Native Advertising: What You Need to Know

U.S. spend on native advertising is expected to top $98 billion this year, accounting for three out of every five dollars spent on digital display ads. It will be money well spent. 

In an era where consumers are more discerning than ever, native advertising stands out as a subtle yet powerful approach that seamlessly integrates promotional content into the natural flow of the user’s online experience. This unobtrusive strategy not only respects user preferences but also enhances engagement by delivering relevant, informative, and entertaining content. Likewise, as social and search advertising channels become increasingly saturated and face mounting privacy concerns, native advertising can fill the gap, offering brands an authentic way to connect with their audiences in a contextually relevant way. 

Table of Contents

 

What Is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is characterized by the seamless integration of promotional content within the organic context of a platform, website, or publication, with ad units designed to match the format and style of the surrounding content. Native ads blend into content on a publisher’s website by matching aspects like font, location, and image size of content to increase the likelihood of a consumer engaging with the ad. By matching the aesthetic and being contextually relevant to a site, native ads provide consumers with a seamless, nondisruptive advertising experience. These ads can appear in a variety of formats

 

Examples of Native Advertising and Formats

The goal of native ads is to not stick out, but rather to provide a seamless experience for the user while also delivering valuable content. For this reason, there’s a variety of formats a native ad can take, depending on the site and experience within which they appear. Below are a few examples of common native ad formats and manifestations. 

 

Social Native Ad Example

Example of a Social Native Ad

Social native ads are designed to look like just another post within a user’s social media feed, aside from some light “sponsored” labeling. The more authentic these ads can appear, the more likely they are to garner attention. 

Open Web Native Ad Example

Example of an Open Web Native Ad

Native ads on the open web are usually distributed through ad networks or other ad-serving platforms that match them with relevant publications. These ads blend into the flow and design of the site, and the content promoted within them reflects the themes and approach of the publication as well. 

Sponsored Content Native Ad Example

Example of a Sponsored Content Native Ad

While there is overlap between open web native ads and sponsored content native ads, sponsored content native ads are more likely to refer to content that was created by or in partnership with a specific publisher. While this content will have a flag to denote it’s sponsored, it will still look very similar to other posts on the publisher’s site and might also be promoted through sponsored ad units on the publisher’s social media channels and other owned properties. 

Promoted Listing Native Ads Example

Example of Promoted Listing Native Ads

Promoted listing native ads appear on ecommerce websites such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other retail sites. They show up like other products or services that consumers see, just with an “Ad” connotation next to them. Native promoted listings greet consumers as they shop for products or services similar to those offered by the advertising brand. 

Suggested Content Native Ads Example

Example of Suggested Content Native Ads

Suggested content native ads are slightly unique among native ad formats in that they don’t necessarily look like the rest of the content on the page. These ads are integrated into the publisher’s content, but they do not have the same appearance as the feed. They might appear at the end or within the content of an article, and are distinguished by cues such as “You May Also Like” or “Recommended for You.” 

 

Is Native Advertising Still Important in 2024?

The modern concept of native advertising in the digital age has been around for more than a decade, and the principles of native advertising date back to the humble origins of the advertorial. Despite its long history, native advertising has never been more relevant than it is today. 

Native advertising continues to deliver value to consumers while respecting the consumer’s experience. In fact, three-quarters of consumers say they trust the sponsored content delivered to them in editorial environments.

Particularly as third-party cookies vanish in Chrome in 2024, advertisers are going to need powerful ways to remain relevant with their audiences, despite the loss of the ability to track their actions across large portions of their consumer journeys. The contextual power of native advertising, in partnership with its robust user experience and the trust it fosters, means native advertising is going to be a more important component of the modern advertiser’s toolbox than ever before. 

 

Why Is Native Advertising Controversial?

Historically speaking, sponsored and branded content have come under occasional fire due to the possibility that consumers could mistake the promotional content as strictly editorial in nature and, thus, be misleading. This criticism naturally extended to native advertising in the digital age, particularly in its early days, before standards had been defined. 

Fortunately, a great deal of work has been done within the industry to mandate, clarify and standardize how sponsorship is disclosed within the context of native ads. For example, the Federal Trade Commission released “Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses,” in which it provides details on its enforcement efforts to ensure native advertising is neither “deceptive or unfair” and that consumer interests are protected through proper disclosures of content sponsorship. The agency encourages native advertising content to feature clear, unambiguous language, labeling content with terms such as “Advertisement,” “Paid Advertisement,” “Ad” or “Sponsored Advertising Content.”

From an industry standpoint, IAB has also weighed in on the topic of native advertising with its “Native Advertising Playbook.” In this document, the organization lays out different native ad types and a framework for evaluating them, along with disclosure guidance from both IAB and FTC.

Ultimately, when advertisers and native advertising partners follow best practices, there’s little room for consumer confusion about the nature of a native ad and the content it promotes. Audiences appreciate clear disclosure of sponsorship relationships while still finding value in the content that is featured. 

 

What Are the Benefits of Native Advertising?

One of the reasons native advertising has become so popular is that it provides benefits not just to advertisers, but also to consumers and publishers. Some of the many benefits include the following. 

 

Higher CTRs and Performance for Advertisers

According to research by Outbrain and the Content Marketing Institute, the average CTR of native ads outperform push advertisements by 5-10X. This higher performance leads to a better overall return on ad spend (ROAS). In addition, because native ads provide access to valuable content, they tend to throw a halo around the brands that leverage them. 

A Powerful Experience for Users

Publishers and advertisers can appeal to audiences with a seamless native advertising experience in which they encounter the sponsored content unit as a part of the natural experience of the page. Plus, because native ads are designed and placed to find users in discovery mode — that is, when they’re broadly considering a topic or product category — they add value to the on-page experience. 

Better Relationships and Monetization for Publishers

Native ads blend seamlessly with the publisher’s content. This leads to a better overall user experience, encouraging users to spend more time on a publisher’s site. Native ads also tend to have a higher yield for publishers, and successful campaigns can lead to ongoing partnerships between publishers and advertisers, fostering long-term relationships that benefit both parties.

 

How Does Native Advertising Work?

Creating a successful native advertising campaign involves a strategic and creative process that integrates promotional content into the natural flow of a platform or publication where a target audience is most likely to be seeking information. Here are the four key steps involved:

 

1. Define Objectives and Target Audience

A strong campaign begins with a clear definition of objectives. What are you trying to achieve? Is it brand awareness, lead generation or sales? Understanding your goals will shape the rest of your strategy. 

Next, identify your target audience. Who are the people you want to reach with your native ads? Develop detailed buyer personas to understand their demographics, interests, and behaviors. This information is crucial for crafting content and finding outlets that resonate with your audience.

2. Content Creation

Content is the heart of a native advertising campaign. Create content that aligns with the interests of your target audience while conveying your brand’s message subtly. Depending on the platform and format chosen, this could be in the form of sponsored articles, videos, infographics, or social media posts. Ensure that the content is informative, valuable, and engaging. Collaboration with content creators, copywriters, and designers might be necessary to ensure your content and presentation is top-notch.

3. Integration and Placement

Choose the platforms and publications where your native ads will appear. This should align with your target audience’s online behavior and preferences. Work closely with the selected publishers to seamlessly integrate your content into their environment. Ensure that the content matches the format, tone and style of the surrounding editorial content, so it appears organic and seamless.

4. Measurement and Optimization

After your native advertising campaign is live, it’s crucial to analyze its performance. Examine the data to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Adjust your strategy accordingly by refining your content, targeting, and distribution methods. Native advertising campaigns often benefit from ongoing optimization to maximize their impact and ROAS.

Conclusion

The key to successful native advertising lies in its ability to provide value to both brands and their target audiences. By crafting content that aligns with the interests and preferences of readers, advertisers can foster genuine connections and trust. And, importantly, they can drive their most coveted audiences from mere awareness to true consideration. 

Going forward, native advertising will continue to evolve, driven by advancements in technology, changes in consumer behavior, and the quest for more engaging and personalized content experiences. With a clear understanding of the nuances and principles of native advertising, brands can navigate this changing landscape and build stronger connections with their audiences, ultimately driving meaningful results in a world where content remains king.

How to Drive Consideration Using Audience Data

Today’s consumers are flooded with products and services to choose from. In response, advertisers are working overtime to stand out among the competition while simultaneously facing tighter budgets and more pressure to drive results. Faced with this mix of challenges, advertisers must find the most effective ways to efficiently move consumers down the funnel.

With the right combination of data, messaging, and targeting, you can help consumers learn more about why your brand, products, or services provide them with the best value. By using carefully crafted messaging, you can showcase unique selling points, product features, or brand attributes that set your brand apart from the competition and fulfill your consumers’ needs. 

Audience data is a powerful tool for finding, targeting, and driving consideration amongst existing and prospective brand customers. With targeted campaigns — fueled by audience data and insights — ensure you reach the right consumers with ads that speak to their respective needs and interests, driving them further down the funnel. Additionally, you’ll avoid wasting media dollars on uninterested, unsuitable consumers, or existing customers. 

Keep reading as we’ll outline exactly how you can get started using audience data to create powerful consideration campaigns. 

1. Dive Deep into Audience Data to Reach Your Ideal Customer

As audiences move through the customer journey, from awareness to consideration, each touchpoint should be more targeted and purposeful than the last. As such, ads should speak to specific interests and needs, which requires proper customer segmentation. This can be done in two steps.

Step One: Segment Your Core Audience with First-Party Data

The first step comes from utilizing advertisers’ most valuable resource: current consumers. First-party data provides valuable information such as consumer demographics, attributes, purchase history, and product interest that can be mirrored to create more memorable touchpoints with new customers. 

Let’s look at an example

A Los Angeles-based pizza restaurant is expanding with new shops throughout California. Using their loyalty rewards data, they are able to identify two unique consumer groups that make up the majority of purchases at their stores. 

The first is Gen Z-aged consumers who primarily make purchases on Friday and Saturday nights, dine in, and typically order one pizza and a drink. The second group is millennial-aged consumers who order online through the app for carry-out. They typically order a few pizzas and a side or dessert, seemingly an order for a family. This information will help shape the different audience segments the brand should focus on targeting in the areas they are expanding. 

Step Two: Enlist an Audience Analysis Tool for Better Personalization

In-depth audience analysis expands into areas that first-party data doesn’t cover such as media habits, and personal values, where audiences typically discover new brands and other psychographic data. These tools leverage global consumer data to gain insights into each audience’s characteristics and identify the most likely opportunities for your media to reach these consumers for the highest impact.  

Let’s look back at the pizza restaurant and what an audience analysis tool would uncover. 

Gen Z college students spend at least four hours a day on social media. They use TikTok as a primary source of product inspiration and finding new brands. When it comes time to decide where to eat, they prioritize price and finding “a good deal.”

The millennial-aged consumers are avid podcast listeners and subscribe to at least three TV streaming services. They value fresh, healthy ingredients and reliability when deciding where to eat. 

The restaurant can use this information to identify what channels and messages they can use to make a targeted impact on new customers.

2. Expand Your Customer Base with Lookalike Audiences

Using both first and third-party data, you’ve identified your most valuable customers. Now it’s time to find new ones. The audience attributes identified in the process outlined above can be used to build custom audiences to target consumers who look and act like your most valued customers. As the campaign runs, optimization tools prioritize consumers most engaged with your content, moving them further down the funnel. 

As mentioned, the key to driving consideration is to personalize the content toward each consumer. From audience analysis, brands know what these consumers prioritize. As the consumer learns more about your brand, serve even more personalized ad creative that speaks to their specific needs and interests.

One more look back at our pizza restaurant showcases how this can be put into practice. We know that the Gen Z consumer prioritizes a good deal and uses social media as their main form of media consumption. The pizza shop can geo-target college campuses near their new locations, offering customers 25% off their first in-store order. 

As for the millennial-aged consumer, ease of purchase is a priority. They can target these consumers by offering 10% off when they sign up for their app. Alternatively, data analysis revealed that most of these consumers are ordering for a family, so a mid-week promotion offering 10% off when ordering two or more pizzas would encourage orders outside of the typical weekend rush, for instance.

3. The Key to Successful Consideration Campaigns 

By focusing on building consideration, you can take consumers from simply being aware of your brand to understanding why your brand is the right choice for them. Ads must be relevant and interesting, offer value, and hopefully encourage action. To achieve this, you must understand your specific audience and how best to reach them across their media journey. If you haven’t already, consider how you can implement audience data into your consideration campaigns to more swiftly move consumers down the funnel. 

Digilant’s Full-Funnel Digital Media Solutions

At Digilant, data is at the core of everything we do. We provide in-depth audience analysis using proprietary modeling algorithms built from 18 million+ consumers across 40+ countries, with over 4,000 attributes. This empowers our clients to better understand their target group, focus media spend, identify what creative messaging will have the most impact, and optimize toward the most engaged audiences. Interested in learning more about opportunities for your media to reach your ideal consumers and make a higher impact? Contact us today to learn more. 

Display Advertising: What You Need to Know

Few tools of the digital age date as far back as display ads, with perhaps the exception of the internet itself. But that’s not to say that the state of display ads, and even the ads themselves, haven’t continued to evolve right alongside the rest of the online and mobile ecosystems. Today, in 2023, display advertising remains a dynamic discipline and an important overall piece of the digital advertising puzzle.

With this explainer, you’ll get a complete overview of the current state of display advertising — what it is, its benefits, how it’s evolved, and how brands and agencies can make the most of this essential tool within their larger omnichannel strategies

 

Table of Contents

 

What Is Display Advertising?

Display advertising is a form of online advertising that uses visual elements — whether that’s images, videos, graphics, or animations — to convey a marketing message or promote a product or service. These visual ads are typically displayed on websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps in various formats and sizes. The goal of display advertising is to attract the attention of the audience and drive them to take a specific action, such as clicking on the ad to visit a website, making a purchase, or signing up for a newsletter.

 

Does Display Advertising Still Work?

Display advertising, despite having come into existence in the mid-1990s, is still an effective and important part of the digital marketing toolbox. In 2023, advertisers in the United States are projected to spend more than $149 billion on programmatic digital display advertising. By 2024, that spending is expected to increase to more than $168 billion. Part of this growth is fueled by the impressive rise of retail media networks, which leverage display ads as a part of promoting products within e-commerce environments. 

Although many within our industry point to low click-through rates on display ads as evidence that they do not “work,” this is an oversimplification of where display advertising can and should fit within the broader advertising ecosystem. Reasons display ads continue to be effective for brands and agencies include the following:

  • Brand Awareness: Display ads are highly scalable and can reach a broad audience, increasing brand visibility and recognition, even among users who might not immediately convert.
  • Targeting Capabilities: Modern display advertising platforms offer advanced targeting options, allowing advertisers to reach people based on specific demographics, interests, and behaviors — and even to retarget users who have previously interacted with their websites or apps. 
  • Cost-Efficiency: Display advertising can be cost-effective, especially when compared to traditional advertising channels like TV or print. Advertisers can control their budgets, set bidding strategies, and allocate resources to campaigns that generate the best returns.
  • Complementing Other Marketing Channels: Display advertising can work in concert with other marketing channels, such as search advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing. When integrated into a holistic digital marketing strategy, display ads reinforce messaging and improve overall campaign performance.

While the effectiveness of display advertising can vary based on campaign strategy and industry, its adaptability, targeting capabilities, and potential for brand building continue to make it a valuable component of modern marketing efforts. 

 

Examples of Display Ads

Skyscraper Ad

Example of a skyscraper display ad.

Here is an example of a 160×600 ad unit, also known as a skyscraper or super skyscraper ad. This unit appears on the side of a web page or content piece. Advertisers can use this ad size to engage audiences as they scroll down a page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banner Ad

Example of a banner display ad.

This ad unit is 728 pixels wide and 90 pixels tall (728×90) and is one of the most common banner ads because of its usual placement. It is typically found at the top of a web page or content, enabling advertisers to immediately capture audience attention.

Medium Rectangle

Example of a medium rectangle display ad.

The medium rectangle, which is 300 pixels wide and 250 pixels tall (300×2500, is arguably the most popular ad unit as it can be leveraged across desktops and mobile devices. Because of its size and shape, the medium rectangle can be embedded within content, allowing advertisers to drive impressions while audiences are actively engaged with content.

Mobile Standard

Example of a mobile standard display ad.

This ad banner is a 320×50 and is known as a mobile standard ad unit.

 

What Are the Main Types of Display Ads?

Having been in existence for nearly 30 years now, you might imagine that display ads have evolved quite a bit since they first hit the scene in 1994. These days, display ads take many forms, with organizations like IAB working hard to keep pace by establishing standards for these ad units. Let’s take a look at some of the main types of display ads, how users experience them, and the benefits of each. 

Banner Ads

Banner ads are a ubiquitous presence in the digital landscape — and perhaps what advertisers most commonly think of when they hear the phrase “display ads.” These ads often appear at the top, bottom, or sides of web pages, demanding attention—and sometimes hindering the user experience. However, it’s important to acknowledge that not all banner ads are created equal.

While banner ads are often held up as the quintessential example of intrusive online advertising, they can be both informative and engaging, especially when the content is relevant to a user’s interests. For instance, a person shopping for a new laptop might appreciate a well-targeted banner ad showcasing the latest models and deals. In this way, banner ads can serve as a helpful tool for discovering products, services, or information that align with a user’s needs and preferences.

Despite their mixed reputation, banner ads offer a range of benefits for advertisers. For one, they provide a cost-effective way to reach a broad online audience and build brand awareness. With data-driven targeting strategies, marketers can ensure their ads are seen by the right audience, maximizing the return on investment. Banner ads also allow for creative flexibility, enabling marketers to convey their brand message through visuals, text, and multimedia elements. Furthermore, they facilitate tracking and measurement of ad performance, providing valuable insights into user engagement and conversion rates. 

Retargeting Display Ads

Retargeting display ads, often referred to as remarketing ads, is a type of online advertising that targets users who have previously interacted with a website or online content but did not complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. These are the ads that famously “follow” people around the internet based on their activity. For this reason, they represent a bit of a polarizing topic. On one hand, retargeting ads can serve as helpful reminders, gently nudging users towards completing a purchase they may have abandoned or prompting them to revisit a site they’ve previously shown interest in. However, for some, this constant presence of retargeting ads can feel invasive and even creepy, as it can give the impression that their online activities are being closely monitored. Striking the right balance between reminding users of their interests and respecting their privacy is crucial for the success of retargeting campaigns.

Despite mixed perceptions of retargeting ads, they do offer substantial benefits for advertisers. As display ads go, they are particularly effective in converting prospects into actual customers, as they target individuals who have already shown an interest in a product or service. By focusing resources on a warm audience that is more likely to convert, they deliver a higher return on investment than traditional display ads. 

Native Ads

Native display ads provide a distinct and often more seamless experience for users compared to banner ads and other traditional display ads, which typically appear around the content a user is seeking. Native display ads are designed to blend in with the content and style of the website or platform on which they appear, making them less obtrusive. 

By seamlessly integrating with the surrounding content, native ads can enhance user engagement and generate higher click-through rates. They also have the potential to improve brand perception, as they are typically more informative than traditional display ads. Additionally, native advertising can provide valuable storytelling opportunities, allowing brands to communicate their message in a contextually relevant and engaging way. 

Social Ads

Social display ads, as the name suggests, are integrated into the user experience on social media platforms. They might appear around a user’s social feed, or even directly in it. These ads are typically targeted based on a user’s interests, demographics, and online behavior, which means users are more likely to see content that aligns with their preferences. 

These ads provide an effective way to reach a highly targeted audience, leveraging the extensive user data and demographic information available on social media platforms. Additionally, social display ads often offer interactive elements, such as “Shop Now” buttons or forms for lead generation, which can drive direct conversions. 

Video Ads

Video advertising can take many shapes, including within the context of a display ad. Banner-style ads that contain video are eye-catching and enable brands to enhance their storytelling and get greater mileage out of their branded video assets. In general, video is a highly engaging medium that can convey complex information and evoke emotions effectively. In the context of a display ad, however, it must be used wisely, given the limited attention users are often willing to give to display ads appearing outside the content they’re consuming. 

Discovery Ads

Discovery Ads are a form of display advertising that enables brands to reach a wide audience across Google-owned properties and partner platforms like Google Discover, YouTube, and Gmail. These ads leverage machine learning and user data to provide personalized content recommendations, making them highly relevant to individual users based on their interests and online behavior. 

 

What Are the Key Components of Display Ads?

While display ads can take many forms and appear in many different places, they typically contain three core elements: 

1. Visuals

The goal of a display ad is to capture a user’s attention, even though they’ve come to a web page with a separate purpose in mind. Thus, compelling visuals are key. That said, standard display ad sizes, as defined by the IAB, vary greatly, meaning advertisers must be discerning in terms of how much they try to accomplish within the space they have. Core concepts to keep in mind include: 

  • High-Quality Imagery: Use high-resolution images or graphics that are clear, sharp, and visually appealing. Blurry or pixelated visuals can make your ad appear unprofessional.
  • Relevance: Ensure that the visuals directly relate to your product, service, or message. The imagery should immediately convey what the ad is about and capture the viewer’s attention.
  • Consistency: Maintain a consistent visual style and branding across all your ad creatives. This helps build brand recognition and trust.
  • Simplicity: Keep the design clean and uncluttered. Too many elements or a busy layout can confuse viewers and detract from the message.

2. Copy

While visuals get noticed first, copy represents the meat of the ad. If you’re lucky enough to have a user notice your ad, make sure the copy is compelling, adheres to your brand promise, and effectively guides them to your call to action. 

3. Call to Action (CTA)

A strong call to action (CTA) in a display ad is essential for encouraging user engagement and achieving your campaign objectives. Here are some examples of effective CTAs for display ads:

  • Shop Now: This CTA is commonly used in ecommerce ads and encourages users to make a purchase.
  • Learn More: Use this CTA when you want to provide additional information about a product, service, or offer.
  • Get Started: This CTA is effective for ads promoting sign-ups, free trials, or onboarding processes.
  • Book Now: This CTA is commonly used in the travel and hospitality industry to prompt users to make reservations.
  • Contact Us: This CTA is suitable for businesses that want users to reach out for inquiries or support.
  • Claim Your Reward: This CTA is effective for loyalty programs, rewards, or promotions.
  • Get Your Deal: Also useful for e-commerce promotions, this CTA is used to highlight special offers or discounts.

 

What are the Benefits of Display Ads?

The display ad market can be competitive — but for good reason. Here are some of the key benefits provided by strong display ads: 

 

They’re Targeted

To ensure your marketing dollars are being used efficiently, you need to make sure you’re marketing to the right audience. With display ads, you can pinpoint exactly the audience you want to reach, down to even the most specific niche.

They’re Personal

Given the targeting potential behind display ads, these campaigns let you cater to your audience with personalized creative that maximizes your chance of scoring a conversion.

They Drive Brand Awareness

As marketers well know, consumers must encounter a brand’s message multiple times before it starts to sink in and move them toward conversion. Even if a user doesn’t click through to your website, display ads can put your company’s visual identity in front of enough people to have a brand-boosting impact. 

They Can Be Effectively Tracked

There’s no shortage of insight to be gleaned from a display ad campaign. If you’re running multiple campaigns, you can easily see which has been viewed the most and which has performed the best — all in real time. Such insights are invaluable to optimizing efforts not just on display ads, but also throughout an omnichannel campaign. 

 

How to Create a Successful Display Ad Campaign

Display ads represent a foundation of digital advertising efforts, and the best results are seen when marketers put in time and effort on developing a thoughtful strategy. It takes multiple steps and ongoing optimization to help a display campaign reach its full potential. To lay the right foundation, be sure these key steps are given proper attention: 

 

Define Your Target Audience — as Specifically as Possible

Defining your target audience for a display ad campaign is a crucial first step. Start by analyzing your existing customer data and market research to identify demographics, interests, behaviors, and pain points. Create detailed buyer personas representing your ideal customers, taking into account factors like age, gender, location, income, preferences, and online habits. Consider your product or service’s unique selling points and tailor your messaging to address the specific needs and aspirations of your target audience. 

Outline Your Campaign’s Goals and Budget

When planning your display ad campaign, setting clear goals and budget parameters is essential. Begin by defining your campaign objectives, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, boosting sales, or achieving a specific conversion rate. Once your goals are established, allocate a budget that aligns with your objectives and the expected costs of reaching your target audience effectively. Consider factors such as ad spend, creative production costs, and any associated expenses. By regularly monitoring your campaign’s performance against these goals and budget, you can make necessary adjustments and optimize your ad spend in real time for the best results.

Craft Compelling Creative

Crafting compelling creative for a display ad campaign is essential for capturing audience attention. Start by creating visually striking imagery or graphics that align with your brand identity and campaign objectives. Use concise, persuasive copy that communicates a clear and enticing message, and be sure to highlight unique selling points, offers, or benefits to grab viewers’ interest quickly. Incorporate a strong CTA that guides users on what action to take next, and ensure that the creative elements are responsive to different screen sizes and devices to guarantee a seamless user experience. By then A/B testing various ad creatives, you can identify which visuals and messaging resonate most effectively with your target audience.

 

Display Advertising: A Valuable Approach to Driving Consumer Engagement

A lot of work goes into a strong display advertising program. Anything less will result in not only poor performance but also wasted ad spend. But now that you understand how to best leverage your display assets to capture attention and drive engagement, you’re ready to launch a winning campaign. 

Check back with Digilant regularly for additional content and insights that can help you make the most of your budget and creative assets.

The Best Channels for Driving Brand Awareness

Today’s consumer spends nearly seven hours a day online. So, it should come as no surprise that seven of the ten most popular channels these users rely on for product discovery are digital. During this discovery stage, shoppers may organically end up on your website or social page — but it’s best not to leave it up to chance. 

In today’s digitally saturated, hyper-competitive market, it can be tricky to nail down exactly which tactics help keep your brand top of mind with consumers versus which fall on deaf ears (or rather, distracted eyeballs). If you’ve found yourself confused or overwhelmed with which channels and tactics are best to create engaging and memorable brand awareness touchpoints, keep reading.

In this blog, we’ll outline exactly how to build a brand awareness campaign, what strategies are best to introduce your brand to consumers, and how to stay top of mind until they are ready to convert.

 

Quick Tip: Don’t Waste Brand Awareness Campaign Dollars on Existing Consumers

An easy step toward maximizing the ROI of your brand awareness campaigns is to suppress everyone you know who is an existing customer. While it’s essential to engage existing customers, general brand awareness campaigns are not the way to do this. The messaging and intention of these campaigns are to introduce your brand to potential customers and stay top of mind until they are ready to convert. Don’t waste precious media dollars targeting an audience you already know is familiar with or loyal to your brand (that’s what nurture campaigns are for!). 

 

Stay Top of Mind, You Never Know When People Might Convert

It’s easy for advertisers to get into the weeds of picking the best data to target the right consumers with the right message, at just the right time. And don’t get us wrong, this strategy provides immense benefits and value. But, it’s best applied further down the funnel.

When it comes to brand awareness, take a step back. The key to a successful brand awareness campaign is just that, make people aware of your brand. Introduce consumers to your brand, familiarize them with your products and services, and build the framework for future interactions that ideally will move them down the funnel. While they might not be in the market for your product or service at this exact moment, if they are in the future, you want to ensure they’ll think of your brand.

Use strategic pop-ins here and there to remind consumers of your offerings. These ads don’t need to be overtly tailored or targeted, but frequent enough that when it does come time for a consumer to convert, they’ll recollect an interaction they had with your brand in the past. 

This is most efficiently done with an omnichannel campaign, ensuring your message is reaching your audience across different channels and devices. As devices become more interactive, nearly any channel can be used at any stage of the funnel. Nevertheless, we do find certain channels lend themselves very well to brand awareness campaigns. 

 

The 3 Best Channels for Brand Awareness Campaigns

Below we’ve outlined three of the top channels we recommend for brand awareness campaigns and how you can incorporate them into your digital media plan. 

1. Advanced TV

This year, U.S. adults will spend nearly two hours watching connected TV (CTV) every day. Even better news for advertisers, about 73% of connected TV viewers prefer to watch free ad-supported content vs. paying for ad-free CTV content. As streamers tune into their favorite programs, advertisers should take advantage of pre-roll and in-stream ad placements. 

These CTV ad placements provide a great opportunity to showcase more information about brand features or product attributes than a typical display ad. For that reason, use these ad spots to convey information or provide answers to common questions consumers have about your brand. 

2. Digital Audio

While it is customary to reach consumers as they browse their phones or watch TV, digital audio provides ad opportunities even when consumers aren’t looking at their phones. Brands can integrate themselves into consumers’ everyday routines, reaching them when they are driving, cleaning the house, working out, or commuting to work. 

The power of digital audio ads doesn’t stop there, however. Consumers are highly engaged with the content they are streaming which lends itself to a higher brand recall for digital audio ads. Digital Audio ads have a 24% higher brand recall than display ads and 67% of podcast listeners remember the ads they hear on podcasts.

3. Digital Out-of-Home

Over the last five years, digital billboard inventory in the U.S. has grown 37%, providing brands with more ways to reach their customers. These ad placements allow you to increase your brand’s visibility when consumers aren’t engaged with their devices. Brands can reach on-the-go consumers with impactful ads across various digital screens such as billboards, salons and gyms, taxis and gas stations, and everywhere in between. 

Thinking down the path to purchase, using foot traffic and mobile location data, advertisers can utilize retargeting to reach users who have been exposed to a DOOH ad. So while DOOH holds great value in keeping your brand top of mind, the campaign data can be used in conjunction with other tactics to create customized cross-channel experiences. It’s a win-win.

 

Set Your Brand Up for Success with Strategic Brand Awareness Campaigns

While brand awareness campaigns are top of the funnel, consider them the building blocks or foundation of your digital advertising initiatives. You’re laying the groundwork and familiarizing consumers with your brand. 

As such, these campaigns require a long-tail strategy using a variety of key channels to ensure you reach consumers with just the right frequency and consistency. Using just the right mix of channels and tactics, there’s a higher likelihood that consumers will recall your brand message when the time comes for them to make a purchase. 

At Digilant, we understand it can be difficult to discern exactly which digital brand awareness strategies are right for your brand. We’re here to help build you a custom strategy designed specifically to reach your audience. Get started with a custom digital media strategy built to achieve your digital advertising goals. Contact us here to learn more. 

Programmatic Advertising Glossary & Brief History

Many factors have contributed to the exorbitant growth of programmatic digital advertising: better technology, a need for better targeting, and the introduction of mobile phones, to name a few. Experts no longer question the validity of programmatic marketing or if advertisers use it. Instead, people now look to the future to see how they can work to combat any drawbacks people face to grow programmatic marketing and to help advertisers reach their audiences even better.

Before we dive into the different facets of programmatic, it’s helpful to look at the last decade or understand how programmatic quickly climbed up the ladder of digital advertising to become a preferred tactic amongst advertisers.

Check out our explainer of what you need to know about programmatic advertising here.

Basic Programmatic Glossary

Demand Side Platforms (DSPs)

A piece of bidding technology or ad servers with optimization and inventory links. They allow audience buying via RTB across multiple sources of inventory. Using algorithmic driven evaluation techniques, DSPs can determine which impressions to buy in real-time.

Demand Management Platforms (DMPs)

Used to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads. Advertisers now buy media across a vast range of different sites. DMPs can help tie all that activity and resulting campaign and audience data together in one, centralized location and use it to help optimize future media buys and ad creative.

Supply Side Platform (SSP)

Supply refers to the seller of media – in most cases, the publisher. SSPs are vehicles for publishers to make their inventory available for programmatic buying via an exchange type marketplace. SSPs are sometimes referred to as yield-optimization platforms. 

Ad Exchange

An ad exchange is technology that enables advertisers and publishers to buy and sell digital ad inventory programmatically with real-time bidding.

A brief history of programmatic digital advertising

To understand programmatic advertising, we have to travel back to 1994 when the first banner ad was displayed. Hotwired.com made a deal with AT&T to display a banner ad on their site for three months. Over this period, the ad resulted in a rumored 40-50% click-through rate, which will astonish any current-day advertiser who is accustomed to industry-standard CTR rates of ~0.06%. 

And for the next few years, digital advertising mirrored this simple and straightforward process. Advertisers worked directly with publishers to negotiate pricing and placement. These ads were about reach, not relevance. 

Flash forward two years as the internet continued to gain more mainstream use and integration into society. At this point, advertisers had jumped on board, and they too wanted to advertise on these new websites. This led to creating the programmatic ecosystem’s first element: an ad server – DoubleClick to be specific (which would eventually be purchased by Google for  $3.1 billion in 2007).  

Right before the turn of the millennium, competition arose for DoubleClick as they couldn’t keep up with the demand. From 1998-2000, we saw a boom of ad servers that allowed advertisers to place their ads on various sites within the network. 

In this same time frame, Google launched AdWords, which allowed advertisers to run CPC-priced campaigns on the Google networks. This isn’t exactly the moment programmatic was born. This only allowed advertisers to run in the Google network; however, this would eventually lead Google down the path of more targeted advertising. 

In tandem with Google’s journey, the beginning stages of programmatic advertising were on the rise. At this time, ads were first-come, first-served (literally). Backed by name-brand recognition and power, Google launched AdSense, their display network, in 2003. Unlike other moments in the timeline of programmatic, this too had its ups and downs. AdSense quickly became synonymous with spam and ad fraud. And what did Google do to combat this? They launched the Panda update, which still affects how sites are ranked by reducing ranking for low-quality sites. 

Google was not the only player during this time working through the bumps and bruises of digital advertising; however, their journey indicates that no company had a linear line to what we know today as programmatic. And it only grows more complex. 

The Birth of Real-Time Bidding

The next decade of programmatic advertising history (the 2010s) cannot be easily outlined linearly. However, most simply put, in 2009, we saw the first use of real-time-bidding (RTB). RTB allowed for the first big wave of programmatic advertising, and the process is as follows:

  1. A visitor lands on a page, and the publisher sends a bid request to the ad exchange.
  2. The ad exchange makes the user’s profile available to all bidders.
  3. The advertiser’s bids are automatically sent to the exchange by the bidding algorithm.
  4. The highest bid wins the impression.
  5. The high bidders’ creative is served, and the page is rendered.

This entire process happens within one-tenth of a second. This way of buying and selling ads in an open exchange allowed advertisers to bid on specific consumer personas, such as demographic or device type. And the seed was planted. Gone were the days of digital display ads simply used for reach; now, there was an era of relevance. 

But to be clear, because RTB gave people the first real glimpse into the world of programmatic, many people believe that this is the only way to purchase ads programmatically. However, programmatic digital advertising has grown much beyond the 2010-era. Check out our explainer to find out everything you need to know.

The Importance of an Effective Programmatic Partner

Realistically, you could launch a programmatic campaign, and go about your day, week, or however long the flight is running. The computers will work to target the audience parameters and targeting you have in place. However, with such great data available to advertisers, the days of “setting it and forgetting it” should be long gone. 

The element of the human touch remains priceless to programmatic – even if it is a technology-driven industry. Just as programmatic ads’ buying and selling happen in-real-time, so too should the optimizations and analysis. 

At Digilant, we understand that programmatic campaigns need fostering in order to reach their full potential. Our team of highly qualified campaign solutions analysts monitors our client’s programmatic campaigns every step of the way to ensure the audience is reached effectively. Where traditional agencies can be slow to react, overly complicated, and high-cost, we are proactive, agile, and readily available. As we monitor campaigns, we can quickly adapt to what is working while also shifting away from what is not. This also allows us to uncover new audience insights that can be established for use in current and future campaigns. 

Interested in learning more about how Digilant’s passion and industry expertise will ensure your programmatic digital advertising campaigns reach new heights? Let’s talk.

5 Reasons Why Omnichannel Marketing is Important

As digital advertising technology has continued to improve and innovate, it has yielded great benefits for advertisers: better consumer insights, better targeting capabilities, better measurement and a better understanding of attribution.

These innovations are essential as the consumer journey adapts and changes at extremely fast rates. It’s estimated it can take as many as 60 touchpoints with a consumer before you make a sale. So, as advertisers, it can feel impossible to keep up with what touchpoints are most essential. Where are consumers shopping? Online? In-store? Which social media platform is trending right now? Are consumers really watching more CTV than linear television? And, most likely the question at the very top of your list: how can I tie all these various touchpoints together to create one seamless shopping experience for my consumer? 

This is why omnichannel marketing is important. Omnichannel marketing allows advertisers to quickly adapt their advertising campaigns without losing any insights, data, or purchase points. It allows for a seamless purchase journey for consumers, every step of the way. As a top omnichannel marketing partner, our list of reasons why omnichannel marketing is important is nearly endless. But, we’ve narrowed that list down to the top five reasons, keep reading to learn more.

But first, what is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is an approach to marketing that addresses the customer experience on each channel – desktop browser, mobile, retail, social media, podcast, and any others you might use – and how customers transition between each channel as they make purchases.

Why is omnichannel marketing is important?

1. Shopping is Omnichannel

“Omni” meaning “in all ways or places” could not more perfectly define the shopping experience consumers have now. Consumers are making purchases on the train while commuting to work, at the mall in-store, via their music streaming service. Anywhere they are able to, consumers are making purchases. 

A brand can cover all its bases with a multichannel marketing solution, however, the back-end integration needed to tie the entire experience together will be lost. 

So, although it may seem obvious, The number one reason why omnichannel marketing is important is that today’s shopping experience is omnichannel. As advertisers, it is our job to stay one step ahead of consumers to ensure we are meeting them with product offers and ads whenever appropriate. Our advertising process must mirror the way in which consumers are shopping in an effort to stay ahead of the competition and top of mind with consumers.

2. Better Data Collection & Analysis

As mentioned above, omnichannel marketing is important because it gives advertisers a robust full-picture analysis of their advertising campaigns. Gone are the days of analyzing each channel individually, organizing multiple spreadsheets and decks evaluating which tactics or campaigns were successful in driving ROI. 

An omnichannel marketing solution gives you a unified 360-degree view of consumers engaging with your brand – across every step of the customer journey. A single analytics tool, allows you to connect and visualize consumers’ behavior and interest across all campaigns, which allows for you to better adapt your campaigns in the future to meet their preferences. 

3. Provides Deeper Personalization

In a recent study, 90% of consumers say that messages from companies that are not personally relevant to them are “annoying.” And, as demographics skew younger, the necessity for personalized ads is even more important. In that same study, 67% of Millennials and Gen Zers stated that they expect offers from companies to always be personalized. 

With this information, it’s clear that having a personalized ad experience is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity for brands. This is a rather lofty task for advertisers to take on. But, with a structured omnichannel marketing solution in place, serving personalized ads across a multitude of devices and channels is possible. 

4. Better Synergy Across Departments

There’s a historic division between sales and marketing teams within (most) organizations. No matter the reason for this, an omnichannel marketing solution can help propel synergy amongst members of your organization. 

When in place, omnichannel marketing ensures that every step of the customer journey mirrors the same messaging, product offering, and tone. If a consumer is speaking with a customer representative, they will know which products that consumer has already purchased. Sales teams can send more tailored emails as they’ll know which products or services the consumer is browsing. Whether it’s an email, customer representative call, advertisement, or billboard – the tone is the same. Overall, this unity across departments leads to a better customer service experience and better brand awareness for your company. 

5. More Cost-Effective

There’s nothing more frustrating to an advertiser than wasted ad impressions. Omnichannel marketing solutions take the guesswork out of where you should place your ad. The data and analytics tools ensure that you are reaching an engaged audience, on their preferred channels. And, as those consumer preferences and audiences change, so too will your ad placements. If one week your Facebook ads are out-performing SEM, shift budget quickly and easily to ensure you’re taking advantage of that active Facebook audience. 

You no longer have to wait for a pre-paid campaign cycle to end, with omnichannel marketing solutions, those dollars can easily be shifted to tactics or channels that are performing better. This ability to rapidly change and respond to your campaigns to meet consumers allows for a better overall ROI for your company – another reason why omnichannel marketing is important not just to advertisers but to the organization overall. 

How do I incorporate omnichannel marketing solutions into my digital advertising? 

Now that you’ve read about why omnichannel marketing is important you may be thinking about tools and resources you’ll need to make this a reality. Below we’ve outlined a few options to help get you started.

1. Adopt a Cross Device Solution

In order to tie your campaigns together across multiple devices, a cross-device solution is essential. A cross-device solution, uses deterministic data (such as a cookie or Mobile advertising ID) or individual (such as a customer ID), to link users across browsers and devices and build out a proprietary cross-device graph. Advertisers pass back a deterministic identifier so that associations can be built out for the advertiser’s customer base. This allows advertisers to create better targeted messaging, attribute conversions properly, and avoid flooding users with ads. All in all, a more personalized ad experience for consumers.  

2. Establish an Analytics & Attribution Dashboard

Analytics and attribution dashboards allow advertisers to explore and interact with data through engaging visualizations that offer the full picture of their campaigns. You no longer have to wait for someone else to calculate, analyze, and report on how digital dollars are being spent and optimized. 

3. Enlist a strategic omnichannel marketing partner

Many brands don’t have the in-house resources to build a full omnichannel marketing team within their organization. At Digilant, we understand what an omnichannel marketing solution requires, and we have a team of data-driven experts alongside purpose-built solutions ready to take your omnichannel campaigns from now to next. 

Where traditional agencies can be slow to react, overly complex, and high cost, we are proactive, nimble, and readily available. Our omnichannel marketing solutions span across the full suite of channels: social, programmatic, affiliate, influencer TV, radio, podcast. So, no matter where you are in your digital marketing journey, we know what it takes to scale media buying quickly and effectively. From planning and insights to buying and optimization, you can trust Digilant to manage all aspects of our omnichannel marketing strategy. Interested in learning more? Let’s talk. 

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