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2020 has been a challenging year for everyone but none more so than small businesses.

With restrictions and lockdowns, customers took to online purchases wherever possible, meaning many businesses had to readjust their business models to stay afloat and many others were forced to close as a result. Let’s look at 3 trends that look to shape the way we plan our 2021 digital marketing strategy.

The social media hero

Social media became a place for support and community, not only within groups but also for businesses. Facebook released the “Support Small Business” sticker designed to help these businesses stay connected and reach new customers. They also developed three stickers for Instagram stories over lockdown. The “Stay Home”,” Thank You” and “Support Small Businesses” stickers. The first two were about thanking key workers and supporting the social isolating messages, encouraging people to stay safe and stay home to reduce the spread of the virus. The third sticker was designed for customers to shout out their favourite small businesses, thereby showing support and also increasing brand awareness.

“We’re investing $1 billion in direct support, tools, and resources to help small businesses stay open.”

Facebook, 2020

With essential-only shopping rules and many people preferring not to enter shops once these restrictions were lifted, shopping online needed to be more accessible. Part of the investment from Facebook included making shopping tools more accessible to businesses through its platforms (Instagram and Facebook), in response they introduced product tagging and immersive full-screen storefronts that customers can access without leaving the apps.

Shops on Instagram

These shops are:

  • Fully customisable to suit your brand.
  • Mobile-friendly design perfect for shopping on the go.
  • Swipe up from with Instagram Stories for an easier shopping experience.
  • Integrate with messenger and Instagram Direct to enable conversations with customers across platforms.
  • Shop insights are located within the Commerce Manager, so you can see what works and what you can improve.

eCommerce will continue to be a major focus for social media platforms in 2021. Facebook Pay is a one-click purchase option currently only available on Facebook in the UK, but the social network is looking to roll it out across its other apps in the future (Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp).

Facebook will continue to develop Facebook Pay option, encouraging new advertising opportunities that enable in-post purchasing and the opportunity to facilitate eCommerce across its tools.

If Facebook can do this right, it could be a major shift, driving a new wave of eCommerce activity – which is why looking further into Facebook Shops should be a key priority for retail providers.

A rising star

TikTok- a rising star

Tik Tok has grown to become one of the world’s most popular online social network platforms in just three years. It is the 7th most active social media app in the world and has over 3.7m active users in the UK alone.

“There’s no denying it: while TikTok is yet to gain a market share that rivals the likes of Facebook and Instagram, its rapid growth, and video-centric concept makes it a formidable social force.”

Digital Marketing Institute

Similar to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, TikTok has users with followers, likes, and comments, but the key difference is that TikTok is solely for user-generated short videos rather than status updates or image content.

TikTok users can create and upload a video—up to 15 seconds long (although you can string together four separate videos to create 60-second pieces)—incorporating music with filters and editing effects or showing the user lip-synching to a song. Unlike Snapchat, these videos are kept on the user’s page and can be discovered by other users on the ‘For You’ page based on their interests and previous engagement.

The biggest draw of TikTok is the ability to post about anything. Humour, hobbies, fitness, travel, music, photography, dance. These short videos are perfect for modern attention spans, people can watch 15second videos one after the other, creating an addictive app full of micro-entertainment.

Many of the app’s users are Gen Z (60%), meaning they fall into the 13 to 24-year-old age range, with the second biggest age group the 24- 39 (Millennials) so if it continues to be successful, it could be the equivalent of Facebook for the younger generations.

TikTok & Brands:

Like on other social media platforms, marketing on TikTok is about building trust in the brand rather than pushing for sales. It is a place to showcase your brands personality to an audience, share insights into the company and form relationships with your customers. The closest comparison is Instagram Stories or the new Instagram Reels. Share short snippets of information, have staff ‘takeovers’ to discuss certain parts of the business or answer questions, create short how-to videos or just have fun to build awareness of a product.

Influencer marketing is rising on TikTok, similarly to Instagram, regular TikTok users have favourite content creators that could be relevant to your business. Partnering with an influencer is one way to advertise your business on TikTok through organic channels.

Advertising on TikTok:

TikTok currently has 3 types of adverts:

Brand Takeover Ads

A brand takeover ad is a 5 second advert (static or animated) that will appear instantly when a user opens TikTok. The user will be redirected to an internal or external link (another video on TikTok or an external website/app). Currently, this ad type is limited to one advertiser per day (in each country).

In-Feed Native Video Ads

Similar to Instagram stories, In-feed ads are placed in the feed as part of the video queue or at the bottom of organic TikTok videos, these will also redirect a user to a website or app. They are currently more affordable than brand takeovers, but there are no accurate data costs for TikTok advertising rates due to the service being relatively new and in its testing stage.

Branded Hashtag Challenges

Social media challenges have been especially big during 2020. Branded hashtag challenges are generated by brands/businesses to get customers involved and sharing content around a particular theme, they are used in conjunction with the takeover and in-feed adverts.  

According to TikTok, over 90% of users on the platform visits several times a day, making it appealing for companies whose demographics match the TikTok audience.

ASOS #AySauce campaign on TikTok

ASOS created the #AySauceChallenge, which asked the TikTok community to share their 3 favourite ASOS outfits. They created bespoke music and interactive augmented reality branded effects for the campaign, and it was a huge success.

They kicked off the campaign by using popular Creators, which not only provided inspiration for users to follow, but they also tapped into the combined following of these influencers which gave way to engagement on an enormous scale.

If you missed it, click here to view the challenge: https://www.tiktok.com/tag/aysaucechallenge?lang=en

The main goal of brands on TikTok is engagement and attracting a new audience. While big brands do this well, it is not clear whether smaller companies can draw the same following on the platform.

The evolution of mobile marketing on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat has shown that anything is possible with the right audience.

TikTok is worth joining and experimenting with whether you are a business or looking to grow your personal brand. However, it is worth bearing in mind the audience you would be targeting and ensure that the video content you produce for the app is relevant to it. As the app grows in reach, its ability to advertise and promote will likely become a big part of the social media ecosystem.

Hey Google, where’s my nearest…

Voice Search using Virtual Personal Assistants

How many of you reading this blog have used a virtual personal assistant this past month?

Virtual Personal Assistants are becoming more common, from Google and Alexa to Siri and Cortana, whether you’re asking it to set an alarm, find a recipe or add an item to your shopping list, these devices are designed to make life easier.

These Virtual Personal Assistants can also use ‘voice search’, which combines speech recognition technology with search engine keyword queries enabling users to speak questions rather than type them. Common search terms include, ‘what’s the weather like today?’ or ‘where’s my nearest… [Chinese restaurant/tyre repair shop/jewellery store]’ which can be very beneficial for local business.

Ensure your Google My Business listing is up to date in order to appear in the valuable mobile “near me” searches; correct address, opening hours and contact numbers are key.

One in five searches on an android device is a voice search

CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai.

When you ask a voice assistant a question it will search the web using long-tail keywords to find the result. Google will bring up the most direct answers, as it understands searchers want answers quickly and to the point.  The closest matched result will be featured at the top of Google results and (depending on the device) will be read aloud to the searcher.

If you have optimised for voice search, more and more people will be provided with a direct link to your website improving your rankings and SEO.

“Nearly 58% of consumers are looking for local businesses with voice search. These searchers are primed to buy, which means higher conversion and click-through rates.” Adespresso

Although voice search is not relevant to all searches, it is not to be dismissed easily. It is clear to see the way customers are interacting with brands and the way they search for information is changing.

If you are looking to boost your digital marketing in 2021, get in touch to discuss how we can help or call 01793 239839.

We can help with PPC campaigns, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, and more.

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