So, how do you diversify safely, smartly and profitably?
Clarify your objectives
It sounds overly simple, but many advertisers forget to explore platforms by business goals. Are your key KPIs traffic, leads, sales, engagement, CRM development, or a combination? Are you after a specific segment or stage of customers? If you’re looking to leverage CRM data, for example, Snapchat, LinkedIn and TikTok should be in on the radar screen—so should several DSPs. For event-based or grassroots strategies, Snapchat is based on real-time moments. And if you’re all visual, Pinterest fits.
Optimize across platforms
By activating pixels and conversion APIs on your site, you can create a feedback loop with a broad portfolio of buying platforms. That will reveal some potentially surprising places your audience is going, and identify priority platforms to test for expansion. The more clearly you can see audience movement, the more reliably you can diversify exposure channels. Web analytics and DMP tools form the essential foundation to diversifying your platform mix; they will remain and advance after cookies go away by using new identifiers.
Diversify across owners
M&A in social media has created opportunities to promote across platforms, but increasingly it means when one goes down, they all do. Facebook’s outage took down three major platforms. So, a true safety net requires advertising across owners. Examine platforms that support buying and optimization models aligned with your KPIs, starting with your needs to prospect and remarket. Gauge retargeting potential from your site traffic, and build out audiences on the prospective platform to assess the targeted scale it can deliver. Then examine competitive spending. Competitors will identify useful platforms to test, oversaturated channels to avoid, and white space you can claim.
Look past apps
What happens when people aren’t on their phones all day? They’re still getting news, just from other channels and devices. Desktop news media is a real opportunity. So are YouTube and other CTV channels. See what buying models and formats work best there. For example, native ads support conversion campaigns effectively across mobile and desktop because many platforms allow for buying on a CPC or CPE model akin to social media; and native ads also use very similar creative assets to those used for in-feed ads on social media.
Test, test, test
You can add inventory in real time—it takes less than a minute to update a budget—but you can’t add infrastructure instantly. You need the assets in place, knowledge of the platform, and ideally a friend on the sales team, to be ready to shift money. Put 20% to -30% of your budget into testing new channels for your formats, measurements and KPIs now so that you are set up to capitalize on sudden shifts in market demand, customer sentiment or media availability. You need to be able to push a button when conditions warrant.
Establish organic first
Wherever you expand, beef up the content, imagery, engagement and reviews on your page before you start advertising in earnest. That’s where prospective consumers go reflexively before they commit to a purchase.
Make agencies scouts
The volume of work involved in continual testing overwhelms most clients’ internal teams, which typically focus on a few key platforms, often social and search. Make expansion territory the province of agencies. It’s an ideal use of their reach, skills, technologies and relationships. And, you’ll likely raise your analytics game in the process.
Advertisers don’t always realize they’re addicted to a platform until it’s taken away. While the Facebook channels went dark only momentarily, the lapse surely cost some brands that weren’t in position to turn up the volume in other performance-supporting media. Facebook employees took to Twitter during the outage, while news sites around the world posted updates continuously. Brands can set up for the same flexibility. If that’s not enough for Finance to appreciate greater investment in testing, remind them that diversification is the best protection against rapid inflation caused by spikes in supply and demand on popular platforms.
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