Digital marketers usually consider metrics including search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click when it comes to improving performance. Some common goals can include to be among the top five or top ten search results on Google, or earning that coveted blue “verified” check on Instagram. Then, there are all of those badges, endorsements, ratings, testimonials, and reviews that can collectively signal their brand’s success (or failure) on social media.
By: Christina Ross
But there’s a traditional advertising metric that can and should be applied to digital advertising: return on investment, or ROI. ROI allows clients to understand what they’re receiving for their digital ad spend in dollars and cents, rather than more subjective social media currencies. ROI is particularly important now, with budgets tightening as the economy slows.
Sonnenberg Media founder Anna Sonnenberg says that most marketers consider a 5:1 ROI acceptable, meaning you earned five times more than what you spent on your marketing campaign. If you’re doing between 6:1 and 10:1, consider this a good sign.
If your returns are lagging, however, there are many possible culprits. Despite paying to be seen constantly on Facebook et al, your marketing approach may just not be that productive. Here are some tips to help you find what you should change to make your marketing investment worthwhile:
Storytelling helps you connect with your target audience
There are many reasons why storytelling in marketing is important, chief among these is that it allows the marketer to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the customer. Because social media is so interactive, the most successful brands are the ones that can tell an engaging story — one that keeps their customers coming back on a regular basis. Using influencers can work very well for big brands like Crocs, but having a good story to tell, and telling it well, is ultimately more important.
These days, you can’t afford to tell a boring story, or the same one over and over again. Your target audience loses interest very quickly, so your story should be dynamic and inclusive.
Re-evaluate your current marketing efforts — to make sure they’re current
According to Insider Intelligence, mobile e-commerce sales reached an all-time high of $359.32 billion in 2021 — an increase of 15.2% over 2020. By 2025, the analytics firm expects retail mobile e-commerce sales to double to $728.28 billion; by then, mobile will account for 44.2% of all retail e-commerce sales in the US. If you’re not marketing with mobile in mind, you’re already behind the majority of the competition.
It’s no mistake that mobile-native TikTok has taken over the world at this point. A big reason why is that the human brain will process dynamic visual content much faster than text or static images. Videos will make your landing page look great and engage visitors right away.
When presented with the choice of video or reading text about the same information, 59% of people prefer watching videos. Attention spans also increase to 2.7 minutes when a video is available, and while this doesn’t sound like much time, it is almost an eternity considering that Gen Z’s average attention span is just 8 seconds; Millennials’ is a bit longer: 12 seconds.
Here’s a quick-and-easy to-do list for your mobile marketing materials:
- Remove (or limit) extra navigation.
- Have a call-to-action. Facebook currently offers 29 calls to action buttons in its ad manager. These allow prospects to donate, buy tickets, subscribe, send messages directly to the advertiser and add events to a calendar, among other things.
- Make sure your landing page has a strong headline and uses subheadings, which will help with SEO and are also visual cues.
- Even when ROI is the goal, stay focused on your SEO. A high rank on Google is critical to long-term success.
Implement changes and watch your ROI go up
Jumper Media founder Colton Bollinger recently wrote in Entrepreneur Magazine about increasing a client’s ROI to 3.5:1. Even though this falls a little short of our 5:1 goal, it represented a 350% increase in his client’s total sales, and a 450% decrease in their cost-per-click. In other words, just by focusing on ROI, Bollinger yielded some incredibly positive returns in other areas for his client.
The advantage of digital commerce is that everything is connected. Improvements in one metric can positively impact others, and everything can scale very quickly; a great digital marketing idea can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The disadvantage is that there are no barriers to entry, so competition is always fierce and getting fiercer. Brands that throw themselves up on every possible platform without any strategic planning or content development will lose. Those that tell a powerful story, understand how to communicate it to an ever-shifting audience, and keep an eye on the bottom line will win.
Christina Ross is the founder, president and marketing director of Silver Frog Marketing, a television, radio and digital marketing agency based in Joliet, Illinois.