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New Channels: What to Look For

Considerable competitive advantage can be drawn from being the first business in your sector to master a new digital marketing channel. But it’s definitely easier said than done. Once a new platform has been identified, time is of the essence. You don’t have long to decide whether it’s worth seriously investing in. But what should you be looking for?

MVF’s new channels team evaluate channel viability according to a tried and tested formula. The three most important elements of which we’ve outlined below.

Reach

New channels are all about reaching new audiences in new ways, so it’s important to gain an understanding right from the start about whether or not any new channel is able to deliver the audience you’re looking for. Sometimes that means volume, but for more niche products or many B2B organisations, it might just be a case of having the right people.

Of course the challenge with ‘new’ channels is that, since they’re new, word won’t have reached everyone yet. You have to make a call based not only on the levels of engagement that already exists but also on its potential to scale. Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all started from very small bases, but have since grown to attract vast audiences.

If you’re in early enough, and you do sense that there’s viability for future growth, it pays to work closely with the platform in question. If you grow together you’re going to be ideally placed to extract maximum value over the longer term.

Competition

One of the main factors likely to determine the value you can extract from any channel - regardless of its maturity - is the level of competition that exists.

The average internet user has a very limited attention span and thousands of companies, friends, acquaintances and strangers all vying for their time. So, you have to assess who’s already active on the channels you’re investigating. And it’s important to remember that competition in this respect is not necessarily limited to other businesses selling similar products, but rather just other internet users trying to target the same people as you.

Nine times out of ten you will not be among the very first swathe of users to pick up on a new platform. Is the pre-existing noise likely to mean your efforts go unnoticed, or can you see space for your contributions to cut through the noise?

Inventory

Quickly obtaining an understanding of the content formats that work on a new channel is essential for quick adoption. Does the platform rely on text, images or video? And are these assets your organisation is able to produce on a regular basis? If not, it’s likely you’ll struggle to make the most of the opportunities presented.

To give your experiments the best chance of success, it’s important to use natively created assets. The images and CTAs that worked on Facebook won’t necessarily curry as much favour with the more aesthetically demanding Instagram crowd, for example.

Similarly, inventory quality has to be evaluated. Do you know which publishers are on board? And do you have full knowledge about where your ads are being served? The company they keep can be as important as their inherent quality when it comes to securing the all important clicks.

Ultimately, the value offered by any new channel relates to the returns it offers. But by quickly evaluating channel viability along the lines outlined above, you’re likely to fast track the decision to invest or look elsewhere.

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