Now I would like to start with a story of passion. Not a romantic interest of mine, but the brand of particular car I once saw as a kid, was fortunate enough to own. Something that raised a bar for my expectations so high, that ever since every other car I drove was at most second best. I still remember how leather seats felt to the touch, how smooth the ride was and cocooned I felt driving thru this mad world. No car compares to this experience, no artistry comes near to the finish of the interior or carefully selected wood trimming. Inside of the vehicle was so pleasantly silent in fact that I could just rest my phone on the dashboard and use an inbuilt loudspeaker to stick with the law while having a conversation.
Passion was so intense in fact that when deciding to be financially worse off and continue my university degree, I promised myself the better model of the same car once I graduate. Unfortunately, I did not keep that promise, but attachments and pleasant memories stay with me like that first summer love I had in my teenage years. Something that will always remain in my heart because it was first real passion.
Marketing is Art and I am proud to be an Artist
This is how real marketing managers feel about their brands. Not something to fill in the blank spaces, but to nourish and protect is the duty. Not to see your first love to take routes where you feel pity and sad for the choices she makes. Because depending on where her life will end up you cannot but feel responsible and even if your life journey took different routes suddenly, you would always be on good terms. This is why if you work in marketing, you have to pay close attention to every single interaction, audiences, message especially in the current digital age, when we are so empowered and so helpless at the same time to who sees our message and in what context it will show and how it will affect the brand image and associations.
For this article I will talk about three main advertising platforms and how does that reflect in your duties as a Brand Manager. All brilliant and affordable, however lacking in transparency hidden behind a closed curtain of marketing automation. Google Adwords and Display Network, Facebook Advertising and LinkedIn Advertising. Each has its strengths and specific purpose where it shines, never forget that these are businesses that are or are aiming to fill their balance sheet with the advertising revenue while trying to navigate legislative pressures as well as ever-changing preferences of the media users.
Google Adwords and Display Network
Google Adwords and Display is my favourite so far. Why, do you ask? Nobody will give you data like Google, even if your campaigns are running elsewhere it extremely beneficial to trickle down traffic to your site to cross-reference the data provided by other two platforms and see does it match. I monitor campaigns live to kill weak players whenever I experiment by combining two or all three tools. Sometimes Clicks disappear, but if the number starts to look suspiciously low, I can cut my losses and save my budgets for the later stage.
Lessons in advertising are costly, and there is absolutely no way to learn for free. Google wants you to spend without consideration to give you false hope, but it also allows careful selection for your ad placements. It takes time and yes there will be some losses, but I would recommend avoiding games and third-party app advertising. You have no clue where it shows up, and Android is Linux based so bots, faked location and demographics data is extremely likely.
Facebook Re-Marketing Like No Other
Facebook for a long time offered excellent bang for their buck, but even they redeemed themselves recently with improved advertising platform, you can only show to a wider audience for the initial push having to refer back to your website for pixel data and further re-marketing. And in comparison with AdWords competitive bidding seems to spend as much of your budget as you put in. Place higher bids; you spend your budget fast showing impressions for the lost causes. Spend too little, and your competition can instantly silence your well-planned marketing push by dropping the cash and offering more in an instant.
The user base is stagnating and even declining in some cases, so the price is only going to go up. Brilliant geo-targeting and some other creepy functions, something like advertising to recently divorced people, or people who just have a newborn. But if you set location for Limerick, ads will only show in Limerick. Not like Google policy where we would show people who might be interested in that service in Limerick.
LinkedIn Advertising Workplace Targeting
LinkedIn is something of the new-comer, but if managed carefully offers workplace targeted advertising with a solid frequency cap. Matched with proactive networking and ownership of your data, for example, you own nothing with Facebook, it’s becoming potent hight-value branding tool. And you can always use your data to target audiences on other platforms. The only disadvantage is that is still no match for Google analytics data, and paired with a fact that making users leave platform is extremely difficult, advertising on LinkedIn can only work in conjunction with proper tracking and Amazon like following across multiple platforms. But if you want to show ads to everyone working for Dell in Limerick, nobody else offers you this much targeting.
Facebook has, more options when advertising to the US, but no way to cross-reference. Google tracking for best results requires registration on your website, and LinkedIn would give you reports right there and then. I had more success with branding exercises than transaction oriented campaigns, but if you can afford cross-platform advertising and have capable tech partner, demographics compare to an advertisement on the first page of the The Economist.
New Technology Meets Old Truth
Now how all of this relates to the title of this article? If you are representing a brand that is sophisticated, luxurious and consumers are usually are ready to pay the premium for your product, you should look for places where you advertise and sponsor. This has been perfected by print, Tv, and sponsorships, and would guess that past failures had more to do with cautiousness of the brand managers when choosing channels. If you sell the premium product, you don’t want to use canned AdWords partner networks, however cheap it might be, because you physically can’t check millions of impressions each campaign generates. But you can quickly set location targeting on Facebook and further narrow down by removing users that are too young or too old, or by targeting engineers or IT professionals.
I always like to imagine what audience would read specific magazine or news site. Google allows a feature to advertise only on selected websites or YouTube Videos. You can find local content producers that fit your brand and promote next to them at the same time supporting local creativity. Leaving automated settings for third party apps or publishing should only be left for student experimenting. At best you risk messing up your organic search results by a click farm in low wage country, at worst your ad will show on adult content site or website that promotes political views something freelance journalists would kill for. Advertising environment is continuously changing and is getting more technical with every algorithm update. Hire marketing graduates for marketing positions; there is a reason why civil engineering requires engineers only. You might think that everybody can be trained to fulfil that role, but until regulations come into the industry, you have an obligation to control industry itself.