Digital Intelligence Report
August 2020
Digital marketing is exploding right now. As sales departments and event coordinators around the globe grapple with business-relevant social distancing, it's digital that earns the benefit.

  • Social's uptick has been massive, so much so that one of the fastest growing channels TikTok landed in the middle of a global dispute.
  • Programmatic has ballooned to half of the spend in the U.S. and even higher in agriculture.
  • Even email, which has been riding a fairly hum drum engagement trend of the past decade bumped up sharply.
  • Meanwhile, voice and voice search was already on a hefty pace even before we had to keep everything separated. Now, it has leaped closer to the top for many tech firms.

Where does it all go when (or if) things return to more normal practices? Well, if it ever happens, it is looking like next spring/summer anyway, so most of us will have a full year of budget and marketing planning to go through. That means this digital spike brought by COVID-19 is likely to continue, possibly curving even higher.

There are speed bumps over the next 6-9 months: Privacy legislation, the death of the cookie, politicization of social media, continued lack of transparency, and things not yet in the way. Money has fixed a number of these issues in the past, or at least taken the attention away from them. Given how devastating some of these could be, I'll pin my current hopes on a repeat.

This and other commentaries are available through The Rooster Cast, a microcast on digital marketing and sales topics. Through our 123 postings, we have received more than 70,000 listens. Check it out.

Speaking of Rooster content, did you know we have an agronomist on our team? Tom Hall watches agriculture even closer than most of us, and he has some thoughts about 2021 to share: Ag Forecast 2021: Preparing for an Avalanche
SOCIAL: Influencer marketing is becoming standard for many marketers. Finding them and managing them is often a challenge. MORE ... Running out of content ideas for your organic social channels? Here is some inspiration. MORE ... Artificial intelligence might be a terrible marriage with social influence, but it might help those trying to pair the right influencers with their brand. MORE ... Here's a nice spec document for the various social channels. MORE ... How do you bust out of your mostly flat social metrics, engage your employees. MORE
  • Facebook -- How much should you anticipate paying to Facebook based on your desired outcome? How does $2.52 per click sound? MORE ... Hashtags are sort of a thing in Facebook and they have the potential to increase engagement and reach. MORE ... Facebook is testing a TikTok alternative in India, where TikTok is already banned. MORE ... Facebook is now allowing page owners to monetize virtual events. MORE ... If the president breaks standards, posts will be removed. MORE
  • Instagram -- At least for businesses, Reels is an alternative to the mess that is TikTok. MORE
  • TikTok -- The U.S. deadline to sell is Nov. 12. MORE ... TikTok now has a site and Twitter account to set the record straight. ... MORE ... Oracle has entered the buyer mix. MORE

PROGRAMMATIC: Half of U.S. digital spend is devoted to programmatic. MORE ... Of the 233 brands/products in agriculture using digital advertising in July, according to a Media Radar report, significantly more used programmatic than direct to publisher (see chart below) ... Fewer are using ad blockers on desktop than were four years ago, including only 18 percent in the U.S. MORE ... One narrative around the lose of the cookie as a targeting tool is that contextual is actually more valuable. Situational potential. MORE ... There are things to accomplish before we are done needing the cookie. MORE ... Is all of this chaos our own fault for not explaining well to consumers? MORE ... First-price auctions rule the day, and here are the reasons. MORE
CONTENT MARKETING: The content writer is usually the keeper of the content calendar, but does the graphic designer, SEO strategist and the editor/proofer have the same calendar? MORE ... Blogs, guest articles and white papers are all powerful content that scare some marketers. MORE ... Content marketing is valuable but not if the content is lazy. MORE ... Check your own strategy against this exhaustive list of basics. MORE ... Or this list of basics. MORE ... How do I talk about my highly technical brands or products? As simply as possible at first, then lead to more detail. MORE ... Finding the content you want to create is currently a stumbling block, if you don't have a digital asset management platform. MORE ... Content is pivotal for a digital marketing strategy at least these five reasons. MORE

SEARCH: Duplicate content, broken links and description issues continue to plague folks in SEO. MORE ... Google owns search in the U.S. But, for you over-achievers out there, you can also optimize your sites for 18 other search engines. MORE

MOBILE: The average mobile device user spent 27 percent of their non-sleeping time using a mobile device in April 2020. MORE

AFFILIATE MARKETING: Some publishers are offsetting revenue declines with affiliate experiences. MORE

EMAIL: You aren't going to like hearing this but only about 83 percent of emails sent actually land in the desired inbox. Eight percent land in spam folders or filters without you knowing it. Download the full report here. MORE ... Here are a few "privacy-first" email solutions providers to know about. MORE ... Could your emails use a boost? Check out this ebook from Litmus on the latest email templates. MORE ... Eighty-six percent of individuals sent an email in 2019. MORE ... In 1999, there were 400 million email accounts. Gmail launched in 2004 and by 2005, there were 750 million accounts. MORE ... Email during the pandemic is still 20 percent more engaging than before, although it is regressing. MORE ... Does your ESP use delivery verification services? It should and you should push for it. MORE ... Brevity wins the day in email, from subject lines, to copy to calls to action. MORE

VOICE: The use of voice technology, their capabilities and their growing necessity have been exploding during the pandemic. MORE

TECHNOLOGY: Continued martech platform convergence, the returning relevance of context and the new data transaction are trends to watch today. MORE

PRIVACY: CCPA 2.0 is on the November ballot in California and includes some key additions to the original. You need to know about this because it will likely pass. MORE

DIGITAL MARKETING: "Keep in mind that while B2B buyers want the same transparency, simplicity, and speed of the B2C buying experience, their needs are often more complex and come with a higher risk." Amanda Mountain, VP of Marketing Communications at SAP Digital Commerce MORE ... Digital marketers and tech companies talk a great transparency game but drag their feet to actually deliver on it. MORE .. .The world of digital marketing isn't nearly as dire as Augustine Fao says in this article, but it is a good reminder to know your dollars are up against martech, viewability, data variances and fraud. MORE ... The loss of the cookie is huge, but a reliance on old tech and taking the art out of the science are also troublespots in the future. MORE ... More technology and external help in 2020 while we see declines in paid media and labor. MORE
For more details on any of the topics covered here, contact Rooster’s Chief Digital Officer James Arnold:
Cell: (913) 291-6996
Microcast/Podcast: The Rooster Cast
The goal of the Rooster Strategic Solutions Digital Intelligence Report is to provide intelligence around the digital product landscape. What is coming next. How to use what you already have. Who might be doing it right.