3 Steps to Prioritize Data-Driven Decisions in the Rush of New Media Platforms

For advertisers, the ever-changing digital media landscape is a gift and a curse. On one hand, new media platforms create countless ways for advertisers to reach consumers. They also offer unique data and insights. However, on the other, because consumer attention is fragmented, that data — even though it’s plentiful — can become siloed.

In theory, more data should be a positive development for brands. But that’s only true if that it can be harnessed to create an omnichannel customer journey. In a fractured digital media landscape, this is easier said than done — at least using traditional advertising methods — but it’s also the only way to stay competitive and deliver an excellent customer experience.

Data and the Omnichannel Experience

Consumers have shown time and again that they’re willing to share their data with advertisers if it improves the user experience. This provides an opening for organizations to directly collect detailed customer data while, at the same time, encouraging consumers to keep coming back and giving them an active role in the process. In the end, data and customer experience go hand in hand.

Analytics tools make this possible. They use machine learning to track consumer behaviors and data across individual channels and then retain, organize, store, and utilize that data once collected. These tools have made it possible for brands to understand consumers’ cross-platform behaviors while collecting and analyzing the data they need to create an omnichannel customer journey for each.

How to Make the Most out of Cross-Platform Data

As the number of new media platforms continues to grow and data collection continues to evolve, now is the time for advertisers to take a decisive step into the modern era and make data core to their omnichannel strategy. Below, we’ve outlined three things to consider when investing in marketing tech designed to deliver in a fragmented digital media landscape.

1. Determine key stakeholders.

As you begin the process of deciding where to make marketing tech investments, first and foremost begin by figuring out who your key stakeholders are. Who will expect access to analytics reporting? Which people and departments are personally invested in the technology most? Who will you have to convince of the value in marketing initiatives and the marketing tech itself?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to build from there. This is important foundational information because it allows you to find the right cross-platform and cross-departmental tech tools. Good marketing tech will allow data to flow between tools, systems, and channels, helping you ensure all relevant stakeholders have access to information that will empower them to meet consumers’ expectations throughout their journey.

2. Align on which metrics matter.

After identifying relevant stakeholders, the next most important step is aligning on what metrics you need your marketing tech to measure. What metrics matter most to each person or team? Which correspond with business success? With your metrics defined, you can choose the tools that will best help you attract, generate, and nurture leads in a way that aligns with your goals.

It’s also important to evaluate your current toolset and then find tools that offer a balance of automation and human touch that aligns with your success metrics. Automation increases your ability to create relevant, targeted, proactive ads, but tools alone don’t create real connections and ensure the most powerful marketing strategies. Human support is always needed to ensure that marketing stays personal and resonates in a powerful way with your audience.

3. Don’t stop evolving with data.

Future-proofing your data-driven omnichannel advertising never stops. Evaluate your marketing tech on a regular basis and constantly look for ways to iterate in order to stay ahead of what consumers want using the data you’ve got. New tools will keep popping up, and it’s your job to stay proactive and ready for whatever changes come to the digital media landscape so that you can continue to do great omnichannel marketing.

Data Evolution in light of Google’s Removal of Third-Party Cookies

When choosing your tech tools, also be mindful of the phaseout of third-party cookies. For advertisers who rely on third-party data, a pivot will be necessary, and that pivot has to involve harnessing first-party data effectively. This will require finding tech platforms that support this shift and help you as you grow and evolve. Learn more about Gooogle’s plan to remove third-party cookies and how Digilant is helping our clients prepare for the future on our Future of Third Party Cookies hub.

Prioritize Data-Driven Decisions for Cross-Platform Success

The future of digital promises more control and choice for consumers and more granular data for advertisers. However, only the brands that are willing to step into the modern era using modern analytics tools and an integrated approach will be able to truly take advantage.

Interested in learning more about how our team helps brands make data-driven, omnichannel marketing the foundation of everything we do? Contact us today.

What Success Means in an Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing Context

While omnichannel vs. multi-channel marketing employs different tactics to move consumers along the customer journey, both approaches measure success in similar ways — but with one critical difference: omnichannel success requires tying all the touchpoints together. It looks at the overall journey and how each channel functions together, online and off, and works to drive conversions based on that. Successful multi-channel marketing looks at each channel independently.

While running an omnichannel marketing campaign, you monitor which channels are successfully moving customers further down the sales funnel. At the same time, you also track which channel generates the most brand awareness, which retargeting tactics drive the highest click-through rates, and which ad formats ultimately brought consumers to the store to make a purchase. It’s rooted in the interconnectedness of the customer journey.

With a multichannel marketing campaign, the ways to measure marketing success are specific channel-driven and action-oriented. You look at how many clicks, subscriptions, followers, leads, and engagement can be attributed to each channel. The drawback comes from the lack of connectedness and the inability to see a holistic picture, sometimes leading to more short-sighted decision-making.

As an example, if consumers are converting through programmatic native advertisements, as an example, and you are taking a multi-channel approach, you might decide to invest more money into this tactic — and take the budget from another one. What you may not realize is that consumers who previously saw those ads while streaming over-the-top (OTT) content are the most likely to click on the native ad because of that. If you take the budget away from OTT to invest more in programmatic native, the conversion rate on that ad likely goes down and you’re left without the insights to understand why.

Choosing the Best Approach for You

The decision between omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing depends largely on your available time and resources. Omnichannel marketing teams can’t work independently from one another, whereas multichannel marketing employs channel experts that focus on building and optimizing their respective channels. Ultimately, omnichannel marketing requires a bit more legwork and coordination to launch and maintain. If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth for that, you’re probably better off focusing on each channel individually.

That said, it’s still important to try out and test both approaches to see what works best for your target customers, as people respond differently to different buying experiences. It’s also important to consider your brand goals and whether one approach will better help you achieve success.

Consider the following when making a decision:

1. Do you want to improve customer experience or engagement?

Multichannel marketing can help you create the best excellent customer experiences within each individual channel. Let’s say you’re using email marketing. With this approach, customers receive email notifications about new product updates, discounts, sales, and special offers encouraging them to engage with your brand.

Omnichannel marketing ties all channels together to create a more seamless experience. If customers interact with an online ad, omnichannel would later prompt them to stay engaged with a related social ad. Seeing those unique but connected ads provides an additional point of contact. Similarly, if they were to visit your site and add an item to their cart but abandon it before purchasing, they’d then receive an email reminder about those specific items in their cart. While each action looks to drive engagement, single engagements aren’t the focus.

2. Do you need to take a company-centric or customer-centric approach?

Successful multi-channel marketing aims to grow, establish, and perfect as many channels as necessary to grow your business. Choose this approach when interested in increasing your number of followers on social media, increasing your leads to nurture email marketing, and so on.

If you are looking to nurture and grow relationships with current and future customers across every channel along the customer journey, however, omnichannel marketing is the right approach for you.

3. Is quantity or quality more important to you?

Multi-channel marketing ensures your brand has a robust presence on every channel a customer interacts with when considering your brand. Omnichannel, on the other hand, ensures a positive holistic experience for every customer by customizing and connecting touchpoints and interactions on each.

The decision between omnichannel vs. multi-channel marketing is ultimately up to you. You best know the needs of your target audience and your goals. With that as the basis of your decision-making, you’ll be set up for success.

To find out more about whether omnichannel or multi-channel marketing is the best way to engage your target audience, click here.

Reaching Holiday Shoppers with Paid Social Advertising

Everyone knows at least one person that, when November 1 rolls around, the Halloween decor gets put away, and it’s time to celebrate the winter holidays (hey, maybe some of us are that person!). But, whether your holiday decorations are still in the basement or already scattered around your house, there’s no doubt you’ve already seen ads highlighting holiday deals, early Black Friday Specials, and the like. Every year, it seems more brands are joining the aforementioned early-bird merrymaker club hoping to get an early slice of those holiday shopping dollars. 

So, while the official holiday shopping season will launch on November 26 with Black Friday, it’s safe to say, that holiday buying has already commenced. That being said, we’re faced with a long season ahead, so having a strong digital advertising strategy to set your brand up for long-term success is key. 

In an earlier blog post, we outlined top programmatic marketing strategies to incorporate into your strategy to reach key holiday shoppers this season; if you haven’t already, give it a read here. In this blog, we’ll walk through the power social media advertising can have on your holiday advertising.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the four key holiday shopping groups we’ve identified for the season ahead, download the complete guide. Guide for Advertisers: Understanding Key Holiday Shoppers in 2021.

3 Paid Social Advertising Strategies to Reach Holiday Shoppers in 2021 

While many advertisers understand and have embraced social media advertising, there are a few specific applications that we recommend you consider implementing into your plan to reach those key holiday shoppers in the season ahead.

1. Inspire Consumers with Pinterest Carousel Ads

Unlike other social media platforms, where people are concerned about gaining followers, likes, and keeping up with their friends, Pinterest has established itself as the discovery social network. People browse the platform for inspiration and new ideas, which puts them in a state where they are willing to interact and learn about new brands and products. In 2019, over ¾ of weekly Pinners found a new product or brand while scrolling their Pinterest. 

Brands have a great opportunity to use cool and trendy creative ads to grasp the attention of already curious consumers.

But the opportunity gets even better. This sense of discovery peaks during the holidays. 

According to Pinterest, “holidays” is the most popular search category on the site. In the coming weeks, consumers will be looking for party ideas, decorating inspiration, new recipes, fashion advice, gift wrap ideas, fun holiday-themed activities, etc. This opens up a great opportunity to sprinkle your brand’s holiday ads in the mix, showcasing how you can help fulfill their holiday dreams. 

While Pinterest has a few options for effective ad formats, this year, our top suggestion for brands looking to incorporate Pinterest advertising into their holiday digital advertising strategy is to use carousel ads (seen above). These ads appear natively in people’s feeds but allow for interactivity as people can swipe across multiple images. 

2. Engage Younger Audiences with TikTok 

It’s difficult to discuss paid social advertising without addressing the major impact and growth TikTok has seen over the last year. In August, reports showcased that the average time consumers spend on TikTok has overtaken that of Youtube. TikTok users watched over 24 hours of content per month, compared to 22 hours and 40 minutes on Youtube.

While total time spent on Youtube is still larger since their userbase is bigger, TikTok is also rapidly growing in that regard as well. Earlier this year, TikTok announced it reached 1 billion monthly active users (50 million daily active users in the US) only 5 years after the initial launch. This makes them one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in history. 

The platform still does tend to skew towards a younger audience, with 47.4% of users falling between 10 and 29 years old. But that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Gen Z and Milllenials’ purchasing power continues to grow, now sitting at $143 billion and $1.4 trillion respectively. And as it relates to the holidays specifically? 44% of Gen Z and 33% of millennials expect to spend more in the upcoming season.

So as advertisers you may be wondering how you can get your brand in front of this younger active user base that TikTok has generated? TikTok continues to add new, innovative ad formats including: 

  • Brand takeover: a full-screen, interstitial ad unit that appears immediately when  users open the app
  • In-Feed Video: an immersive, vertical  video that appears in a curated, brand-safe feed for users
  • Hashtag Challenge: Create sponsored hashtags to encourage user-generated content, engage users and attract influencers.
  • Branded Lenses: Create 2D, 3D, and AR lenses that allow users to interact more deeply with  content
  • Custom Influencers: Influencers can be leveraged in highly customized media executions

3. Reach Mobile Shoppers with Facebook Collection Ads 

And what would a blog about social media be without discussing Facebook? With the most monthly active users of all social media platforms – 261 million in the US alone – Facebook covers the largest demographic of consumers.  

These consumers who use Facebook, primarily do so on their mobile devices. Nearly all, 98.5%, of Facebook users access the platform with a mobile device. This coincides perfectly with the upward trends we’re seeing in a willingness (maybe even eagerness) for mobile commerce. Mobile retail commerce now accounts for 31% of all retail e-commerce in the United States, accounting for $47.8 billion. 

Although consumers note that the mobile e-commerce experience could be better, they also agree that shopping via their mobile devices saves them time and is more convenient. As the time spent on mobile devices continues to increase, it’s only likely the trend toward mobile shopping will only follow suit. Incorporating shoppable ads into your digital advertising mix ensures you meet consumers with ad formats that meet their preferences. 

As the holidays approach, more consumers will be on the go, running errands, shopping, and hopping from different social engagements. It’s essential for brands to reach these on-the-go shoppers with mobile-friendly (ideally mobile commerce-friendly) ads. 

Facebook offers a variety of ad formats for advertisers to use, this holiday season we suggest trying the collection ad format (seen above) to reach shoppers. This ad format in particular is specifically optimized for mobile users. It allows them to discover, browse and purchase products and services from their mobile devices in a visual and immersive way.

Preparing your Digital Advertising Strategy for the Season Ahead

These three paid social advertising tactics just scratch the surface of what brands can accomplish with the power of paid social. Understanding where your audience spends the most time and incorporating those platforms into your paid social strategy is essential.

But, we also know that paid social paired with paid search, programmatic, and other emerging channels makes for the perfect omnichannel strategy. Stay tuned for more to come on our blog in the coming weeks as we offer vital tactics to use across those channels to reach holiday shoppers in 2021.  

At Digilant, we have premier partnerships with the biggest social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and more. Alongside these partnerships, our internal team of savvy social media experts is ready to dive into your brand’s goals to create a streamlined strategy built for success. 

Interested in learning more about our paid social digital advertising solutions? Let’s talk!

Download our Guide for Advertisers: Understanding Key Holiday Shoppers in 2021.

3 Steps Midsize Publishers Should Take Now to Prepare for the Cookieless Future

As Google’s planned phaseout of third-party cookies approaches, publishers are being forced to adapt. For the most part, the industry’s largest players appear ready to shift to a first-party data model, and many major publishers have already made big strides toward the transition.

Vox Media launched its first-party data platform, Forte, back in 2019. Last year, it contributed to roughly half of the company’s display ad revenue, and as the publisher continues to roll out new tools for advertisers, that number will probably increase. Beyond that, Condé Nast’s Obsidian, BuzzFeed’s Lighthouse, and Group Nine Media’s IN-GeNuity are some other notable additions to the fast-growing list of proprietary first-party data platforms that big publishers hope will strengthen their relationships with advertising partners.

Big players from the demand-side platform (DSP) space will also likely be safe because these companies have the budgets and resources to provide some solutions designed to be a substitute for cookies. The Trade Desk, for example, recently introduced Unified ID 2.0, an open-source privacy-conscious identity solution that will make the company the exclusive third-party DSP provider for the Publicis Groupe’s data tech platform. Of course, the walled gardens of adtech — Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple — will be fine, as well, with their massive troves of proprietary consumer data and no need to rely on third-party cookies anyway.

Even niche publishers will be well-positioned to succeed in the cookieless future. They’re inherently less reliant on third-party data as-is and can offer direct buys to go after contextually targeted programmatic placements. Rather than woo advertisers with massive scalability across a multitude of online properties, they offer access to small, targeted audiences that are more likely to engage with ads. In other words, quality over quantity.

That said, not everyone is well-positioned for the change. One player, specifically, will face some obstacles: midsize publishers.


Overcoming Obstacles for Midsize Publishers

Unlike their larger counterparts, mid-range publishers don’t have the resources to build their own solutions to replace third-party cookies. They’re also often too big to outsource alternatives to smaller companies. Moreover, their reach just isn’t big enough to create the content depth and repetitiveness necessary for developing proprietary identity solutions.

Mid-sized publishers have long relied on technology and data providers to use first-party data (generated from major publishers), and when third-party cookies finally disappear, the value of that data will skyrocket. That means big publishers will likely charge more for it, or simply not share it at all.

Ultimately, if these companies can’t come up with a workaround, their collective slice of media revenue will shrink. Here are a few steps they can take to prevent that from happening:

1. Understand your audience profile.

Major publishers will become even more effective as their identity solutions and first-party data platforms allow them to learn more about their audiences. Niche players will continue to thrive since they already understand their audience profiles well. Mid-sized publishers must follow suit. That means investing in solutions that allow them to know more about visitors and viewers so that they can more successfully leverage direct buying, programmatic guarantees, or whatever other forms of media buying become popular in the future.

2. Increase contextually targeted advertising.

Rather than relying on behavioral, cookie-based content delivery, mid-sized publishers must learn how to target audiences based on context. If a web user is reading 10 articles a day on home remodeling, for example, chances are good that they would be keen on ads related to home improvement, interior design, and similar topics. However, without the ability to collect, analyze, and quickly act on contextual data, publishers won’t be able to capitalize on critical opportunities. As such, mid-range players should continually test and evaluate contextual data solutions to prevent that from happening.

3. Build relationships with advertisers.

Major publishers are hoping their cookieless offerings inspire confidence and trust in advertising partners, but technology can’t replace personal relationships. In some ways, mid-sized publishers can view their smaller size as an advantage, since they likely have more flexibility to accommodate advertiser needs. It’ll be key for them to continue to invest in existing relationships and try to continually create new ones, as direct buys might become more important when third-party cookies disappear.

The cookieless future is coming for everyone and ignoring that fact is simply not an option. Any publisher — no matter how big or small — that waits for an industry solution, rather than proactively searching for their own, will be at a major disadvantage in the year ahead. Now is the time to get ready and take action to prepare for the new future of advertising.

Preparing Your Digital Advertising Strategy for the Removal of Third-Party Cookies

At Digilant, we understand that the upcoming changes to third-party cookies can pose challenges for advertisers. We’re committed to keeping our clients informed and prepared for these upcoming changes and offering tangible solutions they can implement into their media strategies to continue to reach their valued consumers. Interested in learning more about Digilant’s digital advertising strategies in the wake of third-party cookie changes? Let’s talk.

Why Our Digital World Hasn’t Completely Abandoned Physical Advertising

Digital advertising is experiencing record growth. In 2020, when predictions wavered due to pandemic uncertainty, digital advertising spending still managed to grow 14.9%. By the end of 2021, experts predict that ad buyers will spend $191.09 billion in the US, a 25.5% increase from last year. As consumers continue to flock to the web to browse, search, and ultimately make their purchases, this trend won’t slow down. 

However, as much as brands rely on the digital world to get their message to consumers, they haven’t all but abandoned traditional forms of advertising. For a good reason. 

In the digital advertising industry, we tote that an omnichannel media strategy is gold. This, unsurprisingly, is because today’s consumers are omnichannel shoppers. We aren’t solely spending time on our phones, computers, tablets, and other electronics, so abandoning the physical world would create missed opportunities as consumers move about the physical world.

Traditional advertising complements digital advertising very well (and vice versa). Combining the two strategies allows for maximum brand impact across all outlets. 

Historically, brands relied on traditional forms of advertising and slowly adapted to a digital-first strategy. However, now we’re seeing newer brands doing the opposite. So if you’re in the bucket of marketers with a robust digital presence but looking to expand to physical advertising, we’re here to help.

We’ve outlined three forms of physical or “traditional” advertising strategies that will complement your digital media. Let’s dive in.

1. Print Ads

The Benefits of print advertising

a. Drives an Emotional Response

Because consumers are physically interacting with your brand in a magazine or newspaper, they can linger over your brand, the products, and the messages. This creates an excellent tangibility factor as consumers physically engage with your brand. 

b. Inherent Interest in the Content (and thus, the ads)

You can think of print ads in the same regard as contextually targeted digital ads. People have to be inherently interested in the content of the magazine, newspaper, etc., to subscribe. They are in a state of exploration of their passions or interests, and the ads are a part of that experience, increasing the likelihood of a positive ad experience.

How it supports your digital advertising strategy?

a. Retargeting opportunities through PMP deals.

To complement print ads, digital advertisers can leverage private marketplace (PMP) buys to run digital ads on the respective websites where your print ads are running. This will not only continue to drive brand awareness but also encourage online conversations. 

b. Increases brand credibility.

The digital advertising industry is constantly combatting consumer privacy, brand safety, and other ad-fraud-related concerns. Of all forms of advertising, consumers trust print ads the most (82% to be exact). Incorporating physical ads into your advertising strategy will boost your brand’s credibility, which will aid a consumer’s likelihood of interacting with your brand when they see an online ad. 

2. Radio Ads

2021 marked a major milestone in audio: digital audio channels officially surpassed traditional radio in which US adults spend time-consuming audio. However, the change is narrow; digital audio accounts for 50.8% of total audio time. So, while there is a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers with advanced audio advertising (read more on that in our blog post, Digital Audio Advertising Trends: Your Guide to Reaching Listeners in 2021 here), radio ads will reach consumers in the other nearly 50% of the time they spend tuning-in. 

The Benefits of radio advertising

a. Radio reflects the community.

Most people listen to their beloved local radio stations to stay informed on local events, news, traffic updates, reports, sports, entertainment, and more. This sets the tone for a more personalized listening and ad experience. When listening to the radio, there is a home-grown feeling, so brands can leverage these notions in their radio ads, especially if they’re also a local brand.  

b. Radio is affordable & efficient.

Compared to other forms of traditional advertising, like print and TV, radio advertising is much more affordable in both the creation and ad buy. 

The creative process for radio doesn’t require props or set-ups and can be produced in a relatively short period of time. Regarding the ad buy, through local stations, CPMs (cost per thousand) run at a fraction of the cost, ranging from $12-30. This is especially affordable when compared to print advertising or TV buys. 

How it supports your digital advertising strategy?

a. Radio ads are proven to increase SEO.

Studies show that radio ads can increase your brand’s online searches by about 29%. After hearing an ad, consumers will most likely search for your brand directly, helping to boost your SEO efforts. 

b. Combine streaming radio, music, or podcast advertising with traditional radio

A combination of digital and traditional audio ad buys will account for 100% of consumers’ time listening to music, podcasts, and the radio. If consumers listen to the radio while driving and then switch to listening through their smart speaker once they’re home, ad buyers across both digital and traditional radio will increase your brand awareness and messaging. 

3. Billboards (Out-of-Home)

The Benefits of billboard advertising

a. Always-on advertising format.

Billboards have a unique feature that sets them apart from other forms of advertising: they are always on. Rather than paying for a digital ad or TV commercial that would run a few times throughout the day, a billboard is on 24/7. Naturally, this lends itself to repeated exposure as consumers see it every time they pass by, say on their commute to and from work. While the message on these billboards may be shorter and simpler than other forms of advertising, it has the power to linger in people’s minds as they repeatedly pass by it.

b. Ample opportunity & inventory.

There are over 350,000 billboards in the US that you can access and use to spread your message. Opportunities range from atop a building, on a wall, along a highway, on a park bench, the side of a bus, and many more. This allows you to choose a location where the traffic will most likely include a high percentage of your target audience. 

How it supports your digital advertising strategy?

a. Supplement the smaller DOOH inventory.

Digital out-of-home (DOOH), LCD or LED screens that use traditional billboard placement to display digital content to the consumer, sometimes with an interactive element, doesn’t yet have the reach that traditional billboards do. While the user experience is often more engaging and dynamic than traditional billboards, DOOH only offers about a quarter of the placement opportunity throughout the United States (81,572 placements).  Combining DOOH buys with traditional buys to cover a larger area is the perfect example of digital and traditional working together to improve your marketing efforts. 

b. Measurement solutions tie billboard performance to KPIs.

Using mobile location data, advertisers are now able to tie billboard traffic and performance (people that saw, lingered, or passed by) to their other performance metrics. This means that although the billboards themselves are not digital, the performance of these ad units can be measured in how they impacted your overall strategy, similar to other digital strategies.

Finding a balance between physical and digital 

Over the past year, your brand may have decided to pause its traditional forms of advertising as consumers weren’t going about their customary routines. Conversely, your brand might have been born online, and you’ve yet to dip your toes into the traditional advertising pool. No matter the reason for straying away from traditional advertising, it’s clear that there is a benefit to be gained from marrying the two forms of advertising to fulfill the omnichannel customer journey. 

Additionally, many of these traditional forms of media are adapting to a digital-first world, whether in the measurement and attribution capabilities or new and improved formats (DOOH, is a great example). Finding the right balance between the two for your brand is essential to ensure you’re not missing opportunities with omnichannel shoppers. 

At Digilant, our team of digital advertising experts create omni-media solutions to ensure your brand stays relevant with consumers, both online and offline. If you’re interested in learning more about expanding your digital advertising strategy, we’re eager to chat. Contact us today!

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