Without promotional materials and ad campaigns, almost all companies would suffer a profit-margin hit. According to Google’s April 2017 Car Purchasing UK Report, a massive £115.9 million was invested in online display and direct mail by car dealers in the UK throughout 2016!
However, it appears that online marketing is not only a lucrative avenue for companies in the motoring industry. With increased interest in online platforms, many other sectors could benefit from increased digital visibility. However, this comes at a price — so, is it worth the cost? Here to look deeper into the issue is Vindis, a top car firm offering VW services…
Out of all types of consumers, reports suggest that motoring customers are particularly switched on when it comes to digital platforms. According to Google’s Drive To Decide Report (which was in association with TNS), over 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over have access to the internet for personal reasons, 85% are using smartphones and 65% choose a smartphone as their preferred device to access the internet. These figures show that, for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.
As with any big buy, car consumers tend to carry out research prior to handing over cash. The Google report mentioned above discovered that 90% of car shoppers conduct research online, with 51% of buyers starting their auto research online. To capture these shoppers, car dealers must think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads. This is one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets.
But how much of a success is online marketing proving to be for car companies? The automotive industry made up 11% of the total UK digital ad spending growth in 2017, according to eMarketer, falling just behind the retail sector. Plus, the automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.
Unlike when buying clothing and other smaller purchases, the process of buying a car typically does not take place online. 41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’, while 60% said they were influenced by what they saw in the media. Of this 60%, 22% were influenced by marketing promotions. Perhaps online investment is worth the investment, even though traditional methods — such as TV and radio — remain the most invested forms of marketing for the automotive sector. Reportedly, in the past five years, digital has made the biggest jump from fifth most popular method of marketing to third — an increase of 10.6% in expenditure.
One of the greatest success stories when it comes to online marketing relates to fashion. Investments in digital platforms are critical to the success of fashion retailers — with online sales in the fashion industry reaching £16.2 billion in 2017 and expected to grow 79% by 2022. Did you also know that ecommerce made up around 25% of all fashion buys in 2017 (according to the British Retail Consortium)?
Major brands are capitalising on the fashion consumer’s apparent affinity for online shopping. ASOS experienced an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, while Boohoo saw a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period. Many big names — such as Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Next — have invested a lot of money into their digital operations to capture the online shopper and drive sales. In fact, John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest £10 million into its online marketing and operations.
But, don’t forget to consider influencer marketing when strategizing your next online campaign. According to PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency, 59% of fashion marketers increased their budget for ‘influencer marketing’ last year — an essential marketing tactic in the fashion industry. In fact, three quarters of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. In 2017, over 33% of marketers claimed that influencer marketing is better than old-style methods. Backing this sentiment up is the fact that around 22% of customers are said to be attained through influencer marketing!
Within the utilities sector, the influence of comparison sites is great. Reportedly, a growing number of consumers use these types of sites to choose the right utilities supplier. With comparison websites spending millions on TV marketing campaigns that are watched by the masses, it has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price in order to stay in the game. The four main comparison websites are: Go Compare, Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket and Confused.com. In fact, these are among the top 100 highest spending advertisers in the UK.
When it comes to getting new customers and retaining old ones, which should be your priority? British Gas has shifted its marketing aims toward customer retention, as opposed to customer acquisition. Whilst the company recognises that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, it believes that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The gas company hopes that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to existing customers, it will be able to improve customer retention. An investment of £100 million is to be invested in a loyalty scheme to offer discounted energy and services, which focuses on the value of a customer and their behaviour and spending habits over time to discover what they are looking for in the company.
Digital marketing is a major part of advertising in this sector. 40% of all searches in Q3 2017 in the utilities sector were carried out on mobile, and a further 45% of all ad impressions were via mobile too (according to Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017). As mobile usage continues to soar, utilities companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users, as they now account for a large proportion of the market.
Since it is so strictly monitored, the healthcare industry typically varies significantly from others in how it markets itself. The same ROI methods that have been adopted by other sectors simply don’t work for the healthcare market. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, you’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.
So, which aspects of online marketing should you focus on in the healthcare sector? Email appears to be the best. Around 2.5 million people use email as the main way of communicating — a figure which has risen over the past few years. This means email marketing is targeting a large audience. For this reason, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email. Now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audiences.
Since approximately 5% of Google searches are for health information, there is clearly room for prosperity for health marketers. In fact, the Pew Research Center data discovered that 77% of all health enquiries begin at a search engine — and 72% of total internet users say they’ve looked online for health information within the past year. But what about which device we use to search for such information? More than 50% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require — should health companies be turning their attention to mobile users?
Surprisingly, social media can also help boost profits and custom. While the healthcare industry is restricted to how it markets its services and products, social media should not be neglected. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! Why? The success of social campaigns is often attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.
What different sectors must consider
Out of all the above sectors, the fashion and motor industries appear to benefit the most from online campaigns, with a clear increase in online demand in both sectors that is changing the purchase process. In the utilities sector, the marketing future looks less focused. Clearly, TV and digital appear to remain the main sales driving forces, however, the authority of comparison sites must also be considered to formulate an effective marketing campaign. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, companies may fall behind.
Now we know the current situation, what does the future hold? According to webstrategies.com, the average business is expected to assign at least 41% of its marketing budget to online campaigns in 2018 — a figure that will expand to 45% by 2020. Social media advertising investments are expected to represent a quarter of total online spending, and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly — presumably because of more mobile and online use.
When it comes to advertising, work out which platform and avenue is best for your business and sector. But remember, if mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has recently, investment in online marketing may be critical!