A Message for Your Budget Deniers — Don’t Abandon Marketing in 2023

A Message for Your Budget Deniers — Don’t Abandon Marketing in 2023

Gianna Callioni
. 27 Jan 2023 . 7 min read

We’ve all faced a great deal of uncertainty over the past few years and it’s clear the upheaval won’t ease up any time soon. Businesses across the globe have had to manage unprecedented (couldn’t help it, sorry) pressures on their day-to-day operations, from extreme supply issues, unpredictable demand, inflation, huge increases in hard costs… the list goes on. As a marketer, there’s been a burden to accomplish more with less — ‘we need to cut your budget, but you need to keep making us money. Lots more money.’

As you kickoff 2023 in the heart of the cost-of-living crisis, it’s highly likely you’ll need to advocate even harder for your marketing budget. Klaviyo research suggests 6 in 10 small to medium sized businesses will freeze or cut their marketing spend this year.

But, what effect will that have on those businesses? And how can you convince your budget deniers there are better alternatives?

As Dr Simon Broadbent put it,

“The sales of a brand are like the height at which an airplane flies. Advertising spend is like its engines: while the engines are running, everything is fine, but, when the engines stop, the descent eventually starts.”

Message 1 — Don’t Abandon Marketing

The simple fact is the longer you go without exposing your target audience to your brand, the more likely it is they’ll forget about you. All of the familiarity and trust you’ve built up over time (and all the advertising dollars that have gone into doing so), could go to waste.

There’s been proof of that in the past three years alone.

A release by Nielsen in 2020 (right around when the spicy cough was really ramping up) stated, “brands that go totally dark for the rest of 2020 could be facing revenue declines of up to 11% in 2021.” And you know what? They were right.

In early 2020 (pre-WHO declaring a pandemic), I worked with a client who was three months into a six month contract with several influencers. When the news broke, they wanted to cancel those contracts and stop advertising. Their umbrella company’s annual revenue fell 11% in 2020 compared to 2019. And they sold booze. A household staple after toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

Conversely, brands ‘that increased advertising during a recession experienced higher sales, market share, or earnings during or after the recession.

You’d be right in thinking this isn’t true for every business. Of course, every business is different. If you’re a large business in a growth period, you’ll likely appear fine for a couple of years. But if you’re smaller or more stagnant in your growth already, please don’t abandon marketing.

Message 1.5 — Remember That Marketing is More Than Just Advertising

It seems like everyone has collectively forgotten that marketing isn’t just running ads. Including marketers themselves.

Mark Ritson calls it the ‘tactification’ of marketing. The selective memory loss regarding the rest of the marketing mix. The belief that marketing and advertising are ‘the same thing.’

At a time like this, it’s so very important to remember that marketing has (or at least, should have!) access to the other levers of product, price, and place… not just promotion.

Les Binet wrote an excellent (and very detailed) article specifically on the importance of price, and how we can respond to market pressure with price. But, of course, without sacrificing brand equity.

Message 2 — Leverage Available Share of Voice

That’s enough of the tough stuff… there’s hope for us yet!

Other brands pulling back on advertising can mean it’s cheaper and easier for you to reach your audience. Say you have 35% share of voice and your two competitors have 35% and 30%. They decrease their advertising by 10% and 15% respectively. Now there’s 25% of the market share that’s yours for the taking. That’s a very simplistic way of putting it and, unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as that, but you get the gist.

If you skipped over it earlier (it’s ok, we all do it), 6 in 10 small to medium sized businesses will freeze or cut their marketing spend in 2023. Think about how much that will open up advertising channels for your brand to cut through. Particularly digitally, where a large chunk of your costs are directly related to how much competition you’re up against in that moment.

By continuing to advertise, you’re able to leverage the newly available share of voice and build yourself up compared to your competitors.

Message 3 — Build Your Brand Image

“Building brands is not an expense, it’s an investment and it needs to be prioritized. It’s not a choice, you have to build strong brands if you want to have a strong business.” — Brent Smart

This isn’t about boldly (and blindly) spending more than your competitors for the sake of it. It’s about carefully selecting and balancing where and what you spend. To do that effectively, you need to have a good read of the market, macro and micro factors, and competition.

It’s an oft-ignored fact that advertising is about more than just short-term returns; when done well, it also builds long-term mental availability. Consider the customer awareness funnel — unaware, problem aware, solution aware, product aware, and most aware. Building your brand image gives you a better chance at being well-positioned during the solution, product, and most aware stages. Without filling up those earlier points of the funnel, you’re less likely to experience the conversions at the bottom of it.

Even if your ads don’t get paused completely, you may be asked to only spend on conversion campaigns (it’s not an uncommon request). If you do, it’s very likely that this reduction of coverage will be at the detriment of your brand’s reputation and goodwill. Consumers don’t want to be sold to constantly, so if your only messages are sales messages, well… good luck. Yes, you might see an uptick in response rate, but at what long-term cost?

Consider how you and your company would like people to see your brand in 3, 5, 10 years’ time. What does that look like? Are you the go-to choice for your audience? The most trusted option? Do they want others to know they use your product? This should inform your next steps.

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Meet ChatGPT: Your Questions About the World’s Latest Chatbot Answered

Gianna Callioni
. 12 Jan 2023 . 5 min read

Within 5 days, ChatGPT hit over 1 million users. It took Instagram 2.5 months to do that.

But, why all the hype around another chatbot? They’ve been used for years now haven’t they? Well, not quite like this.

What is ChatGPT?

It’s like the chatbots you’ve seen online, but on steroids.

It was built by OpenAI using data from thousands of online sources, including Reddit, to make its responses seem more human. It’s a language learning model which means it’s learned to continually predict what the next word in a sequence should be. Unlike previous chatbots, however, ChatGPT was also trained using human feedback. Meaning it knows what language people expect when asking questions. It can also remember what you asked or said earlier in the chat meaning you can follow up with things. Basically, you can have a seemingly human conversation with it.

But, it does have some key weaknesses. One is that it lacks information released online post-2021, so some of its responses may not include the most up-to-date data. And, as with every other AI program available, it still has issues with biased, surface-level, incomplete, or even potentially harmful responses.

Can it be used to create ads? Inform content topics? Even write a whole website page?

It can! We’ll get to the morality of this later on, but the simple answer is yes.

Through machine learning, the chatbot essentially is able to recreate content it has seen online and tweak it to your specifications.

Ask it to write any number of words on a certain topic and it will. Ask it to write attention-grabbing headlines for LinkedIn and it will. Ask it to create a well-balanced meal plan to hit your weekly macros and it will.

How can you make ChatGPT work at its best?

When you ask it to do a vague action, you’ll likely get a vague response.

“Give me ideas for blog posts” – it’ll give you ideas, but they won’t necessarily align with what you want to talk about. It has merely used its knowledge to regurgitate various blog article ideas its seen.

Instead, try to give the program specific examples or formulas to expand on. By adding qualifiers and descriptors, you can ask it to create very unique (and actually quite well-written) content.

The big one — how far can organisations/individuals go with it before there’s a moral dilemma?

Alongside potentially harmful biases existing within this and other AI tools, the moral and ethical use of these tools is a big hurdle for the industry to face. And the answer might not always be clear-cut.

Selling your copywriting services to businesses but then using ChatGPT to write for you? Definitely over the line.

Using ChatGPT to write your uni assignment? Over the line.

Using it to write your own blog posts? That might depend.

While we may easily agree on some tasks it shouldn’t be used for, others might be harder to see eye-to-eye on.

“I'm intrigued to see how Google hopes to accurately detect AI-written content. It could be very difficult even if OpenAI develops a 'digital watermark' because there'd be ways around that.”

Gianna

I’m concerned by the lack of respect we’re seeing for intellectual property. What the visual AIs have done with regards to copying art styles from working artists... isn't great. Artists should have been contacted and given the option to opt in. Rather than having to opt out after the fact.

Shaelah

I think one of the biggest implications is that digital art and online writing/copy will lose massive value. What’s unique about a bot writing or designing something? There’s absolutely no value in thought, idea, inspiration, etc, and so the work itself will be worthless and a reiteration of what’s already been designed/said by actual humans.

Sequoia

We can agree that there’s certainly value in AI tools. They can help spark ideas and answer questions that everyday users have. As a chatbot for websites and apps, it can provide a much more user-friendly experience. However, beyond this there are implications for both our industry and society at large, which will necessitate changes in practice but also (in all likelihood) at a legislative level. And quickly. What a time to be alive!

Irony and riddles seem to be beyond ChatGPT though, so we’re not completely replaceable yet…

Examples of ChatGPT's responses

Your Quick Reminder to be Emotional (in Your Website Content)

Gianna Callioni
. 19 Dec 2022 . 4 min read

Picture your website. You’ve optimised your SEO, mapped your customer journey, fixed all your anchor tags, finalised your design… but your site visitors aren’t making a decision (outside of the decision to click the x on the browser tab). Naturally, you want your site visitors to do something other than leave you. If you’ve considered all the obvious things, have you also considered your team may be writing from too rational a point of view?

Whether we like it or not, our emotions typically outweigh our rational thoughts when it comes to making decisions. Obviously, everyone is different and you’ll always find some people who are more swayed by rational thinking, but it still typically comes after emotion has made the first judgement call.

Research suggests the difference in emotive content versus rational content in ads can lead to a 23% increase in conversions. Purely based on how you’ve made your audience feel.

We’re marketers though, so it can be easy to rely on data to get our point across and forget to involve emotion (a little bit of irony for you in those three sentences there). Writing with data is pointing out facts. Writing with emotion takes more effort and involvement. When you’re working in a fast-paced environment and are pushed to get a lot of content out, it can be harder to include emotion that’s not simply, ‘I can’t believe I have to write ANOTHER article’.

A quick note on why emotion is so important when writing content

If you’ve got a team of copywriters behind you, it might be good to revisit the ‘why’ with them. Why does emotion play such a big role in the effectiveness of website content?

Human psychology has unearthed the theory of dual processing — the idea that there are two parts of your brain making a decision: your emotional brain (intuitive thoughts) and your logical brain (deliberate thoughts).

When people are confident of an initial intuitive answer, they are less likely to spend time rethinking it or to change their answer after reflection.

Jonathan Evans and Keith Stanovich Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition

So basically, we’re just not very good at changing our minds if we think we’re right.

Sometimes, our emotions process things automatically and unconsciously, then our brains try to rationalise that emotional response. Even if our rational brain may not have come to the same conclusion originally, the fact that our emotions have already decided for us often makes it difficult to change that decision.

Is your content emotionally driven?

With the beginning of a new year comes the perfect time to take stock of the content on your website. (You know – ‘new year, new you’ and all that jazz). This could include blog articles, product descriptions, general webpages, anywhere you should be wringing out emotions from your audience.

Depending on how much content you have to go through and how big your team is, you may wish to work through it together or assign a set number of pages to each team member. Go through each piece and note down which emotions you feel when reading (or listening, or watching). Are they the emotions you need from that piece of content? Is there emotion there at all? Of course, emotions are subjective, so as part of this process, specifically look for emotionally-charged phrases, words, or editing.

Once you’ve done your ‘emotion audit’, you may need to edit some of your content. If that’s the case, we encourage you to go through each of these steps:

  1. Think about what action you want your audience to take when they read each piece of content. Remember, this action may be different depending on where people are on your site and at which stage of their buyer’s journey they’re on.
  2. Think about which emotional state is more likely to drive that emotion. Should people be feeling happiness, intrigue, nostalgia? What feelings are going to make them do what you want them to do? And to what degree? We don’t need quite as much of a connection with choosing toothpaste as we do with choosing our home.
  3. Research which emotionally persuasive words will align with that action and emotion (and then actually use them). You can try a resource like this to get started.

And now you watch and wait for the tears and laughter to help you convert more people on your site. Hopefully.

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The Small Business Last Minute Guide to a Successful Click Frenzy

Gianna Callioni
. 26 Oct 2022 . 6 min read

Click Frenzy is fast approaching so if you’d like to capitalise on the millions of users who’ll visit the online marketplace, here are a few key things you should work on over the next two weeks!

Before getting into it though, you’ll need to make one key decision – will you officially join Click Frenzy, or unofficially ride off the hype?

Option 1. Taking part in the official Click Frenzy promotion

Many big-name online retailers use this event to generate large volumes of traffic and clear out stock. You’ll see brands like The Iconic, City Beach, PetStock, and Michael Hill all featured on the platform. On day one of last year’s event, participating retailers saw an average of 65% increase in traffic to their site. Featuring on the platform not only means you’re more likely to be seen by people in the shopping spirit, but also more likely to reach new customers.

However, you do need to pay to be there just like with any other form of advertising. You can use their self-serve advertising tool to see what the process is like and how their pricing model works. Before choosing this option, weigh up whether the cost of advertising on the platform will be outweighed by the increased sales.

Option 2. Making the most of people’s deal-finding goals unofficially

You can capitalise on purchase-driven mindsets without paying to feature on the platform. You can still generate a great deal of buzz within your own community through earned media advertising. If you have a solid earned audience (think email databases and social media followers), you may decide that this option is enough for you to get the pick-up in sales that you’d like.

You may also choose to run ads on social media or Google search to reach additional audiences. Click Frenzy has a fixed $0.80 cost per click on top of the fixed fee to feature a deal. Compare this to what your average CPC has been in the past (with a little wiggle room for increased competition) to help you decide which option is best.

Whichever option you decide on, there are several things you can do in the lead-up to the special event to help maximise your results.

Put Consideration Into Your Deals

It’s important to spend some time putting careful thought into the deals you offer as part of your sale. Potential customers will expect big discounts (remember, Click Frenzy does crazy 99% off deals), but it’s still essential to keep your bottom line in mind. If you can’t financially offer big discounts on your products, consider if you can provide small free gifts or free shipping instead.

You may wish to use this as an opportunity to promote some of your lesser-known or new products as well. Think about creating bundle deals specially for the event and pairing them with your more popular products.

Come up with a Backup

Selling out of your top products is a great thing, but it’s good to have some backups in mind in case you do. If potential customers visit your site wanting to purchase a specific item but you’ve sold out, is there something else you can promote instead? A similar product that would serve the same purpose for them and help ensure you don’t miss a sale.

Make the Most of Social and Email Marketing

Make it really clear when and how people will be able to access your deals!

A couple of days before the event, we recommend posting on all of your relevant social channels to capture as much of your audience as you can. This could include a combination of feed posts with the details and stories with countdowns.

Pair this with email communications to retarget past customers and subscribers. Depending on how well your database has been segmented, you should also tailor these emails where possible. Consider contacts that are yet to make their first purchase; an email to them could read, ‘Have you been a bit unsure about your first purchase? Maybe one of our biggest sales of the year will help.’ Or, if you’ve got a group of VIP customers who always shop with you, you could offer them an exclusive deal, ‘We wanted to say an extra special thank you this weekend! Use the code ABC123 for a fun surprise.’

Perform a Website Health Check

You’re potentially (hopefully) about to get a lot of traffic on your site, so let’s give them the best user experience possible. Particularly if it’s been a little while since you last reviewed everything, you’ll want to check on your checkout flow, your chatbot / customer service setup, and general usability.

We know that 87% of people will stop a purchase and abandon their cart if the process is too difficult. We don’t want that to happen during a big event.

The team at Iterate, our sister agency, have written an article all about getting your website ready for Click Frenzy. Take a look at it to find out how to ensure your site has the best chance of converting customers.

Double Check Your Email Workflows

Your customers’ experiences after they check out are just as important as the purchasing process. You want to make sure any automated emails you have set up (think confirmation emails, shipping updates, and friendly check-ins) are all fresh and up-to-date.

Keep Their Advertising Rules in Mind

Keep in mind that Click Frenzy is a brand in its own right and they have specific regulations surrounding the promotion of their trademark. Without explicit permission from Click Frenzy, you cannot use the term ‘Click Frenzy’ or feature their logo on any external promotional material.

Section of Click Frenzy’s Terms and Conditions

When promoting your sales through social media posts, on your website, or in marketing emails, please remember to use different phrasing. This could include, ‘Special 24 Hour Sale’, ‘Shopping Frenzy’, ‘Deal Weekend’, or anything along these lines.

If you’re reading this the day before Click Frenzy or even after the event, don’t worry! These same tips will help you prepare for Cyber Weekend later in November or Boxing Day/New Year’s sales as well.

What is Click Frenzy and how does it work?
Click Frenzy first launched in Australia in 2012 and is inspired by the huge Cyber Weekend deals seen in the USA (and now here too). Essentially, Click Frenzy acts as a marketplace for all of the biggest deals that are available during the limited time window. To officially be part of Click Frenzy as a brand, you actually need to pay an advertiser’s fee for each of your deals to feature on the platform. If a user clicks on your ‘ad’, they’re taken to your website to complete the purchase.

Interested in boosting your exposure this sales season?

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Why You’re Merely ‘Renting’ Your Audience and How to Fix It

Gianna Callioni
. 26 Aug 2022 . 5 min read

Building a strong and engaged following on social media is a great way to increase your brand’s reach and start conversations with your audience. But, it should always be considered as just one piece of the marketing puzzle and there’s a very important reason why. Social media audiences are essentially ‘rented audiences’.

What do we mean by the phrase ‘rented audience’?

It’s really just like it sounds. As with renting a house, renting an audience means that you may not always have access to that audience. Social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn all have one thing in common – they’re free to access for consumers but they’re still businesses that need to make money. They make that money from brands who pay to access and advertise to their databases of engaged members. While you can have a thriving organic presence (meaning you’re not paying to reach your followers), changes to the algorithm may affect your ability to keep such a great presence.

Think back to pre-2018 – businesses on Facebook were able to reach 12% of their page’s followers (which is not a lot to begin with). Then Facebook changed the algorithm. Today, this average reach is down to 5%, which means those followings that had been built are now no longer accessible without paying for it.

To be clear, we’re not suggesting you stop working on your social media presence! We just want you to know that it should be thought of as a pay-to-play space that’s great for reaching certain goals but should be supported with other efforts.

How can you turn your rented audience into an owned audience?

Starting to turn your rented audience into an owned audience could be one of the most valuable moves you make this year.

Owned audiences are contacts that you have some control over, in terms of how and when you reach them. For example, email newsletter subscribers or purchaser databases. They’re people who’ve agreed to you contacting them through a platform you own because they’re interested in what you do.

No matter what sort of business you’re in, there’s value you can bring to your customers and potential customers that will help you build an owned audience. It starts with asking, who is your target market – what are they looking for from your brand and what are their day-to-day struggles and desires?

Think about what value you can provide to your audience and how they will be able to access that value. For instance, if you’re a skincare brand that offers a variety of products for various skin types, you may like to provide a ‘quiz’ to help people determine which products are right for them and get their email address in exchange for the results. Or, if you’re a B2B organisation, is there a particular topic that you know a lot about that you could create a gated downloadable ebook about? Just like our Guide to Influencer Marketing.

What are the additional benefits of an owned audience?

There are numerous benefits of having a well-kept customer database.

One of the biggest benefits is that you’re able to segment your audience while keeping their data in one place. With a segmented audience you can make sure you’re getting the right message to the right people, which is important for customer relationship management. Sharing the wrong message with the wrong people will at best make them bored or indifferent, and at worst can cause you to lose their business entirely.

Another big benefit is that the idea of gathering people to a place you have ownership and control over also coincides with building a community around your brand. This is something we’ve written about recently and that our CEO, Sahlia, has spoken about to Queensland Leaders.

“The only difference between an audience and a community is the direction the chairs are facing.” — Chris Brogan

You can make the most of your owned audience and turn one-way communications into conversations.

The responsibilities of having an owned audience

It’s important to remember that building an owned audience comes with its own responsibilities – you’re responsible for protecting your audience’s data and respecting their privacy rights. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure your contacts are able to remove themselves from your database in a straightforward way.
  • Provide options for your audience to choose how frequently they’re contacted, in what way, and with what information.
  • If you want to ask your customers for permission to send other marketing material to them while they’re making a purchase, be sure to make it an opt-in button instead of opt-out.

Building an owned audience comes with its own responsibilities and time investments, however, it can be incredibly valuable for sustained and secure business growth.

Interested in building an owned audience?

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Building a Genuine Community Around Your Brand

Gianna Callioni
. 25 May 2022 . 5 min read

With so much STUFF online, it can seem almost impossible to cut through the noise. And, even though it feels like a select few organisations dictate our online experiences, it really is up to the consumer to decide how, when, and if they’ll interact with your brand.

When it comes to building a digital community that will support your brand, helping you get reach, engagements, and, ideally sales, one of the best things you can do is take inspiration from people who are known for their community building skills – influencers. In a way, influencers are their own brand and many of them have developed ways of engaging with their audience to help ensure they continue to get reach and engagement.

So, what are the actual tactics you can use for building a genuine community? Well, if you only take one thing away from this article, let it be to listen to your customers. Your customers will dictate where they’d like to engage with you, what level of communication and openness they expect from you, and what they’re looking for from brands in general.

Strive to understand your customers

Do some research to understand where your customers are and where they like to interact with brands. It’s not just about which digital channels they use, but how they use them – do they check their emails regularly and fill out surveys? Do they prefer phone calls or website chat boxes? Do they want to respond to your Instagram Story or tag you in a TikTok video?

If you’re trying to start conversations and build relationships with your customers on platforms they don’t utilise or engage with, you will find it very difficult.

Identify your shared purpose and values

We’re all humans and we all care about different things. It’s easier for consumers to relate to your brand when they know the people behind the brand name care about the same things they do.

As part of learning about and understanding your customers, identify what your shared purpose and values are with your audience. You’ll likely find that your reasons behind starting your brand and what your brand is striving to do, will align nicely with the right audience.

Include your audience in your growth and development

The crux of it is – if your audience feels like they’re part of your brand, they’re more likely to care about your successes. A really great example of a brand doing this well is Luxey Cup. Luxey is an Australian-owned company that started out as a simple Kickstarter campaign a few years ago and is now worth millions. Sandra-Lea, their Co-Founder, uses Luxey’s social media channels, primarily Instagram, as a two-way communication tool with her audience.

"I knew from my own experience that I wanted to know the truth and the reality behind my favourite brands, not the pretty pictures, so I would show up each day to our own Instagram Stories sharing our real happy/sad behind the scenes information. I would do this every day, addressing our community until one day someone coined it the "Staff Meeting". Three years on I still do the Staff Meeting where we laugh and cry together. My community is with us every step of the way." — Sandra-Lea, Co-Founder of Luxey Cup

By including your audience, getting their feedback and opinion throughout your brand’s journey, it will encourage them to feel as though they’re growing alongside your brand.

Admit to your mistakes AND fix them

A key element of building your brand community is showing the human element behind it. We all make mistakes, it’s part of life, and as long as you own up to your mistakes and work to fix them, it’s ok.

Your audience understands that not everything will run smoothly all the time, but you need to show them that they can trust you. By showing them you’ll take action when it’s needed and that you don’t only talk about the good things, you will become more relatable to your audience, which will help build brand trust and loyalty.

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The Difference Between Boosted Posts and Using Facebook Ads Manager

Gianna Callioni
. 12 Apr 2022 . 5 min read

Gone are the days when the majority of people who liked your Facebook page or Instagram profile saw the organic posts you created. Now, a mere 5.2% of your organic Facebook followers will see your content without you paying for more. While there are ways of increasing this reach organically (ie. without paying for it) and working on your organic strategy is highly recommended, we appreciate that it’s often not enough to get the results you want.

But, the key question is – if you’re going to pay to reach more people, is it better to use Facebook’s boosting feature or Ads Manager?

What is a boosted post?

Essentially, a boosted post is a paid way of achieving the same reach you used to get on organic posts before Facebook decided to change up their algorithm. It’s the simplest way of advertising on Facebook/Instagram because you can do everything via your usual desktop or mobile view with a few clicks.

There are three key steps to boosting your post:

  1. select your goal;
  2. define your audience; and
  3. set your budget and duration (as seen in the image below).

These steps are taken on an organic post that’s already live or on an organic post that you’re in the process of scheduling.

Screenshots depicting the various stages of boosting a post on Instagram

 

What is a Facebook ad?

While boosted posts are still technically classed as ‘ads’ because they’re a paid form of increasing reach, Facebook ads use Ads Manager to more thoroughly define and target objectives and audiences.

Additional options when using Facebook Ads Manager:
  • Can choose to optimise for more types of actions in the consumer decision making funnel. This includes things like website conversions, lead generation, app installs, and more.
  • Can more accurately filter the audience/s you’d like to target. From refining age, gender, and location options to creating custom and lookalike audiences based on website data or brand engagements.
  • Can narrow down where you’d like your ads to be placed and customize the creative depending on those placements. For instance, if you’d like your ad to appear both in the feed and on stories, you can create a specific 1:1 video to show in feeds and a 9:16 video to show in stories.
  • Can add additional creative features to ads like call-to-action buttons, headlines, and multiple description options.
  • Can create formal A/B tests between campaign types and ad sets.

So, which one is better? Boosting a post or creating an ad?

If you’re just getting started with Facebook advertising, it’s a lot easier to follow the process of boosting a post. And, if your aim is simply brand awareness or post engagements, then it’s not a bad option.

However, with simplicity also comes less-targeted results. It’s important to decide what you want to achieve with your social media advertising so you know exactly what results you’re looking for.

By using Ads Manager, you can create refined and targeted ad campaigns, rather than working with individual posts. Each campaign can include multiple Ad Sets (audience types) and each Ad Set can include multiple ads. It does take a lot more planning and it can seem overwhelming at first, however, when set up correctly the results are well worth it.

If you’d like to set up a campaign strategy but aren’t sure where to start, please reach out to our team and we can work on it together. We start with understanding your broad business goals and target audience, then outline a strategy that focuses on getting you there.

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iOS14 Impact on Facebook Advertising (Free Guide)

Gianna Callioni
. 25 Nov 2021 . 5 min read

2021 has very quickly shown social media marketers that this business is volatile. Through a series of Facebook webinars, marketers globally learned how their campaigns would need to very quickly adapt to Ads Manager changes forced by Apple’s iOS14 Privacy Policy. If you haven’t already heard, these changes are significant and impact all businesses advertising on Facebook and Instagram, particularly those in eCommerce.

In short, Apple announced a new iOS 14 AppTrackingTransparency framework, requiring apps (including Facebook and Instagram) to show a discouraging prompt when users click through to a third-party website (eg. your own website). This prompt will ask users to agree or decline to their movements being tracked across the website they’re attempting to visit. The users’ decision will determine to which degree your tracking abilities will be restricted. In response to Apple’s prompt, Facebook has been forced to reimagine some aspects of Business Manager. For Facebook and Instagram marketers, this means changes to account set-up, targeting, optimisation and reporting. These changes are already being rolled out and impact all advertisers, even if you aren’t targeting iOS users.

Apple released these changes on 26 April 2021. These have already impacted how we receive and process events from tools like the Facebook Pixel and SDK. As of 10 May, the global opt-in rate is sitting around 13%. As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS 14, statistical modelling will be used to account for some conversions, website data reliant audience sizes will decrease and audience cross-over will become more and more difficult to prevent.

We’ve created a thorough guide detailing the effects of the change and how we’re combating them. Please feel free to download a free copy of the guide via the link below!

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Something Digital 2021: Consumers and Their Privacy

Gianna Callioni
. 03 Nov 2021 . 3 min read

It would be impossible to go to a digital event and not talk about data. Data is what makes the world go round. It’s long come to be known as one of the most valuable things a business can have access to. But as tech giants take data and privacy concerns into their own hands (whether for the good of the people or their own wallets, that’s another discussion), we should be continuing to think about the consumer. After all, they’re who we do our jobs for.

As part of Something Digital the other week, I saw a conversation with Eloise Gillespie, Katherine Grace, Jarrod Price, and Chris Rozic. They spoke a lot about data and the big guys in the industry, and one of the key points they brought up was this:

How many consumers actually understand what cookies are and how the data is used, and thus what impact removing them will have on the personalisation they’ve come to expect?

“61% of millennials are happy to share data if it leads to a more personalised in-store or online shopping experience” (Deloitte Digital). Not only that, but it’s highly likely that in the near future personalisation will become the bare minimum of what we need to provide for consumers. But with the disappearance of cookies and tracking permissions, comes difficulties in providing that same level of personalisation.

The way we track online movements will change whether we like it or not. What we can do though, is help educate consumers about why their data is used and the benefits it can have for them. It’s important to take them along for the ride as part of the change, instead of making them feel like the change is happening to them.

Openly build a relationship with your audience

One of the best ways you can do this is by openly building a relationship with your audience and being upfront about the information you’d like to collect. Instead of trying to track each person’s movements and the exact pages they’ve looked at to see what they like (or don’t like), just ask them.

Include a well-worded privacy policy, without the jargon

Be part of the education process by providing clear explanations of what information is actually tracked, how it’s tracked, and how it’s stored. The biggest privacy concerns come from misinformation about what data is actually recorded when doing simple things like reading a webpage.

It’s also important to include how you’re going to use the data you collect from your audience and why it’ll benefit them to let you do it.

The only thing we’ll never be able to explain though is how Facebook (or Meta now I guess?) listens to our conversations. That’s a question for the Zuck that will likely never be answered.

Provide a way for audiences to change tracking permissions

It’s not enough to ask for tracking permissions once and then keep them the same forever. “88% of consumers do not believe that their consent for non-essential uses should be enduring” (Deloitte Digital). It helps you build trust with your audience by giving them continuous control over tracking permissions.

A little side note but a helpful pointer – if you’re using Google Analytics in any way, you must have a privacy policy on your website. If you don’t, you’re going against Google’s conditions and may face consequences.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about data, how you’re getting around the recent and upcoming tracking changes, and how your audience responds to any privacy notices you have on your site. Feel free to reach out on our socials or send us an email!

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Downloadable: Inclusive Marketing Guide

Gianna Callioni
. 22 Sep 2021 . 15 min read

Creating content that’s accessible and relevant to people with disabilities and impairments.

Inclusive marketing means you’re creating content that inherently reflects, respects and even celebrates the diversity in the communities you reach. You are promoting diverse voices, reducing bias and prejudice, and contributing to the social fabric of the country. Audiences are becoming less homogenous and it’s important to reflect that in how you think, work, and portray your brand.

Truly inclusive marketing isn’t just showing a mix of races or sexual orientations, and throwing in someone in a wheelchair for good measure. It’s about what you’ve done as a business as a whole to include your entire target market.

  • Is your website accessible to those who have vision impairments?
  • Have you involved diverse perspectives?
  • Have you created content in a variety of formats so anyone can enjoy it?
  • Do you use thoughtful language?

This guide includes information about creative practices to follow for accessible content, how to use inclusive language in your messages, and quick checklists for you to assess your content. In essence, the best way to make sure your content is inclusive is by working with a diverse team to create it. Whether it’s internal hires or interviews and focus groups, getting the opinions and input from those you’re trying to reach is critical.

64% of consumers took an action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive

ThinkWithGoogle

A word from Gianna

Advertising can be powerful; it can make a true difference to the people who see it and are represented by it. As advertisers, we should choose to look beyond stereotypes to ensure that all people are represented as the unique, diverse individuals they are. We should also ensure we use language that doesn’t single anyone out based on ability or accessibility.

We have the opportunity to create content which celebrates our diversity and encourages people to feel comfortable about being their true selves. 

When brands create content that is not only inclusive, diverse, representative, and accessible, they’re telling the world that they care about everyone, not just a select group of people. It’s rewarding in more ways than one and gives you access to previously untapped markets.

Decision Making and Creative Teams

Inclusive and diverse creative teams are incredibly important for making sure your message and practices are well thought out. By bringing together individuals from all walks of life, you can increase productivity and creativity, and bring in broader ideas and unique perspectives. Most importantly though, it also means that your business isn’t leaving anyone behind. Remember that everyone deserves the same opportunities and experiences, no matter their background.

When building a diverse team, it’s important to consider both the inherent and acquired attributes that make us diverse. These include a range of things like age, gender, language, ethnicity, religion, personality, disabilities, and cognitive diversity. However, in this document we’ll look specifically at accessibility and disabilities.

Want a PDF copy of the complete inclusive marketing guide?

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Creative Guidelines for Accessibility

Image Descriptions

Image descriptions are used to convey the facts of an image, either as plain text nearby or as alternate text in the HTML. They should always be separated from the rest of the text by symbols ({}, [], **) to announce their presence to screen readers and start with something like, ‘ID’, ‘ALT TEXT’, ‘IMAGE’. They’re purely for descriptive purposes, so keep them objective and not overly fluffed up.

Reasons for use:

  • Accessibility for blind and other internet users with vision impairments.
  • Accessibility for internet users with slow connections or limited memory.
  • Calling attention to important aspects of the picture.

Why it’s best not to use captions in HTML:

  1. Not all browsers support the same or any version of alt text which means not everyone will be able to access them.
  2. People who are browsing with image viewing turned off (those who may have slow connection or limited memory) but aren’t using a screen reader would have to search through the HTML to find the description.
Hashtags

Hashtags are a necessary part of using social media, but they weren’t designed in a way that’s easy to read. Using camel case hashtags, which capitalise every word, makes it easier to understand for people using screen readers, those with cognitive impairments like dyslexia, and even the general public.

#CamelCaseIsLikeThis

Emojis

As with hashtags, emojis are almost synonymous with social media and are frequently used in text that might otherwise seem quite monotonous. Unfortunately, they can cause confusion and annoyance for people who use screen readers.

For example, to someone reading the below caption it would appear as:

We had a great time today prepping for tonight’s party 🎉 We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone! Get ready to drink lots of wine 🍷 eat lots of food 🍝 and dance the night away 💃

But, for someone using a screen reader, it would appear as*:

We had a great time today prepping for tonight’s party party popper We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone! Get ready to drink lots of wine wine glass eat lots of food spaghetti and dance the night away woman dancing

Another common use case is as dot points for a list, like this:

These are some foods that you should avoid giving to your dog:
🍋 Lemons
🥑 Avocados
🧄 Garlic
🍗 Cooked bones

Which on a screen reader, reads as*:

These are some foods that you should avoid giving to your dog:
lemon Lemon
avocado Avocados
garlic Garlic
poultry leg Cooked bones

Try to only use emojis at the end of a paragraph or right at the end of the caption, to avoid confusing sentences. If you need to write a list, stick to dot points or dashes. Try to also avoid long strings of emojis because it can be annoying to be fed a string of seemingly random words.

*The labels will change depending on the operating system being used by each individual.

Videos

If you link externally to an image, video or audio file, consider adding a label so that people using a screen reader know what the link will take them to (e.g. [IMAGE], [VIDEO], [AUDIO]).

Avoid using videos (and audio) that automatically start playing on a website, as this can cause issues for people who have difficulties with attention, visual processing, migraines, or seizures.

They can also interfere with people using screen readers and make it difficult to even turn them off.

If there are frames in the video that include text, the text should be read by the narrator of the video.

If the video is informational with a lot of text, include a text transcript in a separate page or document which includes all information from the audio: dialogues, sounds, and descriptions of visual effects.

When it comes to captions, there are either closed captions or open captions. Closed captions can be turned on and off by the person watching the video, like what you get on YouTube, Netflix, and on TV. Open captions are burned into the video so that they can’t be turned off. These are particularly useful for social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram because there’s no option to turn them on or off.

Blogs/Websites

Accessibility guidelines for websites are extensive and this section acts as an overview covering the main points to consider when developing a website. Please review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure your website meets minimum standards and requirements for accessibility.

Below are the top 10 Tips from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

  • Provide Alt Text For all images, and alternative content for all other media.
  • Use external CSS for styling and layout and HTML for document structure.
  • Associate table headers with table cells, and use tables only for data. Include a table summary.
  • Provide a ‘skip links’ option to let a user skip repetitive content.
  • Do not use flash, frames, or tables for layout purposes.
  • Design for device independence. Don’t require a mouse and don’t require javascript to activate links etc.
  • Use simple language on your website, and specify the language used.
  • Make sure colours and fonts contrast sufficiently.
  • Do not fix a font size on your website. Use % or ems.
  • Use a fluid layout, using percentages or ems for width.
Colour Contrast

At a minimum, text and images of text must have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, unless it’s:

Large text: contrast ratio must be at least 3:1; or

Incidental text or logo text: these do not have any minimum requirements, but try to make sure that the contrast is always high where possible.

There is a Chrome Extension you can install, which breaks down all the elements on a website and shows you which meet the minimum requirements and which do not. Note: look for the red box to see which text it’s referring to and keep in mind that it doesn’t always accurately pull through the foreground and background colours, so they may need to be checked manually.

You can also use this contrast checking website to check colour contrast when deciding on colour schemes and combinations.

Text

There is no single font type or size that’s suitable for every person. Some people are able to read san-serif fonts more easily, others serif, some can read small text, others need it to be a lot larger. In saying that, below are some guidelines to keep in mind when using text in graphics or on your website.

  • Avoid italics, as it can be harder to read for people with vision impairments, learning impairments, and dyslexia.
  • Don’t justify text to the right, as this can lead to variable spacing between words and create a phenomenon known as ‘rivers of white’.
  • Avoid using capitalisation for emphasis, as this can give the impression of shouting and be received poorly by some readers.
  • As mentioned previously, make sure your text always sits above the 4.5:1 minimum contrast ratio where possible.

It’s not just about disabled users being able to access your website — it’s about everyone being able to access your website.

Trenton Moss

Inclusive Language

With medical conditions, you’ll often see two types of language being used: person-first and identity-first. Depending on the condition being referenced, people in those communities often prefer one over the other and it can be offensive to use the wrong language. If you’re referring to a specific person, be sure to ask that person what their preference is. If you’re referring to a group of people, it’s best to use person-first language.

Person-first: a person with a disability

Identity-first: a disabled person

Always avoid connoting pity with language such as, ‘suffer from’, ‘a victim of’, or ‘afflicted by’, as it assumes that everyone with a disability is suffering or has a reduced quality of life. Instead, use neutral language and simply state the facts about the nature of the disability, e.g. “He has muscular dystrophy”.

The term ‘developmental disabilities’ may be used when referring to the group of conditions that arise due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behaviour areas. When referencing a specific impairment, however, use the specific name.

Want a PDF copy of the complete inclusive marketing guide?

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To Wrap Up

True equality will always be a work in progress. It’s not something that’s going to be changed by token gestures or half-hearted attempts at inclusion. 

Following these guidelines is about more than just being a socially responsible organisation, it should be deep seeded into everything you do so you can give actual value to your audience and help drive change.

We would love to get the wider community’s input into these guidelines and tips, so we invite you to get in touch with additions or comments about what we’ve included in this document.

Get your full copy of the guide here!

The full PDF version of this inclusive marketing guide outlines specific tips and checklists to follow for each of the major topics we covered above. Get your free copy today by filling in the form below.

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