It's mid-November and planning for 2019 is already well and truly on your mind. But how do you go about putting a strategy together? With the huge number of channels available to advertisers today, where should you place your focus?
This was the topic of our Facebook Live this week, where we talked through a step-by-step approach to planning your 2019 online advertising strategy. Watch the full replay below, and read on for more.
1. First, take the time to do the simple stuff
When it comes to online advertising, there are a couple of little things that, once put in place, will make a big difference to your results. As 2018 draws to a close, take a little time to focus on getting these right so you can hit the ground running in 2019.
Pixels and Tags
Facebook, Google, Twitter and now Snapchat all have little pieces of code (called Pixels or Tags) that allow you to track the effectiveness of your advertising, build warm audiences, do retargeting and more.
Not having these pieces of code installed means you won't be getting the most out of your advertising investment.
Luckily, we're here to help! We have both a step-by-step guide to installing the Facebook Pixel on your website, and a special packaged offer where we actually install it for you. Check out these resources and get your pixels sorted for 2019!
Data Privacy and the GDPR
This was a major theme of 2018 and, to make the most of 2019, you'll need to ensure your house is in order in this department. Make sure you have the correct information available on your website, and that you are following correct processes.
A good plan for 2019 first requires a good analysis of 2018. But how do you go about analysing your online advertising performance in 2018?
First, pull together the results of all your 2018 campaigns, and compare them against your goals. There are multiple ways to do this in practice, and you should find a system that works for you. The point is, look at the metrics that matter to your business. Was your goal to achieve a specific cost-per-action (CPA) for your campaigns in 2018? If so, did the average CPA across all your campaigns reach that goal? Did you see it reduce and optimize as the year went on?
Or maybe you're more interested in cost-per-lead (CPL), cost-per-install (CPI) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). Get a sense of your results throughout the year by measuring the online ads metrics that matter for you business.
Next, see if you can measure and analyse your online ads' performances based on real world outcomes. This will look different depending on the nature of your business, the industry you're in and your advertising goals. Can you measure how many sales were closed as a result of your campaigns? Or maybe how many meetings your sales team had with prospects as a results of the ads you ran? Ensuring you tie your analysis to real-world business outcomes is crucial to showing your boss that what your doing is worth more investment!
And finally, across both the ads metrics and real-world outcomes you analyzed, what were the common factors in successful campaigns? Try to figure out what made those specific campaigns successful - was it the ad format you chose? Could it be that your audience was particularly well defined? Is there something specific in the creatives that made it a success? Was there a particular promotion or offer that resonated well?
Getting a clear picture of all this is crucial to building on your success in 2019.
Success with online advertising in 2019 is going to take redefining your activity, whilst keeping the best bits for this year. Across networks like Facebook, Instagram and Google (and more), advertising options are always evolving and changing. You can't afford to stick to the status quo in 2019 - the world is moving too fast for that, and you'll need to continue to innovate to retain the attention of the audiences you're reaching.
One trend we are seeing, and which will be part of a 'redefining moment' for many online advertisers, is the need to think more holistically about your advertising across social and search. We still see a lot of advertisers rolling out their advertising strategy in silos - with the likes of Facebook on one side and Google on the other. Sometimes campaigns on social are run by one person or team, with a completely different person or team running ads on Google.
But the truth is these channels are more powerful when brought together, into one overarching strategy! Just think about the way people are researching, shopping and discovering things online today - in this omni-channel world we live in, consumers often take inspiration from one channel, and do further research on another. They might see an ad in their Facebook news feed, do some research on the product or brand online, get retargeted on Instagram, and do a little more research with Google search before finally converting on the brand's website.
Having a cohesive strategy, and connecting the dots between social and search, will be crucial in 2019. In our blog post, read more about practical tactics and strategies for combing social and search. And read our online ads manifesto, outlining what we're doing to build a 3D online advertising vision!
If you're going to get more out of your advertising investment in 2019, automation is key! And it's something you can build into your plan.
But what should you be automating? In our Facebook Live above, we outlined four quick things you can automate:
- Naming: Having a consistent and automated naming convention will enable you and your team to retrieve what you've previously worked on and also easily share any campaign results.
- Budget: Budget automation can be set up to transfer budget from one campaign or ad set that is underperforming to another campaign or ad set.
- Bidding: Online advertisers often have the choice between manually setting their bids, or allowing network algorithms to set the bids automatically.
- Zapier: Integrations with third parties like Zapier allow MakeMeReach users even more automation options, including automatically modifying campaigns based on external factors like the weather and Google sheets metrics.
Learn more about what you should be automating in your social advertising in our dedicated blog post: "5 areas to automate in your social advertising".
5. Look to the future
Since advertising online is always evolving, a final planning step is asking yourself what new or trending features can you build into your plan for 2019. In our view, here are three of the most prominent:
Stories are a major format today across Instagram, Facebook & Snapchat today, and they are fast becoming the default sharing format for social media users. With both branding and performance options available to advertisers, stories are the place to be. If you're not running ads in stories on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat yet, 2019 is your year! For more on stories ads specifically, download our 'Storybook: the ultimate guide to stories in social media'.
User Generated Content (UGC)
The trend towards user generated content in social advertising is huge. Gen Z audiences, especially, want to be part of co-creating with brands. They want their voice heard and they want to be a part of your message. Smart advertisers are learning how to leverage content created by their biggest fans, to make their advertising more seamless with the overall conversation. How could you plan to make use of user generated content in 2019?
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of all customer service interactions with be facilitated by a chatbot. So 2019 is the year to make some headway into incorporating chatbots into your marketing strategy. Now with Click-to-Messenger ads, coupled with the powerful chatbot tools available in Facebook Messenger, almost any brand can set up a fluid, messaging-based customer experience. Have a think about how you could incorporate this in your ads strategy next year, to allow consumers the ease of communicating with your brand, to a new level, via messaging.
About Joe Sweeney CMO here at MakeMeReach, Joe is a words guy. Joe's a digital marketer who believes in the power of quality content to start great conversations between consumers and brands. He also hosts our weekly Facebook Live!All posts by Joe Sweeney
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