Despite last year’s declaration from some industry pundits that the death of digital advertising is here, we think digital advertising will survive and can even thrive.
For the industry to survive, though, we need to take a realistic look at how digital advertising hasn’t exactly kept pace with changing consumer habits and attitudes. As a result, we’ve had to face what have rightly felt like existential crises, with perhaps none drawing as straight a line between now and potential oblivion as the rise of ad blocking.
Marketers should resolve to create better experiences consumers won’t want to opt out of by executing more intelligently using the processes and tools already at our disposal. Ask yourself: Will we invest in a stale paradigm and consign ourselves to diminishing relevance over time, or will we be bold and inventive to ensure that we’re investing in the future of digital advertising?
It’s a weighty question, but we can bring this thinking down to Earth based on our everyday approaches to digital advertising. Here are three strategies buyers can adopt now that will start them down this road.
1. Make the most of mobile with native.
There are more than two billion smartphone users worldwide, and the number of daily mobile moments now exceeds 30 billion, according to Forrester.
The consumer trend is undeniable, but successful advertising on mobile has been written off as improbable in some quarters. That’s because the first generation of mobile ads tried to adapt banners created for large screens to a small-screen format.
Future-focused digital advertisers should embrace mobile screens’ smaller size and the habits of mobile users. With the right ad formats and creative approaches, mobile buyers can recast “small” screens as immersive, personal and highly adaptable to user context.
Native advertising — which is advertising that adapts to the look, feel and user experience of the surrounding content — has shown to be a powerful tool for connecting with consumers on mobile because it plays to these characteristics of mobile experiences.
2. Turn connected devices into a powerful video canvas.
Video is an exciting space in the desktop and mobile advertising ecosystem because it presents an opportunity to tell rich and dynamic stories. But it’s imperative that we respect the variety of modes viewers might be in when watching video on connected devices.
Automation makes it easier to take advantage of the expansive and dynamic canvas for video advertising that is the web. Imagine the possibilities for audience targeting and sequential storytelling across the breadth of connected screens, including creating geographically relevant video stories for mobile.
Brands should embrace an unprecedented opportunity to use data to tell more compelling video-based stories that connect viscerally with consumers. While recycling old video content represents a low-cost way to make initial inroads into digital video advertising, this opportunity really cries out for custom creative.
3. Use data to extend lifetime value.
Data targeting, including re-targeting, allows marketers to harness the power of consumer intent, eliminate waste and form ongoing relationships with valuable visitors and consumers. When executed thoughtfully, re-targeting can result in high returns for advertisers.
But the power of targeting and re-targeting is often oversimplified and underutilized. In fact, re-targeting is likely the most recognizable targeting experience from online users’ perspective, and ill-considered re-targeting that simply pillories users with ads based on site visits has done little to endear them to digital advertising in general.
Tools are available to execute smart re-targeting based on intent that considers buyers’ locations, past purchases and even other behaviors and demographic factors. Buyers should use these tools to nurture consumers along the conversion funnel and to foster lifetime interaction past the point of purchase.
Customer retention is much less expensive than new customer prospecting, and it should be a significant focus of the mix of brands’ digital advertising activities as a result.
Brands and consumers are demanding more accountability from digital advertising buyers and sellers. While it might be tempting to double down on old models, our reaction should be to stand confidently in the capabilities we’ve built and to develop winning strategies for all parties involved.