The power of paid media has been proven.
Its popularity is pulsating to the tune of nearly $50 billion in domestic ad spending in 2021 alone. That’s a whopping 21% growth over the previous year.
It’s clear we’re living in unprecedented times. So “unprecedented,” in fact, that the word itself has become notoriously overused. It’s a trend, after all.
Marketing strategies are no different: indeed, they’re often dictated by trends. And while it’s vital to understand and implement current trends, it’s equally important to stay ahead of them.
As we traverse through the final quarter of 2021, where companies are battling to capture consumer attention, what are the top paid media trends to know about? More importantly, what are the smartest ways to extract the most potential from your paid media processes?
Here are five quick tricks to get started:
1. It’s not the medium: it’s the message
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn each deliver uniquely effective ways to build rapport with an audience.
While such optionality is a gift for marketers, it can distract from a more fundamental truth: platforms themselves rarely create quality leads.
Rather, it’s the messaging that transports consumers across the finish line.
Tech innovations have undoubtedly subsidized countless sub-par ads in recent years. After all, consumers are fairly forgiving at the front end of innovation. As a result, many marketers have grown complacent with their content and neglected to maximize the appeal of their messaging.
Consumer expectations and business competition have simultaneously increased. While audiences demand greater creativity, marketing pros have distilled their ads down to a science.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is clear: hit the right triggers, dig into nuance, and mummify your market with messaging they can’t ignore.
2. Avoid scaring prospects with cynicism
While Halloween might be just around the corner, we recommend saving the “jump scares” for October 31st — rather than your paid media philosophy.
We hear you: it’s very tempting to associate powerful, pithy messaging with content designed to instill fear in your prospects. After all, fear is a powerful motivator.
While some ads may benefit from negativity, showcasing cynicism or casting a villain should be done sparingly. Especially right now.
In 2021, after months of upheaval and yes, unprecedented global events, negativity has lost its seat at the table.
People want to be inspired to take action. They want hope. That’s why uplifting, wholesome TV shows like Ted Lasso are such massive commercial hits.
Make no mistake: we’re not saying your messaging should be vanilla or safe. Not at all!
Rather, we challenge you to take this moment in time (and history) to find new ways to drill down on the same pain points — only through a lens of humor, levity, and optimism.
3. Optimize for conversions
This is a big one.
From your website to your landing pages, conversion rate optimization (i.e. CRO) is key to expansion. It’s especially helpful with paid media campaigns.
Though there are countless techniques and tips to consider, we’ll keep it simple: make sure you’ve selected “Optimize for Conversions” in Facebook Ads Manager.
This will not only ensure you maximize the number of conversions with the lowest possible CPA, but it will also feed the platform with useful data that helps improve overall performance.
(Pro tip: for post-Apple iOS 14 tracking, be sure to tie your CRM to Ads Manager via Facebook’s API).
4. Crystallize the customer journey
There are two sides to every coin.
While we’re big advocates for optimizing conversions, we’ll readily admit that it’s not always the right solution for stalled-out media strategies.
So when conversions aren’t coming in like you expected, it’s time to pause and reflect. But rather than dwell on the current impasse and shut your laptop screen a bit-too-hard, hone your attention on the most important experience of all: the customer journey.
If the data tells an incomplete story, put yourself in your prospective buyer’s shoes and find out what’s gotten lost in translation. Review the situation like a human being, not a marketing machine.
While you might elect to continue with conversion-focused ads, you may also need to pivot.
If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to broaden your campaign by incorporating awareness ads into your media mix. Trust that when you prioritize gently giving out information, it’s only a matter of time until you get it back.
In other words, embrace an upper funnel focus (no matter how well your conversion ads are playing).
5. Omnipresence: be everywhere at once
Once upon a time, the British were able to brag that they were the “Empire on which the sun never sets.”
While we certainly aren’t encouraging global hegemony, we are suggesting that the sun should likewise never set on your paid media ads. In other words, your messaging should be firing on every available platform, channel, and medium — around the clock.
For that to be possible, truly successful and enduring ad campaigns must be integrated into a robust and cohesive marketing plan.
Take Slack advertisements, for example, which were everywhere this past summer.
While their ads appeared on social media, Slack also leveraged a TV blitzkrieg during the Olympics, which gave countless workers the Sunday scaries on Friday evenings.
These ads were so consistent and inescapable that one journalist was compelled to write,
“It’s an attack on all of us.”
While that’s a dramatic example, look at how much word-of-mouth was generated by Slack’s marketing plan. It’s clear that when messages are seen, heard, and experienced at all angles, conversions increase (if they don’t immediately skyrocket).
Ultimately, your paid media strategy is one component of your overarching marketing plan. Nurture prospects by ensuring your ads complement every other form of marketing and messaging in your arsenal.
See how CSTMR can help you with your paid media efforts.