Tag: Strategy

  • TikTok Allegations Could Inspire a Wave of Ad Spend Diversification

    TikTok Allegations Could Inspire a Wave of Ad Spend Diversification

    TikTok is experiencing another wave of congressional inquiries and investigations, as whistleblowers claim the company’s plan for protecting U.S. user data is flawed. The allegations suggest TikTok relies on proprietary Chinese software that could have backdoors, and uses tools that allow employees to easily toggle between U.S. and Chinese user data. These ongoing investigations are likely to cause agencies and brands to question if they should explore different options for their ad spend. However, not every organization has identified alternative sources for their ad dollars. With that in mind, they might simply rely on the largest, and most typical, advertising platforms – but is that the best choice?  It’s really important to understand where key audiences are, and how to engage them until these recurring security issues are addressed. And let’s be honest, we hope all of these investigations are handled swiftly so we can continue enjoying our endless TikTok dives!  Lessons From Recent History The investigations into TikTok make me think back to the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. As a quick refresher, British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, obtained the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users – without their consent. That information was then used to target people with political ads. Facebook was investigated and criticized for not having necessary guardrails in place to protect its users, and for not being transparent about the extent of the breach. Hopefully that isn’t the case with TikTok. That said, it is beneficial to refresh ourselves on how strategies evolved during that era, and see which insights we can leverage now.  Obviously the Cambridge Analytica situation inspired a few changes – we recommended clients and partners be cautious of the campaigns they were running across Facebook until more clarity was provided. We also adopted a “waste not, want not” mentality; we examined the messaging and creative our teams developed, and sought to repurpose it as best as possible on other channels. A key point I’d like to make is, we didn’t recommend fully stopping spending on Facebook. We reexamined what our campaign goals were, and evolved strategies to meet them. For example, a higher education client knew their audience profile was heavily active on social media and in gaming — so, we repurposed the awareness assets to fit a world we knew they engaged in: Twitch.  As the media climate stabilized and Facebook implemented new processes, we “went back to normal” and fully incorporated the platform into our campaigns again. Finding A Path Forward Before potentially diversifying ad spend away from TikTok, let’s take a second to understand why the platform is such a hit. It directly stems from the fact that it’s supported by user generated content. User generated content provides a fast sense of connection and community. It puts personalized engagement into focus, and pushes the notion of authenticity. In fact, 90 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.  In the event people’s use of TikTok reduces, it will be critical for agencies and brands to find the channels that fill that void. From a marketing perspective, an obvious alternative to consider is Instagram. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users, and offers equally advanced targeting options. The channel also offers several ad formats, ensuring messaging and creative can totally fit a campaign’s specific needs.  However, before everyone decides to shift their ad spend there, it’s important to look at TikTok’s evolution as a company and how consumers engage the platform. While it is often categorized as a social media brand, my perspective is that TikTok actually evolved to be more of a streaming video platform. A report from Demand Sage found that over three billion people downloaded TikTok as of 2023, and users spent an average one and a half hours a day on the app – that’s basically the length of a movie!  With this in mind, agencies and brands should consider CTV inventory as another solid alternative. CTV provides advertisers with strong targeting and measurement capabilities, enabling advertisers to reach the household level and optimize efforts efficiently. Additionally, it’s cost effective as advertisers can buy inventory in real time auctions. CTV also accepts unique ad formats and creative. It’s likely content developed for TikTok would translate well for CTV, with a few tweaks. From a marketing perspective, TikTok showcases the power of motion and sound; short-form video content truly encourages users to lean-in. That said, agencies and brands need to identify the strongest backup channels to leverage their video content, in the event TikTok disappears from our app stores. Those that do will ensure they continue delivering experiences that resonate best with their target audiences.   Katie Harker, VP of Media & Client Operations, Choozle

    Know More

  • 2022 Mid-Year Key Findings Report

    2022 Mid-Year Key Findings Report

    Throughout the first half of 2022, we’ve experienced advertising trends that have asked us to grow and adapt to a changing world where people really care about digital advertising. Behaviors continue to evolve rapidly with new technology, along with new timelines for privacy-centric advertising and so much more. The remainder of the year still has more in store for us that we will be able to take advantage of to build amazing campaigns for the return of Football, political advertising season, and the holiday season to cap it all off. As you look ahead and prepare for the second half of the year, use our Key Findings Report to guide your digital advertising strategy. The data from Choozle’s Key Findings Report will help guide your marketing strategy as you execute the rest of 2022 and beyond. Understand how to evaluate your campaign’s success by comparing your results to marketplace averages and data from advertisers using Choozle. Key takeaways from the first half of 20221. The deprecation of the third-party cookie is still on the horizon. Focus on strategies and technology partners that will maintain success as changes come later on. Build useful information about your audience now, and show your commitment to moving forward in a privacy-centric era. First-party data is the most accurate information available to you. 2. Prioritize connected TV in your omnichannel strategy to capitalize on effective TV advertising. Separate your live connected TV event inventory from your videos and other creative types to ensure campaigns pace properly. Marketers are continuing to diversify their advertising channels, media types, and device types for a dynamic campaign strategy while keeping CPMs low and engaging all consumers. 3. Regardless of your industry, the upcoming political election cycle will impact all channels and CPMs. Two ways to combat this are picking private marketplace deals that exclude political buyers or using site lists to avoid news sites.Events that will affect CPMs across industries remaining in 2022: Live sporting events Holiday shopping season Election and political advertising The path forward in today’s digital advertising landscape is changing, but there are more growth opportunities for marketers to connect with audiences and make meaningful engagements.

    Know More

  • Will This Year’s Back-to-School Season Bring Home the Bacon?

    Will This Year’s Back-to-School Season Bring Home the Bacon?

    4 Min Read A recent article earlier this month released by Forbes revealed that back-to-school sales are projected to grow about 5.9% this year, versus 13.1% last year. We weren’t too surprised to see that this is the case, amid inflationary pressures, ongoing war, higher gas prices and the whisper of a recession on the horizon. However, let’s not discount the fact that there are still windows of opportunity for advertisers. For example, during the back-to-school shopping period, families are likely to spend more on apparel and accessories and shoes compared to last year, since students are back to in-school learning instead of at home—and yes, because of kids and teens outgrowing what they wore a year or two ago. Read on as we shed some light on changing consumer sentiment and behavior that is sure to influence your back-to-school marketing strategy this year. Money-Saving Strategies—And How it Impacts Advertisers Back-to-school (and any shopping holiday, really), is always a competitive time for brands—but be prepared to battle it out even harder to win over consumers. This year, over 40% of shoppers are investing more time in comparative shopping—seeking sales and deep discounts. Over a third of shoppers are ditching brand loyalty in favor of generic or store brands. The government has stepped in, with 17 states holding back-to-school tax-free holidays to ease the cost-pressures—expect these to cover most back-to-school supplies including apparel, computers, electronics and more up until the end of August this year. Check our chart below for more information and click here for state-specific exemptions. For advertisers, this means one thing—expect an influx of shopping activity during this tax-free time (i.e. all of August) and ensure that your campaigns are switched on for the full month. Our annual back-to-school guide outlines the specific dates that you should be targeting.   Online Retailers Benefit, But Shoppers Ditch Brand Loyalty Findings from Deloitte’s 2022 Back-to-School survey revealed that online shopping continues to gain popularity versus other shopping methods, with 10% more shoppers choosing to add-to-cart this year versus 2021. However, the biggest difference we see this year is the perception (of rather, lack of) of brand loyalty, which seems to have gone out of the window in light of increased price sensitivity: 77% of shoppers are willing to trade brands if their preferred brand is not in stock48% of consumers are more likely to shop from a brand that has consistently lower pricesConsumers’ willingness to switch to a new brand if it is more affordable increased 12% quarter-over-quarter This means matching messaging to consumer sentiment is key. Advertisers should heavy up on the BOTF (bottom of the funnel)  promotional and price messaging, calling out deep discounts, free and/or expedited shipping where possible, since this is what is converting shoppers. This is a great opportunity to incorporate multiple creative elements and test different variables (or even types of promotional messaging) to see what resonates. Here are some examples you might want to try: Free Shipping messaging, with ‘Limited Time’ CTAPercentage (%) discount message, with a ‘Buy Now’ CTALimited time offer message, with a ‘Shop Now’ CTA Shoppers on the Move: The Importance of Second (Even Third) Screens Our research also revealed that shoppers are shopping on the move, with smartphones continuing to gain popularity, up almost 20% from 2020. Building an omnichannel advertising strategy is key to reaching these shoppers—since they’re not only on smartphones, they’re also tuned into their TV and glancing at their laptops, too. With this in mind, you’ll want to ensure that your messaging is consistent during each touchpoint, to give shoppers the confidence to shop with you (and also, recall helps to drive conversions). Features like Audience Extension is one way that advertisers can reach shoppers on their other devices in addition to Connected TV within the same campaign. While shoppers are price-sensitive during this time, they also expect superior customer service too. This is a great opportunity in your creative to experiment with different messages beyond price. For example, give users a glimpse into your brick and mortar store (if you’re one of those types of retailers), and other ways that make the shopping experience a pleasant one—like contactless shipping, free expedited shipping, VIP days for loyalty program members and more. The sky’s the limit.  We know data speaks volumes, which is why we’ve also dug into our own MNTN Performance TV data to bring this year’s back-to-school trends to you. Check out our report for the key takeaways to breeze through the season.

    Know More

  • What Is Demand Generation? Everything You Need to Know

    What Is Demand Generation? Everything You Need to Know

    10 Min Read If you work in marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “demand generation.” But what does demand generation mean, and why is it important? How do you use demand generation successfully? Read on to discover everything you need to know about this critical element for the success of your marketing strategy. Demand Generation Definition What is demand generation marketing and how does it work?  Demand generation is the strategic process of creating authority and awareness for your brand, and the ensuing desire in the hearts and minds of consumers for your products. The end goal of demand generation is the creation of reliable, high-quality leads, but its function is to alert your prospects to an issue they may be facing but are unaware of. If you were selling supplements, you might start by talking about proper nutrition’s importance for mental and physical health and how very few Americans get everything they need from a run-of-the-mill diet.  Once you’ve successfully captured your audience’s attention and made them consider what they can do to improve the standing of their nutritional profile, you’ve successfully generated demand for the answers your product can offer and can start to get more targeted in your strategy. Demand Generation vs Lead Generation What’s the difference between demand generation and lead generation? Demand generation is the bigger-picture start of the process, involving the creation of awareness and excitement around your brand. It involves exciting your existing audience base and also potentially reaching out to new ones. Lead generation is the ultimate and likely more concrete act of converting prospects’ attention to actionable leads. Demand generation happens at the very top of the marketing funnel, and is akin to the very first stage of getting your prospects’ attention, whereas lead generation is for prospects who have already started to show some interest in your product — in which case, congrats are in order, as it means your demand generation process is working! B2C vs B2B Demand Gen: How Are They Different? One of the foremost differences between appealing to consumers as distinct from businesses is that consumers are individuals or families whereas businesses are larger entities. At the very minimum, when appealing to businesses, you’ll need to get the attention of an entire team. That may seem more challenging than reaching one consumer idly browsing social media, but ultimately there’s more than one CMO whose attention’s been caught that way, and every marketing team aims to stay current by keeping tabs on streaming services and socials. Consumers tend to browse the internet or watch TV, open to being captivated by a new product or service that may enhance their lives. That is, indeed, the foundation of traditional advertising. By contrast, businesses, one hopes, have plans and goals they need to hit. So any product — say, a marketing service or some tech to aid their production and distribution —will have to be congruent with their sales or productivity goals.  Businesses will consider offerings if they’re in line with their longer-term goals, whereas consumers — especially if it’s to do with a small purchase that can be justified at the moment, as a pick-me-up — are more likely to just get something in the spur of the moment if it aligns with their general goals, such as feeling better, looking better, and so on.  Given the clear differences between the priorities of consumers and businesses, your messaging will probably be different, too. Businesses are apt to respond to professional-looking materials full of stats, charts, and jargon. Consumers, on the other hand, will prize such qualities as authenticity and reliability, which you can emphasize with such techniques as user-generated content (UGC). For more on B2B demand generation, read this handy guide. Where Does Inbound Marketing Fit In? Inbound marketing is an approach to marketing that emphasizes welcoming your customers and creating experiences that delight them and keep them engaged, as opposed to taking a more generalized crop dusting sort of approach to marketing, which could lead to plenty of people getting information or offers they don’t want.  The simple idea behind inbound marketing is that once you attract the right customers for your business, you can keep them engaged and informed on how your business’s products can help ease their pain points, and make them ongoing stakeholders in your business’s success. Making them feel like valued partners is a constant goal of inbound marketing, which aims to increase trust between customer and business, and lead to ongoing, meaningful relationships. Inbound marketing is a component of demand generation, although not its only aspect. Importance of Demand Generation Marketing Demand generation marketing is very important for a business looking to grow its customer base and increase its footprint. Its most important aspect is that it has the potential to change your company’s profile from one furiously looking for customers to one on the receiving end of consumer attention. That’s a change in the dynamic that every business is interested in.  Further, demand generation marketing may be an important tool to help a business understand its own goals better. What’s the unique proposition it’s selling? What pain points is it easing? If a business can answer those questions easily to itself, it can then communicate them to others and provoke their desire to partake in the solutions your business is offering them to their problems. That’s an appealing prospect both to startups — who need to announce their existence — and to any company operating in a crowded, competitive space. Proven Demand Generation Strategies Okay, so demand generation is key. But what are the actual strategies that work? As noted above, there will be some differences in your approach depending on whether your orientation is B2C or B2B. But there are similarities, too. One notable component of a demand generation strategy, as noted above, is an inbound marketing approach — which involves above all a sense of respect for the customer. Start by modeling your ideal customer so you can then strategize how to target them. That can involve using social media to craft a profile of the kinds of sites they would visit and the sorts of material they would show an interest in. As the aim of demand generation is to establish your brand as a market leader, the best strategies involve establishing authority and promoting trust. Creating alliances with companies that complement your own is one way of establishing yourself as a peer worth considering in your field. That could be via co-sponsorship opportunities of conferences or panels. Creating quality content like thoughtful essays on your areas of expertise — or white papers, if they’re for a more professional or academically-minded audience — relating to issues your business deals with is another easy and proven way to establish your bona fides in your field. That could extend to the sponsorship of seminars or podcasts related to your field of expertise. You can probably name the half dozen companies that are mainstays as podcast advertisers. It’s a powerful way of allying your brand with the right company. Giving away materials or creating an app resource that demonstrates your business’s prowess is another excellent strategy. Note that you should give them away free, to reduce as much possible friction as possible and make it easy for your potential customers to find you. That might take some getting used to, but remember that you need to establish yourself with your potential customer base and take steps that will lead to their reaching out and consulting you as an authority. Competitions, too, may be a winning strategy. Your aim here is good word-of-mouth and positive awareness of your brand, as well as to create a desire for your goods. Many consumers may not win the competition, but you want them to stick around your site and explore content, sign up for further emails, and make a purchase or two. Giving away products and content doesn’t have to be a one-way street. You can request positive online reviews from real people who have used your products. Testimonials can be a powerful incentive to other possible consumers.  The aim here is to position yourself as the go-to in your field. Think of how “Kleenex” stands for the world of facial tissues, “Xerox” is synonymous with copiers, or more recently, how “Netflix” stands for the world of streaming services. For other demand generation techniques that work, this article is a great primer. Metrics & KPIs to Measure Impact Although you might think demand generation involves somewhat amorphous concepts such as goodwill and interest, your success can still (and must) be measured. It’s important to set key performance indicators (KPIs), and other benchmarks to make sure your efforts are paying off. Some of these metrics include: Funnel conversion rates: This is how many consumers move to the next step of your funnel. You can measure the progress of each stage, with the goal being that you maintain consumer interest toward the pointy end of the funnel. Even if you don’t achieve this at first, it gives you valuable information you can use to nurture and strengthen customer relationships. Closing percentages: This refers to how many sales you end up ultimately generating.Cost-per-lead and cost-per-acquisition: These divide marketing costs by different benchmarks of success. Of course, the aim here is to lower your cost for each lead or conversion and to abandon any strategy in which the cost ratio is too high.Lifetime customer value: This charts if customers keep returning to your business, as you hope they will, and if they can be convinced to become repeat consumers, perhaps via subscription packages or some other ongoing relationship. In the age of big data, you can track not just how many visitors come to your site, but what content they read and find useful, so you can keep iterating and making improvements to your strategy. Stay on top of your demand generation strategy and keep it nimble and flexible. To read more deeply about KPIs, take a look at this essay. Performance TV Changes Everything Performance TV transforms your connected TV (CTV) — the device that allows you to stream video and other content — into a performance marketing channel. It allows you to reach engaged, curious viewers where they are, but also allows you to use data to tailor your offerings to them. When it comes to demand generation, that’s incredibly good news. Streaming is where viewers’ attention is, providing more diverse content and more niche content. It’s a perfect place, with the right expertise, to find viewers and, by helping them identify their pain points, turn them into your consumers. CTV has become the new way to find and target engaged consumers, as web marketing becomes old-fashioned, thanks to changes in digital tech like the deprecation of the third-party cookie on sites like Google and changes to data privacy laws. By contrast, Performance TV allows markets to build profiles of their ideal consumers, and then target them with precision, while also allowing for continual improvement in the process to keep them engaged and in your company’s flywheel. TV advertising has always been a great way of creating demand for products and letting consumers know your company exists. But in the old model, you were simply buying expensive TV real estate and hoping that a small percentage of viewers would spark to your product and later remember their interest in it.  With Performance TV, demand generation is easier, as you can target audiences and then drive new and highly-qualified traffic to your site immediately, minimizing friction. By establishing firm goals and KPIs for your campaign, you can optimize your campaign via automated media buying technology. You can decide what you want the end goal of the campaign to be, and make sure it’s effective. Essentially, when it comes to demand generation, Performance TV brings together the best of digital advertising and the best of TV advertising, to give you a sparklingly effective marketing B2B tool. Omnichannel capability means you continue to reach your audience whether they switch to their phone, tablet, or laptop. Final Thoughts on Demand Generation If you’re serious about demand generation, you owe it to your business to get in touch with MNTN today. MNTN is the market leader in Performance TV and the hardest working software in TV. They won’t rest until you have a demand generation strategy you’re getting real results from!

    Know More

  • The Seven Pillars of Programmatic Marketing Success: Budget Consistent with Objectives

    The Seven Pillars of Programmatic Marketing Success: Budget Consistent with Objectives

    Digital marketing budgets continue to shift in an effort to keep pace with changes in consumer shopping behavior. For the most part, brands are embracing the evolving digital marketing landscape, where consumers expect highly targeted content and offers that are readily available online. The difficult part is developing an accurate marketing budget that will reach target audiences at the right time on their preferred channels. So, where do you start? Try looking back at the past year’s budget data to see what worked and what didn’t. Reviewing campaign results can help you identify successful media tactics while still leaving room to experiment with powerful programmatic channels such as connected TV (CTV), video, and podcasts. Having actual data can make budget decisions easier. As you look ahead, think about what is happening within your agency that could impact your ability to stick to the budget. For example, changes in your team or marketing partners. When staff leave or partnerships change, it can limit or overextend your budgeting, as well as the resources available to execute media campaigns on time. Sometimes, investing in self-sustaining and in-house programmatic tools can create knowledge and expertise internally rather than forcing you to rely on outside experts or outsourcing capabilities. Full-funnel budget alignment The next step is to align your budget with your marketing goals. Every company, business, or brand has different goals for their marketing efforts, but it can be difficult to accurately allocate marketing resources to reach each of them. Spend too little, and the money may be wasted on prospects outside your target markets. Spend too much, and you may end up with results that could have been achieved with a smaller investment. There is no exact formula that works for every brand. Taking a full-funnel marketing approach will help. At the top of the funnel, building brand awareness is often underestimated when planning budgets, and in a lot of cases, it is the first line item to be cut. But when you view budgeting through the lens of a full-funnel strategy, you will spend to create value at every funnel stage. Your budget will also better reflect a long-term scope that looks at the bigger picture and keeps major goals on track. (See Pillar 1: A Clearly Defined Media Mix Strategy for a discussion of full-funnel marketing strategies and Pillar 2: Holistic Performance Metrics and Relevant KPIs for a fuller explanation of digital marketing metrics.) Setting clearly defined goals will allow you to plan how much you will need to spend based on what success will look like. You can then approach your marketing campaigns with a high degree of confidence. Use a programmatic platform to gain control Sticking to the budget can be challenging. But it is important to stay on track with your marketing budget to make every dollar count and progress towards your goals. Using programmatic technology to place your ads is one way to get more for your client’s money. A self-serve platform will automatically set spending limits, optimize advertising bids, and help reduce overspending. Building a strong in-house technology capability can help your agency align programmatic strategy, budgeting, and campaign execution. You can get a jump on next year’s budget planning by thinking ahead to what you will potentially need in your marketing stack. The number of different channels, tactics, and strategies continues to grow, and you will most likely have to utilize several marketing tools to be effective. Developing in-house expertise around programmatic advertising budgets and campaign execution will help to strengthen your buy-side partnerships and client relationships.

    Know More