Effective marketing can mean the difference between rapid success and instant failure — but have you considered the many benefits of online advertising? According to Google’s April 2017 Car Purchasing UK Report, £115.9 million was invested in online display and direct mail by car dealers in the UK throughout 2016!
Every industry is different and this article — created by Audi services provider, Vindis — discusses the advantages of online marketing in 2018 and beyond…
Promoting the utilities industry
When it comes to marketing in the utilities sector, how a company fares on comparison websites plays a large part in its success. Reportedly, a growing number of consumers use these types of sites to choose the right utilities supplier. With comparison websites spending millions on TV marketing campaigns that are watched by the masses, it has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price in order to stay in the game.
There are many forms of this type of site in 2018. The four main comparison websites are: Go Compare, Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket and Confused.com. In fact, these are among the top 100 highest spending advertisers in the UK. However, does this marketing investment reflect on utility suppliers? Comparison sites apparently have the potential to significantly affect the rate of customer retention and customer acquisition — so, clearly utilities companies should strive to bear these in mind when coming up with their next online strategy!
Marketing to existing customers is also a common trend in the utilities sector. British Gas has shifted its marketing aims toward customer retention, as opposed to customer acquisition. Whilst the company recognises that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, it believes that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The gas company hopes that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to existing customers, it will be able to improve customer retention. An investment of £100 million is to be invested in a loyalty scheme to offer discounted energy and services, which focuses on the value of a customer and their behaviour and spending habits over time to discover what they are looking for in the company.
But what are the statistics around digital marketing in this industry? 40% of all searches in Q3 2017 in the utilities sector were carried out on mobile, and a further 45% of all ad impressions were via mobile too (according to Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017). As mobile usage continues to soar, utilities companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users, as they now account for a large proportion of the market.
Promoting the automotive industry
When marketing, the market must also consider how tech-savvy its audience is — so what about the motor consumer? According to Google’s Drive To Decide Report (which was in association with TNS), the modern car consumer is very digitally aware. Apparently, over 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over have access to the internet for personal reasons, 85% are using smartphones and 65% choose a smartphone as their preferred device to access the internet. These figures show that, for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.
Buying a car is not often done hastily — and it appears that most UK car buyers take plenty of time to research their options online. 51% of buyers start their auto research online and 41% of those use a search engine. To capture these shoppers, car dealers must think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads. This is one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets.
41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’, while 60% said they were influenced by what they saw in the media. Of this 60%, 22% were influenced by marketing promotions. Perhaps online investment is worth it. Reportedly, in the past five years, digital has made the biggest jump from fifth most popular method of marketing to third — an increase of 10.6% in expenditure. However, although it seems that car buyers use digital platforms to learn more about what cars are available to them, that doesn’t mean that they also choose to purchase their final choice online, too.
The automotive industry made up 11% of the total UK digital ad spending growth in 2017, according to eMarketer. Plus, the automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.
Promoting the fashion industry
The fashion marketing landscape would look completely different if online platforms were not available. Online sales in the fashion industry reached £16.2 billion in 2017 and are expected to grow 79% by 2022! Ecommerce made up around 25% of all fashion purchases at the end of 2017, according to the British Retail Consortium. Today, brands including ASOS and Boohoo continue to embrace the online shopping phenomenon.
So, how do the UK’s most successful brands make a success of online marketing and are they doing a good job? ASOS experienced an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, while Boohoo saw a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period. Many big names — such as Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Next — have invested a lot of money into their digital operations to capture the online shopper and drive sales. In fact, John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest £10 million into its online marketing and operations.
Of course, we must mention one of the fashion industry’s best tools for marketing: social media. According to the PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency, 59% of fashion marketers increased their budget for ‘influencer marketing’ last year — an essential marketing tactic in the fashion industry. In fact, three quarters of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. In 2017, over 33% of marketers claimed that influencer marketing is better than traditional methods — perhaps because around 22% of customers are said to be attained through influencer marketing!
Promoting the healthcare industry
Strict regulations and monitoring impedes on the freedom of healthcare marketing — but that doesn’t mean the sector is without any promotional ability. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, you’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.
Around 2.5 million people use email as the main way of communicating — a figure which has risen over the past few years. As a result, healthcare companies can capitalise on this trend to push products and services. 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email. Now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audiences.
If you thought healthcare marketing steered clear of offline, you’d be incorrect — over a third of the overall budget is spent on it! Also, the Pew Research Center data discovered that 77% of all health enquiries begin at a search engine — and 72% of total internet users say they’ve looked online for health information within the past year. But what about which device we use to search for such information? More than 50% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require — should health companies be turning their attention to mobile users?
Healthcare firms can also use Facebook and other forms of social media to advertise and promote. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! Why? The success of social campaigns is often attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.
How each sector markets itself
It seems that online avenues of research and browsing are critical to fashion and automobile consumers. However, in the utilities sector, TV and digital appear to remain the main sales driving forces. But then again, the authority of online comparison sites must also be considered to formulate an effective marketing campaign. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, utilities companies may fall behind!
This article has explored what the current situation is for companies using online marketing — but what should we expect in the future? According to webstrategies.com, the average business is expected to assign at least 41% of its marketing budget to online campaigns in 2018 — a figure that will expand to 45% by 2020. Social media advertising investments are expected to represent a quarter of total online spending, and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly — presumably because of more mobile and online use.
Do you feel confident that your company is taking online marketing seriously? If mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has recently, we forecast the investment to be not only worthwhile, but critical!