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Digital advertising not a 'black hole' of distrust, says marketing expert

23 Nov 2018

While New Zealanders distrust digital advertising due to things like online ad fraud, it doesn’t have to be that way – at least that’s what the CEO of digital marketing agency Insight Online believes.

Kim Voon says many businesses distrust the ‘black hole’ of digital advertising, including things like Google Ads and Facebook advertising.

“Many business owners have become suspicious of digital advertising ever since Proctor and Gamble cut its digital budget by $US100 million because they weren’t seeing the results,” Voon explains.

“This was followed by news that clicks automatically generated by bots could reach $US50 billion by 2025, and then offers by Google to refund its platform fee after revelations that fake traffic was costing advertising.”

Those statistics are concerning, but strong website analytics and a focus on tracking outcomes like sales, leads and valuable interactions can counter some of those problems. 

Some business owners don’t think they can trust metrics provided by Facebook and Google because those companies have a vested interest, so what else can businesses do?

Voon offers a few tips for tracking digital marketing spend.

1. Sales over impressions

 Inquiries, downloads or calls are the true measure.

“The acid test is whether you’re getting leads and sales or not. You don’t have to believe the impressions, or the clicks, but if you’re getting leads and the leads are turning into money, then there’s return-on-investment (ROI)," Voon explains.

“If you’re not seeing sales or leads, and you’re not tracking any form of conversion, it is hard to justify spending money on the digital advertising medium. Most search marketing agencies are very heavily biased towards ROI. Personally we have a high level of distrust with claims that impressions are great – we would prefer outcomes that are completed online such as inquiries, downloads or calls.”

2. Implement an online conversion model

Voon says that all marketing managers that are advertising should have a conversion model in place, which is essentially a process that invites engagement – whether a phone call or downloading an eBook, for example.

“You don't need to trust the platforms if you’re getting phone numbers, contact details and leads in your CRM. Too many people are fiddling with Facebook and Google Ads and concerned about impressions – that’s not using those channels correctly; it’s fluffy and it doesn’t work.”

“A conversion model is a measure of customer intent. People say people aren’t downloading eBooks anymore, but that’s nonsense. If your customer is serious about their purchase decision, they are happy to engage with the business.”

3. Choose your platform wisely

Voon explains that Facebook is very strong in New Zealand, as are Google Ads, but less so LinkedIn when it comes to paid services because LinkedIn is expensive.

“Facebook is very strong in New Zealand because the targeting is amazing. Advertisers can be very specific in their targeting, and the lead generation that comes off it – particularly if you have some sort of online fulfilment– can be the cheapest cost per lead channel."

“Make it a point to capture emails and phone numbers (or sales of course), which helps eliminate tyre kickers. The point is not to get everyone. The goal is to very specifically target your audience and get only the people you want,” Voon concludes.

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