Display advertising has been a stalwart channel for marketers for some years and with the proliferation of new digital channels, has tended to seem a bit behind the times in terms of technology advancements.
But now display marketing has made the technological leap by targeting customers in real-time and providing them with relevant ads based on their interests. So, why exactly should display marketing still be allocated a proportion of the marketing budget?
1. The online consumer
Marketing spend is increasingly shifting from offline to online as more and more people access content on smartphones, tablets and computers. Display is benefiting greatly from this shift as more and more premium inventory is becoming available as the number of websites and mobile sites multiply. This explains the rapid growth in the market with online display advertising set to make up about two-thirds of the total online advertising market this year.
2. Real-time success
Display marketing seemed behind the times because it was stuck in the manual phase; a phase where you needed several people and multiple parties to display a single banner ad. Now there is the option of automation, saving the marketer’s time and resources, as well as serving ads that are more rewarding for both marketer and consumer.
Programmatic buying has brought automation to the world of display advertising and allows ads to be served to consumers on a real-time basis, automatically serving the most relevant marketing to the most relevant consumer based on their interests. For example, if a woman is looking at jeans on the House of Fraser website, a House of Fraser ad promoting a sale in women’s jeans could be shown on other fashion websites that the woman was browsing on.
This trumps the process that display marketers had been using. True, previous models allowed marketers to target people with ads that they might be interested in but this didn’t always allow for the personal touch. Using the same example, as above, former approaches would ensure a House of Fraser ad was shown to the woman who was looking at the House of Fraser website, but it might show her an ad for a sale on menswear, losing its conversion potential, simply because it didn’t make use of the personal data available.
Programmatic buying is certainly the hot topic of digital marketing right now and with the likes of Google and Facebook making use of the technology, its adoption within the industry is set to soar.
3. Creativity in communication
We’ve established that the ads can be shown to a well-segmented audience but how are they engaging in themselves? Well, display is no longer restricted to the banner formats you see running along your computer screens. It has evolved to encompass interactive elements or rich media including music, slideshows and video across multiple formats such as mobile and tablet. Instead of simple pop-ups, a retail catalogue or a music video can be incorporated into a banner ad, creating much more engaging content for consumers and again, massively increasing click-through rates.
So, where before the creative was restricted to the parameters of a small rectangle at the bottom of the screen, now the web is the display marketer’s oyster, with multiple possibilities for creative content plus a chance to integrate display advertising with other platforms, particularly social media.
Display marketing is now at the forefront of cutting-edge technology that increases consumer engagement and marketers are sure to profit from integrating display into their campaigns. Marketers will find themselves in a win-win situation since the technology has allowed display marketing to become a much more cost-effective, time-efficient and transparent process to both advertiser and publisher, and it can serve more relevant ads to interested consumers — the dream solution for any marketer.
Gustav Mellentin is the CEO of Adform.
Facebook is the slightly less refined older brother of Twitter. They share a few of the same ideas, but with Facebook you can delve deeper into the conversation with your contemporaries and clients.
Here are some tips for using Facebook as a business tool:
When we received a particularly vile piece of feedback via our feedback button, I have to admit that my smile did fall for a moment… well, about the time it takes to eat a chocolate brownie actually.
And, then I saw a tweet from a lawyer who is doing great things in social media, saying how he had received some vicious feedback in a LinkedIn discussion.
It put me in mind of Seth Godin’s excellent advice on dealing with trolls in which he says:
Lots of things about work are hard. Dealing with trolls is one of them. Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down. Here’s the thing(s):
1. Trolls will always be trolling
2. Critics rarely create
3. They live in a tiny echo chamber, ignored by everyone except the trolled and the other trolls
4. Professionals (that’s you) get paid to ignore them. It’s part of your job.
“Can’t please everyone,” isn’t just an aphorism, it’s the secret of being remarkable.
It is, of course, important to distinguish between trolls and genuine and constructive feedback. We do, occasionally, get negative feedback (I know, I admit it… we’re human). Usually this is really useful, and gratefully received. We can always improve — and that is exactly why we have a feedback button on our website. But, when it is vicious and unhelpful you need to find the strength to hit delete and carry on.
The thing is, if you put yourself up to scrutiny — which is exactly what you’re doing by having a website or posting a blog — then you will at some point encounter nasty people. Even bullies grow up and get jobs. If you engage heavily in social media, then I’m afraid to say that you’ll find them.
If you’re not expecting it, then an ugly side-swipe can really knock your confidence. Surround yourself with a group of people who you trust, and whose opinion you value. Get them to regularly feedback on whether you’re doing good stuff. And, if you are, then hold your head up high and brace yourself… at some point a mean-spirited individual will try to burst your bubble. It is amazing how much nastier people feel able to be through a remote connection, and even more cruel when hiding behind the mask of anonymity.
When it does happen, tick it off as a social media right of passage and congratulate yourself at having generated an emotional reaction in someone you don’t even know — that’s an achievement.
One or two clients have reported to me recently that some of their competitors are achieving good rankings on Google using sites with keyword-rich domains, like “motoring-widgets.com”. URLs like this have been favoured for some time by Bing, and by its predecessor MSN. But more recently they also seem to be delivering good results on Google for some keywords, though by no means for all.
As a result, there seems to be a bit of a rush to buy up and populate such domains. Which is perfectly understandable given the pressure to achieve high rankings on Google, and the benefits of doing so. However, I predict that this latest Google gold rush will end in tears, and much time and effort will be wasted for a little short-term gain.
In the past, site owners have used all sorts of tricks to get sites to the top of Google without actually providing the quality content that Google craves. And Google has been equally proactive in blocking them. The meta keywords tag used to be very popular, until spammers started using it to cheat the search results. Today, Google completely ignores it. The search engine also acted to reduce the effect of so-called Google bombing – driving sites to the top of a search with numerous keyword-rich links. Domain spam is a trick of the same order, and it can be only a matter of time before the big G acts against it.
My daughter and son-in-law recently spent a few days in Naples. They were amazed by the sheer number of illegal street traders operating in the city. They all seemed to have spotters watching out for passing police, and as soon as the police appeared, the traders melted into the side streets.
Spammers are online traders of the same order — always having to move on when the search police turn up and change the game. These people invest huge efforts in a quick sell which works for a few months, after which all their investment goes down the pan, and they have to start again. No doubt some people enjoy this kind of life, living by their wits and constantly trying something new. But if you want to build an online business that delivers a dependable living, then invest in developing a site that has bona fide, worthwhile content, and relationships that lead to good quality links from good quality and reliable sites.
Google has made two big announcements recently that could have a huge impact for online businesses. An algorithm change could promote better customer service with the rumoured possibility that positive customer ratings may result in a more favourable search page ranking on Google.
The second announcement is a new partnership with Twitter to display the social networking site’s paid advertisements within Google’s own search results. Here’s what these changes could mean for you.
As with all things Google-related, the search engine kingpin is being decidedly ambiguous on the subject and although they have publicly stated that positive merchant ratings could be taken into consideration when deciding on rankings, they have yet to actually admit they are definitely using ratings as a ranking factor.
But Google does appear to be closely monitoring customer ratings and feedback and there is a high likelihood that the Google algorithm has been updated to include merchant rating when populating SERPs.
One online store publicly revealed that they had previously been manipulating customer feedback to improve search engine rankings. Basically, the website owner fuelled negative customer response and it is alleged that the sudden tirade of comments and feedback led to the website gaining greater online exposure and an increase in its search engine rankings.
The new algorithm may have changed that that. Whether these tactics did improve the retailer’s ranking is debatable. But Google took notice and admitted to an algorithm alteration. Now the website in question appears to have slipped down the rankings since the algorithm change.
Google has suggested that they were concerned about beneficial ranking results from negative feedback and that any recent algorithm alterations were intended to provide a better customer experience. However, there is some speculation that Google is now monitoring positive merchant ratings as well using various sources such as: actual website feedback, consumer websites, and Google Checkout.
This is a positive move if true. If the Google algorithm now includes a feature that monitors and rewards websites receiving beneficial consumer feedback it is great news for any online business providing quality service. If a reputable online business can see an improvement in their search engine rankings due to positive consumer feedback, this will provide a real incentive for businesses to increase their level of consumer service and satisfaction.
Social networking behemoth Twitter has finally bowed under pressure to monetise the site. It has been on the cards for a while now and Twitter has responded and decided to fill its cash coffers by means of paid advertising.
Promoted tweets are similar to Google Adwords. Promoted tweets will appear at the top of Twitter searches and already some major companies have signed up to appear on Twitters search pages. There is also an opportunity to purchase slots in Twitter’s Trending Tweets feature. At the moment, this new feature is being trialled in the US (it was rolled out in April last year) and has already attracted some major players. The plan is to offer this monetised feature to the UK soon (possibly early this year but no actual date has been confirmed).
Twitter comments already feature regularly within Google’s search engine pages. The recent emphasis on providing relevant, up-to-date, real-time content within search results has led to a massive increase in the amount of blog, forum, and social media posts featuring in top positions in SERPs.
Google has realised the potential of Twitter’s Promoted Tweets monetisation and both market leaders have joined forced to create an advertising golden team. Google will now feature Promoted Tweets from Twitter search results on its own search result pages. The format will be very similar to how it already displays its own Adwords listings, except the Promoted Tweets will be clearly labelled as Ads by Twitter.
The two companies will share the revenue earned form these paid promotions.
Any business with an effective online presence campaign should already be using the power of Twitter for marketing and consumer interaction. Many businesses are running successful Adwords campaigns and have seen the success they can achieve. Now, not only can a business generate extra interest from Twitter users, any Promoted Tweets they have in place stand a great chance of appearing on the first page of Google for their specific keyword(s). It is almost a two for one offer.
Twitter has already had talks with many interested companies working the UK market and some of the more prominent businesses showing real interest include: Sky, Vodaphone, Sony, O2, Ladbrokes, LoveFilm, and Capital One.
Google introduces new features at fairly regular intervals and keeping on top of these changes can be crucial to maintaining a positive online presence for businesses. These new developments could be very important for many businesses looking to increase their target audience and online visibility.
Any online merchant should count customer satisfaction as their number one goal. But with the possibility that Google is monitoring and potentially using these consumer ratings to determine search page rank, positive customer opinion is now more important than ever.
Using social media as an influential marketing tool is nothing new, but while Facebook and other social networking giants already provide a platform for paid advertising, Twitter has never offered this prime opportunity. But with Promoted Tweets they have finally offered marketers a much-welcomed advertising platform and it should be available to UK business very soon. With the news that Promoted Tweets will also be featured in Google search results, it is a very exciting prospect indeed.
Daniel Offer is a partner in the Facebook messaging application Chit Chat for Facebook
Social media has been big news for a while now. You can’t read a trade mag, newspaper, business blog or pretty much anything else connected with business without tripping over some evangelical social media bod ushering you onto the social media train (and I do realise I’m one of them). Yes social media is one of the most effective communications tools we’ve had at our disposal for a long time. Yes it’s a huge shift in how we engage with people. And yes, it can deliver great results. However, it’s not necessarily right for every business.
There are a number of considerations to think about before you jump aboard. Here’s a checklist that will help you to understand a little more about what’s involved and whether it’s right for you.
Are your customers, clients and the people you want to connect with using social media? Are your competitors active in this space? Have you searched to see if people are already having conversations about your business, your industry niche or even your brand? If the answer is yes, then it could be a very useful tool for you.
There are some great free tools you can use to find what conversations are happening now. Social Mention is a tool that searches for brand names or keywords mentioned across the web. Twitter search is a nifty little tool that offers a variety of ways to search for brand names or keywords on Twitter. Google Blog Search does as the name suggests, let’s you search across the blogosphere. And of course, don’t forget good old Google Alerts, which allows you to set up alerts that are emailed to you when a keyword is mentioned.
Do you have someone that can dedicate on-going time to social media? Are you able to restructure a member of staff’s job description to allow for it? Can you commit to this time and not take this person away from their social media activities when it gets busy? Remember, you can’t open the door to social media and close it when workloads increase.
Social media is a marathon not a sprint, so don’t expect results overnight. Are you prepared to invest the time with little output at the beginning? Are you prepared to put in the groundwork even when you won’t see the return on your investment straight away? Do you have the patience for it?
Do you have a quality, fully optimised website you can direct people to from your social media profiles or blog? Make sure your house is in order so that it will be easier to integrate social media with your other activities.
Do you know, and understand, what you want to achieve with social media? Are you clear what it can achieve and what it can’t? Have you tied this into your business plan? You need to be certain of your goals before you start, otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time and effort on something that isn’t targeted to your specific needs.