Do marketers really understand digital marketing?

Digital Marketing: do you understand it?

It’s a scary thought: marketing has moved on so substantially from the old days of print and radio however have marketers kept up with this move? We assume they have but recent studies of relatively advanced markets such as the U.S. and the U.K.

Marketers appear to be unable to catch up with the pace of technological change within digital marketing practices. Similar apprehensiveness has been noted in the U.S., where a mere 9% of marketers confirmed their confidence in the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns, and 61% referred to recent digital marketing approaches by most companies as in a cycle of learning by doing or trial and error.

A similar sentiment is felt in the UK, where over 50% of marketers are basing their digital campaigns on intuition as opposed to rigorous testing of campaigns and content which is the norm with more traditional forms of marketing, such as employing a focus group to obtain feedback on a new television spot. A part of this problem can be attributed to a lack of data analysis and insight strategies by marketing departments, resulting in a lack of relevant information to inspire confidence in the direction of digital campaigns.

There are multiple issues here including a lack of training and the massively fast moving pace of the industry.

Other issues encountered by the marketing sphere due to this lack of assurance include the downplaying of the significance and value of emerging channels. Especially mobile marketing channels are not being utilised in an effective manner to reach consumers. In fact, almost half of marketers have not employed a formal mobile marketing strategy for their respective companies. These statistics are surprising considering the personal, portable and ‘always-on’ nature of mobile devices makes them highly conducive as a channel for reaching consumers.

At OfferForge we’re here to help you decipher your online marketing needs without the fluff. We’re here to genuinely help and inform and no question is ridiculous. Give us a shout here and we’ll get your online marketing up and running.

CPM is still the most common metric for ad measurement

CPM as metric for ad measurement

While it’s not necessarily the best measurement for online advertising CPM is still, for many, the simplest way of testing the success of a campaign.

Multiple factors, including the convergence of digital as both a content and a commerce medium, as well as the rise of multi-channel marketing campaigns, are leading marketers to benchmark their digital ad campaigns against both performance- and branding-based objectives—regardless of format.

The problem comes in when comparing the CPM of a banner ad to that of a rich media advert or a native advertising. However, it’s what advertisers want. According to a study by Nielsen advertisers want simplicity:

common used metrics for ad measurement


Many would prefer to move towards an engagement metric or a “Cost Per Engagement”. For many, CPE might be a preferred performance metric, it is unlikely to become a ubiquitous pricing model. In addition, how do you even measure engagement?

measurements that actually matter the most

Give OfferForge a call and we’ll discuss how to structure your campaigns for maximum effectiveness in order to reach your business goals.

Do you outsource your digital marketing?

Digital Marketing Outsourcing: do you outsource PPC, social and display?

Many companies have an issue whether to outsource their digital marketing or keep the skills in-house although a recent study from Adobe shows that PPC and social are moving in-house.

However this isn’t the case for display advertising which is usually outsourced. Only a third of businesses (32%) manage their display advertising exclusively in-house, compared to 44% for paid search and 52% for social. The report found that display is the most likely to be managed exclusively by an agency with social the least likely to be outsourced.

The reason for this is fairly simple: media buying is becoming more and more integrated so needs to be considered as part of a holistic approach to marketing. Display advertising is often bought by media buyers as part of the TV, radio and print approach in order to support those traditional outlets.

There are also significant issues as to why companies are outsourcing to agencies; the primary being resources and insufficient data.

adobe's digital marketing intelligence briefing

While sometimes unavoidable for practical reasons, disparate ownership of media can present obvious problems in trying to adopt a unified approach and gaining a single view of campaign performance, especially when there is a lack of communication between different departments and teams.

It is clear that companies need to overcome the technological and people-related challenges born out of fragmented media buying, both through integrated technology platforms and shared business metrics.

You can purchase the report here.

How does your online measurement measure up?

Online measurement is crucial!

We hear time and time again how a major benefit of digital marketing is the ability to measure. From a return on investment perspective you can learn exactly how much money is put into a campaign and how much you get out in terms of actual revenue or traffic. The great advantage after all with the digital world is that online measurement is easy and accurate.

As good as this theory of measurement is, most companies don’t really care. We’re still living in a world where ad spend is not measured correctly or at all and a Facebook campaign that increases “likes” is considered a success.

According to an Econsultancy study of over 900 companies there is a major lack of understanding and budget for measurement.


Company respondents focused on a lack of multiple factors: consistency, strategy, time, investment in people. Others wrote about siloed departments and teams, and too much data noise.

For those that do measure their results there’s still a distinct disconnect between actual ads served and those viewed. A new measurement is aiming towards checking for whether ads are viewed as opposed to just served.

Viewability needs to be the starting point for campaign assessment – clicks, engagement, interaction rates and all other metrics can only be properly considered once it’s understood how many people saw the ads.

digital marketing is lost without online measurement

It’s an interesting move and requires that half an ad’s pixels must be in view for at least a second.

Whatever metric you use it’s important to consider measurement. If budget is an issue, petition for more money to prove the value of your initial investment! If understanding is a problem then give us a call at OfferForge and we’ll help you understand how your campaign performed and where we can make it even better.

Where online measurement becomes critical in affiliate marketing

As an affiliate marketer you will be generating an income from lead generation campaigns and cost per sale campaigns. It is therefore crucial that you are able to measure a number of metrics that will enable you to see if your efforts are a success or not.

The great news is that many tools are free and thy can give you quick insights into the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. The easiest place to start would definitely be to use Google Analytics. You should do yourself a favor and watch a few Youtube videos on how to set up goals. Once set up they will give you great insights into the conversion rates on specific pages.

Through the online measurement metrics that are built in in Google Analytics you can learn loads about your website. It is definitely the easiest tool to use if you want to uncover new opportunities on your site.

Global advertising trends with the Nielsen “Global Ad View”

The genius minds behind research house Nielsen have released their latest “Global Ad View” report on advertising and we’ve decided to take a look at some of the interesting results.

To start off with we’re seeing MASSIVE growth in digital marketing:

massive growth in digital marketing

Television remained the dominant media type in terms of advertising investment in the first quarter of 2013 with a 59% share of media spend share and 3.5% growth globally.


Online display advertising, though measured in a smaller subset of countries, grew a significant 26.3% for the first quarter. Display internet ad growth was particularly impressive in the Asia-Pacific (33.2%) and Latin America (48.2%). Internet even bucked the trend in Europe, boasting growth of 10.4%.

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), the long-standing most valuable player in sector growth, showed no signs of slowing down, boasting a 6.1 percent increase for the quarter. Latin America led this increase with a 22.2 percent bump. The drink subsector drove the global growth, which experienced a 9.7 percent increase. Spending also grew in cosmetics and toiletries, gaining 5.6 percent for the period. The spirits category within the drink subsector performed particularly well, experiencing an increase in spending of 36 percent for the quarter.

Financial and automotive are two sectors suffering, primarily due to the ongoing economic situation in the Western world. Advertising spend declined in these sectors by 2.9 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. The commercial vehicles category within the auto sector saw the biggest drop—23%, while advertising in investment and savings and card services each fell 14% in the financial sector.

SIDENOTE: What this means for the affiliate programs on offer at is that there is huge money to be made online. If you gear up to drive both sales and lead generation through your website and social media assets, you can ensure an ever growing income over the next few years.

increase in advertising spend

“We see trends continuing in media, with less-steep ad spend increases in TV and very slight declines in print, making way for growth in the digital space. Although these changes in traditional media are slight, it’s worth noting how the placement of ad dollars is shifting over time,” said Randall Beard, global head, Advertiser Solutions for Nielsen. “We’ll continue to monitor these shifts in media spending and the impact for marketers in the short and long term.”

Download the full report here.

This reports just underlines the importance of digital marketing channels in driving success for companies. It offers many opportunities for digital entrepreneurs to really benefit from this growing trend. A golden rule of marketing is to be where your customers are. More and more of your customers are moving to the digital world.

Frankly the more conventional channels are losing their luster and effectiveness at an incredible rate. Competition in many sectors keep increasing and as a result accurate, effective and efficient marketing efforts are crucial not only for success, but for survival.

Are you obsessed with Facebook likes?

An obsession with Facebook likes isn’t healthy

We recently spent some time with a large client discussing social media strategy and noticed how there is still a massive focus on the amount of total Facebook likes of their page.

Of course it’s important to have a high level of likes and Twitter followers but this tends to lead to a massive issue with click fraud and the buying of followers. We’re seeing the growth of “click farms”:

  1. Brand engages social media agency (although no self-respecting social media I know would do this) which promises to craft a social media campaign that will rocket the brand’s social fan base.
  2. Social media agency decides that the most profitable way to do this work is to pay a click farm to provide fake likes.
  3. The click farm employs technological solutions, and people (who really need the money) to create thousands of fake profiles and generate even more fake likes, views and even comments.

As you can see it’s often companies posing as legitimate agencies that are guilty of such dubious behaviour. However, these sort of agencies only thrive in a landscape where a company is desperate for likes.

Other metrics on a Facebook page are vastly more useful than pure Facebook likes. For example you can see your contents reach and engagement easily. This information is vastly more useful in understanding your customers than an endorsement from a fake account in Lahore.

The big problem is that many brands still measure their success on social media by the number of likes or followers they have. Not by engagement, shares, and ultimately sales (none of which a fake click is going to get you). And while brands measure by likes, agencies will be tempted to buy them. Instead of buying fans, here are some tips to grow your base organically:

  1. Encourage people to take the first step. Give people a reason to ‘like’ your page, or view your video. Maybe there’s a competition, or a promise of exclusive content. Perhaps the selling point is being a member of an elite community.
  2. Encourage them to hang around and engage. Don’t limit exclusive offers to new fans. It’s not enough for someone to simple ‘like’ a page; they need to want to keep going back.
  3. Create compelling content. It sounds so obvious but really focusing on appropriate brand content works, whether it’s witty, visually appealing or just brightens someone’s day – sticky content works.
  4. Provide a strong set of community guidelines, or house rules, for fans to follow and enforce them. Moderate content to provide the safest and most welcoming environment you can. People won’t comment on a page if they think they’ll be laying themselves open to abuse or ridicule or if it’s peppered with spam.
  5. Use a community manager who’s already a brand advocate. If it’s a game brand, it helps if the person running the page knows the culture, and understands what people mean when they say they’re having trouble collecting enough Bells to pay off Tom Nook.
  6. Be ethical. It’s one thing to ask fans to behave in a respectful manner, but if they discovered that your brand had brought thousands of ‘likes’, if they started to wonder if the Harry Smith they were responding to was a real fan, or a fake, why would they have any reason to trust the brand?

Keep it real, listen to your customers and use social media to grow your business.

You will see far greater value when you look at the interaction rates you get from your customers. The Facebook likes can be as deceiving as high visitor numbers to a site. It is flattering, but not always an indicator of digital marketing success. By getting interaction from your customers (comments and shares) you are far more likely to enhance your brand’s reputation. This is also the stepping stone to generating leads or sales from your social media efforts.

Do homepage takeovers suck?

Homepage takeovers: one of the most annoying digital marketing tactics

We found an article on tech site Memeburn today titled “Homepage takeovers are wildly inefficient: here’s why” and while the article is extremely well written and has an interesting point, we feel it’s inaccurate.

The article makes the following points and then goes on to mention how retargeting is a better solution.

Earlier this year, Digiday revealed how much brands are paying to take over the homepage of major sites across the web, and the results were pretty shocking: US$450 000 for a one-day homepage takeover at Yahoo!; US$400 000 for a one-day YouTube takeover; US$400 000 for an AOL takeover, too.

I can think of about 10 000 better ways for media buyers to spend their display budgets (and only half of them involve expensive rum and Barcelona). You’re making a huge bet that the right people will visit Yahoo! or AOL that day and see your ads, and, chances are, they will not. Returns on homepage takeovers for direct response marketers are usually very low.

It’s easy to see why — very diverse groups of people visit Yahoo! and AOL. Making such a broad marketing buy may have been acceptable a decade ago when ad targeting was in its infancy; to marketers accustomed to big TV buys, homepage takeovers made sense. But it’s not acceptable today, when marketers have the tools to target an individual with display ads based on their behaviour and to customize their campaigns based on what’s working best. With a homepage takeover, you put all your eggs in one basket and you don’t learn much beyond, “Wow, that was a really expensive basket.”

The article makes a great point, why spend a large sum of money taking over a homepage when you can segment your audience. Essentially putting a generic homepage takeover on the front of a website is akin to putting a billboard next to the highway, you have no idea what value you’re getting.

Except that you know exactly what value you’re getting:

According to eMarketer the results from a homepage takeover increase the website dwell rate by up to 67%. This stat shows that people are purposefully staying on a homepage to get an idea of what the takeover is about:

lift in homepage takeovers vs polite banners

Add to the fact that no one is forcing you to takeover the front of a webpage then a homepage takeover seems to make more sense. You don’t put an auto brand on the front page of a news website, you takeover the specific automotive section of the site.

Any marketing is inefficient if used incorrectly. Segmentation, targeting and focus are required, no matter the medium.

Email marketing is still a great way to sell products online

Email marketing to sell products online

We tend to focus a large amount of digital marketing efforts on banners however when it comes to actually selling products the humble email is still a great way to get return on investment. Many companies have realized if they want to sell products online that email marketing has to be part of the mix.

An interesting new study shows that email marketing is a highly successful way to improve your returns:


Another study by eConsultancy shows that email accounts for 10% of total sales (both digital and traditional) in 50% of all companies:


Knowing that email is a useful tool does not make it successful, how do you approach email in order to ensure high response rates and purchases of your products?

You guessed it, another piece of research has shown what works best:

tactics for achieving email marketing objectives


Segmentation and integration seem to be the most popular ways of getting a good response while simple concepts such as personalising a name seem like a great direction. There is nothing more disheartening that receiving an email with the first line saying: “Hi First Name”.

Used as part of an integrated campaign, email is a great way to connect with current and potential clients. Here at OfferForge we have a great email marketing service. Contact us to find out more and let us help you access a brand new set of clients.

The power will remain in the list

This statement has been echoed in digital marketing circles for many years. It is a statement that remains true to this day. Email marketing works wonders not only for brands, but for many affiliate marketers. Regardless of whether the target is lead generation or online sales, you will be able to yield good returns from your email lists.

The good news is that it is never too late to start building your list. If you want to give your digital marketing efforts a lot more power it is wise to turn start building it as soon as possible.

Is Native Advertising the lowest form of digital marketing?

Native advertising is just different

Native advertising or sponsored content is all the rage at digital agencies and publishers around the world. In the days of magazines we used to call this type of content an advertorial.

Native advertising is seen as the saviour of online publishers who have seen their traditional revenues destroyed by digital platforms such as classifieds and banner advertising.

Native Advertising is getting a massive bump from big publishers such as Buzzfeed. In a keynote speech at this year’s SXSW, CEO Jonah Peretti criticized banners as a medium that “do not tell a compelling story.” Native ads, he argued, are much more compelling.

The problem Peretti hasn’t quite worked out (despite making a ton of money via Buzzfeed) is that any advertising medium can tell a story: it’s an issue of wanting that story to be told.

The biggest problem with Native Advertising in its current form is relevance. With a site such as Buzzfeed where their most popular content is made up of lists of the “top 10 cutest cats on the internet” finding a brand can sponsor this topic is limited. We’re not going to see a financial brand or something equally serious such as an automotive or telecoms brand being behind this type of sponsored content.

Relevance is key

A recent sponsored story on The Atlantic’s business site Quartz from Adobe called “How encrypted video is redefining the mobile experience” is of genuine interest.

But if you’re not going to have relevant content with your native ads, you might as well buy banners.

Digital advertising is plagued by imperfect measurement. The “click-through rate” or CTR is used by advertisers, not because it is particularly meaningful, but because it’s very easy to measure. Things like sales impact are more difficult.

If included as part of a marketing mix and the content is highly relevant then Native Advertising makes a lot of sense as it’s currently receiving higher click through rates than banners. Done right Native Advertising is powerful, done wrong it’s basically invasive.

Will it work for everyone?

In our honest opinion the answer is no. The type of content that typically attracts a lot of interest through this medium is not always business related. It can play a role in helping to build the digital brand presence of a company though.

As a tool to directly drive sales or to generate leads it will sadly fall flat on its face more often than not. If you want to use it for lead generation or generating sales though it would need to be for well converting high value products or services. Otherwise there would just not be enough margin it in it.