Have we reached a tipping point?

For any business, but especially for an online retailer like us, advertising is an integral part of exposing your products to customers. And as digital continues to change and shape our lives and the world we live in, we began to re-evaluate our own advertising strategy at Christopher Ward this month.

We have been engaged in digital advertising since our inception in 2004, but so far we have focused more on print, which accounts for 80-85% of our advertising concentration. Our digital engagement continues to be strong and includes pay-per-click advertising, SEO, display advertising, participation in online forums and blogs, and social media advertising.

No matter what type of advertising strategy you engage with, there are three KPIs that any online retail brand advertising should revolve around.

The first is the amount of traffic you drive to your site. Second, measure your conversion rate, what percentage of people visiting your site are spending money. ”And third, what is the average order of value of those who spend

What you want from an advertising strategy is to hit the first two points: drive traffic and drive significant conversion sales. While these are tough sales that any brand wants, smooth conversions that introduce new audiences to your brand also play a big role in consumers’ exposure to your products and the bigger picture.

As the world becomes more and more digital, it can be easy to get sucked into the idea that digital advertising is the pinnacle and the end, but I advise against you to be cautious. A huge amount of money is wasted on digital ad agencies over-promising what will be delivered and then offering up vagaries when asked to provide analytics to deepen the impact.

Over the past decade in particular, these agencies have taken advantage of the fact that many of the senior executives in companies were generally older and, while experienced in business, were not always fully digitally savvy.

At first glance, a seemingly obvious benefit of a digital advertising strategy is the ease with which, unlike in print, its impact can be tracked. But dig below the surface and it’s not that clear. You just can’t quantify exactly how many people are looking for your site through online exposure, just because digital agencies might claim that all engagement with your brand is a result of their work doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the case. .

As a small business like ours, you need a dashboard or sophisticated analytics to specifically show your digital ad traffic and hard conversions. It puts you in a better position to judge the value of what you are getting.

A simple trick to measuring the true ROI of a digital advertising strategy is to remove the brand-induced conversions from the data. Remarkably, very few brands are doing this and therefore the ROI on ROI results include conversions that have obviously been driven by non-digital advertising. In our experience, this one action will cut ROI by at least half, which can be a pretty baffling experience for all parties involved.

On the other hand, with the inexorable decline of communication absorbed by consumers into print and the proportional increase in digital, we may be at a certain tipping point in terms of digital advertising, especially via social media. , which pushes participation in online advertising much higher. than before. Difference between marketing and advertising

Of course, the print advertising strategy is not dead and will continue to be an important part of our mix. And with per page rates more negotiable than ever due to the market contraction, it is also possible to monetize this aspect of our advertising with good negotiation.

As with all aspects of running a business, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This has never been truer than with marketing spend and this month we were thankful that our thoroughness in measuring our online advertising performance gave us valuable insight into what spending should look like. futures. At least that’s the theory!

This article is part of a larger campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring entrepreneurs to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of industries and geographies, each columnist produces a journal entry each month. Visit the Founders’ Journal section to learn more.

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