Blending ROAS and Direct Tracking Into a Powerful Marketing Tool

Blending ROAS and Direct Tracking Into a Powerful Marketing Tool

Interview by Vianca Meyer
Published: February 12, 2024

Short-form video dominates as the #1 media format, with a 50% engagement rate and 92% of marketers praising its ROI. With 56% of digital marketers planning to up their TikTok spend and nearly as many targeting YouTube and Instagram, the trend is clear.

In an insightful discussion with DesignRush, Ana Aragon explores the leading digital marketing trends for 2024.

Aragon talks about the power of short-form video, strategic platform choices, and blending AI with human insight. She outlines White Shark Media's readiness for SEO evolution and stresses the necessity of an omnichannel strategy amidst emerging marketing shifts.


Who Is Ana Aragon?

Ana Aragon serves as the Director of Marketing at White Shark Media, holding degrees in Business Administration and an MBA from Ave Maria and Thomas More universities, respectively. Starting as a marketing intern and ascending through the ranks over seven years, Ana now spearheads the company's marketing strategy, blending inbound and outbound tactics to enhance brand visibility, stimulate demand, and secure profitability. Her expertise and dedication are instrumental in White Shark Media's success in digital marketing.

DesignRush: White Shark Media handles several types of digital marketing, from SEO to social media marketing. Which companies can benefit the most from your services?

Aragon: We serve two types of clients, small and medium-sized businesses, and marketing agencies.

On the former, we position brands in the healthcare, legal, eCommerce and home services industries on the market. We run marketing campaigns such as PPC, SEO, Social Media Advertising, Web Design and development, LSA campaigns, and creative services to drive traffic, leads and sales, as well as enhance brand awareness.

Regarding marketing agencies, we offer white-label services, such as PPC, SEO and Social Media Advertising, so that they can outsource the day-to-day technical aspect of providing marketing services to focus on sales and customer service.

Short-form video content has gained a lot of traction in recent years. How do you see this trend evolving, and what are some of the best strategies companies can use to maximize it?

Companies can take advantage of the power of video in both organic and advertising capacities. Given our innate preference for visual content, delivering appealing and informative material in video format that is strategically distributed across relevant channels, can significantly boost brand awareness and demand generation.

The surge in popularity of Reels is evident, and this trend is poised to continue in the coming year. Crafting content specifically tailored for Reels can substantially enhance campaign performance. With over 200 billion daily reel plays on Instagram and Facebook, Reels effectively transforms attention into actionable engagement.

YouTube is another pivotal platform for cultivating awareness and demand. The creation of educational videos about our products and services helps maintain a consistently engaged and relevant audience.

When it comes to video advertising on YouTube, leveraging Performance Max (PMax) campaigns is an effective strategy to integrate video into Google Mix, thereby enhancing search results.

PMax, a goal-based campaign type, empowers performance advertisers to tap into their entire Google Ads inventory within a single campaign, encompassing video content. It is a cost-efficient approach that spans every channel and stage of the funnel.

Therefore, a strategic blend of organic, educational videos, and concise advertising content is imperative for brands to distinguish themselves and make a lasting impact.

How do you choose the best platform to invest in?

As a seasoned company with over 14 years in the market, the challenge of selecting a singular platform or channel for investment is a nuanced one. We have adopted the blended Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) approach, recognizing the limitations of relying solely on direct channel tracking.

In the early stages of a business, direct channel tracking proves invaluable, allowing you to allocate resources only to advertising channels that demonstrate profitability. However, as you scale, this method becomes a constraining factor.

The strength of a blended ROAS strategy lies in the acknowledgment that achieving 100% accuracy in tracking every channel is impractical. Instead, the focus shifts to establishing a target for marketing costs that your business can afford at specific revenue levels.

Channel-specific ROAS targets become a strategic exercise aimed at maximizing revenue within the overall marketing budget. The specific ROAS figures in individual channels, whether 1x or 20x, become (partially) less critical.

This approach liberates us from protracted debates about the intricate nuances of how various marketing channels attribute differently. However, it's crucial to note that we employ tools such as Pardot, Salesforce and Tableau to discern which channels yield optimal results in terms of demand generation and revenue.

While we concentrate on those high-performing channels, it remains essential to appreciate the omnichannel approach and recognize the broader impact of other channels on the dynamics of the "best-performing channels."

One of the services White Shark Media provides is LinkedIn advertising. Given its unique position as a business and professional networking platform, what's your approach to LinkedIn?

We assess each client based on their unique needs and target audience, recognizing that LinkedIn, being a professional networking platform, may not be the ideal fit for everyone.

For B2B clients, however, LinkedIn offers a compelling opportunity to precisely target audiences based on job titles and decision-making roles.

Despite initial concerns about budget requirements for optimal results, digital marketing experts consistently highlight that the leads generated on LinkedIn are highly qualified, bringing substantial long-term value to businesses.

Incorporating traffic campaigns into our strategies proves to be a valuable complement, merging brand awareness and increased website traffic. The effectiveness of these campaigns hinges on the compelling content presented in visuals or ad copies, enticing users to click and explore further.

By continually optimizing our traffic campaigns, we not only attract new users to the website but also drive engagement on our LinkedIn page, creating a holistic approach to audience growth and brand visibility.

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LinkedIn is lowering the visibility of posts that have outbound links. How do you counter this in your strategy?

To overcome this challenge, our strategy focuses on native content creation to maximize visibility within the platform. We prioritize posts that encourage engagement, utilizing text-based updates, images and videos.

When external links are necessary, we strategically place them in the comments section to maintain post visibility. Additionally, we diversify content types and leverage LinkedIn Articles for in-depth insights hosted on the platform.

Monitoring LinkedIn's algorithm changes is crucial, allowing us to adapt our approach and ensure effective communication with our audience.

While considering LinkedIn Ads for targeted visibility, our overall strategy revolves around understanding and adapting to the evolving preferences of the platform to maintain engagement and visibility.

Data is a valuable tool for marketing, but it can sometimes be misused or misinterpreted. What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when analyzing data, and how can they prevent them?

As a marketer employing diverse advertising channels and strategies, some of which are challenging to quantify on paper like networking and brand awareness, we continue to rely on the blended ROAS approach, as previously mentioned.

However, when it comes to tools, I've encountered a persistent challenge in finding a solution with consistently accurate data. In response, I've opted for a more traditional approach, utilizing old-school spreadsheets to meticulously track investments and results.

This manual tracking system allows me to cross-reference with the automated systems, which occasionally exhibit inaccuracies for two primary reasons: either inherent issues with the tool itself or discrepancies arising from the human component.

Manually updating a tool can be cumbersome, but some tools still necessitate this manual input.

While data is undeniably crucial, as marketers, we must recognize the indispensable role played by our gut instinct and creativity in shaping the effectiveness of our strategies. It's imperative never to overlook the subjective elements that contribute to the success of a marketing approach.

White Shark Media offers the expertise of several marketing professionals. Is this the best approach in a world increasingly focused on generative AI and automation?

Absolutely. While AI undeniably enhances efficiency, the strategic insight and creativity inherent in human thinking remain irreplaceable, and it seems unlikely that this will change soon.

Our target audience consists of people, not robots, emphasizing the importance of emotions and establishing meaningful connections on a deeper level.

Within our team, a significant portion of our efforts is dedicated to strategic planning and crafting impactful campaigns for our clients. We leverage tools like Optmyzer and DataFeedWatch to streamline repetitive tasks and boost efficiency.

What role does generative AI play in White Shark Media, and what are the main benefits you derive from it?

Over the past few years, we have methodically integrated AI, particularly in the realms of operations and finance within our business.

This strategic adoption has afforded us enhanced insights and a heightened level of visibility, enabling us to pinpoint areas for improvement and implement data-driven changes.

The overarching goal is to curtail costs and establish a more streamlined operational system that centralizes all aspects of our business.

However, it's crucial to emphasize that the heart of our campaigns is fundamentally human-driven, relying on the nuanced expertise and creativity that only humans can provide.

We recently interviewed SEO expert Lily Ray regarding Google’s SGE and its potential future impact on SEO. How is White Shark Media preparing for models that may favor content directly answering user queries over providing multiple website options?

In response to the evolving landscape introduced by Google's Search Guidance Engine (SGE) and its potential impact on SEO, White Shark Media is proactively preparing by adopting a multifaceted strategy.

Recognizing the shift towards favoring content that directly answers user queries, the company places a strong emphasis on improving content quality. Through continuous testing and monitoring of the Search AI SERP results, White Shark Media diligently identifies and prioritizes the signals that matter most.

Additionally, the focus extends to optimizing for conversational search, aligning with the evolving nature of user queries. The commitment to following SEO best practices and guidelines remains steadfast, ensuring a solid foundation for sustainable performance.

Simultaneously, the company directs efforts toward understanding and addressing user intent, enhancing customer engagement, and prioritizing a seamless user experience.

This holistic approach positions White Shark Media to navigate and adapt to the potential shifts introduced by models emphasizing direct user query responses within the SEO landscape.

Which marketing trends do you expect to emerge in 2024, and how is White Shark Media preparing for them?

The industry is poised for increased focus on privacy, ongoing growth of video content, intensified utilization of AI, the official commencement of third-party cookie deprecation, and the adoption of comprehensive full-funnel strategies to drive demand.

As the marketing landscapes evolve, these trends underscore the need for adaptability and strategic alignment with emerging consumer preferences and industry shifts.

White Shark Media is actively expanding its product portfolio to ensure our clients seamlessly embrace an omnichannel marketing strategy, optimizing their marketing efforts for superior results.

This entails the incorporation of various offerings such as web design and development, video creation and editing, LSA campaigns, UX/UI, and more.

In addition, our close collaboration with Google underscores our commitment to safeguarding clients from the impacts of industry changes, including the deprecation of third-party cookies.

This proactive approach reinforces our dedication to providing comprehensive solutions that address evolving marketing challenges and align with industry advancements.

Will short-form video content still be king in 2024?

In 2024, the enduring prevalence of short-form video content on platforms like Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts reflects a transformative shift in digital consumption habits.

These concise and captivating videos have become indispensable tools for brands and creators, providing a dynamic means of conveying messages, showcasing products, and fostering genuine connections with audiences.

Short-form videos and their potent impact are here to stay, solidifying their role as a crucial and lasting element in the evolving landscape of digital marketing.

Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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