Digital advertising continues to play an increasingly important role in the day-to-day marketing efforts of businesses, with global e-commerce expected to become a $4.5 trillion market by 2021. Unfortunately, the industry has become more and more unresponsive to traditional marketing efforts, which is putting pressure on brands to pivot their tactics.
Facebook announced in March that it would limit audience targeting for housing, employment and credit ads, effectively phasing out previously used categories such as age, gender and zip code. This update is just one of many implemented in recent years across major digital advertising platforms in an effort to curb discriminatory practices, protect consumer privacy and deliver relevant content to users. From evolving algorithms to uprooting ad ranking systems, the landscape is changing on a daily basis and pushing companies to reevaluate their marketing tactics. Brands around the world are asking a singular question: how can advertisers stay ahead of the game and rise to the challenges posed by the very platforms they rely upon?
The answer to this enigma lies within adapting to the changes – not trying to fight them. Here are a few ways that you can break through your digital marketing challenges and create new opportunities for your brand.
Define Your Target Audience
Digital advertising offers a variety of platforms and mediums through which you can communicate with your key audience – but that doesn’t mean each one is the right fit for your business goals. Every brand has a unique story to tell, but it’s crucial to discover who wants to hear that story and how they want to hear it. A high-end real estate group is going to have a very different clientele than a local coffee shop, and thus needs to customize its digital advertising approach to that audience’s behavior. This is especially true for the B2B space, as more specialized professional services firms see LinkedIn playing a greater role in lead generation efforts, which is very different than the Facebook- and Instagram-dominated B2C market. Taking the time to research your audience and cater content to their specific interests can allow you to reach your target more easily and make the most of your digital advertising resources.
Incorporate Video Content
Video content has taken over the digital marketing landscape, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Nearly 75 million Americans watch videos online daily, with platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram serving as hubs where people and brands share content at breakneck speeds. Not only is video content driving audience awareness, but it’s also impacting their behavior. 64% of consumers say that watching a video has influenced a purchase in the last month, evidenced by the fact that product videos can increase sales by as much as 144%. Find opportunities to incorporate video content into your brand’s social media calendars to help reach new audiences and stir engagement that carries tangible ROI behind it.
Invest in Influencer Marketing
What if every Instagram post you shared was worth $1 million? That concept is a reality for Kylie Jenner, who tops the list of highest paid celebrities in influencer marketing. While securing a promoted post from Kylie or Beyoncé isn’t feasible for every brand, influencer marketing is definitely a tactic worth exploring. The influencer market was valued at $1 billion last year and is expected to double by the end of 2019. Why? Because consumers find these posts more authentic and do not readily register them as ads. Start small with your strategy by pinpointing local influencers who resonate with your target audience. Positioning your own team members as influencers and thought leaders is another great way to tap into new networks by utilizing their industry experience and connections.
Go Beyond Social Media
A common misconception is that “digital” and “social media” are interchangeable, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Digital marketing strategies go beyond the major social media platforms and entail a wide array of tactics such as email marketing, website and the coup de grâce – search engine optimization (SEO). 93% of online experiences begin on a search engine, with Google leading the pack and holding 76% of total search engine market shares. Every brand needs a comprehensive SEO strategy that speaks to both its audience and industry. Optimizing website copy and digital ads is crucial to outpacing competitors and ensuring your brand succeeds in a sea of search results.
While platform and policy updates may appear as hindrances to marketing efforts online, brands should see these changes as opportunities – not obstacles. Consider these tactics the next time you encounter a digital roadblock to help get your advertising back on track.