Is it Better to Rent or Own Your Marketing Channels?
Controlling your communication with customers is the best way to ensure that every interaction with them is impactful and meaningful. However, if you’re only renting the channels through which you’re communicating, many factors of your messaging are beyond your control.
Take channels like Facebook or Google, for example. These channels are rented, which means the owners of the platform control who sees your message, where they see it, and when they see it. Your branded app, on the other hand, is an example of a channel you own — where you control not only the content of your messaging, but also when, where and to whom each message is delivered.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when selecting rented and owned channels as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy.
Facebook and Google Control All Content on Their Platforms — Including Your Message
Your Facebook page enables you to target your communication toward specific segments of your audience, but ultimately the platform’s algorithm retains control over when, where and to whom it delivers each message. The same is true for content you promote through search engines like Google: they decide whether your message is front and center, or ends up buried back on page six.
To make matters still more challenging, sites like Facebook and Google are constantly refining their algorithms. In 2018, for example, Google averaged nine algorithm updates per day. Facebook, meanwhile, regularly adjusts its algorithm to combat misinformation and clickbait. With so many changes rolling out so frequently, the tactics that worked effectively last week may not keep your content at the top of your audience’s feed today. This means it’s virtually impossible on rented social media platforms to ensure your message gets exactly where you want it to go and when you want it to get there.
Your Mobile App Can Provide Tighter Control — But at Higher Cost
Although social media and other rented platforms can provide numerous opportunities to engage with your customers, channels you own — like your mobile app — give you far tighter control over your messaging. In many cases, owned channels can also provide much more granular data about engagement rates, which can help you craft your messaging to appeal more precisely to each subscriber on your list.
However, some owned channels may cost significantly more than rented channels. In addition, these channels come with no guarantee that the majority of your customers will check in with them regularly, or will keep push notifications turned on. This lack of guaranteed reach can make it tricky to judge the real value of your investments in channels like apps.
Email Offers an Ideal Balance Between Control and Cost Effectiveness
Despite the fact that customers have access to more social media platforms every year, email remains the most effective channel for building lasting connections with your audience. That’s because while about 2 billion customers use a Facebook or Twitter account on a daily basis, as many as 4 billion people check at least one email address every day. What’s more, the average email has a clickthrough rate six-and-a-half times higher than the average Facebook post.
Perhaps most critically of all, email offers the potential for far more individualized communication than any social media channel. While social platforms only offer broad segmentation based on generic demographic information, an automated email campaign can enable you to collect granular data on each individual customer’s engagement, helping you craft custom messages tailored around that specific subscriber’s aspirations.
The ideal balance of rented and owned marketing channels will be different for every brand — and it will continue to change as algorithms evolve. A well-rounded marketing strategy will leverage both types of channels. However, investments in owned channels where you control the audience, reach, timing and context are crucial ingredients in keeping messaging personal and building stronger connections with your audience.
James Glover is the co-founder and CEO of Coherent Path, an email marketing optimization and email personalization solutions provider.