Six insights from the Digital Ethos Growth Festival 2022
9 min read
On Wednesday, the 16th of November, as part of the Leicester Business Festival 2022 we held a digital marketing workshop at our head office in Leicester. Following on from the success of our online events in 2020 and 2021, the Growth Festival was designed to provide businesses of all sizes with the tools they need to succeed in their marketing journeys.
The idea for the Growth festival first took shape as an online event in 2020. It attracted over 3000 attendees, all keen to learn digital marketing strategies that could lead to growth in their businesses. This year’s event aimed to provide a more intimate setting where delegates could network and share ideas alongside hearing from a selection of speakers from the Digital Ethos team.
We have broken down some of the main takeaways and insights.
The marketing trends to focus on in 2023
Our internal marketing manager Rob Ling spoke about what we consider the digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2023.
Now more than ever, customers want a journey that delivers quality from start to finish across all channels. A flawless omnichannel experience is crucial in today’s competitive market. Failing to do so can have serious negative repercussions. Those that do manage this will reap the awards. Rob shared some interesting statistics
- 32% of customers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience
- 63% Share more with a company that offers a great experience
- 42% would pay more for a friendly and welcoming experience
Not a new tactic (does anyone else remember the Coca-Cola‘ share a coke’ campaign?) but one that continues to evolve and become more sophisticated. It’s no longer enough to just include a first name in an email. Customers want to feel valued and not like just another number. When done correctly, personalisation can create meaningful connections to your brand. However, we’ve all experienced bad personalisation at some point, an email with the wrong name or personalised recommendations on a website that feel irrelevant.
Consumers are now savvy about how their data is used and stored. Apple and Google are both changing the way they allow others to collect and use data. Google will be phasing out third-party cookies in 2024 (this has been pushed back from the original date in 2023). Businesses must adapt and utilise their first-party data effectively (more on this later).
Consumers are looking for more human-centred interactions, they want to find the answers to their problems. Brands are looking at how they can use AI to provide unique solutions for their customers. Rob shared examples of businesses using chatbots to engage with their customers, including the Lidl AI wine bot, a virtual wine expert, can help customers to choose which wine to pair with their meal.
A Deeper Connection
Customers want to do business with brands that they have a connection with. According to a study by SurveyMonkey in March 2021, out of 1,097 respondents
- 55% are more likely to purchase from a company that shares their values
- 53% would pay more for a product that shares their social values
- 78% of consumers said they made a purchase decision based on values
Now is the time to communicate what you stand for as a business by evaluating the impact of your messaging, partnerships and more.
Are You Ready For A Cookieless World?
As mentioned above, changes are happening around the topic of data privacy. The death of third-party cookies means that we all need to learn to do more with less by creating first-party data. Digital Strategist Charlie Pickering described how it can be a positive change and one that should promote a more direct relationship between business and customer. Giving businesses the edge over competitors that might be slower to adapt to change. Thought needs to be given, to how data can be used in a more meaningful way, to execute data strategies that drive revenue and growth.
“A data strategy is a must! The risks of inaction are now far higher than the possible challenges to developing a data strategy.“
Some of the benefits of moving to a first-party data strategy include
- Improved targeting precision
- An increase in relevancy
- The ability to create a single view of your customer
Google Analytics 4
Charlie also broke down the features of GA4 and the importance of quickly setting up and switching over to it now to ensure that you are gathering the data needed to inform your strategies in 2023. He shared some of the features and benefits
- Collects both website and app data, helping us to better understand the customer journey
- Uses event-based data instead of session-based
- Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioural and conversion modelling
- Enhanced automated analytics will mean that you start collecting data automatically as soon as you set up GA4.
The Future Of SEO
Digital Ethos SEO manager Gareth Torrance delivered an engaging talk on the developments in augmented reality, voice search and content, and the impact they have on SEO.
User engagement plays a big part in modern SEO; apps with Augmented Reality features bring users from app to website already engaged with your brand, product or service. Gareth went on to provide some useful examples
- AR product demonstrations— Helping customers to decide if a product is right for them before they visit the website. 3D models can be used to put ‘place’ virtual products onto surfaces around the house.
- Scannable codes— Pioneered by Amazon in their supermarkets in the US. Products with a QR code or serial number can be scanned, taking the purchaser directly to the relevant product page.
- Image-based search— By installing Google’s API on your website, customers can take a photo of a product they see and then search for it on your site. It improves engagement metrics and conversion rates, which also helps boost rankings on Google.
333 million households have smart speakers like Google or Alexa. It is estimated that over 25% of the population is already using voice search. This is changing the way we think about SEO; it’s no longer about answering generic keywords. There is now more of a focus on answering questions and providing insight.
Video Content and SEO
Youtube is the second largest search engine, Youtube Shorts get around 30 billion views a day. Gareth shared examples of how brands are using Shorts to grow their business
- Product showcases
- Q&A Videos
You might be wondering what this has to do with SEO. Engagement metrics are one of the most important ranking factors, so pre-engaging users through video content will help to increase these metrics once they are on your site. Pre-qualifying potential customers through video will also lead to higher conversion rates on your website (another ranking factor).
Why Digital PR Is The Missing Link To Your SEO Strategy.
After lunch Digital PR manager Saffron Shergill explained to the room exactly what Digital PR is. She explained how it takes the foundations of traditional PR but focuses on digital coverage. It supports the overall SEO goals through outreach and quality link-building. Outreaching press releases can help brands secure high-quality placements, improving their brand awareness, backlink profile and keyword rankings.
“I love some of the things I see from digital pr, it’s a shame it often gets bucketed with the spammy kind of link building. It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.”
John Mueller, Google
Saffron walked us through the steps that should be taken when creating a digital PR campaign:
A big chunk of time should be spent researching news stories, upcoming events or past stories that are relevant and interesting enough to be picked up by news outlets. It’s crucial to sense-check those ideas with your team.
Gather data and expert comments
These are a must for an outstanding campaign and will give you multiple angles making the story more compelling for journalists.
Draft your press release and blog
Your campaign needs press releases for each angle as well as an on-page copy for your website.
It is crucial to build a bespoke media list for each campaign. Journalists cover niches, you need to find the best ones for your piece.
If steps 1-4 are implemented correctly, the result should be lots of relevant coverage and backlinks on sites with high domain rankings. This can help to move the needle when it comes to your keyword rankings.
Getting Started With Linkedin Advertising
Have you ever wondered if Linkedin advertising could work for your business? Our paid media account director Bakti Jethwa explained how the unique and rich targeting capabilities combined with the ability to meet specific business objectives make it an exciting opportunity not to be missed. It can be used to
- Drive qualified traffic to your website
- Lead Generation
- Boost website conversions
Bakti walked us through the process of setting up a campaign.
Set up your campaign objective
Choose from three overarching campaign themes: Awareness, consideration and conversions.
Select your audience
You can target specific attributes: Job title, company name, company size, and skills listed on their profile. Linkedin will then share your projected results so you can decide whether you want to go broader or refine your targeting options.
Choose your ad format
Bakti explained that the options presented to you, vary depending on the initial ad objective. Using sponsored content as her example the options were
- Single ad image
- Carousel ads
- Video ads
Choose your budget and schedule
You can choose from daily, lifetime or lifetime and daily budgets. Linkedin uses an auction system for bidding that rewards engagement which means you can win an auction without being the highest bidder.
Build Your Ad
Create a new ad or promote an existing post. It’s always a good idea to A/B test various options to see which type of creative design or copy performs the best.
Review and hit publish!
What Does Organic Social Media Look Like In 2023?
The final speaker of the day was our head of creative Samantha Hearn, she started by setting the scene of the current social media landscape explaining how social media use is still continuing to grow in 2022
- 10.1% rise in global social media users
- 4.62 billion users on social channels
- 2 hrs 27 minutes per day used on social media
People are using more channels than ever before. Gen Z has now entered the chat and there has been a shift in how consumers connect with businesses.
Organic social media is still a powerful tool
- 75% of customers will purchase with a business after a positive experience
- 83% say TikTok played a role in their purchase decision
- 44% of Instagram users shop weekly for products on the platform
66% of Pinterest users buy something after seeing a brands pin
Samantha shared the top 5 social media trends to look out for in 2023.
The continued rise and popularity of Tik Tok means that the definition of social media is changing. It’s now much more than just a way to keep in touch with family and friends. TikTok has overtaken Netflix as the second most popular app for people aged under 35 and is now perceived as an entertainment channel. There has been a heavy shift in content style across Facebook and Instagram too, with this set to continue as algorithms favour video-based content.
What is live commerce, you might ask? One of our attendees compared it to the QVC shopping channel, which was a useful analogy. It’s extremely popular in Asia, Samantha explained how UK brands such as John Lewis are investing in developing this area for their e-commerce business.
As the Metaverse continues to evolve, we are beginning to see and understand more about what the possibilities might be. It makes sense that we would want to look stylish whilst exploring virtual worlds. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg revealed his Metaverse fashion range and even appeared himself as a virtual model.
Designers and brands are interweaving digital with physical fashion. British fashion brand Burberry recently collaborated with the video game Minecraft to release a collection of in-game clothes.
Increased AI-recommended posts across Meta
Following in the footsteps of Tik Tok again, earlier this year Meta began showing more AI-recommended content across their platforms. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that this is set to double by the end of next year.
Simplify your social media efforts
Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief when Samantha gave everyone permission to not feel pressured to be across every single platform. She explained that because the majority of users are active on multiple channels it can be annoying to be repeating the same message across each one. Instead, she advised everyone to focus on the main channels, where their audiences hang out and then expand to others if and when the time is right.
Planning your Marketing for 2023
And that wraps up the Growth Festival 2022. Hopefully after reading this you’re full of focus and excitement for your marketing efforts in 2023. But it isn’t something you have to do alone. If you’ve got a Digital Marketing project you want support with get in contact – we’d love to help!