The 2022 Digital Marketing Trends You’ll Run Into

In today’s digital era, online marketing has become crucial for businesses. People can browse articles, email friends, and search for information on the web, so sharing content and interacting with the content is a large part of digital marketing.

With today’s technology, so much is possible. From SEO to email marketing, successful digital marketing strategies aren’t just something that should be read or heard; they should be seen, felt and experienced.

Here are some emerging digital marketing trends that may be useful to your campaign:

1.  The Use of AI and Automation

Automation has changed the way many websites are designed. People can now schedule posts, send emails and update social media accounts without human interaction. Through automation, businesses can build trust, create leads and retain customers without worrying about the time investment or human error.

On the other hand, the use of AI is becoming more advanced, making it an essential aspect of digital marketing. AI can help you to market better by providing you with information and data that can be used to improve your SEO and reputation management, among other aspects.

2.  Storytelling in the Digital Landscape

People keep scrolling down their Facebook or Instagram feed and are exposed to a variety of posts from brands that they love. However, most of them don’t even see the post. The reason? Too much clutter. Brands are constantly creating content that is not relevant and doesn’t target the right users.

Brands should focus on the three key elements of a story to create the perfect story instead of just publishing content. The three key elements are characters, plot and perspective.

3.  Influencer Marketing Getting Stronger

Influencer marketing is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Companies can to hire influencers to promote their products to their followers. This allows them to reach their desired audience and build long-term relationships with their customers.

Influencer marketing is growing fast, and companies are finding it hard to choose the right influencers. The influence score has been introduced as a way to measure an influencer’s social following and the quality of their content.

4.  Shorter Videos

YouTube and other platforms have made it possible for brands to create videos that are shorter than 15 seconds. These videos are called micro-videos, and they have gained popularity in the last few years because they are quick and easy to produce.

They are similar to the old-fashioned GIF, but they are better because they are more attractive to viewers. While they may appear to be a bit strange at first, they are actually good for brands since they will help connect with audiences faster.

Conclusion

As the digital landscape is constantly changing, the way brands market themselves is also changing. New trends are popping up all the time, so it is necessary for you to follow the right digital marketing trends to keep your customers engaged and coming back to your website.

This is why you need to work with the best if you want to achieve success for your business.

Get the results you want from your digital campaign, with the help of a digital marketing agency in Calgary. We’ll help you come with a clear strategy that will help you reach your goals.

Connect with us, and cut through the noise!

Essential Digital Marketing KPIs To Track In Your Next Campaign

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Nowadays, there are more metrics than ever that marketers can use to track and measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns or broader marketing efforts. Choosing the right digital marketing KPIs, then, is a critical first step in terms of measuring the return on investment of your various marketing efforts. From SEO to bounce rate, customer lifetime value, marketing ROI, customer acquisition cost, click-through rate (CTR), and many more, we asked several of our key partners and experts in various marketing activities to offer their thoughts on the essential key performance indicators for your digital marketing in 2022 and beyond.

Importance Of Choosing The Right KPIs For Your Marketing Goals

Our panel consisted of experts from several fields, including marketing strategy, social media, PPC, SEO, email marketing, and numerous other digital marketing categories. And most of them started their KPI advice for 2022 (and many years to come) by pointing out the importance of setting goals for your digital marketing metrics before you began measuring and analyzing the results. 

“One of the most important things to consider when tracking and measuring KPIs is how clear goals and objectives are to the entire process. Without a clear sense of what you want to achieve, it will be difficult to properly interpret the data. And KPIs should be used in conjunction with other data points to get a complete picture of your marketing efforts.” – Natalia Osorio Quintero, Digital Marketer at NataliaOQ

There can be as many KPIs and metrics as there are types of marketing collateral and outlets. If lead generation is your goal, for example, there may be different measures that help paint a clear picture of your campaign success than those you’d use if retention rate or brand awareness is the goal. Regardless of the specific goals, you have for your marketing investment, clearly establishing your goals will often dictate the right mix of KPIs and measures of success. 

“A business can’t accurately assess whether a marketing investment was viable or wise if there isn’t an observable benchmark for what kind of dent the campaign made for them. The right KPIs, collaboratively established during discovery, quickly and succinctly give business owners a clearer picture of the campaign so they can observe growth, then scale or pivot if things aren’t converting as they want.”

– Max Zoghbi, Founder & Creative Director at Loupe Theory

“Campaign success, while generally subjective, is based on whether or not a brand can meet or exceed its goals. KPIs are put in place to measure progress, hence the term. They’re meant to be adjusted over time.”

– Ceara Milligan, Social Media Manager at STIR Advertising and Integrated Messaging

And while your organization may tweak the important digital marketing KPIs that you set for your campaign, the types of campaigns you plan to run will help you narrow down the list of important metrics that matter. 

“It depends on the type of campaign you are running. For search engine optimization campaigns, it is important to measure the site health, organic keywords, organic keyword position, organic traffic, keyword ranking position, and so on. For ads, you want to know the impressions, clicks, conversions, and cost per conversion. And these are just two examples of how different KPIs vary depending on your campaign type.”

– Masha Kaprian, Principal at iMedPages, LLC

While different types of campaigns and marketing channels can have different goals, businesses still need to drive revenue. And measuring digital marketing KPIs for any kind of campaign will tell you exactly what’s working, what isn’t, and where you can make changes that strengthen your campaign.

“Even if the main goal of a campaign is not sales or conversions, the ultimate goal of any business is to make enough money. The ad can be beautiful, the landing page can be breathtaking, and the copy can be engaging, but if new customers and established customers are not taking the action you want them to take, the campaign is not generating the results you need.”

– Blake Nolan, Founder & Chief Operating Officer at Storm Brain

“Everything can be measured, whether it be phone calls, emails, form fills, account signups, app downloads, product sales, and cart abandonment. But many businesses and agencies are only reporting on total-number site metrics such as time on site, page views, new users, and so on. Proper conversion mapping will not only showcase real-time results (including customer engagement and sales), it will also show lost revenue opportunities and areas where conversion rate can be improved.”

–  Dave Taylor, Cofounder of In Front Marketing  

In addition, measuring your digital marketing campaign goals is important not because it will point out failings, but because they tell you about the opportunities that exist and ways that you can improve performance. 

“KPIs should come with goals that you want to reach. That will ultimately tell you whether or not your campaign is a success. But if you do not meet your goals, that does not mean your campaign is a total failure. Rather, it shows that you have an opportunity to continue to improve your campaigns, so next time you run a campaign you know to make small tweaks that can lead to incremental improvements.” –

Nick Mattar, Founder, and CEO at Digital Detroit LLC 

Specific Digital Marketing KPIs And Metrics To Consider In Your Marketing Campaigns

As you can see, our experts agreed that goals will play a huge factor in determining which KPIs matter the most. Just like your digital marketing strategy overall, choosing the right measures of success requires spending some time evaluating what your metrics for achievement are. From there, however, many of the panelists and marketing experts did have specific recommendations for the key marketing metrics and measures to consider for your current and upcoming campaigns. 

“Start with Customer Lifetime Value. CLV will dictate which prospects you should be focusing your campaigns on. From there you can move on to tactical KPI metrics, such as Return on Ad Spend (RoAS) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). CLV is key guidance in regards to determining who your campaigns should be targeting, while RoAS and CPA will empower you to judge the effectiveness of the campaigns.” – Alonzo Foreman, SVP of Marketing at OppGen Marketing      

Measuring the effectiveness of channels was a key takeaway from our conversations with marketing leaders and digital experts, as it fed into several other metrics and it can help determine the best places to increase or decrease spending. 

“Two metrics that help determine which channels are most effective are ROAS (return on ad spend) and CAC (cost of acquiring a customer). These metrics help us determine the LTV, or lifetime value, of a customer. Since we know how much it costs to acquire them, we can measure that against the average life of a customer or how much a customer spends with us. This helps us know how profitable each channel is.” –  Nicole Denson, Marketing Manager at Big Leap

Just as was the case with our discussion of goals above, your KPIs are very dependent on what you want your campaign to achieve, and what you consider to be a measure of success. Ecommerce campaigns will undoubtedly call for different metrics than a brand awareness campaign, for example. 

“From an SEO firm’s perspective, two primary KPIs to track in a digital marketing campaign include search engine keyword rankings and organic website traffic. If a company is executing a sound on-page optimization strategy, complete with value-add SEO tags that align with relevant industry terms and detailed, long-form content on landing pages, these factors can help improve search engine rankings.” – Asad Kausar, CEO at Dabaran Inc.                 

“I think that link CTR, CPA, and CPM are three of the most critical metrics to track in all digital campaigns. Your link CTR is the gauge that allows you to truly see if your creativity and messaging align with your market. Your cost per acquisition will help you determine if your campaigns are profitable and worth running depending on what a client is worth to you. Finally, your CPMs can help dictate if you have a fair bid in your advertising campaigns.” – Ashley Monk, CEO of Onya

With many different options and different places to start, the metrics you choose to track most closely may shift and change as you continue to develop and implement new campaigns. But certain measures provide anyone with a solid assessment of how your marketing campaign is impacting your business goals. 

“Total revenue and average conversion rate can act as the anchor of your marketing initiatives. When doing A/B testing, a simple comparison of these macro metrics will spotlight which campaigns performed better overall. It’s essential to track, define your goals, and build them out in your preferred analytics system.” – Edan Ben-Atar, Founder of WebLime

“Website traffic and lead-to-visitor conversion rates are two of the most important KPIs for digital marketing campaigns. It’s important to have a healthy mix of new and returning site visitors, as well as to make sure that the traffic we are driving is relevant traffic based on search intent and keyword targeting. And while website traffic on its own is a great metric, it only tells half the story. If you are seeing an increase in site visits but not an increase in conversions, this could mean that some adjustments need to be made.” – Ashley Ismailovski, CRO & Operations Manager at SmartSites

“My top nine most important and most essential KPIs that every digital marketer should use to measure the success of their campaigns are: Web Traffic Sources; Leads; Page Views; Cost per Lead; Returning Users; Conversion; Goal Completion Rate; Click-Through Rate; and Customer Acquisition Cost.” – Joe Smith, SEO Expert at Market Media Connect

Some of the most valuable metrics for your campaign may not be strictly numerical, too. There are some insights that you may not get from Google Analytics, but which are incredibly important for helping you see how well your marketing budget is being put to use. 

“Lead sources. You should investigate the source of your sales. This is one of the most crucial marketing KPIs for your company’s long-term success. If all of your leads originate from one source, a server outage or a store closing could be disastrous for your business. Diversifying your lead sources now may help secure your business in the future.” – Luca Tagliaferro, SEO Consultant at Luca Tagliaferro SEO Consultancy

“Qualified website traffic (or qualified leads) is always a primary KPI for any online campaign. This metric measures the number of website visitors (and potential customers) that result from your marketing efforts. By tracking website traffic, you can gauge the overall reach of your campaign and compare it with other marketing initiatives.” – Andre Kay, CEO at Sociallybuzz

And the quality of your leads, if that’s one of the metrics you choose, is even more informative than the raw number of people who found your site or the number of leads your form generated.

“Consider Profit Per Action rather than cost per action. Cheap leads are not guaranteed good leads. To assess the performance of a campaign, we should be looking at how much profit the campaign is bringing in, instead of focusing on the raw number of leads.” – Justin Chan, Senior Business Developer at Coding Bull Web Redesign Agency

“When looking at conversion rate, it is helpful to look at how many actions were real leads and not just bots or spammers. We look at where traffic is coming from, which pages they are taking action on, and what types of action are most often taken (e.g. phone calls, contact form submissions, email sign-up, etc.).” – Charity Maddox, Owner of Carve Digital Marketing

Finding Out How Your

Campaign Measures Up

Whether you’re launching an organic search effort, upping your content marketing game, or simply ramping up your social media efforts, the bottom line is that you need to be able to see your marketing performance in terms of what’s working and what isn’t, and then adjust with that information in hand. Our experts here have provided some great examples of key metrics and KPIs for you to begin your planning and strategy with, but this is only the beginning. Whether you need help with an inbound marketing campaign, lead conversion, or any other digital marketing and analysis project, our group of expert digital marketing partners is available to help you make the most of your marketing spend and see the results.

Social Advertising Adds Value to Your Organic Reach!

Almost every business owner at some point will close their Instagram app as angrily as one can close an app and call the whole d*mned thing useless.

It’s impossible to get followers.

Even when you get followers most of them don’t see your posts.

And, even when they see your posts, they don’t convert.

However, just because you’ve hit these walls in the past doesn’t mean social media can’t work for you indefinitely.

Start with a strategy

Without a cohesive marketing plan, posting on social media is a bit like yelling into the void.

But with a proper plan, you can utilize both organic posts and paid advertisements on social media to work for you.

Last month we looked at the importance of organic social media, so this week we’re covering how paid advertising plays a unique role that’s equally critical for your business.

“It’s one of the easiest ways to generate a direct return on your investment through an advertising platform,” John, our ad guru, said.

The unreal reach of social media

Social media has an almost unfathomable reach in our current culture.

If you combine the US and Canada, there are less than 150 million television viewers – and that audience is chopped up among hundreds of channels and costs thousands to access.

Those numbers don’t come close to the behemoth of Facebook, which has 2.7 billion active users that can be accessed at almost any budget.

“On social media, the potential for your audience is nearly limitless,” John said, “but, your budget isn’t.”

While you can start to access that immense reach with even simple organic posts, the days of finding a huge following using strictly organic posts are gone.

Today, there’s too much noise.

You’ve got to pay to play

Social networks aren’t designed to let you cut through all that distracting noise made by those billions of users organically. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever social network pops up next, they all cater to the pay to play crowd.

It used to be, if you posted at just the right time, when people were typically on their phones and scrolling their chosen social media – you would pop up.

But, posts aren’t dictated by timing anymore. That serendipity has been replaced by an algorithm that no one can predict – an algorithm that’s not there to serve your posts to your people, but to make the social media giant money.

So, they only deliver your message to those who want to see it.

“Facebook is only serving organic stuff to your highly engaged, participating user or follower,” John said. “But, with paid you’re going to hit people based on your specific targeting.”

So, if you want to find new audiences to fill the top of your funnel and introduce your brand to people who have never heard of or interacted with you (or haven’t interacted much) to drive traffic to take action, you’re going to need to pay.

A great spot to dip your toes

While organic social isn’t the place to go to grow your audience from zero, paid social advertising is.

“It’s one of the best places to start advertising,” John said.

With all the information social platforms have on their users, it’s incredibly easy to find the audience you want on almost any social platform. So, if you know your audience, which is critical for any successful campaign, you can make sure you’re talking to them whether they follow you or not.

And, best of all, you can do this no matter your budget. You can start with a meager $500/month and carefully track your success. When you nail down your advertising and start seeing a positive return on advertising spend (ROAS), then you can start to ramp up your investment.

Paid plays well with others

Though paid social advertising is a great place to start, it’s very rarely where you want to keep all your proverbial eggs.

The truth is, your audience is constantly switching between search, websites and social, and advertising is more effective when it follows users across all three. And, the good news is, paid social works really well in tandem with other advertising.

“Social is nimble – it can be a primary part of your ad campaign, or just a reinforcement of your total campaign,” John said.

Now, this is when advertising tends to get a little more tricky, as simply adding more dollars to your ad spend won’t create a cohesive campaign. But, with the right key performance indicators (KPIs), an understanding of which platform is the best primary for your product, and a tight focus on the right audience, you can really start to fuel your campaigns.

The future is murky

We touched on the death of the pixel in an earlier article. If you haven’t read it already, we highly recommend it, because it will be one of the biggest changes in online advertising since the pixel first appeared.

And, it’s going to have a major effect on paid social.

“The targeting and the impressions and the reach is still going to be there,” John said, “but we’re losing a lot of the functionality in terms of some of the tracking and the results of the analytics – for now”

Facebook has a plan to deal with this loss of granular data, but they’re not revealing what it is, or how it will work.

So, for those doing their own advertising campaigns currently, that means the ROAs of social advertising is going to get a little more hazy.

The IFM Advantage

The key to making your social media campaigns truly perform is to use an advertising partner who understands how to create clarity in ad planning and execution – especially as the tremors from the death of the pixel shake up the social world. Then, together you can maximize your ROAS on a social platform.

At In Front Marketing, we work with you to give you transparent results that allow you to make the best decision for your business.

We help you find the right audience, the right platform, then work with you to spread your advertising dollars through search, organic and paid social media advertising to create the most effective advertising campaign – and the greatest return for your advertising budget.

Death Of The Pixel

Long the Golden Goose for advertisers, the pixel has recently become the cookie monster under the bed.

For marketers, the third-party tracking completely changed the game online.

It gave us the power to track the ROI of advertising budgets, refine our campaigns, and show our clients exactly how online advertising made them money. And that was something traditional advertisers could never do.

In short, cookies and pixels took online marketing to the next level.

So, why are we celebrating the death of the pixel?

Because these days, third-party tracking is increasingly viewed with suspicion. 

With bad actors taking advantage of cookies, and major world governments creating laws around it, third-party tracking is quickly becoming the boogeyman of the internet.

This is why Google recently announced that Chrome will stop supporting third-party tracking by 2022.

As Google leaves the pixel behind, a consortium of advertisers and advertising organizations are moving on to create a new way forward: Unified ID 2.0.

What is third-party tracking?

Third-party tracking means an organization other than the website owner tracks the movements of a user.

This is done in two ways:

  • A cookie: a piece of code downloaded by the user’s browser that gathers information about the user.
  • A pixel: a piece of code existing on the website that gathers information about the user.

Essentially, they both accomplish the same task in different ways.

Website owners also use cookies to optimize usability, but they’re not a third-party so it’s untouched by this update.

What will be changing is third-party trackers (like yours truly), and any other advertiser out there, will not be able to track users with cookies or pixels in a few, short years.

Without another solution, i.e.: Unified ID 2.0, this would leave advertisers blind again, unable to target relevant ads to consumers, or tell if their clients’ campaigns are working as well they should be.

The ‘Wild West’ of Internet Tracking

Rewind to the beginning and it’s easy to see why there are so many concerns with pixels, cookies, and internet-tracking in general. It’s a chaotic mess of different codes, companies and methods.

It started when someone discovered lines of code could be placed within pictures that allowed websites to follow traffic, and then everything grew ad hoc from there. Different solutions were implemented to monetize various sites and other advertisers diverged – with even the best strategies carried out in a rather chaotic manner.

In short, it was the wild, wild west of the internet, where everyone did as they pleased with their pixels.

Today, the internet isn’t quite so cobbled together – but tracking still is. The result is sketchy companies, like Cambridge Analytica, have been able to push the boundaries of what is possible and what is morally acceptable within the confines of the online world.

This has made users and governments look at the mess and try to create some sort of order.

The Pixel Has Fallen; The Cookies Are Scattered

When the European Union started creating laws requiring websites to disclose their tracking, it was the beginning of the end for the pixel. 

The new laws:

  • Came with annoying pop ups

and

  • Made people wary of internet tracking

Today, for example, Mozilla Firefox defaults to blocking third party cookies trying to track you. But, arguably more important, Google has just announced that Chrome, which has a 60% share of the browser market, will disallow third-party tracking as of 2022.

That gives advertisers just two years to find a method that’s seamless and secure.

Unified ID 2.0 – a better way to internet

Unified ID 2.0 is a new solution to the confusing nature of the pixel/cookie world. Created and backed by a variety of huge internet advertising companies and organizations, like Nielsen of Nielsen Ratings fame, Unified 2.o makes tracking and advertising not only simpler, but more transparent for users across the board.

Instead of operating in the code users don’t see, Unified 2.0 relies on users to opt-in through a secured sign-in page, much like logging into Chrome. 

The first time they sign-in, they will be prompted to create an account with their email as a username. In that account, they will be able to control their settings, which will work across the internet

This makes life all-around better for both users and advertisers.

For advertisers

The thrown-together nature of cookies has worked fine for advertisers as we try to find out how users are interacting with our ads. However, because it’s hodge-podge, problems have been glaring from the get-go – one of the main ones being how cookies can’t track users across different platforms.

However, Unified 2.0 is built to allow advertisers to track cross-platform, solving one of the biggest issues for cookies. Because users sign in on all their platforms, Unified 2.0 will know if they see an ad on their computer, then search for the brand on their mobile device. This helps us to better track users so we can see how effective our ads are, and it also helps us better target consumers.

It’s also a much simpler system than the ever changing multitude of protocols we currently use. Because it is open source and interoperable, it will work across browsers and sites, making it a perfect one-stop solution.

For consumers

While Unified ID 2.0 looks great for advertisers, it’s even better for consumers. 

Just like everything with cookies, security was something of an afterthought. But, with Unified ID 2.0, security is baked in from the very beginning. To protect privacy, all login emails will be hashed and encrypted, with regular rotation of decryption keys to help maintain privacy. A code of conduct, governed by an independent body, will also ensure Unified ID 2.0 will remain open and respect its users’ privacy in an ongoing manner. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it will help speed up the user’s internet experience. Today, when a user lands on a website, anywhere from one to 100 trackers all start sending information. This not only takes up bandwidth, slowing down a user’s experience, but it also eats up their data.

Google Analytics 4 – Google Beyond The Cookie

As Google moves away from third party cookies and toward a new future in online advertising, it will make it easier than ever for business owners to track how consumers are interacting with their website.

And, with updates to Google Analytics (the most powerful free tool available), new, machine-learning software will improve its ability to spot and report on trends – even alerting marketers and business owners on high ROI advertising opportunities.

Combining this powerful tool with Google Ads and new movements in tracking software, like Unified ID 2.0, will give online business owners better options to find the right audience for their products and services.

How Can IFM Help Prepare You For The Future?

As big pieces of the puzzle start to change, it’s important to stay on top of how your website is performing. Increasingly, tracking is moving from ‘really nice’ to ‘absolutely critical’ for online businesses.

These days, you don’t need to be an expert to track how effective your site and your online advertising is. But, if you do need help, give us a call and we can walk you through how you can take advantage of the tools and data in front of you to make your advertising more effective. 

Employee Showcase, Brie Pettigrew

Brie Pettigrew

Our resident advertising expert, Brie’s poised to make a splash here at IFM with her extensive experience in the industry. Her instinct for coming up with creative, eye-catching ads that attract customers is uncanny, and it’s a talent that’s served her well in everything from health & wellness to commercial real estate.

We’ve known Brie for a long time – eight plus years in fact – and she’s been a contractor for five. Because of that great relationship, we’ve always known she’d be a great fit for our team. So, when the stars aligned for her to join, she was happy to come aboard. Brie is excited to be able to offer her clients a diverse array of products and services with the support of the IFM team, and to be able to work in our new 17th Ave office.

“I LOVE our office and more importantly, I love the culture and the people. And the location is pretty unbeatable!”

When she’s not in the office, Brie makes a beeline for the city limits in her Toyota Tacoma to go snowboarding or camping (weather-depending) or to just hit the road and see where it takes her.

Experience  

  • Nine years in the advertising field 
  • Worked with brands in industries such as: health & wellness, legal, construction, commercial real estate, automotive and retail

Specialties: advertising, marketing, digital media, strategic planning, project management, client relations, presentations, media, publishing, new media, website strategist, media buying, networking.

Learn More About Brie – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brie-pettigrew/  Or contact her today!

Getting More From Display Advertising

For years, the only metric for display advertising was how many people clicked through.

As ads proliferated across the internet, the click-through rate plummeted and many critics rang the death knell for display advertising – some even going so far as to claim they had ‘banner blindness.’

But from social media to blogs, display advertising is still here – and growing.

Once advertisers stopped looking entirely at the click-through rate, the benefits and possibilities of display advertising grew to encompass so much more than just that single click.

However, despite the growth, many advertising firms are still stuck in the early 2000’s – laser-focused on an outdated metric.

That’s why we do display ads differently. 

The IFM approach to display advertising

Today, the real strength of display advertising is its ability to gather clear data. That’s why we focus on giving you the information you need to fine-tune your whole advertising campaign to get a better ROI. 

If you’ve never considered the benefits of banner ads beyond the click, then it’s time to dig deep, and read on, because display ads can help you craft a better advertising campaign. You might even be surprised by the variety of benefits display advertising offers that have nothing to do with click-through.

What is display advertising?

Display advertising is simply a fancy word for banner ads. Those are the ads on the top or side of your screen when you land on popular blogs, news sites, or other monetized pages. Mostly, they resemble the ads of old – just like you’d see in newspapers or magazines. There’s usually a picture along with a bit of salesy text encouraging you to click on the ad. When you do click on the ad, it will take you to the sponsor-site. 

Because it resembles ads in physical publications, display advertising seems simple enough. However, there’s actually much more happening behind that display ad that makes click-through less important than it seems.

Interesting notion, isn’t it?

The problem with click-through

If they clicked, the ad worked, right? That seems straightforward. But if they clicked by accident, which likely we’ve all done, or find the ad misleading and close the tab right away, that ad didn’t actually do anything. 

And if you don’t know:

  • how long a person is staying on your website 
  • what pages they’re looking at
  • if they saw the ad and decided to check your webpage out later

Then you don’t know enough to make sure your banner ad is doing a good job, or if your advertising agency is.

By focusing on click-through rates exclusively, or even mainly, agencies flatten the impact of the banner ad, leaving you without a good way to track your ROI.

The true value of banner ads

The real ROI of display advertising comes when you start looking at it as more than just traditional advertising. From here, you can fuse the message with all that new, cutting edge technology to make that ad as effective as possible.

There are three main benefits to modern display advertising:

#1 You stay top of mind

Outside of click-through rates, the most basic aspect of display advertising is keeping your business top of mind. For those old, traditional ads, this was taken as an article of faith because there was no way of tracking who saw your ad, or the impact it had. Instead, buyers bought as many billboards, magazine ads, and broadcast spots as they could to stay top of mind. With new tools available to us, like tracking pixels, you can create metrics that allow you to monitor how effective your ad is at keeping you on top of the pack. So when a potential client does decide to buy, they see you first.

#2 You capture tons of data about your clients

Advertising without understanding your audience leads to lower interaction and lower ROI. Traditionally, this was combated through focus groups or surveys, which are often unreliable. But today, display advertising allows you to capture data from your audience without jumping through those extra hoops. That makes display advertising one of the easiest ways to really get to know who your ideal audience is, what media they interact with, and what advertisements really work for them. This is one of the greatest benefits of modern display advertising. If you’re not seeing any of the data that comes from your digital display advertising, you’re getting barely half the value of your ad spend. And that’s NOT okay.

#3 You can continually optimize and track your ROI within your campaign

One of the misconceptions of display ads is that the ad is placed indiscriminately – whoever lands on the blog or news site sees that same ad, no matter who they are. But with all the data available to advertisers, your ads can be optimized and directed at the audience that’s been defined through data capture. Using all that information, your ads are placed where your audience is actually living. For example, if you run a sporting goods business, you could focus your ad spend on sites where sports fans hang out, such as sports news sites, or social media channels. Then, you can track how effective those ads are, which allows for you to tweak your campaign for the best ROI. That’s a win-win.

Looking past the click

In many ways, a display ad is as much about knowing your audience, and how they interact with you, as it is about your audience knowing you and understanding what you can do for them. 

Properly utilized, this information is priceless. Not only does it help guide your display advertising campaign, but it allows for effective ROI tracking and tweaking over the course of each push. And at the end of the day, this makes your advertising more effective across mediums.

After 5+ years tracking and tweaking ROI for our clients, we’ve helped many create strong, well-tracked display advertising campaigns – and seen the return on investment first hand.

And join us next month, where we’ll look at how Google Analytics can help you further clarify the picture of your ideal client, so you can optimize your business advertising and communications for them.

Learn More about how we do things – Reach Out

Aid Local: Bringing action to shopping local

The term shop local has been echoing throughout the city as a rally cry to support businesses that are affected by the COVID-19 restrictions on operations. Aidlocal.ca, a platform created by Top Shelf Media and In Front Marketing for businesses across Canada, gives an inside lane for businesses to connect directly with local customers and let them know what they can offer during this time of adjusted operations. This free service is easy to use. You can search by your location or by an address and you will see a list of nearby companies along with what they have available.

Right now, aidlocal.ca is growing daily as businesses become aware of this new way to reach the local community. Companies that would benefit from this platform can submit their business here.

Platforms like this are important to the future and success of businesses hit hardest. By purchasing gift cards and ordering delivery you provide revenue to organizations that require cash flow to get through this temporary standstill in business.

For any questions related to aidlocal.ca please reach out to [email protected]. or [email protected].

Risk, Opportunity, & Data

Leveraging data to craft a recession-proof marketing plan

The mere mention of a recession can cause panic as people shut their wallets tight and dig in. But for John McColman and Dave Taylor, the co-founders of In Front Marketing (IFM), recessions offer unique possibilities.

“We see it as an opportunity, a chance for us to provide better value to our clients,” Dave said.

That’s why when companies decrease marketing budgets as a knee-jerk reaction to downturns, IFM recommends a more aggressive approach.

“Clients and consumers are still spending in a recession, they’re just doing it smarter,” He said. “They’re doing a lot more research, which means that companies have to be aggressive in digital advertising.”

Then, as other companies pull back, it provides room for active companies to increase their market share – if they do it right.

Aggressive digital advertising

In a recession, each dollar needs to be spent efficiently. With the old way of marketing and its hazy ROI, that was impossible. No one knew exactly how the web of display ads, banners, and social media linked up to create a sale.

With IFM’s data-rich approach, the path of every conversion is clearly mapped from initial impression to purchase, giving clients the information to streamline ad campaigns. Underperforming media is cut to make way for ads that convert, creating a more cost-effective campaign with a higher, demonstrable ROI.

This creates flexibility in the system, allowing IFM to work with any budget to market when and how it makes the most sense, and pull back if there’ no concrete ROI.

IFM’s process starts with a deep dive into a company’s existing plan to pinpoint inefficacies and continues with real-time monitoring to determine which ads are working and which ones should be cut. Then, clients can move forward with a more effective model based on the data provided.

For IFM, this is more than a marketing approach – it’s the way they started their business.

Leveraging a recession

John and Dave opened IFM in 2015, in the midst of one of the worst recessions in recent memory. While other companies were closing up shop or retreating until oil prices began to rise again, they decided to push forward because they understood what clients wanted.

“We found that business owners were not being given any insight into what happens when they run a digital advertising campaign,” Dave said. “There was no real understanding of how a consumer engages with a business when they see an ad.”

Knowing their clients would be searching to find the best ROI from their advertising dollars during the recession, John and Dave knew their data-driven approach, tying investment to return, would win-over the companies.

So they began an aggressive, flexible campaign to grow their market share.

The power of data

By using this approach with other companies, the pair was able to show clients a better way forward, helping them to grow and thrive in the recession.

Recently, IFM helped the Calgary Flames clear the fog from their marketing campaigns. The team was able to prune ads with low conversion rates in order to focus more of their budget on ads that worked.

The IFM team

Today, John and Dave are celebrating In Front Marketing’s fifth successful year in business and about to set up shop in a new, 2000 sq/ft office space on the Red Mile.

The company was incorporated in February 2015, when John and Dave quit their day jobs to work from home.

The pair started in the marketing industry around the same time, and now have over two decades of experience between them.

Dave started his career with the Yellow Pages in 2009, before moving to Sun Media in 2012. It’s there he met John, who had been working with the company for three years at the time. The pair worked together for three more years as John climbed the corporate ladder to become head of online operations, and in charge of $14 million in annual, digital revenue.

After discovering their frustrations within the marketing industry, John and Dave decided to create their own company to give clients the data that shows real ROI.

To learn more about the power behind digital advertising and the data your business could be missing, call Dave or John to schedule a free marketing review and consultation with In Front Marketing.

‘The Agency’s Dead’ Part Two

The 3 key ingredients for an effective digital ad agency

This is part two of a two-part series. If you haven’t read the first part yet, click the link, read the article and come back here for the second installment.

The old ad agency is out of touch and expensive, caught up in a world of passive advertising campaigns with no identifiable impact. And it’s these stumbling old agencies that have created a void where a jungle of freelancers have jumped in to fill, but with varying results.

The gamble of an open, online marketplace

In the new world of advertising, freelancer’s portfolios can be exaggerated, testimonials outright faked and overseas freelancers are far enough away that repercussions from a bad job feel very distant.

Because of this volatility, online marketplaces like Upwork, Fiver and the like, are a gamble for business owners. They’re a kind of talent roulette table where fortunes are made or lost based on a freelancer’s profile. This is why reaching blindly into the void to find a creative team is not a great or sustainable solution for anyone – freelancers included.

Finding the middle ground

So if the old agency is too much of a dinosaur, and the freelance casino is too unstable, then what’s the solution? Finding the middle ground that moves with technology, while offering stable, quality work. Somewhere between the old, moribund ad agency, and the chaos of the freelance marketplace, the new digital agency is leveraging cutting edge technologies and trusted freelancers to create a manoeuvrable marketing team.

The 3 key ingredients for an effective digital ad agency:

  1. Numbers – digital campaigns should always have a demonstrable return on investment.
  2. Nimble – digital agencies should have the ability to tweak campaigns to ensure efficacy.
  3. Niche – with a plethora of freelancers available, digital agencies should be able to find a trusted, professional freelancer that specializes in your needs.

Numbers dictate the value of your ad campaign

The first and most important aspect of any new, digital media agency are the numbers. How many people saw your ad? Who clicked? Who landed on your site? How many conversions did you get from your last Facebook campaign? Traditional agencies, with their expensive ad campaigns in magazines, or radio advertising, cannot accurately track their numbers.

Tracking the numbers is crucial to your marketing investment

But accurate numbers are the only way to really gauge whether your marketing is worth the money you’re investing into it. Value in digital marketing is not about how much, or little, you spend, but rather how much, or little you make.

That’s why searching for the cheapest ad writer or strategist online doesn’t offer your company value. If you pay $100 dollars for a social media ad campaign and make a sale of $100, your campaign added nothing to your business and probably leached out time that could have been better used almost anywhere else. However, if you pay $10,000 for an ad campaign and make $15,000 in sales, the value of the campaign is obvious. But without the numbers, discerning that value is almost impossible.

In Front Marketing tracks all the numbers

With the right digital media company, however, you can see the results of each campaign and determine the one that will offer the most value to your business. When you find the most valuable method of advertising by parsing the numbers, you can start to scale your advertising in a way that will increase your profit and help your business grow exponentially.

Learn more about In Front Marketing’s number tracking.

Staying nimble sharpens your ad campaign

Once you start a traditional advertising campaign you’re locked in for the duration. The images have been compiled, the copywriting placed in magazines, voice-overs on the radio, and nothing can be changed. But if the campaign falls flat, there’s nothing for it but to continue and hope something changes.

Under the old model, you worked with an agency carrying an impressive roster of full-time employees, from strategists to designers, photographers to writers. The massive number of employees on payroll made for high overhead, which got passed onto clients as a monthly retainer.

But with a good digital advertising team behind you, each advertising campaign is waiting to be adjusted to perform better. By building a team of digital advertising professionals, you can create advertising campaigns that can be altered in real-time. In this way, no campaign is a flop, it’s simply waiting to be tweaked into an effective configuration.

In Front Marketing creates adaptable, effective ad campaigns

But even better than tweaking an already existing campaign is A/B testing your campaign to ensure that every ad campaign, and every change, creates a more effective ad. The ability to adapt sharpens more than just your advertising campaign. The digital agency makes it possible to change your team depending on your need at the time.

Learn more about In Front Marketing’s A/B Testing and adaptable ad campaigns.

Covering every niche with specialized skills

Every campaign, every ad, and every post your company makes should be designed with a purpose in mind. Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, or gain credibility and followers, each piece of your digital presence should be effective in its sphere.

Under the old agency model, businesses worked with generalists or ‘jacks of all trades’ in a variety of disciplines. Whether it was a startup looking to create buzz with a social media campaign, or an established corporation who needed a new website, the agency pulled from the same talent-pool of writers, designers and strategists for every project.

In Front Marketing uses specialists to create excellence

Today, there’s a freelancer specializing in whatever sphere you need to operate in. There are designers who work on creating the perfect visuals to accompany your Facebook ads and copywriters who specialize in writing persuasive case studies for specific industries.

Being able to pull from a massive pool of talent worldwide, allows the new agency model to help their clients create more effective ads, websites, and social media campaigns needed to stay in front of their target market.

Learn more about In Front Marketing’s services.

Finding a solid digital ad agency for your business

With such an ocean of talent readily available, almost anyone can pull together an amazing team with just a few clicks of a mouse. This offers huge opportunities for companies to work with talented creatives to make the most effective advertising campaigns that will convert readers into buyers, and shoppers into loyal customers.

However, finding those creatives, the ones who will work with you, and share in your company’s vision and passion, while delivering high-quality work on time, is no easy task.

At In Front Marketing we anchor the work of high-quality freelancers with a robust, trackable infrastructure that allows us to ensure your advertising dollars reap the highest return on investment possible.

Check out In Front Marketing’s services today and see how we can create a valuable digital ad campaign for you!

Why a focus on data is key for your business and a standard for In Front Marketing.

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve purchased a display advertising campaign and a large number of impressions from a large corporation or local ad agency. After the campaign your agency has only told you how many “clicks” your ad campaign has received.

As a business owner what does “clicks” mean to you, and how are you supposed to determine if this has brought any revenue into your business?

When business owners ask this question, why is the answer always the same? “that’s just how we do things” or “we don’t have access to any other information”.

How are large corporations and major advertising agencies getting away with providing clients with such an insignificant amount of data and no one is holding them accountable to report more??

So let’s take a look at what happens when you book a Display advertising campaign with In Front Marketing.

First, we uncover data that is unique to your business. We create and install unique tracking codes called website pixels that allow us to compile information on the consumers who are interested in your business.

What behaviors led them to your website?  How is that behavior relevant to other consumers on your website?  What are they doing on your website and what is leading them to purchase or contact your business?

This information is being stored on every device that lands on your website and these website pixels create a pie chart to show you what interested every consumer on your website, and this pie chart is different for each individual product and service on your website.

The best part, this data doesn’t cost you a penny. This is your data, hosted on your website!  You just need a way to connect with it.

After 2 to 4 weeks of data collection, we now have an opportunity to create an ad campaign focussed around your target audience. We work to understand from your perspective, what does the ideal customer coming through the door look like, compare it to the data and strategically create an ad campaign.

Using a display advertising networks, we can now ensure your message is only being “displayed” to consumers who are performing a behavior that is relevant to your business.

They may be shopping with your competition, or doing research on your products, but regardless of how they are spending time online we have an opportunity to invite them to your business and monitor how they engage with you.

So let’s go back to the “clicks” — Did you know that a display ad typically drops a “cookie” onto your computer that is traceable by a website pixel?

This allows us to track consumers who do not click on ads (we are all afraid where the click is going to take us). These consumers see an ad, engage with the message, head straight to google and search for your business. The website pixels allows us to trace the cookie/pixel and determine which ad they saw. This is called a “conversion”.

The website pixel then allows us to determine what they do next.

Let’s say the ”consumer” views 6 pages on your website, placing a product in a shopping cart and then makes a purchase. The pixel stays with them, so we don’t lose them during this process. The pixel then shows us the pages they visited, the total revenue purchased by this consumer and relates that back to the individual ad they saw before coming to your website.

That “click” – it’s pretty insignificant now isn’t it??

With In Front Marketing you not only see “clicks” – You see Behaviors, You see Conversions and consumers who don’t click but still search out your business.  You see a full picture of website engagement, and best of all! You see performance, revenue, and real RESULTS!

Oh, and by the way, the website pixels will stay with a consumer for an average of 30 days once they leave your website. So, if they choose not to purchase or contact you today, but they continue shopping around and engaging with your competition, we stay top of mind with them and continually invite them back to your website. If their behavior changes and they no longer show interest in your products or service, the pixels will stop tracking them ensuring your ads never become annoying or spam!

Want to see real results for your ad campaigns?