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30-second summary:

  • Very few SMEs use multiple channels for their online advertising
  • Facebook is the most efficient channel based on the cost of CPM and CPC
  • It is important to remember that every business is unique when it comes to deciding on budget allocation.

For any company in the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry, data analytics and science are essential to ensure they keep moving forward to reveal this information that can really make a difference. With this in mind, the Cambridge MBA team sought to leverage Adzooma’s wealth of data to identify new ways for SMEs to maximize their ad spend through cross-channel marketing.

For the team at Cambridge University, this was an exciting opportunity to produce truly unique insights, given that even big players like Google and Microsoft only have data related to their individual channels. The project promised to provide a much broader view and deliver new insights through access to anonymized data from thousands of accounts on the big three platforms through Adzooma.

A cross-channel approach

The results immediately identified that very few SMB customers use multiple channels (Facebook, Google and Microsoft).

Although it wasn’t part of the main project, it was a really interesting analysis and it’s something that we really emphasized the importance of. Most people stick with Google, for example, because that’s where they think they should be, but it’s not always the best case for everyone’s business, and to be seen through. multiple touchpoints – or at least trying multiple channels – can be crucial for digital marketing success.

Our analysis revealed that Facebook was the most conducive channel for SMBs in terms of cost (CPM, CPC) as well as return (impressions, clicks), but it was Microsoft that imposed itself to reach a more professional audience. and easy.

Research has emphasized the importance of predetermining your specific target audience. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the channel – or channels – for your business, it’s really worth thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish with your ad spend and who you’re really trying to reach. .

What are you really trying to accomplish?

Right at the time of the lag, it’s important to think about your end goal and ask yourself who are the customers you are looking to target and what is the most effective way to get there.

Existing research has shown us that for SMEs, acquiring new customers is the most sought-after goal of the customer journey, followed by “generating awareness”, “generating leads” and “retaining customers”.

Taking this into account, the Cambridge team found that the merger of traditional sales funnel with the customer lifecycle model would be the best way for an SME to manage its overall marketing objectives.

The overlap resolution methodology then allowed the team to determine the impact of the cost on different marketing channels. This way, SMEs would be able to efficiently determine which platform is the best to use when similarities occur.

We found through research that it was the choice of channel itself that had the most significant impact on CPM and CPC. After determining a link between the Channel and Cost KPIs, additional research was conducted to find out the average CPM and CPC on Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads.

While Facebook is the most profitable channel on average for SMBs as a whole, the recommendations were that companies should always look at the click-through rates of other channels to determine if other factors such as industry or geography. could make a significant difference. .

If you choose between Google and Microsoft, the results suggest using Google due to its high reach and low cost, however, Microsoft could also be helpful, especially since it offers targeting and demographics of high level that may be suitable for specific types of businesses. .

What does your ad say?

Another factor that many businesses might not consider when choosing a platform is the sentiment of their messaging.

When analyzing the data, this was another area where the research team saw differentiation based on the channel the ad appeared on.

Cross-channel marketing and advertising CTR statistics

Microsoft has proven to be the most popular platform for positive sentiment with a CTR of 4.2%, compared to 3.6% for neutral sentiment and 3.3% for negative sentiment.

Interestingly, the reverse was true for Google ads, where negative sentiment was found most popular with users, with a CTR rate of 6.5% versus 5.7% for neutral posts. and negatives.

Again, this underlines how important it is to take this time to tweak your ads for testing purposes and find out what works best for your target customers so that you can capitalize on your spend.

Every business is unique

It’s no secret that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t necessarily work. All businesses are different and therefore their ad spend and usage will of course be different.

Some people, as we all do, want to keep up with stats and what has proven to have worked historically for businesses, and while that can be factored in, it isn’t to stay that it will work for all. companies. Therefore, it is always important to remember to take the time to think about your expenses and who you are trying to reach.

In addition, it should be remembered that although Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads are the most popular online advertising platforms, there are alternative (and cheaper) places to list your ads including Reddit, Amazon, and industry specific sites like Capterra. Although they have fewer users, they are still effective because it is often easier to reach your exact target audience and could work as an addition to your main platform.

Look ahead

We hope that through this research, we have inspired SMEs to think carefully about their target audience and specific goals before allocating ad spend. What we have shown here is that the ad platforms explored in this study work effectively in their own right depending on the end goal and we hope that this information will enable SMEs to achieve better overall results.

These learnings help determine how cross-channel partnerships can be best leveraged for SMB clients. As Facebook appears to be the most used channel by 70% of SMBs and data analysis suggests it is optimal in terms of cost and performance, the data will be used to scale features and opportunities. from Facebook. A lot of the lessons we learned from this study will also go directly into the core technology of the Adzooma product.

Rob Wass is co-founder and CEO of Adzooma.

Akanshaa Khare is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Cambridge and has five years of product management experience and three years of consulting experience, assisting consulting firms such as BCG and ZS Associates.

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