Susan is a highly experienced marketing executive with over 15 years in a variety of key leadership roles. When she's not building a great business (Vovia), she is off adventuring and travelling the world. You might also run into her on the ski hill or in a hot yoga class.

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6 Resolutions for Your 2015 Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing Resolutions for 2015

While 2015 has only just begun, it is chock full of strategic possibilities to advance your business. Here are some digital marketing resolutions for a happy and healthy 2015.

2015 Digital Marketing Resolutions

Get Mobile & Get Moving

If you thought I was talking about getting off of the couch, your guilty conscience might be trying to tell you something… I am actually referring to your marketing plans and how committed you are to mobile marketing. If you’re not running and optimizing mobile campaigns, then it’s time to get moving!

ComScore suggests that Canadian mobile subscribers surpassed 23 million last year and that 75% of mobile users are now on smartphones. Not only is smartphone ownership on the rise, there is also an increasing trend in engagement with videos and other rich content formats on mobile devices. Although this segment continues to grow, marketing investment in mobile has not grown at the same pace. This is a great opportunity!

Many are afraid to make the mobile marketing leap for two main reasons:

  • It’s hard to measure
  • It can be difficult to buy (due to fragmentation within the industry)

When you do make the move, the safest place to start is definitely Search. Search is the most common behaviour used as consumers move from one device to another and strategies including mobile keyword bid adjustments and ad copy device optimization can ensure consumers can find what they need in the place where they want to get it.

All future marketing strategies need to be mindful of consumers’ multi-device behaviour and preferences. When you design or update your website, make it easy for the consumer to transition across devices, and ensure that it is optimized for mobile (responsive site, proper word count, image adaptation, etc.). Check those budget plans and make some moves toward mobile.

Work Those Machines

A few of you might have jumped straight to the thought of a treadmill or elliptical; another healthy resolution for most…

Though fitness is important, I’d rather geek out here and tell you why you should embrace Programmatic Advertising. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “can I really trust these tools”—this resolution is for you!

Like any tool, programmatic is only as powerful as the user. As you might have seen in other posts from our team, this is not the job for a digital generalist, it is definitely specialized. Whether you’re using programmatic bidding for Search or Display, you need people who know the bidding tools inside and out. If they don’t, a lot is at risk—your budget, your performance, and your brand.

More and more high end inventory, such as premium placements and high impact formats, are becoming available in the programmatic space. This will allow marketers to measure even more in real time and optimize on those insights providing more personal and relevant consumer experiences and connections.

If you aren’t already, start testing these bidding platforms. Let the machines do the predictive work and the humans focus on the strategic thinking. This takes testing and optimization to a whole new level!

Try Something New

If you’re thinking of taking up skydiving this year, go for it! What I’m actually talking about is Native Advertising.

Native advertising, by definition, is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears to such a degree that it looks as though it belongs to the site. The example you are likely to be the most familiar with is the “Facebook Page Post Ad”. This example is considered Native because it looks like a regular post from a brand page and it appears in the Newsfeed along side posts from family and friends.

Another example is the infamous “advertorial”—which is basically a paid article placement on news/editorial site. In case you were wondering, I’m not talking about your small town community news sites here. Major league players like the New York Times and Huffington Post have embraced this (relatively) new medium.

How can I use Native Advertising effectively? Here’s a few stats from Digiday to get you thinking:

  • Mobile boasts a stronger CTR and “time spent” than desktop, even though 76% of native sales are desktop based.
  • People are more responsive to native content that has a “satire/humour” or a “how to” approach.
  • From a placement perspective, engagement with native units located in the “news” category outperformed both the “lifestyle” and “finance” categories.

Keep these in mind when exploring Native as a placement possibility.

The Controversy

Native ads are enticing to say the least, but they are not without drawback. Some people feel that mixing advertising and news in look-alike formats is deceptive; the proverbial mixing of church and state. Though these concerns are not unfounded, Native Ads must follow certain standards to be legal; including the clear labelling of sponsorship. The problem is that they are often so well “camouflaged” that the sponsorship isn’t always obvious.

Despite this, Native grants you access to sizable audiences who might have never seen your work without the sponsored promotion. This, in and of itself, is extremely valuable. Expect to see this area take off in 2015!

Cut the Fat

This one’s not for you, you’re perfect just the way you are. Your video marketing on the other hand, should make the move to micro. Over 50% of marketers agree that video has the best ROI of all content formats. In fact, by 2017 as much as 74% of all internet traffic will be driven by video, which is incredible to even think about. But blasting consumers with full feature films and TV spots online is not the way to go.

Both video content and smartphone usage are here to stay, so the assets that you use must be adapted to this new norm. Consumers already have expectations and tendencies when it comes to online video consumption:

  • For video channels like YouTube, expect sharp drop offs after 60 seconds for interesting/original footage. Less creative videos will inevitably lead to faster drop off.
  • For social media, keep the ad short—less than 8 seconds.
  • For digital advertising and pre-roll, keep within 10 seconds maximum.

The Takeaway here is keep it short and sweet.

Also, whatever you do, DON’T put your TV spot on Facebook—it doesn’t belong there! A lot of folks access social on their mobile devices and are usually multitasking when they do it so. You might get their attention for an 8 second teaser, but that’s it. Respect this, and build your assets around this preference.

Add Organic to Your Diet

Organic Search

Photo credit: FGN

It totally makes sense to think we are talking about food here, organic is definitely a healthy choice. You might have guessed that I’m actually referring to organic performance achieved through Search Engine Optimization.

If your company’s goal is visibility in Search, evaluate your content and ensure it is meaningful and relevant. Developing content around your business’ core offering(s) directly on the pages that drive your conversions will attract more users from the long-tail and drive them directly to your revenue focused pages. Keep in mind that the content should be authentic, valuable, topical, and relevant to the page it’s located on.

According to SERP IQ, developing between 2,500 – 2,800 words of content on each page obtained the highest average rankings. Search engines seek out (relevant) content because it is typically conducive to a better user experience, which is their ultimate purpose.

In short, placing around 2,500 words of great content on your key pages can provide you with long term benefits like:

  • Greater visibility in search engine rankings.
  • Increases in organic traffic from the long tail.
  • Increases in time spent on page from visitors.
  • Increases in earned links.

A great starting point is to go into your Analytics and check your organic traffic and performance trends. If you don’t like what you see (or you’re not sure what your looking for) be sure to add SEO, on-site optimization, and content development to your 2015 marketing plan.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Don’t worry, we aren’t talking about sticking to your new diet or gym routine. This advice is more about setting targets and committing to measurement. Do you have a scorecard? How about regular Analytics reporting?

With so many moving parts and factors changing all the time, it’s hard to keep track of all the variables and understand what’s driving results. First and foremost, it is important to create a data driven culture, this is what will lead you to your desired goals. Here’s a few tips to get you started:

  • Measure what is in your control and what is trackable.
  • Keep measurement in mind when planning your campaigns.
  • Determine how responsive you can be based on the resources available, then set goals, measure, and optimize accordingly.

When it comes to measurement, the 3 most valuable things you can do are: set targets, add tracking codes, and define a measurement template. Analytics truly are the gate and key to understanding consumer behaviour.

It’s Going to Be a BIG Year!Digital Marketing Goals

Mobile, Programmatic, Native, Video, SEO, and Analytics. These should be your top priorities for 2015 and there’s no time like the present! This list doesn’t touch on all of the exciting things going on in digital right now, but it does reflect the areas we think will work hardest for you this year. Happy planning!

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about any of these areas, please don’t hesitate to contact us.