The reason every modern business has to invest in their digital presence is oftentimes heard as a variation of this: “Internet users spend hours on their computer or cellphones researching their purchases on Google, social media and other online channels”. Public opinion on market-leading products and services is nowadays formulated online.
But how easy is it for our brand to always be easily discoverable by our ideal customer either when they search on Google or when browsing websites or social media?
Let's go over the major available channels:
Google Search Ads are a fundamental platform for advertising online for a simple reason: By linking our ads to specific keywords, we ensure that our offering is only visible to the specific audience who actively search for a future purchase (and are often ready to complete it). In other words, Google Search is the closest you can get to “ready to buy” customers. Google Search Ads are therefore the one of the basic channels you should be researching.
Note that not all products or services are suitable for direct Search advertising. For example, some fast-moving consumer goods (e.g. soft drinks or toothpaste) or, on the contrary, complex B2B services with specific corporate buyers can benefit from brand awareness in alternative channels to maximize return on the brand's investment.
Now, let's see roughly how a Google Search auction works. Users search with a keyword. Based on its competitiveness, we bid an amount (the maximum cost we're willing to pay per click) in the ad auction. In relation to (a) the bid price, (b) competitors' bids, (c) the relevance and quality of the ad that determines its score in the auction, our ad is ranked and placed in one of the available positions above and below Google's search results.
SEO / Organic Results
On the Google results page, among our well-known ads (the ones above the "Ad" sign) are the "organic" results. SEO or Search Engine Optimization - that is, practices to improve our brand position in organic results - involves multiple activities inside and outside of our website aiming to improve our website’s ranking within the organic results.
Ranking our brand on the first pages, or even better on the top position of Google’s search results, is a sure recipe for digital success since organic results generally lend greater confidence to visitors without incurring direct costs, as Google Ads do.
However, unlike direct advertising, ranking "No.1 in Google" requires patience, knowledge and technical skill, while results cannot be 100% guaranteed, as competition and other factors may come into play.
For any brand that sets ambitious digital goals, SEO is an almost mandatory practice that should not be skipped. Since visitors always rate higher the companies that appear higher in Google's organic results, medium to long-term investment in a reputable and experienced SEO consulting team is an investment that pays off.
Ads on the Google Display Network are the digital equivalent of outdoor advertising, only with unique added benefits. In these networks, we can show our ad on any affiliate site supporting Google ads, using, in addition to plain text, image, animation, video and other rich media, including YouTube. The advantage, unlike outdoor advertising, is that we can build strong brand awareness with the help of cookies by only targeting relevant audiences. Here are some examples: a) users who are currently visiting e-shops with bicycles and are investigating a purchase, b) users who have recently visited our e-shop but didn’t complete checkout, c) users who like luxury trips, hotels or yachts, d) environmentally sensitive people, vegans and etc, e) targeted websites, pages or articles containing specific keywords or themes.
The cost per click on Display is generally lower than on search networks, which better reflects brand awareness goals, while we may often alternatively bit for views or impressions (Cost per Mille / 1K views) and not clicks.
Price comparison sites and apps
If you are doing direct online sales, membership on these websites (such as the Greek skroutz.gr) can sometimes be a forced option. In price comparison websites, visitors compare products and vendors based on price, features, ratings and other filters. When these platforms were launched, they mainly covered technology and home appliances. Today, through these channels, almost everything is represented: clothing, drinks, cosmetics, automotive items and much, much more.
Buyers usually don’t pick the very lowest price but rather opt for a balance between low price and vendor reputation based of ratings and feedback. Although price comparison websites have completely disrupted the retail industry by intensifying competition and driving down prices, they do make consumers’ lives easier, offering unmatched transparency and speed.
Social networks are a platform which directly connect with our audience and potential customers. Social media is part of the lives of millions of people and one of the strongest tools to promote our brand. From Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn and Twitter, each platform has its own operating philosophy. Designing a unified digital and content strategy on social will definitely play a key role for your brand. In social, interaction between your business and the customer is absolutely key. Messages, queries, comments on posts, reviews, shares, and tagging create a unique opportunity to develop strong bonds with our audience and boost customer engagement and satisfaction. At the same time, social Ads and promotions allow us to target audiences much more flexibly and measurably than in traditional ads.
Every business needs their very own mix of channels in their digital strategy. The role of the digital strategy consultant team is irreplaceable and involves identifying these channels and choosing the right mix before designing and implementing our content plan. After discussing and analyzing our market (“Where do our buyers live? – how and when to reach them, and with which personalized communications?”), the channel list is curated, customer personas and audiences set up, and the all related activities planned and executed . This way, we can ensure customers can always discover us online and maximize the return of investment in our digital presence.