Digital marketing sounds easy. How difficult can it be, given that one has used Facebook, LinkedIn, browsed a zillion websites, bought goods online and done many other things digital, is an unstated premise of marketers and other executives at many newbie and would-be clients of digital marketing. Almost every company executive has an opinion of what digital marketing is capable of and what it takes to achieve it. And the vast majority of these clients have little or no hands on exposure to the various facets of this field.
In our discussions with a few thousand organizations over the last 11+ years, we have come across very many misconceptions. Presented here are just a selected few typical ones.
- My brand needs to be present on more digital channels
Here the thought – and this is an example – is that listing and promoting my brand or company on Instagram, a Facebook, Google My Business (Google listings), YouTube and LinkedIn is not enough, it should be present on Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, WhatsApp for Business and many more channels.
In most cases, being present on all channels is not needed. There will never be enough relevant traffic for one’s own brand on each and every channel and the incremental benefit of being present here can be inadequate looking at the management time and/or cost involved.
Thankfully, more and more clients seem to be understanding this. However, we do come across clients with a strong preference for a channel even though it doesn’t meet the above criteria of threshold traffic and incremental benefit.
- I cannot see my ad on Google.
All advertisers, whether online or offline, like to be able to view their ads running.
When I was an offline marketer running print, TV and outdoor ads, if my brand’s ad ran on a given day, a colleague or two would often walk up to me at my desk and chat me up about the ad. It provided me reassurance or validation that the advertising is getting noticed as well as dipstick feedback on the ad itself .
For Google Search ads advertisers, Googling one’s own product will not always show up the ad for this product. The reasons are many. Firstly, if a person repeatedly searches for her or his own ad ogle but but never clicks on the ad, she/he may stop seeing it. That’s because Google’s system detects the IP address of the computer, and stops showing you ads that it thinks you aren’t interested in. Secondly, the ad may show up at bottom of page 1 or on later pages, which may get missed. Thirdly, the ad may not match very well with the actual search term (word being searched) so Google chooses not to show it. Fourthly, the budget may not be adequate on a given day to serve ads against all the relevant searches. Fifthly, the ads may not be targeted to the location where the client lives or they may be scheduled for specific hours or days of the week. Lastly, in Smart Automation, Google Ads current preferred way of running campaigns, Google Ads prioritizes against which searches to show the ads based on machine learning. It prefers showing ads to people with intent to buy or in the market to buy and deprioritizes showing ads to others.
The problem can arise on other ad platforms too, Google Ads above was by way of example.
3. Please add or remove a few keywords to my Google Search campaign
In the good old days viz. till a few months ago, Google Ads recommended that any one or more of three types of keywords viz. broad match, phrase match and exact match be used for the Search Ads campaign. Currently, the recommendation is to use broad match keywords as much as we can: in such cases Google Ads machine learning takes care of the rest.
However, clients are accustomed to the old method and often recommend specific words be added or deleted from the campaigns. A client once asked us to remove two keywords out of about 15 keywords being used for a campaign, as he felt these two keywords were the least relevant. However, data showed that ads were hardly being shown against these two keywords anyway. The Google Ads system had figured out on its own that these two keywords gave the least number of keywords for the ads, the landing page and campaign settings in use.
4. The most important thing my website needs is a better design.
We have heard clients wishing to discuss just the design of a new website. There is no doubting the merits of a great design but it’s not enough. And we don’t subscribe to the above statement.
A good website needs the right strategy, content, features, visual design, UI design, web technology, maintenance and organic marketing in order to grow traffic and succeed in achieving its given goals.
And if at all we were to choose one item which an excellent website needs it would be great content. Simplicity in design and error-free web development would rank in positions two and three.
5. Digital marketing is the only marketing I need
As a consumer marketer, I always considered more than one channel to reach my target audience
e.g. press and TV or press and outdoor or press, outdoor and in-shop, to give three among many
Currently, I work at a pure-play digital agency that does virtually no offline work, yet we always
encourage our clients to concurrently look at offline options if they can. Here are a few specific cases
to illustrate this.
Offline media is expensive and less targeted so more wasteful. Yet TV and press can have faster or
instant impact. Again, for new brands, PR works very well and complements digital marketing. If
nothing else, invest in a call centre and product promotion (deals). The specific choices of what
offline marketing to do will depend on the brand or product and the specific context, but in
marketing we believe that two legs are better than one.
Within digital marketing itself, we rarely recommend just one service or channel. SEO complements a
website, while Facebook Ads often complements Google Search Ads.
These then are just five misconceptions that we, a digital agency, commonly encounter.