Thread Talks

videos
white arrow in red square circle pattern

Welcome to Thread Talks!

We’re a company of experienced strategists, data scientists, visual & verbal storytellers, and - we’ll admit it - marketing nerds. We love to learn & talk about all facets of marketing and explore the areas where our zones of brilliance collide to create connection and engagement. Thread Talks is our video workshop series born of these passions. We hope you enjoy our video collaborations, discussing all things new, nuanced, and integrated in branding & marketing.

Mini-Workshops

PPC Workshop

View Transcript

Learn More about Marketing Trends

The Tassel is always learning and researching techniques, technology, and trends in order to effectively deliver for our clients. We want you to benefit from our research, too! Click here to download our latest Trend Report, covering our research on trends in SEO, PPC, Design, Web Development, Social Media, and more.

download trend report
Red Thread Brands trend report preview
Red Thread Brands trend report preview

Know Someone We Should Feature in a Thread Talk?

We love connecting with like-minded people! If you or someone you know wants to record a Thread Talk, contact us with your idea! (Extra points if the suggested speaker has a dog we can meet.) Have a topic you’d like to hear the Tassel tackle? We take topic suggestions, too.

submit your thread talk recommendations
Back
Close

want a copy of our trend report?

enter some information below to download:

your information will never be shared with outside parties.
please enter your first and last name.
enter the name of your company.
please enter your 10-digit contact number.
arrow
Back
Close

want to recommend someone for a talk?

enter some details below:

your information will never be shared with outside parties.
please enter your first and last name.
enter the name of your company.
please enter your 10-digit contact number.
please enter the first and last name of the person you'd like to recommend.
enter the name of the company that the person your recommending works for.
please enter your recommendaton's 10-digit contact number.
arrow
Back
Close

[Large typography appears with the words ‘thread talks’ animating in a red font on a white background.]

[Cuts to Chris Adams speaking. Her head and shoulders are framed in the video, with a dining room in the background. In the top left corner the words ‘Thread Talks: 3 aha moments in PPC’ animate in.]

Chris: Companies that are doing business where they are building relationships with people who want to do business with them for a reason.

[Quick white organic transition graphic with red spots animates in and Colleen appears, her head and shoulders in the frame and a bright painting of the Eiffel Tower hangs on the wall behind her.]

Colleen: It's like "Ok, well you're talking about personas, um, how do I figure out who they are?"

[Quick white organic transition graphic with red spots animates in and Alex appears, her head and shoulders in the frame and a tidy office behind her.]

Alex: Well, like you just said, with all these privacy updates, that first-party data is so crucial.

[Graphics appear on a patterned purple background: The red thread brands logo, ‘3 aha moments in PPC’ and ‘thread talks’.]

[The purple patterned background fades and Chris Adams fades in. A title graphic animates in with the words ‘Chris Adams, founder and CEO’.]

Chris: Hey there! Welcome to the first ever Thread Talk. I'm Chris and I'm joined by my amazing colleagues, Alex and Colleen.

Alex: Hello!

Colleen: Hi!

Chris: And today we are going to be talking about our Aha Moments in PPC from our Red Thread Trend Report. So, our trend report is available on our website and we do them quarterly and we've got lots of great information in there. So if you would like to download for free, just click the link and it'll take you right there and we'll be happy to continue to share with you. So we're going to do these on a regular basis. So this is the first one of many to come.

[Cuts to Colleen. An animated title graphic appears with the words ‘Colleen Raley, digital strategy’.]

Colleen: As Chris was saying, we have these trend reports that we started doing so we could keep on top of what was happening in the marketplace and what's happening in the industry and it was almost like, "Hey, these are so amazing, we have to share them with people," kind of moment. And then we thought, well, let's think of a lot of different ways in which we can do that, and that's how Thread Talks was born.

So, for this first one, we're going to talk about PPC, which is pay per click advertising, which is digital advertising. We're talking your Facebook ads, your LinkedIn ads, Instagram, Google search and display, all of that. That's what PPC is. And the three Aha Moments we're going to talk about from that are: audience, specificity, and testing. And we're going to dive into each one of these and talk a little bit more about what they mean and what you need to do within each of these to give you some really good basic building tools for your PPC campaigns.

[Red patterned screen with the words ‘1. Audience’ and ‘redthreadbrands.com’ show up on the screen before returning back to Colleen speaking.]

Colleen: So we are going to start with audience - the importance of knowing your audience and researching and developing your audience target personas. So you have to think about it, it's really important to know your audience and to do the research to develop those audience personas.

[Cuts to Alex. A title graphic animates in with the words, ‘Alex Hancock, director of strategy & content’.]

Alex: Talk about personas, what are personas?

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: That's a really great question because it's a very broadly-used term. It's a term in the industry that's really a proxy for your target audience. It's a shorthand for someone who has the same interests and priorities and concerns as your target buyer. Depending on your business or your product, maybe it solves different problems for different people. For example, um, let's say you sell barbecues. Now, the need for a barbecue is pretty basic across the board but the way you're going to speak to people who you're trying to sell your products to is a little bit different, you're not going to speak to a single adult the way you're necessarily going to talk to a family of five. So when you develop these personas you develop different art and messaging and content that speaks and resonates with each specific persona. Depending on the business or the client I'm working with, I like to have around three or four personas per client.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Ok, that makes sense.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: So the way you find these personas–you're like, "Ok, well you're talking about personas, um, how do I figure out who they are?" [laughs] It's through a lot of methodical research. Start with a list of questions about your target audience. Things that helped mold who this person that you're talking to is. Think about demographics like age, location, education level, relationships, their values, their passions, any behavior that can influence the way they buy. While you can't always target the specific answers to these questions, they help shape that message and help shape the tone of your ads and your campaigns.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Would websites that they go to or places where they buy other things on the internet be helpful?

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Yes, absolutely. You definitely want to take a look at those behaviors and analyze what they are doing. A really great thing to do is social listening and social monitoring, which kind of brings some of that in.

[Graphic appears on screen: ‘social listening- monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product and more’]

Colleen: Look at social platforms across the board and analyze your product and your brand, as well as your competitors' products and brands and see what people are saying about them. See how the customers are engaging with them. What problems they solve for the customer and maybe what problems they don't solve for the customer. And the purpose of that is not to take someone else's strategy, or to steal someone else's ideas. But rather to take a look at your industry and take a look at your marketplace and figure out where you can penetrate the marketplace itself. Where you can do better and where you can solve problems that aren't already being solved.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Yeah, where there are gaps in the market.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Exactly. Another really great thing to do is look at the customers you already have. If you're an established business that's been around for a while, you clearly have people who are engaging with you and buying from you. So think about who they are; that can help answer a lot of the list of questions that we were talking about earlier. And if you send emails, look at the emails that are the most popular; what message is that stating? What are the demographics of the people opening those? All of these are really great ways to mold these personas that you then can talk to through your ads and your campaigns.

[Red patterned screen with the words ‘2. Specificity’ and ‘redthreadbrands.com’ show up on the screen before returning back to Colleen speaking.]

Colleen: One of the next big takeaways is specificity. And when I say specificity, I mean know the purpose of your campaign. Do you need to do direct conversions, so direct sales, or is it more of an awareness focus ad, or should you be focused on lead generation? Then there are several other kinds of objectives that you can be focused on as well. The thing is, you might assume that you know what it's going to be but that's not necessarily the case. Like an e-commerce business might think that it needs to immediately go for direct conversions or sales but you might end up getting a diminishing return on that.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Why do you think that is? Can you talk about that a little more?

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Yeah, absolutely. So for example, let's say you're a local retailer or a local e-commerce business. I live in New Orleans and they have tons of New Orleans-based businesses that the locals rally around. They have a huge following so you can have this massive following in your hometown or your home city. And you think, okay, well I want to branch out to other regions, other counties, and maybe even nationwide. If you start with a direct conversion-based campaign, you may end up spending a lot of money up front with minimal return because people don't know who you are yet. Rarely do people see something - be it on Google, Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Instagram - and immediately buy that first time. There's an adage in the PPC world, in the marketing industry that it takes a person an average of seven times to see something before their brain even thinks that they want to make a decision on it.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: And it's probably even more in this day and age.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: With such a saturated environment when it comes to Facebook, yes, even more so. It's all about exposure and getting your name out there. If they don't know you then they're not going to trust you. And if they don't trust you they're not going to buy from you no matter how perfect the product might actually be for them. So instead of jumping off on a complete direct conversion campaign from the get-go, spend some weeks or maybe even some months doing a brand awareness campaign. Get your name in front of your target audience. Get them to your website.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: Absolutely.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Expose them to your mission, your values, your purpose, and why they should do business with you. When you're doing that, you're not just getting them familiar with your brand. But as you're sending them to your website you're creating a retargeting audience. Because you get all of that first-party data once they are on your website. So when you do move to the direct conversion strategy of your campaign, you already have a warm audience that is prime to do business with you because they've gotten to know you. It's like a relationship, right? You want to take time and get to know the person before you take these big steps. It's the same thing.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: That's such a good point, Colleen, because as we are moving forward in the world through a pandemic, companies that are are building relationships with people who want to do business with them for a reason, that's really important. And, you know, those of us who are looking for things on the internet and we're trying to find the thing that we want to find.. that makes it easier, right? And so when you have that buildup of the combination of the website and the PPC and all of those things together that strengthens that, right?

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Well and like you just said with all these privacy updates, that first-party data is so crucial. Because there's a lot of opting out of cookies and pixels not firing because of all of these privacy updates. So you need that interaction, that one-on-one. This is data that you can then take and use. And even if you just think about the way that you personally interact on social media, or the internet, you know. If I'm served an ad and I'm intrigued by something, I might go follow that company first. I'll see what they post and kind of dip my toe in the water of that interaction before ever going to their website. So it's a slow process.

[The screen cuts from Alex talking to Chris nodding her head.]

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: And I think you could even… [looks up and thinks for a moment] ...and this is my observation, not any type of scientific data saying this, but I think you could even take that it takes you seeing something seven times. And because of the way we act online right now and it takes you doing some sort of off-site engagement up to seven times. Up to eight times.

[The screen cuts from Colleen talking to Chris nodding her head.]

[Cut to Colleen.]

Colleen: Just like you were saying, before you say, “Ok, now let me go to the website.”

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Yeah, absolutely.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: Yeah I mean that's one of the reasons why we are an interactive agency. That it is very much a multi-channel. So when we look at how all of the pieces of marketing work together, we really see more strength being built across the board when we're including PPC in that. But not just thinking that PPC is going to do everything for you alone. When you integrate all of those things it is so important. Well, and it builds your authenticity as well.

[Graphic appears on-screen: ‘integrated marketing builds authenticity’.]

Chris: So that's another thing that we're seeing being incredibly important to the digital world these days. And anybody who is not building their authentic digital path, they are going to be left in the dust.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Well, and sometimes it takes some iterations to get that balance right, right? Yes, authenticity, but also saying the right thing to speak to that customer, and that's where the testing comes in.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Yes! [visibly pleased] That was a beautiful segway. That is exactly where the testing comes in.

[Chris laughs.]

[Red patterned screen with the words ‘3. Testing’ and ‘redthreadbrands.com’ show up on the screen before returning back to Colleen speaking.]

Colleen: The third takeaway that we had from that report is testing. And I can't say it enough: test, test, test, test, test. It's the secret sauce that's going to make your campaigns work. You have your audience, you know exactly what your campaign objective is, now you've got to figure out what specifically works. And it can be tricky, specifically if you have a smaller budget. But there are ways that you can go about testing your personas with your art, your messaging and other strategies.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: About that - with smaller budgets and testing. Because sometimes we do have clients that come and they have a limited budget with what they can do. And a lot of times with the smaller budgets you want to solve all of your company's marketing dilemmas, but you have a minimum budget. So how do you work through that?

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: So you're right, you have to manage your expectations; or if you're working with a client you have to help to manage their expectations. You're not going to be able to do all the things all at once when you have a smaller budget.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: And talk a little bit about what a small budget is.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: So, I would consider a small budget for digital advertising - depending on the size of the company, so this does vary - I'd say anything under $1,000. So, say your company comes to you and they've got $700 that they put aside for digital advertising. Be very sensitive to the fact that that's probably a good chunk of money for them that they're trying to invest here.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: So, we're talking $700 a month.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Yeah. I mean, That's not chump change, really. For a lot of people, for most people.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: Absolutely.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: So be very sensitive to that when you're talking to them and explain that it's not going to stretch well over multiple objectives. When you're preparing your campaigns, maybe have two campaigns per month that do very specific things. That way, you're not trying to spread all of this money all around because it's just not going to get the right amount of money per campaign. You're not giving yourself a chance. You're not giving your campaigns a chance to perform the best that they could.

[Cuts to Chris]

Chris: So it's more along the lines of: if you have some really specific goals that you're trying to reach with a smaller budget, that's totally doable. If you're trying to solve all of your company's communication goals, you're just going to limit your audience and you're not even going to be able to get one message across.

[Cuts to Colleen nodding.]

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: For those companies that do have smaller budgets, that's where A/B testing comes in and is your friend because that helps you really narrow down who your target audience is, what the most effective messages are, what the most effective creative is. We've had companies where, depending on who you're talking to, different creative works better or worse. That's going to be the case in almost any scenario, but the trends in digital marketing are for interactivity and dynamic ads, and micro interactions. We've definitely seen with certain clients where we've had dynamic GIF ads that have not performed in display as well as static ads have. And that may have been the audience, that may have been the particular artwork. But at the end of the day when the static ad is performing better, you're going to go with the static ad for the most bang for your buck, and that's an important thing to know. It's a little bit counterintuitive because you think, "Oh well, you know digital you can do all the things and have all the bells and whistles," and it can be exciting and dynamic. And sometimes people just don't want that.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: And to go back real fast because you used a term that not everyone might be familiar with - A/B testing is the process of showing two versions of the same ads to two sets of audiences. What you usually do if you change like one variable, for instance the artwork, or maybe you're trying out long-form content vs. short-form content and you're letting these ads run at the same time, and they're running under the same budget so they're getting the proper amount of money allocated to them. So you can make sure that you're getting enough relevant data to make a decision as to which ad is actually performing best. And it was one of the best tools you can do to zero in on your messaging and what's actually working for you. Another really great example of that is a client that wanted to generate leads, they needed new signups up for the newsletter. We had a form on Facebook, a lead gen form, and we also had an ad that led them to a landing page on their website so they can sign up directly on the website. And I would say this is a time where I was proven wrong. I was under the impression that the landing page was actually going to do better with their audience, but that wasn't the case. They love being able to sign up in Facebook, not leave what they were doing and go on with their life. So it's a moment where you just don't know until you test.

I would say that the three things that we had talked about today are kind of your basic building blocks for PPC. Learn who your audience is, narrow down your campaign objectives, and test your hypothesis. This strategy that you end up with, it's going to be different for every person or every business depending on the budget or the size or what they're selling. It's not going to be, 1 + 2 is always going to equal 3. Sometimes 3 + 3 equals 6. You just have to be patient with yourself, be patient with your results, and then analyze the data and adjust accordingly, as you go and know that it's ever-moving, it's ever-changing, but you can definitely do it.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: That's really great information. And it's transferable across different types of channels too. I mean, it's just a good foundation for marketing, but it's really beneficial in a digital advertising world because we can do that testing and we can shift, right? And so it allows us to get information faster and to be able to apply it faster, whereas it used to be you have to launch a campaign and it would be out in the world for a year before you'd know what your return on that investment was. Now you can watch and in a couple of months, you might know whether or not something will work...maybe even less than a couple of months, to be honest. But the more data you have, the better. And it's real-time and you can see what's working and what's not. And then you can adjust, and so you're not launching a full campaign. You don't have to be a Coca-Cola that has millions and millions of dollars to be able to launch a campaign out into the world and just hope that it works.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Exactly. So if you're if you're using Google or Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, and you're seeing that a tactic is not working, just building off what you're saying, Alex, you're not stuck in this tactic or stuck with the thought of having to stop the advertising and then you know, pay out the contract or anything - you can shift, you can change, you can upload a different image that day if you need to.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: And then you can use those insights and then transfer them into the rest of your integrated marketing campaigns. So you can start in a $700 a month Facebook ad and then take those insights from that and use it in direct mail which is a much larger investment, or billboards or even TV advertising, and you can take those insights and say, yes, now we've narrowed it down. We know the messaging that really speaks to our audience and we know where that audience is, so we can take it and we can hit all of those various integrated marketing, you know, touch points.

[Cuts to Colleen.]

Colleen: Yeah that's a really good point, don't silo your data. Don't say that because it happened on Facebook it's only applicable on Facebook. That's not necessarily the case at all. It's telling you who your customer is, what they want to hear, the way they are engaging with you and what they're responding to. So use it.

[Cuts to Alex.]

Alex: Absolutely.

[Cuts to Chris.]

Chris: This was great guys.

Alex: This was fun.

Chris: I know. Thanks Colleen, thanks Alex. This is the first of many to come. And we have again–

Alex: On different topics, right Chris?

Chris: [nodding] –on different topics.

Colleen: [laughing] It's not always going to be my face.

Chris: [laughing] Absolutely. So our full trend reports include design, marketing, web, social media, and SEO. We basically cover the gamut of current trends and how to get your communication messages out to the right audiences, the right places. It changes so fast that we're really finding this to be a helpful thing for our company, and we're happy to share it with yours. So go ahead and click the link and download our trend reports for free. This was great and we look forward to being able to talk to you again about some things that we are excited about, and hope you are too. Thanks.

[Graphics appear on a patterned purple background: The red thread brands logo, ‘stay tuned for more red thread talks’ and ‘www.redthreadbrands.com’.]

Back
Close

Voice Search