How to make the most out of your paid media investment
22 February 2022
We are in the age of information and superdigitalisation. An era of constant innovation and change, driven by digital transformation, accelerated by COVID-19, and underpinned by globalisation.
This new digital framework is the result of the adoption and implementation of new technologies in consumers’ daily lives, and has led to significant changes in the relationship between brands and consumers: brands are now facing savvy consumers who know the market and the different options available. They want companies to be empathetic and understand them, fulfilling their desires and needs immediately.
That’s why more and more companies are committed to not only offering products and services, but also tailored experiences which add value and seduce users. A synergy with a common base: information.
This new consumer (and their new consumption habits) has forced brands to redesign their digital strategies in order to be present in all channels, with paid media becoming a crucial element for competing in the market.
As a result, most agencies and companies are in a constant struggle to impact and find their users wherever they browse. But how can they optimise their economic efforts?
A new investment paradigm
The COVID-19 pandemic has marked a before and after. Most businesses suffered from a decrease in sales and advertising spending, but online purchases went through the roof. This has driven an unexpected recovery: global online ad spending is growing with a spike in 2021 versus 2020, at a growth rate of almost 20%, up 10 points from the previous period.
And we’re not talking peanuts: it’s huge amounts of money that have a direct impact on businesses’ revenues.
However, a study by WARC and Statista estimates that in 2022 there will be an overinvestment in digital channels. In other words, the gap between digital advertising spending and time spent in digital media will widen even more, leading to greater advertising pressure that will generate an increase in costs and, therefore, in the economic resources companies must allocate for these campaigns.
And the situation can get even more complicated if we take into account the concentration of the overall investment in channels such as Facebook or Google, the growing concern about the handling of personal data and users’ saturation with regards to the large number of ad impacts. A Molotov cocktail resulting in a dangerous reality: users no longer trust brands.
This does not mean brands should stop investing in digital advertising, but rather that they must learn how to do it, in which channels, how to make the most out of that investment and, most importantly, how to restore users’ coveted trust.
And now… what shall I do with my money?
In this context, many brands might be wondering where to invest. We must take into account factors such as the relevance of the funnel, the difficulty of finding the desired audience or the rising costs of current channels. When it comes to maximising and optimising investments, choosing the right channels can be the most crucial decision.
At Good Rebels we carefully analyse the most relevant and decisive aspects of the digital environment, so that we can bring coherence to our clients’ strategy and support them in making the best decision to multiply the return on their investment. We do this on the basis of these keys:
1. Get to know your customers
When it comes to defining our online strategy, it is crucial to first define and find our potential customers, trying to understand their digital behaviours in order to tailor our content to their needs.
THE BUYER PERSONA
It is essential to define as many Buyer Personas as types of customers our business aims to target, in order to understand their behaviours, preferences and interests.
Platforms such as Statista, as well as blogs, reports or articles, will help us obtain the necessary information to be able to profile the target user in detail.
WHERE TO FIND THEM
Browsing habits differ from one user to another. Thus, in order to identify our target audience, we will need to analyse the different social media platforms and take a look at what our competitors are doing. Some relevant actions we can implement at this stage are:
- Performing a competitor analysis. Tools such as SemRush, Google Auction Comparison or Facebook’s (Meta’s) Ad Library allow us to find out whether the competition is carrying out paid media strategies, on which channels, what keywords they are bidding for, or even see the ads they are promoting.
- Checking out annual studies (such as IAB’s), which cover topics such as the evolution of social media’s penetration, user profiling, brand engagement or the the level of saturation of social media advertising.
- Consulting the data provided by advertising platforms. Once we have defined our target, the different social media platforms will be able to estimate the size of the audience.
2. The funnel as a guide
Keeping your brand’s marketing funnel in mind at all times will be key for tracing users’ digital journey, from brand recognition at the first touchpoint to loyalty and advocacy.
Isolating each touchpoint, each decision-making moment, and identifying the channels in which they take place and how users feel at every given stage of the funnel will be key to develop a multichannel strategy.
Objectives at the top of the funnel will be better realised in platforms such as Google Display, Spotify, TikTok or Youtube. Conversely, if the objective is lead generation or conversation, channels such as Google Search, Google Shopping, Amazon Ads or Facebook will work best, as users show or have previously shown intentionality, and thus it is easier for them to become customers. This will allow us to establish a coherent media plan in line with our objectives and audiences.
3. Performance metrics and costs
Once we have looked at the big picture of digital advertising, understanding the environment and the different platforms, it’s time to allocate the budget among the different channels.
Setting the right KPIs and understanding the cost of each objective will be key for campaign planning, as well as for estimating results and analysing campaign performance.
WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE PAID MEDIA COSTS?
- Each sector and platform is different
Depending on the level of digitalisation of the sector, competitors will have a greater or lesser presence in paid digital media and costs will vary. Looking at the average costs by sector or by platform, with reports such as Adstage’s, could be useful when defining budgets and setting objectives.
- Peak times and seasonality
On dates such as Christmas, Black Friday or Back to School, advertising pressure increases. This means a higher number of players are bidding and promoting their content, which will result in a clear increase in advertising costs. Finding the seasonality of your business can be key to avoiding peak times and saving on costs.
- The lower the funnel stage, the higher the price
Impacting 3M users is easier than achieving 300 sales. This increased difficulty, the extra effort platforms have to make for users to finalise a purchase, will be reflected in higher costs. In a comprehensive paid media strategy, we will allocate less budget to the high end of the funnel and more to the lower end, in order to focus on the acquisition and conversion phases, unless the objective specifies otherwise.
- Audience size matters
The narrower the audience, the more qualified our target will be, and thus costs will increase proportionally. Adapting audience size depending on the objective is a very effective way of campaign optimisation: when it comes to reach objectives, we will focus on a wider audience, who may be interested in our content; in consideration objectives, we will reduce this audience to achieve greater interest; in acquisition or conversion objectives, we can set Retargeting or Look-a-like audiences to only impact qualified users.
In other words, we will walk our audience through the funnel, bearing in mind that, as we progress, costs will increase. This will allow us to focus our economic efforts on the stages of the funnel on which users are most likely to convert.
- Ad quality
The copies and creatives will influence the effectiveness of the ad. Some crucial aspects that could influence the cost are adapting the format to each platform, maintaining coherence between the objective, the text and the creative, having quality images or videos, and above all, getting the user’s attention through an attractive CTA and tailored content will encourage them to interact.
As we have seen, there are many influencing the success of a paid media campaign. Being aware of them will help us make the most of our investment. So remember:
- Know your customers. Investing in in-depth profiling to analyse their behaviour, tastes, interests and, most importantly, where to find them will be more profitable in the long term than wasting your investment on a random audience based on intuition.
- Don’t forget the big picture. Having a global overview of all platforms and their functionalities will allow you to trace the ideal user journey.
- Where in the marketing funnel are you? Set a clear goal for your brand and make your strategy and analysis align to it.
- Get familiar with the key metrics and costs, so you can estimate results before launching the campaign.
- Pamper and nurture your campaigns. Make sure you draw conclusions that will be useful for future learning.
In the digital environment, change comes at an abysmal speed, so we must not forget that knowledge is power. Having an overview of the ecosystem surrounding your business, including social media trends and ongoing developments in performance marketing, will help you minimise the risk of paid media investments.
With a solid and measurable strategy in place, we can make data-driven and targeted decisions. Estimating pre-campaign results and analysing them as the campaign progresses will help us to optimise the campaign and increase its profitability. At Good Rebels, we will make sure we continue to be one step ahead to take care of your investment as if it were our own.