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August 05, 2020

Why digital amplification matters in your content strategy

In a competitive content marketing industry, organic traffic alone might not be sufficient to drive conversions these days — it’s time to amplify your content digitally.

Hi, I’m Erik Magelssen and I’m the Digital Content Director at Click2View.

The phrases ‘digital amplification’ and ‘social media amplification’ get thrown around quite often in the world of content marketing, but if you’re new to this scene you might be tempted to write them off as industry jargon.

As it turns out, digital amplification forms a core component of any business’ content marketing strategy.


What is digital (or media) amplification?

It’s all in the name. Put simply, digital amplification helps “amplify” content so that it reaches a wider audience. But this is much more complex than just sharing your content on social media.

In fact, “digital amplification” is an umbrella term used to describe various content amplification strategies. When content amplification is done correctly, it can be a powerful tool that helps drive traffic to your site by expanding your audience and creating new opportunities to drive sales.


Why is it important?

Due to the sheer amount of content produced everyday, the stuff you put out risks being buried on social media sites and search engines. Is your content even reaching your audience at all?

At its core, the goal of content amplification is to encourage your audience to move seamlessly through the sales funnel. What you want at the end of the day are conversions.


Crafting your content distribution strategy

A content distribution strategy is used to guide companies on how to distribute its content.

It’s good to iron out all the kinks right at the start. There are many factors you need to consider, such as deciding the kind of content you should be amplifying, and how amplifying them can help you achieve your goals.


Why strategy matters

The last thing you want to do is to blow your budget on something that doesn’t benefit your business at all. I think of strategy as ensuring that all the components are working together to serve the same purpose, which is to ensure that your content reaches your target audience

When working with paid media, the goal is to optimise your efforts. This means you need to get the basics right: budget, duration, social platform and creative.

The next step is to A/B test those items. With enough variations, you’ll be able to refine your campaigns. Personally, I like to separate my campaigns country by country to really understand what works for each audience demographic.


On which channel should you amplify your content?

The channel on which you promote and distribute your content is the most important decision. Even if you’re putting money behind an ad, amplifying it on the wrong channel (i.e. one where the people are not your target audience), your promoted content still won’t be clicked on.

Some channels are better for certain types of content rather than others. Some channels are also more appropriate for your brand than others. How do you know which channel is right for you?

This is a pretty big question, and much of it really comes from trial and error. Think of your content and then start testing your campaigns across each platform. You need to consider the country you’re targeting, how many people in that country use the platform, and what your targeting parameters are.

For example, YouTube is good for videos, Facebook if you want inexpensive link clicks and LinkedIn for more precise business targeting. Only by monitoring the results will you know which channel is right for you.

While I would say there should be an overarching strategy for the company that details its aims and goals, I do believe there is a need to adopt different strategies for each campaign and product roll-out.

This is because each product will be slightly — or in some cases very — different from each other depending on how big the company is. You’ll want to modify your distribution strategy for each campaign and each channel based on how people communicate on that channel and what they expect to see.


How do you start?

The first step in your content distribution strategy should be determining your goals and KPIs.

Start by asking yourself a few questions: What do you want your content to accomplish for your business? Which channel do you currently perform best in? Which channel do you want to expand your reach in? What’s the best performing content you currently have?

After you’ve established those, it’s time to map the customer journey. At each part of the process, your content should help move them one step further along the funnel towards an actual sale. Identify the gaps you want to fill, and make a point to amplify your content in those areas.

Finally, it’s time to decide where you want to distribute your content.

There are three main types of distribution channels: owned, paid, and earned.

Owned media refers to when you tap onto channels that you own and create, such as your own websites and social media handles.

Paid media involves paid advertisements like display ads as well as things like sponsorships.

Earned media, also known as shared media, happens when third parties (i.e. other people) share your content for free.

Since we’re talking about digital amplification, our focus today would be on paid media.


Paid ads

In essence, you’re paying to use a channel to drive traffic to your owned media, and to generate talk around your brand (creating earned media).

The biggest benefit of paid ads is that it can capture the attention of your audience in a more targeted way than with organic search alone. Paid ads also generate a high ROI: By conservative estimates, for every $1 a business spends on Google Ads, they receive $8 in profit through Google Search and Ads.

Paid ads work in two ways. Pay-per-click (PPC) is where brands pay only when their ad is clicked, and not each time their ad is shown. In contrast, pay-per-impression (PPI) works the other way around where they pay for the number of times their ad is shown, regardless of whether it is clicked on or not.


PPC or PPI: Which is best for your business?

It’s a bit of a mixed answer because they are two sides of the same coin. Impressions drive clicks and clicks drive impressions — you can’t have one without the other. But a quick way of viewing this is that impressions drive awareness and clicks can help drive action.

Depending on what platform you are using and how they work, this can vary quite a bit. For example, that YouTube ad you create and that 90% of the people “SKIP” may still be capable of influencing people’s behaviour — if it doesn’t annoy them — in a positive way towards your brand, even if they only see your logo and design work in the first few seconds… and even if they don’t watch it till the end.

But it’s another thing if you really want to make sure people watch at least 30 seconds of your YouTube ad — I would pay for a Cost Per View (CPV), which would be similar to a click.

My point is, you are trying to push the advertising platform in the direction of your goals and needed outcomes for a certain project, so really, it depends on what would best help you achieve your goals.


Types of paid ads

Here are some of the most popular forms of paid advertising:

Google Display ads
Also known as banner ads, they often take the form of image and copy, where people can click on them and be taken to the corresponding landing page.

Display ads are often used for retargeting customers via cookie tracking, where ads are shown to users who have previously visited your website.

You’ll find these ads on Google’s partner websites and Google sites/applications, but they do not show up on search results.

Google Search ads

search ads.png

If you want ads that show up on search results, you need to use a Google Search ad, which appears first in the search engine results pages (also known as SERPs) above organic search results.

So how do search ads work? The point is to reach people while they are actually actively searching for something using keywords, as compared to trying to interrupt their news feed or timeline on social media.

Unlike display ads, all search ads are text-based and will be tagged with the word “ad” on the side to indicate that they are paid content.

Social media ads

Paid social forms a huge part of digital marketing and content amplification. Many popular social media platforms offer a variety of ad formats you can use, and these formats often depend upon what you want to achieve with your campaigns, be it lead generation, product promotion or boosting engagement of your page and posts.


Facebook

  • Image ads
image
Credits: Facebook

Your run-of-the-mill ad. They typically consist only of a single image, and are easy to put out. You can simply boost an existing image post that’s already on your Facebook page.

  • Video ads
Credits: Facebook

Video ads can show up in the News Feed, on Stories or even as an in-stream ad on longer Facebook videos.

  • Carousel ads
Credits: Facebook



Comprising up to 10 images or videos that users can swipe through, carousel ads are meant to encourage interactivity.

This format is extremely useful if you are trying to showcase multiple posts or products all at one go. If you’re an e-commerce store trying to drive sales of one particular item, carousel ads are also good for highlighting the various benefits of that product. Alternatively, you can also choose to stitch all the panels together to form one long panorama image.

  • Collection ads
Credits: Facebook



Collection ads are mobile-only ads that e-commerce stores can benefit immensely from, since they make it easy for users to purchase your products. Each collection ad features a primary video or image with four smaller accompanying images below in a grid-like layout. Users can then tap on the CTA and be taken to your store to complete checking out.

  • Messenger ads
fb messenger ad.png
Credits: Facebook

Messenger ads show up in Facebook messenger, among the conversations in your targeted users’ inbox, like a normal chat would. By clicking on the ad, users can initiate a conversation with your page.

  • Lead generation ads
fb lead gen ad.png
Credits: Lead Feeder

The main purpose of a lead generation ad is that it helps get new prospects into your sales funnel, and this is exactly what Facebook lead ads do.

By filling out a form, users get to download your ebook, sign up for your promotional offer or even subscribe to your newsletter without having to leave the Facebook platform.

  • Page Like ads
fb page like ad.png
Credits: Wordstream

Page like ads are quite self-explanatory — they’re there to help you generate brand awareness and increase your page likes with a prominent CTA button. It’s so easy. All users really need to do is click the Like button.


Twitter

With 145 million daily active users on Twitter, your brand’s content can be easily buried under all the tweets being sent out. The best way to make sure you cut through all that noise is to use a Twitter ad to promote your content. The best part? Twitter doesn’t have a minimum advertising budget.

promoted tweets.png

Promoted tweets are very much like normal tweets — they can be favourited, retweeted and replied to, only they’re labelled as an ad. As with every other Twitter ad, they feature a “Promoted” label.

With promoted tweets, your tweet will be shown to users who aren’t already following you on Twitter, which means you get to expand your reach. They generally appear in the timelines of targeted users, on user profile pages, and also on search results.

promoted accounts.png

Promoted accounts are used to, well, promote your account to users who aren’t already following you. Accompanied by a “Follow” button, they appear in the list of suggested users to follow, in the timelines of potential followers and also on search results.

Twitter promoted trends.gif
Credits: Twitter

A prominent Twitter feature is the Explore Tab. Featuring a real-time list of trending topics and hashtags, it’s difficult to remain on top of the Explore page since things move quickly on the platform.

If you want to stay on the list… it’s time to use Promoted Trends. A Promoted Trend will show up on one of the top spots under the “Trends for you” section on the Explore tab and on the timeline.

If you use the Spotlight feature under the Promoted Trends, you can even capture user attention with short 6-second videos and GIFs, as well as static images.


LinkedIn

Advertising on LinkedIn can be done through self-serviced ads on the Campaign Manager, and the best part is that LinkedIn offers comprehensive guides and best practices for each type of ad they offer on their platform.

Do note that there’s a minimum spend for LinkedIn advertising according to their FAQ:

  • $10 daily budget per campaign.
  • $10 total budget per campaign (an optional feature for Sponsored Content).
  • $2 minimum bid (for CPC or CPM), but the minimum CPC or CPM bid for Sponsored Content varies depending on the audience you target.
  • Sponsored content
LI sponsored content.png
Credits: LinkedIn

LinkedIn sponsored content ads are essentially native ads. Coming in the form of single images, videos or even carousels, they don’t really look like ads. Rather, they match the appearance and function of your LinkedIn feed.

Often “boosted” posts, the only indication that they are ads is that they come tagged with the “Promoted” label.

li text ads.jpg
Credits: LinkedIn

LinkedIn text ads are shown in the sidebar, featuring an ad image, headline and short description. Basic, fuss-free and easy to set up, they’re often used to drive audiences to your website or landing pages. Nothing too fancy here.

Li message.png
Credits: StrikeSocial

You know how sometimes you log into LinkedIn and you get a whole bunch of messages from marketers? That’s how sponsored InMail ads work.

Sponsored InMail messages are delivered in real-time to your prospects, only when they are online. When crafting your InMail ad, you can add hyperlinks, a banner and even a CTA button.

You can also leverage on LinkedIn custom fields such as first or last name to personalise your message to each recipient or even add a Lead Gen Form to collect quality leads directly from your ads.

li dynamic ad.jpeg
Credits: LinkedIn

Dynamic ads are essentially LinkedIn’s version of display ads, which are shown all over the site. They’re extremely personalised and like other LinkedIn ads, are built based on the various marketing objectives that you wish to achieve.

Set up Follower ads for your LinkedIn or Showcase Page to grow your influence, or use a Spotlight ad to feature your product, service, event, newsletter, and more with a CTA button to drive traffic to your website or landing page.

Youtube

More than a billion hours of Youtube videos are watched per day, in over 100 countries in 80 languages. If we’re talking about reaching a huge audience base, advertising on Youtube is definitely key.

Even though the video ads have to be hosted on Youtube, they will also show up across websites and apps that run on Google video partners, depending on the ad format and campaign settings.

  • Skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads
yt skippable instream.png
image
Top: Skippable in-stream ad. Bottom: Non-skippable in-stream ad. Credits: Youtube

These ads play before, during, or after other videos. The only difference between skippable and non-skippable ads is that skippable ads give the viewer an option to skip the ad after 5 seconds.

  • Video discovery ads
video discovery.png
Credits: Youtube

Video discovery ads comprise of a thumbnail image of your video alongside some text, and are used to promote your videos so that more people discover them. They tend to show up next to related YouTube videos, under YouTube search results, or on the YouTube mobile homepage.

  • Bumper ads
bumper ads.png
Credits: Youtube

Much like in-stream ads, bumper ads play before, during or after other videos. Unlike the much longer in-stream ads, bumper ads only last for a maximum of 6 seconds, which means that they cannot be skipped.

  • Outstream ads
outstream.png

Outstream ads are mobile-only ads that are not available on the actual Youtube platform. Rather, they only show up on websites and apps running on Google video partners. They often come in the form of banners, show up in-feed or as native ads.


So you’ve made your mind up to use paid ads…


How do you decide your budget?

You might assume a bigger budget means higher returns, and you’re not wrong. Typically, it does mean more engagement or action taken, but spending a lot of money on a digital ad campaign should not be the only means of achieving your goals.

As marketers and content marketers, we are also trying to drive organic growth — you’ll want your ad to have growth and generate interest on its own. You still want to make it spreadable; something that people would want to share.

A way to think of it is that a good ad will outperform a poorly designed ad. Don’t just rely on a bigger budget to save an irrelevant ad that completely misses the mark.


How do you decide your audience?

Now, for the part that could make or break your campaigns. Your customer base is diverse; not all of them will respond the same way to an ad.

So how do you put out ads that are effective and relevant to such a vastly different population? With market segmentation — split your audience up into smaller groups with similar characteristics and target them accordingly.

By developing personalised advertising campaigns for each group, your ads will be much more appealing and compelling as compared to a one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s also much more cost-effective: you’ll be less likely to waste money on unsuccessful ads that have no returns.


Taking the time to get your digital amplification strategy right

Digital amplification is not so much about the actual posting (e.g. frequency), but about budgets, timeframes, and audiences. In many ways, ad buying is more like the stock market than organic posting, because we can control things with budgets and population sizes. It boils down to supply and demand.

There is a certain number of impressions or views that you can get on any given day, just like how there is a set population in the world. For example, I cannot send out 20 trillion ads today. There just aren’t enough people in the world to see this — so here is your supply and demand and it will change throughout the year.

Think about big shopping holidays like Black Friday, Christmas, or Valentines’ Day — certain times of the year where certain things will be in much higher demand. If I try to run a flower ad during Valentines’ Day, it might cost me more depending on the size of the country I live in or the area I am targeting.

For example, Singapore only has about 6 million people, but India has a billion — although, of course, not all are online. Still, India has a much bigger population, so there would be a larger supply of ads for countries like India with larger populations.

When I say it’s like the stock market, it’s the bidding aspect of buying ads. There are ad spaces on different websites that we are essentially bidding for, with very sophisticated algorithms.

It’s like a very large auction, and marketers are trying to figure out which site will have the most value based on many factors (i.e. demographics, location, behaviour, etc.). There is that urgency to place your bet, so to speak, and it’s kind like that with ads — we are fighting for ad space.


Getting started

If you’re new, digital marketing and amplifying your content on the web can seem like a daunting task. As with most things, these platforms always seem difficult to manoeuvre until you start getting the hang of it.

If setting up a campaign on each platform individually takes too much out of you, there are many different types of programmatic ad platforms that you can choose to use instead, such as Trade Desk.

As more and more people adopt content marketing as a business strategy, the market has gotten a lot more saturated and competition for audience attention is stiff. You can no longer merely rely on organic traffic, so take the time to properly understand the workings of digitally amplifying your content.

Looking to develop your digital amplification strategy? You can reach out to me at erik@click2view.asia


Read more from Click2View:

  1. Want some tips to write a successful blog?
  2. In this digital age, your content could set you far apart from your competitors.
  3. It’s difficult to achieve, but you need consistency across your content.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

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