Does Online Marketing Really Work?

Digital Marketing Tips and Tricks

– Many business owners are asking the question “Does Online Marketing Really Work?”. We often hear the statement “I tried online marketing / Google advertising before, and it didn’t work”. The answer to this question is not straight forward: Online Marketing can work, and can work extremely well. But success is not a given, digital marketing is easier to get wrong than it is to get right.

We audit dozens of digital marketing campaigns each year, and all too often we see that these are delivering sub-optimal results for the customers. In many cases the time and efforts of the marketers would appear genuine, but they lack the skill, experience, or diligence to use the platforms and tools available to their full potential. In other cases we really have to question the motivation of the marketing agency, with reporting that looks impressive but is actually meaningless.

Online Marketing Tips and Tricks

Here are some common problems we find in digital marketing campaigns, and some tips for what to look out for if you feel you are not getting the results you had hoped for.

  1. SEO Deception

    The goal of a successful SEO campaign is to rank in the top positions on the first page of the search results for high-volume keywords relevant to your business. People searching these keywords will see your listing, click through to your website to find out more about your product or service, and either enquire or purchase.

    The problem with high-volume relevant keywords is that they are competitive, and therefore difficult to rank. It is much easier to rank low volume keywords that are less competitive. So this is what many SEO companies do. They choose low volume or less relevant keywords so that they can show impressive reports with lots of top rankings. They can offer incentives such as “first page results guaranteed or your money back”. The problem with this approach is that if no-one is searching these keywords, they will generate little or no traffic to the website – no leads and no sales.

    Tip: Make sure that SEO proposals or reporting contain keyword search volumes. Reporting should not only contain keyword positions, but also website traffic or conversions generated by these keywords as reported in Google Analytics or Google Search Console.

  2. Poorly managed Google Display campaigns

    Google Display ads can be a very effective way of promoting your products or services online. The Google Display network reaches of over 90% of internet users, and offers detailed targeting options such as location, demographics, interests and in-market behaviour. Ads consist of eye-catching images along with text, with animations available, and show to users when browsing other websites and mobile apps.

    However Google Display campaigns are extremely difficult to run successfully, and very easy to get wrong. Perhaps the most glaring example of this is the placement where the ads actually show. We want ads showing on websites, YouTube channels, and mobile app that will be frequented by our target demographic. But time and again we come across campaigns where 90% of the budget is being spent on ads on Disney Channel, Nursery Rhyme YouTube channels, Peppa Pig, kids cartoons, educational videos for kids, etc. It would appear that preschool children spend a lot of time online, and have a propensity for clicking whatever ads appears, be it for real estate, high-end furniture or financial services.

    Tip: Make sure to look at the placements where your ads are showing. This will give a good indication as to whether in fact you are reaching the right demographic.

  3. Google Smart Campaigns

    Google sell their Smart Campaigns to small business owners as a simple way of getting started with Google advertising. They are very easy to set up and require a minimum amount of configuration. However this lack of configuration options means a lack of control over the campaign targeting. While we have seen some Smart Campaigns generating good results, the vast majority of cases we find a lot of wastage, with ads showing to people outside the target location (even outside the target country), and to people searching for keywords that are either not relevant to the business, or only marginally relevant and not the best allocation of what is in most cases a limited budget.

    Tip: We would normally recommend with Google Advertising that you check the search terms and user locations. Unfortunately Google Smart Campaigns hide most of this detail. Conversion tracking can tell you if the campaign is generating any leads or sales. Otherwise if you have doubts about the campaign’s effectiveness, we’d recommend you contact us here at Adcelerate for a free audit.

  4. Facebook Advertising

    Facebook advertising can work extremely well for products that may be purchased on an impulse. Other than that it reaches customers higher up the sales funnel than Google (which is intent based), making it great for branding and general product awareness, but conversion rates are typically lower than for intent buyers.

    As with all digital marketing, a successful Facebook advertising needs the correct targeting. Ads should only shown to the most relevant users, leading to much higher website engagement and more conversions. Poor targeting will lead to poor results. It’s not the number of clicks that counts, it is the quality of the clicks that makes all the difference.

    Tip #1: Be clear about your goals. Are you wanting brand awareness, or more immediate results? Is Facebook really the best digital marketing channel to use, or could Google be better? Or at least an option to consider running alongside Facebook to compare results.

    Tip #2: Beware of accidental clicks. Are people really clicking your ads because they are interested in your product or service, or are they accidentally clicking the ad when scrolling through their feed? Compare Facebook clicks with Google Analytics to see if there is a discrepancy in traffic numbers, and check Google Analytics engagement rates (average session duration and pages per session).

Online Marketing – Key to Success

As mentioned above, digital marketing can be very successful, but success is not guaranteed. It requires a well planned, well-structured and well targeted campaign. It requires experienced digital marketing specialists with a professional approach, disciplined processes and continued optimisation & improvements. Finding individuals or an agency with these qualities can be difficult. Without these qualities digital marketing campaigns will generate sub-optimal results.

If you’d like help with your online marketing to improve your results, speak to the team at Adcelerate.