An emarketer report forecast that UK ad spend would surpass £19.5bn in 2019. Even with Brexit uncertainty, it looks likely to exceed that milestone by the end of the year, with over 66% of that to be in digital media. This reflects the scale in which advertisers are investing in digital channels to promote their brand.
It also is indicative of the competition in the market and therefore the complexities of launching a new brand. At Kaizen, we specialise in working with progressive and disruptive clients, and as a result, have experience helping to launch startups who are yet to know what digital channels will work for their brand.
So, we thought we’d share our insights on how to approach, test and, ultimately, find your ideal digital channel distribution as new or growing brand.
Before you can begin to invest in digital media you need to understand how to measure its performance. The measurement of performance is the foundation that all your efforts will be built upon; deciding on one measurement platform, the goals and metrics you’ll measure is key. You need to fully research and set up tracking according to the different goals of digital channels. If this isn’t done adequately it can undermine your effort at every step along the journey.
Make sure that you have taken the time to consider tracking requirements, 3rd party pixel implementation and once source to understand ROI across all digital channels. Then you can begin looking at investment across the channels you’d like to explore.
The key is to use a consumer-centric approach to understanding your brand visibility and the way people search for your products. Then, work through the journey that your customers have experienced and how you’d like your brand to interact with them.
Once you have this understanding, you need to map your site content, user journey and investment to see how developed each stage is for your brand. For example, as a new brand, you’re going to under index in the “Brand” stage and will have to invest in increasing your brand’s discovery through appearing in the “Research” and “Product” stages of your journey.
Google has been investing heavily in its Think With Google platform to inform, analyse and influence the debate around digital investment, focus and its products. It provides useful category trends, insights and opportunities so it’s somewhere to start.
Please note: as it’s a Google product it’s relatively skewed towards their product portfolio and does not give enough of a focus on emerging platforms such as Linkedin or Amazon.
Each channel has a purpose, measurement opportunities, capabilities and proximity to conversion which need to be understood alongside your user journey. You need to fully understand and test (more on that later) the channel to see how you perform.
At Kaizen, we have done frequent measurement projects around the different content engagement metrics and their reach, engagement, promotion, and scale. This is then used to forecast channel performance and uses.
Before you start investing in a channel, make sure you take the time to use it. Look at formats and understand the measurement opportunities and targeting. Only then can you start to define your strategy, content, and approach.
With any new entrants into the market, understanding where to spend your time is dependent on the competition within the vertical. The level of competition has a direct impact on cost across keywords/audiences and therefore costs will vary wildly across different opportunities. New brands tend to have to be clever with your investment and understand which opportunities and niches work best for them.
By researching your category, understanding how you are going to cut and how much it’s going to cost you will be key to developing a robust strategy.
The joy of digital media is that a) it’s measurable and b) it’s reactive; which means that utilising testing should be key to any strategy you have. PPC represents an excellent opportunity to test your product, offering and articulation on a limited budget without long term investment. This can then be built upon with keyword insight that can then inform your website strategy and SEO approach.
The growth of PPC and increase in spends have drastically changed search, click through rates and how people use their budgets. Brand spend has skyrocketed as a result which has further increased costs per acquisition and in these increased costs have moved up the user funnel.
In search, investing more in upper-funnel content can be a cost-effective way to deliver brand impressions around relevant terms to get people your user journey. Delivering this in tandem to driving efficiency with PPC spends across product terms (by utilising RLSA) can be a cost-effective way to both drive awareness and conversion.
Once you’ve tested channels only then you can then make informed decisions around strategy and approach by channel. This testing will provide the foundations of inbound customer acquisition and engagement.
In summary, as a business emerging or growing your digital spends, your channel investment should not be predetermined but use an agile approach based on measurement, business objectives, and current performance.
Building a solid foundation of measurement, being informed, clever and tactical with how you invest your time, effort and budgets will ensure you get the most return for your investment. But rest assured, when it’s done correctly digital can be the most fruitful and business changing marketing channel you’ll ever use!
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