The other day, I was running around and listening to my trusty Spotify playlist. And lo and behold, between two of my favorite jams, I listen to an audio announcement from HubSpot through my headphones. It’s not uncommon for you to see HubSpot ads on social media or Google, but Spotify was a new one. This experience made me curious what other types of ads our HubSpot team had tested this year. So I sat down with a few people from our editorial and advertising team. Below they share some interesting lessons and takeaways from the different platforms and audiences they tested in 2020.
Advertising Experiments HubSpot Tried in 2020
“While HubSpot has traditionally focused on relatively straightforward response (with software subscriptions being the main acquisition target), one of the main takeaways from our 2020 advertising revolves around raising awareness through brand advertising.” , shared Rex Gelb, Director, Acquisition Analysis and Paid Advertising at HubSpot. In early 2020, the team realized they were seeing diminishing returns on many of their existing advertising channels, namely search and social ads, and saw this as an opportunity to expand. They spearheaded this effort based on the guiding principle that HubSpot’s audience is made up of people with different media habits. “What works for one person may not work for all, so it is likely that we will only reach a small segment of them through [direct response ads],” said Jillian hope, Senior Marketing Manager, Brand Advertising at HubSpot. “But really, our audience is listening to podcasts, they are reading articles in the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, they are watching Hulu, they are doing all these different activities throughout the day.” So by expanding where they were showing HubSpot ads, the team hypothesized that they could reach a much larger segment of their audience and make new consumers aware of HubSpot. While chatting with these experts, a few key platforms were highlighted.
1. Audio advertising
“In 2020, we began to double [podcasts]. It started out as an awareness game, but we’ve invested in this really cool tool called Podsights, “said Jillian. Podsights is a podcast attribution tool through which the team measures when someone hears a podcast ad and returns to the site and becomes a potential customer. (Can I connect an audio file in COS? Https://wiki.hubspotcentral.net/display/marketing/2020+Year+in+Review%3A+HubSpot%27s+First+Brand+Advertising+Push) The team has tried some direct purchases with specific podcasts, like those from NPR How i built this and Masters of scale. They have also made some national radio purchases on NPR and some Spotify Audio Everywhere announcements (for those Spotify users who don’t pay premium).
2. Advertising on Hulu
“[In addition to podcast advertising,] we are diversifying into new channels and also looking for opportunities to really measure and refine what works even from a direct response standpoint, including Hulu, ”shared Jillian. That’s right, this year, consumers turned on their TV to see some of HubSpot’s first ads on streaming channels. The team found that Hulu has high completion rates (around 99%) because ads on the network cannot be skipped. “This made it a great tactic to try out more creative messaging and executions because our audience was tuning in to the full ad,” he shared. Alicia collins, Copywriting and Brand Strategy at HubSpot. Alicia worked on much of HubSpot’s 2020 brand ad campaigns, including boosting Hulu.
3. Advertising on YouTube
The video as a whole gave the team more space to deliver value through education, entertainment and inspiration, especially compared to a static screen or social ad. “Because YouTube is owned by Google,” Jillian said, “we had the ability to target people who are actively searching for content related to our products, so our ads are relevant to their work.” In fact, Rex shared one of the most successful tests they conducted: YouTube’s “affinity audiences”, affinity audiences are audiences that Google’s algorithm identifies as likely to be interested in your product (s). “While the algorithm is a bit of a black box, relying on your data ultimately paid off for us as it generated some of the most profitable, high-quality video views and impressions, which in turn produced a great brand recognition (as reported by surveys), and a measurable increase in incremental Google searches, ”Rex reported.
So how is the development of this branding ad campaign creative?
According to Alicia: “When you think about brand awareness advertising, you have to think about who you are coming into contact with.” Most of the people who engage with HubSpot’s brand awareness ads have never heard of HubSpot, compared to those who see typical direct response advertising. “There is a reason why people are targeted [direct response] advertisements; they’ve seen our content, been on our website, and interacted with our posts. ”The same cannot be said for this new brand advertising push. Alicia and her team are trying to reach a whole new audience, which means they should create clear and direct ads that communicate what HubSpot is and who it is for. “[We’re aiming for] eye-catching and engaging, so people are tempted to click for more information or just stop and take a second look, ”shared Alicia. Speaking of second glances, Alice has learned how different brand advertising strategy can be. “[It’s a] a little different because, again, people don’t see a social ad and immediately remember your brand. It takes seven or eight impressions for someone to start remembering. “In his opinion, brand awareness work is different than a lot of other bottom-of-the-funnel work.” It’s not just that there’s a science to it, there’s also a little art, ”he shared. [all about] trying to find the right balance between data resolution and short-term results, and thinking about where you want to be in the long term. “She encourages those who want to invest in brand awareness games to be patient.” It can take a long time to move [brand awareness] metrics; increasing brand awareness can take years and millions of dollars, ”said Alicia. In his experience, people who want to invest in new channels and audiences tend to put their money in one place. But Alicia and her teammates have discovered that no one spends all their time on one channel. For example, you might want to start your day by listening to a podcast, reading a few articles over lunch, and watching your favorite Hulu show to unwind after work. However, your co-worker may like to start the day by watching cable news, scrolling through social media during lunch, and traveling to the gym (passing several billboards) after work. “You just get multiple points of contact throughout the day and share your stories in new and unique ways,” Alicia said. Jillian agreed: “What works for some will not work for all. If we limit channels, we run the risk of not reaching a large segment of our audience. “And the more channels HubSpot consumers can see, the more likely they are to remember and return. Learn more about developing your own multi-channel advertising strategy or omnichannel on the HubSpot blog.