Sometimes just getting started can feel like a daunting task. So, it's not uncommon to start small and slowly add new platforms into the mix over time. But when you’re in a pay-to-play space like paid ads, it’s important to maximize your opportunity for success.
Taking an omni-channel approach to your paid advertising, for instance, can be a game-changer.
Omni-channel marketing is a strategy that combines multiple channels in an interconnected way to nurture people toward a purchase.
In a broader sense, this can mean using website content, email marketing, organic social, influencer marketing, paid ads, and more woven together to create an intricate net to capture prospective buyers’ interest and ultimately drive sales.
The goal is to create a fluid experience through the sales funnel in a way that keeps your brand top-of-mind while your audience is going throughout their digital day. The focus is on creating consistency and ease throughout the user experience.
When talking about paid ads specifically, omni-channel means using multiple paid advertising platforms to create part of the larger marketing net.
"I’m already running Google and Facebook ads — aren't I all set?"
Unfortunately, no. Simply having multiple paid ads channels doesn’t get you all the way to proper omni-channel advertising. The key is interconnectivity.
Let’s talk about multi-channel advertising
Multi-channel advertising is when your brand has multiple channels (say Google and Facebook) as part of your marketing plan but the channels act independently.
You will likely have a marketing plan for your Google Ads and a separate plan for your Facebook Ads. Each platform will be executing and optimizing in its own little bubble without regard for the other channels in play.
This means the ad strategy is platform-centric (focused on getting a conversion on a specific platform) instead of customer-centric (encouraging your audience to convert, regardless of the platform they’re using).
It also may run the risk of people getting ads for different products or services at a time, rather than working together towards one specific purchase.
Multi-channel advertising works, but omni-channel advertising can really increase the speed and quality of your results.
What makes omni-channel advertising so great?
When developing and executing an omni-channel paid ads strategy, you are creating different ad experiences on various advertising platforms and placing them at different points along a singular user journey.
Unlike multi-channel, omni-channel ads build off of each other to help enhance the efficacy of one another and create a cohesive experience with your brand. As a person moves from the awareness stage through the buying cycle, the ads they experience get more and more precise based on where they are in the conversion funnel.
For example, your strategy may look something like this:
Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU): Google Ads and Microsoft Ads build brand awareness for users who enter broad search terms for the item they’re looking to buy.
Middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU): Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat deliver ads based on product category pages or product detail pages visited after the user clicks a TOF Google ad.
Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU): Facebook, Instagram, and Google Shopping Ads offer hyper-specific ads that close the sale and feature easy-to-purchase options that remove any friction that might prevent the sale.
Retargeting: Just in case the closers don’t capture the sale with BOF ads, retargeting via Google Display Retargeting and AdRoll kick in and follow the soon-to-be customer around on the web until they convert.
Working a mix of channels like this will increase the visibility of your brand throughout your audience’s digital experience and can ultimately make your ads more potent throughout the funnel.
The more potent your ads, the more revenue they will bring in. Keep in mind that, due to your campaign goals, different strategies will be necessary for different campaigns.
Omni-channel advertising does not operate on a set mix of platforms that are guaranteed to work when you have specific campaign goals. It is very custom to your brand and audience.
"This sounds like a lot of work. Is it possible to do this in-house or do I need an agency?"
Running an omni-channel ads strategy is definitely possible in-house. The challenge is resources.
When you hire an agency, you’re getting access to a whole team of people who have dedicated their careers to becoming experts in paid ads platforms.
There may be a Google Ads expert and a Facebook and Instagram expert and a Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest expert who all collaborate on your account to develop the right platform mix for your campaigns.
Bringing the same diverse and skilled talent in-house can be extremely pricey. And putting the responsibility of having knowledge of all of the platforms needed for a successful omni-channel strategy onto one team member could be a high risk for burnout.
How to set up Google Tag Manager and add tracking as needed
Keyword discovery tools, like SEMrush, to help enhance the understanding of opportunity in the paid space
The nuances of your industry and product niche, on both a psychological and linguistic basis
How to take campaign goals and develop effective strategies using the myriad of ads types available within the platform
What the rest of the business ecosystem looks like — other marketing efforts, the sales process, etc.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Ultimately, there’s a lot to know, a lot to plan, and a lot to execute when running omni-channel ads. Having a knowledgeable partner, like an agency or a consultant, can help offload the weight of needing to know everything and cut the cost of having to pay multiple salaries.
"Is it more expensive to do omni-channel ads?"
Taking on an omni-channel paid ads strategy doesn’t necessarily mean increasing your ads budget. Testing and scaling is the name of the game. The goal is to find the most profitable channels and scale them through the duration of the campaign.
If you are currently running Google and Facebook ads, there are ways to split the budget between several platforms to maximize for profitability.
Let's look at an example
Let’s say you have $4,000 for Google Ads and $4,500 for Facebook Ads, and you’re looking to shift from a siloed approach into an omni-channel strategy.
First, you want to determine the minimum ad budget you can give to each platform before performance tapers off. Let's assume that's $2,500 for Google and $3,500 for Facebook, which means you have $2,500 of undedicated ad budget to play with.
Now, if you want to add Snapchat into the mix but you haven’t used it before, you’ll want to test before going all-in with budget. So, let’s give $500 to Snapchat for testing and split the remaining $2,000 between Google and Facebook.
Our split looks like this:
$3,500 for Google
$4,500 for Facebook
$500 for Snapchat.
And you haven’t spent a penny more than you had planned to when you were running just Google and Facebook ads.
The tricky part is when it’s time to scale
You can play with budget allocation to a point, but eventually, you may wind up requiring more than you had planned for a particular campaign because performance is so high.
Let’s say that once your campaign is launched, you see good traction with the Snapchat testing and Facebook takes off and is seeing great success.
You can then pull some of the budget that was allocated to Google during your campaign planning and shift it into the budgets for Snapchat and Facebook.
So now your budget split may look more like this:
$2,500 for Google
$5,000 for Facebook
$1,000 for Snapchat
At this point, Google has reached the minimum ad budget it needs before performance tapers off. If Facebook continues to see success, you want to find some budget to continue to feed it.
Maybe that means taking from Snapchat’s $1,000 budget. But if you’re still seeing success with Snapchat’s testing, you may want to find extra budget from within your marketing plan so both Facebook and Snapchat can continue with their great results.
This can be a great problem to have! If your campaign is outperforming your budget expectations and your ads are being managed properly, your return is likely also exceeding expectations. Which means finding the money to keep feeding the machine will result in higher sales.
So can omni-channel ad campaigns cost more than single-platform campaigns? Sure. But the potential for higher returns and better conversions also increases.
Now’s the time to get started with omni-channel
Omni-channel paid ads can be very engaging and fun for those who understand the space and practice makes perfect.
Whether you decide to tackle it internally or you look for an outsourced partner to help guide you, evolving your ads to an omni-channel strategy will benefit your brand in the online space.
We see great success weaving multiple ad platforms together for our omni-channel ads management clients, and we have yet to find a company that hasn’t seen great results when optimizing their paid ads by switching to an omni-channel strategy.