Types of digital communication activities | Digital marketing for Digital dinosaurs.
WARNING, LONG POST AHEAD :-)
We spend on average 4.7h online from laptops everyday and 3.9h from mobile (if you want to get updated digital stats by year by country the best source is
During such a long time, people do many things online, as consequence there are many different type of activities that brands can set up to communicate with their audiences.
We will go through some key activities we can do online and discuss different types of ad types.
By no mean this is an exhaustive list of everything we can do but I am pretty confident that covers the most relevant for us old school marketers.
In doing this I will follow a simple structure, I will start from those activities that we call one-way-communication where we broadcast a message to two-ways-communication activities where we expect people to participate.
Let’s start from SEO
This is the practice of optimising a website to rank higher on the search engine results pages for relevant search terms.
SEO involves creating relevant, fresh and user-friendly content that search engines index and serve when people enter a search term that is relevant to your product or service.
SEO has a key role to play in acquisition, as it ensures your organisation’s offering will appear in the search results, allowing you to reach potential customers.
A site that is optimised for search engines is also a site that is clear, relevant and well designed. These elements ensure a great user experience, meaning that SEO also plays a role in retention.
Linked to SEO we find Paid search as part of what we call SEM (search engine marketing )
In pay-per-click or search advertising, the advertiser pays only when someone clicks on their ad. The ads appear on search engine results pages.
The beauty of search advertising is that it is keyword based. This means an ad will come up in response to the search terms entered by the consumer. It therefore plays a role in sales, acquisition and retention.
It allows the advertiser to reach people who are already in the buying cycle or are expressing interest in what they have to offer.
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that delivers commercial and content-based messages to an audience.
It is extremely cost effective, highly targeted, customisable on a mass scale and completely measurable – all of which make it one of the most powerful digital marketing tactics.
Email marketing is a tool for building relationships with potential and existing customers through valuable content and promotional messages.
This is a huge category with a number of different types of executions.
Online advertising covers advertising in all areas of the Internet – ads in emails, ads on social networks and mobile devices, and display ads on normal websites.
The main objective of display advertising is to raise brand awareness online.
It can also be more interactive and therefore less disruptive than traditional or static online advertising, as users can choose to engage with the ad or not.
Online advertising can be targeted to physical locations, subject areas, past user behaviours, and much more. Please note, we’re not talking about social media ads yet here, but all the ads we see in the open web (websites, blogs etc)
Display ads A type of online advertisement that combines text, images, and a URL that links to a website where a customer can learn more about or buy products. There are many ad formats. These ads can be static with an image or animated with multiple images, video, or changing text (also called rich media ads).
Many of the ads are displayed on Google Display Network or GDN. The Display Network helps you reach people as they browse millions of websites, apps, and Google-owned properties (such as YouTube and Gmail).
A Display campaign is one campaign type available to you in Google Ads.
Native advertising are paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.
Native ads are often found in online newspapers, social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page.
Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don't really look like ads. They look like part of the editorial flow of the page. The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive - it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out too much. Outbrain and Taboola are the two biggest platforms where you can buy those type of ads. Although the quality of those ads can be disputed, they are very cost effective and for certain types of categories very powerful.
A banner advert is a graphic image or animation displayed on a website for advertising purposes.
Banners are not limited to the space that they occupy; some banners expand on mouse-over or when clicked.
Popups and pop-unders
As the name suggests, these are adverts that pop up, or under, the web page being viewed. They open in a new, smaller window. You will see a popup straight away, but will probably become aware of a pop-under only after you close your browser window.
This advert appears in a layer over the content, but is not in a separate window.
Usually, the user can close this advert. In fact, best practice dictates that a prominent close button should be included on the advert, usually in the top right hand corner.
This advert changes the background of the web page being viewed. It is sometimes possible to click on an advert of this type, but not always. The effect of these adverts is difficult to measure as there is often no clickthrough, and its chief purpose is branding.
ONLINE PR: CONTENT SEEDING, INFLUENCERS AND KOL
Word of mouth has always been more influencing than advertising at convincing people. Nowadays it travels online through a series of “influencers”.
First let’s talk about influencers, who are they?
At their best, influencers are people who have the authority to endorse a product towards a specific audience.
They derive this authority because of expertise, knowledge or simply because they have found a simple and engaging way to talk to their audience. Because of this, they have an amount of followers that justify the financial investment that brands have to put in place to hire them. Yes, because all this activity is paid, not organic.
Due to the omnipresence of social media, influencers’ marketing is one of the key digital marketing activities especially for certain kind of products, think about beauty products, personal care, make up, fashion
Influencer marketing means basically a brand collaborating (i.e. paying, sponsoring and boosting posts) with an online influencer to market one of its products or services.
There are several grade of influencers, all of them have a positioning and a number of followers (IG, FB, blogs, video channels).
We normally categorise them on the basis of the size of their footprint that includes amount of followers, engagement rates and presence in their niche. therefore we have:
Mega: 1 million + followers - few big important playersOften they’re big names celebrities that require big budget. They have huge amount of followers therefore each and every activity they set up online gets high visibility and interaction. Problem is that, being so big and popular, they might lack of the expertise and the closeness with their audiences so sometimes they might result in less persuasive. Bottom line, great for visibility, less for persuasion. KPI: reach and awareness
Macro-influencers 100,000 – 1M followers - other big players with big audiences often very recognisable in a specific category. Still expensive but less than global names They provide a large and engaged audience that fits a certain niche. Most importantly they don’t come from other fields, but they had to build their audience from scratch so they tend to be the most effective in brand collaborations. They tend to be quite professional and often managed by agents that makes the collaboration a lot easier and smoother Bottom line: use them for visibility and credibility but some work is required to check that engagement rates and credibility are there KPI: reach and awareness
Micro-influencers: 10,000 – 100,000 followers relevant at local level or in niche categories micro influencers are more specialised than macro influencers and therefore more trusted by their extremely loyal, highly engaged and relevant audience. However their reach is a lot smaller With such engaged audiences, these social media influencers are more likely to generate qualified leads and conversions than macro influencers, whose audience isn’t so specific. If a brand’s target market is a match with the micro influencers’, it could definitely be a partnership worth exploring. Bottom line: use them to engage specific niches KPI: conversion and leads
Nano-influencers: 10,000 followers or less Nano influencers are individuals with some sort of influence within their local community. A person who enjoys posting on social media in a smaller less professional scale but whom achieves very good levels of engagement in a smaller circle of people Bottom line: use them to create visibility at local level or if you have big budget, use many of them to create a sense of popularity KPI: reach and awareness in local communities
What follows from this analysis is that:
brands must strategise their influencers’ marketing starting from the objectives they have
a long term good strategy requires the usage of different categories of influencers
costs vary with the size and popularity of the influencers. There’s no fix rule as quotation vary widely amongst different personalities.
This influencers’ world is very fragmented up to small local levels, best approach if budget allows, is to use influencers’ marketing agencies that smoothen the process and save time and efforts. If budget doesn’t allow, the process can be brought in house using online platforms that connect brands with influencers, especially micro and nano.
There are many online platforms that you can consider when bringing this in house like Affable, Influencers Club, Heepsy, Socxo, and Upfluence. Some are more relevant in different countries but you can easily find your local solution online
Last on this topic, we mentioned KOL at the beginning. This word stands for Key Opinion Leaders, we often use it interchangeably with influencers. KOL are experts, authorities that can influence and persuade specific audiences; mostly used in certain verticals, like beauty products, they basically are the same as influencers.
Before concluding this analysis on digital PR I’d like to mention is forums as in certain countries they still are very important. Think for example of Reddit (430 million monthly users), Quora (300 million monthly users), Craigslist Forum (55 million monthly users) GameSpot (58+ million annual page views) ...
Forums are places where people talk about pretty much everything online. Some are more generic, some are very specialised. The main point here is that they are perceived as trustworthy and less biased than social media. However a lot of marketing activities are executed there, either openly or hidden.
First in some of those platforms you can directly advertise with different formats, banners, pop ups, interstitial etc
Secondly a lot of PR is executed by prompting conversations, asking questions about a brand so people talk about it or answering questions. This happen through real and unfortunately sometimes fake accounts.
Fake is a big issue for online communication to which we will dedicate couple of words at the end of this session.
Thanks for your attention until here, next session will look into the details of social media advertising.
Stay tuned! And get in touch.