Online marketing isn’t straightforward in the least. Gone are the days in which the only option is paid search advertising. As the Internet matures, so do the options for businesses expand beyond paid search to more specific things like sponsored content, user ratings, and rich media.
Let’s get into some of the often-overlooked details, tips, and trends that make online marketing worth your consideration now more than ever.
Online Marketing Things you Should Know
1. Search Marketing is King
First thing to note: paid results get results. Advertisers who engage in consistent search marketing (i.e. paid placement at the top of search result pages for certain terms) get significant returns on investment. If done smartly, search marketing can pay out up to seven times the amount invested.
And recent years have seen the first time ever that online search marketing has surpassed print advertising. In 2011 in the United States alone, advertisers spent more than two billion dollars more on just on online search marketing (not to mention other types of online) than they did on display advertising.
We should expect these trends to continue.
2. Mobile Search Limits
Most advertisers or business-savvy entrepreneurs understand that the first page of search results is by far the most relevant when considering advertising dollar return. Turns out that recent data shows that the same thing holds true for mobile searching. Well over half of mobile searchers never make it off the first page of results.
This means that appearing on that first page of results becomes more important than ever now. The shallowness of searching points to a recommendation to engage in paid online search advertising is a good solution.
3. Online Marketing is Big
The online marketing and advertising industry is set to hit an overall spend of $50 billion in 2015. That’s billion with a B. A market this big has good and bad points.
You catch more flies with honey, or so goes the saying. Advertisers are spending a lot more money on online marketing these days, so one of the consequences is that tool developers, programmers, and other professionals will be flocking to the online marketing industry to get a piece of the $50 billion pie. Expect new and robust tools to take advantage of in the near future.
The downside to such a large market when compared to just a couple of years ago is the competition. The tools and efficiencies are getting there in a big way, but as more and more people take advantage of them and get into the market, it becomes saturated and that much harder to make an impact as you try to reach your audience.
4. Ratings Rate High
Having ratings can net your business some additional attention. As consumers become more and more familiar with ratings systems like those offered by Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers, they become increasingly likely to rely on them as an early indicator of a business’s trustworthiness.
Market research indicates that the click-through-ratio of online seller or advertiser listings can increase by over ten percent just by including rating information. This means that ten percent more eyes that are viewing your content are also clicking on that content, and not skipping it over.
5. User Recommendations
Word of mouth plays a key role in any business’s success, and none more so than in online marketing efforts. It becomes so much easier to share content as technology progresses. And technology understands how people refer new things to each other and is learning to compensate.
YouTube, for example, counts over half its video clicks from recommendations from others. When fans watch, YouTube automatically provides this information to friends of that fan. This is an amazing benefit of the platform.
6. The Quick Search Contact
Users are searching from their phones more often than anything. During driving (which they shouldn’t be doing), or in transit between locations, or idling while waiting, individuals are always connected and always looking.
As such, business owners need to make sure they stay as available as possible in as few steps as possible. Research shows that businesses can increase their click-through-ratio by 6-8% just by providing location and phone information with their other listings.
7. Not Just Text Anymore
Over half of all online ads are expected to be “rich media” by 2015, indicating that technology and bandwidth have, for the first time, allowed for more advanced advertising methods like video and animation.
This ability will increase user engagement with advertising, but runs a couple of risks. First, rich media ads are far more expensive to produce. Second, rich media ads do run the risk of becoming oversaturated in the market, which could lead to ad viewer fatigue, much like the Flash ad industry from the early 2000s.
8. The Right Frequency
More isn’t always better. Market data has shown that an increased presence online has a diminishing return after a certain point.
If a brand or business posts just twice a day – that’s two chances to see a business’s comment – the posts don’t build on each other at all. Instead, some level of fatigue sets in, resulting in less overall attention in the form of Likes and Comments and Shares versus one post per day.
Less is more.
9. Personal and Specific
Generating quality content that drives your online marketing efforts forward and keeps them fresh is one thing, but studies have shown repeatedly and definitively that targeted messaging is more powerful than anything in terms of resonating with customers.
When looking at click-through rates, which are one of the best metrics for success in online marketing, targeted, triggered, and personalized messages are by far the most effective means to drive leads toward clicking and engaging with your ad content.
The strategy for making your marketing messages personal and specific takes more work and some close lead nurturing, but with today’s marketing automation tools it’s easier than ever.
10. Internet on Television
Years ago, during the advent of flat-screen, LCD, and plasma televisions, we began the age of the Internet-enabled television. As many trends go, this one fizzled in its infancy but is now seeing a resurgence.
We’re now approaching 2015 with nearly half of all televisions produced today being Internet-ready. So-called ‘smart TVs’ are now supported by third-party developers, making the tools and interfaces of these televisions much more usable. Smart marketers will pay attention to this trend and will look for opportunities to get into that market segment.
11. The Churn
There’s a delicate balance between quality and quantity content. While it’s true that many social media portals see far less attention paid when brands post more often, it’s also true that some other social media focuses on the concept of ‘churn,’ or continually refreshed content.
For sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest, churn is the norm. Their focus on short-form or pictorial content is less sensitive to frequency, so marketers and smart media professionals are freer to post (still meaningful) content more often. And, depending on the medium and the content being presented, some campaigns can actually be more successful with more frequent content. It just takes the right approach!
12. The Infamous Facebook Like
Back in the early days of Facebook, there was a large push from all sides for businesses to create Facebook pages for their brands. Indeed today, many businesses might think it’s a sufficient social media presence to establish a Facebook page and leave it at that.
We’re seeing less and less evidence that business or brand pages are necessary. Less than half a percent of Facebook fans engage with the brands they’ve “Liked” in a given week. This may indicate that it’s time to start putting advertising dollars and efforts into other social avenues.
13. The App Age
Almost three quarters of smartphone owners access their preferred social networks via dedicated apps. For many, this is the sole method by which social media is consumed, rendering many online advertising methods moot or unnecessary.
As our phones get more advanced, social media is increasingly equated with mobile apps and smartphones. The key in this message is to ensure that the content you’re sharing is mobile-ready and formatted for consumption on a small screen.
We’re living in a rapidly changing world as information becomes more readily available and technology changes from year to year. It’s key to understand the above concepts about online marketing and how it might improve your business’s outlook. Bookmark this article, or perhaps share it on your social media platform of choice, to make sure it’s not forgotten.