It’s important for brands to reach their customer and make a quality connection instantly – in the most cost-effective manner possible. Facebook may serve as a great channel to target Moms with a Food & Beverage coupon promotion, but depending on the tactics being employed and the customer being targeted, other channels may drive greater sales lift (and ultimately ROI). This is why optimizing your marketing channel mix is so important.
Some marketers peg the amount of channels they touch at over 100. Smart Insights keeps an ever-growing list of digital marketing channels, which illustrates the sheer amount of networks that continue to inundate the digital landscape. With more appearing all the time, how do marketers choose which channels to use to reach their target customer? For promotions specifically, brands have to decide whether or not to take an omnichannel approach, or focus their efforts on one main network (and in that scenario, is it a wide net on a major network or a calculated risk on a more niche channel?). The balancing act that comes with omnichannel campaigns can be hard to optimize, and putting the majority of a promotion’s budget on one key network leaves a very small margin for error.
Qoints recently published a new report which analyzed award-winning digital promotions to glean best practices for the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) vertical. A large part of this research involved looking at the different channels that campaigns used, and trying to determine how the choice of channel(s) affected the campaigns and their end results.
When looking at the digital channel usage found in our research, it is clear that some channels dominate. Facebook and Twitter, the two behemoths of social media, were used in 50% of campaigns. This number reflects the high amount of faith that marketers have in these two platforms. With such large user bases, both Facebook and Twitter have the ability to reach a large number of consumers.
Looking past Facebook and Twitter, the channels used start to vary greatly and include newer channels that have been gaining traction over the last few years. Nearly one third of the channels used could be considered ‘new’ social media platforms. These are established services with a significant number of users, but still not close to Facebook or Twitter. While the use of channels such as Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube is a small percentage of the channels used now, their occurrence in digital campaigns will likely grow as marketers continue to target millennials and the platforms that demographic prefers.
In our research, we also ranked the campaigns by sales lift, and then split them into thirds to create a top, middle, and bottom third. We then analyzed which channels the better performing campaigns used, to see what was being done differently in comparison to lower performing campaigns. Measuring by sales lift ensures a focus on real results, as opposed to vanity metrics such as impressions and reach.
In the top third of campaigns Facebook and Twitter are still prevalent, consisting of 50% of the channels used. This is likely due to their sheer size, and the fact that nearly every brand has a presence on both of these platforms. However, looking at the other channels used, the top performing campaigns are beginning to branch out and use less traditional channels such as Snapchat and Pinterest. This proves that there can be success outside of the big 2, and this should signal to other marketers to begin exploring opportunities on these lesser used channels.
Looking at the low ranking campaigns, both Facebook and Twitter are still relevant (once again making up nearly half of the channels used). Other channels utilized by the the bottom third of campaigns were branded microsites and branded mobile apps. This is a growing trend, but it appears that most marketers have not yet been able to unlock the full potential of these channels. It is also important to note that the newer social channels (Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) are not even present here. Low performing campaigns are sticking to what has always been perceived to work instead of experimenting with new channels, and this is hurting their sales lift numbers.
When looking at sales lift, it can be hard to attribute what actually drives it. While it is primarily the tactic that dictates the lift of the campaign, the channel marketers use is also important. Channel is how brands reach people, so it is critical that they reach the right people, at the right time, and in the right place.
By analyzing the sales lift of the campaigns and then matching them with the channel, we can see which channels are associated with higher sales lift. Campaigns that used Twitter in any way (on its own, or in tandem with other channels) generated an average sales lift of 23%, while campaigns that did not use Twitter at all had an average sales lift of 36%. We observed similar behaviour with campaigns that used Facebook as part of the channel mix (average sales lift of 23%, while campaigns that did not use Facebook at all had an average sales lift of 40%).
These contrasting sales lift numbers show that while marketers can reach a large number of people on Facebook and Twitter, these platforms may not be getting them the most desirable results possible. With so many advertisers flocking to Facebook and Twitter to run their promotions there is a lot of noise and competition, which fatigues consumers and thereby makes it harder for brands to reach them. If marketers can’t even reach the customer, they have no chance of ever selling them anything.
Until last month, nobody had cracked the physical-to-digital marketing connection better than FourSquare – that was until Nintendo broke through and opened our eyes to what is possible with Pokemon Go! Brands such as Best Buy have tapped into the craze by introducing special offerings for Pokemon Go players to draw them into brick-and-mortar locations. Major sports teams such as the Houston Astros and the Jacksonville Jaguars have followed suit, opening their stadiums and arenas up to the public to catch Pokemon. This proactive yet cautious “test-and-see” mentality can pay off, with brands establishing a presence on the platform and having consumers associate the game with the company.
By utilizing newer channels, brands can have a far larger impact on a more targeted group of consumers. While they may not be able to reach the same amount of people (in Nintendo’s case however, they have surpassed Twitter in popularity at least for now), they will likely be able to get more engagement, which leads to more conversions. Like the old adage says, it’s quality over quantity. In order to reach the desired level of quality, this data shows that brand marketers must be willing to take some risks with channels that are not yet considered “mature.”
Qoints can help brands take calculated risks, optimize performance and mitigate failures. With the Qoints platform, brands and agencies alike are able to measure the success of the individual channels in their mix, allowing marketers to make data-driven decisions on who to target and where. This method can help drive sales lift for firms, taking the guesswork out of figuring out what is working and what is not.
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