Digital advertising spend in Germany during 2014 topped €5.4bn, second only to the UK at €8.9bn according to IAB Europe (21/05/2015). With mobile shopping becoming more and more important, 2013 saw responsive web design spread, and 2014, saw an improvement in mobile shopping experiences. With the first step being to create sites that rendered on mobile devices, consumers will be exposed to an increasing number of online stores scrambling to build sites that positively blossom on smartphones and tablets. That said, it must be maintained that a larger number of mobile stores will also start advertising their products and services on mobiles. The popularity of mobile advertising is increasing day-by-day, and branded eCommerce stores are among the first big spenders on mobile advertising.
An advertisers’ core objective is to prioritise investment in relevant communication channels that deliver maximum returns for their business. The three digital channels showing the best return on investment (ROI) are:
Pay Per Click (PPC): With a majority share of PPC market (roughly 67%), the use of Google AdWords is a requirement. Plenty of businesses have driven traffic to their site, marketed their products/services and ultimately increased sales by leveraging Google AdWords. If you add to that a collection of features like Ad Customizers, Call-Out Extensions, Google AdWords Editor and HTML 5 Ads you get a channel that helps deliver a marketing message the way your audience wants to hear it. These methods can also identify if and when an ad leads to an offline sale and that’s a huge advantage.
Email: It would be easy to ignore emails as an advertising channel because it is perceived as outdated. However, email marketing still has the lowest costs per lead and is a digital channel that should be utilised. According to a survey by the Radicati Group, there will be more than 1.1 billion business email accounts by 2017, and 77% of worldwide email accounts will be consumer email accounts.
Social Media: Social media advertising revenue in 2015 is estimated to be close to $8.5bn, and it is set to witness explosive growth in the next few years. Social media is a top internet activity and people across age groups are spending a large amount of time on social media. Social media advertising provides a strong communication channel with commercial benefit.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are the top seven platforms used by marketers, with Facebook leading the pack by a significant margin. Social media advertising is also about personalisation. The better you know your customer, and for that you need to have data and analytics capabilities, the better you can offer personalised marketing and increase conversion.
In Germany it is maintained that social networks are probably about to face a new era. Hamburg PR consultancy, Faktenkontor & Toluna, said in their November 2014 report that the percentage of internet users visiting social sites has dropped, as consumers weigh up the pros and cons of taking part. In 2013, an estimated 75% of the online population ages 14 and older used networks such as Facebook, Twitter and XING; but in 2014 that figure fell to 68%.
However, social media will still exercise enormous influence. According to the Statistisches Bundesamt, around 40 million people in Germany use social sites. Even if this population shrinks further, it will represent a vast potential audience for advertisers. With social networks being an integral part of daily life, a further decline in user numbers is unlikely.