Back-to-school season is the second biggest shopping season of the year touching 29 million households and accounting for $27 billion in sales in the US. That said, the Back to School (BTS) season has increasingly become more diverse and complex for marketers. No longer should marketers focus on digital and traditional media buying strategies and tactics that focus only on the short time frame before the start of school or only focus their attention on one channel or market segment.
For marketers that want to create the biggest return for their advertisers dollars, they need to get smarter by diving into the data. Digilant is here to help. This post is the first in a four part series of infographics that reveal everything you need to know about BTS shoppers.
Changes in the BTS market demand a new approach to buying advertising. One of the most important underpinnings to that approach is understanding that BTS segments are diverse. From the parents shopping for their kids to the college students shopping for themselves. Each segment is unique in terms of what resonates to them and how they will choose to allocate their money for BTS spending.
Regardless of the marketing strategy that a company may have in place, there are key elements to buying digital media that all brands should take into account.
However, before jumping into the elements of successful digital media buying, there is one aspect that must be worked out: defining your campaign goals. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with any marketing campaign is trying to manage to several goals at the same time.
While it is true that all brands aim at varied objectives and want to solve different issues, you must learn to prioritize. The important thing is to maintain a hierarchy of objectives. If you have limited resources, as is often the case, it is essential to focus efforts on the main objective, and spare no effort in trying to resolve other less relevant issues.
But it is important to understand that your target audience uses multiple channels to gather information and make their decisions. Therefore, the best strategy to reach your audience is to expose your brand to all the channels and during different stages of the buying process.
According to eMarketer, successful advertisers are investing half of their budgets based on the basic elements of digital media buying strategies. In fact, the purchase of digital media accounts for 44% of all advertising budgets.
If anything has become certain in the constantly evolving world of digital marketing, it’s that if advertisers want their campaigns to be effective and achieve their objectives, they need to understand all the key elements to buying digital media
What Are the Key Elements to Buying Digital Media?
The issue lies in defining the steps to purchasing digital media. Different variables must be taken into account:
What is the best fit for your brand?
Where is your audience?
What is the best channel or tactic to strengthen the concrete strategy you have already defined?
Would you know where to start? The following points that we will cover are the three main elements to buying digital media that you should keep in mind.
Get to Know Your Audience
Every digital marketing campaign is unique, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, goals and target audience. For this reason, it’s very important to know your brand’s audience well, in order to be able to execute each of the elements of a successful digital media buy. And, above all, to do it in a way that helps to grow your business.
Knowing your users will help you discover the media they consume. To achieve this, consider the following factors:
A. Identify your target audience
Who are you trying to reach? Who is your target audience? Create a profile that reflects the user you are trying to reach and impact. The main ‘consumer persona’ of your brand.
Recognizing and building a profile of your potential audience is basic. And, of course, it implies the identification of the demographic profiles, income, Internet browsing habits and overall digital behavior of your users.
It is important that you know the behavior of the audience you are going to target. It is one of the keys to building a better digital media strategy. Otherwise, you run the risk of your investment being unsuccessful.
B. Know your ecosystem
Once you’ve identified your target audience and have studied what profile you are looking for, the location you need to focus on, as well as knowing which audience will best respond to your product, then it is time for you to understand your ecosystem.
This means that you have to go beyond mere profile data. For example, if you need to buy advertising space for car insurance, you can target younger car users living in large metropolitan areas. For that you may be interested in evaluating elements such as the following:
Are low-end or high-end car models more attractive?
Perhaps driving classes have the most demand?
What about driving schools?
Or, perhaps, users prefer to find car accessories?
If you discover the interests of your target audience, you will probably also find brands that you have never considered competition before. But they really are. This process is part of the “out of the box” thinking, vital to defining the key elements to buying digital media, and in this case, identifying your real competition.
Having as much information as possible about the competition will help you explore your own elements to buying digital media. That way you’ll know what works best for your audience. What happens to be your potential audience. To analyze your competition, you can start with the following questions:
Creative designs and ad types:
What do the the banners and landing pages of your competition look like?
Does the competition use a specific color scheme that works better than another?
Are their designs clean and clear or are they elaborate?
What types of ads and specs seem to work best for competing brands?
Do they adhere to their own brand image or do they try to adapt to the publication’s?
Offerings: What type of calls to action (CTAs) do they use?
Do your competitors provide discounts or free products?
How do they describe their offers?
Website: What types of websites does your competition use to reach its target audience? Following the above example, they could focus on writing blogs about high-end cars or about tricks for car care, for example.
On the prevailing website for your competition, where do they publish their ads?
Do they run their own ads or are there mediating agencies that complement this process?
Once you have a deep enough understanding of your audience’s ecosystem and competition, you’ll be closer to optimizing the elements of your media buying strategy
Creativity and Diversity of the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
The second key to effective digital media buying is to take into account the diversity of the digital advertising ecosystem and not focus all of your resources on the same channel.
There’s a huge variety of digital platforms on which you can advertise. From email to social media, radio, television, influencers … Why limit yourself to only advertising?
Your goal should be to spot the platforms with the best rates and preferred locations of your audience. Only in this way will you increase the positive results of the investment you make.
Types of digital media: One of the key elements to building a cohesive digital media buying strategy is to understand the different tactics within Earned, Owned and Paid Media.
Paid Media. Media in which you have to invest a certain amount of money to achieve your goals. It would be the closest example to traditional advertising in mass media, but now refers to digital platforms. From the social media platforms themselves to digital advertising banners, there is a wide variety of formats included the paid media category.
Owned Media. Media that is owned by your brand. These are the channels through which you communicate with your viewers, users or subscribers. The company has the power and the exclusivity to publish on those channels.
Earned Media. It refers to the recognition you get in certain spaces after a job well done. The media wins are the most complicated to earn but are the ones that give the best long-term results.
The use of each type of digital media offers different benefits. Therefore, a good choice of channels in which to interact with your users is key.
Choose an Appropriate Media Buying Solution
The third key element to buying digital media is to have a tool that allows you to control all the elements of the process. The purchase of digital media would be impossible without taking advantage of the potential of advertising platforms such as Digilant.
Campaign optimization is an ongoing process. And, therefore, the fact that something works once does not mean that it will always work. That is why it is fundamental to take care of all the factors that are dependent on you. Some of the most important factors are:
Creative message. Adequate budget. There are several ways to fix it. From the percentage of net sales to what you can afford. Measure everything. Make sure you have developed processes that allow you to identify what type of advertising medium and channels are generating the best results.
Partnering with a suitable platform is the main element to the digital media purchasing process. Obviously, it must be accompanied by the two previous ones. If you do not know who you are targeting, it will be difficult for you to have an impact. And if you do not know the different types of media, it will be difficult to take advantage of the choices available. But a poor choice of a programmatic platform can reduce the effectiveness of your overall campaign strategy.
Digilant can help you with a managed service or self-service programmatic platform solution. Allowing in both cases to handle digital advertising campaigns using real-time bidding (RTB) across all channels.
More and more, social media is becoming a bigger part of most digital marketer’s media plans. Over the last two years, social media ad spend has doubled due to its rapid growth. Twitter’s advertising revenue for example has been steadily increasing with as much as 60% growth year over year.
Twitter, amongst the social media tools, has an interesting track record. As early as June 2014, nearly 80% of U.S. marketers were already using promoted Tweets, giving Twitter a strong adoption rate amongst marketers at that time. But despite their early adoption rate, Twitter has since lost some growth compared to other platforms, falling behind apps like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram. Overall, none of these platforms come close to the success that Facebook has; but even against these odds, Twitter, with its 313 million active users, still has a lot to offer to brand marketers.
Regardless of usage and numbers, marketers still report that Twitter provides a decent return on investment, ROI, ranking below Facebook but still above Instagram, LinkedIn, Slideshare and Snapchat for programmatic media buying.
In 2016, Promoted Tweet engagements were up 91% year-over-year, giving advertisers a much higher audience engagement on display ads. These Promoted Tweets included:
Top placement of relevant search result pages
Promoted Trends search results
Relevancy on user’s live Twitter Feeds
Placement on user profiles that fit the targeting qualifications
In addition to these Promoted Tweets, brands can also use Twitter to:
Earn top rankings through consistent, ongoing record of interaction with followers
Engage with audiences through Twitter’s messaging and communication features
Use Tweets to beta test paid marketing and creative copy
While paid ads and Promoted Tweets are great tools included in the platform, they’re not the driving forces on Twitter. Instead, it’s that brands have the opportunity to drive a conversation with their audience. Brands can also find opportunities on Twitter by taking advantage of Twitter’s “Moments” to collect, curate and reorder tweets to showcase conversations as everyday storytelling or as part of a campaign strategy. Twitter helps to offer real-time, direct connections with consumers that can turn customer service into “serving customers.” The platform enables brands to participate in the moment with their audiences through live video and real-time tweeting, even creating cultural moments. With this, many brands take the opportunity to put the creativity of their customers into the spotlight.
Social’s share of marketing budgets is expected to increase from an average of about 10% to nearly 25% within the next five years. The money and time brands spend on Twitter isn’t just for leads, but for retention.
While Twitter isn’t leading the social media wave, it still has a lot to offer to brands.
Digital Marketers report a high ROI from their advertising efforts on Twitter.
Promoted Tweets aren’t the only ways in which brands can use Twitter.
Ongoing audience engagement and beta-testing campaigns can build relationships.
Social share of marketing budgets is increasing.
Twitter can be used not just for leads, but also for customer retention.
Hiring the right digital media agency is one of the most essential tasks for any brand that wants to effectively reach its target audiences. The digital ecosystem has radically transformed the work of media agencies. However, its main function has remained the same: having a brand message reach the right audience, at the right place and time, and at the lowest possible cost for the advertiser.
Until a few years ago, the main media outlets were newspapers, television, radio or outdoor advertising media. In spite of the great variety of available means, the truth is that the work of a media agency was simpler.
As seen in the image below, the process of buying advertising space began in the compilation of a series of data that the agency itself interpreted and executed channel by channel.
Changes in the media purchase model
The transformation of the media buying ecosystem has brought some changes that should be taken into account:
The emergence of the Internet has lead to significant audience fragmentation in each and every one of the digital channels. And all this boosted by the irruption of mobile devices. It is becoming increasingly true that : anyone who writes a blog, creates a radio or television station, is a digital medium. Because although the reach of each of individual channels very small, the sum of all of them is a very sizeable amount. That is why the long tail of digital media is one of the main headaches of media agencies. And the way to solve it is one of the keys to take into account when hiring a digital media agency.
The evolution of advertising technology has profoundly changed much of the media buying process.
In the past, marketing managers and agencies could buy inventory directly from the publishers. A purchase decision that in many cases was based on the content. Depending on the target you would like to impact, you should choose a specific medium. However, the emergence of technologies such as DSPs, DMPs or SSPs have not only solved some of the inefficiencies of the traditional media buying process, but also, has made the process faster and easier to identify the target and the right moment to impact it.
The generation and grouping of data from a variety of sources makes it possible to achieve greater target identification. The technology makes a huge volume of data available to all the actors of the ecosystem, as well as the possibility of extracting value from their combination. Thus, it can impact a very specific type of user. Taking into account not only its demographic aspects but also its digital behavior.
The concept of a media agency as a mere buyer of advertising space has disappeared, as technology has been further integrated into the buying process. The previous infographic shows the main differences between the traditional media purchase and the programmatic purchase.
The purchase of ads changes from manual to fully automated,thanks to powerful software that allows Real Time Bidding (RTB), in milliseconds.
It goes from a process that involves several people to a management in which the technology groups the data in a common dashboard.
Price stops being a matter of agencies and publishersto being set up through real-time bidding. It allows you to buy and sell inventory in real time based on possible impressions.
Measurement goes from being a tedious and complicated task to be generated via automated reporting. That, in addition, allows generating more knowledge through the application of several filters to the data.
Traditionally, the only way to optimize the campaigns was to wait and see the results. By contrast, programmatic buying of digital media allows to optimize the campaigns in real time. Basically by the access to the data as it consolidates.
A slow and intensive process in human resources is transformed into something fast and automated, where much fewer human errors are made.
Keys to hiring a digital media agency
Having established this background, hiring a digital media agency has become essential. It is essential if the agency does not have the technological means, or if it lacks the necessary knowledge, or if it does not have access to the long tail inventory.
Having access to a media agency that buys ad space is no longer enough to draw interest. The most compelling thing is that this agency focuses on data analysis and technology to optimize any campaign in real time. This is important when deciding between digital media agencies to hire.
To avoid falling into errors, there are a number of keys that you must master:
1.- Appropriate Technology Technology is a pivotal piece of the puzzle. If a digital media agency does not have the appropriate technology, it can’t compete with the market.
The process of buying media with agreements between the publisher and the advertiser is no longer useful. It is now essential to have a DSP to automate the access to an almost unlimited inventory, while leveraging algorithms to define audience segments appropriate to each campaign.
A DSP is the technology that allows the ad to reach a higher quality audience, thanks to its capability to cross users’ data with auctions’ data. This helps optimize campaigns in real time. Hence the importance it has when it comes to hiring a digital media agency. So it is very important to opt for partners like Digilant.
2.- Access to unlimited inventory One of the tasks of a DSP is to centralize media buying services, and to do so in real time. This automation allows you to integrate data from both your own sources and from other suppliers, as well as advertiser data.
This not only makes decision-making more accurate (fundamentally because much more information is available and more segmented), but even more important it allows access to an almost unlimited inventory. In the case of the traditional media purchase the access to inventory depended on the ability to negotiate with the publishers one by one.
3.- Creativity However, using programmatic buying does not imply letting go of creativity. Quite the contrary, when hiring a digital media agency you must assess that the agency can generate creative strategies. Only doing so, it will be possible to make decisions with a return:
Where you need to communicate the brand to your users.
What message to send.
4.- Complete reports in real time A professional reporting dashboard makes it possible to explore and interact with thousands of data points, and what it is even more interesting, in real time. This is another essential aspect in deciding why to hire a digital media agency or another.
A digital media agency should be able to offer you aggregate metrics as well as trends for specific time periods. Reports that give you information about your audience, that have been extracted from First, Second and Third Party Data.
This aspect is fundamental since these reports are used for the timely optimization of each campaign, which will make you achieve a greater return on your investment.
One of the problems with automation is that some advertisers need to learn how to work with certain tools. Knowing what a DSP is and how it works is not enough. It is important to know how to use it.
Hence before hiring a digital media agency is necessary to study in depth the support it offers. It is not only important the explanations they offer, but you should also consider the contact channels that are being used to offer that support: webinars, chat system, phone, etc. as well as the language. Sometimes incorporating technology involves mastering terminology that you may not know in your language.
In this regard, Digilant University, offers programmatic knowledge relevant to media agencies and brands.
6.- Price Is there any company that does not take this variable into account? It is a mistake to only consider this factor when deciding the agency you are going to hire. However, this list of aspects to consider, the fact that it is more or less expensive is important, especially if it is accompanied with different functionalities.
7.- Certifications One of the ways to increase the confidence of other companies is to demonstrate expertise. Having professional certifications is another aspect to take into account. For example, when it comes to buying digital media, the QAG Quality standard from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a certification confirming the agency’s commitment to providing advertisers with high-quality, transparent and reliable advertising placements is key.
Something only within the reach of a few companies among which, of course includes Digilant. Do you want to know more about our Programmatic solutions?
In the coming year, Social Media is expected to take over more than a third of the share of digital marketing spend. Social media advertising has been established as a “must-do” for the digital marketers of today.
With more than 70% of the U.S’s population on at least one social networking site, it’s become apparent that companies should invest in social. It’s estimated that in 2017, Facebook alone is positioned to represent almost 30% of the U.S population.
Facebook’s Marketing Appeal
Fundamentally, Facebook provides advertisers with massive reach to a digitally engaged audience. Facebook passed the 1.7 billion mark for global monthly users and is the by far the most used social media platform in the world.
Advertisers know that Facebook offers value, and not just by reach alone. The platform gives marketers the opportunity to reach and retarget users with advertising based on real user data. Facebook doesn’t rely on data from user searches that are based on cookies, but is able to target real individuals, which is a huge advantage over its competitors.
Additionally, Facebook’s user profiles provide valuable targeting data — such as their age, geographic location and behavioral data. This information can be found on the sites’ pages and post likes and provide insight into user interests that help advertisers reach highly qualified users.
Marketers also find interest in Facebook because of its usability on mobile and the ability to target across devices. In fact, over half of users access Facebook solely on mobile. The platform offers multiple tools to reach interested users and remarket to existing or past customers.
Advertisers who take interest in Facebook can place pixels on their website to set up and target Custom Audiences. These audiences would consist of individuals with Facebook IDs that have visited specific product pages or added products to a cart on an advertiser’s website. In turn, this data can be used to retarget these visitors with ads across all of their devices.
A Custom Audience for example, could be used to create an audience segment of a brand’s most frequent buyers. When a new product or sale comes up, the brand can target those users who would most likely return to their site and purchase again.
Using Facebook’s algorithm for Custom Audiences, they can identify similar or Lookalike Audiences. These lookalikes help advertisers find new customers by taking a high intent signal, high performing audience segment — like an advertisers’ best customers — and target ads to other users who share similar traits or behaviors.
The most popular social media platforms offer online help sites and training to help marketers get the most out of social – and Facebook is no exception. Facebook’s Business and Help sites explain features and provide helpful “how-to” videos for every step of the campaign process.
Take the statistic for example that 87% of Facebook engagements come from photo posts. As a result, Facebook recommends an 80/20 ratio for posts – use 80% image and only 20% text. In fact, 40 characters or less is the ideal Facebook post length to maximize engagement.
Understanding creative best practices is just a small sample of the tips and best practices Facebook has to offer. The self-serve Ad Manager includes guidance and built-in features like automated optimization based on Campaign Objectives. The increasing rate of adoption of Facebook in programmatic marketing plans clearly indicates that social media advertising is maturing.
As it continues to evolve, better measurement will be critical in demonstrating its value. Facebook has already made progress in measurement through ability to optimize performance in real time, improving performance against a variety of campaign objectives, and providing incremental and efficient reach.
Facebook offers similar benefits to programmatic buying and selling — effective targeting and the ability to match ads on a one-to-one basis, in real time — but doesn’t provide a real time bidding model currently. Marketers seeking Facebook inventory work directly with Facebook as their inventory is not available outside their own platform.
Facebook Advertising Best Practices Summary
Social media is big, and Facebook has the lion’s share among social platforms
Advertisers like Facebook because of the ability to target real user IDs and attributes, including not only user profile data, but also behavioral targeting
Facebook’s Custom Audiences helps to retarget interested users — and to reach Lookalike audiences
Facebook’s Business and Help sites offer best practices to make the most of your campaigns
Benefits include valuable user-based, mobile and cross device targeting, but not the real time bidding available via programmatic platforms
ispDigital Expands Its Digital Marketing Capabilities and Services in the US
Boston – July 12, 2017. ispDigital, an international technology marketing services holding company that offers innovative solutions for brands and agencies, announced its acquisition of React2Media via one of its companies, Antevenio. While ispDigital was already present in the US with its programmatic media solutions and services company, Digilant, this is the first footprint for Antevenio.
React2Media is the second acquisition that ispDigital has made this year in the US, following the acquisition of Anagram by Digilant in late March. This is an expression of the strategic importance of the US market for the digital marketing focused holding group.
Antevenio, with offices across Europe and Latin America, is a leader in Southern Europe in publishing and marketing technologies, and it is quoted on the EuroNext ticker ALANT (France). React2Media is a New York-based digital marketing agency, specialized in performance marketing that has developed proprietary technologies and services to help brands to broaden their audiences and foster their development.
Antevenio has agreed to buy 51% of React2Media’s capital, with the balance held by the three executives of the agency. The two founders, Alexander Schaller and Jordan Galbraith, and Chief Revenue Officer Casey White, will accompany the development in the US for at least 3 years. The agreement provides for the progressive acquisition of the remaining shares by 2021.
Joshua Novick, CEO of Antevenio, born in the US, will oversee the integration of the subsidiary and work on existing synergies in order to expand the publishing business in the US, as well as the distribution of email marketing technologies and services. Alan Osetek, CEO of Digilant, based in Boston, will join the board of the subsidiary and support the commercial expansion in the US market. Digilant, Antevenio’s and now React2Media’s sister company within the ispDigital group, headquartered in Boston, is already present across the US with offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Atlanta.
“To bring our company to the next level it is key to establish ourselves in the United States, the largest and most innovative market for digital marketing,” said Joshua Novick, President and CEO. “We have the two perfect ingredients for the future success of our company, first React2Media as a partner with quality management, as well as complementary expertise, technology and products; secondly our sister agency, Digilant, who already has an established and growing digital and programmatic media buying presence in the US market.”
Alex Schaller and Jordan Galbraith, founders of React2Media also commented: “We share with Antevenio the same values of professionalism and innovation. Since day one we have been able to satisfy our customers by offering high quality services. With Antevenio we will be able to strengthen our range of products and services, a necessity in this rapidly changing digital marketing environment. Leveraging their robust technologies and their social media and portal knowledge, will allow us to close the loop in our current range of marketing offerings.”
About ispDigital ispDigital is a group of technological marketing services companies that offer innovative solutions for brands. Together with Acceso, Antevenio and Digilant, ispDigital brings integral cross-channel and cross-device marketing solutions. ispDigital is owned by Inversiones y Servicios Publicitrios (ISP) a company of the Rodés family. For more information visit www.ispdigital.com.
React2Media is a global digital performance-based marketing company. Working across Web, mobile, and social media platforms. React2Media offers advertisers, and publishers a range of technology based lead generation and performance based marketing solutions. For more information visit www.react2media.com.
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