The world of digital marketing has seen a massive shift in 2020, with changing trends across all markets due to the impact of COVID-19. With so many industries being affected in dramatically different ways, there are few marketing strategies that can be advised as a “silver bullet” solution in these trying times.
There is, however, one approach that we feel is almost always effective – sticking to your guns, and making sure they work. Just as kids around North America prepare to go back to school in various ways come September, digital marketers also have to go back to school. Or, in other words, back to basics!
In our previous blog post on diversifying your digital marketing strategy, our approach to digital marketing is to stay introspective with a focus on consumer trends, actions, and new opportunities.
Before we jump into any “new trends” that Google has to offer us, it’s important to cover your basics before implementing anything new. In this blog, we’ll cover just that – how to cover your basics before spicing up your portfolio with new, innovative strategies.
Google Ads Hygiene
When was the last time you checked your ad formats?
Many digital marketers fall into the trap of “set it and forget it” – as long as the campaigns are performing well, there’s no reason to make changes, right?
The issue with running ads for a prolonged period of time without regular maintenance, is that small optimizations tend to get lost by the wayside. Just because your teeth work doesn’t mean you should skip brushing your teeth! In the same way, Google PPC ads require regular maintenance and hygiene.
At our agency, we promote routine maintenance of ads at all levels of the campaign setup. We regularly ask the following questions:
- Are your ads promoting to the right people?
- Are your ads promoting in the right places?
- When do your ads run?
- What format is your ad using?
- What format are your competitor ads using?
- Where is your marketing budget being spent?
- Are there better opportunities?
- What is the goal of your campaign? What metrics are you tracking?
- Is the purpose of your campaign still the same as when it was running two months ago? (Remember – a lot of things have changed since the onset of the pandemic!)
- Are your best ads still your best ads?
- Are your best campaigns still your best campaigns?
- What has changed in your industry? Have your ads been updated to reflect changes in your audience’s shopping habits?
The list goes on.
At our digital marketing agency, we ask these questions, answer them and implement the solutions so you don’t have to. But even with regular hygiene being performed, it often isn’t enough to be the most effective player in the market.
To be the most effective competitor in your industry, you have to be ahead of the curve.
Digital Marketing Formats
A couple of years ago, it was social media advertising. Then, video ads. Then, the onset of shopping ads began to take over. There is always a new and exciting format to promote your product or service – but which one is right for you?
Here are a couple of digital marketing formats that Google offers that you may not have considered in the past. Use these to update your marketing strategies in light of different, changing trends!
Enter: Responsive Search Ads and Dynamic Search Ads
Responsive search ads are a Google Search Advertising product that touts more than 2 headlines, which will then be optimized using Google’s machine learning algorithm.
Rather than creating an expanded text ad with two headlines, you can simply upload 3-15 different headlines and Google will optimize your perfect ad based on performance data.
Many years ago, we spoke of how expanded text ads were replacing standard text ads – simply because they were just a better, more efficient way to advertise. Here’s a hot take – we expect that Responsive Search ads may even give Expanded Text Ads a run for their money in the future.
Dynamic Search Ads are similar to Responsive Search Ads, but with even more automation involved. Rather than set up 15 different headlines yourself, Dynamic Search Ads can crawl your website to promote dynamic content for each individual product that you’re promoting.
This is a wonderful way to address campaigns with 100+ products but, we say this as a caveat, we still rather prefer a more hands-on approach to optimizing ads in general. Automation is great, but too much automation can end in unexpected results- something we are not fond of.
Updated Ad Guidelines
Google has constantly been updating their advertising guidelines. Whether it’s the global impact of GDPR or otherwise, it’s hugely important to stay ahead of the curve so you aren’t the last business to implement an important change.
This is the case in 2020 as well. As of October 19, 2020, all advertisers using personalized ads to target a US or Canadian audience may not promote housing, employment or credit services to any audience based on ZIP location, gender, parental status or marital status.
This is one of many changes that Google is implementing in 2020, that may directly affect your campaign’s performance. Don’t be disrupted and get caught off guard! If you’ve ever had questions about future-proofing your marketing campaigns, now is a good time to give our marketing agency a call.
New Opportunities For Existing Campaigns
Many advertisers have their own set of “top-performing campaigns” that make up the majority of their sales. But, like we mentioned at the beginning of this post, how often should you change something that already works?
At Cucumber Marketing, we believe in implementing small tests on a frequent basis to improve existing campaigns. Sure you might have a good campaign on hand, but wouldn’t it be nice to make a great campaign even better?
Google, Facebook and other platforms are always providing new ways to advertise, so it’s imperative that we take advantage of fresh opportunities. Here are some opportunities that make for natural transitions from existing campaigns:
- Do you have a Google Display strategy that works well for you? How about trying Google Discovery Ads? These ads act similarly to the Display Network, but show ads on a smaller range of platforms that typically deliver higher quality results – such as YouTube, the Google Discover feed, Gmail, and the Google Search Homepage. Say goodbye to having your mountain bike ads show up on your favourite cooking network!
- Do you have a video campaign running on Facebook? Why not try YouTube Ads (or vice versa?) There are often ways to “double-dip” when you have an excellent creative or a high-quality landing page with unique content.
At the end of the day, your strategy should be reviewed, updated, and adjusted on a regular basis to ensure the longevity of your success. This is where our digital marketing agency comes in – we take your overall business goals and isolate the marketing goals that will help your business succeed. If you’ve ever struggled to grow your business or are concerned about staying relevant in a volatile market – give us a call! We always have chocolate.