Traffic monetizing is not as easy as it was
-- Tagtoo

The golden age of the traffic dividend has almost come to an end. Most brands will be facing the growth stagnation of website traffic soon.
Meanwhile, as Internet giants like Tokopeida and Shopee in Indonesia dominate the major traffic source, the competition is becoming increasingly adverse and unreasonably expensive.
To overcome the rising difficulty of traffic monetization and the growing cost of paid traffic, the Tagtoo team cherrypicked and proposed 3 feasible approaches, in no particular order, for brand marketers to tackle the issue.
Here’s how.

Burgeon the power of branding

Branding is one of the most cost-efficient ways to increase traffic organically.
Although it takes time to develop the reputation and build popularity in the market, the word-of-mouth effect from customers enables a brand to acquire a stable source of traffic.
The stronger the power of branding a brand possess, the more competitive it will be in any given harsh situation.
Below are three things brand marketers should look at to ensure a brand’s power of branding is strong enough.
Unless the inbound traffic is enormous and there is no sign of decreasing, considering pivoting to other options or changing a brand’s essence is oftentimes necessary.
a) Brand positioning
In general, there are 3 recommended types of brand positioning for internet business.
The competitive type refers to competition-oriented positioning in a saturated market. This type targets the market leader’s positioning by emphasizing superior differentiation a brand has.
For example, a newly-born ride-hailing business could position themselves as a much safer ride than the market leader.
Next, the unique selling proposition (USP) type, on the other hand, means emphasizing on the outstanding features of a product or service and convincing customers with their distinctiveness. For example, OPPO’s “5 minutes charge for 2 hours talk”.
Thirdly, the demand-created type describes the positioning of creating a new blue ocean market. This type takes the battlefield to a higher level where competitors cannot easily enter. Especially suitable for a brand-new product.
For example, Xiaomi defined its new product line as Internet-based smart TV when entering the traditional TV industry.
b) Brand semiotics
Brand semiotics looks at the non-verbal elements of communication. They are those elements such as logos and slogans that we are less conscious of but have a huge influence on the customer’s subconsciousness.
Semiotic elements are usually the key to remembering and identifying a brand.
Great semiotic elements help brand building easier and faster. They provide a strong connection for customers to recall a brand.
A desirable outcome would be for customers to be able to recall immediately whenever coming across a brand’s non-verbal element.
For example, people would be reminded of Starbucks when seeing a white coffee cup with a green icon.
c) Consistency between brand and product
Product development must proceed in parallel with brand positioning.
A product itself is equivalent to a brand. The word-of-mouth effect will be amplified once the user experience of products is consistent with what a brand conveys.
Otherwise, a negative image would emerge in the customers’ mind and discourage them to have further interaction with your brand.

Apply viral marketing

It’s understandable that a company has a limited budget for paid traffic. The cost is soaring at an incredible pace.
However, under no circumstance has a company applied for viral marketing to acquire traffic.
The comprehensive and logical tips to carry out viral marketing campaigns have been discovered early on and implemented extensively.
As opposed to traditional marketing, viral marketing focuses more on sharing. It allows a brand to acquire new customers at a much cheaper cost if done properly.
Most importantly, the expense happens only after new customers are acquired. Not only does this approach offer substantial incentives for both new and returning customers but it also has lower risks than paid traffic, which require a brand to pay upfront.
Below are 3 defining factors for a successful viral marketing campaign. There are other few things to pay attention to but these 3 are the most fundamental ones.
1) Acquisition of seed users
Seed users aren’t necessarily the initial users. Instead, they are those loyal users who have a decent influence on others and are highly active in your products or services.
They provide precious feedback for further products or service optimisation and are willing to introduce to other people. The quality of seed users is far more important than quantity.
2) Provision of incentive
A subsidy is the most common incentive. It could be free shipping, free samples, and a special discount.
In addition to that, creative content and innovative scenario also play an important role as an incentive.
For example, the ice bucket challenge became viral on social networks from July to August in 2014. The intriguing campaign provides a strong incentive for participants to join and called on others to take the challenge.
3) Design of gaming environment
If the acquisition of seed users and provision of incentives are the backbone of viral marketing campaigns, the design of the gaming environment will be acting as fuel to sustain the growth momentum.
Point earning, badges collecting, and medal rankings are all the possible and feasible designs to keep customers proactive. These designs provide another way to build up social status and help develop a personal image.
For example, Taiwan’s e-bike startup Gogoro initiate badge collection campaign. The more badges you are awarded, the more senior rider and the more eco-friendly you are.

Turn to performance advertising

Performance advertising refers to an advanced pricing plan where advertisers pay only when there are measurable results.
This new type of advertising takes paid traffic to another level by guaranteeing the success and taking the risks of profit loss. The result is obvious and comes fast.
Performance advertising is based on a data-driven strategy and proprietary technology to perform accurate targeting and discover potential customers with conversion intent.
It provides strong protection for a brand’s benefit and interest when the cost of paid traffic is getting ridiculously high.
Wonderful as performance advertising sounds, there are 3 things a brand should delve into to make the ad performance even better and significantly lower the cost of customer acquisition.
1) Search engine optimization (SEO)
While SEO has existed for so long, its long-standing importance remains the same. It is the foundation and the beginning of all digital advertising. What’s more, it can save more effort but lead to better results.
SEO allows a brand to acquire traffic for free and attract internet users with strong interest.
However, only the top three search results have the possibility to win users’ click.
In order to rank among the top, a brand should constantly optimize the entire website in a way that users find the content reverent and can easily navigate.
In spite of existing tons of resource about improving SEO on the internet, SEO is oftentimes the technique brand marketers easily neglect.
2) Search engine marketing (SEM)
Despite the increasingly high cost, SEM is still one of the best investment to make. It helps create more effective and targeted campaigns with keywords that a brand doesn’t originally rank for.
More importantly, SEO and SEM become more powerful than either is working alone.
A great example to demonstrate is that when users see two similar search results from the same brand on the top, one from SEO effort and the other from SEM, they are more likely to click on either one.
A brand’s multiple appearances on search result would significantly provide strong credibility.
c) Cost per acquisition model (CPA model)

CPA is a pricing model of online advertising. Advertisers pay for a specified acquisition, such as a sale, form submit, or app installs.
It focuses on driving the final conversion and bringing a substantial result, as opposed to exposure and click, for a brand. In most cases, the CPA will be unacceptably expensive if a brand boldly jumps into.
It is never recommended to do so. Even for an industry-leading digital agency, they oftentimes couldn’t help but propose a stunning figure for CPA.
However, with the meticulous effort on SEO and SEM, a brand can expect to see the significant decrease in CPA. As the website quality improves, the barrier of entry for users to complete conversions become much easier, ultimately making a positive impact on CPA.

Conclusion

When traffic becomes hard and costly to get, rather than spending more on that, brand marketers should turn around and look at the brand itself, figuring out if they have done all the things right.

-
Author: Edison Chen, Business Development Manager at Tagtoo