The most effective marketing strategy for CPG brands is an omnichannel strategy. You’re likely already dividing your marketing budget between traditional broadcasting, print advertising, digital advertising, and maybe social media—and all of these channels work together to increase brand awareness and hopefully steal market share from competitors who are doing the exact same thing.
The beauty of the omnichannel strategy is its inherent flexibility. As the market shifts, you can A/B test and integrate new marketing channels that will be most effective for your business in the coming months.
Three of the Most Effective Marketing Channels for CPG Brands
The most effective marketing channels will depend on your particular situation, but the following three strategies are currently your best bet for maximizing opportunities in digital advertising. They should definitely be on your radar if you aren’t pursuing them already.
#1: Online Paid Advertising
We’d be willing to bet you’re already doing some significant work in this channel already—but are you utilizing the most up-and-coming methods within paid advertising? PPC and display ads seem to be losing priority in the wake of bigger and better opportunities that target your most valuable customers where they spend the most time: on social media, video streaming platforms, and the online marketplace.
CPG brands will find that paid video ads on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook (and the newest craze platform, TikTok) are likely to bring in far more revenue than your internally-run social media campaigns themselves. The “stories” feature on each of these platforms is the perfect place for video ads to gain traction in 2020 and beyond.
Streaming platforms like Hulu, YouTube, and now Facebook Watch offer a unique opportunity for CPG brands to place full-length video advertisements that must be watched to completion. It’s like broadcast advertising on steroids—because of the sheer volume of users consuming content on these platforms on a daily basis, this is one category not to miss out on.
Amazon is already the #3 digital ad seller in the United States, and eMarketer forecasts that by the end of 2021 one out of every ten digital advertising dollars will be spent for placements on this platform. CPG brands should be capitalizing on the sponsored products and sponsored display categories—the second of which is still in beta and therefore has a lot of room for growth in the coming years.
#2: Search Engine Optimization
According to Google data, 80% of shoppers say mobile searches impact their purchasing decisions in the CPG category. Anecdotally, we know that an incredibly high percentage of shoppers use their smartphones in stores to compare products and prices. Knowing this, it’s amazing how few CPG brands are taking advantage of SEO as a marketing channel.
As eCommerce continues to boom and buy-online-pickup-in-store grows more and more prevalent, it’s more important than ever for CPG brands and retailers to invest in a positive website UX and an impressive presence in SERP results. If you’re not actively pursuing SEO strategies, consider implementing the following:
- Prioritize your technical on-page SEO. CPG brands often maintain an inventory of tens or even hundreds of products, which makes for complex websites with thousands of unique pages—all of which need optimized meta page titles, keyword-rich H1 tags, and alt text on every image. This is a heavy lift for sure but will guarantee that your site conforms to the most foundational SEO best practices. Most importantly, do whatever it takes to streamline your website and improve site speeds. Google (and your users) will thank you.
- Create keyword-targeted blog content. Very few CPG brands maintain a regularly-published blog schedule, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be tapping into the content marketing channel. Figure out your most valuable long-tail keywords and target each of them with an original, well-written, and insightful blog post. Question keywords are particularly valuable for CPG brands looking to build out a SERP presence through Google’s “people also ask” feature, and they make great fodder for social media syndication.
- Streamline your eCommerce experience. Even with all of the technological advancements available today, online shopping at individual websites continues to be a frustrating experience for consumers. eCommerce brands identify the result of this frustration “cart abandonment”—but in the SEO world, this translates to high bounce rates and lowered “Google trust.” Whether you outsource your eCommerce to Amazon or run your own native shop on-site, make sure it’s glitch-free and lightning-fast to ease the customer path to purchase.
- Achieve balance with PPC efforts. Most major CPG brands secure PPC ads for keywords that contain their brand name—but 8 out of 10 undecided shoppers aren’t searching by brand names at all. They’re typing in product types or categories instead. Start pursuing keywords like “best toilet bowl cleaner for stains” or “what is the top organic skincare brand” through a mix of PPC and targeted original content. While PPC and SEO are decidedly separate disciplines, anecdotal evidence suggests that their partnership could be the most promising for increasing product awareness for CPG and other retail brands.
#3: In-App Advertising
Finally, we take a look at yet another emerging digital advertising trend—in-app advertising, which is often combined with proximity marketing and customer rewards. There’s a whole world of apps aside from social media that can help CPG brands reach low-funnel customers. Mobile games are an obvious choice. Innovative shopping apps are another.
Shopping rewards apps like Shopkick offer brands and retailers the opportunity to collaborate and give shoppers a truly unique experience. Our innovative shopping app turns shopping trips into scavenger hunts, rewarding customers for viewing branded content in the app, entering store locations, finding their way to sponsored products, and actually interacting with products in-aisle alongside targeted advertising. Shopkick lets you reach customers at the very moment where they’re most likely to make a purchase—in the aisle, with your product in their hands.
Here’s how a few major CPG brands are already using in-app advertising to reach their goals:
Leading up to the 2018 holiday season, Kraft leveraged Shopkick to deliver targeted advertising content to customers. Through in-app videos, holiday-themed content, and recipes, Kraft managed to increase their pre-shop consideration metrics and drive over 18 million total campaign impressions. Fifty-five percent of purchasing customers report they weren’t intending to buy the Kraft products before interacting with them within the Shopkick app.
In order to cut through the noise of the cosmetics aisle, Rimmel-London used in-app advertising through Shopkick to increase their reputation as a top beauty brand. Customers were reached and rewarded through proximity messaging and an innovative “trial in aisle” program that resulted in a 5:1 ROI. Thirty-eight percent of those new customers had never used Rimmel products before—which resulted in 14% market share stolen from their closest competitors.
Tyson also increased their brand and product awareness through a partnership with Shopkick. They launched exclusive Superbowl-related content in the app to inspire customers pre-shop, and drove a significant increase in foot traffic and in-aisle engagement through targeted video advertising. This particular campaign resulted in an overall 85% video completion rate with a sales impact of over $195K in Sam’s Club stores.
Plenty of other retailers and brands have utilized similar in-app advertising strategies using Shopkick—including big name brands in convenience products, quick-service foods, coffee, wine, and household cleaning. Read more of their success stories here.
In conclusion, the three strategies above have the potential to take any CPG brand to the next level in today’s marketplace. They could be the most effective marketing channels you experiment with this year.