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Insights & News

Hotel Brands Need an SEO Concierge To Drive Preference

By Insights & News, SEO No Comments

The concierge is one of the most important roles in a service-oriented hotel or resort. Guests rely on the concierge to provide local recommendations for restaurants, activities, nightlife, etc. Meanwhile, a hotel brand is designed to create a guest culture that attracts a certain type of guest. The concierge needs to have a deep understanding of this culture to connect with a guest personally and provide an experience that will enhance their stay.

Hotel Brands understand the importance of the concierge and how they can connect with guests, but they often fail to take that learning and apply it to the digital experience, especially on their own websites.

Most hotel websites are predominantly focused on driving bookings and rightfully so; they need to fill their beds and ensure all their marketing dollars are driving revenue. This design strategy also assumes the Traveler is ready to book, an assumption that is predominantly true for Brand queries but not necessarily valuable Generic phrases.

The pages that are designed to drive bookings are also not what search engines want to showcase for generic phrases. This predicament requires hotel Brands to design website content that meets the intent of the Traveler and satisfies the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) that Google requires to showcase a website.

This leads to an SEO Content Strategy for Travel Brands that is reminiscent of the valued concierge, the SEO Brand Concierge if you will. Before a Traveler gets to a hotel website, there are many considerations derived from the experience they want to have, to the destination that appeals to them as well as the type of hotel they might want to stay at.

These Travelers will spend time researching all aspects of their vacation, sometimes even months in advance. 91% of travelers turn to search engines when looking for a place to stay with the majority (81%) preferring to use Google as their most common source of travel inspiration. Hotel Brands can’t rely on Travel Websites, Social Media and OTAs to be their Brand Concierge as they wouldn’t rely on just anyone to be the concierge in their hotel.

The role of the SEO Brand Concierge strategy is to connect with Travelers throughout the many touchpoints prior to them booking a room. The content strategy requires a deep understanding of the guest profile and there usually isn’t just one, there are generational guest segments such as Millennials and Boomers as well as interest-based segments such as Adventure and Foodie Travelers. Each of these segments requires content that speaks to these Travelers and this content needs to be placed above the specific hotel destination as well as within. Hotel Brand websites need to connect with these important guest segments through content that Google deems worthy of featuring to Travelers.

For a Hotel Brand website to rank well for “Foodie Destinations” or “Dining Experiences Around the World” there needs to be content that curates the types of experiences that exemplifies the purpose of a concierge. These experiences can’t just be about what the Hotel Brand offers, how would you rate your experience with a concierge if they just recommended the restaurant in the lobby? This requires a re-thinking of Hotel Brand websites and the role that they play in connecting with Travelers.

An SEO Brand Concierge carefully designs content that will ultimately lead to a Traveler placing a booking at one of the many destinations a Hotel Brand offers. The strategy is reminiscent of a chess match, with carefully chosen content that leads down a path to connecting with the right Travelers while helping them understand that this is the Brand for them. Identifying the Personas or Traveler segments that a Hotel Brand is seeking is the first step, the strategy needs to be carefully designed to connect with the particular segment at each stage of the journey requiring a mapping of that journey and the types of queries and content that need to be developed. This type of strategy requires an understanding of search, the connections between topics and the intent stages of the queries that are made throughout the Traveler journey, sounds like a job for an SEO Brand Concierge.

If you’d like assistance creating an SEO Concierge for your hospitality brand, please contact us today.

POV by By Brian Ratzker, Executive Director, SEO, Acronym

Top Tips for Programmatic Success

By Insights & News, Machine Learning, Programmatic No Comments

Constant scheduling, manual negotiations, and pricing discussions, all these time-wasting activities are obsolete with programmatic advertising.

Programmatic advertising is simply campaign automation. It allows your team to focus their time on measuring campaign performance to ensure your budget is put to the best possible use with zero wasted time or money.

Programmatic also enables you to reach a larger audience. Nearly 60% of the global population is online. With precise targeting and programmatic experience, brands can find an approach to every potential customer.

With that in mind, here are the top tips for programmatic success:

  • Be selective with platforms. Understand the platform’s reach – examine which ad exchanges are included and ensure they are relevant to your target audience. Ensure you – or your partners – know the platform’s pricing structure (dynamic vs. fixed CPMs) and make your selections based on specific campaign goals.
  • Understand the Customer and their Journey. The more you understand you customer’s behaviors, the better you can connect with them throughout the journey and at key points in the funnel. Programmatic advertising allows you to tailor your branded content to each user’s interest at each stage of their experience. In fact, segmenting your customers based on their interests, preferences, and the specifics of their journey enables you to deliver the right message in the right way to each audience segment.
  • Let performance drive optimization. There is a reason it’s called “performance marketing.” The best approach allows for flexibility and revisions as performance data is available. This means you need to give your campaigns enough time for machine learning to occur as each user response informs the algorithms on the types of people most likely to act on your ad. Every ad interaction creates an opportunity for learning and improvement. In other words, programmatic advertising enables brands to narrow campaign targeting with each measured result.
  • Cast a wide net that’s based on stated goals. Programmatic success relies on multi-channel optimization. However, it’s important to select the channels that will deliver the desired call-to-action. This wide net also includes the content types you use in your programmatic campaigns. Because the algorithms continually test user response, delivering three-to-five different pieces of content gives you more performance data to connect with different buyers.

While it’s easy to think that programmatic advertising is entirely automated, you still need a clear strategy behind it. Machines are only as useful as the people operating them. Combining human experience and creativity with marketing automation delivers credible, actionable, successful campaigns. If you’d like assistance getting started in programmatic advertising, contact us today. We are happy to help.

Snapchat Introduces Trends Tool

By Analytics, Insights & News, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

Snapchat continues to boast 293 million daily active users who share visual moments from their lives. For marketers who want to improve their engagement on Snapchat, the platform introduced a new Tools feature called Snapchat Trends that highlights the most popular keywords so you can better engage with your audience.

How This Impacts You:

Market Research can now be found within Snapchat through trend data showing changes in conversation volumes for targeted keywords, including behaviors and categories. This can help marketers shift their messaging focus to better connect with Snapchatters.

Messaging and Copywriting can be adjusted to reflect keyword usage within Snapchat in a way that ensures marketers create contextually relevant content for target audiences.

Better User Profiles and Personas can be created based on the behavior insights from Snapchat Trends. By capturing more intelligence around your target audiences’ daily lives, including when and how they shop, marketers can better target media strategies that align with your target customers’ core interests to drive purchase.

Key Moments Identification becomes easier. We know that Snapchatters use the platform to celebrate major milestones. Now, with Snapchat Trends, marketers can identify the “hashtag holidays” that matter to their customers. From National Ice Cream Day to International Women’s Day, brands looking to “own” a relevant moment in time can utilize this new data for content planning.

Competitive Research on Snapchat is made easier with this new Trends tool. Marketers can not only understand customer sentiment around brands or products, but they can also gain competitive insights on how those products fit in the market. By analyzing multiple keywords in one query, you can evaluate customer conversations to determine brand health as compared to the competition.

In other words, with this new Trends tool, Snap can provide insights into top organic trends, helping brands monitor community chatter and understand top Snaps for trending topics. This helps brands learn more about potential consumers and the Snapchat community as a whole, so they can better research organic behaviors to determine the market fir for their vertical or product/service.

If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage Snapchat to drive brand engagement, contact us today.

Acronym’s Mike Grehan Shares His Thoughts On Marketing In A Post-Pandemic World

By Brand Engagement, Insights & News No Comments

More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic where volatility, complexity, and uncertainty reached an all-time high, a brand’s ability to get attention, be remembered, and be an educational resource has become more imperative than ever. That, in conjunction with consumers wanting their buying power to reflect their personal values, has placed extreme pressure on brands to get it right.

Acronym’s CMO & Managing Director, Mike Grehan joined SAP’s former CMO, Alicia Tillman and current Senior Director of Global Branding, Dennis Thomas in Bonnie D. Graham’s podcast, Changing the Game with Digital Engagement to discuss Brand Marketing in a Post-Pandemic World.

Topics include:

  • What role does branding play in the buyer’s journey and has that changed since the pandemic began?
  • What could or should companies do to better reflect the social climate or should they not engage in that conversation?
  • What other impacts will the pandemic have on the future of branding?

Watch this conversation and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

COVID-19 Turbo-Charged the eCommerce Transition

By eCommerce and Marketplaces, Insights & News No Comments

The average items per order in e-Commerce increased by 60% at the height of COVID. What can eCommerce brands do to keep this trend going as COVID restrictions are pulled back? 

Online shopping was my answer to just about everything for over a decade. The delivery guys have me on speed dial and we’re pretty much on a first name basis. In March 2020, when the UK went into lockdown, I took for granted that my ten years of online shopping experience and established vendor relationships would mean I get priority. It wasn’t long before I realized that my next day delivery slot for essentials was no longer available and my other “comfort” shopping options were facing their own challenges with supply management and logistics.  

This all happened because, without much choice, even those who were anti-online shopping had changed their tune. The pandemic has pushed us into an era of extreme convenience. Curbside pickup, eCommerce, and virtual options have become the new norm. Furthermore, for seasoned online shoppers, why settle for next day delivery when there is a same day priority option available.  

Beyond retail, the services sector also had to recalibrate.  Virtual classes and experiences emerged as the “new norm”.  From orchestras and West End musicals (Indeed, we spent Christmas with “Mary Poppins” at our doorstep thanks to Doorstep Productions) to yoga centers and 24-hour medical services, companies in the entertainment, education and wellness business scrambled to get online when lockdowns began. Overnight, Zoom became a household name.   

While delivery speed is certainly important, there are other areas of the convenience journey that retailers and service providers need to sharpen up to ensure a great customer experience.  

Convenience and ease are key reasons why consumers will continue to engage and transact online. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the game. 

Plan an eCommerce experience beyond desktop. 

Mobile dominates online sales. By the end of 2021, global mobile eCommerce sales will hit $3.56 trillion. Consumers not only use their mobile devices to research products and services, but also to make transactions. To succeed at eCommerce, having a website accessible through mobile devices isn’t enough. It is important to ensure your mobile site is developed in a commerce friendly way by including simple features such as:  

  • Image zooming by Pinching and Double-tap gestures. 
  •  Video content demonstrating product or services benefits.
  • Save feature for shopping carts. 
  • Mobile transaction security which conveys a feeling of safe & secure mobile eCommerce.  
  • Provide an auto-detect, address lookup feature on check-out forms.  
  • Smooth, easy and speedy checkout.  

Focus on navigation

Navigation is one of the most critical components of any website. Good navigation improves users experience on site and creates an environment that is conducive for transactions. Conversely, poor navigation often results in a high bounce rate as frustrated consumers exit the website due to not being able to find the items that they are looking for.  

By working with your web analytics team and studying your consumers onsite behavior you would be able to create a user experience optimal for eCommerce by putting yourself in the shoes of your consumers and building out a highly eCommerce focused, easy-to-navigate, website.  

Optimize Site Search

Investing in good site search technology provides consumers with an easy and streamlined way of locating desired products and services. In addition, displaying search suggestions on the search results page can provide consumers with more ideas on what they are searching for and offer upselling opportunities.  

This is also a ‘goldmine’ for companies as it provides valuable insights such as: 

  •  Forecasting trends in consumer behavior & increased demand for specific product categories. 
  •  Identifying inventory & content gaps. 
  •  Discovering search words / terms used by your consumers to describe your products and services. 
  •  What do your consumers find interesting? If this content already exists on your site, then how can you make this content easier to find. 
  • What is the search origin page (Where did they get lost on your site)? By combining the search origin page data with top destination page, you can add call to action triggers that can improve content delivery and guide consumers further along the conversion path.  

You can work with your marketing team to leverage these insights to develop optimized content on trending topics. 

Ideally, by combining web analytics and site search analytics, you can identify trending keywords and align your website, social, pay per click (PPC) and email content around a discrete set of terms that you already know is trending upward. Incorporate these search terms into your digital and offline marketing collateral to cultivate intent and guide your prospective customers to transact. 

Invest in great visual representation, video and augmented reality (AR) technology. 

Great visual representation will give your customers the same feeling as if they were picking something up in a store. Fashion brands have utilized real-life photography and videos to offer customers a simulated selection of views based on different body types and skin tones. 

In fact, product videos are an essential when it comes to eCommerce as it helps demonstrate how the product functions, answers frequently asked questions as well as positively influences customer experience.   

Beyond video, retailers are increasingly using AR to provide consumers with a more immersive experience and allowing them to have real time interaction with products while remaining in their own environment. Through AR, L’Oréal have been able to offer virtual makeup and hair color try-on experiences to their customers. For furniture retailers, AR has presented an opportunity for consumers to not only visualize furniture in their homes, but also make sure it fits in the space and style of their room.  

Include eCommerce recommendation algorithms to personalize the shopping experience. 

Sheer curiosity on the of variety of items available and what’s new in-store is one of the reasons why consumers shop offline. This experience can very easily be replicated in an online store environment by analyzing user browsing habits and investing in technology to sharpen eCommerce recommendation algorithms.  

When a consumer visits your site and starts browsing through your product inventory, the recommendation engine starts analyzing customer preferences based off search history, preferences, and shopping filters. Once the recommendation algorithms have established a pattern of preferences, it starts displaying a set of recommendation frames entitled “Selected for you”, “You might also like” or “Frequently bought together”.  This delivers a highly personalized experience and an opportunity to upsell and increase overall shopping cart value. 

Engage in conversational commerce through “Chatbots”. 

Many companies are using chatbots to instantly communicate with customers by providing real time customer service, addressing product related questions, and creating opportunities to upsell consumers through offering product suggestions based on requests, past orders and browsing history. In addition, chatbots are also a great way to guide consumers to complete their purchase through chat.  

Check out my earlier POV on How eCommerce is growing via Chatbots

Embrace social commerce. 

While Amazon has been the default go-to for everything throughout the pandemic, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and beyond already have cultivated a significant social commerce and alternative marketplace presence for many retailers.  

Essentially, social platforms like Facebook & Instagram Shop offer the opportunity to create an extension of your digital “Flagship Shop” and allows your customers to shop either directly from their social news feeds or from your Facebook Page, Instagram profile, Instagram Shopping ads, shoppable stories and beyond. 

It empowers you to engage with your followers (and potentially their network of friends) and create an interest based social commerce experience with the added flexibility of leveraging your social assets and user generated content available on your social environment. 

In addition, you are now in the position to shorten the buying cycle and improve your conversion rates because customers have got the option to checkout on the social app, or through messenger chat (enter chatbot and upsell opportunities) or get redirected to your website. 

Clearly, the shift to eCommerce is here to stay and presents an opportunity to exponentially expand your digital marketplace and online retail revenue. If you would like to explore how you can enhance your eCommerce experience and drive revenue growth, our subject matter experts will be happy to assist.  Please contact us today.   

POV by Farah Sadiq, EVP, GM, International

Do You Hear What I Hear: The Power of Podcasts in APAC

By Brand Engagement, Insights & News No Comments

Audio programming is making a comeback in the form of its younger, on-demand sibling – Podcasts. 

Podcasting has emerged into a giant industry, exceeding $10B in 2020 and is slated to double within 24 – 36 months. In Asia, the podcast industry is emerging out of its infancy and presents an exciting addition to your digital marketing channel mix.  

According to consumer insight company, GWI, sixty-six percent of those surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region claim to spend an average of one hour a day listening to podcasts.  

  • Ongoing growth of smartphone usage.  
  • Flexibility to listen to episodes while you are on the go. 
  • Multi-tasking potential behind tuning in. 
  • Wealth of content on nearly every imaginable topic or area of interest at your fingertips. 

As podcast audiences grows, we can expect more marketers to start channeling ad dollars into Podcast Advertising (Podvertising).  

Podvertising is a relatively underutilized digital marketing channel. It does not take a huge investment to stand out. In Asia, ad dollars invested into podvertising is currently relatively low, making it an uncluttered medium. In addition, affordable rates make this an inexpensive way of building brand awareness. 

Brands can also hyper-target their campaign to their most captive audiences based on content topics that captivate their key audience segments.  

Podcasts also provide a highly immersive experience, and with attention levels high (no visual distractions), consumers are less inclined to skip ads particularly when the brand airtime is embedded into conversation. Ads in podcasts cannot be blocked by ad blockers, which is a bonus. 

Moreover, listeners tend to be loyal and trust their host and recommendations, like influencer marketing, but much more affordable.  

That said, here is how you can get tuned in:  

  1. Pre-roll, Mid-roll, Out-roll 

Like video advertising podcasts ads are typically played at the start, middle or end of a show. As most listeners would have tuned out by the end of the show, Out-roll ads are generally less popular with advertisers.  Mid-roll ads tend to be most popular because they are a longer segment and listeners tend to be more engaged by this point. Industry standard for podcast advertising is in CPM (Per thousand listens). 

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the medium, metrics beyond listenership cannot be tracked, however many brands have monetized their return on advertising by including a unique and easy to remember discount code or landing page extension. Attribution is then linked to discount codes redeemed or visits to the unique landing page.  

  1. Product placement 

This involves the host talking to their audience about the product or service. They will tend to mention why they recommend it, some examples about how they themselves use it, how they benefit from it, and why the listener would too. In this case, the brand becomes another part of the episode content, as opposed to sounding like a typical ad. 

  1. Sponsored series 

Sponsoring a series takes podcast marketing opportunities to the next level. Sponsors have far more opportunities to reach their audience in more meaningful ways such as a representative that appears on the show, access to the podcast social media channels, audience email lists, website promos and more. 

  1. Branded podcasts 

Producing your own branded podcasts would be taking things to the “Ultimate” level.  This approach requires a dedicated team and would involve a long-term content strategy, like any other social media channel. This approach provides brands with the opportunity to build a relationship with their audience, develop a strong connectivity, create a following and grow your first party database.  

Here are some notable brands who are already harnessing the power of branded podcasting: 

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Like in any other digital advertising medium, success in this medium involves identifying podcasts that have the right audience demographic & interests for your brand as well as the type of ad and messaging that will resonate. Often, this involves research and potentially working with podcast producers to gain a better understanding of their subscribers and how they interact with advertising and sponsored content. 

If you would like to explore podvertising and would like to learn more about how you can integrate this into your digital marketing mix, please contact us. Our subject matter experts will be happy to assist you. 

POV By Farah Sadiq, EVP, GM, International

7 Reasons Why & How B2B Enterprise Brands Should Invest in SEO

By Insights & News, SEO, Uncategorized No Comments

Many executives have now heard that SEO is one of the most important digital marketing strategies. After all, according to a Google study, over 90% of business leads start in search engines.

However, executives’ knowledge of the discipline of SEO is usually very antiquated and negative. Which ultimately leads to the application of the usual “digital tactics”, which are closely related to time-honored classic marketing measures, such as paid ad campaigns in search engines or in social media. Compared to SEO, however, the hoped-for successes are usually of a manageable nature.

In doing so, executives miss the fact that SEO is a sustainable, data-driven technique that can drive up to 60% traffic to websites in many cases, as well as being a lead generation engine.

From the experts’ perspective, it therefore seems more than necessary that executives take the time to learn about SEO and recognize what this discipline is today and what it can do for their company.

After all, the benefits of continuous SEO work are clear. SEO is the basis of all online marketing activities and offers seven advantages that should be known:

1. SEO improves the ranking and visibility of websites.

Google has already received 390 billion searches this year (and counting). If you want your site to be found by your target customers, a strategic search engine optimization strategy is the first and most necessary step to take.

2. SEO provides lasting and sustainable free traffic to websites.

Prioritizing SEO gives you the power to do what you can to make sure your business appears first during those searches. And, because the right SEO strategy keeps your website’s traffic active, it’s imperative to have the right partners who can help you keep up with Google Algorithm changes so you’ll stay agile and can make key adjustments when they’re needed.

3. SEO generates leads and sells products and services.

Consider that of the billions of searches that happen on any given day, 15% of daily searches are new to Google. In fact, consumers now conduct  70% of their purchasing research online before they ever get into a sales conversation. Ranking well in search engines enables your buyers to easily research on their own while spending time learning about your on your terms

4. SEO works on a data-based and measurable basis.

There are hundreds of SEO metrics you can track. In fact, Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. By establishing which metrics are most critical for your business, you can track those KPIs in real-time and adjust your strategy accordingly.

5. SEO changes the perspective and reveals the intentions of potential customers.

The right SEO strategy, analytics and reporting can help you better understand why someone conducts a search that brings them to your page. It could be to find an answer to a specific question they have or advice on how to achieve a desired goal, otherwise known as informational intent. Maybe the person wants to find a place to go, known as navigational intent or they are driven by transactional intent – the desire to buy a product they want. Either way, intent matters. Understanding the “why” behind your customers’ search behaviors helps you to deliver the best search experience.

6. SEO can create synergies and minimize budget waste.

Because SEO delivers real-time analytics, you can easily and quickly adjust budgets to ensure you leverage the most successful strategies to avoid wasteful spending. Similarly, by measuring your customers’ search behaviors, you can align all of your online marketing and content to deliver even stronger multi-channel results.

7. SEO brings clarity about the competition and faces competitors proactively.

Running regular competitive analyses in SEO can help you examine ranking signals on the macro and micro levels that can help you uncover and capture the competitive niches that improve your ranking and ensure your content appears on all the right channels. The best way to beat the competition is to understand them.   

POV by Ulrich Franke, Managing Director EMEA

Global footprint and holding companies? Work with citizens of the world instead.

By Inside Acronym, Insights & News No Comments

I remember my first global pitch when we (Acronym) opened our Asia Pacific regional office in 2006. Back then, it was fashionable to work with large digital marketing agencies that had an extensive global footprint as part of a holding company’s network (and in some cases this came with equitably extensive agency fees to support these offices).

Global footprints and holding companies were preferred because they were perceived to be more productive with a wider reach. Clients felt that access to a large network of in-office, on-the-ground staff was critical to success. Likewise, in-market equated to a team that had plenty of local knowledge and experience to inject into the client’s projects.

But, this begs the question: is bigger always better?

Not necessarily. Here’s why –

Access to a more talented team.

Independent agencies, like Acronym, are gaining popularity because they can focus more on a specific niche, marketing vertical or industry segment. They hire (or groom) talent to become subject matter experts. This approach facilitates delivery of best-in-class solutions for the client portfolios.

Independent agencies also prioritize staffing based on skillsets, experience, and expertise rather than focusing on where staffing resources are physically located.

This means clients get to work with a group of highly skilled experts who excel in their niche areas of expertise. Additionally, their passion drives continual expansion of knowledge in their specialized discipline.

Higher productivity, increased efficiency.

Often, independent agencies operate on the premise of strategically located home or satellite offices between key time zones. Clients can still get the 24/7 coverage they desire without working with large agencies with offices in all major cities.

Independent agencies are also more eager to please, hence unlikely to be boxed into the “9 to 5” business hours regime. In fact, working around client schedules is an unwritten code of conduct.

Furthermore, doing more with smarter, dedicated teams is inherent in an independent agency’s core competency – it’s part of the DNA.

Extension of your marketing team.

A personalized approach is synonymous with independent agencies. They are structured to provide a more one-to-one approach to each Client’s marketing requirements. Account teams invest time in getting to know their clients and believe in building long standing partnerships.

For clients, this means that they get to meet every person that is working on their account. This leads to more in-depth conversations on strategy, capitalization of industry trends and a collaborative approach to achieving business goals and success.

Clients are in direct contact with the specialists working on their account. This allows for an open flow of communication between the client and a group of specialists who operate like an extension of the client’s in-house marketing team.

Questions get dispersed in a more direct and efficient way, and clients receive answers quicker.

More creative solutions.

A “one size fits all approach” is rarely the case with an independent agency, whereas it’s the modus operandi for agencies led by holding companies whose cookie-cutter approach tends to deliver faster output. The personalized communication from an independent agency often leads to more thought-through and customized solutions that address clients’ unique marketing challenges. Put another way, independent agencies are accustomed to change and we can do so faster because we don’t have layers upon layers upon layers of bureaucracy to overcome.

Being flexible & nimble means independent agencies look for the best way to deliver positive results and are not afraid to do things differently, which may ultimately help clients gain a competitive edge through a more diverse perspective. Without being pegged to a ”certain way of doing things”, creative problem solving or addressing challenges comes naturally.

Moreover, keeping closely attuned to industry trends leads to the application of new ideas, concepts, and strategies relevant to specific industry sectors. Independent agency teams continually identify areas of growth and new opportunities due to the evolving nature of specialized disciplines or industry sectors. As an independent agency, we know how business is run and how important it is to keep one’s eye on the bottom line. We do it every day for ourselves as well as for our Clients. It’s just a part of who we are.

Higher propensity to invest in tools & technology.

Big agencies have big overheads. It’s no secret that the cost of office space, employee benefits, salaries and perks are passed on to the client in the form of high monthly retainers or hourly rates – rates that are usually established by the holding companies, not the actual agencies in the trenches.

Lower overheads and operational efficiencies enable independent agencies to reinvest these savings into tools and technology to help them operate like well-oiled machines. These include marketing automation, CRM, project management and other tools to improve efficiencies and drive success.

In addition, investment into technology enables multiple modes of working. Data is saved on cloud and access and security are tailored for different working modes. Applications and communication tools also allow seamless virtual communication and collaborations.

Virtual first – The (not so) new way of working.

The pandemic has normalized the work from home culture and more companies are going down the route of permanent remote working. Independent agencies are naturally set up for this style of working as they have been doing this for decades.

Often the workplace is distributed across home, office, and satellite offices. Agency resources can choose to work remotely or face-to-face based on their nature of work and teams’ preferences.

Account managers are more experienced at knowing how to manage, train, collaborate, evaluate performance, and motivate their team remotely.

Going back to our 2006 global pitch, we did secure the business because the above benefits (and more) resonated with the Client, and they continue to enjoy a strong partnership and more personal working relationship with highly skilled resources.

Perhaps it’s time more Clients did away with the Global Footprint consideration and holding company network and focused on agency partnerships outfitted to deliver success.

POV by Farah Sadiq, EVP & GM, International

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Paid and Organic Social Media: A Tale of Synergy on Social Media Day

By Insights & News, Social Commerce, Social Media No Comments

Happy Social Media Day! Paid and organic social media are more often than not put into silos, so, we wanted to celebrate the true synergy of paid and organic by sharing our views on how they work together.

eMarketer found that 29.6% of US consumers completed a purchase via social media, showcasing that this audience is engaged and these platforms influence consumer purchase/lower funnel decisions.

Advantages of Organic Social Media Engagement

An organic user proactively looks for content, engages with your feed, and provides valuable feedback. They are a qualified, loyal audience that every company should pay attention to. Your organic audience will amplify your message by sharing your content with their friends and networks without requiring any advertising dollars, so it is vital to make your content engaging and sharable. A vigilant brand will use platforms like Sprout Social to help monitor brand engagement and sentiment on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., through social listening. By listening to your audiences and responding to feedback and messages, you become a key player in their decision-making process. You can get ahead of some of your consumer needs and expectations.

Additionally, organic social media platforms provide an excellent opportunity to share brand messaging, positioning and communicate with your existing social base. Audiences on engaged channels will dictate any changes they would like to see, giving brands the chance to be transparent with mission statements, share changes to products, and offer a first look to those actively participating with your social posts. This is a great audience to use for awareness and for scaling broad messages.

Advantages of Paid Social Media Campaigns

Paid Social flexes the ability to expand reach by using targeting that is relevant and scalable for your brand. You can target based on location, employment, household income for U.S. audiences (although there are exceptions with the special ad category), gender, age, and interests, creating more nuanced audiences based on campaign goals and channels. LinkedIn is for C-Suite targeting and is much more B2B-focused, whereas purchases for a beauty products are more likely to happen on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.

How Organic and Paid Social Media Work Together

Working from channel insights, you can use organic contextual targeting and social listening and leverage these insights to develop personas and targeting segments. You can also expand on formats and tests you’ve performed in organic social media without running similar A/B tests that require a budget. We recommend create similar audiences to users who engage and interact with organic videos and target your followers to better focus on lower conversion events (such as lead ads or purchases). This can help expand your reach to a new audience. However, that is not where the cohesive conversation ends. Both organic and paid social media have a place in your marketing strategy.

Suppose a post performs well and gains high engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.) organically. In that case, this success is something you will want to scale with paid dollars to capitalize upon the post’s organic success. Learnings from organic should inform paid, and vice versa, whether it is insights from comments received on posts or best-performing creative types. Leverage that success to a conversion or store locator ad and include lookalikes from your first-party data and site traffic to expand the impact of your organic posts. This will also help you remarket to loyal existing customers and drive impact to top consumers with special promotions and new product launches. Ensure you are using brand-approved hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to continue trending conversations.

Paid and Organic Social Media Play a Role In the Customer Journey

Successes from paid social media can be shared on organic social media, and organic social media successes should be shared on paid social media. These conversations/successes should be part of your holistic marketing plan instead of organic and paid social media working in silos, as each has its place in the consumer journey and ad conversion funnel. This goes beyond social media and should be a strategy utilized across all your digital marketing campaigns.

Your most influential advocates for your brand’s experiences and products are your social media followers. Feedback on paid and organic social media can work in tandem for updates, tweaks, and optimizations you might need to make as a brand. Potential influencers and UGC content are ripe for the taking, and brands can amplify these assets at an efficient ROAS without the content burden on your team. This applies to all paid and organic channels and can be used across channels like Snapchat, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

According to Ad Roll, “On Facebook, organic posts only reach about 2% of followers, and that number is steadily declining.” Using the qualified nature of organic with the sophisticated tools of paid, you can cater to and expand your social presence as a whole while being both relevant and scalable. If you do not use insights from both, you will be missing an essential piece of the social media marketing puzzle, and your content marketing campaigns will lack impact.

POV by Gellena Lukats, Director of Paid Social Media and Mary Sutter, Director of Organic Social Media for Acronym