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What Is Paid Reach and Why Is Now The Perfect Time To Advertise

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What Is Paid Reach and Why Is Now The Perfect Time To Advertise

John: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Life is Digital Podcast. I am back with our Chief Strategist, Jon Parks. Hey Jon, how’s it going? Good to see you again.

Jon: Hey John. Good to connect with you again.

John: Absolutely, you know last week we had a great conversation. I think, overall, about paid ads and strategy and how that can be important for a business, especially in this current climate to get their message out when there’s such a crowded marketplace for presenting your message, in general, online. But now, obviously people are flooding to using devices, their tablets in the online space for information.

And, I thought something that maybe we could tackle a little bit today and dive a little more deeply into is the topic of reach– what that is and why it’s important. Some clients have come to us, and obviously we try to simplify the language as much as possible when we’re using terms for clients to be able to understand digital marketing. So, I thought that maybe helping them understand what exactly reach is and how that impacts your business could be on the topic for today. So I think we’ll dive right into it. So, Jon, help us understand what is reach and why is that important for your business?

Jon: Yeah, that’s a great question, John. And this is one that we definitely hear a lot especially if we’re talking through different strategies within a campaign with a client. One of the things that we look at is reach and it’s one of the things… Everybody sort of feels like they kinda know what it is, but it’s really hard for them to pin down, maybe to an exact definition. Here’s the way I would describe it, right? Reaches is really, in essence, putting your ads in front of as many people as you possibly can.

So every paid search, or paid social platform has a reach style of campaign. So, Facebook has it. Instagram has it. LinkedIn has it. Twitter has it. Google has it even with Google Display Network and YouTube has it. What we’re really saying in a reach campaign is that we’re more interested in being able to show our ads to as many people as possible as opposed to getting as many clicks as possible.

And that seems a little counter-intuitive, right? Because if you’ve heard anything at all about things like paid search or any kind of paid advertising, you know, the click is really what’s most important and it is still very important and you can still get clicks in a reach campaign. As a matter of fact, if you do it well, you’ll get just as many, if not more, clicks than you might in a more traditional campaign.

But reach is all about saying, “Look there’s a certain target audience that you want to reach and, we the advertising platform, we know how many people there are in that audience. Look, we can use some predictive tools to help you understand if it’s 100-000, if it’s 1 million, if it’s 10 million people, right? Whatever it winds up being but with a reach campaign, we’re saying, “Look we’ve got a budget and we’re willing to go and run for a certain period of time, and we want you [the advertising platform] to show these ads to as many people in that audience as we possibly can.

John: No, that makes absolute sense. So, when we’re talking about this, it’s the idea that if you had a traditional store front. It’s like your block. There’s a certain number of people, they’re gonna come in contact with your space and you obviously wanna try to expand that message as much as possible. So, similarly, using traditional methods of advertising, this is the pool that a Google or a Facebook or Instagram has as the users that are coming in contact with that platform and then what your market share of that is. Is that kind of a good way to understand how we kind of aggregate that?

Jon: Yeah, absolutely. You used a critical word there – market share. Sometimes we’ll call it impression share in my space. What we’re looking for is how many of those people can we show the ad to. In meaning, how many times can we get our ad up and in front of these people? Now, there’s one thing, John, that would really encourage everybody to keep in mind with a reach campaign. In reach campaigns you’re really focused on the top of the marketing funnel. In marketing, if you’re not familiar with funnels, we’re really kind of focused on more or less generally three stages. There’s an awareness stage, which is where I’m learning that this company exists or that a solution exist or a product exists. There is a consideration stage which is where I’m looking at this product but I’m comparing it or considering it against other solutions that are in the marketplace. And then, there’s a decision stage, and that’s usually generally called the bottom of the funnel. That’s where people are ready to make their purchase or to make their commitment to that purchase, right? So, as marketers and especially in the online advertising space, we’re very focused on, are we at the top of the funnel, the mid or the bottom of the funnel, right?

And, if I can say for just a moment, traditional paid search is really good at that bottom of funnel – that point of decision. You can use paid search in the top of funnel, but it’s really, really active in that bottom of funnel piece. Reach is really solid at the top of funnel where you’re just simply just generating some awareness and exposure. So, what we’re talking with clients right now about, is just saying, “Hey look, this is a great time to keep your company, your brand your product, your service, top of mind with customers.”

John: Sure.

Jon: They may be taking a longer buy cycle right now. They may be just researching things and thinking “This is something I’m gonna buy whenever this pandemic is over” or maybe “I’m looking to buy something in the fall” or “I’m just exploring options and I don’t even know what I’m going to buy.” You wanna keep yourself top-of-mind right now and a reach campaign is a fantastic way to do that.

John: Absolutely, so we’re talking a little bit on the paid search side, and obviously using ads to be able to get your message in front of people. Is that the only place that reach is kind of excluded to? Or, are there other areas in the digital marketing space that a client can use to expand their reach?

Jon: Well… Look, nothing in the digital space works in isolation. I think everybody understands that today, right? If you’re just gonna run an ad, you’re probably not doing enough. You’ve got to have a solid landing page. You got to have a good social presence. You got to have other pieces in play. As I said earlier, every major advertising platform, at this point, does indeed have a reach type of campaign. I’ll just say it very quickly. Facebook and Instagram probably offer one of the best options out there for reach campaigns. And the reason is, there are just so many users generating so many possible impressions every day.

I know there is more than the in 2.5 billion users on Facebook. With Instagram, you’re over 3 billion, right? It’s a pretty hefty number, right?

Well, what happens is, all of those people are logging in multiple times every day and what they’re doing is they’re just generating more impressions. So, it’s a chance for you to be able to put your ad into those slots all the time, right? So, Facebook and Instagram really offer a great option for reach, and we also see lower cost for reach campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.

But I do wanna take care to mention one thing. One of the things that I’ve seen that works best with a reach campaign, especially if you’re doing a good job at least earning that click, that the whole focus of a reach campaign is to actually just get the ad shown and get people to see your brand or your product, right?

But, if you can also earn that click and get them on site, there’s two things that really come into play. One is remarketing which we could certainly talk about it at a different time. It’s a bigger topic but a remarketing campaign, is what continues to move people along through the traditional funnel. But the other thing that I like to make sure everybody keeps in mind is email. Email is still the workhorse of digital marketing. I’ve been doing this for years. When I started in this space, people said, “Oh email’s gonna die.” Well, email still has not died.

It just keeps coming back, and coming back, and it’s a really powerful channel if it’s done well, right? And I’m sure that everybody’s probably seeing some things today with email and how you’re interacting with retailers and others. These give you some good examples. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of email that gets ignored, but you gotta do it well and if you do, it can work really hand-in-glove with a reach campaign by just simply introducing yourself, or getting those initial site visitors to come back and give you some further consideration.

John: Sure, that makes absolute sense. And I think that’s where, when we’re trying to help clients understand their sales funnel, their marketing funnel on how they connect is that like you said… I really like that point. Nothing in digital marketing happens in isolation, right? You can’t just run some ads and then not have any way that you’re gonna follow up with them. You can’t drive people to come into your store if you don’t have the customer experience, and that front desk manners set up. Or your payment processing system or your online ordering system. All of these have to be fluent, so that when someone is interacting with your brand, feels the least amount of resistance to actually get the action done that you want them to take.

I think that’s kind of what I’ve been seeing and something I’ve been noticing is that people want the least amount of resistance in technology to get to the point where they might even want to be there, but if you’re unintentionally placing barriers in front of them through maybe the fluency of it, or they’re not understanding or an educational barrier… that can prevent you from actually getting to that point of purchase or point of sale.

Jon: Yeah, that’s exactly right. In the space that I’m in we call that friction, and we’re trying to eliminate friction as much as possible all throughout that entire cycle. And the reason we’re trying to do this, we want to get people to the point where they can purchase and complete whatever it is that they came to complete.

John, I just wanna say very quickly, one of the things that’s super cool to me about digital advertising as opposed to more traditional forms of advertising is most of the time people are seeking out what it is that you have to offer. We’re not really standing in their way wherever they may want to go. That’s a little bit more the case with a reach campaign as opposed to a traditional paid search campaign but even at that, you can choose to engage or not. You can keep right on going, right? So, if you’re scrolling through your feed on Facebook and that ad does not appeal to you, you just keep right on going and you don’t have to worry about having to stop with it but if it’s interesting if it’s something that appeals to you, then you can stop, you can linger, you can engage with that. And that, to me, is what makes it really powerful.

John: Well, and I think that’s a great point. I think that’s where we step in to help our clients is we are trying to focus on creating campaigns that are informative, that are to the right target, that are helpful and engaging so that we’re not placing poor advertising. Obviously, our job as digital marketers, is to take the messages or the stories that our clients have behind their brands or their products and present them in a way to the right person. So, I think sometimes that’s a good point because I think there might be this natural hesitation sometimes behind advertising that people and business owners are accustomed to a lot of poor advertising, right? We kind of think of that as like, “Oh that’s the sign that I see on the road,” “the tube man with the arms,” or “the signs on the front of the cars.”

There’s a lot of poor advertising out there that is just kind of mass blast to try to get as many eyeballs as possible. Even though there is a large pool for us to pull from here and possible people that can engage with your brand, we’re trying to design campaigns to actually be on target, on message, and engaging both visually and creatively to the people that we want to actually reach. So, that would be something you can talk a little bit more about and you said you had some data to share as well before we hopped on. But, I think maybe it’s important to tell people about how we can actually define those audiences and make sure that if they were to engage, let’s say with a company like ours, to do a reach campaign that they would have that surety to know they we’re not just mass blasting their message.

Jon: Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right. And I think one thing that’s important to keep in mind, and we were just kind of starting to touch on this is that, as we said, “nothing in digital should be done in isolation” and that even includes the different types of campaigns that we’re executing.

You wouldn’t want do a reach campaign and a reach campaign only, at least not for a long period of time, otherwise you’ll have a great big hole in the boat. You may be bringing something in, but it’s flowing right back out. You’re missing out on that remarketing opportunity. You’re missing out on advancing them through the funnel. You might be missing out on a chance to actually even make a sale. Sales can happen from the top of the funnel. It’s entirely possible for that to occur. But, we do wanna make sure that we’re not just executing these campaigns in isolation. So a big part of that, to your point, John, is that we spend time working with our clients to define what their target audience actually is and what it looks like. We’ve got a process that we work through. We essentially interview our clients and we want to know who it is that they’re trying to reach. It’s way more than a question than who are you trying to reach. We are really trying to get some of those markers and characteristics to understand at a basic level it could be… Are you trying to reach men or women? Are you trying to reach people in the southeast or the Northeast or the US or Canada? Or just different geographic qualifiers… We get very specific if we need to. But, then we really start to turn our attention to a lot of the interest and the indicators. So, if you tell me that we’re trying to reach somebody that exhibits these kinds of interest, we can actually go and we can look and we can find those people, and we can build a targeting filter and a pretty advanced on that, that really narrows down. Here’s an example I like to give. I feel like it’s a little absurd but people that live in San Diego, that went to the University of Alaska that really like snowmobiles, right?

Not a lot of opportunities for that in San Diego, I’m guessing, but we could find them if that was your audience, right? It’s really getting to that level of detail and what that involves. It’s just a lot of back and forth. So, a business has to bring some insight to the table. I can’t tell you who you should be reaching…

I have to get a little bit of information, but you gotta bring some of that to the table in that discussion with us. But, if you do, that will make that process go a little bit more smoothly, and we can really find that audience for you. And, again, really on any platform too…

John: That makes absolute sense. And I think that collaborative experience between the brand owner, let’s say, or the business owner, the individual that has controlled that story in that message, I think the job of great marketers is to amplify that- not to necessarily change it or redirect it. We can obviously make suggestions along the way, that if we think you know, there’s an opportunity here. Maybe this is a subset we haven’t discovered or hadn’t thought about, but I think our main job in terms of expanding reach is to amplify the message correctly to the right individuals from the most educational and engaging way possible. And then that’s where we’re able to find that great synergy between customer and business.

That’s where great things happen.

Jon: Yeah, that’s exactly right. There’s a long-held maxim in the digital space as long as maybe 20 years. “The right place, the right message, at the right time.” And that’s really what we’re focused on here is helping to line up all three at those points so that we can really efficiently spend your advertising dollars. There’s a story that’s told. I may have shared this before, so forgive me if this is a repeat. There’s a guy in the Northeast that owns department store chains and I guess it was at the turn of the last century, and he always said that “50% of my advertising it works. My problem is I don’t know what 50% is working or not working, right?” With this, we can get really detailed. We can go very specific and we can turn up and turn off things that are working or not working. And, I’ve always really tried to hold to that when we’re looking at these things. By the way, I do wanna say, I’ve actually looked for people in San Diego, snowmobiling that went to the University of Alaska. Really small number. So I don’t want anybody to think I made that up, right?

John: I love that.

Jon: That’s actually something that I’ve looked for… not for a client. It was just out of curiosity for the example. You can get pretty niche, right? But that’s probably a little too niche, probably big enough to advertise too.

John: I wanted to touch on the article that you had shared with me before we hopped on. It was some data from “E-marketer.” It was about the paid space right now and I think this kind of factors into a little bit more of the practicality behind why this is a good time to jump into some of these campaigns.

Could you share a little bit more about that?

Jon: Oh, absolutely. So, we’re just now here finally to the middle of April, and we’re just now starting to see some real data coming from other marketers, other agencies, other advertisers about running campaigns.

What’s this pandemic actually doing to their advertising budgets? And, almost across the board, we’re seeing a pretty significant reduction in ad spend. Now a reduction could be anywhere from… “we dropped the budget by $5 a day” to “we cut the budget out completely”, right? We’re starting to see some reduction and mostly in places like paid social. Also, in display advertising, which is gonna be your images-based advertising. We’re seeing a little bit in video advertising though not as steep and those by the way, when I say that we’re seeing reductions, we’re talking about 45% to 47% of marketers are saying that we’re cutting budgets in those areas, so it’s approaching half. Half of all marketers are doing that.

Obviously, there’s gonna be exceptions in different industries, different sectors for sure, but just kind of across the board. That’s what we’re seeing. But, the one thing that we’re saying that goes against that grain is paid search and we just talked about how that’s bottom of funnel. It’s very point of action oriented. That’s the point where people are ready to make that decision and for paid search… it’s only about 1 in 4 advertisers that are actually decreasing their budgets. While at the same time 1 in 4 are also increasing their budget, so it’s almost a net neutral response there. And, that really is kind of a stall where digital advertising is because it’s so close to that point of connection. So, that offer some good news, if you’re doing paid search or if you’re exploring paid search. You are in kind of familiar company. But I would even go a step further to say, with the declining participation in display advertising or in video advertising and what we know as a result of that, is that we’re seeing – because of less competition – we’re seeing lower CPM. So cost per thousand impressions rates.

It just doesn’t take as much to get into the space as it did even just a few weeks ago. And, so it’s a really good time for you. If you’re thinking about getting into digital advertising or really even ramping up, start with that reach campaign. Let’s kind of expand that budget, because your dollar will go a lot farther now than it would even just a few weeks ago.

John: That’s a great point. I think what I’m gathering from what you’re saying is that if you’re interested in testing or getting your feet wet, sort of, let’s say you have run ads before or you’re not sure what that’s gonna do for your business or how big an audience there is for your business… This is an opportunity to test that, because you’re gonna be able to get that much lower cost and aggressive carve out that maybe there were other players in the space that have pulled back for whatever reason, just to kind of hedge a little bit and there’s a little bit more of that door open for you to stick your foot in.

So, this really would be a great time for let’s say your small or medium-sized business to get in there and kind of attack and say… “Hey, maybe we can capture a little bit of that hill and put our flag on it so that when we do come out of this” – which I think this is the biggest thing that I’m kind of hearing from a lot of other digital marketers and I think from motivated business owners they say – “Look, we’re going to come out of this current climate. We know that. It’s not gonna last forever, right?” People are not gonna change their habits with moving off-line to do the purchasing or the habits they’ve built over the last, let’s say, six weeks, right?

As we move forward from that, there is still going to be an opportunity to capture that impression or than inaugural pattern, as we move forward.

So I think that’s important. I think that’s probably a good message for those of you who are listening today, to Jon and I’s conversation, that it’s a good time to take that step to test this marketplace for you and your business.

Jon: I totally agree on that. And, the only thing I would add there is that, because everybody is mostly confined at home, it’s forcing us to try some things that maybe we hadn’t tried before as consumers. Maybe you hadn’t really ordered groceries and had them delivered to your home before. Well, now people are are doing that. We’re saying it with take-out and having it delivered by one of the services, same situation. Or even if you’re just using a mobile app to place your order to go and pick it up at the restaurant, so that’s possible as well.

I think everybody’s kind of well-versed in Amazon at this point, but even some of the more niche features there within Amazon are things that people are trying out. That’s just not gonna go away. People are gonna try that out, they’re going to find “I kinda really like that, it was really cool for me to be able to place my order on the mobile app, swing by the restaurant and it was already ready. I didn’t waste time just kinda hanging out there.” So, we’re changing a lot of patterns. We’re opening ourselves up to new ways in transacting online, which then means that when we do come out of this, they might say, “Well I don’t really wanna go back to that old way. I really wanna consider some more digital options.” So, if you’re in that space where you got some digital options to be able to give to connect with your customers, you want to go ahead and build that formation now.

John: Yeah, that’s excellent Jon. If you were to leave our audience today with maybe one or two nuggets about reach that they can take away and digest on what would some of that be?

Jon: Yeah, first is definitely know your audience. The tighter we can draw that circle in, the better we can spend your dollars, right? So, we could help you really maximize that spend and show those ads to the right people at the right time at the right place. Otherwise, we might be like a scatter shot and you’ll have some extra waste.

So, really spend some time thinking about who it is that you need to connect with. I think the second thing is to be thinking about and be open to exploring how a reach campaign is going to plug into other things other campaigns downstream in the funnel. So, to not lose those opportunities.

You don’t want to go to a great effort of putting together this awesome ad, or even an awesome video and then it just sort of shows and then moves on. Everybody says, “Well it was really great.” And then they turn to the next thing.

You want to keep their attention. You want to keep that relationship going. So whether that’s email, like we talked about, or if it’s re-marketing, which is a little more involved. It’s still very worth it. Or if it’s leading them to some other points of engagement, like on social, absolutely look at moving in that direction. So I think those are the big things about reach.

One thing we didn’t talk a lot about is the creative that you use it. That is critical, right? Don’t come at this and look, I’m gonna say I’ve been doing digital advertising for at least 15 plus years now. I have seen a lot of ads and I’ve seen a lot of bad ads. I think back to 15+ years ago to the first ads that were kind of rolling out. They were these blinking, flashing, nightmares. Somebody thought… “Let’s create these animated gifs.” This was before animated gifs were even a thing. Let’s create these animated gifs.

Yeah, and well we’ll have 20 different images showing in this one box.

John: I remember some of that.

Jon: Those are not good, right? They were a little gaudy. But really, do you spend some time thinking about what your creative should be and how does it reflect and represent you, your business, your brand, your product because if you have a mismatch or something’s out of sync there, then you could actually do more harm than good. So you really want to dial that in on the ad creative.

John: I appreciate you making that last point. And I think in each of the areas that you’ve mentioned here as we close up for today, but these are all areas where we can help businesses to make those better decisions. Whether it’s understanding the audience or building those additional campaigns. How does email, Google My Business, your website and SEO factor into that audience you are bringing into the funnel? And then, obviously, creative and visual design. These are things that we can help companies all throughout this process with making better decisions and becoming more educated on what’s really gonna work for their audience. So I appreciate you mentioning those pieces there.

Jon, I really appreciate it, again, having a great conversation with you. This is always exciting and informative. I think I learned more in 20 minutes spent with you every week than most conversations I’ve had in my career. So I always appreciate that from you.

I think we’ll be back. We’ll be doing this more regularly. So for the audience out there enjoying having the conversations that John and I are having, I think we’re gonna be back with some more. We’re also going to be thinking about who we’d like to bring on as guests, so we’ll have a little bit of an updated roster coming soon. But again, Jon, thank you so much for joining me and us today on the podcast, and if you guys have any questions, they’ll be some information in the links below when we post this. Obviously it will be on reach and campaigns and remarketing and stuff like that. We’ll put that information in. For this week, thanks so much for joining us. This is the Life is Digital podcast and I’m appreciative of Jon joining me again.

Jon: I appreciate it.

John: So tune into the next episode when we have it out. Thanks so much guys, have a great rest of the week, thanks.

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