Competing in the digital advertising arena

Digital Advertising Strategy 2021

Your insight into digital advertising such as paid search (PPC), social media ads & advertising blackouts during competitive periods – like Christmas and lockdowns.

Digital advertising strategy has indeed been huge in 2020! Don’t worry; we’re not going to launch into an explanation of why – you know why! But in (very) quick summary, coronavirus, lockdown and subsequent restrictions have meant we’re all living online – a lot! And, your customers, clients and target audience are living there too… so ads have been vital in raising brand awareness, sparking consideration, nurturing relationships, obtaining leads and converting sales. This has meant that it’s likely made perfect sense for you to invest in everything from social media ads to search ads on Google. Perhaps you’ve saved money on cancelled events and reduced in-person costs elsewhere – and now you even see a great return from digital advertising!

Speak to us today about how our digital advertising strategy service can help you.

However, as Christmas rears up and we’re all left questioning what this holiday means in the UK (after all, it is unprecedented), many businesses have been left scratching their heads when it comes to their advertising strategy – which brings up many questions about how best to compete. So, in this blog post, we’re going to be discussing the best ways you can win in the digital advertising arena. We’ll cover:

  • What you need to know about Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and rising cost-per-clicks (CPC)
  • How to manage struggling social media ads over competitive periods 
  • Why you must not switch off your digital advertising (and instead pivot and optimise!)
  • The key takeaways to inform your 2021 digital advertising strategy
Digital advertising: how do we manage rising costs in competitive times?

Did you know that advertising costs increase during the festive period? Both your CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per acquisition) will likely rise – as they depend on the amount of competition in the marketplace. In simple terms, if you sell ‘scented candles’ all year round but at Christmas, they make the perfect gift, then you’ll be competing with a whole host of other retailers using this keyword. The result? You’re required to bid a higher amount to show your ad over theirs.

Or, run a better ad experience

However, don’t give up yet! Google Ads consider more factors other than your bid. This includes:

  • ad relevance
  • expected CTR (click-through rate)
  • landing page experience
  • audience targeting set-up

Which means if you put your target audience at the centre of your ad and create the very best experience for them, you’ll win points with Google and compete over others.

3 top tips for a great Google ad experience, all year round

Google Ads aren’t just for Christmas! Use these tips to create great digital advertising in 2021 and beyond. 

  • use informative, clear and persuasive copy (give a solution and answer to an unknown, don’t tell your user what they already know)
  • use the right keyword match types
  • optimise negative keywords
  • ensure your keywords in your ad are replicated in your landing page
  • design your landing page for easy conversion (think: clear CTA right at the top and the necessary info they need to click that button)
  • use relevant ad extensions
Social media ads: why are our results poor?

The ‘classic’ Christmas shopping experience probably revolves around a day out with family or friends, browsing the shops and making purchases over a few trips. We say ‘classic’ because doing your Christmas shopping online is certainly nothing new. In fact, many of us have avoided the high street rush for many years now. Yet the experience of shopping is something many of us like to do – or feel inclined to do. However, 2020 has dealt some pretty devastating blows to the high street – with 11,000 UK shops having been permanently closed as a result of the ongoing pandemic so far this year. Yet when surveyed, 67% of UK consumers say they’ll spend the same or more this Christmas! Add the November lockdown into the mix and the closure of non-essential stores, we have a greater surge in online shopping like never before. So that’s great, right? With digital advertising, you have the potential to do much better than ‘great’ – especially as a retailer. Yet this leads to increased competition again. Because everyone is competing for the ‘same eyeballs’. Let’s take Facebook. Your audience is there, ready and waiting! Although creating an ad sounds simple enough, there’s a bit more to it than that – especially when costs are higher due to mounting competition.

So what should your digital advertising strategy be?

Honestly, our best advice would be to start your strategy early (which comes a little late for Christmas 2020, we know!). But 2020 has taught us a lot when it comes to consumer behaviour online, so leverage this in your 2021 strategy during peak buying times.

Top tips for seasonal ad success

  • Make the most of the pre-season with campaigns aimed at driving awareness and increasing consideration
  • Test and learn over 2021 what resonates with your target audience by experimenting with everything from copy and messaging to products and design
  • Use what you’ve learnt to optimise your ads during competitive periods (so you’re less likely to blow your budget)
  • Drive sales with retargeting – personalise adverts to those who are already considerably down the conversion funnel and close to purchasing. 
Not convinced and still turning your ads off?

 No! Don’t do it. Here’s what to do instead…

At Starbots, we work with lots of great B2B clients – so we understand that Christmas can be a time to slow down in many industries. In fact, so much so, that the above may seem irrelevant and for B2C businesses only. However, let us explain two ways to navigate this period as a B2B business. 

Whatever you do, always maintain a strong presence

When the nation first went into lockdown, the marketing budget was the first to go. At least for many businesses. Looking back, it’s clear that it was those businesses that remained some kind of presence that surged back with more success. So with any quiet period – whether that be seasonal or a forced economic shutdown – our advice is always to remain present. Only reduce as a last resort. Essentially, you want to keep your brand awareness active and focus on encouraging consideration. After all, your B2B clients may be quiet too so could be in a better space to consider services, suppliers and products – even if you won’t achieve conversion right now. Overall, your strategy in quiet periods could be about building solid foundations at the start of the conversion funnel – in the brand awareness and consideration phase. After all, this is your opportunity as a brand to “project to consumers the image of corporate stability during challenging times.” By cutting ad spend, you could also risk the “noise level” decreasing in your sector or product category – allowing competitors ample room to muscle in. A great approach is to pause campaigns that are targeted towards the conversion goal until you know your prospects are ready to convert. Instead, ensure your target audience knows you are actively there and continue to nurture that relationship. 

Top tip 1: use data to optimise your digital advertising budget

Furthermore, when it comes to advertising, if you have been following best practice (like above), then you will have the data to optimise where your budget is best focussed. 

Plan and be ready

Perhaps you strongly feel that advertising is not worth it over quieter periods. If that’s the case, let us offer another solution. Use this time to get prepared for busy periods. Digital advertising campaigns take a lot of time to get together – from initial content ideas and copywriting to the design phase and then the technical set up. Often campaigns work holistically and across channels too – so it’s never just a case of running the odd Facebook ad and seeing success. Instead, you have many pieces of the puzzle coming together to nurture that prospect into becoming a client.

The key takeaway: digital ads aren’t just for Christmas

Want to hear a secret? All this advice is excellent for managing seasonal fluctuations (and peak times caused by events such as lockdown!) however, a lot of what we’ve told you is simply best practice. The reality is that when you put in place best practice, you’ll have more chance of coming out on top – however competitive the digital arena is at that point. 

Achieve results with your digital advertising strategy in 2021

A new year is around the corner, and we think, like us, you’re aiming for a great year after the one we’ve just had! With all the optimism in the world, we do hope the world will get back some kind of ‘normal’ in 2021. However, one thing is for sure; the digital world is here to stay. It always was, but 2020 accelerated it – and we think that’s great!So now is the time to really ramp up your digital marketing efforts – from social advertising to organic content! And a steller strategy is a great place to start.

Get in touch to learn how we can help you

At Starbots Creative, we help our clients achieve results through a combination of marketing strategies across the board. Digital advertising can appear like a minefield at first, but our team helps you navigate it successfully and see a great return. 

If you’re looking to do great things in 2021 and think digital advertising is for you (or you need to improve what you’re doing now!) get in touch, we’d love to tell you how our digital marketing services can help you. 


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