2024 Partner Predictions with Samsung Ads

In the last installment of our 2024 Partner Predictions series, we met with Crissie Perez, Head of South, Midwest, and West Emerging Sales, at Samsung Ads to discuss her predictions for CTV advertising in 2024 and beyond. Let’s dive in. 

Check out our previous predictions featuring insights from FreeWheelOracle Advertising, and Audigent

 

How can advertisers leverage CTV to reach and engage their audiences throughout the entire funnel — and not just for awareness?

Television advertising has long served as the ultimate awareness medium due to its extensive scale. In the CTV landscape, advertisers are still able to build awareness for their brand but have taken it a step further with new and engaging ad formats, enhanced audience targeting, and granular insights. 

CTV serves as a complementary element to marketing strategies, allowing advertisers to reach a growing population that prefers the familiarity of linear TV while enjoying the convenience of connectivity (i.e. “cord cutters” and other digital users). Because of this connectivity, advertisers have the data needed to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time. For example, if a consumer has already been exposed to an ad, they can be retargeted with a different ad later on with a QR code that could drive a consumer to their website. 

In the multi-platform market that is TV advertising, advertisers can leverage performance metrics like app openings, lift in awareness, lift in foot traffic, and plenty more to understand the full-funnel impact of their campaigns.

 

How can agencies and advertisers leverage CTV advertising to their advantage in 2024, especially as we say “goodbye” to cookies?

As the industry prepares for third-party cookie deprecation, advertisers must tap into first-party data sources. While the initial announcement of cookie deprecation may have caused unease in the advertising ecosystem, there is a plethora of resources available for advertisers to leverage and manage their proprietary data. 

But how does one organize this information for optimal use? Collaborating with key partners is essential, and companies like Samsung Ads are aiding brands in gaining a deeper understanding of their customers. Identifying important KPIs like foot traffic, website visits, and downloads for example will help shape a strategy and determine whether you are over-reaching, under-reaching, or completely missing your target audience. 

Crissie mentions data management platforms (DMPs) as essential tools in addressing diverse client needs. A DMP uses first-party data to help advertisers plan and execute CTV campaigns, segment audiences, build lookalike audiences, and optimize media spend across campaigns. At Samsung, brands can enhance their first-party data with Samsung Ads’ proprietary first-party TV data, allowing for refined targeting strategies and the delivery of precise, personalized, and impactful CTV campaign advertising campaigns.

As we head into the new year, Crissie emphasizes the importance of advertisers having patience. With the onset of cookie deprecation, navigating the complexities becomes critical;  now is the time to collaborate with partners and seek assistance as needed to manage and use your data for campaigns. The future is bright for CTV, and advertisers can reap the benefits of this cookieless solution. 

Thank you Crissie and the Samsung Ads team for your time and insights!

2024 Partner Predictions With Audigent

The Digilant team spoke with Greg Williams, President at Audigent, for our Partner Predictions video series! 

Check out our previous installments featuring insights from FreeWheel and Oracle Advertising.

With data deep in their roots, Audigent is actively working to prepare agencies and brands for the onset of cookie deprecation. In our discussion, Greg emphasizes the importance of building a plan, testing outcomes, and working in tandem with partners to build strong cookieless solutions moving forward. 

 

The new year is a big one for our industry as Google will deprecate third-party cookies. What can agencies do today to prepare for deprecation as it pertains to audience targeting?

“There’s strength in numbers, and that’s how you implement policy change and that’s how you work with the rest of the ecosystem.” – Greg Williams, President at Audigent

The topic of cookie deprecation has been an ongoing one — dating back to 2019. Google announced the commencement of cookie deprecation for Q1 2024, starting at 1% of traffic until eventually reaching 100% by late 2024. Amidst the ongoing speculation and uncertainty surrounding delays and the post-third-party cookie landscape, Greg suggests the following: plan assuming firm dates, set internal expectations, and allocate testing budget. 

It’s crucial for advertisers to be aligned both within the organization and external partners. By adhering to the expected dates, organizations can accurately plan their initiatives, involving testing external IDs in different browser environments, exploring protected audiences, and aligning with technology partners focused on mutual interests.

As agencies and brands embark on these testing periods and preparations, Greg also highlights the importance of being vocal in the space. Because this is an initiative across the entire ecosystem, there is strength in numbers, and taking initiative at this time will set you up for success through 2024 and beyond. 

 

What should agencies and their advertisers consider when looking at contextual targeting as a cookieless solution to reaching audiences?

Contextual advertising is a critical tactic for advertisers as we head into the cookieless future. With contextual advertising, agencies and brands can leverage a solution that is brand safe, keeps consumer privacy top-of-mind, and delivers a great user experience to the consumer, targeting particular keywords and topics that are of interest to the viewer. Greg stresses the need for advertisers to have a solid foundation in contextual advertising and aligning their strategies with the evolving landscape. 

To obtain the most optimal outcomes with a contextual strategy, advertisers should consider factors such as solution capabilities, activation methods, measurability, technology infrastructure, and consumer privacy. Understanding where the data is coming from, how your team can easily access contextual solutions, and implementing a method of measurement will be critical for your team’s success. From an external standpoint, aligning these goals with your partners will allow you to, as Greg stated, “work together on solving challenges and working for what is in your best interest, to drive your own portfolio of brands, of campaigns — whatever that might be.”

Thank you to Greg Williams and the Audigent team for your time! Stay tuned for our last segment of 2024 Partner Predictions. 

2024 Partner Predictions with Oracle Advertising

Continuing our 2024 Partner Predictions series, the Digilant team sat down with Brent Gaskamp, VP of Platform Partnerships at Oracle Advertising. With third-party cookie deprecation on the horizon (set to take place in late 2024), Brent discussed the proactive measures the industry is taking to prepare for the shift, shedding light on what advertisers may see in terms of measurement, consumer trends, audience targeting, and more. Let’s dive in!

The new year is a big one for our industry as Google will deprecate third-party cookies. What can agencies do today to prepare for deprecation as it pertains to audience targeting?

“As brands, advertisers, agencies, platforms, and data providers, we have a duty to consumers to protect their privacy. I think it starts there fundamentally.” – Brent Gaskamp, VP of Platform Partnerships at Oracle 

As the use of third-party cookies grew, they came under scrutiny as user privacy concerns increased throughout the years. Apple became one of the first companies to implement changes to its browser and operating systems to protect consumer privacy sparking a much larger, industry-wide conversation on third-party cookies and privacy. Google’s move to deprecate third-party cookies is arguably the final nail in the third-party cookie coffin. 

Fortunately, advertisers have had time to prepare for the change since its initial announcement in 2019. So, how do advertisers and brands get the signals they need so that they can accomplish their goals, in a medium where consumers are spending their time?

Brent notes a significant shift toward cookieless environments, particularly in CTV and mobile. We are seeing that cookie environments are eroding since advertisers have been proactively investing in CTV and mobile solutions. 

In terms of audience targeting, what changes should advertisers expect? For one, there may be new identifiers put in place and an increase in Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDS) as consumers continue to spend more time browsing and shopping on mobile devices. With new identifiers, the industry could experience more fragmentation – there won’t be a one-size fits all solution. 

And with the primary focus on first-party data, Brent says we may see an increase in walled gardens, whether it’s a paywall or a a login to access your social or streaming accounts, there’s a lot of first party user data out there that’s enabled brands and advertisers to reach consumers in a lot of different places.”

Overall, data collaboration in the industry will be paramount. Companies like Oracle are working to support multiple identifiers and leverage a broad array of non-cookie dependent data to provide advertisers the signals they need for success. 

 

What considerations should advertisers keep in mind when attempting contextual brand safe advertising?

What’s important to note is that contextual advertising is not just about brand safety, but brand suitability. Brent cites an example where removing the word “knife” from brand safety criteria led to misguided targeting for a cooking-related product. While it is imperative for advertisements to appear in brand-safe environments free of negative and harmful content, advertisers must still consider the broad context of their ads to reduce missed opportunities. In today’s evolving video-centric landscape, consumers are increasingly engaged with more dynamic and interactive ads than ever before, and advertisers can use that to their advantage. 

As we continue to move away from cookies, there is no more, as Brent says, “easy button” for advertisers to push. While complexity will remain in the post-cookie era, Brent says that “we have a toolbox, and there’s a lot of tools in it that our industry provides us.” In 2024 and beyond, the focus must gravitate towards understanding consumer engagement in different content environments and strategically sourcing inventory to achieve optimal outcomes for brands.

 

What do you think are some big bets that advertisers should keep their eyes on in 2024?

Last but not least: Oracle’s big bets in the new year. 

As mentioned previously, an emphasis on first-party data will be prevalent as advertisers hone in on their third-party cookieless strategies. As such, retail media networks and advertising solutions powered by more enduring data signals like retail data will continue to be a driving force as they garner insights from customers. 

Brent also anticipates a focus on frictionless buys for consumers. In the ongoing effort to improve the consumer experience, many platforms are allowing transactions immediately within their platform, reducing the amount of steps for a consumer to make a purchase. With less friction, advertisers can reach consumers to drive conversions as they are directly engaged with content. 

Lastly, local and regional advertisers may start shifting their linear TV budgets to CTV inventory.  Historically, this has been a limited and expensive option for these advertisers, but with the opportunities available for granular targeting in the CTV space, these advertisers may have more of a voice in their media buys. 

 

We would like to extend a big thank you to Brent Gaskamp and the Oracle team for taking the time to chat with us!

2024 Partner Predictions with FreeWheel

We’re nearing the end of 2023, which means advertisers are preparing and planning for 2024. But what should advertisers consider and keep in mind to ensure success ahead?

Our newest video series, 2024 Partner Predictions, explores what Digilant’s partners expect in the new year — areas of growth, challenges, evolving consumer habits, and more. To kick things off, we had a chat with Eric Davis, Head of Independent and Political Programmatic Demand at FreeWheel (a video SSP). Let’s see what he had to say. 

 

What does 2024 have in store for CTV?

As advertisers gear up for CTV ad campaigns in 2024, strategic allocation of their budget becomes a critical factor. Programmatic ad buying offers a streamlined and efficient means to deliver campaigns across internet-connected devices, utilizing real-time bidding (RTB), private marketplaces (PMPs), and guaranteed purchases.

While the share of programmatic ad views has seen an uptick compared to the previous year (FreeWheel has seen a 12% growth year-over-year), it’s worth noting that the bulk of CTV ad purchases are still carried out through manual processes; as Eric points out, only 35% of the FreeWheel premium inventory is purchased programmatically. The industry is actively tackling the pain points linked to programmatic CTV like frequency capping, fragmentation, and measurement, all of which will be pivotal topics in 2024.

 

FAST and viewer experiences in 2024

 

The rapid growth in FAST viewership can be attributed to the fact that these channels come at no cost to the consumer. “Because subscription fatigue is starting to set in, prices are constantly being raised for streaming services — there’s only so many services a household is willing to pay for,” says Eric. Viewers can access these linear-like channels on platforms such as Freevee, Pluto TV, Roku,  Xumo, Peacock — the list goes on. Not only does FAST resemble a linear experience, but the targeting and measurement capabilities produce more granular insights all while possibly reaching a new audience that wouldn’t be captured on streaming platforms or linear TV. 

And while there are several benefits to advertising on FAST channels, Eric outlines the many other opportunities that exist to further enhance and improve the viewer experience as FAST is still in its early stages. Currently, we see that programs have lengthy midroll breaks of up to 3 minutes, frequency cap limitations, and a portion of ad slots are not being filled. So, when consumers watch a program, they could be seeing the same ad multiple times throughout the break or possibly not see ads at all. And as Eric states, “we have to work together as an industry to solve these challenges.”

 

How is CTV targeting improving next year?

 

The data is getting cleaner – custom data onboarding and targeting and [the use of] identity graphs is growing dramatically.” – Eric Davis, Head of Independent and Political Demand, FreeWheel

The holy-grail to effective advertising: data.

Consumers crave ads that are relevant to them. With more granular targeting techniques, advertisers will be able to provide an extra layer of personalization, reaching consumers at the right time and further moving them down the funnel. The use of identity graphs allow advertisers to obtain a single, unified view of a customer or prospect, opening up opportunities for more contextual and behavioral targeting. FreeWheel is expecting this emphasis on data to shape audience targeting campaigns, as they have already seen a 50% growth year over year. 

A big thank you to Eric Davis for taking the time to chat with us about 2024 expectations. Stay tuned for our next partner discussion!

Tune In: 5 Exclusive Lessons on Advanced TV from Advertising Week 2023

Industry professionals, leaders, and innovators recently gathered in New York’s Penn District for Advertising Week New York 2023. Over four days, individuals across the advertising ecosystem shared valuable insight and dove into thoughtful discussions concerning the industry’s future. 

Otniel Calderon, Digilant Sales Engineer, attended the conference and noted a significant focus on advanced TV*. As advertisers work to connect with consumers across critical channels, he’s shared five key takeaways covering everything from platform improvements to redefining the value of this channel. Let’s dive in. 

 

1. “Premium Content” is Rebranding

Historically, premium content, and therefore premium ad buys, entailed getting your brand placed within the newest TV releases or blockbuster films. Recently, however, advertisers have noticed that these new and shiny releases don’t necessarily yield top-tier results. So, if “premium content” isn’t garnering premium results, what is premium? 

Premium content is now in the eye of the beholder: the consumer. Take a recent example from Netflix; the USA Network show Suits first premiered in 2011 but has recently skyrocketed in popularity, earning the top spot in TV streaming for 15 weeks straight as of November 2, 2023. While this program aired over ten years ago, based on viewership numbers, it warrants a premium ad buy. In the age of streaming, premium no longer excludes older content; instead, it welcomes it. 

With different streaming services, consumers have more control over the content they consume, providing more opportunities for advertisers to reach niche audiences. Programs related to specific topics or interests may not be commercially “premium.” However, the ability to target networks and programs directly tailored to your target audience is nothing short of a premium ad buy. 

In short, advertisers need to rethink and re-prioritize generic “premium” content in favor of content that their respective consumers classify as premium. 

 

2. FAST is Quickly Making an Impact

Hulu, Netflix, Peacock, Disney+, and the like have been the center of TV news for years. And while they all still warrant significant time and attention, there’s a new TV player in town that advertisers would be remiss to overlook. Enter: Free Ad-Supported TV, otherwise known as FAST. 

Coined “Cable 2.0,” FAST offers nearly 2,000 FAST free, ad-supported channels to consumers. Viewers are flocking to this linear-like viewing experience primarily because FAST is an economical choice. With 72% of U.S. consumers saying there are too many subscription services, subscription fatigue is on the rise, as households can only pay for so many plans. And, as it turns out, most consumers are not averse to relevant ads, especially if the ads are personally relevant and they enable access to additional content.

Regarding relevant ad buys, FAST is just the answer advertisers are looking for. As mentioned previously, there is a need for a “premium” rebrand as FAST is currently not perceived under the premium content umbrella. However, many FAST channels often represent a specific show or genre —- for example, channels dedicated to Ted Talks, Friends, holiday classics, or Bob Ross. Advertisers have an excellent opportunity to target hyper-niche groups that may be more difficult to reach through streaming services.

 

3. Data Clean Rooms Provide a Solution for Gaps in Cross-Platform Connectivity

As the consumer journey grows more dispersed across platforms and devices, advertisers call for better cross-channel connectivity to maximize performance, measurement and audience targeting. From an advanced TV perspective, this challenge lends to one of the most significant gaps in advertisers’ channel adoption. Many advertisers agree that measurement falls short, leading to data fragmentation. Admittedly, there is still work to be done to bridge the gaps between platforms and the linear world. However, experts are confident we’re near cross-media conversion as data clean rooms answer for cross-platform data communication. 

These clean rooms combine data from all services — including offline data — which is then anonymized and aggregated into user and demographic groups. The data remains encrypted, making it impossible for anyone to access personally identifiable information (a future-proof solution as we near the official depreciation of Google’s third-party cookies in late 2024). Approved advertisers can use this data across platforms for deterministic audience targeting, measurement, and engagement. 

For advanced TV specifically, this identity tracking not only makes it easier to track the user within the TV landscape but also pushes the results and analytics back into a clean room to use across and understand the customer journey better. 

 

4. You Guessed It – AI Makes Waves in TV Advertising 

What would a trends prediction roundup be without the mention of AI? While conversions tout AI implementation across many areas of advanced TV, the most common theme was using it to improve the user experience — for both consumers and advertisers. We’ve outlined two examples of these improvements below. 

  1. In an ongoing effort to reframe premium experiences, AI is here to help. This technology and machine learning can more quickly and better identify viewer’s interests, behavior, and demographics. This will help advertisers uncover new audiences and create more curated and personalized ad creatives to speak directly to viewers. It is a win-win for all as better-targeted ads create more relevant ad experiences, causing less disruption during the viewer experience. 
  2. Frequency capping will be a major priority in 2024, especially as more brands turn to FAST channels to run campaigns. Advertisers often need help effectively capping their ad frequency in the fragmented space. AI and machine learning will help determine the more precise frequency that resonates with audiences.

 

5. The Future of CTV is Shoppable 

Retail media and shoppable ads have grown tremendously as online shopping continues to dominate. This year saw 218.8 million online shoppers in the U.S., with projections climbing upwards of 230.6 million people by 2026. To stay in step with digital buyers, innovators in the retail space highlighted current and future shoppable content available to advertisers through advanced TV.

Amazon and YouTube used the 2023-2024 NFL season to test shoppable ads as they released interactive opportunities that allow consumers to shop directly within the ad creative. NBC will be the next platform to test the waters as they plan to release shoppable content within their streaming service, Peacock.

These interactive experiences will help increase consumer engagement, reaching them wherever their attention lies. 

 

At Digilant, we recognize the complexities that come with advertising on advanced TV channels. Learn how Digilant, and our advanced TV offerings, can help you achieve your campaign goals and objectives by contacting us here.

*At Digilant, we use advanced TV as an umbrella term to describe non-traditional, not over-the-air broadcast TV that enables advertisers to use data to distribute, target, and measure advertising campaigns, encompassing CTV, addressable TV, OTT, and more. To learn more about advanced TV, download our recent guide The Essential Guide to Advanced TV Advertising here

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.

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. 

Retail Media: What You Need to Know

No advertising channel in the history of our industry has ever grown as quickly as retail media. Global revenue from retail media spending is expected to reach $125.7 billion in 2023. By 2028, retail media spend will surpass TV spending and account for more than 15 percent of total ad spend. 

These days, about 75% of brands have dedicated budgets for retail media networks, and that’s just the beginning. So what do today’s marketers need to know about retail media networks and how to make the most of this tremendous and fast-growing opportunity? 

Table of Contents

 

What Is Retail Media?

At its most basic level, retail media advertising refers to advertising on retailer websites and apps. Perhaps most famously embodied in Amazon Sponsored Products ads, retail media advertising involves the targeted placement of brand ads and promotions to engage shoppers directly at the point of purchase intent. By effectively blending commerce and advertising, retail media enables brands to drive a seamless purchase experience.

Retail media networks serve as the engine behind retail media’s growth. These are the advertising services offered by retail and other commerce brands that enable third-party brands to advertise (and typically directly sell) their products on a retailer’s site or within its app or marketplace. For example, someone searching for “dish soap” on a grocery retailer’s site might see a complete listing of the dish soaps sold on that retailer’s site. But at the top of the page, Dawn might be featured as a sponsored listing, commanding the shopper’s immediate attention with a higher placement and more visually rich treatment. That is an example of retail media in action, and the native integration of these ads into the shopper experience offers value for shoppers and brands alike. 

 

Retail media’s growth aligns with multiple trends that have been underway for more than a decade, but it was accelerated in the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the significant surge in e-commerce spending. No longer were people browsing products in store aisles. Rather, that behavior shifted to online retail portals, and advertising budgets followed suit. 

Retail media’s popularity also aligns with current shifts in consumer privacy because it relies on a retailer’s permissioned first-party data vs. third-party sources. That’s why retail media networks have sprung up so quickly: They’re a fantastic way for retailers with large enough customer bases to put their own data to use for added revenue, without having to rely on soon-to-be-irrelevant third-party cookies

Finally, retail media also offers advertisers the opportunity to better personalize their offers and ads to the needs of the consumer. Because of the robust first-party data that powers retail media, advertisers can ensure they’re only showing relevant ads to consumers with high intent in their categories — a win-win for brands and shoppers alike. 

 

Who Are the Dominant Players in Retail Media?

The retail media network landscape is becoming more crowded with every passing day, as more and more retailers look to put their first-party data to use as an added revenue stream. However, the space is currently dominated by a small handful of powerhouses, including:

Amazon

Amazon’s retail media network, Amazon Advertising, stands out due to its unparalleled access to a vast and diverse customer base, extensive shopping data, and sophisticated targeting capabilities. Through its industry-leading e-commerce platform, Amazon offers advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers at various touchpoints throughout their purchasing process, from product discovery to checkout.

eBay

eBay’s retail media network distinguishes itself through its dynamic marketplace that accommodates a wide array of product categories and a global user base. eBay offers advertisers a diverse range of engagement opportunities, from its promoted listings to traditional display ads to more immersive and interactive formats. Leveraging the platform’s search and browsing data, advertisers can tailor their campaigns to highly specific consumer segments.

Walmart

Walmart’s retail media network, Walmart Connect, distinguishes itself through its integration of both physical and digital retail spaces, encompassing its extensive chain of brick-and-mortar stores as well as its e-commerce platform. Walmart’s retail media network offers brands the opportunity to engage consumers not only during their online shopping journeys but also during in-store visits, thereby creating a seamless and omnichannel advertising experience. 

Instacart

Instacart’s retail media network stands out due to its focus on online grocery shopping. With its platform facilitating the delivery of groceries and everyday essentials from various stores, Instacart possesses valuable insights into consumer purchasing habits, enabling advertisers to target their campaigns with precision. By offering sponsored placements and personalized recommendations within the shopping experience, Instacart’s retail media network has become an important means of capturing consumer attention within the evolving landscape of e-commerce and grocery delivery.

Target

Similar to Walmart, Target’s retail media network focuses on the seamless integration of curated shopping experiences across its physical stores, online platform, and app. Target’s retail media network excels at creating cohesive brand journeys that span the digital and physical realms, enabling advertisers to engage customers at various stages of their purchase journey.

 

Why Is Retail Media Advertising Important?

Advertising via retail media represents an important part of the modern marketing playbook for several reasons. Importantly, it presents benefits to marketers in the face of the following larger industry trends:

 

1. The Pivot to First-Party Data

Retail media has emerged as a pivotal component of modern marketing strategies due to the paradigm shift away from third-party data and toward first-party data. This transition — made all the more urgent by the forthcoming deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome — has been prompted by growing concerns over privacy, data security, and evolving regulations. Retailers, possessing direct relationships with customers, have become custodians of valuable first-party data, which offers insights into consumer behaviors, preferences, and purchase patterns. By leveraging this data through retail media, brands can tailor their advertising efforts with precision.

2. Consumer Desire for Personalization

Retail media has also gained greater significance as consumer expectations increasingly demand personalized advertising experiences. By leveraging their understanding of individual preferences, purchase history, and browsing behavior, retail media empowers brands to curate advertisements that align precisely with each consumer’s interests. This level of tailored communication not only enhances engagement but also fosters a sense of connection between brands and customers. 

3. The Need to Support a Multi-Stage Buying Journey

It’s also important to note that, while retail media has a reputation for performance due to its proximity to the point of purchase, it’s actually quite an effective tool when it comes to supporting the full-funnel buyer journey. In the early stages, it aids in building awareness and consideration through targeted advertisements that capture the attention of potential buyers. As consumers move toward decision-making, retail media can provide detailed product information, reviews, and comparisons, aiding in the evaluation process. Moreover, by facilitating re-engagement after purchase, it cultivates brand loyalty and encourages repeat business. 

 

How Do Retail Media Networks Work?

Retail media networks operate as intricate ecosystems that enable brands to promote their products and services within the digital spaces of the retailer’s walls. Retailers tap into their extensive customer and behavioral data to identify relevant audiences, offering advertisers the opportunity to showcase their offerings to consumers with a higher likelihood of interest and intent. This can take the form of sponsored content, display ads, native advertisements, or other formats. 

While most advertisers are familiar with retailer media power players like Amazon, Walmart, Target and others, the retailer media network landscape becomes more crowded every day as more retailers get a handle on their first-party data and build the advertising experiences and processes to let advertisers tap into the opportunity to connect with their customers. Because the retail media landscape is still in its early stages, every network’s opportunities look a little bit different. However, there are common features that many offer for advertisers’ consideration, including:

  • Homepage ads
  • Prioritization in search results and sponsored listings
  • Category-level advertising
  • Enhanced listings 
  • Display advertising, both on- and off-site, driven by the retailer’s data

Going forward, we can expect to see a wider array of advertising formats available across retail media networks, including enhanced video and audio options. In addition, as the landscape becomes more cluttered with individual networks, retailers should expect to see ad tech players roll out offerings designed to simplify and unify the buying process across properties. 

 

How Do You Pick the Right Retail Media Network?

When selecting a retail media network, advertisers must carefully weigh several factors to ensure their campaigns yield optimal results. 

 

By Audience

First and foremost, understanding the network’s audience demographics and whether they align with the advertiser’s target market is paramount. Evaluating the network’s reach, engagement metrics, and the quality of its customer data helps ascertain its effectiveness in driving conversions. Advertisers should also inquire about the network’s technology infrastructure, ensuring it can handle the required scale and offer seamless user experiences.

By Advertising Formats

The available advertising formats and their suitability for conveying a brand’s message should also be considered. Some networks offer rich options, including video and detailed product listings, while others are more basic in nature. 

By Access to Reporting and Measurement

Transparency in reporting and analytics is vital to assess a campaign’s performance accurately. Advertisers should ensure they’ll receive the data and insights they need to determine whether they’re meeting their KPIs and to optimize future campaigns.

By Budget

Lastly, flexibility in terms of budget, campaign customization, and integration with the advertiser’s overall marketing strategy play a pivotal role in determining the right retail media network partner. Marketers must ensure the retail media networks they partner with are able to deliver meaningful results within the scope of their budget, while reducing wasted spend by avoiding repetitive or poorly targeted ads. 

 

What Will the Future of Retail Media Look Like?

Today, advertising within retail media networks is rife with both opportunities and challenges. On one hand, the ability to connect with targeted, high-intent shoppers with relevant ads at the point of purchase is one that advertisers cannot afford to miss. At the same time, fragmentation and varying standards across the ever-fracturing digital landscape mean that advertisers are having to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort to exploring and activating across a number of networks.

Ultimately, these challenges will be addressed by new players and technologies, and advertisers will have to keep pace with changes in the space. At the same time, the future of retail media networks holds promise as a dynamic and transformative force in the advertising landscape. Areas to watch include the following:

  • Personalization: As consumer expectations continue to evolve, retail media networks are poised to evolve into even more personalized and immersive platforms, particularly as they enhance their own first-party data understandings. 
  • Enhanced Data Use: Advancements in data analytics and AI will enable retailers to refine their targeting strategies, delivering hyper-relevant offers that resonate more deeply with individual consumers. Similar enhancements will also come to the campaign measurement and optimization space. 
  • Emerging Experiences: Integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences could offer more interactive and engaging advertising journeys. 
  • Deeper Integration: Collaborations between retailers and advertisers may deepen, yielding co-created content that enhances authenticity and engagement. 

Ultimately, the future of retail media networks will be shaped by a blend of cutting-edge technology, consumer-centricity, improved practices, and deeper storytelling opportunities, heralding an era of more meaningful advertising interactions.

 

How Can Retail Media Complement an Omnichannel Advertising Strategy?

As a singular advertising opportunity, retail media is powerful. But this power grows exponentially when retail media is leveraged in the context of a broader omnichannel advertising strategy

Retail media networks such as those offered by Walmart and Target enable advertisers to bridge the gap between digital and physical retail environments. Meanwhile, expansive players like Amazon can help connect the dots across not only the brand’s own properties, but also a growing array of off-site partners. Likewise, the retail giant has opened the doors to retail media networks serving as opportunities for both endemic and non-endemic retail media advertising.

Ultimately, though, the omnichannel opportunity extends further. By taking what brands learn about their customers via retail media advertising and extending those insights to other channels, advertisers can better connect with targets across the media landscape. Likewise, by bringing their own first-party data to the table to fuel their retail media strategies, brands can enhance their campaigns and ensure their customer journeys remain seamless, regardless of where a person chooses to purchase. 

 

The Power of Retail Media

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the power of retail media advertising shines as a beacon of innovation and relevance. Retail media harnesses the wealth of first-party data and authentic relationships that retailers possess to power dynamic advertising that aligns with the complexities of the shifting data landscape. 

Retail media establishes a bridge between brands and consumers, driving engagement, loyalty, and conversions. As we look to the future, the potential for retail media to reshape the advertising landscape is undeniable, ushering in an era of more authentic, effective, and customer-centric marketing strategies.

Your 2023 Holiday Shopping Timeline for Maximizing Media Campaigns

As summer winds down, the most wonderful (and busy!) time of year ramps right up. Every advertiser knows the importance and challenges of the holiday shopping season — and the 2023 season will be no different. 

There’s good news on the horizon for retailers. The National Retail Federation projects that retail sales will reach between $5.13 trillion and $5.23 trillion this year, a 4-6% growth from last year. On the flip side, getting a piece of those precious consumer dollars will be more challenging than ever. Ninety-two percent of consumers in the U.S. have cut spending on nonessential goods like home decor and clothing over the past six months. 

With more people shopping online, there’s ample opportunity for advertisers to create timely and memorable touchpoints with consumers to move them down the funnel over the three-month season. Keep reading as we break down everything advertisers need to know to prepare for the busy holiday shopping season. 

 

Timing is Everything – Holiday Shopping Starts Early

December may seem far away, but in 2022, 56% of consumers started their holiday shopping in October. Another 35% started in November. It’s never too early to get consumers familiar with your brand and holiday deals. With this in mind, we suggest a three-pronged approach to move consumers down the funnel over the coming months. 

 

1. Late October

Consider heaving up on awareness-focused channels such as advanced TV (CTV/OTT), pre-roll and native video, and audio. At this stage, the messaging and ad creative itself doesn’t have to revolve around the holidays, but it won’t hurt to get your brand on people’s radar.

2. Week of Black Friday & Cyber Monday

In 2022, 196.7 million Americans shopped either in-person or online over these five days. Embrace a heavy-hitting strategy using high-impact ads to draw in consumers flooded with ads and deals during the shopping frenzy. 

Consider one of the following new and emerging ad formats to stand out from the crowd and catch consumers’ eyes:

  • Scratch-Off Promo Offers: Create scratch-off cards that reveal special offers, discounts, or promotional codes. 
  • Dynamic Product Feed: Utilize an inventory data feed to create dynamic product ads that automatically update with accurate product information, such as title, price, availability, and images. 

3. Mid-November to Mid-December

During the homestretch, focus on your most valuable audiences to drive them further down the funnel. Continue to run conversion tactics, with a significant focus on retargeting your most valuable prospects.

In summary, this year’s holiday shopping season will require a strategic balancing act from advertisers: launch early but plan the long haul strategy. Media buyers should be prepping and launching campaigns in the coming month to capture those early dollars as holiday shopping starts to creep into everyone’s mind. However, a long-tail strategy will be essential to also capture those last-minute purchases made closer to the holidays. 

Looking for more holiday shopping insight? Check out the previous blog, Three Ways To Reach Online Shoppers This Holiday Season, for insights into key media strategies and tactics to move the needle with consumers this year.

 

Have a Holly Jolly Holiday Season with Digilant’s Holiday Shopping Solutions 

At Digilant, we understand the importance of a solid digital advertising strategy to conquer the holiday shopping season and end the year on a high note. With that in mind, our media strategies are ready to create a custom, tailored solution to achieve your brand’s goals. Contact us today to get started building your holiday shopping media plan. 

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