Think BIG for the New Year: Expand Your Strategy for 2014

By Heidi Kramer | Dec 20, 2013
More Articles by Heidi


Online advertising written in search barWith the start of a New Year usually comes the inevitable: reflection of the past year and resolutions for the upcoming months (I say months because if you stick to even one resolution all year long, you deserve a digital high five because that is quite a feat!). While it is tempting to slide into 2014 with the same type of marketing plan and strategy you have had in the past, the start of a new year is the perfect time to up the ante and dive into the unknown – all for the sake of improving your business and laying the groundwork for a successful year.

I’ve compiled an overview of the {current} top online media platforms along with some of their pros and cons to help you THINK BIG for 2014 and hopefully guide the expansion of your current strategy.

Google AdWords

If you are not on Google AdWords already, it is an absolute must to try for 2014. From small businesses to large enterprises, advertising with Google AdWords through the Search or Display Networks can help bring in additional traffic to your site, engage users who are interested in areas relevant to your business, and reach a new audience that can turn into business for your company.

  • Pros: Low barrier of entry and user-friendly. You can advertise as little or as much as you want, and even with a limited budget you can advertise on AdWords. The interface is the most advanced and user-friendly we utilize, which is great for the more experienced advertisers as well as for those just starting out.
  • Cons:  Cost of clicks and (can be) time consuming. You pay for every click, which is fine if it is a quality lead or converts to a sale. On the flip side, it can be bad if a user clicks on an ad and does not make a purchase or if the lead is irrelevant or poor quality. It is also not recommended to simply set up your AdWords account and let it run. It is important to manage and analyze your account on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis to ensure there are no issues, you are taking advantage of all features the interface and Google has to offer, and that you are utilizing your budget in the best way possible.

Bing Ads

Bing Ads is similar to Google AdWords, but on a much smaller scale. I’ve written about the pros of advertising on Bing before, and it is a great place to access a separate audience that may not be on Google.

  • Pro: Cost effective. While conversion performance and clicks will not see the same sheer volume as on AdWords, you should spend less money and achieve a lower cost-per-lead, which can help your bottom line while still bringing additional traffic and leads to your website.
  • Con: Smaller audience pool. Bing does not bring in as much traffic as Google and owns a much smaller percentage of the search market. This means a smaller audience to target and a limited reach.

Linkedinadvert

LinkedIn is relatively new to the advertising world, and thus far they have proven themselves worthy of a portion of your advertising budget – if your focus is mainly B2B. The LinkedIn Ads platform allows you to reach a vast audience of active professionals, with granular and focused targeting.

  • Pros: Targeting, Targeting, Targeting. LinkedIn offers phenomenal targeting for B2B marketing. From job skills to seniority levels to specific companies and interest groups, their targeting filters allow you to reach a very precise audience, on a site that users trust and utilize professionally.
  • Cons: Lack of conversion tracking and more ad refreshment. The LinkedIn Ads interface does not currently offer conversion tracking. This means you need to utilize your Google Analytics account to determine any conversions from LinkedIn Ads. Additionally, because LinkedIn allows for such targeted audiences, ad copy tends to grow stale quickly. Updating ad elements on a regular basis can take up time and resources you may not always have available. 

Case Study

LinkedIn has proved to be incredibly effective for a Search Mojo client who is in a very competitive niche market. After shifting from AdWords to LinkedIn, we saw:

  • 94% lower cost-per-lead when compared to Google AdWords
  • Conversion rate of over 1,500% better than Google AdWords
  • LinkedIn Ads delivered 217% more leads in 4 months than Google AdWords PPC produced in the previous 15 months, for 82% less budget

Facebook Ads

We all know about Facebook from a personal standpoint (or at least have heard of it) – and their Ads platform allows you target the over 1 billion people currently registered on the social media site.

  • Pros: Targeting and audience size. Facebook offers focused targeting of a very large overall audience (specifically 1 billion registered users. That is 1/7 of the total WORLD population). Facebook offers targeting for just about every demographic you can think of (age, gender, location, language, education) as well as the ability to target interests, “Liked” Facebook pages, applications, Facebook Events, and more.
  • Cons: Increased competition and the user interface. Facebook as an advertising platform is becoming more and more popular, which can drive up competition and increase cost-per-click. The Facebook Ads interface is relatively new and is not very user-friendly, including a lack of advanced features and a complicated reporting system.

Case Study

One of our clients, a nonprofit organization, utilizes Facebook Ads for an event initiative they focus on twice a year. To capitalize on the previous success of Facebook advertising for this initiative, our team honed both demographic and interest targeting, ad copy, and the landing page over the course of this year to see an overall conversion rate increase of 134% and a cost-per-conversion decrease of 64%.

Twitter

Twitter’s self-serve ad platform opened to all users in April 2013. You can currently utilize Twitter to promote your company’s account, tweets, and also popular Twitter topics (trends).

  • Pros: Audience and engagement. Twitter can help you grow your audience base and reach, allows you to run promotions, and can help you engage directly with your customers.
  • Cons: Incredibly new advertising platform. Twitter is a very young advertising platform and there is still a lot to learn about how best to utilize it as a media platform, including how to take advantage of the direct engagement and large audience base to bring in leads and an acceptable ROI for your business.

2014 & Beyond

Road-sign 2014What new and exciting media platforms or strategies are you going to utilize in 2014? Do you have more pros and cons you’d like to share? Follow me and tweet me at @heidinkramer.

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