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BT launches digital advertising platform to help businesses grow online


BT has launched a digital advertising platform to make it easier for businesses to run their own digital marketing campaigns, helping them to better promote their goods and services online.

BT’s Digital Marketing Hub gives businesses the tools and support to create, publish and track their digital advertising across Google, Facebook, and Instagram – all from a single platform.

With the majority of businesses moving online during the pandemic, a recent survey by Small Business Britain, in partnership with BT, found that 74% of small firms have increased their use of social media to promote their business online. 43% of those polled said they were using e-commerce more, while 30% had increased their use of paid social media advertising.

Customer reach

But while small businesses recognise the importance of using social media to reach more customers online, 40% of the 5.9 million SMEs in the UK (2.4 million) aren’t using paid digital media advertising. This lack of adoption risks holding a significant proportion of the UK’s small firms back from growth as the economy looks to recover from Covid.

Developed with feedback from more than 1,500 businesses, BT’s Digital Marketing Hub has been designed to help those that often lack the time, resource, confidence, or skills to start or boost their own digital advertising campaigns. From sole traders and small businesses looking to take their first steps into digital advertising, to larger companies looking to optimise big-budget display, social or search campaigns, the Digital Marketing Hub provides an all-in-one solution.

Businesses can create ads and run multi-channel marketing campaigns while all the results feed into a single analytics dashboard. With artificial intelligence (AI) working in the background, businesses can get automatic recommendations around the best keywords, ad copy and media spends to include in their campaigns, helping secure maximum return on investment. To support small businesses without their own website, the Digital Marketing Hub also provides the option to create a bespoke webpage to direct potential customers to.

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55% of small businesses say digital marketing is the area they need most support with, so BT has also built a new team of digital advertising experts to provide an optional managed service. This is available as part of a fully managed pay-as-you go service with ‘Essential’ or ‘Premium’ options on offer. The managed service options range from setup support from an expert to the total outsourcing of a digital strategy, businesses can flex their level of support up and down as they want.

The platform is charged to businesses through a service fee, which is applied to each campaign on a pay as you go basis and varies depending on the service level the customer chooses. This gives businesses access to all the tools in the platform, with no minimum contract length.

Chris Sims, BT’s MD for its SoHo (Single/Small Office, Home Office) unit, said: “This is a pivotal time for small businesses across the country, after a really tough couple of years. Small firms are the backbone of the UK economy, so it’s vital that they’re equipped with the digital tools and support they need to help their business reach new heights. They can reach a much bigger audience by using the power of digital advertising, but many lack the time, money, and confidence to do this effectively. Our new Digital Marketing Hub has been designed to give small businesses peace of mind that their online advertising campaigns are reaching the right customers, in the right place, at the right time.”

Mike Southern, director and co-founder of Stage-ed, said: “We partner with schools to introduce drama as part of the learning process. We’ve traditionally worked with schools across London, but thanks to the Digital Marketing Hub we’re reaching totally new audiences across the UK. The BT service has been a gamechanger – it’s easy to use, it’s flexible and it’s opened my eyes to new areas we can advertise in. We’ve been involved in the process right from the start – the BT team are experts in how to optimise activity and it’s been a real learning curve. Our campaign has turned enquiries into conversions and that, for us, is gold dust.”

BT is taking a phased approach to the platform development, with features including additional AI optimisation capabilities and e-commerce functionality planned for release in the coming months, and more to come across the rest of the year.

Tags: BT, digital marketing, Digital Marketing Hub



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