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Social Media Web 3

Emerging Ad Platforms You Need to Test in 2022

Photo credit: The delightful Arthur Mazi

Just 5 years ago, if your brand was running campaigns on Google and Facebook/Instagram it was likely you were reaching 95+% of your audience between both platforms.

However we now live in a world where Tiktok got more traffic than Google in 2021 and a society that no longer sees Facebook as cool or hip and instead is turning to a slew of other apps for their time and attention. The transition from legacy platforms is happening so fast that it can be hard to understand and plan around where time/attention is going so here’s where brands need to begin investing in order to make sure they are reaching their audience:

Tiktok

To outsiders it seems like a quirky app featuring dance moves and memes but to users of the platform its turned into so much more. There are now influencers giving advice on anything and everything and diverse video content creators making true works of art. Advertisers have been slow to get on the platform as they try to figure out a messaging and engagement strategy but those that have already invested in the platform are realizing returns. In fact in 2021, more people visited Tiktok than Google and the trend should only continue to play out for 2022.

Snapchat

Teens abandoned Facebook long ago and smart advertisers know that teens have significant sway in the marketplace whether it’s spending their own money or influencing the purchasing decisions of their parents. The platform has gone from disappearing messaging to a host of self created shows that drive engagement and reaction. Brands have been swarming to the platform with their own serial content to try and attract consumers early and develop lifetime brand loyalists. Like Tiktok, the brand has matured from a single use app to a full fledged content creation platform and advertisers need to pay attention to it.

Reddit

If it’s on the internet, there’s likely an entire community talking about it on Reddit. If you rarely visit the site or just check the homepage, you’re missing out on a diverse community that is talking about your product right now. For instance search your brand or what your target market is looking for in a product or service and odds are you’ll come across hundreds of threads with people asking for recommendations for a product that does X to entire communities you never knew existed that serve as a forum for your brand. Finding the communities that matter and serving ads in those communities can drive incredible returns.

Pinterest

By now, most brands have a Pinterest page but many are missing out on Pinterest Ad platform and its powerful capabilities. The platform has always been a hub for product discovery and with detailed targeting options, it can be supercharged into an amplifier for brands and their products looking to get in front of the right people at the right moments. Pinterest knows they will be very high funnel consumers, which is why their ad platform comes with its own pixel to track performance and report on people who saw the product and later purchased through another channel.

NFTs

NFTs are so much more than pictures of cartoon apes. They represent the ability to personalize ownership and engagement with your brand which is why companies from ASICS to McDonald’s and the NBA are producing content to allow their raving fans to display their loyalty. If you have a product and you aren’t at the very least offering a NFT version of it, you should really look into investing in a deployment strategy. Finding your biggest fans, cultivating them and developing target audiences and lookalike campaigns from that data can give you a critical advantage when targeting on other platforms.

Categories
Paid Media SEO

4 ONLINE MARKETING MISTAKES ALMOST EVERY LAW FIRM MAKES

Photo credit: The classical Gianmarco

Legal marketing is arguably the most competitive industry online and many firms make basic mistakes that hurt their ability to drive case volume and lower their overall return on ad spend. Having had the opportunity to scale successful lead generation campaigns for firms ranging from three person personal injury practices to 200+ employee firms I thought it would be a good idea to share the basic mistakes that almost every practice makes and how to remedy them. 

Only Running Expensive Paid Search Campaigns

What’s the easiest way to get a case in the next 24 hours? Run a paid search campaign.

What’s the most expensive way to get a case in the next 24 hours? Run a paid search campaign.

If you’re reading this and you’ve ever done paid search, especially for ultra-competitive practice areas like personal injury, truck accidents or mesothelioma you know that clicks can cost $150 or more. You also know the uncomfortable truth that most of those clicks are your competitors or people who aren’t serious and while Google can filter out some of that behavior, for the most part the majority of your clicks are wasted. 

For those clicks that are actually genuine, if visitors don’t have a user experience that immediately empathizes, educates and lets them take action they’ll leave and there’s nothing worse than seeing you’ve spent $1500 in a day and didn’t get a single call or form fill (for both the lawyer and the agency that will get a call from said lawyer the next day).

The way to improve visibility and reduce reliance on expensive terms is to think of the decision making process for your client. If someone is in a wreck for instance, a lawyer is actually what they search for well after the accident as their immediate needs center around insurance processes, liability, treatment, rentals etc …

Strategically having visibility on their journey is not only cost effective but gets your name into their minds well before they reach a point of seeking legal assistance.

Ignoring Organic SEO

What we generally hear from firms that rely heavily on paid search for lead volume is that they tried SEO and didn’t get traction or they were quoted a long timeline and heavy investment with no guarantee of page 1 ranking. The second part is true to a degree in that if you’re a brand new site, the odds you’ll rank on page 1 for your main practice term in a short span of time are low.

However SEO is often the best place to generate leads because as we began to discuss in the previous section, there is an entire ecosystem of online activity around even the simplest of cases. 

For instance with the car wreck example above there could be issues around fault, insured/uninsured motorists, diminution of value, medical billing, short term financial woes as a result of injury. Every firm I’ve seen strategically invest in content tailored to specific questions and issues always get results vs those spinning their wheels on expensive paid search campaigns. Would you rather invest in 10 well-written and optimized pieces of evergreen content that will generate pageviews and leads for years or x10 $200 clicks for car accident attorney Dallas? 

In fact when I previously worked on behalf of a firm that handled asbestos litigation, we spent thousands of hours mapping out every possible search area for mesothelioma including symptoms, diagnosis, actual factories/ships/places for exposure and reading through clinical trial data for potential therapies. The result is that we built an extensive content library that gave a full context around the cancer and every element of it and became a powerful lead generation engine that needed relatively little ongoing maintenance.

Falling Flat With Video 

Your firm has probably at one point or another been told you need to be on YouTube and most firms do the exact same thing: build a channel, upload their latest TV ad or radio spot and then watch as they rack up 2-3 views per month.

Most law firms look at YouTube from the lens of reality … people go there to watch cat videos and people playing video games. However the opportunity for law firms is that video for many people is easier to absorb and understand and taking the above example of evergreen content and applying that to video you can start to see where the opportunity exists. There are countless 200k+ view videos from lawyers explaining (without giving legal advice) obstacles, questions and challenges someone might face after a car accident.

When done right (not shot an iPhone as you walk down a loud street downtown) video can be an evergreen medium for connection, links and ultimately get people onto your site and into your queue. Video is the medium of the future and firms are even beginning to look at platforms like Snapchat and TikTok (especially for criminal law).

Downplaying Spanish Search 

The way that firms approach Spanish speakers is still relatively basic. I’ve consulted with many that hired Spanish speaking staff specifically to handle inbound calls and are shocked when they never seem to materialize.

The problem is most firms put it as a footnote for their advertising because they assume the Spanish speaking audience doesn’t need sophisticated messaging – just put Se Habla Espanol somewhere by the phone number and they’ll know what to do next. 

But often the web experience for many of these consumers is 99% in English and that doesn’t do enough to build confidence and not only win the click but win the client. If your firm has invested resources in accommodating Spanish speakers, you need to understand the investment should go beyond people and into the marketing assets themselves.

Basics like a Spanish language landing page and dedicated Spanish language ads are easy additions to existing web assets. Spanish speaking consumers will encounter the same questions and obstacles as their English speaking counterparts so investing in content marketing, often as a first mover in many markets, can pay significant dividends.

Categories
Paid Media Social Media

5 Ways Furniture Brands Can Boost Sales in 2022

Photo credit: The precise Nathan Oakley

January and February are traditional post-holiday planning months for many furniture and decor companies and during that downtime it’s important brands step back and take a critical look at their digital marketing strategies.

In the last year and even in the last three months, major advertising and social media platforms have introduced new formats or announced changes that will significantly impact campaign performance. To help brands navigate the ever changing and often confusing world of online marketing, we’ve compiled a list of the most important changes and opportunities you need to be aware of for 2022.

Take Advantage of Google Organic Shopping Listings

Most brands that sell online already have Google Shopping ads but what you may not know is that Google provides free organic listings that show after all of the sponsored listings.

Getting organic shopping enabled and integrated into your eCommerce platform is an easy and straightforward process and we’re seeing it produce incremental revenue and in some cases account for 5-10% of monthly revenue for some clients.

It should be a 101 level task for any online business in 2022 and especially those in the home furnishings space where platforms like Google shopping serve as a discovery point for many brands and their products.

Test New Platforms

The platforms where consumers spend their time and energy is quickly evolving and marketing strategies that only focus on Google and social media ads are missing opportunities to connect with consumers in the moments that matter.

Just how quickly are new platforms taking over your users time? Consider that in 2021 Tiktok received more traffic than Google. That’s right, more people watched videos on Tiktok than conducted Google searches and if your brand isn’t present there then you’re missing out on significant engagement opportunities.

Often the biggest hurdle for brands adopting new platforms is that you want your brand to be approachable and authentic and avoid an overly corporate appearance. That lingering debate can often delay or completely destroy innovation opportunities and we always advise to test and refine because no one will remember your first tweet or post but they will remember a meaningful piece of content, delivered at the right time.

We advise taking a look at the targeting and creative capabilities of the following platforms and coming up with a game plan to test in 2022:

  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Tiktok
  • Reddit
  • NFTs
  • Expanded Video use

Aggressively Segment Your Lists for Social and Programmatic

One of the biggest changes that rocked the ad world throughout 2021 was the ongoing impact of data and privacy changes on ad platforms, specifically Facebook and Instagram. Consumers now have more control over their data and these changes negatively impacted the performance of prospecting campaigns where you traditionally use lookalike audiences and demographic/behavioral targeting to serve ads.

With fewer users to track and less behavioral data being fed into user profiles, traditional prospecting campaigns that relied only on demographics and interests will continue to perform poorly. We recommend that brands replace these antiquated campaigns with highly segmented lists so that lookalike campaigns that typically drive prospecting can be much more effective.

Here are some initial ideas for lists based on where we’re seeing high ROAS:

  • Power users (Users who log in daily)
  • Repeat purchasers (Especially if you can segment by frequency)
  • Purchasers by AOV (Hint: low AOV consumers can be great for new to brand)
  • Multiple items/cart
  • Business referrers (scrape loyalty program)

An “All Customers” list should be the last resort and should have a lower budget allocation vs your highly segmented lists.

Test Expanded Text Ad Messaging (While You Still Can)

Google and Bing both announced that after June 30, 2022, expanded text ads (the traditional basic header and description format) will be replaced with responsive search ads (ads with a rotating combination of headlines and descriptions). This is important for many reasons and the biggest is that marketers will no longer be able to A/B test paid search ads.

The data that’s available for responsive ads will still show all the metrics you see with traditional expanded text ads (Impressions, CTR, CPC …) but you can’t segment it by specific combinations or review data between ad variations. Instead you’ll just see a distribution of what ad combinations showed and at what percentages but you can’t limit distribution to just a specific set of variants.

The important thing to note is that the format is going away completely. Previously when ad providers would sunset products, they wouldn’t allow users to create new ads or make changes to existing ads but they would still show for some time after deprecation. Instead July 1, 2022 you’ll either have all of your new responsive ads showing or you’ll have no presence at all.

It’s crucial that marketers heed this opportunity to both review and document previous successes in ad messaging while aggressively testing through early June to get as many data as possible. For this reason we recommend brands add more budget to search in the first half of the year so that they can gather the data and develop a bank of high performing ad copy that can be carried into responsive campaigns.

Clean Up Marketing Automation Funnels

Odds are your marketing automation flows were setup at least 1-2 years ago which means it’s a great time to review how visitors are tagged, nurtured and remarketed throughout their customer journey.

When we audit client marketing automation flows, especially with highly sophisticated products and paths, we generally find outdated messaging or sequences featuring deprecated products/promotions. You should also consider your flows in the context of how consumer behavior has changed since Covid and make appropriate updates based on buying and delivery options.

As you’re going through your funnels look for testing opportunities both at the audience and sequence level and if you haven’t made any sequence or messaging adjustments in awhile, you’ll have a stable benchmark with which to test against. (Bonus: That rich audience data can then be fed into your prospecting campaigns!)

Making the Most of Your 2022 Marketing

If you know you need to work on these core areas but aren’t sure where to start or how to review your existing marketing then contact a digital agency or strategist that can help define and implement an action plan to help you unlock value from new and emerging channels.

Categories
Amazon

Getting Your Amazon Store Ready for the Holidays

Photo credit: The impeccable Marcus Loke

Selling on Amazon can be a great way to build a business, with hundreds of millions of products available online. Amazon has built the trust of regular customers, which is why it holds an incredible 50% market share of the U.S. e-commerce market. 

While creating an Amazon store is obviously a must for any type of eCommerce business, there is so much competition that it’s important to stand out or risk getting lost in the noise. The Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program theoretically allows for anyone with a computer to create a private label and sell products that may not be up to expected standards, making customers wary of buying from businesses that are seen as less reputable. 

This can be offset by registering with Amazon’s Brand Registry, which is an exclusive program that helps legitimize a brand and proves credibility. Creating a store at Amazon is available only for businesses, and requires a registered trademark for your product in order to apply for the registry. 

Benefits of Amazon Brand Registry

It is important for any business trying to maximize Amazon profits for the holiday season to enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry to unlock a host of benefits. There are several potential benefits for businesses once they are enrolled in the program.

  • It allows for greater promotion of products via a multi-page Store on Amazon for free, offering greater control of content and increased visibility. 
  • Through Amazon’s A+ Content feature, the Amazon Store allows for the creation of a deeper brand story, and allows for more use of rich text and images which creates higher conversions. Similar to a website, the brand registry program allows businesses to create a multimedia experience of their products, without the customer being able to see competitors’ listings, as is more typical of Amazon.
  • Businesses can also learn more about their customers, including how to reach them more successfully. This includes advanced analytics that allow for greater information on search teams customers are using, as well as deeper customer behavior data. 
  • Amazon Brand Registry enables features that allow for greater protection of the brand. This is everything from better management of brand listings to ensure accuracy to automated protections that remove content that could infringe on brand copyrights or content. Amazon offers not only a more efficient internal team to help fix and escalate issues, but also a dedicated internal team to investigate IP infringement claims. 

There is a reason why Amazon has blown away the competition in the eCommerce space – it offers consumers an unmatched level of service along with a superior selection of products than anywhere else. Amazon Brand Registry allows businesses to maximize sales and exposure on Amazon, while allowing for better brand protection. From start to finish, the enrollment process should ideally take about two weeks, making it important to register as soon as possible to prepare your Amazon Store for the holiday rush.