Spotlight on The Block NZ

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A pertinent issue in martech at the moment is the use of ad-blockers and how marketers are working around them. Here’s Butterfly Australia ceo Liz McLean’s take:

  • Will social media apps become over-run by advertising?
  • The changing face of advertising and how companies will have to adjust
  • The importance of good quality CX

Pop-ups and internal politics: How do marketers respond?
Earlier this year, Google announced it would penalise websites where content is not ‘easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results’. This isn’t the first time Google has announced changes that would affect search rankings. In 2015, Google boosted results for sites that were mobile-friendly, forcing many companies to play catch-up as they optimised their desktop experience for mobile.

With this latest announcement, Google is taking aim at pop-ups that ‘can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting’. While users may rejoice, marketers have been left scratching their heads.

Marketers have long relied on pop-ups as a tool to drive engagement, with the most effective pop-ups converting up to 9.3% more than traditional web forms. Google’s reform will penalise sites using pop-ups by negatively affecting their search ranking. Considering first page websites account for 92% of Google traffic, marketers cannot afford to have their ranking impacted.

Embracing new methods
Savvy marketers will look to innovate and think outside the box. Start with thinking about your customers, their experience and what they would expect and enjoy. Engaging your customers without being intrusive is key. Consequently, frictionless, functional and easy-to-use website design will go a long way to improving their experience.

CERT NZ’s website is a great example of frictionless design. It was awarded The Designers Institute of New Zealand‘s Best Interactive Work in 2017, with the judges noting, ‘the simplicity of layout works perfectly to bring clarity to its text-heavy content [making it] approachable and easy to consume.’ The site prioritises user experience above all else, resulting in a seamless experience from start to finish.

Native advertising
With pop-ups likely to take more of a back seat in marketing plans moving forward, native adverting is a tactic worth exploring for a few reasons.

Firstly, its customer centric design is far less intrusive than other forms of advertising and can blend in seamlessly with existing content, even enhancing it. Secondly, if the advertising is appropriate for the audience, users will start liking and sharing content, increasing the chances of your content going viral.

Lastly, it works. Consider this famous piece from the New York Times. This 1500 word, in-depth analysis of women inmates leveraged dynamic content, infographics and videos to engage the user, whilst promoting the latest season of Orange Is The New Black. The results were staggering, with the NY Times launching a larger native ad campaign that has increased click through six fold and impressions four fold.

It’s important to note that while certain tactics will be tried and tested with case study proof, marketers cannot afford to move forward with certain tactics purely in the efforts to mimic the success of a peer or competing brand. Each tactic needs to relate back to the golden rule of having the customers’ needs dictate whether and how that tactic is leveraged to drive customer engagement.

For example, while native advertising has proven valuable for many brands, it is not without its drawbacks, the biggest of which is it blurs the line between advertising and content. This has become a hotly debated ethical issue and one that marketers should be keenly in tune with to ensure they do not mislead and lose the trust of their customers.

To build trust, content marketing is an effective method to establish your company as a thought leader by offering relevant, high-quality pieces like e-books, whitepapers or slideshows.

Final words
Google, like many advertising platforms including Facebook and Instagram, will continually update their ranking algorithms, making it untenable for marketers to stand still. The most successful marketers will be proactive in looking for new ways to engage their customers, starting with an audit of their target market and website. Stay connected and up-to-date by joining an industry association like NZ Marketing Association.

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