Online-​Only Operators To Turn To Influencers and Amazon Advertising

BY Kathy Crosett
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Your online-​only prospects and clients face a big challenge. They can’t count on foot traffic in a mall to generate business. And, they can be easily drowned out by the large online competitors. How should they go about promoting themselves? Internet Retailer’s latest digital marketing survey reveals how pureplay digital businesses are advertising.

Budgets and New Formats

In 2018, over 20% of digital businesses boosted online ad spending over 20%. Analysts say there is plenty of room for growth. For 20% of surveyed marketers, digital still amounts to less than 20% of total marketing spend.

Online-​only businesses aren’t shy about trying out new digital marketing tactics. From last year to this year, the number of businesses using influencer marketing went from 38.1% to 49.4 percent.

There’s another player snagging some serious digital ad money. Amazon. Currently, only 26% of retailers advertise on Amazon. We can expect that number to increase to 37.7% in 2019. That’s because roughly 75% of households now have a Prime account. With so many consumers visiting Amazon, marketers want to have a presence there, whether they are advertising to shoppers or operating as a seller on the site.

Social Media

Over 75% of marketers already use social media. Given that level of penetration, analysts don’t foresee a big increase in social media investment in 2019. Online businesses will continue to have the following goals for their social media spending this year:

  • Increase sales 72.7%
  • Increase brand awareness 59.7%
  • Increase audience engagement 52%
  • Increase traffic 50.7%
  • Attract new customers 36.4%

Email is the ROI King

Regardless of the tactics online businesses use, an older form of digital marketing, email, is the ROI winner. However, some analysts point out that email is losing its potency. Consumers are completely overwhelmed by the volume of email coming their way. As consumers try to avoid receiving and reading email, eDataSource analysts say that “[y]ear-over-year open rates are decreasing almost universally across industry, brand and time period.” If your clients can claim a 20% open rate on any campaign, they’re doing well. The best way to improve that rate is to increase email personalization.

Here are the ROI stats according to the online companies surveyed by Internet Retailer:

  • Email 31.8%
  • Social media ads 11.8%
  • Paid search (desktop) 10.6%
  • Content marketing 7.1%
  • Google/​Bing product listing ads 5.9%
  • Affiliate marketing 5.9%
  • Influencer marketing 3.5%
  • YouTube ads 1.2%
  • Display ads 1.2%

To show off your digital chops, run a Digital Audit on your next prospect. This report, available from AdMall at SalesFuel, will show how well the prospect’s social media and content marketing efforts align with the ways their target audience uses these formats. This information can be the first step in forging a profitable relationship.