At its most basic level, biddable media (whether paid search or paid social media) is the process of buying advertising space to secure leads through a process of competitive bidding, predominantly in real time. But this is just scratching the surface. As any digital marketing professional will tell you, biddable is much more than just buying and selling ads.
Biddable is one of a number of tools available to marketers, and to use this tool effectively we need to know what it can do, and more importantly, what it can’t. This blog will try to explore what biddable is (as we see it), what it can do for you and how you can effectively use it as part of your marketing arsenal.
Biddable is a measurable and scalable activity
When I went to see Gary Vaynerchuk speak in Boston, one of the most interesting things he discussed (between the copious amounts of swearing) was the family wine business he inherited and turned into a national success.
He described the lack of magic or tricks used to scale his business. He simply bought a lot of Google ads for wine at a time when nobody else was. He could get direct measurements (and make smart decisions) from what he was putting in, at a time when people were still buying billboard and radio spots, and then reading tea leaves to measure success.
The low competition and huge exposure, paired with great service and a strong supply chain, meant that he could transform the business. Gary’s main point was that he was generating $5 profit for every $1 he put into Google, so he kept putting in more, and given the chance to do it again he would push his budget up even higher.
This highlights a huge strength of biddable. If you are seeing success, it can be scaled quickly, precisely and effectively.
People often focus on the CPCs or CPLs when running a campaign, whereas the more effective approach can be; are you making a profit? Is the answer Yes? Then keep scaling it.
When you see a market opening and want to capitalise on it, then biddable is a measurable and scalable way to get your message out there and increase exposure. However, this leads onto our next point below.
Biddable is not instant lead purchasing
Here is an often forgotten point: Starting a biddable campaign is not the same as buying in leads.
When we speak with prospects, we find that some of them have unrealistic views of how biddable works. There’s an expectation that as soon as a campaign starts, they should be receiving leads. Sometimes that’s the case, but more often than not it takes time to reach that perfect blend of lead volume, quality and cost.
If you want to have immediate controlled cost and volume, and you’re not overly worried about data quality or exclusivity, then buying in leads through a third party is an option. However, this in itself is becoming an increasingly hazardous exercise, especially with GDPR now in place.
If you are buying in leads you have no control over the sources, opt-ins or quality of these leads, and whilst you may think this gives you plausible deniability over miss-selling, it doesn’t. You are still liable for lack of opt in under GDPR, which can carry fines in the hundreds of thousands.
Biddable media is a tool for spreading or positioning a message. If that message is spread to the wrong people or communicated incorrectly, then it will likely not convert, leaving you with low lead volume and high costs. You need to have a wider framework for finding, converting and re-engaging consumers.
Biddable media is not a mind reader
Biddable media will only find customers if you know the type of customers you want to find. If you don’t know who you want to speak with, then biddable media is not the most effective way to go about things. You may speak to a lot of people when you accelerate content, but if they’re not the right people then what’s the point?
You need to know who you want to target and what they engage with. This can be done using a strong persona set. Personas help to guide your marketing by creating a picture of your audience and how you can reach them. When combined with biddable, this becomes a highly effective strategy.
Biddable media is great for finding new leads
When you know who you want to work with, and what narrative to present them with, but can’t find them, biddable is an effective tool. Organic methods such as social media and SEO allow you to create content and put it in the ‘right’ places for it to be found and to spread, but this is much more of a long-term strategy.
With biddable media, you can find and direct this traffic to your content in several effective ways:
- You can use lookalike audiences to build on your existing customer lists and find similar customers
- You can use behavioural targeting to find consumers who fit your target persona
- You can look at audience insights which allows you to find what your audience engages with
These methods are effective for identifying your target audience. You can then put money behind it and push your message out to them. Biddable media, when used in the correct context, gets new customers feeding into your short and medium lead generation, but also supports your long-term messaging goals by increasing relevance and SEO.
Biddable media is not a long term standalone strategy
In the short term, you could take £1,000 and put it into Google or Facebook, and within a few days you would see a huge spike in traffic and leads. But what if that doesn’t convert? You can put in another £1,000, but how many times can you do that?
If you only focus on biddable, you will be faced with the same issue time and time again. You need to think long term, and create a system which converts this traffic into leads whilst building your company as a relevant thought leader. This is where inbound comes in.
Biddable media is awesome when combined with inbound
Biddable media becomes something much more powerful when combined as part of a holistic inbound process. If you can create great content, accelerate this with biddable, convert and shape your traffic, and use it to build your own relevance, the results are amazing.
In a real-life client context, for every £1 of investment into a biddable accelerated campaign, a profit of £23 is being generated.
For this client, we began with a short term biddable strategy, intertwined with a longer-term inbound strategy focussing on social, SEO and content. We saw steady continual growth using biddable, but we’re now reaching the stage where organic traffic is making up more and more of the traffic.
In turn, this increase in organic traffic has seen a corresponding increase in biddable conversion rates. In short, our inbound content and biddable is working in a mutually beneficial way to attract and convert traffic.
If you want to get more of an understanding of how biddable media and an inbound strategy can work for you, speak to Six & Flow. We can help you out.