Premiere Creative’s 30,000 Foot View of Digital Marketing
While marketing has existed for as long as a human enterprise, digital marketing services only began appearing in the last 25 years. Archaeologists have found political campaign advertisements and commercial messages in the ruins of Pompeii, Greece, and throughout Arabia. For as long as people have been trading goods and services, businesses have used targeted messaging to drive awareness, foot traffic, sales, votes, and interest. In 60,000 BCE, that meant Krug drawing on cave walls to arouse interest in his mammoth skinning services. In the 1960s (ACE, obviously), that meant running Lucky Strike Cigarette print ads in People Magazine. What’s the 21st-century equivalent?
There are currently 7.8 billion people on Earth: 5.1 billion own mobile devices, 4.3 billion can access the Internet, and 3.5 billion use social media. Most people on planet Earth have a mobile device within 3 feet of their faces. Most people use social media, search for things on Google, and generate data the data used in commercial targeting. We are living in an age of unprecedented global connectivity, and the opportunities for businesses to reach customers are endless. Digital marketing is a practice that allows businesses to fully understand and leverage those opportunities.
What is Digital Marketing?
Any attempt to communicate en masse with a target audience using the Internet or electronic devices is digital marketing. It is simply an attempt to connect with target customers where they are most likely to be paying attention. The channels on which brands can communicate with audiences online constantly evolving. Keeping up with them can be quite difficult. That said, there are some core principles – and core services – in the world of digital marketing that serves as tenets for marketers and brands alike. We are going to go through them in this piece. The first thing to understand is the different forms of digital media that people consume. In the broadest terms, all digital media can fall into two camps: social media, and non-social media.
Social media refers to any website or application that allows people to congregate, exchange information, and engage in social networking online. The classic examples of social media platforms are well known. They include Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Vine (RIP), TikTok, and the like. These platforms all gather and analyze massive quantities of user data. When you sign up for Facebook, they can provide information such as name, birthday, email address, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and a lot of other information that is relevant to advertisers. The same is true of Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and most other social networking services. In addition to self-reported identity-based information, all these platforms monitor your behavior online and use it to predict your future actions. They then make that information available to advertisers, who use it to target you in social media advertising campaigns.
Let’s stick to Facebook to flesh out this idea a bit more. Facebook has access to your friend list and knows what pages you like/ follow on the platform. It tracks posts that you like, places where you check-in, ads that you interact with, and the sorts of content you consume while using Facebook. If you liked the “cycling” page years ago, you’re likely to get ads for bike parts. If you checked into Madison Square Garden when you went to the Rangers game last week, Facebook is likely to serve you ads for other MSG events. It’s also important to note that Facebook owns Instagram. Facebook uses the consumer data it gathers to target people for advertising.
Facebook also tracks what you do online when you’re not on Facebook. It can track what you search for, which websites you go to, what content you consume on those sites, and much more. In a similar vein, Instagram can track your mobile app activity.
We’ll go into more detail with Facebook’s advertising platform in a moment. These concepts apply everywhere in social media marketing. Every social platform that you use tracks your data in surprising and innovative ways. These platforms ingest and make sense of countless terabytes of user data. They gather the information that you self report, information based on your web activity, and information based on who you follow to target you with surgical precision. Surprisingly though it may be to hear, companies like Facebook and Snapchat are in the advertising industry. These platforms all have unique ad capabilities that Internet marketers use to reach target consumers. By leveraging data to precisely target the right people, and exciting ad units (Facebook Vertical Video, Instagram Shoppable Posts, etc.) to engage the right users, advertisers can use social media platforms to great effect.
With this in mind, let’s dive into specifics. Below we’ll briefly cover all the major sources of social traffic online. We’ll discuss each platform’s advertising functionality, their unique value propositions, and the nature of the ad units available.
There’s a reason why Facebook advertising remains so popular with both B2B and B2C marketers. With extremely granular micro-targeting features, a broad array of advanced ad units, and the largest network of users online, Facebook advertising works.
Facebook Ad Manager is the platform through which marketers control ad spend, targeting, campaign budgets, and campaign creative. It’s where you create tagging and track Facebook paid media results. It’s also the point where advertisers can access Facebook’s powerful stores of consumer data. By using Ad Manager, advertisers can create custom affinity audiences for extremely specific targeting.
To understand why Facebook remains a titan in the world of social media marketing, you need to first understand its core offerings and ad types.
Facebook image ads are simple and effective starting points for marketers that are new to the platform. They consist of a single image and a few lines of copy. Think of Facebook Image Ads as native ad units that mimic the appearance of a typical post. Their simplicity is ideal for showcasing your brand in a way that’s both concise and visually stunning. If you don’t have the time to create unique content for a campaign, you can simply boost an existing post from lower down in your feed. Facebook image ads are the foundational unit for any Facebook advertising initiative.
Video Ads on Facebook are far more dynamic and customizable than image ads. They can appear in users’ newsfeeds, in Facebook stories, and before in-stream videos. It’s important to note that video ads on Facebook don’t always consist of filmed footage. Advertisers can use GIFs or other animations in video ads to engage users.
Carousel Ads on Facebook are a no-brainer for eCommerce. This unit allows advertisers to showcase their products and/or services in up to 10 images or videos. Brands can use carousel ads to either showcase multiple benefits of a single product or display several products in one unit.
Video Poll Ads
Video Poll Ads are exclusively mobile ad units that encourage engagement through their interactive format. Advertisers can use video poll ads to post promotional videos that allow users to respond (i.e. vote) to certain questions.
Lead Ads are handy for marketers that are trying to build email-marketing lists, sign users up for trials, or opt-in to learn about your company. They are exclusively mobile ad units that help advertisers identify leads to nurture and ultimately convert. Facebook lead ads are an incredible way to feed your sales funnel.
If you work in marketing, you’ve no doubt read a lot about bot chat and its potential to drive traffic to your website. Facebook Messenger has over 1 billion active users, and it’s now possible to reach them through messenger ads. There are 2 very different ways to advertise through messenger:
- Click-to-Messenger: These ads appear as traditional newsfeed ads in either Facebook or Instagram feeds. The call to action starts a conversation in Facebook messenger. This ad unit is perfect for acquiring new leads, answering support questions, and moving leads down the funnel.
- Sponsored Messages: This ad product is different than click-to-Messenger. A sponsored message is an actual message sent to users from the brand via messenger. Because Facebook is legally obligated not to SPAM users, Facebook is only allowed to serve sponsored messages to users who have previously interacted with a brand’s Facebook page.
Taken together, the ad units listed above can help advertisers hit a variety of goals. Facebook remains the largest social network on the Internet. Their vast stores of data provide endless potential for granular micro-targeting. When combined with engaging ad units, the value of Facebook’s data sets becomes unprecedented. That said Facebook certainly has its issues, most notably that it no longer attracts Generation Z consumers the way it attracted millennials in the late 2000s.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, 80% of whom are not in the United States, Instagram is a behemoth with global reach and all the data that goes with it. It makes sense that Instagram’s advertising offerings – which are all managed through Facebook’s Ad Manager – are popular among brands and agencies. 72% of users surveyed said they’ve purchased products after seeing them on Instagram.
Instagram’s global reach makes its ad products at least as powerful as Facebook’s. To understand more about how Instagram is monetizing its platform, let’s dive into specifics and explore the various ad units it offers.
Single Image Feed Ads
You’re likely to see single image feed ads within 10 seconds of popping Instagram open on your phone. They were the earliest ad type that Instagram released. Today they remain the. The format of Instagram’s single image feed ad emulates a typical organic post. They include nothing but a single image that users can comment on and like. A key difference between a single image feed ad and a typical Instagram post is the ability to link out to a landing page.
Instagram carousel ads mirror Facebook carousel ads to an extent. The ad unit itself is shares obvious similarities with single image feed ads. It displays like an organic Instagram post in user news feeds. The difference is that a carousel ad can contain multiple photos, videos, GIFs, or other animations through which users can swipe. This is a great option for eCommerce brands that want to showcase clusters of products in a single post.
Over 400 million Instagram users watch and post Instagram stories. Facebook has capitalized on this traffic stream by placing ads between stories on Instagram. They run a full-screen display for up to 5 seconds as static images and up to 60 seconds with videos/ GIFs/ rich media assets.
Facebook and Instagram account for a material portion of the world’s social ad spend. But remember what we’ve discussed from the outset: in the world of digital marketing, social media and non-social media are equally important. Any successful digital marketer will have a strong command of both. With this in mind, we turn the discussion now to non-social digital media.
Non-Social Digital Media
The largest sources of ad spend on the Internet are, in order, Google, Facebook (i.e. Facebook and Instagram), and Amazon. You’ll notice that half of those platforms are not social media channels. People tend to get more excited by social media advertising than they do about non-social media digital advertising. The truth is that both are critical, but a lot of marketers believe non-social channels like Google Search, Amazon Sponsored Product ads, and Google Display are more effective at driving leads and sales.
In 2018, Google enjoyed $116.43 billion in ad revenue worldwide. At the same time, Amazon reported $11.5 billion in ad revenue over the same period – a significant increase from where it was a year early. Amazon’s YOY growth is likely to accelerate and take a bite out of Google and Facebook’s substantial market share in the next 5 years. You can read more about it in our Amazon Advertisement articles. articles The bottom line is that understanding non-social media in digital advertising is critical.
We’ve already discussed how robust Facebook’s data stores are. If there were a single number to represent the combined value of every single Facebook data point, you could multiply it by 100 before arriving at the value of Google’s data.
Though Amazon is an increasingly serious competitor to Google in the battle for Internet supremacy, Google’s ability to target consumers based on their historical online activity puts them in a league of their own. Google’s data allows advertisers to target users based on their search history, commonly visited websites, purchasing behavior, affinities and tastes, geographic location, age, sexual orientation, and much more. Google makes these data available for all its ad products. Below is a list of Google’s most important ad types, and a description of what they do.
SEM (Google Search Network GSN)
SEM (or Search Engine Marketing) though GSN (Google Search Network) is an extremely powerful tool. Advertisers run Google search campaigns through AdWords, which is an extremely powerful tool.
The basic structure of a Google paid search campaign is simple. AdWords helps advertisers discover the keywords used by high intent customers. After acquiring a sense for customers’ search needs, AdWords allows advertisers to target the right users by bidding against high volume keywords. As an example, let’s say you own a company that sells hand-knit sweaters. Using AdWords’ Keyword Planner, you discover that people use terms like “quality knitwear,” “handmade sweaters,” “100% wool sweaters,” and other similar terms when searching for what you sell. AdWords lets you bid on a CPC (cost per click) against each of those words and related terms.
From there, you can build your creative, write copy, use extensions, and pick the landing page to which you’d like to drive traffic. You can also manage all on-page tagging through Google Tag Manager. This will allow you to track the efficacy of your search marketing efforts.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is similar to SEM in some respects. The most notable similarity is obvious: both Google marketing channels leverage search. They both require advertisers to comprehensively understand the way people search for their goods and services online. That’s more or less where the similarities end.
Search engine optimization seeks to drive organic traffic to a website through search without paying per click. At Premiere Creative, SEO is one of our core competencies. We have used SEO to drive success for countless clients across a wide range of industries.
We employ a multi-faceted approach to helping our clients build rank on search. Our content marketing experts work with our analysts to understand how customers discover clients on Google. We then develop blogging and SEO landing page strategies to capture as much of that traffic as possible.
On the backend, our web developers optimize your website for search, do on-page tagging to help further improve your page’s discoverability, and build out robust backlinking structures. Click here to more read about our comprehensive SEO services.
Display (Google Display Network GDN)
Google’s Display Network (GDN) is the largest digital advertising network in the world. It encompasses YouTube, Gmail, Google Finance, and any other Google-powered website you can list. Additionally, it encompasses practically all websites that have incorporated AdSenseTM (AdWords advertising) into their structure. That includes most websites you can name – from Yahoo to Rolling Stone Magazine.
Display advertising is an incredible tool to meet a variety of advertising needs. Whether you’re trying to drive leads, increase your brand’s visibility, or re-engage users that abandoned their cart on your website, Google’s Display network can place your brand where it needs to be.
Navigating Through The Complex World of Digital Marketing
There is no one article containing all the information about Digital Marketing. In 2019, as new social and non-social digital marketing channels continue to evolve, it is the digital marketer’s job to stay ahead and adapt to constant changes.
Premiere Creative brings up-to-the-minute wisdom to bear on all our clients’ needs. To learn more about our comprehensive approach digital advertising, give us a call at (973) 346-8100.