Favorite Ads Index Results – February 2024

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Consumer behavior

ינואר 25, 2024

How Consumer behavior ruined marketing


ינואר 25, 2024

Favorite Ads Index Results – February 2024


ינואר 25, 2024

How Google Analytics ruined marketing

Favorite Ads Index Results – February 2024

Marketers in the high-tech world who use phrases such as “social media marketing,” “Facebook marketing” and “content marketing” do not understand the basic difference between marketing strategies, marketing channels and marketing content. And Google Analytics is to blame.

In the just over 10 years since the release of the platform in November 2005, too many tech marketers now ignore the difference between strategies and channels, favor digital channels that often deliver lower returns than traditional channels and think that direct responses are the only useful ROI metric.

And all of that is wrong.

No one ever said “television marketing”
Imagine that it is the 1990s and I want to reach the people who watch “Friends” on television. I would have these three available strategies out of the five that comprise the traditional Promotion Mix:
Publicity (in the form of a product placement)
Direct marketing (in the form of a direct-response infomercial)

I could run an advertisement during an episode of “Friends.” I could pay NBC to have the coffee house hold an event that would feature my product in an episode. I could hire a “Friends” actor to appear in an infomercial that would air directly after an episode. And so on.

Now, none of this would be “television marketing” because “television marketing” is not a “thing.” “Television” is a marketing channel, not a marketing strategy. If I choose to advertise on television, “advertising” is the strategy, the advertisement itself is the content and “television” is the channel over which I transmit the advertisement.

In the same way, “Facebook marketing,” “social media marketing” and “content marketing” are not “things.”

“Facebook” is a marketing channel. “Social media” is a collection of marketing channels. “Content” is a tactic, not a strategy. “Content” is produced in the execution of strategies such as advertising, SEO and publicity.

The strategy, message and marketing collateral matter more than the channel.

Here are two examples.
If a tech marketer creates a video and spreads it on Facebook, here is what he is doing:
Strategy = Advertising (one of the parts of the traditional Promotion Mix)
Content = The video itself
Channel = Facebook

If someone creates informational material that aims to rank highly in Google search results, here is what he is doing:
Strategy = SEO (which may need to be added to a new, modern Promotion Mix)
Content = The blog post
Channel = The company’s blog/Google search results

Why is this important? The terms that we use reflect the assumptions that underlie our approaches to marketing — and bad assumptions lead to bad marketing at best, and spam at worst. This is what I believe that Mark Ritson meant when he wrote his recent, controversial Marketing Week column stating that marketers need real marketing qualifications.

After all — and as I think Ritson was implying — too many online marketers do not know basic principles such as the few that I have mentioned so far. And it was the introduction of Google Analytics that led to these poor assumptions and this bad terminology today.

The traditional marketing analytics buckets
Marketing campaigns have always involved the creation of a message, the insertion of that message into a piece of content and the transmission of that content over a channel to an audience.

And as I wrote in my prior, much-discussed TechCrunch column that discussed how too many marketers in the tech world do not understand basic marketing terminology and practices, that overall process occurs within the strategic frameworks of the five “buckets” within the Promotion Mix (“promotion” is one of the four Ps in product marketing): direct marketing, advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and publicity.

In this lengthy tutorial on integrating traditional and online marketing on Moz, I described how each of these “buckets” has pros and cons, as well as best practices:

When marketers brainstorm campaigns, they typically ask these questions, in this order:
Who is our target audience and what are our goals?
What is the best message for that audience?
In light of our goals, which strategies within the Promotion Mix — advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, direct selling and publicity — should we use to communicate that message?
What are the best online and/or offline channels for that strategy to reach that audience?
What marketing collateral and creatives should we create and transmit based on the answers to the prior four questions?
How can we measure the results based on which metrics are relevant to each strategy within the Promotion Mix that we will use?

The strategy, message and marketing collateral matter more than the channel.
Here’s a publicity example. Say that someone uses the various tactics that I describe in my publicity tutorial on Moz to get a New York Times reporter to write about his company. The resulting article will appear in print, on the website and on the Amazon Kindle. The article will be spread on social media and shared in online forums and news aggregators. And so on. This is why there is actually no such thing as “digital PR.” It’s just “PR.” The best publicity practices to get coverage never change, regardless of the channels over which the coverage will appear.

The strategy, message and marketing collateral matter more than the channel.

Here’s a direct marketing example. Say that one writes advertising copy to generate direct-response leads. That same copy will often deliver similar results — subject to specific, individual format restrictions of each channel — across platforms, including direct mail, email, Facebook ads and Google AdWords, because human nature does not change.

There is no “digital marketing” and “traditional marketing.” There is only marketing — just ask Campbell’s, which has now consolidated all offline and online work under the CMO.

Google Analytics changed the buckets
According to W3TECHS, Google Analytics is used by 55 percent of all websites and has a traffic analysis tool market share of 83 percent. More than half of those websites use GA as their only source of marketing data.

Google transformed the marketing industry. However, the introduction and widespread adoption of GA pushed marketers to change their focus from the strategy to the channel (this is a screenshot from an old client of mine back when I was a consultant):

Traditional marketing allocates activities based on the strategies that comprise the traditional Promotion Mix: direct marketing, advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and publicity.

Google Analytics replaced those “buckets” with these entirely new ones: direct, organic search, social, referral, paid search, email and display.

However, that shift in assumption has led to poor marketing because almost any strategy can be executed over any channel — and it is strategies, not channels, that have associated best practices and deliver results.

Take “social media marketing,” a vague, useless phrase that refers to channels but not to any specific strategy:
Direct marketing campaigns (that are inaccurately called “advertising campaigns”) get direct responses from a specific set of people on social media based on their demographics and what they “like”
Advertising campaigns put paid media published by an identified sponsor in front of a mass audience on social media
Publicity campaigns gain mass exposure through earned or owned media that is spread on social media
Personal selling campaigns have salespeople contact prospects and leads over social media
Sales promotion campaigns circulate coupons, discounts and codes on social media to generate immediate sales.

Each of these five things can be deemed “social media marketing” — but when a term means everything, it means nothing. The five traditional strategies have best practices, as well as times and places to use — and NOT to use — them within an overall marketing plan.

By not using and knowing the traditional terminology that the marketing industry uses for precise reasons, marketers are only hurting themselves and their own campaigns.

When one now looks at Google Analytics and sees the results, for example, in the “Social” bucket, it’s rarely clear which of these strategies and activities delivered which results. The same is true for almost all of the “buckets” that appear in online marketing analytics.

The strategy, message and marketing collateral matter more than the channel.

The strategic activity matters more than the communications channel. The channel merely dictates the format of the marketing collateral and content that one creates within an overall strategy.

To ask “What is the ROI of social media?” makes as much sense as asking “What’s the ROI of the telephone?” Activities, not channels, generate ROI. But after Google Analytics and every other marketing platform defined “social media” and other channels as buckets, and therefore as marketing strategies, people have confused strategies and channels ever since.

The positive thing about GA is that we can know which channels tend to perform the best. The negative thing about GA is that we know less about which specific, overall strategies and activities over those channels lead the best results.

Google Analytics pushed everyone online
Google Analytics did not only confuse marketers in terms of the difference between strategies and channels — the platform also trapped our industry into focusing more and more on digital channels at the expense of offline ones.

Of course, GA can be a very useful tool. The basic version is free, so it is no wonder that countless tech startups use the platform. But it comes with a limitation: It can only track online channels. If someone, for example, runs a television advertisement, he will see zero information in Google Analytics on the results that he can attribute directly to the advertisement.

So, people now have a subconscious bias toward using online channels — just like everyone else in the tech world. In just one example from the Internet Advertising Bureau in the United Kingdom, spending on digital advertising there increased from roughly £500 million in 2003 to £7.2 billion in 2014. The more we rely on Google Analytics, the more we will use strategies such as direct marketing over AdWords that are easily trackable in GA rather than strategies that are less trackable — as I will explain below.

A more cynical person might think that this has been Google’s intention all along. After all, the more time we spend online — especially over our commutes once our cars will drive themselves — the more money that the search engine makes.

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