Radio is the fastest growing medium, with its 12.5% growth putting it ahead of the entire market including the internet, according to the latest Advertising Agency/WARC Expenditure Report released today.
Many of radio’s biggest advertisers hiked their spend on the medium significantly, with Asda doubling its investment while Sky spent three times as much as this time last year.
The figures reinforce continued strong performance by the sector, which kicked off the year with a record audience of 36 million listeners in Q1 2018.
Radiocentre’s Chief Executive Siobhan Kenny said: “Radio is on a roll, and the medium continues to build momentum. After announcing record revenues for commercial radio and highest ever audiences earlier this year, these latest figures are further proof that the Audio Revolution is in full swing.
“Advertisers are recognizing the true scale of the impact radio has for their brands and investing accordingly, so this boom for our brilliant industry shows no signs of slowing.”
The report also revealed that UK advertising spend in Q1 2018 rose 5.9% year-on-year to reach £5.7bn, the 19th consecutive quarter of market growth and 1.3 percentage points ahead of forecast.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018 at 12:01 am by UK – Reporter
Modern businesses spend a lot of time and energy marketing themselves on the internet. Automation can make them more productive.
The advent of social media and digital advertising has made marketing more dynamic because it gives marketers more control over their strategy and provides them with a chance to make changes in real-time.
In the past, marketers couldn’t be proactive because they had little to no control over how their strategy played out between publication cycles and production sprints.
Today, there’s a whole lot of data available to marketers, about their customers and their campaigns, all of which can help create, test, and refine the marketing strategy, on the go, to get the most out of every dollar spent.
However, this level of control also makes the job of a marketer that much tougher. It’s why companies need to think about automating certain repetitive and tactical marketing activities in order to free up time for the team to focus on things that are more strategic.
Marketing automation doesn’t necessarily need to be complex either. Organizations can start with something as basic as email and landing page automation for lead generation, and work their way up to advanced products and strategies that leverage technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
Honestly, most mature businesses have already invested in some form of marketing automation. For them, the question really is this: How can we better automate our marketing campaigns and strategies?
Obviously, the answer depends on the organization and its automation journey so far.
For some companies, the answer lies in improving the customer experience through AI-powered chatbots and messaging apps. For others, it likes in making better use of data.
Hubspot VP of Marketing Jon Dick recently said that he expects messaging and chat (on-and off-site) to have a huge impact on marketing automation this year.
“This growing channel will give marketers the opportunity to better connect with their audiences in a more helpful, human, on-demand way. It’s how people like to communicate today,” said Dick.
The key with messaging, Dick explained, will be understanding how users expect to engage with businesses, and delivering a blend of automation and human support to deliver on that expectation.
Lenovo Senior Manager of Global Digital Marketing Michael Ballard, on the other hand, expects to enable his marketing team with more tools to automate how they leverage data.
“With this explosion of technologies also comes an explosion of data. And not just access to contact names, but access to traits, intent, buying patterns, etc. If we can harness what’s available to us and focus strategies that align all this great information, there is a great opportunity for everyone, including the customer!” said Ballard.
The only thing, however, that companies seeking to improve their marketing automation must keep in mind is that they must constantly keep thinking about the market, their competition, and their customer’s needs.
So long as businesses use marketing automation to improve the experience, they’ll continue to win a share of their customer’s hearts along with a bigger share of their wallets.
Do you consider your business to be “niche?” If so, inbound marketing was made for you! Think about it: if you’re in a niche industry, any large-scale outbound marketing initiatives (TV ads, billboards, newspaper ads) will reach an audience that is 99% irrelevant to your business. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, lets you attract the most qualified prospects to your business, wherever they are. In fact, some of the most dramatic successes we’ve seen with inbound marketing come from businesses in niche industries. It’s true! Here are six points that will make you believe that you and inbound marketing were meant to be together.
1) You Can Get Found for Your Expertise
As a niche business, you have very specific expertise that is valuable to your prospects and customers. Therefore, you shouldn’t want to talk to just any prospect; you should want to talk to prospects who are in the right industry and role and who have problems that you solve. Especially if you’re in a niche industry, there is likely a finite number of places people can go for information specific to that area. 71% of B2B buyers go to the internet to get that information. Don’t you want to be the one they find?
By creating content that specifically addresses topics relative to your niche industry, the buyers looking for your specific expertise will find you. And optimizing that content for the keywords your prospects and customers use will help put you in front of the specific people who have an interest in your product.
Case Study: Local Landscaping Company Aims to Become Top-Ranked Business Website in Their Area
For a local company, Distinctive Landscaping’s “niche” is its geography. In addition to defining its typical customer, this landscaper maintenance service provider in North Attleboro, Massachusetts defined its geographic service area to target its marketing. Distinctive Landscaping’s President, Jason Scott, identified the keywords his potential customers were using to search for his services. He coupled that with keywords for his geographic area and started creating content on his website.
He’s since been able to rank in the top four organic search results for Distinctive Landscaping’s top keywords and double its website’s overall traffic in the span of just a year. Jason found a huge opportunity in his industry and region — his competitors weren’t blogging, but his prospects and customers were searching online. Today, Distinctive Landscaping ranks higher in search engines than all of its competitors.
2) You Can Connect With Your Specific Audience in Social Media
Getting found by a narrow audience is not confined to search engines — it expands to many online channels, including social media. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or an industry-specific social network, these sites allow you to directly connect with your target audience. And the more narrow your audience, the easier it is to identify the specific contacts engaging on these social networks. Take advantage of these sites to engage with your prospects outside of your website and outside of an in-person or over-the-phone interaction.
To help you evaluate whether a particular social network is a good fit for marketing to your specific niche audience, ask yourself the following questions, which we elaborate on in this blog post:
Who are the users of the social network?
Are these users potential customers, or do they have the ability to influence your potential customers?
What types of content are those people passionate about and likely to share?
How does content get exposed to other people on the network?
Can you create new types of content for your business to leverage a popular new social network?
How much time and resources are required to participate in this social network?
Can you foresee a promising ROI?
3) You Can Attract Prospects Wherever (Or Whenever) They Are
Unless you are a local business, chances are that the number of qualified prospects in a 10-mile radius of your office is pretty small. But as you expand that circle — to the whole state, country, or worldwide — those numbers start to add up to your whole universe of prospects. With inbound marketing, you can easily build an online presence to attract prospects no matter where they are. Furthermore, inbound marketing is long-lasting. You could be relaxing on your porch on a Saturday, hammering out a blog post, and a prospect might read that blog post on a Tuesday morning in their office a year from now.
4) You Can Stand Out as a Thought Leader
You have specific expertise in your niche industry, and sharing that with your prospects shows them you are an expert and builds up trust in you as a potential product or service provider. Business blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise before someone even talks to you — and as you build a relationship with them over time. It also allows you to essentially become your own media company, publishing your knowledge for others to see that you are an expert and thought leader.
Publishing your expertise helps not only your prospects find you but also other journalists and bloggers who may end up writing about and linking to you. Blogging and engaging in social media has turned into many PR opportunities for businesses over the years because it allows them to show their thoughts on leadership and engage with publishers at the time when they’re looking for supporting content for stories.
Case Study: Electronic Packaging Systems Company Blogs Their Way to More Traffic and Visibility
Palomar Technologies is a supplier of advanced microelectronic and optoelectronic packaging systems — not what you’d expect to be the topic of not one, but two, hot industry blogs. They started blogging as part of an effort to increase the volume of content (pages) on their site, increasing their chances of getting found in search engines, and building credibility in industry-specific topics.
“Because this is a niche business, because there are not a lot of people in the world who do what we do, we are often the first stop for any kind of information about advanced packaging for the microelectronics and optoelectronics industries,” Palomar’s marketing communications specialist Rich Hueners said. After just four months of blogging, their monthly traffic — and specifically Google search traffic — increased almost 20x, and they accumulated over 1,000 inbound links, which are critical for SEO.
5) You Can Generate High-Quality Conversions
For inbound marketing to be truly successful, you need more than just high-quality visitors coming to your site. You actually need to know who those visitors are and be able to identify and follow up with qualified prospects. That’s why one of the key parts of inbound marketing is creating targeted marketing offers that are valuable to your potential customers. So when you have a truly targeted and valuable offer that you put behind a landing page on your website, the people who fill out that form will be highly qualified leads for your team to follow up with.
Case Study: Enterprise-Focused Mobile Software Solutions Company Uses Targeted Landing Pages for Specific Customers
TotalMobile offers mobile solutions designed to assist local authorities, government agencies, and housing associations in managing employees’ workflow to maximize productivity and reduce operational costs. Not only are they in a niche market, but they also have very different target personas within that. They had previously used their website for brand awareness and as a static page on the internet. But by creating landing pages, setting up lead nurturing, and monitoring prospect activities, they’ve turned their website into a lead generation tool.
They created landing pages for each specific application geared toward a highly targeted customer, helping them reach the right prospects in the right way, and helping them qualify the leads they were getting. In an interview with BostInnovation, TotalMobile Director of Marketing Sunniya Saleem shared this piece of advice to fellow marketers: “Make sure your efforts are aligned to the real-estate on your website and that you have appropriate landing pages set up.” In other words, if you want to generate leads from your website, dedicate some real estate on your website for lead conversion opportunities.
6) You Can Measure Everything
Niche businesses are frequently on tight budgets (although really, which business isn’t)? Luckily, inbound marketing activities have the additional benefit that they are highly measurable. From measuring exactly where your visitors are coming from to what content they’re downloading to which marketing campaigns bring in actual customers, inbound marketing allows you to measure all of your activities to understand what’s working and what’s not. All so you can make better marketing decisions and figure out where to invest your future time and money for the best results. And what’s not to love about that?
Are you in a niche business? How have you used inbound marketing, and what successes have you seen?
Roger Federer sells watches. Peyton Manning sells pizza. Matthew McConaughey sells cars. Does anyone who watches these ads truly believe that these celebrities actually use the products they endorse? Probably not. And yet, these ads work. There’s a psychological concept called “transference,” where positive association with one thing (the celebrity) is transferred to another thing (the product). We humans, it turns out, are pretty weak-minded!
Still, the power of an advertisement is diminished when the consumer realizes it is an ad. When Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in 2015, he was interviewed after the game and replied that he was going to “drink a lot of Budweiser.” Was he paid to say this? If he was, Budweiser probably got immense bang for its buck, because most consumers assumed that Manning genuinely liked Bud. (It turns out he wasn’t paid directly, but that he does have a stake in two Bud distributors).
In online marketing, publishers are constantly trying to disguise ads as something other than ads, because they know these advertisements will be more effective and thus will be able to sold to advertisers for more money. Below I’ll provide an overview of the most common methods used online to make advertising look like editorial content.
The name “native advertising” itself basically reveals why these are effective. An ad that looks like native content is going to confuse some consumers into thinking that the ad is editorial content instead of a paid promotion.
The Federal Trade Commission has noticed the potential for confusion and has issued guidelines to publishers that are pretty straightforward: “advertisements and promotional messages that promote the benefits and attributes of goods and services should be identifiable as advertising to consumers.”
Despite the guidelines, however, a recent study showed that nearly 40 percent of publishers were ignoring the FTC’s rules! Put another way, until the FTC actually starts to enforce their guidelines with harsh penalties, these ads are just too effective for publishers to tamp down.
Here’s a good example of native advertising that’s hard to identify as advertising (it’s the “from our partners” section):
Sponsored editorial content
Online publishers are finding that they can displace or supplement native advertising networks like Taboola and Outbrain with their own sponsored editorial content. This is the ultimate native ad unit because the consumer believes that the ad is editorial content actually written by the publisher.
To show you how (intentionally) confusing this is, take a look at two screenshots from Business Insider. Which of these screenshots is an ad?
If you said “both,” you’re right. Click on the “Insider Picks” link, and you’ll see a brief disclosure: “The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.” In other words, this is an ad that isn’t listed as an ad until you click through, and then the disclosure is somewhat murky.
Influencer marketing” — where a celebrity gets paid to mention a product or service (normally through a blog post, YouTube video or Instagram post) — has taken off. And a lot of influencers aren’t your typical celebrity who made their name on TV or in sports, but rather someone who has built their reputation entirely through online activity.
I suspect that the power of transference is even stronger with online influencers than normal celebrities, simply because their product promotions seem more authentic, and because their followers feel a greater personal connection to them than a distant Hollywood elite.
Until fairly recently, influencers didn’t even have to disclose to their fans that they were getting compensated for hawking a product. This is changing quickly, however, as the FTC has now issued guidelines (and threatened penalties) that require upfront disclosure. Influencers, of course, aren’t too happy about this, because disclosure won’t help their ad revenue (To see a funny take on how they’re reacting, watch this YouTube video from Lilly Singh starting at 4:02.):
Even AdWords isn’t entirely transparent about the paid nature of ad units. Over time, Google has gradually diminished the contrast between paid ads and organic ads. Check out this progression of SERPs from 2001 to today:
2001 (note the background shading of ads):
2014 (no background shading but a big orange “Ad” icon):
2017 (Buh-bye orange icon!):
Social media advertising
Social media advertising is following the trend of making it challenging to separate ads from content. On Facebook, ads run in a user’s News Feed with a light “sponsored” note at the top (but also with the strange notation that this is a “suggested post” (suggested by whom, the Facebook sales team?):
LinkedIn uses “promoted” to disclaim their News Feed ads:
And Twitter buries the “promoted” notice at the bottom of the post:
The lesson of the banner ad that was too colorful
Many years ago, I worked for a company that had a huge yellow banner ad on its homepage. The banner was big and bold because we wanted people to click on it and go to some paid content on another page.
When we did user studies, however, again and again, we saw users scroll right over the banner without clicking on it. Even when we told them to navigate to the page that the banner ad would send them to, the users still couldn’t see the banner, even though it was right in front of them (and really yellow — did I mention that already?).
This study is a great example of banner blindness, which proves my point: Ads that look like ads get ignored by users. The more an ad looks like content, the more likely it is that a user will click on it. The trick is to do this legally and ethically, of course, a practice that is still evolving as we speak.
If dollars were snowflakes, you’d be in for a blizzard.
Did you know that 40% of holiday shoppers begin searching and purchasing before November? Here is the Holiday planning guide for seasonal marketing to Optimize your small business holiday advertising now and you could generate more calls, more foot traffic, more sales — more of what you want this season. It’s a great time to diversify your search engine marketing efforts. To help you, here’s your practical guide to the key dates, stats, and tips you need to know, packed into a month-by-month holiday breakdown:
A checklist to help you make sure you’re ready for the holidays (and beyond).
Key dates to prep you for hot search and sale days.
Stats to arm you with customer info and shopping habits.