Skip the traffic jam: Three alternative platforms to boost reach

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

DAC look at the different uses for Pinterest, YouTube and Reddit and recommend ways for marketers to capitalise on them.

Do you ever get the feeling that even your strongest marketing materials – complete with clever creative, on-brand content and genius hook – are having little impact on your target audience? That you're simply honking your horn into a cacophony of honking horns? If the internet in the '90s was the “information superhighway”, then 2020 sees us heading towards information implosion, with most traffic bumper-to-bumper in the same congested digital lanes.

However, there are increasingly diverse platform options out there that attract similarly diverse consumers. These groups of people are often far more receptive, engaged and specific in terms of demographics compared to traditional ad platforms and traffic sources (looking at Google and Facebook in particular). Depending on the target market of your brand, it may be more strategic and cost effective to explore these alternative traffic sources. Share a message at the right (considerate) time and at the right (strategic) place and your audiences on these alternative platforms will slow down and take a closer look.

1. Pinterest: Where Google gets its images and shoppers go for inspiration: Pinterest is a shopper's dream. For context, sites with similar audiences include Amazon, eBay and Etsy – and over 80% of Pinterest users frequently visit consumer goods/retail sites. What does that mean? The audience on this channel is largely made up of consumers looking for visual inspiration to buy.

Pinterest also has a huge audience of DIY/crafters, fitness fanatics and recipe enthusiasts – and an overwhelmingly female base. (If your brand has audiences with strong overlap with these affinities, a boosted and shoppable pin at the right time will get your content in front of receptive audiences.

Also, if having a presence on Pinterest is in line with your business objectives – and you have the resources to support the content upkeep – then a well-curated board and pins (with solid tagging and descriptions) may have a secondary benefit of boosting your SEO. Depending on the query, Google Image search results frequently feature Pinterest images in prominent positions. Through re-pins and sharing, pins themselves have a shelf-life over 1000x longer than a Facebook post.

2. YouTube: The ideal influencer platform for the right type of brand: Not only does YouTube consistently rank within the top three sites for global engagement, but YouTube content creators are some of the most creative people online. To succeed on this platform, you need to either provide a form of entertainment or educate/answer a question.

YouTube users like to learn, with the most engaged audiences frequently visiting Wikipedia, reference sites and coming to the site through search engines. The latter, of course, is perhaps unsurprising: Google owns YouTube, and it makes business sense to serve searchers videos that answer their questions.

To succeed on this channel, authenticity should also be kept in mind. After all, people don’t flock to this platform to view ads. In fact, interruptive pre-roll ads are one of the most despised marketing tactics (and often completely negated by adblockers). In many cases, brands who utilise some form of creative influencer marketing or content collaboration do better than brands who produce their own content and post to their own channels; in general, brand accounts do not attract large followings.

3. Reddit: Reach diverse yet self-organised online communities: Who can you expect to reach with Reddit, a forum-based social news aggregation and discussion channel? Informed, engaged audiences self-organised around specific content topics (known as subreddits, such as r/instantkarma) that are often advice-based and personal. Thanks to its addictive scroll UI and strategic interlinking, Reddit boasts one of the lowest bounce rates (40% compared to its competitors' 60%) with a daily time-on-site average of more than 10 minutes.

Like YouTube, Reddit also has a high percentage of search referrals to site – people come here to discover. Around 70% of users are male, although female audiences can also be reached in concentrated pockets, depending on the thread topic. Recent campaign success stories on the platform include Toyota, Coca-Cola and Duracell, who took full advantage of content options on the site including in-feed videos, threads, questions and challenges.

The right message for the right platform

Making full use of your audience data is key to understanding who you want to reach – and where you can best reach them. Every platform is different – some wildly different – with a wholly unique mix of demographics actively engaged on the channel. The right platforms for your message are the ones that are most closely aligned with your priority audiences.

While you can jump on any of the above platforms to drive traffic and awareness, be sure that this traffic is appropriately qualified for your business. In other words, be aware of the key demographics that typically frequent each channel and adjust your strategy accordingly. The most successful campaigns with the highest return on investment happen when messaging, platform and audience are driving in the same lane.

Melissa Chen, Senior content strategist at DAC.

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