Using Digital To Grow in 2020


On 7th February we hosted our Using Digital to Grow in 2020 event where marketers from businesses across Manchester attended to hear from Facebook, Google and Return’s Managing Director Guy Levine, who all shared their expert advice. They gave knowledge and tips to help businesses that are looking to scale, combat rising click costs and dominate their market. If you missed out on the event, lucky for you we have the event content covered for you here. 



The first speaker at the event was Chris Swadling, an Agency Partner Manager at Facebook who manages the relationships with independent agencies in the UK&I. He talked us through the main three trends that can be seen on the platform and things to consider when thinking about how businesses actually engage with consumers and when building adverts on Facebook.


Video Content

The first trend is video. The way audiences are consuming content is what marketers need to be most aware of. Chris notes that 78% of all data on a mobile will be video by 2021 and so this needs to taken into consideration; viewing behavior is changing. Captivated audiences are also becoming a lot harder to reach, and advertisers need to understand the multiple ecosystems of video content. This includes both long and short form and the different platforms available, and all need to be considered to capture your user across every stage of their journey. 

Facebook has invested quite heavily in that ecosystem, specifically with long form content by creating Facebook Watch. This is part of an organic strategy that advertisers can use to tell consumers more about who they are and more about their products or services. Globally 720 million people are watching one minute every month, and 140 million people are watching one minute every day. And on average, with a global audience, around 26 minutes a day is being watched on Facebook Watch. 

Video Content



Trend number two is messaging and a huge aspect in this is the emergence of conversational commerce, i.e. a means for people to actually communicate and transact with businesses through messaging facilities.Marketers need to take two different ecosystems, commerce and conversation, and combine them together. 

Facebook consider themselves to be a full funnel solution. They’re ultimately a platform that is able to reach people from a brand perspective at the very top of the funnel, but also when customers are close to their purchase at the lower end of the funnel as well. In terms of communication and conversation strategy, this is what it could look like at each of those stages. Communication between businesses and consumers ultimately adds convenience, offers flexibility and adds confidence and a layer of trust to you as a business. Putting some of this into action, you need to offer consideration and inspiration. You need to be able to fulfill and track what you’re doing. And you also need to use it as a means for remarketing, and increase that lifetime value.



AR and VR

AR and VR are becoming more engaged with, now that the average person’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. A way of combating this issue is through the immersive experience and actually creating more engagement through the context of ads. Although for small businesses AR and VR may be more of a long term plan, the concept of evolving your business is something you need to be actioning towards. 

As mentioned before, Facebook is a full funnel solution. At the discovery stage, marketers can introduce products or services to new consumers and at the inquiry phase, add any layers of immersiveness into the way they sell their story to new consumers. At the purchase stage, video-based content is always effective at driving more efficiencies. And finally, increasing lifetime value at the bottom end of the funnel, it can be used to re-engage users post-purchase.



The next speaker was Finn McDufie, who works on the agency team at Google. Finn talked about the power of machine learning and how to tap into the mass amounts of data and neural networks that Google creates in order to better target your ads.


Machine Learning

The future of Google ads is machine learning. Google’s data knows so much about their users and marketers should tap into that and all those intent rich moments. This allows your business the opportunity to contact potential customers when they’re ready to hear from you. The adverts being targeted at customers really need to be hyper relevant and the only way to do this is if you know what they’re interested in. Consumers expect brands to know them, to know what they’re interested in and to deliver something that’s relevant to them at the given moment. 

So, machine learning is the trend carving out the future of Google ads – and it’s shaping the way people interact online as well. Instead of getting to know your customer, you need to get to know each of your customers, rather than this notional persona that you might have created for your business. 

The problem with getting to know every single customer however is that it generates far too much information for a single human being to be able to compute or adjust to in real time. This is where machine learning comes in, so hand this task over to the bots to actually figure out. It’s going to be different for each person so there will be a huge amount of information to store, especially when you’re dealing with millions and millions of users.

The power of machine learning is really affecting how we’re approaching and creating products for users. There’s never been a better time for machine learning because of the increase in computer power, but also the abundance of data and neural networks. There are so many connected devices nowadays therefore using all of that information and being able to layer them up and plot patterns is how you are able to tap into this. Machine learning is an approach to making decisions. It involves algorithms finding patterns in data and then using the information to react.

Machine Learning


Smart Creators

The creative is also a key aspect because using the right message is so important. At Google, a software called smart creators provides assets in Google ads which creates lots of different possibilities when writing out different lines of text in Google’s search results. You can allow the machine to build the ad for that user because the machine knows what the user’s interested in. 75% of advertising impact is determined by the creative quality. 

Smart Creators


Going back to a point made earlier, it’s true that people really have a very low attention span and it’s as much true for search as well as Facebook. Machine learning isn’t just about odds, it’s about making your life a little bit easier.



The final speaker at the event was Guy Levine, Managing Director at Return. The main points touched upon in his talk was how to optimise your spending on your website based on your user experience. This is completed by looking at analytics, creating a findings log, segments and evaluating with a heuristic review, and using technology to analyse users’ emotions.


From Facebook and Google, it was really interesting to hear the word that keeps coming up is ‘user’. It’s becoming more about tailoring unique experiences to people as opposed to just having this random tool set of technology that is let to run away with itself. The rising in click costs and competition is something Return are hearing a lot as an agency. It is something we really want to combat by using the power of automation and technology that has the ability to really get inside the minds of our customers and provide experiences that match with the tailoring of the adverts that we can create.

Click Costs


At Return, we support brands who are looking to increase their sales and generate more leads and that is something we do on a day-to-day basis. In order to do this, we work on generating paid traffic, optimising visibility through technical SEO and we run conversion optimisation.

Conversion optimisation


In order to get a good understanding of your customers, the first thing that we like to do is to take a deep dive into the data that they’re leaving and Google analytics is a good place to start. Looking at browser performance analytics, we get conversion rates, amount of revenue and metrics. Immediately looking at Google Analytics, before we’ve understood anything about the customer, we’ve understood more about the client and the differences in their data, which could be costing them a lot of money.

Findings Log

Everyone wants to increase their conversion rate and everyone comes up with ideas but, what do you do with the ideas once you’ve got them? Where do you put them to work through and decide what to prioritise? One thing that we suggest is creating a findings log. Simply, this is a table that tracks the method and, in this case, looking at Google Analytics, used to track your findings. If you spot any issues, these can be logged, tested, and then fixed. Now, you’ve got a fantastic way of prioritising your development backlog because fixing the things that are costing you money will be far more worthwhile investing into than things that are just going to make your site look pretty.


The other thing to look at is segments. Google Analytics has the ability to take groups of people and put mini elastic bands around them and say, these are groups of people that look like this. What you want to be able to do is to compare those groups of people against each other. Create the same segment, but when it looks for source, create seperate ones for Google and Facebook. With these major traffic sources you can see what’s different with the cart abandoners for example, and which have seen more transactions completed and are worthwhile investing into. Lots of data ranges go into Analytics and you can create several of them to analyse.

Heuristic Review

Another thing to look into on your website is creating a heuristic review. A heuristic evaluation, in a nutshell, is looking through your user interface and to see what’s working and what isn’t working. You should go through your own site and review it for the following: clarity, relevancy, friction, distraction and motivation. From this you will be able to start building a really good analysis, showing the things you can test on your website, things to build and what to start prioritising around how much each of those is either going to cost you or take in development time.

The Emotions

It’s all very well being able to have the technology to create experiences for individual people from where they’re based and what their habits are. But the one thing you cannot judge is whether someone is having a good or bad day, and how they are going to react to your business off the back of that.

A great software we use a lot to help identify user emotions is Hotjar. We use our biometric analysis,that includes the eye gaze tracking, facial decoding and emotional peak markers, to show how engaged users are. Users’ emotions are really showing and although you could have the best targeting and the best technology, if people come to your site and get angry, this is not going to be good. Our faces give a good indication as to what’s going on with our emotions, and from recording users’ experience, you can then go back to your findings log and add comments such as ‘there is confusion and frustration on certain elements such as a form fill’.

In summary, what we’ve done here is analysed the things that aren’t working properly, from the devices to the browsers, and looked at the revenue that the pages are creating. Then we went through and had a look through all of the elements: frustration, relevancy, motivation, distraction, friction throughout the whole site and picked out the things that are costing you as a business. Finally, we’ve done some more sophisticated testing to build the finding logs full of the things that we want to test, to go back and say which ones are going to cost us lots of money to do. And that’s how we basically take the traffic that we’re generating, we get it spot on and then we create a user experience that is going to do that money that we’re spending on acquisition justice.



If you want to know how Return can help your business scale, combat rising click costs and dominate your market, contact us here – we’d love to hear from you.

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