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How to Spend Your 2019 Digital Marketing Budget

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Updated November 1, 2018
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Most Important Objectives

How to Spend Your 2019 Digital Marketing Budget


Bryce Boyle Hoban

Bryce is a SEO Specialist and Content Strategist with Hook Agency – focused on creating content that attracts ideal customers for our clients websites.

We’re closing in on the end of another year. It goes by fast, doesn’t it? Hopefully the 2018 business year was as fruitful as you were anticipating. If not, the best place to look for a revamp to improve those numbers for 2019 is your digital marketing budget. If you’re not making enough of an impact online, you’re either not spending enough overall on your digital marketing, or you’re not spending enough where you need to.

How much should you spend on marketing in 2019?

What About Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is still prevalent… but not nearly as much as prevalent as it was 50 years ago. Traditional marketing is dying and the future belongs to digital. Traditional marketing doesn’t allow for interactions with your brand, is costly, and is near impossible to measure ROI on your campaigns. That’s not to say that you should completely avoid traditional marketing moves, because there are still some effective ways to reach your target audience with an effective message. For example, attending trade shows is a great way to personally connect with your target market.  

And that’s what marketing is all about: making connections.

And that’s what digital marketing excels at. Personalized interactions, information, and content that your consumers want to see.

So, How Much Should You Be Spending on Your 2019 Digital Marketing Budget?

Most Important Objectives

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, they’ve suggested 7% to 8% of your gross revenue should be spent on marketing.

50% of that marketing budget should be dedicated to digital marketing in 2019. Seem a little high? Well in 2020, it should be 55%. The average company is spending 35% of their marketing budget on digital campaigns, and that’s not enough. The average company is stuck 3 years in the past.

Be bold, be ahead of the curve, and shoot for half of your marketing budget to be put towards digital.

For a sense of scale, let’s look at a business that makes $2 million in revenue. If 7% of their budget is allocated to marketing, they have $140,000 to work with. Half of that is $70,000, which gives them their digital marketing budget.

Forward-thinking companies or companies that lean heavier on digital marketing might also spend the majority of their marketing budget on digital.

Youtube Ads

Youtube ads have become hallowed ground in the digital marketing realm. By identifying channels that your target market watches, you can create a highly personalized experience. Sure, these ads are oftentimes intrusive, but if you do the work to grab the attention of your audience with relevant information or humor in the hook (first 5-10 seconds before they can skip the ad), you can gain an attentive audience. 

I recently came across this ad before a Youtube video, and while it was skippable after 10 seconds, I was hooked within the first 5. Everything about this advertisement is great. It doesn’t feel like an ad, it feels like an actual video you would watch on Youtube. Naadam does an excellent job at conveying who they are, what they care about, and why I should care in 2 and a half minute ad. The ad alone has 1 million views on Youtube, combined with what they pay for to get it placed in front of other videos. These ads don’t have to be intrusive. They can be creative and entertaining.

Will I purchase from these guys? Well, I’m not really in the need of a wool sweater, but if I ever am, I will definitely be checking out Naadam.

If you do Youtube ads well, then you should see a positive ROI. Spending anywhere from $3,000-$5,000 makes sense for a small business to spend on Youtube ads and you can always adjust based on the results.

I’m looking forward to seeing more companies work harder to create honest and engaging ads on Youtube. Now if only they did the same on Hulu

SEO

Search Engine Optimization should never be neglected, especially as a small business that has a lot of competition vying for the top spots on Google. If you want to get serious results, spend anywhere from $2,000 – $5,000. If you want to grow your own knowledge of SEO, then do the due diligence and find a partner who can help you dominate the search landscape. The benefit of hiring an agency is that they are constantly learning and growing with the types of clients and the kinds of experiments they get to do with it as a full-time pursuit.

If you can find someone who’s serious about SEO and passionate about driving quantifiable results – and your company can afford to hire them, do it now.

Facebook Ads

Sometimes, it feels like Facebook is less of social media platform and more like a digital advertising avenue.

Quite frankly, that’s okay.

Facebook’s advertising platform is like none other in terms of personalization.

Say what you want about Facebook and their data management and subsequent scandals, but odds are, if you see an ad on Facebook, it’s going to be a product or service that you’re interested in.

In terms of how much to spend on Facebook ads, some sources will tell you to spend $1 for every 100 website visitors you receive. Anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000 is a good benchmark as well.

fjallraven facebook ad
As someone who has been looking to purchase new hiking pants, ads like these are highly relevant for me and based off of my past searches.

Paid Search

When it comes to PPC ads, there isn’t necessarily a specific amount you should set aside for paid search. Instead, you should test, test, test.

Test different ad copy and see which ads generate the most leads, then put your resources behind the those ads.

Whether you should spend 50% of your digital marketing budget on paid ads, or 10% depends on where you’re sitting for your SEO keywords that you really want to go after. If you’re already sitting high up in the Google search results, then it makes more sense to get in front of more people with 70k yearly in Facebook ads instead, using videos and nicely curated photos that pushed the current promotion or the exciting aspects of their business, so that people were more likely to interact.

Instagram Influencers

When people think of influencers on social media, they think big names like, like a Kendall Jenner or Casey Neistat. But you don’t have to pair up with someone who has millions of followers to make an impact with influencer marketing. Teaming up with a local or micro influencer (those with 10,000 followers or less) is a great way to expand your brand awareness to the their followers.

Casey Neistat red nose day
Casey Neistat was one of many celebs that worked with Red Nose Day, a non-for-profit working towards ending child poverty.

Spending anywhere from $1,000 – $8,000 is smart for a smaller business when it comes to Instagram Influencers. What it will really depend on is what your product offering is and whether or not Instagram is a good platform to market towards.

For example, if you’re a clothing company, you should put more money towards creating nice looking photos with people wearing your clothes then compared to an I.T. services company.

That’s not to say you should totally rule on using influencer marketing, but you should spend more time and resources in other areas, such as PPC and Email.

Content Marketing Remains Important

For most brands, this is about creating guides, resources, and tools – as well as answering the most often asked questions people have about their company in a detailed and visually compelling way. Your goal should be to create connections and relationships with your customers through your content.

If you have the best answers – the easiest to understand solutions, you can earn more attention and build those relationships.

As opposed to the interruption style of advertising that has previously dominated, permission marketing – in the form of content strategy (often on company blogs and guides) is becoming bigger and bigger.

Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource

If you’re relatively new to digital marketing strategies or just can’t seem to get anything going with your current campaigns, then it’s time to seek some assistance from a digital marketing agency.

If you’d like to chat about budgeting for 2019, reach out today to set up a meeting!

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Bryce Boyle Hoban

Bryce is a SEO Specialist and Content Strategist with Hook Agency – focused on creating content that attracts ideal customers for our clients websites.

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