Focus On These 3 Areas for Online Success in 2015

There are a lot of moving parts to a successful digital marketing campaign. Each part can more or less fall under one of three categories of media – paid, earned, and owned. Paid media is basically any type of paid online advertising: display and text ads, retargeting, social media ads, etc. Earned media includes stuff like social media mentions, shares, likes, reports, customer reviews, etc. Owned media is made up of any and all web properties and online channels that you have control over.

The folks over at Titan SEO created this awesome Digital Marketing Trifecta diagram outlining the elements of each type of digital media. As you can see from the diagram below, whenever you can engage multiple media at a given time, you are likely to see better results than if you focused on one type independently.

paid, owned, and earned media

In this post, we’re going to touch on a few key elements from each digital media type that will be critical to your online success in 2015.

Paid Media

Using SEO tactics to ranking organically is difficult task for any website, but can be especially so for companies in ultra-competitive industries like automotive, finance, travel, and tech. According to Neil Patel, SEO will become even more difficult in 2015. That means we are likely to see continued investments of time and money put toward building effective paid search strategies.

Exactly where those paid search dollars in 2015 go will be the interesting thing to watch. CPCs are continuing to rise, leading paid search marketers to find alternative ways to drive cost-effective leads. Retargeting and paid content promotion, both of which had strong showings in 2014, are poised to be major component of successful paid search strategies. Here’s a few ways to take advantage of these trends in 2015:

  • Use Google Adwords to retarget to past visitors as they browse the web (via GDN) or when they conduct a relevant search (via RLSAs).
  • Boost remarketing efforts by leveraging a 3rd party retargeting platform like AdRoll, Perfect Audience, or Retargeter.
  • Expand the reach of your content through content syndication networks such as Outbrain and Zemanta.
  • Give content a boost on social media through paid promotion to the targeted audience of your choice.

Earned Media

If you want to build up your earned media in 2015, you’ll need to start telling better business stories. The brands who are able to reach large audiences, start a conversation, and eventually get users to take action will be those that craft the best narratives. So how should you go about telling the best story?

  • Identify who you are trying to reach with your story. Keep in the mind that different audiences may require different stories.
  • Layout a plan. If you made it through 2014 without the use of a content calendar, congrats – now suck it up and make one to keep your content creation on track for 2015.
  • Choose the best medium for your content depending on the audience, the channel, and the story being told. Experiment with more than just text – videos, webinars, slide shows, infographics. Different mediums will engage your audience in different ways.
  • Don’t go for the hard sell. Good brand storytelling is about evoking emotion, tapping into memories, and setting the scene for users. You want those who engage with your content to feel something, which increases the likelihood that they will do something later down the road.

Owned Media

It seems like every year for the past five years has been touted as, “The Year of Mobile.” Guess what guys…2015 will the year of mobile – again. In terms of ad dollars, searches, and clicks, 2015 will likely be the year that mobile devices surpass desktops. This means that if you haven’t developed a ‘mobile first’ approach to your website, blog, social media channels, and other owned web properties, you better get to it. Here are some tips to help:

  • Go beyond responsive design. Mobile users often behave differently and have different intentions when arriving at a website than those on a desktop. Your layout, messaging, and CTAs need to reflect those differences.
  • Adopting a ‘mobile first’ approach forces you to strip away the excess fluff that drives users away, and focus on the core messaging and functionality of your site. Not only is this great for mobile experiences, but it can greatly improve desktop experience as well.
  • There’s a saying in sports that “speed kills.” When it comes to online user experiences, particularly those on mobile devices, speed – or lack thereof – certainly does kill. According to Kissmetrics, a 1 second delay in page response time can lead to a 7% drop in conversions. Make sure that all of your owned media decisions are done with speed in mind.


Thoughts on what else should be a focus in 2015?

Please share in the comments section below!

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