The Perks of Working with a Franchise Marketing Agency

barista in a coffee shop

In today’s complex landscape, there are countless opportunities for failure. Businesses can have great products, services, and awesome customer service and still fail to differentiate themselves from their competition. Consumer behaviors have changed significantly over the past several decades, and it’s getting harder and harder for franchise owners to manage their businesses successfully. One of the best ways of guaranteeing success is to work with a franchise marketing agency.

What is a Franchise Marketing Agency?

Franchise marketing agencies specialize in servicing the specific needs of franchises. Usually offering a mix of traditional and digital marketing services, franchise marketing agencies can ensure that a franchise isn’t missing any opportunities to differentiate themselves from the competition by highlighting locations, services, and products, and connecting with customers wherever they are. 

Whether customers are online on Facebook or Instagram, watching their favorite streaming service, or even checking their emails, a franchise marketing agency can develop a sophisticated marketing plan to reach new customers and retain existing ones. By implementing a marketing campaign that’s tailored to the specific needs of a franchise, franchise marketing companies can help a franchise owner achieve their short- and long-term goals. 

How Can a Franchise Marketing Agency Help?

Marketing in today’s environment is challenging for businesses of every size and structure. For franchise businesses, it’s especially complicated. Crafting a brand identity and ensuring that it’s represented among all of the franchisees is no small task. Coordinating and implementing brand messaging so that customers’ expectations are met regardless of the location can be incredibly time-consuming. For franchise owners, time is a precious resource.

One important way that franchise marketing agencies help is by developing marketing plans that suit the needs of the franchise. These plans typically include a mix of marketing channels, including social media, paid and organic search, email marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. Each of these channels, if leveraged correctly, can greatly contribute to the overall success of a franchise by raising awareness and increasing overall conversions.

What are the Main Benefits of Working with a Franchise Marketing Agency?

Of the many benefits of working with an experienced franchise marketing agency, the main ones can be sorted into a few main categories: digital marketing strategy and implementation, brand uniformity, and customer relationship management.

Benefit #1 – Digital Marketing Strategy and Implementation

Digital marketing continues to grow in terms of importance for the success of a franchise. In a time where customers are increasingly turning online to discover and learn about businesses and services, no business or franchise can afford to ignore the digital space. 

A lot goes into digital marketing, more than any franchise owner has the time to fully learn and execute on. That’s where a franchise marketing agency comes in. An agency can develop digital marketing campaigns to meet any goal a franchise owner may have, from raising awareness and creating a unified brand message to increasing and measuring conversions. Using a combination of established and emerging social media channels like Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok as well as email and search marketing, an agency can significantly expand the number of customers a franchise is able to reach. 

Benefit #2 – Brand Uniformity

Operating a franchise can be more complicated than operating a restaurant or retail store with a single location. Because franchises have many owners in many locations as opposed to one business with many locations, it can be challenging to offer a unified presence that benefits the overall franchise and each individual franchisee. 

A franchise marketing company can create or overhaul an existing franchise marketing campaign to ensure the kind of uniformity that customers expect. This includes making sure that every location is fully present on search engine results pages to managing services like Yelp and Facebook Local. Franchise marketing agencies can take the burden of creating and implementing a unified message and presence online off of franchise owners and franchisees. This saves them valuable time and helps to avoid customer confusion and dissatisfaction. 

Benefit #3 – Customer Relationship Management

One of the most important functions of a franchise marketing agency is customer relationship management or CRM. Ensuring that customers are happy and engaged takes a great amount of effort and the consequences of doing it incorrectly can be catastrophic for a franchise. 

Making sure there are eyes (and helpful responses) on reviews for individual locations, addressing customer questions and complaints, and maintaining a beneficial level of engagement are all aspects of a good CRM strategy. Franchises that attempt to do CRM without an experienced agency have historically delegated much of this work to individual franchisees with mixed results. In this online age, if one franchise location mishandles a customer issue, it can lead to disastrous consequences for the brand itself. By relieving franchisees of this responsibility, a franchise owner who works with an agency can free up their time and avoid these kinds of issues.

See the Benefits for Yourself

Working with a franchise marketing agency has many benefits. From developing and implementing a unified brand voice and marketing strategy to carefully managing customer relationships, working with an agency can save franchise owners time and avoid common pitfalls. Curious about how Bloom Ads can help support you with franchise marketing? Reach out to us today. 

How COVID-19 Changed Online Behavior & What It Means for Brands

woman in dark with laptop

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis has changed the world. Some of these changes are temporary, while others may prove to be permanent – and still, others may not even be clear just yet.

But one thing that is clear? About four months after the first stay-at-home orders were declared in the U.S., we’re all still spending much more time online than ever before. Many people are working and socializing almost exclusively on video chat platforms like Zoom, while nights out to the movies or concerts have been replaced by nights in with Netflix or live-streamed performances.

COVID-19 has changed or accelerated pretty much everything about our online behavior, meaning:

  • Which apps and platforms are being used
  • Who is using them
  • What we’re using them for
  • How much time we’re spending on them

When it comes to digital and social media trends for 2020, COVID-19 has thrown many marketing experts for a loop, ushering in developments that no one could have predicted. We’ll get into the numbers on some of these trends, plus what they mean for brands, below.

Digital and Social Media Marketing Trends in the Era of COVID-19

As mentioned above, the latest research on digital app use and consumer behaviors shows the impacts of COVID-19 across virtually every aspect of online behavior, from which apps are popular to how people are actually using them.

The New York Times provides some of the most interesting data on these behaviors, highlighted below:

  • Website traffic beats mobile traffic: NYT data showed that since February, website traffic increased for Facebook by 27%, Netflix by 16%, and YouTube by 15.3%. That’s compared to app traffic increases of just 1.1% for Facebook and .03% for Netflix, while traffic for the YouTube app went down by 4.5%. 
  • Video chat platforms hit the jackpot: While Zoom has quite literally zoomed from obscure workplace reference to a household name, lesser-known video chatting platforms like Houseparty and Google Duo have both increased in use (by 79.4% and 12.4% respectively). 
  • Local and established newspapers beat partisan journalism: As people look for trustworthy information and updates about the COVID-19 crisis, readership of more established news outlets has soared, including an increase of over 50% for both the New York Times and Washington Post. 
  • Sports viewership declines while gaming streams rise: Now that professional sports are almost universally canceled, people are watching video game streams instead. The game streaming site Twitch has seen an average daily traffic increase of 19.7% since February, while ESPN.com’s traffic went down by a whopping 40.2%. 

Additional research corroborates these findings:

  • Facebook-owned messaging app What’s App makes a comeback: What’s App use initially grew by 27% at the start of the pandemic, then jumped to a 41% increase in the mid-phase. 
  • Facebook and Instagram are still going strong: While new platforms like TikTok are making waves (more on that below), Facebook and Instagram still saw their usage “double” within the first week of the pandemic. 
  • Visual content reigns supreme: With theaters closed, studios are releasing films online, driving people to streaming platforms to watch things they normally would be packing theaters to see. Disney released Frozen 2 early to Disney+, while Universal Pictures released “The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man,” and “Emma” to streaming sites alongside their global theatrical releases. Meanwhile, people are logging an average of 52 minutes per day on TikTok, a relatively new streaming platform that has eclipsed the popularity of Snapchat and Instagram among young users. 

These stats show that people are using the internet for entertainment, genuine connection, and trustworthy information more than ever before.

TikTok is a Clear Winner

TikTok, a social media platform for sharing short videos similar to the now-defunct Vine, was dismissed by many as a Gen Z obsession not too long ago. Now, the platform has emerged as a real winner of the digital space in the age of COVID-19. TikTok has seen not only a huge increase in users in the first quarter of 2020, but also shifts in the demographics of those users, reaching older audiences.

How many people are using TikTok?

  • In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the world, with 315 million new downloads. That put the app at 2 billion cumulative downloads for the current quarter.
  • TikTok had 12 million unique visitors in March of this year, a nearly 50% boost from January.
  • In the U.S., TikTok has about 26.5 million monthly active users (MAU). Worldwide, there are 500 million. 

Who is using TikTok?

TikTok started out being most popular with kids and teens, and that’s still partly true. In 2020, one report found that TikTok was responsible for a 200% increase in kids’ social app use. 41% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24, while about 50% of global users are under the age of 34.

While it’s clear that TikTok users skew below middle age, it’s also clear from the stats above that TikTok is becoming much more popular with millennials and Gen X audiences. Whether it’s because families are now cooped up at home together, or because of the features of the app itself, remains to be seen.

What are people using TikTok for?

TikTok is a surprisingly simple platform. Users upload and share short, 15-second videos set to music clips, which has allowed trends like TikTok dances to explode in popularity. Sure enough, one of the earliest social media trends of the COVID-19 quarantine era has been families learning TikTok dances together. In other words, people largely use TikTok for entertainment – something positive and interesting to distract from the uncertain and often stressful impacts of COVID-19.

However, TikTok is also a space for advertising, social media influencing, and online shopping. Like other platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok makes revenue from ads and in-app purchases. This means that at least some users do use TikTok as a marketplace.

What is TikTok’s secret?

So, how has TikTok managed to win the COVID-19 digital gauntlet? There are a few not-so-secret ingredients to TikTok’s success:

  • Simple, appealing product – Again, amid the COVID-19 crisis, people want fun content. TikTok provides just that with short, easily digestible, usually funny videos. Plus, many of TikTok’s trends – such as dance challenges – are physically active, providing an extra mood boost.
  • Cross-platform shareability – TikTok makes it easy to distribute content to other platforms, namely Instagram and Twitter.
  • Business agility – TikTok has demonstrated that its business is flexible and in-tune with its audience, refining a product that precisely fits its users’ needs in an uncertain time. Its “original series,” #HappyAtHome: LIVE!, takes advantage of quarantine by live-streaming inspiring content five days a week, including some recent prom-inspired content aimed at high schoolers missing this traditional milestone because of COVID.
  • Ad revenue – As mentioned, TikTok earns revenue from advertisements and in-app purchases, making the platform a great space for brands that have value to offer to users stuck at home.

Making the Most of COVID-19 Social Media Marketing Trends: Takeaways for Brands

1. Go where your audience is.

The statistics above paint a clear picture of where audiences are spending most of their time right now:

  • On apps like TikTok and Instagram
  • On streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+
  • Reading established newspapers online to keep up with public health news

Brands should be advertising on TikTok, streaming sites, and digital newspapers to the extent possible. Brands with smaller budgets can still carve out space for themselves on content platforms – keep reading to learn how.

2. Shift toward authentic, entertaining, positive content.

Don’t have the budget necessary to place an ad on Hulu or the New York Times? Don’t worry – spaces like TikTok are perfect for smaller budgets, as long as you have a strong brand and some creativity to go around. People are hungrier than ever for fun, authentic content, and brands have a real opportunity to step up and provide.

One great example of this kind of creativity is Russell Stover’s virtual “bunny hunt,” in which Instagram users were challenged to find chocolate bunnies hidden in photos. The confectioner also partnered with Giphy to create and distribute GIFs of people hugging so that people could share virtual hugs with the hashtag #MakeHappy.

Brands can follow Russell Stover’s example with the following types of content:

  • Social media challenges – Russell Stover’s Easter campaign shows that Instagram challenges are still a strong social media marketing trend. As evidenced by its dance challenge trends, TikTok also provides a good space for viral video marketing campaigns.
  • Memes – Darkly comic memes about our uncertain times have skyrocketed in popularity. The good news for brands is that memes are relatively low-cost creative assets that can entertain audiences while increasing brand awareness.
  • Influencer marketing – Like on Instagram, influencers have a presence on TikTok. Just make sure that if you’re considering influencer marketing, you carefully consider your budget, vet potential influencers to make sure they’re a good fit for your brand, and make sure you’re reaching the right audience, since TikTok users do tend to skew younger.

3. Shift away from mobile.

One of the biggest curveballs COVID-19 has thrown at the digital marketing world is the trend away from mobile. Before 2020, it seemed like all anyone was talking about was mobile SEO and making your site mobile-friendly. Now that searching and online shopping have moved from on-the-go to on-the-couch, it’s imperative that brands invest just as much – if not more – into their website usability as their mobile usability.

Make Informed Decisions

COVID-19 has already irrevocably shaped the digital and social media marketing trends of 2020. At Bloom Ads, we make it our mission to stay on top of these trends so that our clients can make the most informed decisions about their marketing campaigns. Learn more about our services today.

What is Brand Response & How Is It Different From Brand Awareness?

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When you’re just getting started with advertising, there’s a lot of terminology to wrap your head around. Since we know exactly how confusing it all can be, we’ve created our blog as a space to keep you informed. From “media buy” to “brand advertiser,” and everything in between, we’ve got the toughest advertising lingo covered right here. For today’s article, we want to focus on two terms in particular: what is brand response and what is brand awareness. While they may sound pretty similar, they have some very important differences, and delineating between the two is critical for success in both. 

Today, we seek to define what is brand response, what is brand awareness, why they are both so important to the amplification of your brand, and why it’s so important to differentiate between the two. Let’s get started.

What is brand response?

Brand response combines the lower rates of TV and radio to deliver broad-reaching awareness at a more efficient cost. It drives results (sales) while still generating mass reach for your brand.

If you are wondering “what is brand response,” think of it as a combination of brand marketing and direct-response advertising. The brand marketing aspect draws in customers by creating a story; then the direct response advertising locks them in with a direct call-to-action.

Brand response merges storytelling with metrics and a human component with powerful click through rates. This is how it works:

  1. First, you create compelling content that’s free and organic. You create content that feels important to a lot of different people and is highly engaging and shareable. This can be blog posts, videos, podcasts, an Instagram Live event, a Reddit AMA, or anything else. In doing so, you establish yourself as a voice or authority on the subject at hand. 
  2. Then, you have to deliver on a specified value. This means boosting your content with paid ads and paid traffic platforms to create a direct response. You hook the customers with the content; then you bring them in with the more traditional forms of advertising. 
  3. You get big results at a lower cost and enjoy a powerful return on investment

What is brand awareness marketing?

Brand awareness marketing is the first part of brand response. This is the original content you create. As we mentioned before, it should be free and organic.

When you create content that is interesting, funny, original, educational, powerful, and shareable, you earn the trust of an audience. Brand awareness should be carried out by creatives––your very best writers, directors, editors, designers, etc. or an advertising agency (like us!). They plant the seed for building an audience.

Brand awareness marketing is very effective for doing exactly what it promises to do: raising brand awareness. But when you rely on brand awareness alone, you miss the powerful opportunity to turn your new brand loyalists into sales.

Why is it so important to differentiate between the two?

You can’t build successful brand response campaigns without understanding the major differences between what is brand response and what is brand awareness. If you muddy the lines between the two, you’ll muddy your overall response marketing strategy.

Know that brand awareness marketing is creativity-driven. Let your team of creative talents takeover here. Do not task your analytics team with any of this work (unless it’s providing relevant keywords). If you let your technical team drive this project, you won’t have the kind of brand awareness needed to create a powerful brand response.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, create a designated team for the direct response function of the equation. Have your PPC team take the reins on turning incredible content into a profit driver. 

Why is this so important for the amplification of your brand?

The truth of the matter is brand awareness on its own can only go so far. Sure, it’ll get some eyes on your brand, but will those eyes turn into purchases? Conversely, if your ads are merely ads or just blatant calls to action, your messaging will feel dated and salesy. This will turn customers away in a heartbeat.

Combining brand response with brand awareness marketing is a powerful way to lead your marketing campaigns. Think of it as the best of both worlds! Ground it in your creativity, and build it out with your technical know-how. 

What we do at Bloom Ads

We are a full-service advertising agency based in Los Angeles. Our team is composed of savvy creatives who can take over the brand awareness side of things, and experienced technicians who will drive the direct response.

Our hybrid approach to media creates attention for your brand while delivering profitable results. We have a fresh take on advertising, using advanced technology and real-time reporting. To hook a highly targeted range of customers on your brand, and then convert them into sales, get in touch. 

The Benefits of Podcast Marketing (& Tips to Get Started)

a man recording a podcast

Over the past few years, the popularity of podcasts has grown enormously. In 2019, there were approximately 88 million podcast listeners in the United States alone, and 61.1 million American families consider themselves to be “fans” of podcasts. 

Podcast listening numbers have increased 42% globally since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and more and more people are discovering content via this medium. It’s a great place for advertisers to reach a more tech-savvy, educated consumer.

In today’s article, we’ve compiled some of the top benefits of podcast marketing and a few tips for getting started. If you’d like to amplify your brand to a broader, more targeted audience, this is a great place to start. 

Benefits of Podcast Marketing 

Any discussion of implementing new marketing strategies should begin with a big fat “Why?” WHY should you commit ad spend to podcast marketing? WHY is podcast advertising so effective? WHY should podcasting become a part of your digital marketing strategy? As a business owner or company leader, you are trained to challenge given information and ask these kinds of questions. 

In case you need a little more convincing, here are some of the top reasons to incorporate podcast marketing into your brand awareness strategy.

Reach new audiences

Whether you’re starting your own podcast, partnering with a podcast producer, or being a guest on someone else’s podcast, you are expanding your reach. Podcasts are easily searchable by topic. If you focus your podcast work on topics that are of interest to your target demographic, you can reach listeners who could turn into potential customers.

For example, if you run a yoga apparel business, you may want to reach out to a variety of podcasts that center around conversations about yoga and offer yourself up as a guest. You can provide them with expertise, and in return, they can provide you with a highly targeted audience. 

Be more than a business

Podcasting helps build your brand beyond being just a business. When you speak on a podcast, listeners hear you, not as a company, but as a person. That kind of authenticity is highly compelling for customers. When they can hear why you started your business and why it’s important to you in your own words, they feel a closer connection to your company. This can shorten the sales cycle considerably and, depending on the level of connection a listener feels to you, can help solidify the loyalty they have to your brand.

It’s a lot easier than video

In the 21st century, there is no avoiding multimedia when it comes to content amplification. One of the benefits of podcast marketing is that it’s a lot easier to produce than video marketing. Creating high-quality videos requires a lot of equipment, technical know-how, editing skills, and manpower. 

A poorly shot video can often be more detrimental than it is helpful. Podcasting equipment isn’t a huge investment upfront (it just requires a good quality microphone and headphones), is more intuitive than video for first-timers, and doesn’t require too many hands to operate.

Tips for Getting Started with Podcast Marketing

If you’re thinking about getting started with podcast marketing, doing your due diligence and researching the space – including its key players – is crucial. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you venture into the world of podcast marketing.

Partner with a reputable podcast producer

While there is a big demand for podcasts, the industry is also highly saturated. Starting your own podcast with no podcasting experience can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Instead, we recommend partnering with highly recognized podcasting brands like Wondery, NPR, and iHEARTMedia. These podcast producers already have the tools in place to promote your work. They won’t take just any podcast and advertisement campaign, so you’ll have to develop something truly compelling and original. Getting them to greenlight a project will ensure your podcast or ad campaign is on the right track. 

If you’re on a tight budget, here are a few smaller podcast editing and production companies.

Be a guest on a reputable podcast

As we just mentioned, starting a podcast from scratch can take a lot of work. It’s a lot easier to place an ad or be a guest on an existing podcast than it is to start your own from the ground up. If you do the former, you can leverage the podcast’s existing listenership and social audience.

Becoming a guest is a lot like any influencer or media outreach. You should begin by researching relevant podcasts that have existing audiences. Create a pitch that highlights your expertise, experience, why you’d be a good fit, and some topics you could bring to the table. The more you customize your pitch to the podcast, the more likely the show is to have you on. Once you’ve landed a spot, be sure to promote it on your social media channels, tagging the podcast and podcast host. 

Research the best type of podcast ads 

When it comes to podcast advertising, there are two main approaches an advertiser can take: advertising during obvious commercial breaks or advertising during segues where one of the main speakers promotes a brand themselves (think: Howard Stern promoting the Squatty Potty, or Joe Rogan promoting bone broth.) There are pros and cons to each, but many listeners prefer the latter (mid-roll) over the former (pre-roll) – mid-roll ads tend to feel more organic and less intrusive or forced. 

The more likely listeners are to be actively listening to the ad, the more it’ll cost the advertiser. Pre-roll ads are typically sold for 25% less than the corresponding mid-rolls, so if you’re on a tight budget or aren’t sure if podcast advertising is right for your company, pre-roll ads might be a good place to start. 

Of course, audiences listening to pre-roll won’t be as actively engaged as they would be if your ad is naturally incorporated into the middle of the podcast, so that’s something else to consider. When it comes to deciding if pre-roll or mid-roll is right for you, there’s a lot to think about, which is why our final tip is to work with an agency. 

An agency can help 

While this all seems (and is!) simple enough, pitching podcast producers, finding reputable partners, and deciding at what point in a podcast your ad should play can be a time-consuming effort. Working with a media buying and planning agency can help you reach the right contacts quicker. They can also help secure spots for you on bigger, better podcasts. If you’re already convinced about the benefits of podcast marketing and would like to get started with a team of podcast advertising experts, get in touch. We can assist you with landing podcasting spots as well as designing your media campaign for podcast advertising.

The Benefits of Using a Social Media Marketing Agency

the word "social media" in block text

One of the most important concepts in digital marketing is that your business should always be where your target audience is. If your audience is C-level executives, ads on reputable financial or business-centric websites are going to yield more success than ads on a cooking blog or podcast, regardless of the number of visits those sites get. It’s for this reason that social media has become an indispensable tool for businesses of every size. After all, 84% of people with access to the internet use social media. Whoever your audience is, they’re on social media. 

While social media seems ubiquitous, it’s still growing at an incredible rate. Since 2019, there’s been an increase of 9.2% of people using social media around the world. At this point, your business can’t afford to ignore the ripe social media environment.

Although social media marketing initially seems straightforward, it’s an incredibly sophisticated marketing discipline. It’s true that social media platforms make every effort to be accessible to everyone and are constantly making updates to accommodate all types of businesses, big or small. Still, if you want to eliminate inefficiencies and capitalize on the social media audience, it’s best to work with a social media marketing agency. 

Whether your focus is on paid or organic social media, a social media marketing agency can elevate your marketing to another level by improving performance through optimization, consistency, and testing. 

Benefit #1 – Structure

One of the most impactful ways a social media marketing agency can ensure that your ads are impactful is by setting up a proper campaign structure tailored to your business. The way that social media companies, Facebook specifically, spend budgets can be affected significantly by the way that campaigns are set up. 

An agency also has expectations properly calibrated by experience to know how to split off a brand campaign and organize products or services so that a business can achieve its desired return-on-investment. A common miscalculation business owners make when structuring their own campaigns is that they either don’t narrow down campaigns enough or, alternatively, they split them up too finely. An agency is familiar with all of the ad types available and can structure your account in a way that takes full advantage. 

Benefit #2 – Optimization

If your business already has a well-constructed account with a properly designed campaign structure, you may think the performance you’re seeing is as good as it gets and will continue indefinitely. Another benefit of working with a social media marketing agency is that they are constantly optimizing their campaigns. 

Social media platforms are always offering new best practices, ad types, formats, and options for advertisers. Even for professional marketers, these new opportunities can be difficult to keep up with. Because social media marketing agencies generally work with a variety of different businesses, they are always finding new ways to optimize campaigns and improve performance. 

Benefit #3 – Testing

In order to be as successful as possible, social media marketers always need to be testing. Whether it’s small tasks like adding captions to a video campaign or bigger projects like which creative best supports an awareness campaign, agencies are always testing ways to enhance campaigns. Conceiving of these tests, properly setting them up, tracking the results, and making adjustments can be a lot of work, and a social media marketing agency can help take some of the work off your plate.

Social media marketing agencies also provide the benefit of applying what’s learned from other clients’ tests to your business’s campaigns. Testing is an integral part of social media marketing success, and it’s easy for business owners  to misunderstand results or  neglect testing altogether. Testing out campaigns is necessary for business owners to acquire a greater understanding of their target audience and can orient their business and goals around them more. 

Benefit #4 – Efficiency

Perhaps the most important benefit of working with social media marketing agencies is increased efficiency. Ultimately, every business owner wants to make more money. 

In this day and age, social media advertising is a valuable tool to increase sales, but it is by no means guaranteed. Investment in high quality creative, attention to detail for every aspect of a campaign, and rigorous testing all do not guarantee success. Success is gained only by taking all of those elements and properly balancing them against the business’s budget and priorities. 

Social media platforms are all too happy to let business owners waste their money chasing a positive return. Social media marketing experts know how to maximize a budget to accomplish a business’s goals because they understand the ins-and-outs of these social media platforms

Trust the Experts

If you’re looking to help your business succeed in social media marketing, partnering with a full-service digital marketing agency is the best move you can make. By increasing efficiencies, improving performance, and optimizing campaigns, no valuable stone will be left unturned. Social media marketing professionals never run out of work to do, all of which contribute to the success of your business.

Advertising During COVID-19: What the Stats Show Us

an ad on a phone during covid-19 pandemic

Globally, and throughout every aspect of daily life, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has had a dramatic and tragic impact. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, there’s much uncertainty about the future of businesses of all sizes, from the largest movie theater chain to the smallest corner coffee shop. As large parts of society shut down, and individuals and families attempt to deal with the catastrophic loss of life, stability and normalcy begin to seem like foreign concepts. 

As we stand at the precipice of economic disaster, business owners, marketers, and everyone else find themselves wondering just how they’re supposed to conduct their business and make it through. Advertising during the coronavirus pandemic has become a tricky prospect, as businesses want to minimize expenditures while simultaneously holding onto as much revenue as possible. 

Only by looking at the ways that the coronavirus has affected media consumption and consumer behavior in the United States can advertisers hope to make informed, beneficial decisions that will enable their businesses to survive this disaster. To that end, we’ve collected data and statistics meant to provide a directional insight and up-to-date information regarding media habits during the pandemic. 

Television

At the start of the pandemic, governors and mayors around the country issued stay at home orders designed to slow the spread of the virus. Naturally, as many people adjusted to staying at home, the amount of television they watched increased significantly. In fact, 39% of consumers report watching an increased amount of TV since the start of the outbreak (1). Cable TV has increased 11% while broadcast TV has increased 18%. Of those who are currently watching an increased amount of broadcast TV, 63% say they will continue to do so after the outbreak (2)

Outside of cable and broadcast TV, streaming services are seeing significant increases as well. Binge-watching behavior has increased by 20%. CBS Interactive reports a 19% lift in streams and an 18% increase in minutes streamed, meaning that more people are watching and, on average, they’re watching for longer periods of time. In fact, Americans are streaming an average of 8 hours of content a day during the safer-at-home mandate (3). These increases present an opportunity for companies that advertise on TV or on streaming services to maintain awareness.

Social Media

Much like television, social media sites are seeing significant increases in activity and engagement as more people are staying at home. 

According to Facebook, 63% of users say they are more active since the outbreak of COVID-19 (4). For businesses making difficult decisions about where to invest their budgets, advertising during coronavirus on Facebook is a great way to stay engaged with their target audiences. However, Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that’s seeing increases. The neighborhood/community social media platform Nextdoor reports user engagement up 80% (5). In response, Nextdoor is introducing new features to keep users engaged and active, including Help Maps and Groups.

On Pinterest, people are breaking usage records and have increased their searches for things like lesson plans, kids’ crafts, new recipes, and gardening ideas (6.) Some social media companies are using increases in use and engagement to raise awareness. For example, Snap partnered with the World Health Organization to introduce a special filter with COVID-19 safety tips and guidelines to their 218 million active daily users (7)

Advertising during coronavirus on social media presents an opportunity to stay top-of-mind with customers that may pay dividends down the line. A reported 86% of consumers say they feel better about a company’s commitment to products and services when they advertise in a recession. (8)

The increase in social media use can also be attributed, at least partly, to the Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations. Organizers and attendees alike rely on social media to organize events and spread the word. Brands should be especially thoughtful in their approach and message when advertising in this climate, as COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests are top of mind for most social media users. 

Search

The coronavirus pandemic has also changed the way people are using search. In both paid and natural search, search volume is increasing with less intent to convert. In other words, there are more searches taking place, but they’re not leading directly to revenue. This can be explained in part by the way people are using search. Without the ability to window shop, and the inclination to take unnecessary trips out of the house, people are turning to search to gather information more than ever before. For example, grocery stores are seeing a big increase in search volume, with the biggest increases in online grocery delivery and curbside pickup. Unfortunately, for many brick-and-mortar businesses, this increase in search volume and online traffic hasn’t completely offset the losses caused by stores being closed. 

The largest search volume increases have been for essential items such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc. As people turn to search to learn how they can get their needs met, there is a lot of opportunity for businesses to connect in ways they haven’t before. Google is trying to facilitate these changes, as well, by introducing organic shopping ads so businesses can directly sell their products to customers without paying to advertise. Still, many advertisers are noting between a 10-25% decrease in conversion rates while advertising during coronavirus.

Pay Attention to Changes 

The international health pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19 is ushering in many changes for businesses around the world. How you respond to these changes is crucial to ensuring not only long-term survival but long-term success. Hopefully, by focusing on changes in media consumption in areas like television, social media, and search, you will be able to shepherd your business through these trying times. We’re here to help. 

 

 

  1.  Global Index Coronavirus Research (April 2020); Spectrum Reach (April 2020)
  2.  Nielsen March 2020; Global Index Coronavirus Research (April 2020)
  3.  Hulu April 2020; CBS Interactive Adobe Internal Data; CBS Interactive Ad Data; OnePoll (April 2020)
  4. Facebook.com Ap
  5. Nextdoor March 2020
  6. Pinterest Category Usage Study March 2020
  7. AdWeek; Snapchat (March 2020)
  8. The Number That Matters

     

The Value of Advertising on Connected TVs

Usage of Connected TV (CTV) is booming at the moment, with its US audience predicted to grow from 180 million in 2018 to over 200 million by 2021. This huge surge in popularity is also supported by figures from Cisco, which predicts that 82% of all consumer internet IP traffic by 2021 will be video traffic. So, advertising on Connected TVs is understandably becoming a topic of major importance for businesses and marketers alike.

This is especially true considering the massive wave of ‘cord-cutting’ which is redefining how Americans watch TV. By the end of 2019, more than a third of American households won’t have a traditional television subscription, yet the number with ‘over the top’ streaming subscriptions is over 45% and growing year after year. 

Considering the growing importance of advertising on Connected TVs, we felt it was time for a run-down of what value is out there and what prospective advertisers need to know about the shift to CTV.

Connected Television vs. Traditional Television

First up, it’s probably good to give a rough outline of exactly what CTV is. Connected televisions are basically any sets that are connected to the internet by any means, which could be:

  • Games console (Playstation, X-Box, etc.)
  • Online Media Players (Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast)
  • Smart TVs

As the TV set is online, it then becomes possible for it to show what are known as ‘over the top’ (OTT) video platforms, which describes all video content that’s transmitted outside of the regular cable and satellite methods. Examples of some of the most popular OTT streaming providers are:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime
  • Sling TV

The terms connected TV and OTT are generally used interchangeably as, along with other devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, OTT subscribers view their video content over their TV set, thus replacing the traditional TV delivery mechanism.

The Benefits of Advertising on Connected TV

Greater engagement

The data coming from digital advertising on connected TVs has been pretty outstanding, with ads showing a 97% completion rate, with the main reason being that they are unskippable. This means that video advertising can afford to be longer form without having to worry about viewers switching channels or skipping ahead as soon as they can. 

The result is that the 30-second video ad dominates the scene, accounting for nearly 70% of all connected TV ads. Longer ads mean greater story-telling ability and an opportunity to connect more with your target audience.

Picking the right audience

One of the greatest advantages of digital advertising is the ability to target exactly who you want with your ads. Rather than the approach of traditional television, where shows were made to fit slots that were meant to be watched by certain demographics, with advertising on connected TVs you can be far more certain of who is actually watching your ads. OTT providers and CTV, for example, could allow slots on all crime shows or for everything watched by 50+ retirees, without wasting spend on outliers or having to compete for primetime audiences to reach a niche.

This has been heralded as the “holy grail” of TV advertising by a consortium of some of the biggest names in entertainment (including Disney, NBCUniversal and Comcast) who are establishing a standard for addressable advertising.

Greater metric control

Though there is not currently the level of feedback and data that is possible with other digital advertising, due to the lack of third-party cookies on connected TV ads, like anything online, the level of metric control still outstrips traditional television. As users will more than likely be signing on through their social media or Google accounts, there is a huge amount of consumer information that can still be gained at a basic level, even before getting into the preferred-level access likely to be offered by all OTT providers to their partners.

Consumers growing more accustomed to ads

Consumers are getting more used to the idea that piracy is bad, not just because it’s illegal but because it also affects the quality of their experience. Viewers are therefore increasingly coming around to the idea that watching ads is a fair price to pay for having high-quality TV on tap. Many consumers also find that connected TV ads are “less annoying”.

Programmatic delivery

As the market for advertising on connected TVs is still relatively young, inventory has yet to get near the levels of traditional TV. However, this is changing quickly with several ad tech companies getting in on the act, which promises to improve the availability and ease with which connected TV ads can be bought and delivered to the right target audience as part of a campaign.

At Bloom Ads we’ve built our reputation on finding the best blend of advertising for every customer and each campaign, no matter what the platform. Reach out to us today.

A Beginner’s Guide to Paid Search Campaigns

Being online is now as unremarkable a part of life as watching TV or driving around town. On average, people will spend hours every day on all of those things, and the actual event isn’t worth mentioning. This is what makes digital marketing such a fantastic opportunity for brands who want to get closer to their audience. With digital marketing, they’ll get to share the same online space as their community without it ever seeming like they’re trying to force things. 

This is what digital marketing is all about, and it encompasses everything that organizations do to connect with current and potential customers. Here, we’re going to look at the largest element of digital marketing: paid search. 

What is paid search?

Paid search has a number of different elements but can ultimately be boiled down to paying a search engine to put you at the top of the list for a certain word or phrase related to your business. 

For example:

Billy’s Sportswear specializes in selling hiking boots in the busy nature-trail town of Madeupville, Colorado. Their marketing department recognizes that as most potential customers are not from the area (they already have appropriate footwear), their shop needs to be getting in front of the eyeballs of people who are visiting, which they’ve heard from the local tourist office is about 50,000 people a year.

They set up a Google Ads account and start a campaign using the keywords “hiking boots” and focusing on their geographical area. Now, when someone in the Madeupville metro area enters “hiking boots” into Google, Billy’s Sportswear comes up at the top of the page. When someone clicks through to their website from the ad, Google is paid a pre-agreed amount, which is known as the Cost Per Click (CPC).

As can be seen from this basic example, paid search advertising has the power to massively transform a business’ success, which is why it has also become the most significant area of marketing spend in the world. Paid search accounted for over 1/5 of all advertising spending in 2018, coming in at around $100 billion with that number growing about 10% per year

What you need to know before starting a paid search campaign

As there’s a lot of terminology, targeting, and metrics to understand, getting a paid search campaign underway can be a bit daunting. Apart from enlisting help from some experts in the field, there are many other tips that can make your campaign a success.

Understand what you want

The simple answer might be obvious (more customers), but the reality is that paid search advertising can perform a wide variety of marketing roles so “more customers” might not necessarily be right for you. For example, with a Google campaign, you can set the goals as being Leads, Sales, or Website traffic. It’s worth taking the time to evaluate and plan what’s the best use of your marketing dollars and what you want to achieve with the campaign.

Set your bar for success

Once you know what you are looking to achieve with your paid search campaign, it’s important to establish what will be viewed as a success. For example, if your site gets 10,000 visitors a month, then higher click through rates of 1,000 or 1,500 will represent a 10% – 15% increase in visitors. 

Aligning your business goals with your marketing plans is a sensible plan in any situation, but with digital marketing, it can also help to track progress and understand what can actually be achieved.

Take time to understand keywords

One of the most common words in paid search and all Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is “keywords.” These are the words that people type into their search bar. In the example above, it was “hiking boots” but it can be any and all words related to your business. 

The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to rank highly for the keywords on the first page of results (which 90% of people never look beyond), but with paid search you skip the hassle of having to optimize your page and can rank on Page 1 right away in the ads section. 

When starting your campaign, Google Ads will give you information on the keywords related to your business, such as how often they are searched for, how much it costs per click to claim a paid search spot, or what the level of competition is like for that word.

Implement a holistic approach

While it is possible to just pay to be displayed on the top of Google’s results page and leave it at that, it is obviously also a good plan to back this up with efforts based around the campaign. 

For Billy’s Sportswear this might include a landing page (i.e. where the user goes after they click the paid search ad) dedicated to “hiking boots” or making sure that there are plenty of quality blogs and content related to the subject on their website. It is also important to utilize Ad Extensions, which are opportunities that Google provides to offer more information about your business which can improve your click through rates.

Keep user experience in mind

Not only does this thinking make sense from a marketing perspective, e.g. people searching for “hiking boots” being sent directly to the page that sells them, but Google also rates the user experience of ads with a Quality Score

Watch your quality score 

Google’s goal is to constantly improve the chances of users finding exactly what they are looking for with as much ease as possible. The Quality Score that they advertisers thus measures their users’ experience through metrics like expected click through rates, the quality of your landing page, and how relevant your ads and pages are to users. The better this score, the more favorably Google will treat your ads, including through lower prices and better positions.

Paid search advertising is a huge area with many niches, metrics, and strategies for achieving the best for your business, all of which can be a bit overwhelming. Yet, it’s also absolutely unavoidable for basically any organization. That’s why, when it comes to planning and executing campaigns, a good place to start is with a team of experts in the field, who know exactly how to walk you through a new campaign. Bloom Ads is full of just those type of people, who know precisely what you need to maximize your ROI on your marketing spend.  Get in touch with us here.

Six Tips for Writing Social Media Ad Copy That Converts

As many a business owner has discovered, writing ad copy for social media is more complicated than it initially seems. Throwing up a pretty picture and a few words off the top of your head is unlikely to convert into traffic and sales. There is a real art to writing good social media ad copy, but it’s something you can learn with some knowledge and a little practice. 

Here are some tips you can use to transform your flat copy into social media copy that packs a punch.

Be A Problem Solver

They say that the best products are invented when someone sees a need and creates a product to fill the gap. The same goes for social media ads. Life is full of challenges, and people are always on the lookout for ways to make their day-to-day happenings easier. You can grab the attention of existing and prospective customers in your social media ad copy by explaining how your product/service solves a problem for them. For instance, you can lead with a question about how the problem affects them and then briefly explain how your product/service eliminates the issue.

Be Real and Know Your Audience

Everyone’s seen their share of cheesy ads on social media. When you’re brainstorming ad copy for social media platforms, think about the kind of ads that capture your interest and make you want to click. Customers appreciate honesty in advertising. Remain genuine in your message. You also need to have a clear understanding in mind of the audience you’re speaking to so you know how to approach your pitch. 

Pique Their Curiosity

Your social media ad copy should clearly grab your audience’s attention with why they’d need your product/service and then state what you’re offering. Starting with a question is a good way to approach writing this type of ad. For example, ‘Struggling to write your own ad copy? Discover the trade secrets to simplify the process.’

Give Some Direction

You may not like to be bossy in your everyday life, but in your social media ads, you need to give a little direction. Once you’ve caught their attention, you need a call to action (or CTA) to let them know what you want them to do. Phrases such as ‘call now’, ‘click here to shop’, or ‘learn more’ let potential customers know how to get to you. You don’t need added details here about the product/service itself. Copy on social media platforms is meant to be attention grabbing to entice browsers to click. Once you get potential customers to your landing page you can be descriptive because now they’ve asked for the extra information.

Be Succinct

There are times in life when you want to be flowery and descriptive. Writing effective social media ad copy is not one of those times. Most people on social media aren’t interested in wading through a ton of description before they get to the intended message. The goal is to catch their eye so that they’ll want to click to find out more. 

Test and Test Again

Often Facebook ad copy and copy for other social media platforms needs some revising to really produce the conversions you’re looking for. This is where split testing comes in. The term refers to testing two different versions of social media ad copy to determine which performs better (more ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘comments’, etc.). Ideally, you would only adjust one element of the ad copy at a time to properly determine which change makes the difference. 

For example, you could adjust the headline, the call to action, or any other facet and test it against the original to see which version performs the best. In this way you’ll refine the copy down to the absolute best performing combination. That said, you may not have time to tweak your ad a little bit at a time. If you’re under a time crunch then coming up with two completely different sets of copy and split testing them against one another to see which converts the most is probably the best course of action.

Bonus Tip: Trust the Professionals

Still questioning where to go with your social media ad copy? At Bloom Ads we live and breathe marketing. The marketing game is ever-changing and we make it our job to stay on top of those fluctuations. Check out our website to learn more about our services.

How to Measure Your Digital Marketing ROI

As we’ve discussed before, marketers are shifting their focus away from rigid (and sometimes misleading) ad metrics and towards measuring business outcomes. This amounts to a more holistic approach, a way of zooming out and asking simply – did the business make more money during a particular time period or not? In this way, marketers avoid getting mired in data, instead focusing on the big picture.

So how does this translate to the overwhelming number of digital marketing metrics at our fingertips, available on web analytics platforms like Google Analytics? In this blog, we hope to clear the air and make measuring the success of your digital campaigns a little easier (and more accurate).

Digital Marketing ROI: Setting Up Your Strategy

No matter what type of campaign you’re running – whether paid, organic, or social media – monitoring your success requires planning up front. Prior to launching into a campaign, make sure to set goals, then determine KPI’s to measure them.

1. Set specific, measurable goals.

In other words, decide what you want your campaign to accomplish. What do you want users to do? Sign up for a mailing list or free demo? Share your social media posts? Make a purchase? Get specific – maybe you want to get a certain number of mailing list sign-ups in a given timeframe or hit a particular conversion rate by a certain date.

Determining if and how the goals of a particular marketing campaign align with your business objectives will help you determine what kind of campaign you should be driving, and what kinds of KPI’s to set up in order to figure out whether you’re doing what you set out to do. For example, if your goal is increased sales, a lead generation campaign based on blog content won’t get you very far.

2. Set up relevant KPI’s.

Once you’ve established your goals, determine which KPI’s will help you see how you’re doing. We’ll go into more detail about which KPI’s best fit which kinds of campaigns. But as a general rule, you can ask yourself the following questions from Hootsuite to help narrow down the most appropriate metrics:

  • Does it align with my goals?
  • Does it help me make decisions about the future of my strategy?
  • Do I have the ability to actually measure it?

If your goal is conversions, for example, focus on metrics like conversion rates or cost per conversion. Define conversion – maybe it’s landing on a “Thank You” page after signing up for a free trial – and then track that behavior. At Bloom Ads, we use tags and pixels – bits of code strategically embedded into your site – to generate 1st party data you can use to track target actions so you have a fully hands-on approach to performance monitoring.

How to Calculate ROI: Revenue / Cost

Your digital marketing ROI is simply the amount of revenue your business gains for every dollar spent on marketing. As such, the specific variables will differ slightly depending on whether you’re calculating ROI for paid search, content marketing, or social media.

The most common way to calculate ROI for a marketing campaign is to divide the total revenue gained by your total marketing costs for that campaign. If the resulting number is greater than 1, you have a positive ROI – a net profit. If not, you probably need to tweak your strategy.

Choosing Metrics for Digital Marketing ROI

Paid Search

If you’re investing in paid search, you need to be able to track conversions with precision. First, that means clearly defining what conversion means to your campaign – again, do you want leads, sales/purchases, or something else? Then, set up metrics that will track that behavior.

At the very least, consider tracking the following key paid search metrics:

  • Quality Score – Quality Score determines your ad ranking and, importantly, how much you pay per click (PPC). If your keyword relevance is too low, your quality score will decrease and your PPC rate will increase, hurting your pocket.
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR) CTR measures how many people are actually clicking on the ad and going through to your landing page. It’s an important measure because it affects your quality score.
  • Conversion Rate – The rate at which users actually fulfil the conversion action you want them to take tells you a lot about the intent of the users who are being exposed to your ads.
  • Cost-Per-Conversion – Cost-per-conversion gives you an idea of how much you’re actually spending on each lead or sale. If it costs you more to get the conversion than you make from the lead or sale, you’ve lost money on the customer.

By aggregating these metrics, you get an idea of what you’re spending on each ad vs. the effectiveness of those ads on your target audience.

SEO and Content Marketing

Organic search is a long-term form of marketing that can often take lots of time and calibration to bear fruit. In some ways, measuring content and SEO performance can be less scientific than with paid search – but it can absolutely be done. Again, the idea is to set measurable goals that are aligned with business objectives.

We’ll go over a few useful KPI’s for SEO and different types of content below.

  • SEO Metrics – SEO is about ranking as high as possible on organic search engine results pages. Some things you’ll want to measure are keyword rankings for particular pages or page types (like your blog), website visits, page speed, and bounce rates. Using SEO tools like Linkio help boost your organic traffic and rankings by suggesting the right anchor text’s for your SEO off-page campaigns like link building.
  • Blog Content – Many of the same metrics apply, such as website visits and bounce rates. Blogs have notoriously high bounce rates, so if this is the case for your blog, it may not be a red flag. It can be useful to focus instead on something like time spent on page, which gives you an idea of whether users are actually reading your blogs through to the end (i.e. engaging with your content). You’ll also want to look at specific web traffic analytics to see how people are finding your page.
  • Case Studies and White Papers – In addition to web traffic analytics and time spent on page, consider looking at shares and engagement and brand mentions (are other people linking to your case study or featuring you in the media)?
  • Podcasts – Look at new subscribers, downloads, and listening lengths to see how many people are finding and engaging with you vs. when and where people are losing interest.
  • Webinars – Like with podcasts, you need to see how many people are making first contact vs. staying engaged. Measure registrations against actual attendees, then measure drop-offs to see where you’re losing people.

Social Media

Just like with Google Ads and Google Analytics, social media analytics platforms offer a staggering number of metrics that can all seem equally mystifying. It can be difficult to interpret how post shares and brand mentions relate to your actual revenue.

People often talk about the “vanity” metrics of social media monitoring – basically, any metrics that don’t actually align with your objectives. For a sales campaign, for example, a high click-through rate might not be very valuable, since it shows that you have lots of traffic but not necessarily lots of purchases.

To avoid relying on vanity metrics, first note that social media might be contributing to business outcomes in an indirect way, rather than straight into your pocket. After all, most users aren’t logging onto Facebook to go shopping. Once again, it’s crucial to determine what you want to get out of your social media presence and then measure that.

Hootsuite breaks down social media metrics roughly into four types of campaigns:

Results-Driven Digital Marketing

At Bloom Ads, we’re not just obsessed with media – we’re obsessed with results. Contact us today to learn more about how we build monitoring into our strategy from the beginning.

Bloom Ads Global Media Group | 818.703.0218 | info@bloomads.com
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