The holidays are nearly upon us, and soon the fallen leaves and jingling bells will be followed by another sign of year’s end: Marketing articles for 2015. Since “Get Ready for Next Year” season now runs from September thru February, and “What We’re Doing Wrong” is a year-round obsession, allow me to indulge in some pre-holiday joy-spreading with a list of elements to keep in mind as you make your digital marketing plans for 2015.
You may already be in the front seat on this bandwagon, but it promises to get bigger and better. According to the IAB, approximately 20% of all digital advertising is sold by one machine talking to another machine — and it’s growing rapidly. For the un-initiated, Programmatic employs real-time, first- and third-party data to identify the best online audience for your campaign, then enables you to buy digital ad inventory through an auction, one impression at a time (or if needed, through direct relationships with publishers that have the right audience). A programmatic campaign reaches your ideal target where they are, across multiple devices, while performance is optimized in real-time. Parallel approaches are being tested in other mediums. It’s time to get with the program.
Yeah, you’re already doing a lot of video. Guess what? You should be doing more. Studies far and wide indicate that the most successful digital marketers utilize video far more than their peers. Everything from pushing out new and better content for the “interweb”, to developing more effective Explainer Vids for your own site visitors. (Salesforce recently added an Explainer video to their home page and increased conversion rates by 20%) Mobile video will see the biggest spike in activity, so crafting your messages for this platform will become more and more critical to your success in reaching today’s most active and engaged constituents.
Content marketing was practically made for nonprofits because life-changing stories are far more engaging than profundities about toothpaste brands. Your content marketing budget should rise, because that’s an increasingly effective way to tell those stories, engage potential donors, and reinforce relationships with existing supporters. Interesting content is a Top 3 reason people follow brands on social media. According to a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and Blackbaud, only 3% of non-profit professionals rate their own content marketing efforts as very effective, and just 23% say they are somewhat effective. That means there’s opportunity, and some work to be done. The same study discovered that those NPO’s with documented content strategies were – no surprise – most effective. Only 25% of nonprofit professionals have a documented strategy, so that may be the subject of your first meeting on Monday January 5th.
Paid Social Boosting
You’ve heard the news: The days of free reach are over. Facebook is in this to make money. Who knew? Going forward, focus on posts that should yield the best results and boost them with a small budget. Adding just $5.00 in promotion to selected Facebook posts will dramatically increase your interaction, and you’ll see a jump in communication when you put a few dollars behind your chosen posts. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest now offer sponsored content placements and ads that promise specific reach. Bottom line: If you don’t pay, your followers very likely won’t see anything you’re doing in the social realm, but it can be done effectively and efficiently.
These guys again? Yep, the biggest social media platform keeps coming up with new ways for us to reach, engage, convert, and measure audiences within its vast ecosystem. If you’re not already doing a great job with post engagement, re-marketing, and targeting lookalike audiences, 2015 is the year to test and improve all of it.
This engine is projected to generate 11.6% of the search market share in 2015. That’s one reason to begin setting aside some time and money for the Yahoo! Bing network. An even better reason: The average cost-per-click on Yahoo! Bing as been reported at 10% to 24% lower than on Google AdWords. Obviously, a lower CPC means lower CPA, so…Bing!
Those Other Social Media Platforms
Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Vine… Whatever you haven’t tested yet, plan to set aside budget for experimenting in 2015. All will require different types of content in different formats, leveraging the unique capabilities and cultures of each.
Once more into the Facebook world we go…Atlas promises to make ad targeting more personalized than ever (cue the privacy advocate soundtrack) by linking users’ ad interactions to their Facebook accounts — whether the ads appear on Facebook or on third-party sites across the Internet. Atlas will essentially follow users across the web, making note of the ads they see, interact with and act upon, and will tie that information back to their Facebook profiles. Atlas also purports to solve the mobile measurement conundrum, since it will track users across their devices. Sounds exciting, and perhaps troubling, but it’s a system we will all be watching closely in the next few months.
And yes, we can help you with any or all of the above, should you need it.
Happy Digital Marketing to you and yours in 2015.