In our Marketing plans we have a specific goal, but also a specific budget. So what things do we have to judge and weight out in terms of choosing whether we spend our $$$ on Social Media, or optimizing our web page, our setting up and monitoring a Pay Per Click campaign?
I would argue that there are four main areas where we can find differences amongst digital channels and we will have to focus our investment on some and not others depending on how these areas play their part.
1. Branding or Conversion
Independently of our objectives, some channels are good at some things more brand-related (like generating visibility and helping brand positioning) others are more effective in converting and direct sales.
In general we can say that Social Media and Display are good for branding efforts while SEM and SEO can achieve conversions like sales or leads as they are more tailored towards Direct Marketing.
Another distinction can be made about the degree of targeting that these channels allow, as some are better designed to reach a specific audience and some are broader in their reach. In general Search based marketing is the most targeted but lately we can see this feature also used in most well-known Social Networks.
Obviously how quick you need your actions to take place will influence how you allocate your budget, and generally speaking, quicker effects will demand for higher spend. In this sense, SEO is definitely the channel that requires a more dedicated investment and SEM is known for its quick results.
One more level of differences comes in the creative context. Whilst some of the four channels above offer rigid formats, other allow for a more creative approach (which for certain targets like the younger segment will be needed if we want to capture some precious seconds of their attention). Social Media and Display allow for highly creative and even interactive executions. SEM and SEO though, still require some creativity around the copy (for the ad in case of SEM) and for the quality content in the web page for SEO.
Blended is better
I think it is important to note that, even if your objective demands a higher spend in one of these channels due to one of the four reasons stated, that we still complement our plan of action with a reduced investment in some of the other channels. There are three main factors that play a part in the higher success of a blended approach.
A) The ROI of a blended campaign is higher than those taken from individual channels.
For instance, good SEO can help make SEM strategies more effective as one of the factors when calculating CPC will be the quality of the page. A powerful campaign in Social Media can aid our branding but if pointed to certain landing pages can increase the popularity of the page and help boost our organic positioning.
Furthermore, by blending our channels we can decrease our exposure to risk as diversifying the different allocations will reduce any items that we have not predicted (like a major change in the Google algorithm for instance or an increased bid pressure on SEM).
B) Decrease in efficiency with increase in invested volume of a single channel
Marginal efficiency decreases as you increase investment in a particular channel. Once we reach a particular threshold, every $ we spend on the channel will have a decreased efficiency (for example, in SEM, the investment in new keywords will at one point start decreasing in conversions. This is another reason for championing for a diversified choice of budget allocation.
C) Different channels can help reach different customer dispositions
Depending on the customer sentiment or mood, we will be choosing different channels. In Search, customers have a strong predisposition or intent towards purchase. They are actively looking for something (information, an address, a product…). In this context customers can be “called to action” easier. In social media channels, consumers do not want to be interrupted with direct marketing messages, but rather want to be entertained, want to connect with other people. Brands can use this scenario to build an emotional connection with consumers, and bounce off their friends to reach a wider segment. As such, the social media environment is great for notoriety, awareness and brand building.
That is all.
Take care amigos,
(post ended to the tune of “I ain’t got you” by the Yardbirds )