PPC in 2017, Death of the Ad
For paid search, display and social – there’s a lot to embrace in 2017, but it won’t be without it’s casualties.
When it comes to advertising trends and ppc predictions for 2017 – if you’re thinking this is “the year of mobile!” – then, I’m afraid you’re late to the party.
This tremendous growth shows little sign of slowing down.
Digital (or internet) now eclipses TV advertising and is set streak away over the next 5 years.
Here comes the bar chart!
With the US and UK collectively spending over $80 Billion on digital Ads, what does the future of PPC look like and where should you focus your budgets for 2017?
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room, Microsoft’s Bing advertising platform:
Facebook Hits Max Ads, Price Goes Up
If you’re advertising on Facebook, clicks and impressions are only getting more expensive. Facebook is running out of places and options to serve your ads.
In short, “Facebook sold out its inventory for the first time” in September 2016.
This is some 6 months earlier than predicted too.
Fortunately, Zucks’ and the team are doing a pretty good job at innovating.
We already know how powerful their ‘big data’, audience behaviour targeting methods are. In short – very. But now we’re able to go off feed and enter the private inboxes of Facebook users with messenger ads.
If that wasn’t enough, Facebook are looking at tapping their vast array of public and private groups. From an advertisers’ perspective, that will be veryinteresting.
And even more interesting, Facebook takes on YouTube pre-roll ads with their own In-Stream advertising.
Video consumption is massive. Make it part of your strategy.
Take Action: deploy more video, and less direct sales spiel. Be early adopters and test the new formats at your disposal such as Messenger and In-Stream ads.
There are of course other social platforms with plenty of reach and potential, LinkedIn is very targeted albeit a little pricey, Instagram and Pinterest can work well for brands and retail, and of course Twitter Ads still have their uses for driving traffic to content.
Facebook is the first stop along the social media ad journey, but doesn’t have to be your terminus.
Attribution, the New Buzz
Engaging with customers’ days, weeks and even months before they’re ready to convert is the new normal.
When tracking and counting conversions, the default setting is “Last Click”. This is the standard attribution model in web analytics tools. But relying on last-click attribution alone to understand your website and market efforts is living in the past.
As marketers and business owners, we can do better than that.
Instead of browsing your channel data and making decisions from a top-level view, start comparing your data from different touch-points.
If you’re not confident creating a custom model, then out of the box I’m a fan of “Time Decay”.
The core premise of the time decay model is that each touch point (website visit) closest to the conversion gets most of the credit. With each touch point prior to that getting less credit based on the algorithm.
The time decay model passes the ‘common sense’ test – and is a well-rounded, smart way of measuring how your traffic channels support conversions.
Take Action: what attribution model is most fitting of your sales cycle? If your customers take days, weeks or longer to convert – consider comparing your standard report to Time Decay to get a deeper understanding of which channels support and drive conversions.
Death of the Ad
If advertising spend growth is on the rise then how can the Ad itself be dying?
Because marketers are ruining the social side of media.
As we saw earlier – Facebook hit max ad space. Ad prices are going up and therefore advertising must change. It must be less intrusive and way more savvy to compete in a manner that doesn’t see costs spiral upwards.
Gone are the days where most businesses can get away with throwing a direct sales pitch at their target audience.
If you’re an online retailer and you cold target people on Facebook with your products, then you’re doing it wrong.
Resurrecting the Social Ad
Don’t be that brand that muddies a user’s timeline with a cold slap in the face, “buy our stuff because…”!
Instead, use an engagement approach to your social marketing. The purpose of your ads on social is to make them not look like ads.
Fashion retailers – create videos on the latest trends, tips on how to select the right product, offer advice at different price points. You get the idea. Produce engaging, useful content – not a sales pitch.
Travel retailers – help people book by guiding them through the options, end-to-end; booking a flight, the accommodation, getting around, sites to see and precautions to take. You name it, there’s a plethora of advice demanded by travellers before they commit.
Estate agents – what are the common problems when selling a house? Educate your potential customers and they’ll thank you for it.
Accountants – help small businesses select the right bookkeeping software, compare products, offer tips on how to streamline accounting.
Service businesses – stop telling your audience why you’re better, get a foot in the door by offering value first. What does your service do for them? Show them how to do parts for themselves to save time/money or to create wealth/growth.
The list goes on…
All strategies would benefit greatly by incorporating some form of influencer marketing.
No matter your business – give your audience results first and they’ll be more likely to trust your brand. And remember the rule; salespeople sell, friends tell stories.
Go Deeper, Go Micro-targeted
If you must pursue the direct sales approach then micro is your play. The premise of micro-targeting is to put ads in front of (and therefore spend money on) your most valuable prospects.
Prospects that spend more time on your site, watching your videos, reading your emails and sharing your stuff. Prospects who also look like your buyers, too.
This is where micro-targeting and personalised ad experiences really come in to their own. They can resurrect traffic and revenue from the smallest portions of your audience, by going narrow and specific instead of wide and loud.
Easier said than done, so here are some ideas to get your started:
Take action: exclude previous buyers, put those in their own segment.
Target people who received your email(s) but didn’t open them. Target people who opened your email, but did nothing about. Target those who opened, clicked and failed to convert. Tailor the experience to suit each step.
Create a targeting segment for time on site and pages viewed, also the number of visits to your site. Use your best performing customer segment as the benchmark – what does their behaviour look like?
Layer this with browser type, device type, geography and demographics.
Consider tailoring their experience based on the referral source of the traffic, for example people coming from your YouTube page probably want to see more video – right?
Whereas Instagram and Pinterest followers like the visuals. How can you apply that to your landing pages?
Don’t forget to segment people by date, last-visit, last-purchase and of course use your own analytics data to understand average purchase lag in days. This helps fine-tune your audience segments further.
The depth is where the ROI is at. Not the width.
Chicken or Egg, or Chegg?
For paid search, display and social – there’s a lot to embrace in 2017.
More options, deeper targeting and new technology spilling into common culture – we’re spoilt for choice.
Many brands are turning to influencer marketing and it’s incredibily easy to get started using our platform Glambassador.
This vast choice gives great power and brings with it many opportunities, for good and bad. It’s more important than ever that advertisers outside of search engines, where the user is fully in control, stop abusing the audiences’ data.
Let’s face it, there are far too many crap ads out there ruining the experience for the rest of us.
And yes – whilst there will always people that ‘hate ads’ – the majority of people are accepting of them if they’re on-target, relevant and offer at least a shred of value.
Source: PPC in 2017, Death of the Ad