Fall is my favorite time of year for many different reasons. There’s Tater Tot hotdish, my grandma’s birthday, flannel shirts, autumn foliage and Halloween. But even outside of these exciting seasonal wonders, fall marks one of my favorite times as a digital marketer. With the holidays right around the corner, and the big Q4 push to close out the year strong, there’s never a shortage of exciting challenges.
But, fall can become overwhelming for digital marketers if a few basic pillars aren’t in place. With increasing competition, rising cpcs/cpms and greater pressure to show attributable results, this happy time of year can quickly turn sour, and not in the good, sour-apple-cider kind of way.
For most brands today, it’s not enough to exclusively do paid search, run YouTube bumper ads or drive engagement through your social media channels. The user journey and path to purchase has become so fragmented to the point that each of these channels is imperative for driving awareness of your brand or product, facilitating engagement and driving purchases. Below, you’ll find four digital marketing strategies to break through the clutter and reach users in an impactful way.
1. TrueView for Shopping
- It’s no secret. We love our YouTube. With over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos watched every day, the channel’s daily watch time surpasses Facebook video and Netflix combined. This is a gigantic opportunity for marketers to get in front of an engaged audience at unprecedented scale.
- A relatively new and extraordinarily powerful tool we have at our disposal is TrueView for Shopping. This is a game changer, as it allows you to feature various products from your catalog and showcase them directly underneath pre-roll video. By using data from your Google Merchant Center, you can choose up to 10 products to promote. With this tool, you can turn YouTube from a lean-back channel, where users are there for inspiration or entertainment, to more of a lean-in channel, where you inspire users to take action and purchase your products.
- An important piece to keep in mind is selecting products from your Merchant Center that most closely align with the video content. For example, if the video is about a phone case, make sure you select products from your Merchant Center featuring phone cases, as opposed to laptop bags. This will increase both the relevance of the ad and the click throughs to your landing page.
- TrueView for Shopping allows you to simultaneously reach users at scale and take advantage of Google’s enormously rich targeting capabilities. You can use remarketing lists, similar audiences, custom intent, in-market, custom affinity and more! There is no one golden targeting option, so testing is key to identifying which one works best for you today.
2. Combine the Power of Paid Search Intent and Facebook Remarketing
- Paid search is one of the most prosperous digital marketing channels. There is strong intent behind a user who is actively searching for the exact product or service that you offer. Despite this high intent, conversion rates are still not 100%. Re-engaging with users who reached your site through a paid search ad on Facebook can be an influential way to continue the brand experience and drive more conversions.
- The most powerful way to combine search intent with Facebook is to manually override the GCLID parameters in paid search ads. This allows you to segment which campaigns, keywords or ads a user clicked on, and place them into specific Facebook remarketing lists.
- In order to override the GCLID parameter, navigate to the appropriate property you are using for Google Analytics. Head into Property Settings and check the box to “Allow manual tagging” under advanced settings.
- If overriding the GCLID is not feasible, then you can use the GCLID parameter as an actual value that must be present in your Facebook audience.
- Go to Facebook > Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience > Website Traffic. Once here, select “People who visited specific web pages.” Pop in your specific landing page where you are sending paid search traffic and click enter. This triggers a “+And also” button. Select this and pop the “GCLID” into the second URL.
You can now use this list for remarketing efforts or even to build lookalike audiences of users who have demonstrated similar behavior to your paid search traffic. Keep in mind, your paid search campaigns should have high conversion rates, so when you use the remarketing list in Facebook, be sure to exclude recent purchasers.
3. Social Proofing
- Think about your own online shopping habits for a moment. Have you ever shopped on Amazon? This has become a rhetorical question. Of course, you have. There are many reasons why Amazon is so successful, but one of the more underrated reasons is the power of its social proof in the form of reviews. When you are looking at a product, and you see it has 1,000 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9, and a plethora of positive reviews, there is a high probability that you will purchase that item or add it to your cart. That’s because the proof is right there on the platform! It’s an undeniable force.
- Harnessing the power of reviews, data, statistics or behavior from our peers is incredibly persuasive. The famous psychologist Robert Cialdini lists social proof as one of the six pillars of persuasion in his bestselling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In it, he describes a wide variety of social proof examples. One example involves hotels influencing guests to reuse towels by posting signs indicating that 75% of all hotel guests reuse towels. A more extreme example Cialdini uses is that of the Jonestown Massacre, where uncertainty and social proof played a critical role during the mass suicides of 1978. Faced with uncertainty, people in Jonestown looked to their peers for social proof to understand which action was appropriate, which sadly played a significant role in the events of that day.
- How does this apply to us? As digital marketers and Facebook ads practitioners, we can use the power of positive social proof to warm cold audiences and increase conversion rates on prospecting. More specifically, we can use Facebook to build social proof from existing customer bases. Prompt users in your CRM lists or purchase pixel audiences to comment on a post with one thing they love about your product or brand. Or ask them to share one piece of advice for someone who is on the fence about your product or brand. This generally stimulates a large, positive response from your loyal customers. You can then take this post ID within Facebook and run that ad to a cold audience who has not interacted with your product or brand. When a member in the cold audience sees this ad, they have ample social proof from real customers to help persuade them to move forward in your funnel.
- Think about your own preferences. Would you engage with a bland post that has minimal comments, likes or shares from a business that you’ve never heard of? Or would you be more likely to engage with and trust an ad that has hundreds of likes, comments and shares from actual customers?
4. Google Ads – Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Search Ads
- This is the least spooky smart tactic on the list, but it is still vitally important. Google Ads has given us a gift – more real estate on the SERPs. It would be scary to neglect this.
- The first benefit is Expanded Text Ads being expanded, again. This allows advertisers to have three headlines showing, with two 90-character descriptions instead of one 80-character description. Pair this with your callout, sitelink, structured snippets and call extensions, and you’ve got some serious real estate on the SERPs.
- If you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, you are missing out on some serious opportunities to drive higher click-through rates by providing valuable information to users actively searching for your brand, product or similar offerings. This is available for all Google Ads accounts, so no excuses to miss the boat on this opportunity.
- The second benefit is Responsive Search Ads. This allows advertisers to utilize the same three-headline and two 90-character description format as the Expanded Text Ads. More importantly, it allows you to upload up to 15 different headlines and four descriptions to identify what is working best for your brand. This is a great opportunity to quickly learn which types of value propositions, features, benefits or special offers are resonating best with your intended audience.
- A powerful feature of the Responsive Search Ads is the ability to pin a headline. If you have a headline that you absolutely need to have present, you can pin it to headline 1, 2 or 3. This gives advertisers a bit more control over the process, which is always comforting.
- Responsive Search Ads are in beta, so contact your Google rep to get in the program ASAP!
At Vladimir Jones, these four spooky effective digital marketing tactics are a large part of why we love the fall season. These tactics are no trick! If used correctly, they can be a nice treat for your business or clients.
Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.