National or Local, Websites Are the New Marketing Hub

June 29, 2015 By - 0 Comments

Both national and local merchant advertisers clearly understand that their audiences have moved online and are searching for their locations on the go, on mobile, and tablets. Recently released Thrive Analytics data reveals consumers are accessing local information increasingly on the go with seventeen percent in the car and thirty-five percent on the go. BIA/Kelsey goes a step further reporting, ninety-seven percent of consumers use internet when researching local products/services.

Gone are the days when websites were online brochures. The modern website has become the hub of all online marketing. No matter the campaign element, all roads lead back to the website and custom landing pages. As the hub of all online marketing, a company’s website needs to perform many more functions in order to convert visitors. From the basics of clear navigation, to more sophisticated ecommerce and scheduling applications, the website is an integral part of campaign planning.

In a BrightLocal survey

“thirty-six percent of respondents said that a clear and smart website gives a local business more credibility.”

Consumers now conduct more of their research online before contacting a business. Digital advertising, listings and local search all drive customers to your website’s doorstep, but often this is where the ball gets dropped. Frequent miscues include not sending prospects to the exact page they were seeking, poor optimization for mobile viewing, not developing a campaign specific landing page that compliments the online campaign, not having campaign measurement in place to attribute traffic, and not offering ways to find specific local outlets.

As content is frequently shared on social media sites, it naturally draws audiences back to the main website. Integrating social media links and content on websites has become the norm for local merchant marketing efforts. Having a website that allows easy posting and housing of blogs, video or written content extends its value, improves SEO, and offers more ways to be found in searches by topic and by location. But, what good is content if the main website does not provide additional opportunities to educate, engage and ultimately convert prospects into customers?

Leading prospects to your company’s online front door then delivering a poor experience is of no value. Your website needs to work harder and learn from the campaigns and site traffic to continually understand what improves your conversion rates on the site and through other online campaigns. DevHub creates and manages highly converting sites, landing pages and dealer locators that work harder to support site visits as well as improving marketing campaign performance.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Sr. Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub.

Agencies and Franchisors Seeking the Local Path to Purchase

June 24, 2015 By - 0 Comments

Retailers, franchise organizations and multi-location brand advertisers continue to struggle with the multitude of online marketing options, keeping their location data accurate, and understanding what online media elements drive their customers from looking online to purchasing in their stores. A recent survey from Streetfight and Thrive Analytics showed the key issues impacting the use of customer and marketing data include, “not enough knowledge or expertise, not enough resources, or not enough time.” The complication stems from advertisers employing separate strategies and platforms for buying media, creating digital media, and measurement approaches to understanding what specifically drove consumers to contact or purchase from the brand.

While online media buying platforms offer advantages such as efficient buying, access to a network of sites and inventory, coupon tracking or offer tracking, the data points media platforms focus on are the awareness and engagement points, but not the last mile, which is the actual purchase. This gap in the purchase path becomes wider when the marketing goal is to drive local traffic and purchases at specific locations.

Franchise and multi-location advertisers often have common local marketing goals which involve multiple campaign elements. On a branding level the goal is reach and frequency, while locally-focused campaigns have very different objectives. Some of the key local marketing objectives of franchisors and multi-location brands include:

  • Being found locally – while brand recognition is important, being found in local searches and in a company location finder is of greater importance to drive calls, inquires and foot traffic
  • Brand and message consistency – Maintaining the brand is important to the corporation, but there needs to be elements on each franchise site with a local flavor that resonates with consumers and appears in local searches
  • Targeted offers – individual locations often require a variety of offer messages based on seasonality, local needs and opportunity. Flexibility to test new messages allows campaign managers to see what performs better and adjust
  • Responsive ads, websites and landing pages – as mobile search and the use of tablets increases, sites and pages need to be visible on multiple screens and offer users a good browsing experience
  • Content updating – to maintain a local feel, franchisees and dealers need to have easy ways to add and update content like events, offers and local news. Keeping this content on message, targeted to specific locations and coordinated is the key

All of these marketing elements generate valuable data which can help inform future marketing messages, website updates and tee up greater insights on conversion metrics by location and category. Feeding this level of data into programmatic media buying strategies as well as having insights into messages that convert, offers that perform, and seasonal response rates all drive key business objectives.

Advertising agencies that serve multi-location brands and franchise organizations benefit from creating complete path to purchase solutions. While the investment and focus has been on the “pipes” that deliver messages to “the right customers” at “the right time,” there is a definite need to bundle in services that learn and deliver “the right messages” and “the best offers” that convert. Utilizing conversion and location-based data ensures both ads and messages have the ability to convert consumers in local markets. Coordinating offers and content by location, city or region provides agencies and franchise organizations a more coordinated and successful lead generation approach.

DevHub has developed a seamless approach for agencies and franchise organizations marrying existing programmatic media buying expertise with an online presence platform that learns from multiple campaigns, delivers sites and landing pages that convert, ensures sites get found by location and gathers data to improve campaign efficiencies. A partnership with DevHub allows agencies and franchisors to extend their online campaign capabilities, with a single platform to coordinate messages and offers all in one place.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Sr. Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub.

Programmatic Media Buying Only Offers Brands Half The Value

June 17, 2015 By - 0 Comments

The push for adopting programmatic and Real Time Bidding (RTB) continues to move forward at an incredible pace. Magna Global reports

“programmatic buying of digital media inventory will reach $7.4 billion this year in the US, of which $3.9bn will be transacted through Real-Time Bidding (RTB), and another $3.5bn will be transacted through other programmatic/automated platforms (including social media).”

Brands, agencies and media companies are quickly adopting programmatic and RTB platforms to take advantage of the opportunity while publishers are quickly developing inventory to fulfill the targeted media requests being transacted. According to AdapTV, in 2014

“51 percent of publishers made premium inventory available through programmatic platforms.”

The current issues being raised about the growth of programmatic and RTB media purchases centers on viewabilty, whether it is static display or video advertising units. While being more efficient in reaching an audience is important, the real value lies in what takes place after the ad is viewed. Purchasing a view by the brands ideal audience at a more competitive rate is only half the value of the effort. Converting views into actions provides the rest of the real value of the effort. With the availability of data, a complete view of engagement to purchase is what is being demanded by brands, agencies and franchise organizations.

Currently many online ads are measured in click through rates or video viewing time (viewability) which focuses primarily on old forms of online measurement and campaign success. According to xAd and Neilsen,

“a more effective way of measuring online media value looks at Secondary-Action Rates (SAR), which reflects the percentage of secondary, highly-engaged actions like calls, directions and Store Visitation Lift (SVL).”

The methods of media buying won’t provide insights into Secondary-Action Rates without additional campaign components which can determine the “what” and “where” of the purchase path.

Within a branding campaign, the goal is reach, numbers of impressions and ad recall. While these measurements address media buying efficiencies, they lack deeper insights into how the placed ads were reacted to in context to what secondary actions were taken and just as important, where the action(s) took place. For franchise organizations and brands who rely on calls, appointments and store traffic, being able to link ad views to the actions taken and specific stores that benefitted is the new focus. By joining together programmatic and RTB media campaigns with customized websites, landing pages and enhanced listings, brand managers and franchise owners can utilize localization as an effective means of determining campaign ROI. The movement of programmatic to local is already happening with an estimated 4.7 percent of media buys being attributed to local, according to Borrell Associates. Reviewing placements, conversion rates for advertising messages, calls to action and specific promotional offers can be valuable in informing future campaigns combining programmatic media buying with effective conversion tactics.

Programmatic will continue to grow, but its future success remains with tying it to longer range brand and franchise sales objectives on a local level. The more programmatic can be tied to meaningful ways of driving calls and traffic to specific locations, the more value brands and franchise organizations will place in its methods. DevHub has developed several high converting campaign extensions media buyers and brand managers can utilize to better inform their media buying process and deliver key secondary actions at the local level. Contact us to see how we can help improve campaign ROI and provide a greater understanding of the path to purchase.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Senior Industry Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub

The Yin and Yang of Creativity and Ad Technology

June 4, 2015 By - 8 Comments

Advertising agencies have always made use of technology to support creative messages on behalf of its clients. However, the blistering pace of new media coming onto the market, the need for more immediate message development and deployment, and the pace of digital adoption has created a rift between fast developing ad technology and the creative development process of advertising agencies.

Over the last 20 years, advertising agency income “per unit of work has fallen 40%,” according to agency consultant and advisor Michael Farmer. Another impact to agency revenues are brands going direct to ad technology companies to better manage the quickly changing digital media world. This need for digital speed, however, often leaves behind the creativity required to make messages relevant, noticed, on target, brand appropriate and drive specific calls to action.

The current need for data control and analysis has also given ad technology companies access to brand CMOs. The key justification for bringing tech media functions in-house is to exercise greater campaign control and reduce costs, particularly in the areas of media planning and buying, social media monitoring and data analysis. Scaling back billable hours and media fees reduces agency billing and fees for service creating significant margin squeeze. The need for creating reoccurring revenue streams and adopting quicker ways of executing on time intensive tasks all point to the utilization of technology.

While there are a myriad of digital solutions agencies can utilize, core digital campaigns focus on responsive websites, promotional landing pages, digital display (static and video), and store locator sites to direct traffic to local franchise or brand partner locations to drive specific calls to action. Combining the creativity of the agency and the ability of a tech media platform to quickly launch and update brand and local sites, mobile landing pages and display ad units, provides agencies a critical product set to offer brands. Technology platforms now allow campaigns to be launched or updated in days rather than weeks. Saving time and resources allows the agency to protect and often increase its margins. Utilizing a technology platform also creates a new reoccurring revenue stream for hosting and managing the brand and local franchise sites and distributing display advertising and listing updates while enabling quicker testing and data analysis.

The key is seeking out platform partners who can support creative executions by speeding production, local campaign updates, distribution and campaign feedback. Technology can’t develop creativity, but it can speed it to market and analyze what drives conversions and leads to inform future messaging and executions. Advertising creativity and ad technology are certainly more powerful together than in competition. Call it the Yin and the Yang or the parts being more powerful as a whole. Call it what you will, we at DevHub just see it as smart business.

About the author:  Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Senior Industry Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub

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