marketing team working on a split test

When Testing New Channels, Should You Go Higher or Lower In The Funnel?

marketing team working on a split test

Growth—as we’re ALL too well aware at Tuff – is an ever-changing landscape. New platforms and channels are constantly emerging, and each of them promises untapped growth potential. With so many options, it’s often difficult for growth marketing teams to decide where to best allocate their resources: proven channels, new channels, or both?

This question often sparks a larger conversation. How many channels do we test at once? Which do we test first? What percentage of our marketing budget should we allocate to testing new channels? 

All of these are fair and important questions, and in this article, I’m going to talk about how we think about channel experimentation and testing at Tuff. 

Users > Channels

When we think about which new channels to pursue, or defining the right channel mix each month for our partners, it’s often helpful to reframe the conversation. Users, not marketing channels, are at the forefront of our decision-making. 

Our growth teams will start with the target audience and ask: Who are they? What channels are they most receptive to? From there, once we’ve built out value props, it’s a lot easier to select and test different growth campaigns. The channels with the potential to have the greatest impact are often the ones your target customers use the most. 

We also aren’t afraid to challenge oour assumptions. You might think that TikTok––probably the biggest new channel in recent years––is only really suited to selling eCommerce products. And it is a great platform for that. But at Tuff, we’ve also seen real success with TikTok campaigns for B2B and Fintech brands

When you’re building your campaign testing strategy, think users first, but keep your options open: new channels often surprise you. 

Full Funnel, Customer-First Approach

In any growth marketing strategy, different channels have different roles. Some channels are great at driving brand awareness that creates future demand for your products and services. Others are best suited to delivering that final nudge that makes customers convert. Understanding the role each channel plays in a full-funnel marketing strategy is key.

When we map out which campaign strategies fit best in each stage of your customer funnel, we make sure you’re using the right metrics to assess the performance of different campaigns. 

A top-of-funnel awareness campaign might not have a super high conversion rate, but that doesn’t mean it’s not playing an important role in your overall channel mix. Instead of using conversion-focused metrics to judge performance on these campaigns, we will use metrics like Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM), Click Through Rate (CTR), brand lift on search, and more. Top-of-funnel campaigns introduce potential customers to your brand and influence purchase decisions, and we judge their performance based on how well they do that. 

At the bottom of the funnel, users have high levels of purchase intent and often just need a nudge from a conversion-focused campaign to convert. For these campaigns, we will assess performance based on metrics like Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Conversion Rate (CVR), and last-click revenue. 

It can be tempting to focus all of your attention on improving conversion rates at the bottom of the funnel. Improvements here are the most noticeable: they directly contribute to your bottom line. But you have to create demand before you can capture it, and in order to grow, you need to reach beyond your existing audience and bring more traffic into the top of your funnel. 

Testing Strategy

Once we’ve decided which channels to test and determined the role they play at different stages of your marketing funnel, it’s time execute. Here are things we consider at Tuff when dialing in our campaign strategy: 

  • Budget: generally speaking, you should dedicate at least $5,000 – $10,000 in ad spend to testing out a new channel. Any less and it’s difficult to get concrete performance insights.
  • Bandwidth: launching new campaigns, regardless of the channel, takes a lot of work. Make sure your internal team or growth marketing agency has the bandwidth to spend time building and refining a detailed strategy for each channel––there’s no sense spreading your resources too thin and executing poorly.
  • Creative Assets: testing out entirely new channels often demands a range of specific creative assets. For some intent-based channels like Bing or Google where ads are text-based, you don’t need a big inventory of graphics and videos. But for channels like YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook, you definitely want a library of creative assets to test and optimize. 

In general, our testing strategies are typically geared toward producing quick learnings. Not every channel is a fit for every business. Our job as a growth marketer is to identify the channels that work for your business and then continuously test, iterate, and optimize that strategy. 

Tuff’s Approach to Testing New Channels

At Tuff, we’ve got the specialists to test just about any marketing channel you can think of: from Reddit to Spotify. 

When it comes to budget allocations, we like to invest 60-80% of your budget into improving established marketing channels that already work for your business, and 20-40% into testing new channels. 

As we test and learn, we cut what doesn’t work and scale what does. 

Your Guide to Different Types of Marketing Agencies (and how to choose the best fit for your business!)

people working in a conference room

Finding the right fit (whether it’s Tuff, a different agency, or in-house hires) that can step in and help you hit your goals requires due diligence. Ane while no one type of agency is inherently better than another, there are certainly some types of agencies that are better suited to your company’s needs than others. 

If you’ve decided to hire an agency, this guide exists to help you understand which type of marketing agency could be the best fit for your business. We’ll give you a rundown of all the different types of marketing agencies out there today, exploring the services they offer and the value they bring to the table. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these different types of agencies below: 

  • Advertising Agency
  • Account-Based Marketing Agency
  • Brand Marketing Agency
  • Creative Marketing Agency
  • Digital Marketing Agency
  • Growth Marketing Agency
  • Paid Media Marketing Agency
  • Performance Marketing Agency
  • Specialized Marketing Agencies e.g. SEO Agencies, TikTok Agencies

Advertising Agency

Advertising agencies are the prototypical marketing agency. They create commercials for traditional mediums including print advertising and TV ads and typically work with larger, more mature brands. It’s their job to draft snappy ad copy, create aesthetically-pleasing artwork, and secure premium slots on popular platforms and channels. 

Seen Mad Men? That’s an advertising agency. Today’s ad agencies work a little differently from the old-school world of Don Draper, but their core focus remains the same. But while they bring creative genius to your marketing collateral, advertising agencies often lack the technical capacity to manage complex, multi-channel digital campaigns. 

If you’re looking to boost brand awareness using traditional marketing channels, an advertising agency might be a good fit. But if you need a digital-first approach, you’d likely be better served by a different type of agency. 

Account-Based Marketing Agency

Account-based marketing strategies take a customized approach to each of your customers. The goal is to implement “land and expand” strategies to grow your business with clients over time. You do this by taking a very customized approach to serving each client. 

When you work with an account-based marketing agency, they’ll closely align your sales strategy with your marketing strategy. They’ll give you the tools you need to create meaningful long-term relationships with your customers, helping you maximize revenue per customer. An account-based marketing agency also focuses on identifying decision-makers and investing in strategies that can sway their opinion in your favor. 

If your business has a small number of clients that are responsible for the majority of your revenue, an account-based marketing agency is a good fit for you. They’ll be able to minimize churn and help you grow your existing accounts. However, if you’re more focused on attracting new users to drive revenue, account-based marketing probably isn’t the best fit for you. 

Brand Marketing Agency

Brand marketing agencies specialize in creating and launching brands. There are various elements to the work performed by brand marketing agencies. They’ll help you define the core value proposition of your brand and will develop visual assets and messaging that portray this to consumers. 

If you’re going through a rebrand, you might work with a brand marketing agency to design a new logo and refresh your branded content. Working with a brand marketing agency tends to be a project-based engagement: once the branding and messaging are delivered, the partnership usually ends. 

Branding comes before other types of marketing. Before embarking on large-scale marketing campaigns, it’s worth partnering with a branding agency to ensure your brand is well-positioned for success. Think of brand marketing agencies as stylists – they’ll ensure your brand is looking sharp before you head off to the main event: your growth strategy.  

Creative Marketing Agency

The term “creative marketing agency” is a bit of a catch-all term. Creative agencies can either be full-service: meaning they provide a wide range of marketing services, or more focused on delivering creative assets. 

Full-service creative agencies provide a range of different services: they can support everything from design to ad buying. These agencies tend to have large teams with specialists focused on different service areas. Partly because of this, they can be expensive to work with. 

Smaller creative agencies focus on working with brands to produce creative assets that can be used in marketing campaigns. Depending on the focus of the agency, this could be anything from redesigning the brand’s website to producing new collateral that the brand can use in social media ads. 

Recent years have seen some agencies (including Tuff!) start offering in-house creative services to bridge the gap between campaign management and creative. This approach marries creative with data: delivering better, more efficient creative in a much shorter time frame. 

Digital Marketing Agency

Digital marketing agencies are among the most prevalent types of marketing agencies you’ll see as you explore the agency space. Most digital marketing agencies provide a wide range of services across different marketing channels. Common service areas include Pay Per Click (PPC), social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and more. 

While some digital marketing agencies cover every online channel, some are more specialized, only focusing on one or two channels. There are pros and cons to both approaches: a full-service digital marketing agency might lack the channel expertise a specialized agency brings, but equally, having a full-service agency ensures a consistent customer experience across your entire marketing funnel. 

One thing to keep in mind is that digital marketing agencies are more tactical than strategic in their execution. The best digital agencies bring a nuanced, strategic approach that combines multiple digital channels in one marketing funnel, but this isn’t always the case. But if you have a proven growth strategy and want to optimize execution, a digital marketing agency could be a good fit. 

Growth Marketing Agency

Growth marketing agencies build efficient, scalable marketing strategies that use a combination of marketing tools to build a sustainable long-term growth strategy. To do this, growth marketing agencies test a wide variety of acquisition channels, doubling down on the channels that work and cutting the ones that don’t. 

When you work with a growth marketing agency, you can expect your partnership to begin with a short research process. This time helps the agency understand which channels work best for your business, identify low-hanging fruit, and map out your growth marketing funnel. 

After your campaigns have launched, growth marketing agencies rigorously track the performance of every marketing channel and asset, using this data to constantly improve the effectiveness of your strategy. 

Paid Media Marketing Agency

Paid media agencies primarily focus on programmatically buying digital advertising on platforms like Google, Facebook, TikTok, and more. Many paid media marketing agencies focus on a particular type of paid media marketing, such as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), while others offer a wider range of media buying services. 

Paid media marketing agencies are often channel experts in their respective areas. If you have an existing Google Ads strategy that you’re looking to scale, the expertise of a paid media marketing agency can help lead that process. They’ll refine your targeting criteria, optimize your bidding strategies, and rewrite your ads to unlock performance improvements. 

However, if you need a strategic partner with the capacity to quarterback your entire growth strategy, a paid media marketing agency likely isn’t the best fit. These agencies bring tactical expertise when you’ve already determined the best growth levers: not the strategic chops to envision multi-strategy campaigns. 

Performance Marketing Agency

Performance marketing agencies are similar to paid media marketing agencies, with one notable distinction. While many paid media marketing agencies work on a retainer basis, performance marketing agencies typically charge a percentage of ad spend, revenue, or profit. 

If you need a data-driven partner that’s going to dive into the details of your Facebook Ad campaigns, a performance agency might be a good fit. They’ll take ownership of your campaigns and aim to hit certain performance benchmarks, such as Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

To achieve these metrics, they’ll constantly tweak your campaigns to squeeze out every last ounce of profit. But again, much like with paid media marketing agencies, if you’re looking for a more holistic approach, you’d likely be better served by a different type of marketing agency. 

Specialized Marketing Agencies

As new marketing channels emerge, specialized marketing agencies pop up to cater to the growing community of brands who want to advertise on these platforms. One recent example is TikTok – a platform with huge growth potential for all kinds of brands, from coding boot camps to eCommerce stores. 

These specialized agencies only focus on one marketing channel. This approach often means they offer domain expertise that other marketing agencies are unable to match. While it wouldn’t be wise to have a specialized marketing agency act as your sole marketing agency, working with these agencies makes sense if you’re willing to try out new channels. 

Which type of agency is best for your business?

Now that you’ve read this guide, you might have some initial thoughts about which type of agency is best for your business. It’s an important question: one that will shape the future growth strategy of your business. 

Don’t feel like you have to definitively choose one type of agency before venturing out and starting to speak to potential partners. You should talk to different types of agencies to get a feel for which one is best for your company. A great marketing agency––regardless of what type of agency they are––will be able to clearly communicate the impact they can have on your business. 

A person budget planning for digital ad spend

5 Channels to Diversify Your Digital Ad Spend

A person budget planning for digital ad spend

The great thing about the internet and how we consume content is that it’s constantly changing. This gives us growth marketers a perfect chance to test new channels and tactics regularly and make sure that we’re exploring new ways to use our digital ad spend. If you’re already running paid ads and are looking for ways to improve your channel diversification, you’ve come to the right place. 

It can be daunting to start fresh on a brand new platform, especially if you’ve had success on traditional digital channels such as Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram). Different platforms and tactics are constantly emerging, and provide great options for your advertising efforts, depending on your goals, budget, and target audience. 

TikTok

At Tuff, we’ve been able to drive incredible results for our partners on TikTok.  While B2C opportunities on the platform are well known, we’ve also explored the ever-expanding B2B targeting options when applicable.

Since TikTok is a video platform, it provides a great space to break out the creative chops and showcase your brand in a native storytelling format. Plus, since the majority of videos on TikTok are relatively low-fi, it’s easy to create new assets to test on the reg. If you’re wanting to take some of your Facebook digital ad spend and put it to a new channel, Tik Tok is perfect for you. 

Plus, did you know that TikTok is the most popular website in the world as of 2021? If you’ve been putting off testing it for your advertising efforts – you should give it a spin.

 

Pros: Huge audience of daily users, lots of targeting options, fun way to engage users

Cons: Clunky ad manager, ad disapprovals

Perfect For: Businesses trying to generate demand via storytelling

 

Programmatic

Programmatic” has been a buzzword for a while and we’ve certainly been hearing more and more partners who are interested in testing it out as of late.

In essence, programmatic advertising allows advertisers to reach very specific audiences outside of Google and Facebook/Instagram.  Notable programmatic platforms include StackAdapt, The Trade Desk, and Criteo, though there are many others.

Ad types include standard display, video, CTV, audio, and native display, making it easy to repurpose assets used on other channels before investing into platform-specific creatives.  Using benchmark data from legacy platforms will help inform early optimizations and the overall effectiveness of the strategy. If you’re looking to tap into a platform that can massively scale your digital ad spend, programmatic may be just the thing for you. 

 

Pros: Variety of ad formats, lots of creative options, massive reach of users, effective targeting options.

Cons: Easy to get lost in the weeds, easy to overspend on ineffective placements and channels.

Perfect For: A business in scaleup mode trying to diversify from the “major” players. 

 

Nextdoor

Nextdoor advertising has become an attractive option for many advertisers, with 1-in–3 of US households being present on the platform.  Data indicates that these users make 90% of their purchases within 15 miles of their work or home, and predominantly from local businesses.  

When Tuff works with partners that have more of a local target audience, Nextdoor is one of the first non-traditional PPC tactics we explore. 

While Nextdoor is a great emerging channel for diversifying your digital ad spend, we do run the disclaimer that it likely won’t be a major part of your media budget. With limited placements and a growing userbase, it’s hard to spend a large amount of money on Nextdoor in any given month – although this could change in the near future as they continue to grow. 

Pros: Hyperlocal targeting, affordable CPMs, engaged local audiences

Cons: Smaller userbase, limited placements

Perfect For: Businesses with local presences

 

Pinterest

Pinterest can be a great option for advertisers, especially for ones that already possess a strong paid search strategy.  This is because the Pinterest platform allows you to use keyword targeting.  Since Pinterest is used as a search engine, this makes sense and can allow for incredibly targeted advertising.

The platform also has other traditional targeting methods that mirror Facebook, Instagram, and Google audience targeting, such as interest-based targeting.

Pinterest is a largely untapped platform, especially for ecommerce brands and service businesses. Since Pinterest users are planners, we recommend using their larger attribution windows (30 / 30 / 30) and using it as a mid-funnel tactic to increase consideration for your brand, and having it be a smaller part of your digital ad spend. 

An example of Pinterest ads

Pros: Visually appealing ad formats, very active userbase, lots of targeting options (intent + demographic)

Cons: Low last-click activity, longer attribution windows

Perfect For: Businesses trying to reach users in the consideration stage of the funnel

 

Spotify

Spotify should definitely be considered when attempting to diversify ad spend and reach new audiences.  As one of the largest podcast and music streaming services in the world, the reach is massive and the audio ad-format adds another method of communicating with your target audience.

However, the targeting on Spotify can seem somewhat limited when compared to other platforms. Though reduced targeting options may cause an advertiser to shy away from the platform, it is still worth testing as a top-of-funnel awareness play due to its tremendous reach. 

 

Pros: Good ad formats, affordable CPMs

Cons: Limited targeting options, secondary platform

Perfect For: Businesses trying to scale top of funnel reach

Things to Avoid While Diversifying Digital Ad Spend

While testing new channels and tactics for your digital ad spend, it’s important to remember that channel diversification can take many forms and isn’t a one-size fits all. It’s also not a panacea – testing a new channel and finding a strategy that works for you will take time. You shouldn’t expect to see immediate results on a new channel by copying the strategy you have on one of your primary channels – it will take testing, learning, and refining to find the right tactic for you.

Here are some common mistakes we see in digital ad spend diversification that you should try to mitigate: 

It takes time to optimize

Most tests and experiments on new channels don’t work in the sense that they are a completely new tactic, and take time to master. Don’t try to diversify ad spend and expect to get the same results you’re seeing on other channels in week, or even month one. 

Don’t forget to account for extra management

Adding new channels can increase the complexity of reporting, optimization, and overall management. Instead of checking Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Google Analytics, for example, now you’ve got to learn how to incorporate new channels’ data and reporting dashboards into your existing systems and processes. 

Don’t over-diversify

While diversification of spend and strategy is a great idea, over-diversification is a thing and can present issues of its own.  If spend is spread too thinly across multiple new channels or platforms (or even multiple campaigns or ad creatives in one platform), it will take longer to gather actionable data and will be much more difficult to gauge the effectiveness of.

Want to Diversify Your Digital Ad Spend?

Tuff has managed ads on just about every platform imaginable, with budgets from partners ranging from a few thousand dollars, to one million-plus a month. Whether you’re in scale-up mode and wanting to try some new tactics or channels, or you want to optimize your advertising efforts on your existing channels, we can help. Let’s talk!

customer information on computer

Zero Party Data: What It Means + Why And How You Should Be Collecting It

customer information on computer

As a growth marketing agency, our ability to access customer data is a major (if not the most important) factor in developing growth marketing strategies and executing them to find traction or scale. That’s why—before we spend a dollar with a new partner—we make sure proper tracking is set up and correctly capturing the user’s data. 

In the last few months, accessing specific types of data about customers has been increasingly more difficult. From fintech to eCommerce to SaaS – all industries have taken a major hit. It’s a topic that’s so monumental to the future of marketing and even business growth, as well as user privacy, that it’s been making headlines across the world. Don’t get us wrong, though, we believe this is a good thing; consumers should be able to control how their data is used in advertising. 

Despite that, brands should know the realities of what the advertising landscape looks like in a world without pixel tracking. 

There are varying levels of customer data that have become more difficult to access due to restrictions put in place by tech giants like Apple & Google that have reshaped the online advertising space (ahem, iOS 14). To understand how these changes have impacted digital advertising, let’s start with zero party data. 

What is Zero Party Data?

Zero party data is any customer data that is shared with you by the customer. The way to collect zero party data is to prompt your end customer with a way to provide you (the brand) with valuable data that will improve their personalized experiences on your website. 

For example, you might position a “how did you hear about us” survey at the end of your customer journey after they convert. You can then tie the conversion amount to the source and then back to your ad spend to determine effectiveness.

Forrester Research first defined the term as follows:

“Zero-party data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them].”

Why is Zero Party Data Important?

20 years ago, the internet embraced digital advertising and, in the process, devalued traditional forms of advertising like print, FM/AM radio, and television. 

The reason? Hyper-specific targeting. 

Before the internet, advertising used broad targeting that was rather inefficient in comparison to what the internet made possible. Reaching your audience was done through the earlier mentioned traditional forms of advertising and their targeting options were fairly general. 

As Brian X. Chen from the New York Times explained in his article “The Battle For Digital Privacy is Shaping the Internet”, the internet made hyper-specific targeting available at scale and for a much lower cost than radio and tv could sell. 

“Brands splashed their ads across websites, with their promotions often tailored to people’s specific interests. Those digital ads powered the growth of Facebook, Google and Twitter, which offered their search and social networking services to people without charge. But in exchange, people were tracked from site to site by technologies such as cookies and their personal data was used to target them with relevant marketing.” 

We’re coming into an age of a cookieless world that embraces more consumer privacy and less tracking without permission. Zero party data is part of this future because it is based on consumer-permissioned data. 

How You Can Benefit from Using Zero-Party Data

The great thing about zero-party data is that it displays intentionality between the user or customer and brand. It’s given by the user as a gesture that says, “I trust you to use this appropriately.” 

That’s something that cookies and tracking pixels could never do – show trust between all parties. 

On top of the established trust it provides between you and your end customers, it’s also a great way to collect data to compensate for the lack of data you receive due to the future of a cookieless world, iOS 14, and other measures that have been put in place to slow down the flow of private data. 

Examples of Zero Party Data

Take StichFix for example, they’ve built the majority of their $2 billion business off of their sign up quiz, which asks users numerous questions about how they feel about shopping and what types of clothes they like to wear to develop a consumer profile for them that enables StitchFix to send their customers customized clothing selections in a subscription service. 

Ultimately, we know that as consumers get savvier and the methods for blocking data trackers like pixels gets more sophisticated, relying on first, second, and third-party data will only get more complex. So, although it takes more time, intentionality, and strategy, we believe zero-party data is the future.

Comparison of Customer Data Types

Zero Party Data

As discussed above, Zero Party Data is any consumer-permissioned data provided to you directly by your end customer. This could be your customer telling you how they found out about you in a post-purchase survey or a customer telling you demographic information, what brand they buy from, or what style of products they need in a pre-purchase quiz that asks for their email address. 

First-Party Data

First-party data is any data collected by a company about their customers. This information is compiled through a brand’s website and used to develop various marketing strategies that cater to an individual or group (ex: target audience). For example, we use first-party data at Tuff when we look at a brand’s users’ website behavior, listen to inbound sales call recordings, or analyze purchase history to learn more about a company’s existing users and customers. 

Second-party data: Provided by a Partner

Now that you understand first-party data, second-party data will be easy to pick up. Second party data is first-party data that is provided by a known partner. Say you run an online outdoor publication and you know that your customer list would be good for a specific brand that sells backpacking tents. The brand that receives that audience to use in their targeting would be receiving second-party data.

Third-party data: Provided by an Outside Source 

Unlike first-party data, third-party data usually comes from an outside source (third party) that has collected the data about its customers. I don’t want to name names but so let’s make up a third-party platform that might collect vast amounts of data about its users to be used for advertising. We’ll call it Facebook. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say Facebook has 2.89 Billion active users on its platform and due to how it tracks users on its platform and used to be able to across the web, then Facebook has copious amounts of data on a large chunk of the world’s population. Facebook then shares that data with advertisers to help them target specific audiences.

That’s third party data! 

Data Privacy and Restrictions on Data

In April 2021, Apple released an update to their iPhone software called iOS 14 which contained a feature that enabled iPhone users to block their personal information from being shared. The feature has disrupted the advertising industry because it has made it fairly difficult for advertisers to retarget to users as well as measure how their ads are impacting conversion. 

Once a user on an iPhone clicks an ad on Facebook and leaves a Facebook-owned property,  without pixel tracking, we lose the data that tells us where that person came from when they get to the external website and begin their customer journey.

One way to get around the decrease in retargeting volume is to use You can circumvent proprietary algorithms like Black Crow that enable you to create Look-a-like audiences of your retargeting audiences. Learn how we used Black Crow Audiences to circumvent smaller sized retargeting audiences on Facebook using $1.1M in Ad Spend. 

iOS14 makes it incredibly difficult for us to analyze data in such a way that says definitively for every $1 you put into this paid acquisition channel you will receive $5 from a paying customer or with this channel you see an average cost per sale of $10. The reason? We have no idea of the channel source. 

To be clear though – attribution was never perfect, but it’s harder than ever now.

Do you have any strategies in place for collecting zero-party data? Whether your answer is yes or no, we’d love to talk!

Why Should I Use Nextdoor Advertising?

2022 has brought a lot of surprises to the macro environment for both marketers and consumers. A new favorite game we’ve started playing across the social ads team at Tuff is “which prices increased more this week” – gas prices at our local gas station, or CPMs for our Facebook campaigns. For some of our partners, CPMs for Facebook campaigns have risen by 30%+ in the last 60 days, with no sign of slowing down as advertisers fight to get in front of their target audiences. 

If you’re one of the countless businesses or agencies across the world (and the metaverse), you’ve likely noticed that your reliable paid acquisition channels look a little less reliable these days. You may be wanting to see if your spend can go a little bit further on another channel. So, you ask yourself, “Why not try a new channel? I’ve heard about Nextdoor advertising. What about testing that out”?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. 

Why Use Nextdoor?

Is Nextdoor effective? Does Nextdoor advertising work? How much does Nextdoor advertising cost? As you might’ve guessed, the answer is, “it depends.” As a growth marketing agency, we work with all types of partners with a variety of needs. Many of them use Nextdoor with great success, for some, it doesn’t make sense as part of their marketing mix. 

The first of many considerations you have to make when you’re thinking about using Nextdoor is “Why?”. Maybe Simon Sinek was onto something when he said to start with “why”. The first real question you should ask yourself when considering Nextdoor isn’t “should I?”. It’s “Why should I?”.

There are a few reasons why you would consider using Nextdoor: 

  • Your target audience is there
  • Your competitors use Nextdoor advertising
  • You need to differentiate spend away from rising costs on your Facebook Ads

Regardless of your reason, there’s a why, and you should unearth that before you move on to the next step.

Can I Reach My Audience Using Nextdoor Advertising?

According to Nextdoor there are nearly 1 in 3 U.S. households already on Nextdoor. These neighbors are motivated to support local businesses.

More than that, 88% of Nextdoor users frequent a local business at least once a week and they make 90% of their purchases within 15 miles of their work or home. Nextdoor neighbors love to spread the word.

If you’re a business with a local storefront or local events, then this should be appealing to you. Understanding that every social platform has slightly different behavior, you can leverage Nextdoor’s ability to generate local behavior in a way that you can’t with Facebook or TikTok.

What Targeting Options Exist on Nextdoor Advertising? 

By default, Nextdoor will deliver your ads to all audiences within your selected locations. You can uncheck this default setting though and get access to more demographic targeting options

Overview of Nextdoor Targeting Options

As of the time of this article, Nextdoor does not have targeting that is as robust as some of the other demographic targeting platforms such as Facebook, but it does give you some pretty interesting homeownership and interest targeting options that you can leverage. 

Are Nextdoor Ads Expensive?

Nextdoor ads are comparable in cost to other paid social channels. Nextdoor works on an auction system so you’re bidding on placements in the platform based on the targeting parameters you’ve set. The platform offers you the ability to bid on a CPC basis or a CPM basis. 

The option you choose will influence how you’re charged and it will affect your costs. It is possible to run Nextdoor with relatively small budgets, but as with most platforms, it performs better given more budget to work with.

Overview of Nextdoor's Bidding Options

What Creative Placements Are Available on Nextdoor?

Nextdoor has 3 placements for you to use in their self serve ad platform: Newsfeed, Finds, and Right Rail. We have found that most advertisers opt to only use the Newsfeed placement since that is the most effective use of spend on Nextdoor. However, depending on your objective, the Finds placement and Right Rail placement could also be good for brand awareness initiatives. 

Should I Use Nextdoor Advertising? 

Nextdoor as an ad platform has a few limitations, and it’s not for everyone. It isn’t the next Facebook (Meta), TikTok or Snapchat. And it’s not trying to be. 

Nextdoor is incredibly effective for local businesses, local events, and getting the community involved. So if you have a business that has a strong localization component or wants to be seen in the community more, then absolutely give Nextdoor a try.

Want to take a new approach to paid social channel diversification, but are unsure of where to start? Let’s talk about how Tuff can help you make the most use of your paid social advertising spend with a multi-channel approach.

How These Three Companies Use TikTok for B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing Proposal

Is your B2B brand on TikTok? If the answer is no, you might’ve read that question and thought “No, our target audience is not using TikTok so why would we be”, or,  “Isn’t TikTok mainly used by Gen-zs or Millennials”. If any of these thoughts crossed your mind, keep reading, because it may surprise you how Tuff partners use TikTok for B2B marketing.

Oftentimes, when we’re working with B2B brands, they think the best social ads channel for their business is either LinkedIn or Facebook. Historically, yes, these have been two of the top-performing social channels for B2B advertising, but the times are changing and the way B2B brands are advertising on social media is too. Within the past year, TikTok ads have become a large portion of Tuff partners’ paid social budgets across all different types of industries, and many of our B2B partners are now joining in on the buzz. 

It’s not just Gen-z on TikTok

Did you know that only half of the users on TikTok are below the age of 30? According to Statista’s 2022 TikTok demographic stats, 41% of all TikTok users are between the ages of 30-49 and 11% of users are 50+.  

TikTok percentages for age demographics

TikTok has become a popular platform where people go to unwind for the day or get a laugh during their lunch break which makes it the perfect place to connect with your audience in a creative way. 

Think about it, how often do you log into LinkedIn on the weekends or when you’re unplugged from work? 

TikTok is a different experience. A lot of our B2B partners at Tuff are discovering that TikTok is where their audience is spending a majority of their free time when they’re not working, often times even more than Facebook. 

How we approach B2B TikTok campaigns at Tuff

As a growth marketing agency, before we launch ads on any new channel for our partners, the first thing we’ll do is a channel deep dive on the audience targeting options to make sure we’re able to reach their audience on that platform. 

On TikTok, you can target users by location, gender, age, languages, interests (including industry interests like ecomm, education, financial services, etc.), video interactions, creator interactions and hashtag interactions. 

Once we’ve built out the target audiences, we’ll look into how we can reach these users and convert them into a lead and/or customer. There are two approaches to lead generation through TikTok ads. 

  1. Option one: You can set up a campaign using TikTok’s native lead gen objective which will populate a form within the platform with custom fields for the user to fill out once they click on the ad 
  2. Option two: You can set up a conversion campaign and send the user to your website and optimize for users to submit a lead gen form on your site. 

Once we launch campaigns, we’ll monitor the lead quality to see how the MQLs and SQLs compare to the more traditional B2B social ads channels like Facebook and Instagram. 

How Teachable is using TikTok to acquire new leads

We recently launched a TikTok campaign for our partner Teachable –– a platform that allows individual creators with an array of skills and talents to create courses and sell them so that they can teach others to do what they do. So naturally, we wanted to go after an audience that aligned with Teachable’s product––people that are likely to have hobbies and talents that they’d want to teach courses on.  So we brainstormed different interests and hobbies that we see courses being created from across the web, and we matched those up to interests available in TikTok. After some hashtag research to find effective hashtags, we combined them all into one Interest and Hashtag campaign. 

After we settled on the audience, we researched which TikTok optimization event would help us best accomplish our goal. Looking at the standard events for TikTok we saw quite a few options that could help us target people at different stages of the user funnel, but ultimately our goal was to get users to sign up for a free trial though, so we settled on complete registration, which tracks when users create an account on the Teachable website. 

Even though this campaign was going to be for a B2B audience, we didn’t want the creative to be too corporate-y and abandon the fun nature of TikTok videos. We recognized that TikTok as a platform responds well to ads that look and feel native, and we know that even though we’re targeitng a B2B audience, it’s still people on the other end. So we just needed creative that would appeal to actual people who would want to use Teachable to sell courses.

The result was an array of creative options that ranged from motion graphics to UGC. After running them for a week, we quickly saw that we had made the right decision. Our CAC numbers outperformed Facebook, and our CTR was incredible. We had two separate campaigns and our contest campaign outperformed our evergreen campaign by a pretty significant margin–– likely because it leveraged better offers and incentives than the evergreen campaign did.

 

Channel CAC  CTR
TikTok $21.63 1.45%
Facebook $37.19 .58%

 

Now that we know TikTok ads work for our B2B partner Teachable, we’ve continued to experiment with new creative and audience targeting, but one thing is salient for us: Treat the people on TikTok like real people. Address their concerns, show them the benefits, grab their attention, and they’ll convert just like a B2C user would. It just might take a bit longer.

How Thnks is using TikTok to acquire new leads

For our partners Thnks we knew it wasn’t going to go be as easy to jump right in and drive quality conversions. Due to this, we took a two-pronged approach to work our way into a conversion-based campaign getting potential customers to sign up for a demo using TikTok for B2B marketing. 

Our first phase was prospecting to find out exactly what audiences and creative resonated best with potential customers. For this campaign we used the Traffic objective optimization toward a view content event that fires every time someone lands on the TikTok specific landing page. 

Replicating where we have seen success on other social platforms we structured our campaign to target three main interest based audiences:

Business Growth:

Targeting options for Business Growth

Sales:

Targeting for Sales

HR:

HR Targeting options on TiktTok

Our second phase of this campaign will be to evaluate key metrics of our prospecting campaign and determine what audiences and creative will get carried over to a conversion-based campaign. With phase one of this test being a prospecting traffic campaign we looked specifically at metrics like clicks to the site, CPC, CTR and CPM. Compared to Facebook our initial findings are that CPC was 84% cheaper than Facebook and CPMs compared to Facebook were 1/4th of the cost.

Something that gets overlooked in the prospecting phase of campaigns is the data the pixel is collecting and how to leverage it. By running a traffic campaign to start, not only are you able to drive a large amount of traffic to your site, you are also able to collect valuable data through the pixel to further target those potential customers in the conversion phase of your campaign. In addition to carrying over the top performing interested based audiences. We will also be able to build out custom pixel based audiences based on users interactions with our ads and landing page. For this client we will be building out two custom pixel based audiences to retarget potential customers. One going after anyone who has visited our specific landing page in the last 90 days and has not taken any actions. The other being anyone who has watched 50% of our ad, and not taken any action to the site. These both are great ways to re-engage potential customers and get them to take action!

How B2B Brand Visory is using TikTok to acquire new leads

For our B2B partner Visory, we did some initial research on potential audiences on TikTok and found some interest targeting options that would allow us to reach their target audience. We kicked off our campaign by identifying two main interest based audiences that we have seen perform well on other social platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Broad interests around money management and bookkeeping:

eCommerce specific interests:

eCommerce Targeting Breakdown

One thing we’ve learned about targeting on TikTok is that broader is usually better (for prospecting or retargeting campaigns). The reason we separated these out was because they were roughly the same size + eCommerce (alone) has been a top performing audience for us in the past.

Prior to considering TikTok for Visory, we were able to test out some user-generated content on our other social platforms, which allowed us to determine what resonates most with Visory’s B2B audience and then repurpose the top performing creative for TikTok. Creative is SO crucial on any social platform but specifically on TikTok. If you want to dive deeper into the creative world, here is an additional resource: The 5 Main Components of Effective TikTok Ad Creative.

We knew that TikTok was going to be more of a top of funnel channel for Visory (similar to how we’ve viewed Facebook), so we’ve been optimzinig our campaigns for traffic to the site. To measure success, we are looking at clicks to the site, CTR, CPC and site engagement in Google Analytics. The result? Compared to Facebook, we have seen comparable CTRs but lower CPCs. Looking in GA, we’ve seen time on site as high as 00:06:25! While we have yet to see any last-click conversions from this site, we’ve learned that more traffic to the site historically results in more conversions over time. 

Conclusion

TikTok ads are becoming very popular among B2B brands and it’s an effective & cost-efficient way to reach your target audience in a creative way. If you’re ready to see how TikTok Ads can work for your business, give us a shout!

startup team working on growth marketing tactics

Digital Marketing vs. Growth Marketing – What’s the Difference?

startup team working on growth marketing tactics

These days, it feels like there’s a new type of marketing that emerges every couple of months: growth, digital, brand, performance – the list is endless. Some people use many of these terms interchangeably. And while it’s true that there are similarities, all of these different fields of marketing are not the same. 

That drives confusion – both among marketers themselves, who struggle to define exactly what they do, and those looking to work with marketing agencies – the founders, CEOs, and leaders of businesses. And as more and more marketing has shifted online, one of the biggest sources of confusion has been the difference between digital marketing and growth marketing. 

What does a growth marketing agency do, and how is it different from a digital marketing agency? And why is it important to understand the distinction in the first place? 

Tuff is a growth marketing agency, and we’re no stranger to questions like this. So today, we’re answering them. Let’s get started. 

The TL;DR

Digital marketing––marketing tactics that leverage internet-based platforms to deliver business growth. 

Growth marketing––holistic marketing strategies built around driving sustainable business growth.

What is Digital Marketing?

Let’s explore this topic in a little more detail. As we outlined above, digital marketing essentially refers to any marketing tactic that’s executed on digital platforms. That definition covers a broad range of marketing tactics, including:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • And more

Because there are so many different subfields of digital marketing, the term “digital marketing” has essentially become an umbrella term that applies to any marketing tactic that uses digital platforms. 

It’s important to note that digital marketing does not have a holistic framework that ties everything together. Savvy digital marketers will stitch together all of these different elements into a cohesive strategy, and create a digital marketing funnel that defines the role of different platforms at each stage of the customer journey. 

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is the process of building an efficient, scalable marketing strategy that powers sustainable long-term growth for a business. This strategy will use all kinds of marketing tools (including many digital marketing tools) to deliver results. 

Many people have a misconception of growth marketing as being some kind of hack or magic trick. Let us be the first to tell you – it ain’t that. There’s no secret sauce. Sure, there are proven growth frameworks and best practices, but the reality is that every business is different, and it’s just not feasible to copy and paste marketing strategies between different companies. 

The growth marketing process begins with a research process that explores a company’s target audience, competitors, industry trends, and value drivers. Armed with these insights, growth marketers then build a strategy that leverages a variety of acquisition channels. These acquisition channels are then tested iteratively, with results rigorously measured through tracking and analytics

Over time, the effects of growth marketing compound. You should double down on profitable, high-growth acquisition channels and eliminate strategies that don’t work. Along the way, you’ll constantly optimize everything from the conversion rate of your website to the strategies you use to retain customers. 

Dive Deeper: Tuff’s Growth Marketing Guide

What is a Digital Marketing Agency?

Many companies choose to work with a digital marketing agency. These agencies handle the day-to-day running of your digital marketing campaigns and design the strategies that power them. 

Many digital marketing agencies provide a full range of digital marketing services, whereas some are more specialized, and only focus on one or two verticals at a time. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches. 

Full-service agencies ensure that your customers have a holistic experience across different marketing touchpoints, but may lack channel-specific expertise that can drive results. On the other hand, a specialized agency may well be true experts in one field of digital marketing but lack the vision to create holistic strategies that span multiple customer touchpoints.

Digital marketing agencies typically work on a retainer model, although some may also charge other fees, such as a percentage of revenue or ad spend. There’s usually a set contract length, and many agencies have minimum ad spend thresholds to ensure they only work with established businesses. 

On a day-to-day basis, your point of contact at a digital marketing agency will most likely be an Account Manager. They’ll handle client relationships, reporting, and strategy, while the nitty-gritty of media buying or content writing is delegated to Paid Media Specialists or Content Writers.   

Some agencies have teams that assist your brand in producing marketing creative, but for the most part, this is left to the brand. One other point to note: digital marketing agencies will only handle your digital marketing activities – they won’t help with offline marketing. 

What is a Growth Marketing Agency?

At Tuff, we embrace a wide variety of digital marketing channels, but we do so in a holistic, balanced way that aims to deliver sustainable growth for the brands we work with. That means taking the time to establish which channels are the right match for your business, rather than immediately starting to spend thousands of dollars on individual verticals. 

Growth marketing engagements typically kick off with a short research process. In this period, expect your growth marketers to dive headfirst into all your data and identify the areas which are most ripe for growth. They’ll look for opportunities to score quick wins but will also pinpoint which acquisition channels represent the best opportunity for growth. 

At the conclusion of this initial research phase, a growth marketing agency will map out your entire funnel: the customer journey that covers everything from when a prospect first hears your business’s name to the point they convert into a paying customer. There’ll be a strategy to optimize every stage of this journey – from expanding your business to new target audiences or reimagining your landing pages to drive higher levels of conversion. 

Growth marketing starts lean, with small investments into a variety of different channels to identify the verticals that work best for your business. The process of trial and error enables businesses to quickly separate the growth channels they should double down on from those they should kill, and prioritize investment accordingly. 

Throughout this journey, there’ll be constant ideation, testing, iteration, and optimization to ensure that every channel is firing on all cylinders. At Tuff, we partner every client with a Growth Strategist – a dedicated marketer who runs strategy on the account and meets with you every week. They’re supported by a team of channel experts – specialists in a variety of different digital marketing verticals. 

We work on a retainer basis, as do many other growth marketing agencies. Adopting a retainer-based pricing model gives us the freedom to allocate resources wherever they’re most effective for your growth. That means you avoid throwing away money on losing strategies and instead direct your marketing spend towards activities that are proven to deliver results. 

Digital vs. Growth – Which One Is Best for Your Business?

If you already have a firm grasp on your growth strategy and simply want to refine your execution across different digital channels, then a digital marketing agency could be the best fit for your business. Digital agencies––particularly specialized agencies––provide tangible channel expertise that helps your business unlock additional growth on digital channels. Digital agencies are also a good fit for mature companies with in-house marketing capabilities and processes. 

However, if you’re a startup or growth-stage company, then it’s likely that a growth marketing agency better addresses your needs. Growth agencies act as an extension of your in-house team, working hand-in-hand with your employees to conceptualize, design, and execute data-driven marketing strategies. 

Besides, a great growth marketing agency can do everything that a digital marketing agency does. They’ll have deep expertise in a variety of digital marketing platforms, the ability to tie different channels together into a holistic approach, and the strategic vision to build long-term plans that help you achieve your business goals. 

You might think of a digital marketing agency as a collection of musical instruments, with each digital marketing platform represented by a single instrument. Alone, each instrument sounds pretty good, and when three or four play together, they sound even better. But they don’t sound anywhere near as good as an entire orchestra playing in unison. 

That’s a growth marketing agency. They act as the conductor that unites every element of your marketing strategy, with every individual component working in harmony to deliver results. 

Think a growth marketing agency sounds like a good fit for your needs? Let’s talk – we’d love to explore how we can help. 

team planning a fintech marketing strategy

What To Look For When You’re Hiring a Growth Agency

team planning a fintech marketing strategy

If you’re considering hiring a growth agency, you’re likely at an exciting time in the development of your business. The path ahead is lined with opportunities, and you’re at a crucial inflection point in your journey. Hiring a team of growth marketers can be a gamechanger for your business, sending growth into overdrive. 

So far, you might have been running marketing yourself, as a plucky, entrepreneurial founder Maybe you’ve worked with a marketing freelancer, or perhaps you hired a couple of generalist marketers in-house. At early-stage companies, these strategies often work just fine, but if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, it’s time to seriously consider hiring a growth agency. 

Growth agencies build and execute high-impact marketing campaigns across all kinds of verticals: from Pay Per Click (PPC) to Content Strategy. They’ll partner with you to identify key objectives and design carefully tailored strategies that you’ll test, iterate on, and optimize over time. There are no hacks, shortcuts, or tricks – just high-quality, data-backed strategies that deliver results. 

There are a ton of great growth agencies out there. At Tuff, we like to think of ourselves as one of them, but we know there are other great options out there; agencies like NoGood, Ladder.io, Right Side Up, and Part and Sum.

It’s vital you determine which growth agency is the best fit for your team. But how do you know what to look for? Let’s explore the key issues you should consider when hiring a growth agency. 

Define the Scope of the Partnership

Many growth agencies are formed of two key components: growth strategists; the quarterbacks that lead your brand’s overall growth strategy, and channel experts; the domain experts that provide specialized knowledge in specific growth marketing verticals from Google Ads to Conversion Rate Optimization. 

You might already have some of these resources in-house. Before you start talking to growth agencies, define exactly what kind of support you need from the relationship. If you’re working with a PPC freelancer that’s killing it, you probably don’t need a growth agency that specializes in Google Ads. Look for agency partners that can supplement your existing capabilities, not cannibalize them. The best growth agencies work as an extension of your team. 

Identify Major Objectives & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Effective growth marketing demands a series of milestones and metrics you can use to measure your progress. Exactly what these metrics look like is driven by your company and your business model. A software platform with a subscription-based business model will have entirely different growth metrics to an eCommerce fashion brand. 

As you think about how to measure success, consider your overarching objectives. Work backward to determine the growth metrics that will enable you to achieve these goals and milestones. 

Perhaps you’ve promised investors you’ll hit $10 million in ARR by the end of the year. Calculate what needs to happen for your business to hit that goal. How many new customers do you need to onboard? How many leads do you require to generate those customers? 

The most common KPIs are often the most obvious: metrics like revenue, website traffic, or Return On Investment (ROI). But each marketing channel has its own KPIs too. Partnering with an experienced growth agency will help you determine what these should be, and also the benchmarks you should be aiming to hit. 

Talk to Multiple Growth Agencies

It’s important to explore relationships with several different growth agencies to get a feel for which is the best partner for you. We suggest talking to three to five agencies at this stage. To identify which agencies you should talk to, ask your network for recommendations, or search on Google. Check out the websites of the agencies you discover, and look out for case studies with parallels to your business.

There are all kinds of reasons an agency might feel like a good fit: they might have a lot of experience in your industry or they could specialize in marketing channels that are important to your business. Maybe you just really jive with their team. 

It’s impossible to figure out which growth agency makes the most sense for your team without talking to a few different agencies. Most of the time, these conversations start with a discovery call – a short, no-commitment call with a growth marketer from the agency. These calls are your opportunity to share your growth challenges, ask questions, and learn more about each agency’s approach to growth marketing. 

Here are a few questions to ask during these calls:

  • What do you look for in an ideal client? 
  • How often will we meet and what is the communication structure? 
  • Do you focus on a specific industry? Do you focus on a specific stage? 
  • How much of the work is done in-house vs outsourced? 
  • What’s your pricing structure? 
  • Will you bill a percentage of ad spend? 
  • How many people on the team will we work with? 

If the partnership feels like it could be a good fit after this call, you can expect to receive some follow-up. Often, this takes the form of a detailed growth marketing proposal that outlines exactly how the agency will work with your business. 

Be prepared to give the growth agency access to elements of your marketing stack: platforms like Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Manager give agencies an invaluable window into your current growth strategy, helping them to recommend more tailored strategies uniquely suited to your business. 

Review the Proposals and Make Your Decision

By this stage, you should have received detailed proposals from a few agencies. Take the time to review these in-depth: a lot of thought goes into these documents, and they provide valuable insights into what a potential partnership would look like. 

Incorporate data into your decision-making process, but don’t negate your gut feeling about which agency is the right partner. Ideally, this is a long-term commitment and it’s vital that you work with a growth agency you can trust. Don’t be afraid to schedule follow-up calls with agencies you’re seriously considering: it’s important that you have all your questions answered and can make your decision with confidence. 

Tuff Growth: A Proven Growth Agency

If you’re considering partnering with a growth agency, the team at Tuff would be more than happy to chat. We bring big-picture growth strategists and seasoned channel experts to every engagement, helping you build a scalable approach to growth marketing that promotes efficient, sustainable long-term growth. 

Want to learn more about our approach to growth marketing? Schedule a call with our team now – we’d love to share how we can help!

scale media spend

Tug of War: Balancing Scale and Efficiency with Paid Media Spend

scale media spend

Every business that runs a paid advertising strategy––whether that’s on Facebook, Google, or some other platform––does so with the aim of building a predictable, scalable, growth machine. And in theory, as long as the return on investment (ROI) remains above a certain level, brands should be willing to invest unlimited amounts into paid ad campaigns.

As a growth marketer, it’s common for founders, CEOs, and other marketing leaders to tell me that they have an unlimited paid media budget, provided the campaign demonstrates ROI above a certain predefined level.

But in reality, scaling a campaign isn’t as easy as that. If it was, everyone would be doing it. That’s why I also hear from a lot of leaders that they’re hitting a barrier, where any spending above a certain level sees advertising costs spike, and profitability plummet. 

Scaling a paid advertising campaign––no matter the channel––is hard. There’s a delicate balance to strike between volume and cost per acquisition – and it often takes an experienced growth marketing agency to get it right.

At Tuff, we’ve helped brands from all kinds of industries navigate these challenges. In fact, we’ve tested dozens of different strategies on well over 100 accounts. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about scaling ad spend efficiently while driving real results. 

Here are three of the most important things we’ve learned:

  1. Diversifying channels is key to success
  2. Use a variety of metrics to measure the efficiency of different channels
  3. Model your paid media spend

Let’s unpack each of these three lessons in more detail. 

#1 Diversifying Channels is Key to Success

For many brands, paid advertising on Google and Facebook represents the vast majority of their marketing budget. It’s easy to see why – they’re the two biggest platforms (by far), are relatively easy to manage, and can be experimented with at relatively low costs. 

Both platforms boast powerful algorithms that connect businesses to their customers at various stages. Google Search is fantastic for capturing high-intent, bottom-funnel traffic that’s ready to purchase. Facebook’s platforms have impressive prospecting technologies that enable businesses to reach new audiences well-matched to their products and services. 

Many brands focus exclusively on Google and Facebook. And while it’s true that it’s important to establish profitable marketing strategies on both these channels, there’s a whole world of other channels out there that brands should be experimenting with.

Diversifying your marketing mix helps you mitigate the risks that come with being over-reliant on platforms like Google and Facebook. For many brands, Google and Facebook are like an IV drip that keeps their business going – turn them off, and the business will struggle to survive. 

Embracing new platforms helps you address this dependence, but it also enables your brand to reach new audiences, create more consumer touchpoints, and ultimately, drive increased revenue in a sustainable way.

At Tuff, we’ve been testing channel diversification by running paid campaigns on platforms including: 

What Did We Learn?

This answer won’t hold true for every business, but for the brands we’ve been experimenting with, we’ve seen particular success scaling media spend on both TikTok and Reddit. Here are some tips for success:

Diversifying Your Marketing Mix with TikTok

TikTok has rapidly grown to become the most visited site in the world, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not all Gen Z users: 59% of TikTok users are aged 26 or over. TikTok users also show a much higher rate of engagement than those on other platforms – we see an Engagement Rate of 5.3% on TikTok, compared to just 1.1% on Instagram. 

It’s easy to get started with TikTok advertising. Your TikTok creative doesn’t need to be high production value: users want to see ads that are native to the platform and leverage current trends, sounds, and more.

Dive deeper: How We Achieved a 12x ROAS on TikTok with $7K in Ad Spend

Diversifying Your Marketing Mix with Reddit

Reddit is best-suited to brands seeking to build a loyal community. Regardless of the industry you’re in, it’s almost certain there’s a subreddit that will enable you to advertise to a targeted audience of your prospective customers. 

Our tips for success on Reddit? Make sure your advertising is authentic and true to the platform. Imitate the language used by Reddit users, and don’t be afraid to have fun and make jokes. Want an example? Check out this ad from Bud Light. Content on Reddit changes constantly, so make sure you rotate your ads frequently, and take time to interact with users organically too. 

#2 Use a Variety of Metrics to Measure the Efficiency of Different Channels

It’s tempting to measure the efficacy of different marketing channels solely through metrics like last-click attribution, which attributes all of the revenue from a sale towards the last marketing touchpoint the customer interacted with before converting. This often shows a strong performance for Google and Facebook campaigns, with a positive ROI that indicates you should increase spend and scale the channel.

But to achieve any revenue at all, you need to create demand for your products and services. That’s done at the top of the funnel. If you’re measuring channel performance based solely on last-click attribution, it’s unlikely you’ll see strong results from the marketing platforms you use early in your customer journey.

Just because a platform doesn’t demonstrate last-click results, doesn’t mean that it’s not an important part of your marketing mix. Instead of using a last-click attribution model, use a metric like Effective Cost Per Thousand Impressions (ECPM) to better compare the performance of different channels. 

Customers are exposed to all kinds of different marketing touchpoints as they progress through your marketing funnel. Countless studies back this up: various platforms work in synergy together throughout your customer journey, building brand awareness, educating prospective customers on your value proposition, and driving conversions. Every single touchpoint plays an important role – not just whatever one customers happen to see last.

Not measuring the efficacy of your advertising spend this way can have knock-on impacts that can be catastrophic for your overall marketing mix. In our experience, it’s unlikely that platforms like TikTok, Reddit, YouTube, and Google Display will drive positive last-click attribution – but they are absolutely essential to drive demand.

An Example: Google Search vs. TikTok

Let’s take a look at a trade-off we see all the time: Google Search vs. TikTok Ads. 

It’s likely that your Google Search campaigns will have a lot of last-click attributions – after all, it’s a bottom-funnel, high-intent channel: people are literally searching for what you sell. Your TikTok campaigns probably have a significantly lower number of last click attributions – people are unlikely to convert when they’re relaxing, scrolling through TikTok videos on their phones. 

So, you decrease your spend on TikTok, and increase it on Google Search, expecting your sales to increase. Easy win, right?

Wrong.

TikTok (a top-of-funnel platform) is giving Google Search (bottom-funnel) a major assist. It introduces prospects to your brand, showcases the value of your products and services, and might even be the reminder that the consumer needed to search for your products on Google.

If it wasn’t for TikTok, and other top-of-funnel channels like it, you probably wouldn’t have the sale at all. So by decreasing your investment in TikTok, you’re effectively shrinking the potential audience for your product in the future – not a wise choice. 

How To Measure the Efficiency of Marketing Channels

The key to effectively measuring the performance of different marketing channels lies in regular reporting that uses a variety of different metrics. After all, it’s simply impossible to measure the effectiveness of something as complex as a growth marketing strategy with just a single metric. 

We use last-click attribution, first-click attribution, ECPM, and more. Another hack? Ask your customers how they found you. Include a “how did you hear about us?” field in your checkout flow or demo booking process – you might be surprised at what your customers tell you.

Another thing to keep in mind: generating demand takes time. It’s not an overnight process, and you’ll want to give it at least three to five months to start showing results. Over time, a well-executed growth strategy will see your overall marketing metrics improve significantly – from Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to Revenue. 

Learn more: From Google Ads to Reddit: How We Tested 7 Different Acquisition Channels to Get Better Applicants for Sabio

#3 Model Your Paid Media Spend

One thing every business values is predictable growth. That’s why it’s important to model your media spend. 

There’s a wide variety of ways to model spend, but the end goal is always the same: to accurately project future revenue. Now, every approach to modeling comes with a series of pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which is the best fit for your business. 

At Tuff, we often use historical data and plug it into an equation like this:

Last-Click Sessions x Conversion Rate x Average Order Value = Projected Revenue

Taking this approach to modeling enables us to understand how much traffic we need to drive in order to hit our goals. Once that number is locked in, we can start planning where we need to invest to achieve the desired traffic levels necessary to hit our revenue goals.

Ready to Start Scaling Your Paid Media?

Paid media is unquestionably a major growth driver for brands of all shapes and sizes, but it shouldn’t represent your entire growth marketing strategy. Instead, consider your paid media strategy as just one part of your wider marketing funnel, and work with the understanding that each individual component of your strategy is inextricably linked.

There’s no need to commit to aggressive spending goals upfront – instead, make adjustments to spend as you go along, making sure that you use a variety of different metrics to inform your decision-making. 

It’s impossible to guarantee performance, but one thing you can be certain of is consistent learning and improvement. As you analyze the performance of your marketing stack, refine your strategies, and implement best practices, you’ll notice incremental improvements. Over time, these compound to produce a significant impact on your overall marketing performance. 

Are you struggling to scale up your paid media channels? Set up a call with our team – solving these complex challenges is what makes us tick.  

mobile delivery app growth

Wait! Come Back! How Our Email Winback Strategy Converted at 27% For Dumpling

grocery delivery in bags

At its simplest, Dumpling is a grocery delivery app. But dig a bit further and you’ll see that Dumpling is taking a service that has historically capitalized on the gig economy and flipping it. 

Dumpling’s competitors like Instacart automatically match you with a shopper. Which keeps things simple, no doubt, but you get no extra communication with the person picking out your produce. So when you’ve put “cabbage” on your list and your shopper shows up with a purple cabbage instead of a napa cabbage, you’re either changing your dinner plans or you’re running to the store. 

Dumpling was founded on the idea that both shoppers and customers could benefit from open, transparent communication and an actual relationship with the people on the other end of the line. So, when you download the Dumpling app and drop in your zip code, Dumpling lists personal shoppers (a.k.a. business owners) that you can connect with through the app. Then, once you send them your list and they hit the store, they can communicate with you in real-time when they walk up to grab a cabbage and aren’t sure which one. 

dumpling app

The best part: you can order with your personal shopper again and again, so eventually, they won’t even have to ask, they just know you want that napa cabbage. 

Dumpling reached out to Tuff looking for a growth marketing agency that could help them attract and keep more engaged users. Here’s a look at what we worked on together.

Goal 1: Drive App Installs

Dumpling reached out in search of a team to help them supercharge their acquisition efforts and smooth their new users’ path to conversion. 

We knew we wanted to drive some quick wins (and the sophisticated Dumpling team had already established a number of paid acquisition campaigns). So we started with robust Facebook and Google Search strategies to drive users to download the Dumpling app. 

Goal 2: Turn New Users Into Power Users

Next, we turned our attention to the large number of users that had taken three key actions:

  1. Downloaded the app 
  2. Created a profile
  3. Connected to a shopper

From there, we identified three subgroups of users that signified a huge potential:

  1. Users that have ordered once and never reordered
  2. Users that have placed 1-3 orders but haven’t reordered in 2+ months
  3. Users that have never placed an order

As part of the signup flow, users shared their email addresses with us, so our reengagement strategy centered around email

email winback flow

Using Value Props to Drive Conversions

In order to entice users to come back and order again, or order for the first time, we created email flows that were super specific to each of the three different types of unengaged users. 

To start, we organized the value props that were most relevant to each user at their particular moments in their journeys. For example, the first email we sent to the segment that had downloaded the app delivered two important messages: first, that connecting to a personal shopper will make their life easier (a tangible benefit) and second, that when you order through Dumpling, you’re supporting your neighborhood. Here’s what that copy looks like in action:

Hi there [name],

We created Dumpling for two main reasons:

  • To make your life easier! Grocery shopping isn’t at the top of anyone’s list when it comes to the best ways to spend time (catch that pun? 😏)
  • To make it easier for people in your neighborhood to be awesome personal shoppers. 

So, our magical equation…

You + Personal Shopper = ✨

Using Offers to Drive Conversions

After we organized our value props and created separate flows catered to each of the three segments, we layered on discounts and special offers. 

The discount that the Dumpling team had found most impactful after testing several offers against each other in their email newsletters and on social media was a 15% discount with an order of $50 or more. So, we ran with it! We sent this offer to most of our segments, but we drove it home hardest with the users that had connected with a personal shopper but had never placed an order. Here’s what that offer looks like in action:

Hi there [name],

It’s simple. When you shop with a Personal Shopper on Dumpling (like bizOwner_name!​) you…

✔️ get what’s on your list

👋 support a local small business

🛒 and you save yourself a trip to the store 

Plus, Dumpling doesn’t mark up your groceries like the other guys. And if you needed just one more reason to place your first order, use code WELCOME15 to save $15 when you spend $50 or more. 

So what are you waiting for? Make your grocery list today.

The Dumpling Team

And, although every email we sent to this particular segment included the offer, we set up some A/B subject line tests to see if including the offer in the subject line would impact overall conversion rate. Surprisingly, the CVR wasn’t significantly different between the emails that included the offer in the subject line and those that didn’t.

The Results

Simply, the results we saw after we implemented these email flows were incredibly impactful and made a significant difference in the overall business health for Dumpling. Here’s what that looks like broken down:

Segment: Users That Have Ordered Once and Never Reordered

  • Of the 2,084 users in this segment, 352 placed an order (17%)

Segment: Users That Have Placed 1-3 Orders and Haven’t Reordered in 2+ Months

  • Of the 2,035 users in this segment, 556 placed an order (27%)

Segment: Users That Have Never Placed an Order

  • Of the 3,455 users in this segment, 480 placed an order (14%)

Are you currently segmenting your email lists and creating dedicated flows? Think that automation can save you time and drive revenue? (Hint, you’re right about that one).

Get in touch!