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Take your campaigns to deeper levels by disrupting the peace

December 24, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A controlled chaos mindset helps brands and smart marketers recognize the inherent biases that tend to guide research and execution.
  • The first pieces to get cut from budgets are the listening and planning portions of the planning process, which creates several problems for marketers.
  • Max Braun, associate director of experience planning at RAPP, gives five steps for shaking out the biases, gaining a more accurate perspective on the customer, and driving true innovation.

Controlled chaos. Is that the state of our union? Perhaps, minus the “controlled” part. But, seriously, this is not a political essay of any kind. It’s an assertion that the key to a more inclusive and innovative customer experience is embracing a controlled chaos mindset, which allows brands and smart marketers (such as yourself) the chance to recognize the inherent biases that tend to guide research and execution.

Business leaders are often asked to make incredible gains in a very short time. As a result, they seek to leverage efficiencies by preventing chaos and reducing the number of inputs in the planning process. They prefer to make smaller gains over a shorter span of time to demonstrate that they are competent leaders, which is an understandable defense mechanism.

Taking the time to understand the problem is critical to coming up with a strategy. Unfortunately, the first elements to get cut from budgets are usually the evaluation and listening portions of the planning process. Eliminating these portions results in several problems for marketers:

  • We begin to confuse a marketing goal with strategy, resulting in creative work that thinks only as hard as your wallet.
  • We open our planning process to only the quantitative and qualitative data that already exists within our organizations. This means that any bias already in the process and within the company will only deepen over time. If we use biased data to identify the problem, then it figures that biased data will inform the solution and reinforce the marginalization of disenfranchised customers.
  • Although these approaches may be easier to sell to the organization because they occur in a language that is familiar to brand and product managers, they don’t offer anything new to the outside world.

The overall result is lackluster innovation and short-sighted creative work. The better approach is to embrace a manageable level of chaos to shake out the biases, build a more accurate perspective on customers, and drive true innovation. Controlled chaos is just a well-organized process that manages a much broader array of clutter in the evaluation stage of any planning project. Rather than fixating on a single insight too early, or on a small segment of existing data, marketers should look at a much wider array of input and take bold actions to disrupt the market.

Good reasons aplenty

Injecting controlled chaos into the planning process results in plenty of benefits when it’s correctly managed and the appropriate amount of time is allocated to collecting and evaluating your research. By injecting more qualitative and quantitative data into your evaluation, you increase the chances that you uncover not only new but inclusive insights that consider the perspectives of a more diverse group, not just the “general market consumer.” The work that shows up to the market is more honest about the brand, product, or service, and your customers feel less like they’re being “sold” and more like they’re being “invited.”

There are good examples of this approach. One of my favorite recent examples is Apple’s “Behind the Mac” campaign. Apple seems to always get it right, but what makes these campaigns powerful is that it could have easily set up the Mac to take credit for making history on Vogue. Instead, Mac is simply in the background as a device that makes doing the work a bit easier. The real story is of Tyler Mitchell, the first Black photographer for Vogue’s cover, and Mac is only there to support his story.

Another great product experience shaped by controlled chaos is the app Bumble. It doesn’t just advertise with inclusivity; Bumble builds it into the end product and addresses gender and racial bias head-on. Whether you’re looking for your best friend, a casual date, or the love of your life, Bumble has created a one-of-a-kind user experience that makes it the second-most-used dating app in the U.S. (and catching up to Tinder fast) at more than 5 million monthly active users.

These products and campaigns wouldn’t work if leadership and marketers hadn’t drummed up a moderate level of chaos in the development stages. Two recent examples come to mind when thinking about the repercussions of streamlining the planning process and not taking the time to foster deeper insights.

The first is practically unknown. Facial-recognition software developers build face-identification algorithms that are widely used by world governments, municipalities, and law-enforcement agencies. But what happens when you include only white faces into the equation? Simple: The algorithm does not accurately detect anyone else’s faces. That embarrassing oversight ruins the customer experience. Striving for “order” introduces (and reinforces) biases in our data.

The second is more widely shared but is a pure example of what happens when you don’t empower your organization with representative leadership. Adidas has leveraged Black superstars in its marketing for decades, but due to its culture of excluding a diverse group of leaders in the decision-making and planning processes, the brand missed an important road sign. There’s a fine line between elevating the voices of people of color and appropriation. Even a well-intentioned strategy can fall apart without proper consideration.

Encouraging more upheaval in your campaigns

If your organizational thinking could use a little controlled chaos, here are five steps you can take to effectively mix things up:

1. Take ample time

You need to allow yourself a significant number of hours just to collect and evaluate data. Whatever time you think you need for getting and evaluating sufficient research, double — nay, triple — it. Too many people get so eager to solve the problem that they just jump into whatever data already exists, forgoing any additional insight that could be out there.

2. Diversify the data

Don’t just ingest more data; ingest more types of data. For example, don’t just look at how many leads come from one webpage. Instead, look at everything together, including how those leads got to the page in the first place. It might reveal a flaw in the way you’re capturing the data.

3. Consider all parties

Make it a point to bring the perspective of non-buyers into your planning process. It’s important to consider your base, but too often, we consider non-buyers “rejectors” when they might not be invited to the table to experience your brand in the first place. This could expose a bias you weren’t aware of by showing you a consistent trend in customers who avoid your brand. Always ask yourself “why” and speak up when you notice these discrepancies.

4. Embrace individuality

Limit categorization as much as possible. While it’s human nature and good data science to find and define patterns in a heap of customer data, too much categorization results in broad generalizations that may overlook important behaviors and perspectives. Rather, look at every possible need and motivation that a customer has and establish a range of possible outcomes.

5. Spread the power

Give decision-making abilities to a more diverse group of leaders. Too often, we think of diversity by just having people of color in the room. That’s wrong. We not only need diverse employees to be present in the planning process so we can consider their points of view, but we also need them to feel empowered to make the kinds of changes needed to drive insightful work. It’s not just about saying you’re an ally. It’s about actually taking the necessary steps to invest in change.

Max Braun, associate director of experience planning at marketing and advertising agency RAPP, is a strategist with experience leading passion brands like Slack, Google Cloud, and McDonald’s through award-winning experience transformations.

The post Take your campaigns to deeper levels by disrupting the peace appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How To Use Catalog Sales Campaigns On Facebook and Instagram

November 7, 2020 No Comments

Catalog sales campaigns help advertisers market their full product line on Facebook or Instagram. Follow these 4 steps to make the most of these campaigns.

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How to Best Leverage DSAs with Search Campaigns

November 4, 2020 No Comments

Learn the basics of Google Ads’ Dynamic Search Ads. Specifically, learn how to leverage them alongside traditional text ads.

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An Intro to Amazon Sponsored Display Ad Campaigns

October 22, 2020 No Comments

One eCommerce specialist gives a walkthrough of the audience and product targeting options available for Amazon advertisers who are testing display ads.

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Tips (based on data!) to Manage Amazon Campaigns During Turbulent Times

September 19, 2020 No Comments

During turbulent times, retailers should follow these tips to plan and manage advertising budgets on Amazon in a more targeted and successful manner.

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How To Transfer Google Campaigns to Microsoft Ads

September 7, 2020 No Comments

Microsoft Ads has a time-saving feature that imports Google Ads campaigns. One strategist shares his tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

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Five reasons why SEO should be prioritized over paid media campaigns

September 4, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Most marketers combine SEO and paid media campaigns, but the marketing budget between the two should not necessarily be split down the middle.
  • Paid media campaigns, which include PPC, social, and influencer campaigns, are a one-and-done expense, meaning the investment doesn’t build on itself.
  • SEO can take weeks or months to show results, but after the effort, it’s cost-effective and sustainable.
  • All in all, SEO should be prioritized if you’re focused on the longevity of your company’s marketing scheme.
  • Elevation Marketing’s Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services explains why SEO gives more bang for your buck.

US digital ad spending was expected to grow 19% to $ 129.34 billion by 2020, finally surpassing traditional advertising methods. According to eMarketer, this figure accounts for 54.2% of total ad spending in the country — and this isn’t a fluke. Digital marketing is effective, but there are multiple routes marketers can take. So, how do you know which?

SEO and paid media campaigns are two of the most common digital marketing strategies, and they’re often implemented together as a one-two punch. SEO is a more long-term play in which marketers will work to enhance a website’s SERP rankings, and the latter includes anything from paid social media ads to PPC campaigns. While paid media can get you thousands of impressions,  it may not always be worth the largest chunk of a marketing budget, especially if you’re thinking about the bigger picture.

The truth is that most online experiences (about 68% according to research) begin with a search engine, and that’s where SEO shines, despite the fact that 25% of marketers admitted to having a less than average understanding of organic traffic. A great SEO strategy won’t see immediate returns like PPC campaigns might, but it provides an effective strategy that is far more scalable and sustainable. 

For this reason, SEO should take priority overpaid media, especially when your marketing budget is tight, but ultimately both types of digital marketing strategies work best when used hand-in-hand.

1. SEO is cost-effective

The ROI of an SEO campaign is a bit harder to calculate than that of a paid campaign. If you’re paying for links or ad clicks or paying an influencer to create a sponsored post, you can easily see the real-time profits. SEO is a little bit different because it can take months to reap the benefits. Nonetheless, it’s still more cost-effective in the long run because once a comprehensive SEO strategy is correctly implemented, it’s set and tends to snowball. You only need to invest in maintenance and updates, rather than investing every single time you run a paid campaign. 

When it comes to search engines, SEO generally has a smaller CPA (cost per acquisition) than PPC. That’s not to say that SEO doesn’t require an initial investment. A great strategy requires a sharp, well-versed professional — which does come at a premium. Google also uses more than 200 different factors to rank websites and some of these factors are constantly evolving, so a long-term investment is a must to keep up with the ever-changing SEO landscape, it just doesn’t usually cost as much as consistently running paid advertising campaigns throughout the entirety of your company’s lifespan.

There are also multiple resources on the web that allow you to learn the basics of SEO on your own. This technical SEO checklist gives step-by-step instructions on how to perform on-page checks that will boost your search engine rankings. This is perfect for those who are just starting out and want to get some base-level SEO added to their site. 

2. SEO has longevity

You might get great results for things like paid search and digital display media, but the second the campaign ends, that success is over. For example, you can bid for a spot on the first page of Google (which can be very expensive depending on the keyword), but that disappears the second you stop paying for it. At the end of the day, paid media is artificially inflated growth.

There is some truth to the old adage that all good things take time, and SEO is a prime example. With a great strategy, you should see solid results by six months, and even more solid results by a year, but these results don’t just disappear the second you decide to divest and reallocate your marketing budget to something else. Once your website’s SEO is established, it’s established (i.e. when you’re in, you’re in). The rest is maintenance, like minding Google’s core updates and creating regular content, or it will trickle to a stopover time. Think of SEO as building a foundation for a house and paid media campaigns as furnishing the room.

3. SEO is sustainable

Paid media’s longevity problem makes it difficult for startups and smaller, newer businesses to maintain long term. While most brands invest a solid amount in paid campaigns from the beginning, it’s not exactly a sustainable strategy. Think of it this way: the average social media influencer charges between $ 75 to $ 3,000 per sponsored post — and it can go way beyond that. That’s just for one post that will get buried in a feed, whereas a business could invest the same amount in SEO content, and see the returns for months on end.

In short, SEO is a sustainable way to elevate your online presence and raise brand awareness. Your ROI from SEO will continue to climb long after your paid media efforts have peaked. Even organic social media marketing doesn’t perform the same way. For example, pages with more than 500,000 likes on Facebook have seen a dramatic decrease in reach, possibly to encourage companies to increase their ad spend.

4. Users prefer organic links

Flatly put, people prefer and trust organic links over paid ads. In fact, organic results can get 15 times the CTR of paid search results if you rank well on a high search volume keyword, and that’s because people just don’t trust advertisements. Consumers want results because they’re relevant, not because someone paid to be there.

A survey done by MarketingSherpa showed that 70% of the links users click on are organic, while only 25% are paid. This emphasizes the importance of having your site rank organically as users are far more likely to visit your site via an organic link.

Stat on organic vs paid media campaigns performance

Of course, backlinking is also a crucial part of any SEO strategy. Users may overwhelmingly favor organic content, but there’s a fair chance they won’t see it unless you’ve got a solid link building strategy that includes placements from trustworthy, high-quality, third party websites. Studies have shown that 91% of all pages don’t get organic traffic from Google, largely because they don’t have any backlinks. More than half of all website pages don’t even have one backlink when the more backlinks a page has, the higher it ranks on Google’s SERPs.

5. SEO is scalable

SEO is fully scalable, meaning you can adjust your campaigns as your company grows. In fact, many business owners first dive into the world of SEO by reading up and implementing their own basic strategy before they have the funds to bring in the professionals. The more you do, the better it’s going to work. 

Paid media doesn’t work in the same way. Sure, it can generate impressions and raise the brand, but ad blindness is an extremely real consequence. According to Forbes, Americans are inundated with 4,000 to 10,000 every single day, and it’s no secret that they start to filter them out eventually. 

Overall, a solid SEO strategy sets up a solid foundation for marketing success that can only be elevated through paid campaigns. The same can’t be said for the reverse.

Ryan Gould is Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing. He can be found on LinkedIn.

The post Five reasons why SEO should be prioritized over paid media campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How to use in-market audiences for better search campaigns

August 18, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Today, digital business is gaining ground fast, especially with the coronavirus pandemic pushing more business and marketing operations online.
  • In the virtual business space, it is all about each enterprise targeting the maximum interested audience as the center of its campaigns.
  • Indeed, audience targeting has become a common measure to enhance enterprise marketing campaigns.
  • Co-founder and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies shares all the tricks and tips to use in-market audiences for better search campaigns.

Audience targeting refers to establishing networks with audiences that are present in ad groups. Thereby, you can shout out to customers according to their personality, behavior, likes and dislikes, research and information, and previous liaisons with your business. So how does audience targeting bring positive results to come ad and marketing campaigns? Where does the in-market audience come into play?

Firstly, audience targeting maximizes the reach of your campaign: more people get redirected to your campaign link while surfing other webpages, applications, or content. So, how does the audience target exactly function? We will go into details of in-market audiences.

The mechanism of audience targeting

There are different kinds of campaigns for which audience targeting is applicable. For instance, display campaigns are personalized for groups of users with distinct likes, tastes, and personalities.

Moreover, Google allows you to choose from a vast assortment of fanbases, such that those belonging to the travel and tourism, global business, the sports world, and the others. To help in your effort, Google Ads curates your advertisement as per such groups and caters to their specific group-oriented interests. Keep in mind that the information used to select audience groups, like, page visit history, past Google searches can also enhance the targets and measures of your campaign effort.

How do you locate and address various types of audiences in your campaigns? Given below are some examples.

1. Display campaigns

  • Preferences: Deal with preferences, customized affinity, behavior-pattern, and interest-based targeting of users.
  • Demographic data: Extensive information with overarching implications on targeting
  • Life events: Come to the big occasions, come to the targeted campaigns
  • Individual in-market intent: Target users according to their latest buyer preferences
  • Remarketing: Shout out to your loyal customers and previous users
  • Customer resource management (CRM) factor: Use your detailed CRM information to address interested buyers
  • Other interested clients: Expand your horizons by branching out to new customer bases

2. Search campaigns

  • Affinity: Regular activities, patterns, and preferences of individual users are evaluated and targeted
  • Demographic information: Target users based on their individual social, economic, and health data
  • In-market traits: Gauge the specific buying intent and target clients accordingly
  • Remarketing: Renew your relationship with your loyal customer base
  • CRM utility: Use your CRM information solutions to reach out to customers
  • Related customers: Find and engage with new potential customers who display preferences identical to your existing customer base

3. Video campaigns

  • Affinity/curated affinity: Interact with users while catering to their strongest passions and preferences
  • Demographic data: Again, personal information regarding age, work, livelihood, etc. can be used to infer buying decisions
  • In-market behavior: Based on your campaign on the latest buying decisions of your users
  • Remarketing: Reach users that have already availed of your products in the past
  • CRM customers: Based on nuanced CRM information, reach out to your most active and keen audience
  • Related users: Again, branch out your customer base by attracting new ones with similar likes and interests

How to target your audience

What do you do after the buyer preferences, desires, behavior patterns, and reasons have been analyzed and integrated? In the next step, you need to classify your user base into specific groups, each of which will be targeted for unique marketing campaigns that cater to its needs. In turn, your promotional content and advertisements will vary from group to group. Time to pick, choose, and advertize. So, we will look at the different types of audiences and how to address them via your campaigns.

1. Affinity audience

An affinity audience is the easiest to rouse! By finding out their income, lifestyle, interests, and purchase goals, you can integrate and use such data to attract them to your products and services. These customers are more likely to showcase their preferences in the market.

All those who place ads on Google are allowed to address their affinity audiences through Gmail, video, display, and search efforts.

2. Custom affinity audience

This is more specific than an affinity audience, a custom affinity audience is synced to its preferred brand. If affinity audiences are floating users whose attention towards your products may falter at times, custom affinity audiences are anchored to your company. How are customer affinity audience groups evaluated? Given below are the salient factors:

  • Likes and habits, marked as crucial keyword phrases
  • Relevant website URLs, utilized to categorize interest groups
  • Novel and interesting locations, trends, and lifestyles that grab eyeballs
  • Sleek, smooth, and speedy applications that aid and abet affirmative customer decisions! In turn, all your advertisements will turn up on the smartphone devices of your app users

3. Major milestones/life events

How do you keep yourself in the good books of your customers? How do you encourage them to associate your brand with positive, happy emotions? For this purpose, you must gather certain data on your best audience: this includes major milestones like a degree, a job, or an award, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. Make your customers feel special on auspicious occasions. Wish them via YouTube notifications, Facebook videos, Gmail, and more. Because a little bit of daily joy goes a long way!

However, you want to ensure that your tone and messaging appeals to the audience without overdoing it.

Compared to various life achievements, occasions and events are less in number. Therefore, a campaign targeting major life events is bound to have limited outreach. Still, such events are likely to coincide with buying decisions, maybe even some binge shopping. Thus, the field becomes open for a couple celebrating their anniversary: from apparel, crockery, furniture, to packers and movers, smartphones, food, and unique gifts, every product stands a chance.

4. In-market audience

In-market audiences are either loyal customers who are delighted by your products or interested clients who have been checking your brand out on virtual media. You can create your in-market audience group from these customers and facilitate leads by targeting them in your marketing campaigns.

Simply put, in-market audiences are potential leads that have a high probability of conversion. Thus, by focusing your campaigns on such groups you can not only reach more interested customers but also maximize your subsequent sales!

5. Demographic data

Using thorough demographic information about your customers, you can address broad sections of people with similar or identical interests, such as high school students, homemakers, caregivers, and more.

6. Customer match

Why is customer match so helpful in relation to inspired campaigns? Because it slows you to deploy customer information (online as well as offline) to attract and retain customers across a wide range of virtual platforms. With such helpful data, customer match designs and presents the best ads to the most interested customers. The kind of advertisement depends on the customers’ preferences and decisions.

7. Other relevant audiences

Always look to broaden your horizon, as new customers await your amazing products! Other relevant audiences with similar or identical behavior or tastes (in relation to your industry, brand, or products) are the future of your brand, new customers waiting to be enticed. To this end, Google Ads deploying state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to create and modify similar audience lists.

It is common knowledge that the method of targeting audiences has heavily influenced the context in which pay-per-click (PPC) experts design their marketing efforts. It makes their efforts more nuanced and updated as per pre-existing and real-time data. Thus, they can zero in on plenty of potential customers who are uninitiated with regard to your brand.

How can you leverage in-market audiences for more enhanced and fruitful search campaigns? Given below are some effective ways in which you can approach this task.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

RLSA is the easiest method by which you can integrate your special audience with your current keyword strategy. Here, you must aim to attract customers who are already in your marketing list, who have already had a satisfying experience of product purchase and use and are likely to be back for more.

In turn, RLSA provides abundant research and analysis possibilities for those who want to make their products sell in standard marketing and sales platforms, both real and digital.

Using timely but standalone campaigns, you can deploy all the marketing and buzz-creating tools provided that you use them to curate your campaigns in line with the interests of broad customer groups.

Remarketing with Dynamic Search Ads (RDSA)

Just like RLSA, RDSA involves the merging of retargeting lists with a unique kind of advertisement: Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs). This enlivens the process of audience interaction and lead generation.

In a nutshell, DSAs expand the outreach of search efforts by including keywords that do not necessarily belong to the existing list of search keywords. From the content available in a given webpage, DSAs seek outstanding queries.

If you use RLSA and DSA in tandem, your search campaign will allow you to stay connected and consolidate relationships with users already on your in-marketing list and inputting keywords that turn out to be crucial but are absent from your keyword lists.

Omission of users

Just like selective inclusion, selective exclusion regarding PPC can also be beneficial to your marketing campaigns. How so?

Think about a client whom you have already engaged with once. For instance, a local business trying to attract new customers need users to only log their personal information once, perhaps in a form. Why should this business spend on trying to get the same clients to click on its ads? That amounts to overspending without a cost-effective plan.

Therefore, make it a habit to create concrete lists or groups of audiences according to their affinities and pet peeves. Once you have the informed lists in your hands, you can rest assured about including the same clients for repeated search/PPC campaigns. As a result, you can increase the possibility of conversion and reach out to more customers.

Other relevant audiences related to search campaigns

A positive attitude towards search campaigns always seeks to branch out, foray into new customer groups and spaces where they browse niche products and brand new services. To grab and hold their attention, you need to go off your customer lists and into uncharted waters.

Here, Google comes in handy as it revises your remarketing audience groups to create a refined list of customers with increasingly identical browsing patterns. With such crucial aid from the search engine, you get a readymade list of interest clients waiting for the experience only you can provide!

More often than not, these clients will be uninitiated to your brand and its amazing search campaigns. After they become part of your campaign lists, you can interact with them in the same manner as your previous search campaigns.

In-market audience

Last but definitely not the least, in-market audiences are those customers who you do not directly target but still obliquely address in your search campaigns. Clearly, catering to their likes wants, and behavior is a step that will require innovations from current and future marketers.

Found on Google Display Network, in-market audiences are created by Google algorithms mainly depending on buyer behavior. In turn, you can use such lists to enhance and strengthen your search campaigns. This audience group behaves like a lot of relevant or similar audiences and generally displays high-quality latest, and dominant consumer trends across particular markets.

In summary

This article presents a comprehensive account of how to make the best use of in-market audiences for successful search campaigns. Indeed, there are plenty of approaches through which you can utilize your audience lists in your search campaigns.

Most of them don’t even require much exertion or time on your part. The one golden rule? Always prioritize your re-marketing lists, so that you can update and use them frequently to reach out to your best clients.

If you devote a little bit of your time and effort to these lists, they will pay great dividends to come search campaigns. Therefore, you must not only update your lists but also modify them according to criteria such as client preferences, general behavior, and buyer trends, to name a few. As a result, you can use the clients include in this list and target audiences to be included or excluded, depending on your plans. All the best!

Harikrishna Kundariya Co-founder and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies, a mobile app development company. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and chatbot. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

The post How to use in-market audiences for better search campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Why You Should Layer Affinity Audiences on your Google Ads Search Campaigns

August 12, 2020 No Comments

Affinity audiences are now available for Google search campaigns. This post discusses the reasons to add them and best practices when doing so.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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How audience insights can improve your campaign’s bottom line

July 12, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Cross-reference what businesses think their target audience is versus their current reality through Google Analytics .
  • Create mock-up personas that you can target your campaigns towards. 
  • Identify key outlets and niches for where your audience consumes media beyond the narrow focus of the business.
  • Blueclaw’s Online PR Campaign Manager shines a light on how audience insights can catalyze your campaign results for good.

When we build marketing campaigns, we use a number of metrics to measure success, from the extent of coverage and links to the shift in keyword rankings in the SERPs. However, this ultimately glosses over the real purpose of any campaign – how it improves the bottom line.  

Again, this can be interpreted in a myriad of ways from CTR to sales. In this case, we’re going to focus on how getting the campaign in front of the right audience is an important piece of the puzzle in determining success. 

1. Identifying your audience

When identifying your audience, there should be a two-pronged approach. Firstly, there is the audience, or customer, as identified by the brand. As in any business, the brand will have spotted an opportunity in the market and target their products towards that audience. However, this does not necessarily marry with whom their audience ends up being online.  

This can be due to the fact that clientele has changed since the business’s inception while the product has not, or it can be that the strategy is not targeted enough. So the best way to identify the audience is to look at the available data to create a mockup of who you should be marketing towards.  

The Google Analytics way

One way to do this is, of course, through Google Analytics. Through GA you can go to audiences and filter through to create a picture of where the user is coming from. Their age, gender, and location can all help to identify the nature of your campaign, media targets, etc., as well as helping your client adapt their own messaging and better target their core customers. 

The manual way 

Another way to identify the audience is a little more manual. Does the client have email newsletters or other databases of leads? Can you sort through to help build some mock-up personas that can help tailor your own marketing efforts? Use all that is available (and that your client is willing to share) in order to ideate and build campaigns that will lead to those conversions.  

2. Targeting that audience 

We’d all love for content to go viral. But sometimes, no matter the number of links generated, you still have missed a trick. A campaign always needs to make sense for a brand’s messaging as well as have an element of making it newsworthy. How else would you get links? 

And while we answer many of these questions, we may not always take a very focused approach to outreach in the hope of hitting those link/coverage KPIs. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on the quantity versus the quality of those links.  

Example one: Coverage choices

For instance, a link in a trades magazine could mean exponentially more to a client than if they were to get massive coverage (without a link) in a national newspaper. Why? Because at that particular moment in time, your campaign has attracted the attention of the right audience and is more likely to generate a lead or revenue than that one piece of coverage in a national paper.  

Example two: Hazy messaging

Or as another example, in the past year, I’ve worked on a couple of campaigns that went viral and gained links internationally. Amazing, right? Yes, but how did it actually improve the bottom line? Well, in the case of one campaign. Not at all. The reasons for that were two-fold, the messaging was a little hazy for the target audience and the target market didn’t really even cover the story. While the international coverage wasn’t anything to sniff at with the likes of GQ, The Daily Express, and more covering the story, it failed to get traction in the US.  

The other campaign, Film Franchise Showdown, the messaging was better because it targeted the correct audience. For an iGaming client, the audience will invariably skew male and younger, but not too young. The piece would appeal to that audience in other areas where they consume their news. With coverage in not only national newspapers but also places of entertainment like Comicbook.com and Screen Rant, we’ve still managed to get to them even if the location metric is still something we could improve on.  

In both of these examples, the biggest takeaway was the value of targeting the right locations versus the value of wide appeal. If your message falls upon deaf ears and doesn’t improve visibility and sessions, then you’re obviously missing a trick. 

3. Finding where your audience lives

We’ve mentioned some metrics that you can use to target and identify the audience, but that misses one more element. Where does that audience live? What sort of media do they consume? It’s important to attribute characteristics to the audience you have in mind? 

In building new campaigns, you’re not only thinking about creating something new and newsworthy, but also wondering if it appeals to the customer. Selling software to a CEO or decision-maker of a business is much different from selling software to the average individual looking for something of personal use. Where they consume their news will also differ and you want to make sure that you can reach the right customer, not just any customer.  

So rather than a blanket approach to an outreach where anyone who covers tech is included, fine-tune that media-list. And even before you get to that point, what about the actual crux of the idea? Can you be more light-hearted to appeal to a wide audience? If you’re going after the average Joe to download your app, what are some of his interests that are adjacent to your product but not on the nose? Can you explore other niches and angles within that idea? Are these other niches areas where your customer can still be found? 

Using tools like Facebook Audiences, BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, and Majestic, you can further identify if your niches and target media is valid and even find more targets to add to your list. You can refine the demographics of your audience to make sure they get your message. You can’t attract customers if they don’t see your client, right? Get your client in front of their customers and you’ll see the uplift soon enough.  

What’s next

Once you’ve highlighted the needs of your audience and where you can find them, you’ll be able to develop content marketing strategies that not only appeal to them but that will also deliver the conversions necessary for the business. Most importantly, you will have the data not only back up the strategy, but also a metric to follow moving forward to see the impact of your messaging.  

Natalia Sketchley is an Online PR Campaign Manager at Blueclaw, and is responsible for managing and executing digital PR campaigns for ecommerce, tech, travel, and igaming brands.

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