Table of contents
  1. 1. What are online promotions?
  2. 2. History and development of online promotions
  3. 3. Advantages
  4. 4. Disadvantages
  5. 5. Relevance to influencer marketing
  6. 6. Best practices

What are online promotions?

An online promotion is a method of increasing brand awareness, fostering brand loyalty, and/or increasing sales that take place on the Internet rather than a physical location. Influencers can be included as part of a company's promotional plan because they have significant reach and influence that helps attract more participants in the promotion. Contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes are common examples of promotions. Other examples of promotions one can run online are: 

  • Freebies 
  • Discounts 
  • Promo codes and vouchers 
  • Free shipping 
  • Influencer marketing campaigns
  • Loyalty rewards programs 
  • Buy more save more (i.e. buy two packages of cookies and get the third free) 
  • Sales for special events like holidays 
  • Paid advertising

 

History and development of online promotions

Promoting online began in 1994 with a banner ad. The banner ad was placed on Wired magazine's HotWired website and directed users to an AT&T landing page. The wired magazine came up with the idea of selling blocks of space on their digital publication website to advertisers as a way of generating revenue to pay their writers. AT&T's banner ad had a clickthrough rate of 44%. As all marketers know, banner ads have sharply declined in effectiveness because people have evolved to tune them out. The average clickthrough rate of banner ads today is 0.06%. 

When social media networks became popular in the mid-2000s, businesses began developing methods of promoting through social media. Influencer marketing is one of the strategies companies began using as they realized they can increase their reach by having an influencer talk about their brand on social media. 

Online promotions also started to become less aggressive and more personalized. As consumers and technology continue to change, online promotions will follow suit. We predict that interactive ads, video marketing on YouTube, and the gamification of promotional codes will gain steam. Due to Facebook's major Cambridge Analytica scandal and the fact that Instagram is now considered the social media network with the most impact and growth, Instagram may take Facebook's top spot as well. 

 

Advantages

Most People Are Online: An increasing number of people are opting to make purchases online rather than at a physical store. It saves them time and reduces their stress. 

Lower Cost: Promoting online is typically less expensive than promoting offline, even though online promotions have taken over. 

Easy to Track: It's easier to track an online promotion's results than an offline promotion thanks to the abundance of online influencer marketing tools and analytics. Brands can't track which customers bought a certain product because of a TV ad they saw. But they can track who bought an item from their website after clicking an influencer's link. 

 

Disadvantages

High Competition: In its early stages, the competition was low in promoting online. Competition is now fierce because of the success and necessity of online promotion. However, new brands can find it easier to carve a space for their business online by working with an influencer management agency. 

 

Relevance to influencer marketing

Influence marketing is an effective way of online promotion. Brands can combine other types of online promotions with influence marketing as well. One could say that influencers have replaced celebrities in the modern world. People are swayed by the opinions of influencers more than that of celebrities. Influencers (sometimes known as key opinion leaders - KOL) are often viewed as experts in their respective niches or industries. 

One influence marketing survey found that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when it's promoted by an influencer. In comparison, 3% of consumers are influenced by celebrity promotions. For those in the pet industry, another relevant statistic is 30% of pet owners are influenced by social media animal celebrities. And 50% of pet owners who posted about their pets on social media said that their pets received more attention than them. 

 

Best practices

A brand's options for online promotion are overwhelming. But some general best practices a business can follow to effectively promote online are: 

  • Make Promotions Mobile-Friendly: All promotional pages and website pages need to be mobile-friendly to maximize results. A page that is mobile-friendly automatically adjusts to the right size and layout on an individual's mobile device to ensure no mobile users are turned away because they can't correctly use the website. 
  • Make It Easy for People to Participate: The easier it is to enter a giveaway or other promotion, the more people will participate. Because it's common for companies to require participants to share the page on social media, that means greater reach. 
  • Encourage Photos: Including high-quality pictures in an online promotion increases engagement. Brands can encourage participants to share photos on social media to further increase engagement as well. They can make it easier for participants to share photos from the promotional page too. 
  • Use Paid Media: Paid media gives online promotion an extra boost. Businesses can pay to advertise their promotion on social media networks to gain more views. Another route is paying an influencer to spread the word. One can easily find influencers through an influencer management agency.