Nearly every industry is at a crossroads on how best to get their products and services in front of the right buyers. Whether it’s the waning of print and radio advertising effectiveness or the fact that online banner ads are becoming obsolete, it seems no matter which way you turn, these “traditional” forms of advertising just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Zenith/Publicis estimates that spending on digital advertising display ads, those splashy strips on desktop and mobile devices, will shrink by 3.1% this year and stay flat, as dollars shift to social media and online video.
By next year, advertisers will spend a projected $32.6 billion on social media ads, edging out display. Online video will almost catch up to display by 2018.
- Google tells us that here in the U.S. the average click rate for an online banner ad is about .07%. That means for every 10,000 ads we run, we get 7 clicks. This is beyond alarming.
- But we also know that about half of those clicks are accidental. So that gets us down to 3.5 real clicks per 10,000 ads served.
- Then we have to account for fraud. It’s difficult to know for sure how much click fraud there is but there’s responsible research that says it’s 90%. However, most knowledgeable people agree that it’s probably no less than 35%. Now we’re down to an effective click rate of about .02%.
So how likely is it that the two measly legitimate clicks we’re getting are even prospects?
The days of digital advertising hip-shooting are over.
The sheer volume of solutions that continue to be foisted upon business leaders is staggering, a good portion of which provide little to no value for their business.
It’s the perfect storm:
- Business leaders are bombarded with digital marketing/advertising “solutions.”
- For one reason or another, leaders don’t know for sure what’s working and not working for them.
- Decisions are made to try something new without reviewing their data and/or best practices.
- A few months later, the leader looks at expenses and blows everything out (again without analysis of the data).
- The cycle starts all over again.
It’s time to stop the insanity and look at the data.
I recently ended a client engagement early. It wasn’t possible for me to deliver anymore value to the relationship. What started out as an earnest try at adopting social media and digital marketing, ended up as only a wish.
We wholeheartedly worked with this company to achieve its goals. I quickly learned that we diverged on how to get there. My acumen is to evaluate marketing success through evidentiary data and proven strategies. Their approach to analysis and decisions was based on conjecture and opinion.
After a considerable amount of thought about ending the relationship, I remained unable to understand their unbending belief that spamming people with unwanted messages somehow earned them the right to be trusted. Thousands of dollars were spent each month blasting ads with no real, quantifiable results.
I also failed to understand the purpose of their ignoring opinions and experience outside of their own. In the end, it’s a common tale. One that many social media strategists like me see on a regular basis.
The greatest advantage of digital marketing/advertising is that it generates lots of very valuable data. This data helps us make excellent media and marketing decisions. But from what I’m witnessing, we have lots of data and many business leaders are making astoundingly poor decisions.
Never bring an opinion to a data fight.
In the car business (where I came from), we readily depended on our gut instincts. We were delivering $50K-100K vehicles to people on nothing more than a signature. The data informed our decisions but often times it was our gut that told us the real story.
Gut instinct is what we’ve come to rely on but today’s software solutions expertly manage inventory and a whole lot of data on potential buyers. Remaining closed-minded about what data can tell you in your marketing is a dangerous place to be.
As the saying goes, “The highest paid person’s opinion always wins…unless you have data.”
For far too long, the boss’ opinion has been the law of the land. But more often than not, the boss’ opinion differs greatly from the data available on the effectiveness of digital marketing/advertising.
I challenge you, as a business leader, or someone who works for one, to take the time to review your data. And I’m not just talking about Google Analytics because it’s far to easy to become comfortably numb. Dive deeper, it’s worth it.
The data says that social media marketing and advertising (which includes website content marketing) is THE emerging winner here. It’s good news for Facebook, which claims a bulk of social dollars and a growing video share. It’s less comforting for Google, which dominates display ads — although Google still has YouTube and Zenith sees search ads continuing to grow, albeit at a slower clip than social and video.
Data is your best friend in social media.
Every step of the way you have information to guide you:
- Content published on your Facebook page offers reach and engagement data so you can identify what’s resonating with fans…and make informed decisions on what content to promote (boost).
- Facebook offers extensive data on target customers so you can craft the right message to attract them.
- Once ads are live, Ads Manager gives you real time results on ad relevancy, so you can tweak as needed.
- Facebook pixel tracks website visitors and conversions so you can assess ROI.
At the end of the day, you want to feel like your marketing/advertising efforts are money well spent. Leaning on opinions without clear analysis of your data can make you go broke. Take all data into consideration and I guarantee you’ll see stronger results.