It is pretty widely acknowledged that anyone who feels they’re being advertised to probably isn’t enjoying that experience. Just look at the rate of adoption for ad blocking software – 615 million devices across the globe at the end of last year.
That said, people certainly don’t hate adverts. Take the John Lewis Christmas ad, for example. Every year the hype for whatever tear-jerking cinematic masterpiece they have come up with this time, gets bigger and bigger.
The question then, is one of relevancy, and whether people value the message and delivery mechanism they are being presented with. We know people are becoming increasingly banner blind, to the degree that content discovery networks make a living by serving ads disguised as genuine content.
I would argue digital natives are probably not going to click on your ads, except by accident. They typically lack relevancy to the audience at the moment they are seen.
But what if your strategy was centred around creating media which is targeted; content which is of value to your audience and relevant to their needs? This is Organic Digital.
The notion of discovery
The way people find, digest and process digital information is evolving rapidly. Information has been freed from its means of distribution and can be accessed anywhere on a huge range of devices.
In this new landscape, your brand needs to be able to take advantage of these avenues to consumers, where and when appropriate, to deliver the best possible experience to that person, at the time they need you.
When they do find you, be it through a search engine, a beautifully told story in a favourite publication or through their peers on social media, it is self-initiated. They have taken the first step and so are far more likely to take the last – and convert.
Owned vs earned media
Discovery happens in two ways – through owned media and earned media – and it’s important to understand the levers you can pull to get the most out of both.
Owned media is that which you directly control. Be it your main website, a campaign micro-site, an app, or any other digital asset you own. You have complete control over the experience you serve from technical foundations, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness and crawlability, right through to the content your customers digest and interact with and how it is presented on the front end.
Missing the small details and not obsessing over performance can both hamper your ability to be discovered in search and social, as well as hold your revenue back as ever-more savvy consumers get frustrated with the experience you provide.
Earned media is anything on the web where someone is talking about your brand. It may be thanks to you sheer brand power, appearances in the news or as a result of PR or marketing efforts.
Regardless of how, conversations are happening around your brand on the web, and you need to be steering and developing them to support your campaigns and increase discoverability.
Building and outreaching amazing assets to key influencers, amplifying on social channels and even making your previous PR efforts work harder by reclaiming links; if you understand what works on the internet, you can maximise the effects of your earned media.
Converting your audience
Discovery is one thing; making your relationship with the consumer meaningful is another entirely. Achieving your business goals through strategically relevant, well-structured and well-designed content is the conversion element of Organic Digital.
A wide range of conversions and micro-conversions happen across, through and around your digital presence from clicks, to downloads, to purchases. Giving your customers a beautiful, unified experience – no matter where they interact with you – is no less than they deserve and, increasingly, expect.
Imagine gearing every digital asset you own around conversion. Each one beautifully branded, device agnostic and centred completely around turning visitors into customers at every stage of the purchasing funnel.
Building trust and brand credibility used to be the domain of the ad men but the giants of Madison Avenue have been replaced with user journey experts, CRO specialists and design & dev teams.
No Organic Digital campaign can be successful without first deciding the metrics by which it will be measured. Far too often we see things the other way around, with a piece of work already produced and launched, with no foresight in planning as to how it would benefit the business. Time and again these flop, or achieve vanity KPIs that have no effect on the business in question.
Once we know what we want to measure and why, we can craft our campaign messaging, formats and channels.
Instead of blindly chasing links for SEO, for example, wouldn’t it be liberating to have a complete understanding of why a certain section of your website is performing as it is, and a clear, coherent action plan to improve performance and report back to your boss, their boss and even their boss?
As an agency, we know first-hand how difficult it is to measure, track and communicate the results of organic activity, but therein lies the opportunity. Taking the time to understand what is important to you and how we measure that, is win-win for everyone.
So what is it?
Organic Digital is about giving your brand the best possible chance of being discovered: from the technical foundations of your digital assets, to optimizing your product pages for search, to getting a beautifully told story published in a publication relevant to your audience.
It is about taking an engaged audience and helping them convert on any of your digital assets to form a long-lasting emotional connection with your brand.
It is about quantifying your activity through data, learning and optimizing to drive performance, and ensuring everyone in your business knows about the performance of your organic channels in a format meaningful to them.
Ultimately, Organic Digital represents an innate understanding of what works on the internet.