On average, around 45% of marketing budgets are spent on digital in 2020, where expenditure will continue to grow. Marketers want to set their goals while spending their money wisely and obtain the greatest return. Video marketing is without any doubt the fastest-growing category, which is predicted to double in 2021.
There are lots of pressures (and sales calls) on a budget but the three areas that will yield the best return are:
- Measurement – to understand an audience’s behaviour.
- Mobile – responsive and app-based solutions to meet the audience’s expectations.
- Content promotion – for effective content marketing so any targets can find you.
All of the above can also be effectively tracked to prove their value – not just in terms of sales and followers, but also for customer satisfaction.
It’s easy to put all your measurement eggs in the Google Analytics basket. After all, it’s free and pumps out lots of attractive data. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Analytics’ biggest weakness, however, is its lack of insight into what users actually do on a page beyond goals. By this I mean, how far they scroll down and where they click on a page. It does have some tools for this (e.g. In-page analytics) but they are not as advanced as other products on the market.
Why should you bother with information like this? We like to make assumptions about our audience – they won’t like this colour, this design etc. but the reality is, you will not know unless you ask them or test them. Tools such as heat mapping and A/B testing challenge our beliefs about the audience and will make your site better.
How will heat mapping help me understand my audience?
Heat mapping will show you how far users scroll down pages, where they click on a page (and how frequently) and what channel clicks have come from. Your website data is easy to analyse: the CTA might be bright orange or not, making you see where you are losing your users. Understanding how a user moves about a page will help you know if your website design is working.
Heat maps data can be handy to see on your site:
- Where your visitors click in. Which headlines they click on and how graphic elements impact them (colour, contrast, placement of information, etc.). What images attract them the most?
- Where users get lost. Heat maps are a good result to see where users are clicking and where they are getting stuck. You can check your website and see where those missing clicks are or how the user gets distracted from your key content.
For example, if a heat map shows that 75% of users don’t scroll beyond the top quarter of your home page and you have a high bounce rate, then it would suggest you don’t have the right messages at the top. You could then A/B test different messages or layouts to see if the stats improve.
Heat mapping will not interfere with your audience’s website experience. You may need a developer to install the code for you but this is a one-off task and can be done quickly.
Different types of heat maps
This is the one we talked about above. It will let you see what number of visitors scrolled where before bouncing.
This type of repost will show those individual clicks from your users, which are presented by dots in colors. It will help you find out those unexpected places where visitors click on, included those that are not clickable.
This map will display where visitors have clicked presented by percentages. You will be able to see those individual interactions with your site. A code of colours (green to red) will tell you which elements are the most popular on your site.
Why should you use a heat map then?
- UX and usability. You can perform a quick UX test to see where your users are getting stuck within your website.
- Conversion funnel. If you see that users are coming to your landing page, but no one interacts with your email, or do not click on your coupon, maybe it is time to A/B test few pages to see where the distractions are.
* Estimated annual cost: £60-£700 (depending on visitor volume)
On the other hand, you can use other tools, which will allow you to explore the efficiency of your site, visuals, and banner ads.
There are three ways you can use them for:
- On page. As above mentioned, you can use these tools to track where users click on on your site.
- In-app. Use Bannersnack to see how your customers interact with the banner and discover where they find difficulties. You can create your own banner, drag and drop images and text in just a few minutes.
- Visual ad. Bannersnack also helps you to use HTML5, as there are a lot of visual ads that are integrated into webs and blog posts. Content creators need to advertise in those images, banner ads and so on to accomplish their goals. A heat map report of your banner will help you figure out how and where you can use an advertising strategy and increase conversions.
How will A/B testing benefit my digital strategy?
Website audiences are fickle and time-poor – they make split-second judgements and move away if they don’t like the words, colour or design.
A/B testing helps you understand if the design or copy changes will impact visitor behaviour, e.g. completing actions such as downloading a file or moving deeper into the website. It works by serving up an alternative page to a percentage of visitors and measuring their behaviour from that page (some systems will integrate with heat mapping software giving you even richer information).
An example of A/B testing
You have an e-commerce site and notice the “add to basket” event goal has dropped in Analytics. There is clearly an issue with the product page but what is it? Through A/B testing you could test:
- Font size – do bigger or smaller product titles and text make a difference?
- Different layout – does moving the “Add to basket” button affect goal completions?
- Colour – does a more prominent colour for the “Add to basket” button increase clicks?
- Copy – does changing the button copy to “Add to basket” to “Buy now” increase sales?
By making subtle changes, you will evolve your website into a converting machine. You can use Google Experiments (within Analytics) or other sites such as Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer. Like heat mapping, it involves adding code to the website and it should not interfere with a visitor’s experience if it is done properly.
* Estimated annual cost: £144- £600 (depending on monthly visitor volume)
Mobile-friendly webs & apps
As desktop sales drop and more companies embrace tablets and smartphones, your audience’s mobile expectations will rise.
Developing a responsive website (or a separate mobile one) is the first step, but you must also think beyond this.
If you send out regular email newsletters or alerts, these emails should be responsive. At least 50% of email is checked on phones – you will achieve a higher click-through rate and website engagement if the email works on mobile (and if the site they land on is mobile friendly). Not being optimised for mobile will cost you in the long run.
Also, think about how customers use your services. Would an app enhance their experience? Is SMS more convenient for them? Are all the systems they use with you mobile?
Creating a responsive site or an app is not cheap nor should it be lightly undertaken. However, not being mobile-friendly will cost you in the long run and it is now an investment you must make.
Transparency and 5G
Before, users preferred to interact with mobile-friendly websites, but now it is the time for apps. This is due to its efficiency, as apps offer better user interfaces and faster response times. On top of that, nowadays more apps are compatible with high-end devices, which makes them have better UX. This is becoming an extremely competitive market, where companies will have to better integrate with sale systems and digital wallets.
2020 is the year of ratings and reviews. There are more than 5 million apps in Google Play and App Store, which makes app store ratings and reviews increasingly saturated. This aspect is key, as every user will evaluate which app to download from the digital sphere.
More transparency in security practices is something that users are also demanding. With data breaches and cyberattacks happening every day, apps are updating their privacy statements, promising transparency. Users want to know more than ever where their data is going, and how is it being used.
Moreover, the 5G experience has arrived to stay. In 2020, more brands will present new devices that support the new wireless set up, which offers better Internet connectivity. This has enabled the use of AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), where a wide number of fashion brands are currently using it to create extra sensorial experiences to stand out of the competition. The new virtual fashion era has been born!
* Estimated cost: dependent on the size and functionality of the website/app.
Content marketing is currently one of the digital darlings. Now that everyone is on the bandwagon, getting your content seen is hard.
If you are producing high-quality content it can be frustrating to see poorer content do well. The reality is that it is being promoted more intelligently.
Relying on tweeting out about your latest blog article or featuring it in the next newsletter will satisfy those that know you. If you want more brand awareness, followers and sales, then the content needs to be pushed harder. This means paying for it.
We know that platforms such as Facebook have made changes and your news stories have less audience reach. Paid promotion is now essential for content to be seen.
Facebook and Twitter are cost-effective platforms as the cost-per-click is significantly less than LinkedIn. You should plan a budget for each blog post and any other associated content, e.g. infographics or presentations.
Really good content should be advertised. LinkedIn has the best targeting and a well-planned and promoted campaign would see you reach a high-quality audience who are more likely to engage.
In 2020, an average of 3.8 billion of users were connected to the network, which is roughly under half of the entire world population. The top three platforms that users prefer to promote their content are Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp.
The rise of social media influencers
Another key feature of social media channels is its ability to build on word-of-mouth-marketing. Everyone knows that social media influencers have been around for a while now, but they are increasingly growing up. These marketers have the ability to promote a brand while showing you across all channels their views and experiences with a product or service. Instagram is the social media platform that is experiencing this rise the most.
* Estimated monthly budget: £500 to cover basic promotion – you may need to spend more depending on what you are producing.
Content discovery platforms
These platforms place links to your articles at the bottom of pages on other sites under “From around the web” or “Recommended posts”. They are frequently used by sites such as CNN and the Guardian.
An algorithm decides if your content matches the content of the piece.
This exposes your content to a huge audience and could attract significant traffic. While this is tempting, you should plan this well to make sure you are getting the right traffic and results. Arguably, this approach may be too broad and drive the wrong traffic to your website.
The upfront cost is high and often requires a commitment of a year. Popular platforms are:
- LinkedIn Articles
* Estimated cost: Varies across platforms. You can spend as little as $10 a day with Outbrain.
Tracking digital success
All of the above areas will create data and you should combine this with other platforms, e.g. CRM, Analytics, to make better, more informed marketing decisions.
Unsure where your digital marketing strategy is going or not sure how to allocate the digital budget? We’d love to help! Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how our digital marketing audits and strategies can add more value to your business.