[Marketing] Should you use Paid Digital Marketing?

Is Paid Media Marketing right for your organisation?

Your online business likely to already make use of different ‘organic’ marketing techniques such as listing with search engines, word of mouth or referral, alternatively they could be ‘Paid’ – where you’re paying a third party to advertise on your behalf (normally based on views/impressions, click-throughs/interaction or the completion of a task/conversion to goal). Paid Marketing should certainly be considered as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. 

So should you use Paid Digital Marketing?

The question as always is deeper than that but it can often be answered from a few top-level questions
  1. Is your website or digital presence brand new – or recently completely overhauled where SEO might be affected? If your website or digital presence is brand new then it will take a while for your organic traffic to reach a point where it can hold it’s own. Using Paid Search or Paid Social you can jump-start this assuming you have margin and drive traffic towards your website.
  2. Do you already have a list of target keywords and audience as part of SEO work – If you do when searching these do you find your competitors have paid ads? With Google as an example for Paid Search – Google now layers up to 4 paid search ads at the top of any search result which means if you’re ranking organically at number one but your competitor is the above you on ads then they will be seen first and most likely interacted with first. This can happen on keywords for your service, products and I’ve seen it quite often for brand name bidding as well – Customers searching directly for your brand may still see a paid search ad for the competition first.
  3. Are you selling products?
    1. Firstly you could make use of Googles Product Feed/Shopping feature.
    2. Secondly – are you selling products at a competitive rate? I’ve known some companies to have their products listed higher online just to show that they exist but not to attract a new customer. Unless you’re products and services are competitively priced – or hold additional clear value then you won’t win against competitors and you’ll be throwing money away. If Some of your products are and some aren’t then it’s okay just to advertise that those are and then
    3. Do your products have a high enough mark-up that some of the profit could be spent against the original marketing? Return on Investment (ROI) is going to be at the centre of your business for any product or service you sell and the same is true with advertising. If there isn’t enough mark-up on the product to cover any marketing then chances are you can’t market it. Product pricing doesn’t always have to be a race to the bottom. The few exceptions here are if you’re selling low-cost items that couldn’t be marketed individually but profit occurs when selling bundles of many.
  4. What’s your demographic are they internet users between the ages of 18 and 80? These days you’d struggle to find a first world demographic that doesn’t have access to the internet, isn’t using Google, Bing, or one of the many social media services. So as long as you identify your demographic is a confident online buyer, or online browser and the physical in-store buyer then you should seriously consider the use of paid digital marketing.
  5. Do you have the cash and the time to manage any Paid Search/Social campaign strategy you have (or do you have even more cash to pay someone else to manage it for you)? Managing a Paid Search or Social strategy and campaigns takes time. The time that you’re unlikely (depending on the size of your business) to be able to spare this daily, let alone the time to review entire months worth of data and come up with a strategy.On the other hand as a small company picking up a dedicated staff member full or part-time – or purchasing services from a marketing agency can be expensive – They’re likely to charge either a fixed fee per month (£200-500), a variable fee based on the amount of ad-spend you make (Often around 10% – So if you spend £1000 on ads then the agency would take £100 – This is often the case on much larger companies) or they may agree to a profit-sharing agreement where they provide the service for free but expect 2-3% (if not more) on the turnover/profit of any spend that came from the marketing campaign.As briefly mentioned you’ll also need to have the cash in the first place to be able to pay for the campaign in the first place – Costs for advertising can be quite big for a small business. For a small business, you could easily find yourself paying up-to £1,000 in direct ad spend alone and for the larger side of SMEs easily up to £10,000 a month. You’ll only spend what you set as a reasonable limit and you’ll be able to understand what the turn is – you should always keep an eye on your budget as a carefully budgeted and maintained campaign can continue to drive profit while one set high or too low and walked away from will cost you (in both money and sales). Sometimes you need to also need to commit 3-6 months to a paid marketing strategy that includes paid search or social. Even with the best strategy and research you often won’t get it right on day one, week one or even month one. This is why it’s important to be able to keep on the campaign and make adjustments unless you’re incredibly lucky it’s unlikely that the first month of your paid marketing is going to be your strongest.
If you’re answering yes to a lot of these or certainly identify with them then yes digital paid marketing is for you and you should involve it in your digital strategy.

What is Paid digital media marketing?

Just a basic overview – Obviously there is a lot to discuss for each!

Pay Per Click (PPC – Could also be Pay Per Impression, Conversion etc).

You have your basic Pay Per Click (PPC) normally as part of a ‘Paid Search’ strategy, where you’re paying to be ‘promoted’ as part of Google or Bings search results (Or another third party – they are generally referred to as ‘Publishers’) based upon a ‘bid’ for keywords and terms and you pay Google/Bing (or the Publisher) for every time your search result (or basic advert) is displayed or clicked on.

Display Ads (Search Engine, Social, or On-site)

Display ads are seen more as a graphical way of displaying ads (vs the basic (even when meta rich) text ads shown as part of a Google or Bing search results page.) When you think of the graphical animation banners, columns or even interactive ads that you might see on a website or as part of your Facebook feed these are Display Ads – They follow the same principle as a basic PPC ad where again an Advertiser pays on a per view (impression), per click or even on a conversion (where a set goal is met) to a publisher (Such as a Facebook). Sometimes there is a third partner involved called a ‘content creator’ – This is often referred to as a referral network in this relationship the Advertiser pays the Publisher on an agreed basis (Per Click, Per Million impressions etc) and provides them with ad artwork, text etc. The Publisher then takes on a network of content creators (Bloggers, General websites etc) and these websites then display the ad on their website. The Publisher then pays a share of the reward/payment from the Advertiser to the Content Creators while keeping the remainder – A great example of this is the Good Adsense. When someone is creating content and adding ads to it to generate income it is referred to as ‘monetised content’.

Retargeting Ads

Retargeted ads are displaying ads to a viewer based upon their previous internet activity (where it has been tracked). By knowing what the viewer has seen, how they may have interacted with your website previously or other sites (such as search engines) It means that you can target dynamic ads (where the content changes based upon what they’re searching e.g. different product names, links, images etc) to visitors who you know are interested in the product or service and just one step away from becoming customers. Think about whenever you go to Amazon and look at that new TV you want and then for weeks when you’re browsing any other website that all the ads seem to be for that exact TV (or potentially just any similar TV!).

The Power of Targeted Marketing.

While it’s true on Google Search ads (and bing) that you can limit down who your ad displays to based upon keywords and phrases (including negative keywords or phrases to ensure it’s not shown), it can also limit down who it shows to based upon their demographic, location, gender and other general factors (Like your interests, and where you are in live events, looking to get married, just bought a home etc). If you’re on Android and you’ve allowed it then Google will even take the GPS position of your phone and the shops you visit as indicators of your interests. If you’re logged into a Google Account at the moment then head here and see what Google knows about you. These are the factors it offers its advertisers to be able to narrow down their ads.

Social Media Targeting

Now Widen this to social media ads and marketing and suddenly you can not only target someone based upon the kind of content they post, they share, their location, their interests (which they all freely share of course) and most importantly, their friends. This means that you can target The age range, the interests etc if they’ve already viewed your service/product and then show an add to their friends as well.  The power of social media marketing amazes me beyond belief with the amount of data targeting available to you. I say this as someone who has a fair interest and knowledge in data protection as well – You could using targeted political ads win an election with social media marketing (tell each highly targeted demographic and their friends exactly what they want to hear) – and many think that this already happened.

Social Media Influencers

The final thing to mention is the social media influencers. People or companies that have large followings on social media networks (Like Twitter, Instagram or even Gaming Networks like Twitch) where that person is paid to mention or review a particular product or service favourably. They normally provide their followers with a link to follow or coupon that is tracked to see the performance. Social Media Influencers is rather a new market in the grand scheme but very hard to get started in. According to Business Insider, the influencer market will be worth $15 Billion by 2022

Still unsure?

Unsure if Paid Digital Marketing is for you, or unsure about how to start?  Send me a message and we’re more than happy to chat through the options, point you in the right direction or give you an array of recommendations of third-party agencies who also know what they’re talking about.