counts is a strategic understanding of how the business runs and of the metrics that matter the most to a specific business, and how you can create marketing activities that best fit this purpose. Seems logical, doesn’t it? You expect everyone involved in your marketing process to know this. But do they? When was the last time you discussed your company’s business with your marketing team and aligned their activities with your vision? If it took you more than 2 seconds to figure out the answer, it’s been too long.
2. Brand awareness is cool, ROI is cooler.
Can you think of a really awesome ad campaign lately? One that was not made for a really large/international company? It’s because “really cool and appealing” campaigns don’t always bring enough ROI to justify the investment. Businesses have also learned that it is no longer just about having an over-the-top campaign. Of course, such campaigns are still a must. But it is more important to bring value to the customer and demonstrate impact – and all of that can be done by strategically positioning yourself on the customer’s path and by simply being there when they need you. Marketing campaigns are made for different stages in a customer’s buying cycle and some campaigns will not have a direct impact on sales, but you should find a way to measure their bottom-line impact.
My question for you is: Do you have an effective way/appropriate metrics to measure the impact of every marketing campaign? If I ask you to drop one activity because it is not bringing enough value – would you know which activity to drop?
3. Combine marketing and sales data
If you’re absolutely sure you’re doing this regularly and successfully, just skip this section. But if there is a shadow of doubt, let me help you with a few questions to get you thinking:
- Are you analyzing all the data you’re collecting? No? Why collect it then?
- When was the last time you did market research? The market is changing really fast and you need to stay on top of things.
- How can you be sure you’re getting the best and most relevant traffic to your website? Have you ever pushed your marketing team to explain why they’re targeting a certain audience, channels and demographics?
- Is your marketing team talking to your sales team to better understand your customer?
4. Measure. Analyze. Compare.
It’s up to you to decide which tools you are going to use. Since each tool is different, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with a few tools to see which works best for you. You should get to know the tool’s capabilities and values, and understand the discrepancies when comparing data from other tools.
Another thing to consider is to use more than one tool. Yes, it’s great to have all the data in one place. But since each tool has its limitations and reports different results, you might want to analyze things from different viewpoints. Having more tools at hand can help you do two things: identify discrepancies between tools and isolate the variable data, and determine the most accurate metric to use moving forward.
5. Good traffic, better traffic
Are you noticing an increase in traffic on your website? High-volume traffic can be achieved with different marketing activities. But you need to make sure that the source of traffic is relevant to you and that the users coming from that source are performing the desired actions on the website.
What if traffic is going up, but users are not behaving as we have anticipated? There are several reasons why this could be happening. It might have something to do with your website or user flow. The ad message is not consistent with the landing page message and users might not be getting what they were promised in the ad. Or it might be because you’re getting a lot of bot traffic to your website. You need to analyze the traffic to understand what needs to be changed. When analyzing and evaluating traffic, always consider the following:
- Source of traffic;
- Bounce rate by source;
- New vs. returning users by source;
- Session duration;
- Number of pages viewed in one session;
- Number of triggered events or achieved goals from users.
6. Non-viewable ad impressions
What is a non-viewable impression anyway? A non-viewable impression means that less than 50% (or 30% for large display ads) of the ad’s area was displayed for at least 1 second in the case of display ads, or for at least 2 seconds in the case of video ads. It can help you understand how often your ad appeared where people could see it. Don’t forget: even if the ad is in a viewable position, it does not mean this impression is actually seen. It only means that this ad has a chance to be seen. Read more on viewable CTR, measurable cost and non-viewable distribution here.
In fact, in an average display ad campaign, almost half of the ads are shown in a non-viewable position, unless specifically set to show only in viewable positions. Ads that have a high impression rate but fewer clicks get a lower ad relevance and that could result in higher cost per click. Considering non-viewable impressions and updating your ad settings could be a game changer for you.