January 2020 – Digital Marketing Updates

Every month I attempt to provide Digital Marketers with some of the key digital marketing takeaways as well as platform updates that transpired within the given month.  The key takeaways will focus on the Digital Marketing Industry as a whole, whereas, the platform updates focus on the top marketing platforms within Digital Media.

Digital Marketing January 2020 Key Takeaways

Traditionally, January is considered a slower month for companies (especially retailers) in comparison to the shopping craze that happens in Q4. Regardless, as a business, you are constantly looking for effective ways to reach your prospective or existing customers. And for that exact reason I compiled some of the top three advertising strategies to test or add into your marketing strategies starting this January.

1. Leverage Audio / Podcasts in Content Marketing

Content marketing has become the preferred strategy marketers rely on to establish themselves as the trusted experts while simultaneously engaging their customer base.  For this reason, over 80% of marketers are looking to grow their investment in this channel.  When it comes to content creation, Audio / Podcasts is the primary content 90% of marketers plan to utilize within their content marketing efforts in 2020.  If not already done, now is the time to begin testing different strategies in which you can leverage podcasts within your content marketing strategy.

2. Test Connected TV (CTV)

Most digital marketers are aware of the growth of mobile and video advertising, which is heavily driven by the rise in smart phone adoption.   Our smart phones come with adequate storage and ability to install every app you can imagine, securing our continued dependency on our mobile devices. Although consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices, recent studies reveal television is still their first choice when it comes to streaming longer episodic type content.  Approximately 56% of this type of streaming happens on CTV through over the top (OTP) devices.  As CTV works through its fragmented inventory and fraud, it is rapidly becoming a top channel for advertisers to reach their target audience based on their favorite TV shows. 

3. Incorporate Influencer Marketing For Younger Audiences

Family, friends, website and product reviews will always rank among the top when it comes to helping make a purchase decision.  After factoring referrals from friends and family or product / website reviews, Influencer marketing ranks among the top ways to influence purchases among Gen Z and Millennials.  In fact, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to trust influencer marketing than any other generation.  If your audience skews towards the younger generation, incorporating influencer marketing may provide another avenue to engage them and encourage the purchase. 

Digital Media Platform Updates

1/3 Sponsored Ads Launched in United Arab Emirates Search & Display Amazon just launched Sponsored ads and Stored in the United Arab Emirates on Jan 3, 2020. The three main Amazon products businesses in UAE can start using included Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Stores. Learn more. Ever since Amazon’s purchase of Souq.com in 2017, they have been working hard to integrate the two platforms and transition Souq account owners to Amazon sellers. This update now allows Amazon sellers in UAE to leverage Sponsored Ads to grow their business.
1/13 Bid Simulator Now Supports Target ROAS  Search & Display Google’s bid simulator helps advertisers estimate the amount of spend required for them to hit a certain goal or performance. It looks at auction data within the last 7 days to depict what could happen assuming everything is kept the same. So if you want to achieve 50 clicks, it will show you the amount of daily spend needed. Prior to this update, bid simulator tool was only available for Manual clicks and Target CPA bid strategies. This new release now makes the feature available for Target ROAS. The new update also focuses on daily budgets rather than specific bid amounts. Learn more. The bid simulator tool is very useful for optimizing performance due to its ability to inform advertisers of the amount of money they need to spend to reach a certain goal. This immediately provides them with the info needed to find the optimal target ROAS for achieving their goal.
1/14  Parallel Tracking Mandatory For Video Video

Some might remember when Google rolled out with Parallel tracking in late 2018. The whole idea behind this update was to bypass redirects in order to increase page load speed. So when prospects click on your ad they are directed straight to your landing page while any click / URL tracker used will load in the background. This is different from how it formerly was prior to the release of this feature; prospects who clicked on your ads had to go through your click tracker and then were directed to your landing page. Now that you have a brief history on parallel tracking, this recent update now makes parallel tracking available for video ads and it would be mandatory to transition completely on all video ads by March 31st.  Learn more.

Parallel tracking can significantly improve media performance by improving conversion rates due to faster load times. According to Google, just one second delay in mobile load time can reduce conversion rates by 20%.

1/15 History Feature Now Available For Sponsored Products and Brands  Search & Display Amazon just released its History Feature that will allow advertisers to see detailed changes to their campaign settings within the last 90 days.  Learn more. Although a highly useful feature for optimization and tracking purposes, it has a low impact on actual campaign performance.
1/15 Can Now Set CPA & ROAS Targets for Google Ads Ad Groups Search Google ads and now SA360 allows advertisers to place more value / worth on certain ad groups over others. This is achieved through setting a higher or lower Portfolio target CPA or ROAS than what was set at the campaign level. For example, if an ad group has a higher Portfolio CPA than its campaign, then this tells the platform that the ad group conversions are worth more than the rest of conversions within the portfolio. Google clearly specifies that it does not mean the ad group is optimizing independently from the portfolio.  Learn more. This feature provides greater flexibility with setting portfolio bid Targets. Although this feature will be helpful to many advertisers, it will not have a major impact on performance.
1/24 Improved Standard Delivery For Display, Video, App and Hotel Campaigns Display & Video Late last year Google announced they will deprecate accelerated delivery and opt all search and shopping campaigns into standard delivery. That update will now roll out into Display, Video, App and Hotel campaigns in May 2020.   Learn more. Advertisers leveraging accelerated delivery on any of their campaigns will have to begin the process to convert / switch to standard by May 2020. As of April 2020, new campaigns will only have the option of using Standard. Switching from Accelerated to Standard will have a very low to no impact on media performance.

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