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Introducing: New Conversation Ads on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network platform. With over 645 million professionally-connected members, it is a giant opportunity for your B2B marketing. The number of private messages sent on LinkedIn has quadrupled in the last five years. As a result, the platform is launching a new type of message-based ads, so-called Conversation Ads, that use conversation to provide a personalized experience for each user.

But first: what were the ad formats used so far on LinkedIn?

Sponsored Content: Single Image Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads

Single Image Ads have an introduction text at the beginning. This can contain a link. To avoid that long URLs become too cryptic, you can either use a shortener yourself or the system shortens the link automatically. It is important that the text including the link should not contain more than 170 characters, otherwise it will be displayed shortened. The images are created in the 16:9 ratio. If the target URL is inserted when the ad is placed, the system automatically takes a default image of the target page. Of course you can also add an image of your choice. Below the image, you can give the ad a headline aka CTA (Call to Action).

Video Ads are structured analogously to Single Image Ads. Instead of the image you add a video to your LinkedIn ad. In terms of length, the video must be at least 3 seconds long, but may not exceed 30 minutes. As with the common Video Ads, the same applies here: brevity is the soul of wit! Next to the title you can add a Call to Action (CTA) button to the ads. Here you can choose between different presets. The videos always start in auto-play.

Already known on Facebook for a long time, the Carousel Ads on LinkedIn have been around for two years now. In 2-10 cards you can tell whole stories or present different products and product features. As with the Single Image Ads, an introductory text is displayed above the advertising material. The images are created in a 1:1 ratio and you can link each card to its own target page, or you can give all cards the same target. You can assign a title for each card.

LinkedIn Is Finally Offering Carousel Ads – Adweek
Text Ads

Old-but-gold: there are still the LinkedIn Text Ads. It is possible to combine a text with small images (logo etc.). However, the ads are only displayed on desktop. The placement is either single-line above the content or within a banner in the right sidebar.

Dynamic ads

By using LinkedIn Dynamic Ads, you can directly address LinkedIn users. The ad format uses information from the LinkedIn profile of the viewer and their user activity. This information is then used to deliver attention-grabbing and personalised messages. There are different variations depending on the goal you are pursuing.

LinkedIn Dynamic Ads: Deliver Personalized Messages to Engage Your ...
Message Ads

Previously known as Sponsored InMail, Message Ads still offer the possibility to send direct messages to your audience. LinkedIn offers templates for the structure of your message and you can easily adjust individual text passages. You can also add a CTA-button to the Message Ad. You can’t insert pictures, but you can add a companion banner to your message. The messages are capped at 45 days.

The newest addition on LinkedIn: Conversation Ads

More than 2.5 billion people worldwide (35%) use mobile messaging apps and this number is expected to grow to almost 40% by 2023. The number of private messages sent on LinkedIn has quadrupled in the last five years.  That’s why LinkedIn has launched so-called Conversation Ads, which are designed to help you interact with prospects in a more personal and engaging way.

LinkedIn Introduces Conversation Ads | LinkedIn Marketing Blog

The new Ads are built on the current Message Ads (formerly Sponsored InMail) and provide a path-based experience that allows the creation of complete funnel campaigns with multiple customized action calls. Examples include product training, webinar registrations and e-book downloads. Conversation Ads proved to have a conversion rate that was about 5x higher than other LinkedIn Ad formats. You can choose between 3 different Ad bid types:

In contrast to conventional LinkedIn Message Ads, these ads are designed to help prospects and customers access the content that is most interesting to them, resulting in higher engagement. In the new advertising format, several CTAs can be set up, that lead to the landing page, open a form (if lead generation is the goal) or encourage people to look for more information in the next message. Furthermore, they are designed for real-time engagement, which means that messages can only be sent if the prospect is active on LinkedIn. To maintain the user experience and improve ad performance, Conversation ads have a 45-day frequency cap, which means that the desired audience will only see one ad within 45 days.

It seems to pay off

Some companies have already achieved great results with this new advertising function. Below Samsung demonstrates how your future LinkedIn Conversation Ads could look like:

By their own account, Samsung was able to effectively raise user engagement within their brand and their sponsored product Samsung Galaxy Note10. This new advertising measure resulted in a 23% uplift in CTR compared to LinkedIn Message Ads.

Of course all advertising activities on LinkedIn have to be adapted to your company and the present economical situation – which is currently heavily affected by the Corona Crisis. Read our latest article to find out how the Corona Virus is affecting our day-to-day Marketing.

Also, if you would like to get into contact with us and find out how you could leverage advertising and lead generation on LinkedIn contact us directly.

TikTok Marketing 101: A Guide for Beginners

A Chinese owned app is on the rise: With more than half a billion downloads worldwide, the video platform has gained much attention and popularity- especially from teenagers. So, what is TikTok all about and how could companies benefit from its features?

TikTok, in China also known as Douyin, is a Chinese owned video portal for lip synchronization of music videos and countless other short videos of all kinds. It also acts as a social network. The app emerged from the short video platform Musical.ly. TikTok’s parent company, Beijing Bytedance Technology, bought Mucical.ly in November 2017 for around 800 million US-Dollar and integrated this platform including its 100 million users into their new App in August 2018. TikTok was born.

In the meantime TikTok has evolved into the fastest growing mobile app in the world. With an estimated 45.8 million downloads TikTok has also been the most frequently downloaded iPhone app in the first quarter of 2018. With this large number of downloads the lip synching app outpaced market-leading competitors like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. 

What’s the fuss all about?

On TikTok users can see other users music clips, they can film and edit short videos themselves and they can add special effects and filters to their clips (just like on Instagram and Snapchat). After merging with the app Musical.ly, they also put a bigger emphasis on entertainment, comedy and vlogs. This way the app is competing with big video platforms like YouTube or vimeo.

In order to see the videos users are not required to sign up, unless they want to film clips themselves, follow other users and interact with them.

To help with recording your own clip, TikTok has integrated a complete tool that is very easy to use. Most of the videos only last up to 15 seconds and have a big emphasis on the underlaid sound. The homepage shows the most popular videos and you can “swipe through” them- just like on Instagram. Different hashtags and so called internet challenges facilitate searching for and following your favourite interpreters and clips. 

Digital Marketing on TikTok

Since the official minimum age is 13 years and the majority of users are under the age of 23, TikTok offers great potential to target younger audience profiles. Not too many companies seem to be active on TikTok although the user base and intensity of use is enormous. The fast-moving content and the special editing of TikTok’s short videos seduce you to stay on the app for hours. You always want to see what’s next.

What is crucial for marketing efforts on TikTok is, above all, dealing with the platform itself and the target group in order to adjust one’s content to their interests and needs. Since TikTok is a very fast-moving platform and the selection of content is very large, companies have to react very quickly. Keyword here: real-time-marketing.

A branded TikTok account can especially pay off for companies whose products or services are relevant  for a young target group. Consumer electronics, products from the fitness and food industry as well as beauty and fashion sector are in line with the current trend.

Cooperating with influencers on TikTok can also be very useful. The fashion brand Guess for example was one of the first Western companies to start a sponsored TikTok Challenge under the hashtag #InMyDenim. In the end, an incredible 30 million videos were posted under this hashtag, proving the campaign to be massive context.

In this context, increasing brand awareness also means increasing sales for the company. As the popularity of a brand is particularly important in the purchase decision-making process among young consumers.

But what about data privacy on TikTok? 

Well, unfortunately there is a snag! This Chinese owned company raised concerns about surveillance of TikTok’s young user base. In the past, Musical.ly has had privacy issues because the app illegally collected personal information from children. As a result, TikTok got a fine and has been actively working on brand safety ever since. Explicit videos and comments are still a problem on the platform. Also, the content in hashtag challenges linked to a brand is very hard to monitor.

It’s also important to keep in mind that in general TikTok is growing and gaining attention, but the user base in DACH countries is rather small at the moment. Over here, teenagers still tend to use other social networks.

But as the saying goes: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thinking about including TikTok into your marketing mix? Get in touch with us now! We’re happy to advise you whether advertising on TikTok would be an option for your company.

How does the Corona Virus influence Marketing? 

The spread of the severe lung disease SARS-CoV-2, also known as Corona Virus or 2019-nCoV, now paralyzes public and economic life in many Western countries. Several business sectors such as event organizers, travel providers and airlines are already experiencing slumps in sales, others fear this due to declining consumption and, on the supply side, due to production losses and globally interrupted supply chains. The spread of the virus represents both a negative supply shock and a negative demand shock across the economy at large.

That’s the stuff a marketer’s nightmares are made of, because such prospects often cause companies to cut spending where it is quickest and supposedly hurts the least in the short term, such as advertising. So if the media continues to incite unrest in the population, many companies might keep an eye on their variable costs and therefore postpone or even cancel planned campaigns. The consequences of the corona virus for the economy, consumption and advertisers are unpredictable to many. 

But how do experts assess the current corona virus situation and its effects in the future?

According to the ZAW (the German Advertising Federation), it is currently not possible to make exact forecasts for the development of the advertising market given the current facts. However, they describe the fact that the spread of the corona virus in Germany is now compared with the financial market crisis in 2008 and 2009 as “clearly exaggerated and inappropriate”. The causes and real backgrounds are “simply too different”.

Nevertheless, the ZAW does not believe that the advertising market will get off lightly. Given the fact that many trade fairs and congresses have already been cancelled, the live communication and event sector is currently suffering the most. The production area is also affected. Larger productions, especially abroad or with international participation, are being partially suspended or, where possible, relocated.

The next few weeks will be decisive for the advertising market. If the situation does not stabilize, more and more advertising customers will no longer be able to produce goods. For this reason, some marketers expect their campaign bookings to decrease.

What to do now regarding corona virus?

From a more optimistic view, the advertising industry is (and always has been) a creative and highly dynamic industry that is able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Also, every marketing expert knows that brand maintenance is a long-term project that should not be jeopardized by blind, hectic actionism. So, how can marketing measures be adjusted to this exceptional situation?

The keyword here is ‘digital engagement’. This will be the difference-maker in maintaining economic success and a good brand reputation within organizations. 

As people are trying to avoid stores or other public places, e-commerce will experience a huge boost and digital marketers will find themselves in the situation of competition for the purchase of consumers who are not frequent online shoppers. By choosing the right strategy focused on the most relevant audience groups and devices, organizations could take advantage of this new environment and potentially excel even more. As more and more trade fairs are being cancelled, the importance of creating online experiences that make people feel as connected as offline experiences increases drastically.

Source: February 2020 Coresight Research report “Corona virus Briefing: Flash Report.” n=1,121

Since we are experiencing changes in behaviour (staying and working from home, avoidance of public places…) there are a few industries that naturally profit from the changed circumstances and others that have to fight new challenges. Nearly half (47.2%) of European internet users polled by Coresight Research last month said they are currently avoiding shopping centres and malls (Source: eMarketer March 2020) Here we want to give some examples:

Online Retail:

Due to the massive decline in physical store visits as a protective measure, sales of online stores are increasing. However, other factors must also be taken into account:

  • Companies that have their production facilities abroad, especially in Asia, could experience supply bottlenecks
  • The degree of the company’s digital distribution network must be capable of absorbing the short term additional expenditure in online trading 
  • Furthermore, this also depends on the company’s stock levels and how easily these can be reordered or cancelled

Software / Gaming / VOD / Entertainment:

As people currently tend to avoid social gatherings and public event locations, they are now moving to virtual platforms to communicate and be entertained.

Health & Pharmaceuticals:

Quite the obvious though… But here are some numbers to show a strong rise in demand for certain groups of products in this area:

Source: Nielsen; March 2, 2020

In general, one could say issues that are particularly relevant for a large part of society are ultimately the optimal stage for giving brands in these sectors a more conscious perception.

Also, there is a need for marketers to do some plain-talking: questions about the likelihood of hitting goals and the value of their investment should be discussed honestly. In addition to that, brands should start preventing customer related issues caused by the corona virus, such as store closures or delivery bottlenecks. In order to have great customer service and online experience, businesses should think about how they can leverage their marketing to address those issues and stay competitive.

So how can we put this together?

Certainly, there is no general answer at this point to the question of what strategy marketing departments can use to adapt to the new situation and how to deal with it.

Nevertheless, a few rules of thumb can be set up to deal with the changed everyday conditions and customer expectations:

Advertising Channels:

There are advertising channels that are currently less successful and less seen than others, resulting in extremely low view rates. OOH (Out of home/billboards) and any physical advertising such as in-store displays, public screens or bus and transit advertising and cross-media-advertising will now decline significantly. Also, digital advertising using geolocations and placed in downtown areas or in and around large business parks will lose its impact in the coming weeks.

The big winners will be digital advertising (in general), TV and radio advertising. Social media attendance is bursting at the moment, channels like Twitter and Facebook to be directly informed and stay ahead of any governmental/official announcements are seeing high user activity at the moment. Because of the high interest in reading articles containing information about the virus and the current public situation, programmatic PPC ads placed on these sites are flourishing. Nearly all public events and meetings are cancelled, many companies decide to close their offices for several weeks, schools and universities stop teaching indefinitely – all this leads to a strong shift to home office, people staying at home as a protective measure and thus turning to their screens.  

This will lead to a significant increase in media use within households, which is different from the way we consume media on the road or at work. 

Audiences:

Shifting the way you target and communicate with your audience is crucial in these times to keep them informed and engaged but also to manage expectations. Many of the customers, especially for companies in the real economy sectors (production of physical products, direct customer contact in the service sector) now want to be as well informed as possible about the impact of the virus on their specific services, what countermeasures they plan to take and what they can expect in the coming weeks. There will be a positive perception of brands that now clearly communicate the effects, measures and limitations of their services and use the channels mentioned under 1. More communication can, therefore, have a very positive effect on the current perception of your brand. 

Conclusion / Take-away:

Considering the above, take into account your specific industry-related issues, market position and degree of (distribution-) digitalization to find a tailored way to respond to the given situation. After all, it’s comparable to a minor economic recession – and taking anti-cyclical action could be your advantage while competing with other companies!

For more information about the current situation of advertising in different industries get in touch with our specialist team today to discuss optimising your ad spend / ad strategy and avoid wasteful campaigns as well as find a tailored solution to navigate through this intransparent times!