Google and Facebook are said to account for over a quarter of UK internet time, or one in every three and a half minutes that Brits spend online

Essentially, when we’re online, it’s highly likely that we’re using a Google or Facebook-owned app or website, whether that be Gmail, Chrome, WhatsApp or Instagram.

As a result of this dominance, Facebook and Google also lead the way when it comes to online advertising, accounting for more than 60% of global online ad revenues

While most brands or advertisers might focus on one channel, when used together the pair present an even bigger opportunity to target users at the exact right time. This can also be known as cross-channel advertising – i.e. the practice of using two or more channels in conjunction to elevate paid ad performance. 

So, what exactly are the benefits of cross-channel advertising and the platforms that provide it? Here’s more on the subject along with a few case studies.

Cross-channel explained

There are huge advantages to advertising via a single channel. Google AdWords can help brands target users based on device, location, and search relevancy. Likewise, Facebook’s ad platform provides an opportunity for rich and creative targeting based on specific user profiles.

However, with users constantly switching between devices and channels, it’s easy for ads to become lost or diluted. Retargeting campaigns are often used to combat this, tracking users that have already visited a website or searched for something specific. 

Cross-channel advertising allows brands to get a step-ahead and bridge the gap between paid search and social channels, for example.

The benefits

So, why else should brands consider a cross-channel ad campaign?

More focused campaigns 

Different digital advertising channels have their own unique data sets and targeting options. With cross-channel tools, advertisers can take audience data from one channel and utilise it to optimise campaigns on another. Meanwhile, platforms can also help brands understand segments that are most likely to convert, and to refine campaigns accordingly.

One example of this is from Spanish hotel group Meliá, which used Marin’s cross-channel platform to create a campaign based on real-time search intent. Meliá used its tools to identify what destinations users were searching for on Google, before being able to automatically generate custom audiences on Facebook based on these keywords. The campaign apparently resulted in a 30x increase in ROI compared to traditional Facebook campaigns, as well as a 22x increase in conversion rate.

Better insights

For advertisers, it can be difficult to know where to invest or how to spend precious budget. One of the biggest benefits of cross-channel advertising is that it brings together a more complete picture of customer data, helping brands to understand how ads are performing, and how users are behaving in different places (rather than on a single platform). 

In turn, this helps advertisers make better budgeting decisions, and unify the customer journey across all channels. Many cross-channel advertising solutions offer tools that help to seamlessly reallocate budget among channels. 

One example of this is ride-sharing app Lyft, which managed to scale its regional campaigns on both search and social. More specifically, it was able to integrate mobile data into social campaigns, and optimise ads accordingly.  

A stronger message

As well as creating a single customer view, cross-channel advertising can also help brands to create and deliver a seamless customer experience – i.e. consistent and unified brand messaging across multiple channels and devices. 

This also allows brands to configure and personalise campaigns. For example, if a user sees or interacts with an ad for the first time on Facebook, they will be able to ensure that this ad is not repeated elsewhere, with the ability to deliver a more relevant ad on a different channel based on where the user is in the funnel. 

Short-term insurance provider Tempcover utilised this strategy. With its cross-channel campaign, it was able to align copy in Website Conversion Campaigns on Facebook with text ads on Google. It also captured search intent signal from prospective customers on Google and used them to power full-funnel audience segmentation on Facebook. According to Marin, the campaign resulted in a 40% increase in ROI.

Higher chances of conversion

Finally, cross-channel advertising also creates more touchpoints for brands.

With customers rarely converting the first time they see an ad, this means that customers can choose to interact and engage in the channels that they feel most comfortable, which in turn, could theoretically increase the chances of conversion.

Further reading:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 26 March, 2018 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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