Every day, it seems, we are the brink of massive upheaval and change. Every year is the year the world changed. Every moment feels more critical and more chaotic than just a year ago. No, I'm not talking about the midterm elections or all of the other global news stories that bombard us every day. I'm talking about how we market our businesses—how we convert potential clients into loyal customers—is in a steady state of flux.
The proliferation of social media and its platform has created the same chaos and disruption that SEO and Google Analytics created before Instagram and Facebook began dominating our screens. Change is good, and it means more opportunity if you’re willing to change with the times. But how do you make the most of your advertising campaigns in a world that has a seemingly infinite number of platforms clamoring for consumer attention?
Know Your Audience—Uncertainty is Opportunity
It’s not a bold statement to tell you that everything about advertising in 2018 is different than five years ago, let alone 50 years ago. It’s not crazy to claim that nothing has changed. It's like the adage goes: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Just 15 years ago, Google algorithms were cutting-edge and social media hadn't even been invented yet. Sure, we had AOL Instant Messenger, and Myspace was just breaking out, but no one could have predicted that the digital age would minimize print and TV ad space, at least not to this extent. Who knew that portable screens would be able to claim our undivided attention for minutes and hours straight? Social media sites and streaming platforms have an amazing advantage over more traditional media: they (often) have an entirely private relationship with the viewer or listener.
Before the internet, we were limited to TV, print, sides of buses, park benches, and classified ads. Today, music streaming sources like Pandora and Spotify and video streaming like YouTube are new(ish) advertising frontiers that have opened Pandora's Box (pun intended) of advertising abilities. It's not that big media gatekeepers are gone; it's that the keeper and rules have changed.
Facebook isn’t letting these platforms get too far ahead, either. Opportunity is endless in 2018, and still relatively cheap while being more effective in targeting your desired audience compared to traditional advertising tools. In fact, social media advertising can expose you to more than 1,000 consumers for less than $3 (compared to $57 via mail and $28 via broadcast TV).
Have a Game Plan
Just because it’s cheaper to reach a thousand people, it doesn’t mean that it's as effective. ‘Loves’ on Instagram are nice, but are you converting those likes into customers? Will your business benefit from a social media presence? These questions become far more complex than simple yes or no answers, especially if you own a B2B enterprise.
Caroline Robertson, a Forrester researcher, was interviewed by Forbes this year and highlighted 5 B2B advertising trends to expect for the rest of 2018 and beyond. She expects more than 70% of B2B marketers will use CDPs (Customer-driven platforms) to access the fractured media environment better.