Finding your way through the maze of digital advertising solutions is overwhelming at best. Cracking this hard nut isn’t made easier by having to finally implement a strategy.
Generally speaking, online marketers are divided into two fan groups: one is team performance and the other is team branding. The first ones are savvy and profit-thirsty sharks and the latter are more value-oriented softies. Seems like two completely separate worlds? But what if the only right way to go is the mix of both?
Not as simple as it sounds
Brand value is immeasurable. Years ago, companies recognized the value of intangible assets since these demonstrated the actual needs of potential customers. Understanding the underlying need is crucial since businesses cannot easily buy positive brand perceptions. Customers need to be convinced and consciously (or unconsciously) decide to purchase a product or a service. Appealing to their needs is the most certain way to do so.
Branding Basics: What is it?
Simply speaking, BRANDING is the process of creating a strong positive perception of a company a.k.a the brand. It’s all about drilling the product into customers’ minds with visual representations, mission statements, and consistent communication on all marketing platforms.
Effective branding is a crucial step in differentiating yourself from competitors and establishing a loyal customer base.
It’s a promise that the brand gives to the customers for the long term. Brands are based on values, culture, image, and identity – and their promises are about the quality of the product/service, the vision, and future development direction. All these components define the brand’s essence and create a client’s expectations of how the brand identity should be.
What does branding want to achieve?
The main goal of branding is to evoke an emotional response, a direct reaction from the target audience, and finally, the client’s engagement. It seeks to build trust and credibility, increase customer loyalty and motivate them into taking action.
What’s branding’s biggest challenge?
The hardest part of the online branding strategy isn’t just developing a strong set of positive associations for the brand – it’s keeping them up over time. You should be aware that brand building is not just a one-time practice – it’s an ongoing process that requires constant efforts to achieve brand recognition among your target audience.
The big C is for Consistency
Branding can have a huge impact on giving you a competitive advantage over your rivals, acquiring and retaining loyal customers. Nowadays, new brands spring out of nowhere all the time so establishing a brand reputation is not a question – it’s a must-have.
But you need to remember that branding spreads across every facet of your business. Social media, communications The vast majority of consumers recognize the importance of consistent branding – so should you.
So, if the time comes for rebranding and redefining your brand’s image, make sure to leave no stones unturned. That also includes your customer service communications.
Branding trends to look out for in 2022
Like everything, online tips and tricks for successful branding fall victim to fashion. What worked for major brands a year or two ago is no longer news and so companies are forced to stay on their toes and keep rethinking themselves into their best and freshest versions.
Here are a few trends to keep your eye on in ‘22:
- Not so “eco”
Typically, eco-friendly brands stayed close to traditional images of nature and tranquility. But nowadays most of them start moving away from blue and green hues to designs that seem more conceptual and personal.
- Not so sleek
Clean-cut designs are still very popular and the market is swamped with them, so moving towards more disruptive visuals proves to be one of the best ways to stay afloat.
- It’s the 80’s baby!
Pop culture is saturated with 80’s references. Everything from Stranger Things to Dua Lipa and Coldplay blasting 80’s inspired tunes made us fall back in love with the nostalgia and brands should take advantage of that.
- Step up the digital
This trend has been going strong for a while now. Futuristic designs and visions of AI’s spread are where the money is at.
These are just a few examples of what’s hot in branding and finding solutions that work for you are just a few clicks of a Google search away.
Major branding concerns
What keeps many advertisers from investing more in branding campaigns is that it’s difficult to directly monitor how successful these ads are. We see them daily and the companies do their best to place their brand in front of consumers’ eyes hoping that the ad and the product itself will be remembered and the client will interact with the brand sooner than later.
However, over time, the strategy has to become more precise than solemn branding. The best way to do so is to ensure that your new initiative is based on data analytics and website measurement tools like Google Analytics and KPIs from performance campaigns. The best way of measuring is of course using a tracker – like Voluum. With our many features tracking any desirable data is easily accessible. That’s where performance marketing strategy kicks in.
Performance marketing basics: Is it all about numbers?
PERFORMANCE is characterized by reaching specific objectives, measurable results, proven data in the initial client base, etc. Altogether these lead to dynamic company growth. It’s all about staying result-oriented and getting paid when the desired action takes place. These actions typically are:
- lead generation,
- deposit, or couponing.
Measuring the final actions will not be enough if you do not pay attention to the whole campaign funnel. That’s why marketers should also keep an eye on all the KPI’s including CTR, iCTR, eCPA, eCPM, and CPV to see how successful the campaign, creatives, headlines, and content of the Landing Page or Prelander is.
Digital performance marketing is treated as a win-win marketing strategy as each stage of generating results has its benefits. That’s why performance metrics are important not only to the product owner, but also to affiliates, performance agencies, and publishers.
And the performance part of your strategy requires making use of tools that will help you keep an eye on all the data. Like a tracker of course. Voluum allows for easy desktop and mobile ad tracking of all your campaigns in one place and it comes with tons of different features so you can track whatever you want.
Branding or Performance Marketing: Which one is better?
The best way to ensure your company’s growth and establish yourself as a household name in advertising is by putting both approaches together. Performance solutions directly bring you $$ profit and allow financial liquidity. Brand recognition ensures that the profit is maintained in the long term.
The graphic below should help you understand better how the following strategies can be separated.
The concept of online branding includes within itself the performance. And there is no simple way to define where the branding process ends and performance begins. Both approaches should learn from one another each other.
The best approach to online advertising
Are you already trying to come up with clever strategies for making the best of both worlds? Very well! While you’re thinking about how to make it by combining performance marketing with branding it’s good to keep in mind a few essential pieces of information about ads.
Generating organic traffic through social media is a tricky task. But thankfully there are a few ways you can aid the visibility of your brand.
Here are a few strategies to boost your social media presence:
- Know your timing
Unless you’re paying a platform (like Facebook) to show your ads at specific times you can’t expect them to appear on people’s feeds right away. You need to post when your audience is online. Typically, traffic on socials becomes larger in the afternoon when people take a break from work. Also, keep in mind the kind of industry you’re in – this will also influence when the golden hour starts. Do your research.
- Keep your audience engaged
Your content has to stay varied. Followers tend to stick to profiles that provide posts that are entertaining, educational, and feel relevant. Most of the time the type of content that generates the most reactions are: your company’s shared blog posts or posts that contain images and videos.
- Keep your profile up to par
Your audience will most likely check out your Instagram profile as soon as they find your company on Google or your social media will be how they discover you in the first place – so it’s an important tool in building client relationships. So make sure your company’s info is updated regularly and your about section contains relevant keywords.
- Include buttons
Sadly, most visitors will not return to your website after stumbling upon it for the first time. Some who do come back fail to engage with your brand through secondary channels. Including social follow buttons in your posts is a great way of naturally encouraging people to follow you on other platforms.
Regardless of whether your campaigns are paid or not you need to track them. Tracking isn’t only for measuring profit but also performance and if you’re relying on organic traffic knowing exactly how much of it your efforts generate is crucial to you moving forward.
Luckily, tracking with Voluum is truly multi-faceted and tracking organic visits is very easy. Our solution for that is using a direct tracking script with a click ID already implemented. This means that the next time a visitor arrives on your page organically Voluum will assign the visit to the campaign that matches the ID you have updated for this script. Easy-peasy.
Although paid campaigns significantly raise the budget for a marketer they are an effective way of exposing your company to large audiences. Especially in a market that is constantly growing and becoming more and more competitive, organic traffic might not be sufficient for a successful campaign.
Paid ads usually appear on the sides, the top or bottom of the web page. Some marketers are even willing to pay extra for their ads to be featured on more popular websites to further increase traffic.
When deciding on what type of paid ads to run it’s not enough to think just in terms of native or pop-up – you should understand how they influence your image.
Push ads can seem cheesy and sadly make the product look cheap as well. Popups especially tend to annoy consumers so most of them wouldn’t think twice about skipping on your offer. And there’s always the risk of being overlooked due to banner blindness. Native ads, on the other hand, tend to inspire feelings of trustworthiness and they can very naturally grab people’s attention before they even realize it’s an ad. That’s thanks to their seamless fit into surrounding content.
If you’re going for video it’s a great option for spreading the wings creatively but be wary of making them too loud. That’s usually the biggest complaint about them.
That isn’t to say that you should only go for native and other ads don’t ever work. Popups might work better in 3rd-tier countries and natives in 1st-tier – it all depends. So, in general, remember that creating a successful campaign takes awareness on all fronts.
The dynamic programmatic world requires constant attention and flexibility. That’s why we need to accept that nowadays, performance will not last long without constant efforts to enhance brand identity and brand awareness. Merging all of these will help you generate revenue and will bring the highest possible Return on Investment (ROI).
Keep the balance between the two and brainstorm some ways how to reconcile online branding and performance into a unique marketing strategy that will remain effective also in the short term. Try to find experienced allies, like a tracking platform – Voluum, that can help you start and develop your branding & performance techniques accurately and without wasting your budget. And then … success is yours!