6 Ways to Better Spend Your Advertising Budget Without Having to #DeleteFacebook
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal. And while it seems scary that Facebook has, uses and sells copious amounts of data about its users, the story surprised no one in the advertising world. What was surprising was that a company that can track the activity and predict the behavior of 2 billion people around the world couldn’t police and enforce its own data policies. That’s at the core of the #DeleteFacebook movement. But despite high profile figures and brands from Will Ferrell to Playboy leaving the platform, billions of people are still using it. So what’s a small business to do?
To be clear, we’re not advocating you join the #DeleteFacebook movement. The social media network still has a strong place and voice in the lives of consumers around the world. What we are saying is that given the growing list of high profile personalities calling on users to delete their accounts and Google searches for “Delete Facebook” at a 5-year high, perhaps it’s time to look at reallocating your advertising dollars towards other, less invasive channels. NOTE: not all of these suggestions will work for everyone. Brands need to understand their customer demographics and behaviors first before they shift dollars into new channels.
Here are 6 ways to better spend your advertising budget without having to #DeleteFacebook.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Adwords
If you find yourself reading this suggestion and saying, “Duh!” we don’t disagree. Sure, you can (and probably) do one or both of these tactics but are you treating them as one cohesive approach? Because what many entrepreneurs fail to realize is that the two go hand in hand.
With Google dominating the search engine market, Adwords is the 800-pound gorilla in the Pay Per Click (PPC) market. While you can just create ads and move on to your next task, you really need to make sure that the content on your site is optimized for those same keywords and concepts so that your ads will get better placement in those searches (aka Content Quality Score). It’s a positive feedback loop: better SEO creates higher organic rankings of your site, which combined with relevant ads, creates higher ranking and placement of your ads to those same pages.
Here are the different options available through Google Adwords:
- Google Display Network – Ads placed on the dozens of other Google domains like Gmail and YouTube in addition to the thousands of 3rd party sites.
- Search Ads – The traditional ads found in Google search targeting specific keywords.
- Re-targeting – Ads that uses code embedded in your site to place a cookie on a user’s computer to allow Google to show relevant ads as they visit other sites in the Google Display Network. This tactic is why, after you searched for a new mountain bike once, you suddenly saw ads for mountain bikes everywhere you went on the web. You can use retargeting in both Search and Display campaigns.
NextDoor is a social network designed keep people within actual, local neighborhoods connected. If you can image someone mashing Craigslist’s commerce and Yelp’s review capabilities together with a dash of Facebook’s discussion features, you have the NextDoor experience. A great part about it is users have to be invited and prove they live in the neighborhood so you can be hyper-targeted and create real relationships with your customers.
LinkedIn is probably the biggest social network you’re probably not using but should. As an entrepreneur, you should have a personal presence to create credibility but LinkedIn can help you advertise your business as well if you’re trying to reach customers in the B2B or professional services space. Like Facebook ads, Linkedin can highly target messages to specific types of demographics but you’ll find the Cost Per Click (CPC) is higher than pretty much any other platform so be sure you know exactly who you want to reach before buying.
You might be thinking, “What? Direct Mail is dead!” Yet lots of studies find that direct mail still has power, even for millennials. A study by InfoTrends found that 38% of millennials prefer receiving direct mail while 26% like email marketing best. The survey also found that millennials are more likely to read their direct mail and that 25% of millennials consider reading it a “leisure activity.” Further research by the USPS even showed that 47% of millennials anticipate opening their mailbox each day. So, in addition to actually liking direct mail, millennials pay closer attention to it too. The USPS study also found that 40% of millennials read their mail “thoroughly” as compared to 18% of respondents from all other generational groups. We can say this data is also supported anecdotally by every millennial we work with so next time don’t forget to consider using Every Door Direct Mail for your next marketing program.
Out of Home Advertising (OOH)
Out of Home used to just be “outdoor” advertising. You know, things like billboards, bus stop signs, skywriters and the like. Those are all still viable options, but some OOH is indoors too. One of the areas that is quietly seeing effective ROI is cinema advertising.
Cinema can be highly effective with its unique environment and attentive audience, but the multiple touch points and the flexibility of media options (e.g. pre-show ads, lobby displays, etc.) provide great opportunity for a variety of messages and brands. In fact, an NCM study showed campaigns that included cinema advertising in the marketing mix on average increased 80%, a rate 19% greater than campaigns without it. If you’re a consumer product brand, the numbers are even more exciting with the average sales increase nearly doubling to 62% vs. the 35% increase without cinema.
And if you’re worried about Netflix stealing moviegoers’ attention, Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the trade organization National Association of Theater Owners, recently said:
“2017 showed that when the movies are there, audiences will show up in record numbers, no matter what time of year. A more balanced schedule in 2018 should build on an otherwise solid 2017. There are some very big titles in Q1 — continuing a recent lucrative trend – and a return to a more appealing summer, with August (essentially abandoned in 2017) boasting several potential crowd-pleasers.”
Sure, consumers are cutting the cord, but services like Sling and Hulu still make room for ads. Hulu even prevents users from skipping or fast forwarding through them. Even with the noise about cord cutting, cable isn’t extinct… yet. Nielsen says a whopping 73 percent of millennials still have pay TV subscriptions. And research group Statista says that overall, “pay TV households in the U.S. are expected to slightly drop in the coming years,” meaning that, by 2019, there will only be about 5 million fewer pay TV households than there were in 2014. That means nearly 100 million households will still have pay TV (with ads).
So think about TV when it makes sense for your business during things like big televised events (whether local or national), programs that are very focused on your target customer, local ads on streaming services or even on the mobile app of your local station.
While not an exhaustive list, we hope these alternatives to Facebook have provided you food for thought on how you might successfully reach your audience without using the social network. No matter what channels you select, don’t forget to make your call to action (web link, phone number, promo code, etc.) specific to each channel so you can accurately measure the ROI from each. That data will allow you to make smarter choices in the long run and get to your Big sooner. Ready to unfriend Facebook and follow your own Big? Click to send us a note and one of our strategists will be happy to follow up with you.
Image by Book Catalog via Flickr.