E-commerce companies need highly cost-effective marketing strategies to survive in 2017. Rather than getting distracted by newer platforms like Outbrain, they should stick to using traditional social networks.
Native Advertising Isn’t Ideal for Most Ecommerce Companies
Demand for eCommerce is growing at a shocking rate. According to recent studies, Americans are expected to increase online spending by $523 billion over the next three years. However, things aren’t necessarily getting easier for e-commerce sites.
While the market as a whole is rising, it is also becoming more competitive. Small eCommerce businesses have trouble competing head to head with giants like Amazon and eBay. They must utilize the most effective marketing strategies possible.
As e-commerce companies try to stand out amongst their competitors, they’re turning their attention towards newer, more innovative marketing strategies, such as native advertising. While new digital marketing mediums may get a lot of attention, that doesn’t mean they’re better for typical eCommerce companies.
Here are some reasons traditional social media marketing is preferable for smaller e-commerce sites.
Organic Social Media Marketing is the Most Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy Imaginable
Cost-effectiveness is extremely important for newer eCommerce sites with smaller budgets. Fortunately, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote a brand.
You can literally begin a social media campaign without spending a dime. If you do invest in paid ads on Facebook, Instagram or other social media channels, you will still be spending less than most other marketing strategies.
Native advertising, on the other hand, can be extremely expensive. You may need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to test a native advertising strategy, because you need to collect data on many variables, including:
- Intermediary landing pages
- Money pages
- Targeting options
If you don’t have a budget of at least $50,000, then native advertising simply isn’t a viable way to promote your e-commerce site. Focus on social media instead. Investing in Facebook branding or getting automatic Instagram likes requires a much smaller budget.
Social Media is Far Better for Branding
Native advertising is a great strategy for lead generation, but it is not ideal for branding. Social media is a better strategy for engaging with future customers.
With native advertising, you are trying to drive sales. This is fine for a limited number of eCommerce companies that sell products people buy impulsively, but most companies need to build a strong brand first.
This is especially true with e-commerce companies selling unique products. If you were operating a lead generation business model for dating websites or freemium SAAS solutions, then you can rely on impulsive decisions. Unfortunately, people don’t impulsively spend $100 or more with an online retailer. They must build brand equity before trying to convert customers.
Social media remains one of the best branding platforms available. According to Hasaan Mansoor, Facebook particularly is a great vehicle for online branding.
“According to Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2016, around 90 percent of online organizations and people believe that online networking has helped them to expand their exposure, while 63 percent of them reported that they could build up a faithful fan base through it… [Facebook] is the best platform for promoting any sort of brands. More than 75 percent of Americans use this site. Facebook is an incredible stage for advancing essentially any brand, because of its exceptionally heterogeneous client base.”
Native Advertising is Very Difficult for New Marketers to Figure Out
If you want to get started with paid advertising, native advertising isn’t where you should start. It can be very effective for experienced marketers, but less experienced eCommerce marketers have a harder time navigating the platforms and optimizing their campaigns.
Paid social media and search marketing is much easier to learn. The targeting options are far more intuitive, so e-commerce marketers can start testing right away.
Social Media is Still More Targeted
While native advertising platforms allow marketers to target users in specific regions or visit certain websites, the targeting options still don’t compare to social media. With social media platforms, you can create a very laser targeted advertising strategy.
This is particularly important for eCommerce brands because they tend to focus on very specific audiences. While a clothing e-commerce brand could target users visiting women’s lifestyle websites, they don’t necessarily know that all of the people viewing their ads are women. They also can’t target by income or age.
Facebook and other social media sites keep extensive demographic data on their users, so it is much easier for advertisers to narrowly target their ads.