With so many marketing channels available, it can be challenging to decide where to allocate your energy and your budget. Is it better to focus on social media ads, or search ads? Do you rely on a paid approach or put your marketing spend into SEO and social media management to try and drive traffic organically. This doesn’t even take into account traditional advertising methods such as radio and print media, the effectiveness of which shouldn’t be ignored.
The reality is that there is not one correct answer that applies to everyone. Factors such as your industry, location and customer cohorts will all have an influence on what strategy you (or your marketing team) decide to employ – after all, there’s not a lot of point in focusing on social ads if your customer base is made up of seniors with a minimal online presence.
The Optimal Balance Will Deliver
A Maximum Benefit
With that said, our experience has shown that the best approach for the automotive industry and OEMs is to strike a balance between your social media (both posting and advertising) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, also known as search ads. A strategy that uses the two channels in conjunction with one another often delivers better results than going all in on just social or PPC – and the research supports this.
Cross-Channel Impact: The Power of Social & PPC Advertising
In 2018, Facebook conducted a meta-analysis of over 200 North American brand and conversion lift studies in the automotive, CPG, entertainment, technology and retail sectors. This analysis was designed to measure the number of search-referred site visits between two groups: one that was exposed to Facebook ads and one that wasn’t. The results of this analysis showed that,
“On average, Facebook ads were responsible for 19% more organic search-referred site visits and 10% more for paid search-referred visits compared to when people didn’t see Facebook ads.”
A nearly 20% increase in organic visits is a remarkable improvement when you also consider the low-cost of entry and outsized impact of social media advertising. For as little as $10 a day, you can reach thousands of potential customers and leave lasting impressions that have a direct impact on your bottom line.
The Impact Of Ad Spend
Unfortunately, the cross-channel impact and interplay of social and PPC advertising has been frequently overlooked or misunderstood. With both channels, the key metrics that every marketer looks at are cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through-rate (CTR) – if you can drive up the CTR while driving down the CPC, you’ve got an effective campaign.
However, what social and PPC campaigns can’t show are the actions that occur off the platform, for example, if a user sees a Facebook ad and then searches the business on Google. It is possible to gain some level of insight into these actions by carefully tracking any changes in your social and PPC campaigns and observing any corresponding change in the other channel, but generally, unless you’re Facebook or Google, you are always going to be somewhat blind as to their effect.
What this means is that businesses tend to follow the results directly, funneling more money into campaigns that are performing well and making changes (either on ad spend or creative) to campaigns whose metrics are falling. This is a perfectly reasonable response but, once again, it fails to take into account the cross-channel impact that campaigns can have. A good Facebook ad can leave an impression on a customer that prompts them to search for a business without clicking through on the ad itself, just as an effective search ad can send someone to social media to learn more about a brand.
It’s Not Just About Ads
(Social Media Management)
The benefits of social media do not come only through advertising, however. While it is no longer a new field as it was a decade ago, organic social media marketing (i.e. posting) is one of the most powerful strategies you can use when it is harnessed correctly. As one of the first points of contact for your business, social media allows you to interact with your customers directly and build brand awareness at a low cost.
As with other areas of digital marketing, data is key when it comes to social media, and failing to realise this is often where most businesses fall short in their approach. If you’re just putting up posts with no strategy behind them and making no effort to understand their impact, then you will struggle to see results and will be unable to replicate them when they do come.
Facebook offers an immense amount of insight into every social media post that allows you to test, study and refine your strategy for maximum impact. Whether you are using social media to send customers to your website or to a search engine, you need to ensure that your efforts on social media are not wasted.
Design Campaigns That Work In Conjunction With Each Other
Just as you wouldn’t send a customer to a poorly designed, low-conversion website, neither should you send them to a search engine that won’t convert. Without effective, well-designed search ads, any effort you put into social media will be for nothing as you will send all of your leads to your competitors.
Creating an effective search ad is not just about targeting the right keywords and having engaging copy, it is also about presenting a consistent brand. With so many different digital communications channels to keep tabs on, it is easy for branding inconsistencies to creep in to your creative. Although this might seem inconsequential, minor differences in your language or messaging can have an outsized impact on your ability to drive customers down the sales funnel and convert leads.
For the most part this is the result of treating digital channels as separate entities – an outcome that is somewhat tough to avoid, given the different rules and limitations of the various platforms. Even so, the best strategy is one that approaches the different channels as parts of a whole and implements a cohesive strategy that allows them to work in conjunction with each other.
Feeling Stuck? We Can Help Create Campaigns That Convert
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, out of your depth or just plain bored by the idea of developing and tweaking endless campaigns, maybe it’s time to put your trust in the professionals. Here at Retain Media, we take a holistic approach to digital marketing that treats your online channels as pieces of a bigger picture.
With our team of ad managers, copywriters and SEO specialists, your digital channels will stop fighting and start helping each other to deliver the results your business needs to succeed. To learn more about our approach and the difference Retain Media can make to your bottom line, get in touch with one of our team.