Why Contextual Targeting Has Emerged as the Privacy Option of Choice

With so much information available at the click of a button in the digital age, it makes sense that consumers are increasingly concerned about their data privacy. Apprehensive users make it a whole new ballgame for marketers who must navigate this new landscape full of more information and tools, but also more anxiety over personal safety.

recent study by KPMG shows that 86% of respondents are worried about their personal data being collected, while 40% say they don’t trust companies to use their data ethically. These concerns aren’t too far-fetched, as 53 million people had their personal data subject to compromise, leak, or exposure in the first half of 2022.

There’s also a bit of a paradox in play. Through data collection, marketing has become a personalized experience for people looking to purchase specific goods and services online. It’s so common that 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences, and maybe even more importantly, 76% of consumers get frustrated if this doesn’t happen. On the other hand, 92% of consumers believe that companies need to be proactive when it comes to protecting data. So, where does that leave us?

What Is Contextual Targeting?

Consumers expect businesses to ensure that their data is protected, but they also expect them to personalize marketing toward their specific needs. One answer to this paradoxical problem is contextual targeting. Contextual targeting allows for at-scale outreach, all while respecting consumers’ confidentiality and addressing data privacy concerns head-on.

Contextual targeting is more effective than traditional advertising methods because it doesn’t require any consumer data but can still deliver relevant advertisements to the consumer. Companies can appeal to users through text and video by placing ads on specific websites or formats. For example, a sports betting site might place an ad on a page where a sports fan would receive scoring updates.

The difference between contextual and behavioral targeting is that behavioral targeting requires user data, whereas contextual targeting relies on the relevancy and context of the page the ad is served on to get the job done. Already, contextual targeting has made a difference in how marketers and consumers interact with advertising.

The Benefits of Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is the best consumer-first approach to advertising available today. Here are some of the most privacy-oriented features you can expect to see with contextual targeting:

1. Create applicable advertisements without being invasive.

With contextual targeting, ads only appear when appropriate, so they never seem creepy or bombarding. This is better for both the consumer and the brand, as the consumer will view that brand more favorably.

Consider a grocery store wanting to increase audience awareness of seasonal products without using third-party cookies. To do so, they run an ad campaign in which their posts showcase recipes that include specific ingredients sold at their store across cooking and recipe blogs. This campaign drives up engagement and gets more people into the store. This tactic is effective because such a specific ad campaign takes into consideration the experience and safety of the consumer.

2. Increase personalization with new technology.

By collecting and utilizing past data from consumers, behavioral targeting increases personalization. However, that can sometimes go a step too far. Contextual targeting, on the other hand, seeks relevancy instead of history. The idea of audience targeting is a mixture of the two. Using contextual targeting in tandem with behavioral targeting removes some of the risks of being seen as “creepy.”

Years ago, a baking company might have had to worry that their ads would be placed on a disadvantageous page because AI couldn’t distinguish between “flower” and “flour.” Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Improvements in AI and machine learning have turned contextual targeting into a nuanced force. Everything is considered: text, speech, tone, imagery, sentiment, metadata, location, and more. That’s how it can provide a personalized experience without using cookies. It’s also great for brand safety. Using AI, your ad will be placed in appropriate and relevant places.

3. Prepare for changes in the digital world.

Contextual targeting is built for the future. We know that third-party cookies are going away and that data collection will move toward first-party cookies. The world of tech and advertising is moving toward handing the power of privacy back to consumers, making contextual targeting an excellent marketing strategy. Switching to a contextual targeting advertising strategy allows companies to be fully transparent with their marketing campaigns, which, in the end, is what consumers want.

Third-party cookies are one of the leading causes of concern for consumers regarding data security, which is why so many companies are moving away from them. Because of that, they need cookieless advertising solutions. Contextual targeting fits in this space nicely because marketers can use the same creative formats but with different targeting attributes. When you use contextual targeting in a transparent and consumer-first manner, you can create ads that deliver an even more personal experience for the consumer.

If you’re ready to see how contextual targeting and cookieless advertising can play a role in your marketing strategy, contact us here.

The Rise of the Metaverse and Its Impact on Advertising

It’s the term currently breaking the internet: The metaverse. Throughout 2021, searches for the term skyrocketed. Now, this curiosity is being put into action. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen increased discourse surrounding the metaverse, along with more startups and established companies diving into the digital world.

So what is the metaverse? Who invented it? And why should your business get involved sooner rather than later?

What, Who, and Where Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a virtual universe, a set of digital spaces that sit alongside the physical world and mimic the structures, sights, and phenomena we find here. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft explicitly use the term to describe how they are building a digital world that will immerse users inside and create digital experiences that mirror their physical counterparts.

The abstract quality of the metaverse makes it a hot topic for discussion. Without a solid definition, it can mean many different things to different people. To an online retailer, it could be a virtual marketplace powered by a virtual economy. To a social platform, it could be a fully immersive public forum where ideas and images get shared by users who have fully formed identities in this world.

What Are the Metaverse’s Main Opportunities?

While the versatility and complexity of the metaverse may seem intimidating, we can view it as a natural next step in our evolution with the internet and digital technology. Back when social media emerged, people were astonished and a little terrified of it; now, we understand its place in our lives.

The metaverse has massive potential for advertisers, marketers, and brands looking to garner more traction in the digital age. From 60 million users in 2020 to 81 million in 2021, research predicts artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) usage — the backbones of the metaverse — will reach 1.73 billion in just two years.

Any digital space represents a continued, controlled environment where businesses can test digital advertising strategies. Companies willing to put forward a metaverse marketing budget can use the metaverse as a testing ground and rapidly achieve more impactful messages, ultimately forming deeper relationships with users.

Imagine, for example, how many new audiences your business could reach if marketers had a whole other world to work in. This audience is younger, tech-native, and holds a lot of buying power in this developing realm. Many Gen Zers are already living in the metaverse; Vans’ interactive skatepark, for example, has become a virtual hangout for 48 million people since its conception.

These young people live through their avatars. They buy clothes and shoes for their online identities; they have virtual hobbies; they earn money and rewards in the virtual space and spend them on the products they enjoy. As such, advertising in the metaverse is becoming more impactful because it can be highly personalized and adapt directly to the data analytics baked into virtual channels.

How to Advertise in the Metaverse

The metaverse trend will impact some industries more intensely than others, and metaverse advertising opportunities will be a more natural fit for specific businesses over their peers. However, we’re seeing a bold trend likely to gain steam and stick around because of the sheer number of use cases already involved and the projected number of users expected in the next few years.

For a successful advertising strategy, now is the time for brands to consider diving into the metaverse and practicing metaverse-specific advertising. Below are four steps you can follow to determine whether advertising in the metaverse is the logical next step in your business’s omnichannel digital advertising strategy.

1.Understand whether metaverse advertising is suitable for your business’s needs.

Use your existing audience and overall business strategy to explore whether marketing in the metaverse makes sense for your brand. If your audience is already using the metaverse, ask yourself what they’re doing there and how they act. Think about the crossover between your objectives and how consumers are making connections. Then, consider how you could advertise in a way that engages with what your audience members are already doing in the metaverse. This will help guide opportunities and actions you can create within the metaverse to connect with your specific target audience.

2. Explore the numerous use cases available.

The remarkable opportunity of the metaverse is just how many possibilities present themselves when you start exploring the virtual world. Consider all the ways that your business could make use of virtual spaces and surfaces. Could you create virtual waiting rooms for appointments? Perhaps you could offer virtual employee training or host a virtual showroom for displaying products and ideas. With the metaverse, physical problems can become digital solutions.

3. Don’t be afraid to test and learn.

For some, the metaverse may be intimidating, leaving businesses wary of diving in immediately. Fortunately, testing is a great way to gain the evidence you need to start investing. Test ad formats and run a trial campaign to start with, and then you can iterate based on what is and isn’t working well.

Brands that can quickly identify opportunities to place their digital marketing in metaverse locations will be most successful as they can learn from their metaverse advertising and make changes more quickly in a time where there is less competition. Testing campaigns for reception and appeal also helps you refine your advertising solutions for better success in the metaverse down the road.

4. Start with social and gaming opportunities.

Social and gaming are easy ways to start advertising in the metaverse. For a business just barely dipping its toes into metaverse advertising, starting small with in-game advertisements and social plays are safe ways to see success. Consider starting with a few AR filters across games your audience is playing. If you’re already running in-game ads across other platforms, this is a natural transition into the metaverse and doesn’t require too much creative lift for new ad formats.

The Future of the Metaverse

With metaverse-related companies raising $10 billion in 2021 through private capital, imagine how this world could expand and deepen in the next 12 months. You don’t have to sell your home and move into the virtual realm, but consider testing out a little square of the metaverse and refreshing your physical business with digital attributes. In a wide-open world, the possibilities are endless. What could you do here?

If you are ready to begin advertising in the metaverse or are interested in learning more, contact us here, and we will help you find opportunities that fit your business needs and guide your success in the digital age.

3 Ways to Maximize the ROI of Your Digital Marketing Strategies

As the holidays are quickly approaching and economic uncertainty weighs heavy on the minds of many, marketers are under even more pressure than usual to retain a spot in the marketplace and ensure solid returns throughout the rest of the year. This tricky balancing act means that now is the time to reassess how to maximize ROI and establish wise digital marketing habits that will ultimately generate success, revenue, and stability.

Before diving headfirst into new digital marketing strategies, it’s important to understand that the way consumers are interacting with advertisements in the digital age is different from years past. Cable television has been swapped for streaming services, radio has lost popularity to digital audio, and as more people get outside, they are more likely to interact with OOH advertising. Marketers are facing not only economic uncertainty but a shifting landscape. As such, advertisers must begin making strategic decisions when it comes to budgeting, brand partnerships, and advertising strategies.

The Importance of Data in Your Digital Marketing Strategies

Fortunately, even in the face of economic uncertainty, advertisers can still take risks to get significant returns. You must make data-driven, strategic decisions to invest in new opportunities where your audience is spending time and will most likely interact with your brand. In the face of economic uncertainty, it is imperative to back all decisions with well-researched data if your goal is to maximize ROI.

As a marketer, you must ask questions of yourself, your business, and your audience to produce a successful advertising campaign. The data you collect in responses will drive your budget allocation and ultimately help you maximize ROI. Here are just some of the questions you should answer before building any new digital marketing strategies:

  • Where is our business currently standing in the market?
  • How do we offer value to consumers?
  • How much value do we offer compared to our competitors?
  • Where are we losing consumers?
  • What types of ads receive the most interaction from consumers?
  • What is the most important factor in ensuring our success through the end of the year?

Rather than cutting your advertising budget, you should be spending it more wisely. Learn how to speak to your customer’s needs. Adjusting your budget so that you spend on your best-performing tactics, data-driven strategies, and product offerings will bring the most success. In the face of economic uncertainty, data is key. It will allow you to make confident decisions and play into your strengths.

How to Maximize the ROI of your Digital Marketing Strategies

The world of digital media is fast-changing, and it’s easy to get caught up in the ebbs and flows. To stay grounded, it is best to have regular check-ups on your strategies. Consider the following three tips to help you understand the fluctuation of your ROI and give you more confidence for the future.

1.Look to a conversion rate rather than your ROI.

As a marketer, it would be ineffective to completely move away from using ROI as a baseline indicator for the success of specific marketing campaigns. However, conversion rates offer unbiased data-driven insight, plus several other analytic and attribution metrics. Conversion rates can tell you how much money you are spending on an advertising campaign versus how many consumers are converting on an investment.

The bottom line is clear when it comes to conversion rates. Additionally, looking at the data collected by conversion rates allows you to more easily identify which campaigns are succeeding. With ROI numbers, you may be fooled into thinking all efforts are hitting the bottom line. Switching to conversion rates helps your digital marketing strategies remain successful and provides clarity so that you know where to allocate your advertising budget.

2. Don’t get bogged down by brand sentiment.

Just like ROI might not tell the whole story when it comes to conversions, brand sentiment doesn’t directly tie into the ROI calculation, either. However, brand sentiment can have a considerable impact on the overall reputation of your business. Even if you have an excellent advertising strategy, consumers still may not resonate with your brand or not trust your messaging if your brand sentiment doesn’t align with their personal values. In such cases, your campaigns will not be as effective as possible. Unfortunately, simply calculating ROI won’t tell you why this is happening.

Instead, consider implementing a social monitoring tool to understand several key pieces of data: any chatter concerning your brand, the sentiment consumers have toward it, potential red flags, and how you stack up against your competition. An analytic tool like this can tell you a lot about the success of your brand and its place in the market. Additionally, any data derived will help you inadvertently maximize ROI.

3. Reevaluate frequently for optimal results.

The world of digital media and advertising moves quickly. Because of this, goals, KPIs, and ROI are essential to maintain a linear way of calculating the success of your campaigns over a longer period. However, because of the rapidly changing environment, you can’t get caught up if your ROI drops below what you were expecting. Similarly, it’s important not to get too attached to a high ROI, as this may not stick around forever, either.

More importantly, you should analyze why these trends are happening and where you can make improvements in your digital marketing strategies to help you hit your goals. To do so, set up a regular cadence to reevaluate your strategy. This scheduled time will help you analyze the data and better understand why your ROI may be changing.

Every marketer wants to wring maximum ROI out of their digital marketing strategies. But in the face of an uncertain economy, it’s more important than ever to spend wisely and reevaluate often for the success of your advertising campaigns.

If you’re ready to learn how to maximize ROI in digital marketing, contact us here, and we will help set up your personalized business strategy.

The Best Tactics for Using Paid Social Media for Travel Advertising Success

When it comes to the best travel advertising platforms, social media is at the top of the list in the new digital age. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet frequent algorithm updates, oversaturation, and shortened attention spans are all challenges that advertisers must face on social media when trying to gain momentum with organic posts alone. According to Hootsuite, the average organic Facebook page post nets a subpar 0.07% engagement rate and reaches only 5.5% of followers.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on organic posts. Organic posting remains a smart online travel advertising tactic to build relationships, inspire customers, engage at different buying stages, and provide personalized customer service and support. However, advertisers will face challenges using organic posts alone to drive conversions, promote new deals, or generate leads. That’s where paid social media advertising comes into the equation.

Paid social media advertising compliments organic social media posting because it picks up where organic posting drops off. This is why travel advertisers need to leverage both components to ensure their advertising efforts are worthwhile.

Tips on How to Advertise on Social Media

If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of paid advertising on social media, consider the following seven best practices to help set up your advertising campaign for success.

1. Divide posts into “organic” and “paid” buckets.

Although advertisers enjoy many benefits when investing in paid social advertising, not all posts should be turned into paid advertisements. Posts that are most likely to be enjoyed and shared by followers (based on your historic engagement data) might do well to stay organic. On the other hand, if you believe paying for a post will help achieve a KPI objective, investing dollars to flip the post from organic to paid could make sense. Consider which posts should fall into “organic” and “paid” categories based on what makes sense for your business and your audience.

2. Repurpose successful organic posts.

Take a look at your organic posts. Which drove the most conversions or brought in followers? Compile a list of your top performers. Then, repurpose those posts by boosting them into paid versions to see more exposure and breathe new life into campaigns that may not have performed as well the first time around.

3. Use your current followers to target new ones.

To better understand the behavioral, social, demographic, and occupational statistics of your audience, start by conducting a deep dive into your organic post followers. You can use the information you gather to target audiences for your paid social media posts through lookalike targeting. That way, you’ll be able to get in front of more users who are likely to become followers, too.

4. Vary up your paid posts.

In some instances, it can be difficult to know what type of paid social media travel advertising posts will work best for your business. To offset potential roadblocks, consider testing a host of creative varieties. Play around with different CTAs, swap visuals, and conduct A/B tests. Not only will you see what works best, but you’ll be more likely to figure out what your audience prefers and what is most cost-effective for you.

5. Explore retargeting.

As you become more comfortable with paid social media advertising, don’t be afraid to experiment with retargeting. A retargeting campaign can woo back people who checked out your social page, e-commerce store, or site. Done well, retargeting can encourage re-engagement in a big way.

6. Strive for automation.

Even in the digital world, time is money. The more time you can save, the more efficient your team will be. Therefore, look for ways to automate your organic or paid posts — or both. An example of this would be creating and scheduling all your organic travel posts weeks in advance. Once done, you can concentrate your day-to-day efforts on their paid counterparts.

7. Prepare for the end of third-party cookies.

Third-party cookies are on their way out the door, as we explain in our latest whitepaper. Paid social media posts don’t rely on third-party cookies, which means you can try strategies that will be useful on other channels as well once all third-party cookies are gone. Even if it takes time to see substantial success from your paid online advertising campaigns, you’ll have more knowledge about how to navigate advertising in a cookieless world.

Social Media Platforms to Try

Are you eager to try your hand at paid online social media advertising? Below are some of the sites that are most appealing for travel advertisers to find the right audiences.

  • Facebook: More than one-third of the global population is on Facebook, making it a social media hot spot. You can share just about any kind of content on Facebook, including videos, reviews, events, and more. Perhaps best of all, Facebook’s advertising setup makes it simple to get started and track your advertising efforts.
  • Instagram: With its visual leanings, Instagram is a travel brand’s go-to social site. Roughly 4 in 10 Millennials rely on Instagram to help them pick their next vacation locations. Be sure to make use of hashtags on Instagram: They’re essential. Also, feel free to springboard paid ad content from user-generated content from your biggest fans.
  • Twitter: When people want to rave about travel experiences, they head to Twitter. Social Insight research shows that about half of all travelers were influenced by Twitter recommendations and rants. Similar to Instagram, you’ll want to keep tabs on trending Twitter hashtags and use what you learn to ultimately better inform your paid social posts.
  • Pinterest: Travel imagery is all over Pinterest. If you want to inspire people to be curious about a brand or destination, Pinterest is the place to be. Another benefit of advertising on Pinterest is that it’s not as saturated as other social media sites.
  • TikTok: As the newest member of the social media scene, TikTok has a growing audience and evolving advertising platform. You’ll have to be comfortable engaging through imaginative, buzzworthy videos as part of your organic and paid TikTok advertising. Fortunately, the potential to go viral makes it worth a try, particularly if you’re targeting Gen Z, Millennials, or under-50 Generation X.

There’s no doubt that paid social media advertising belongs in your travel advertising toolkit. So jump in and get started. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll find what works for your brand. At Digilant, we’re here to help. Contact us here to begin your travel advertising journey.

Brand Safety and Contextual Advertising: 4 Key Considerations

Right or wrong, we tend to judge people by the company they keep. Remaining skeptical allows us to put our trust and support into people, products, and brands that best fit our standards. Digital advertising efforts experience the same treatment — consumers judge brands, whether knowingly or not, by the content they surround themselves with. That’s why, as a business, it’s so critical to make sure you protect your brand’s safety online by updating your contextual targeting strategies.

What is contextual targeting? It’s the placement of your advertisement next to material that correlates to your product or service, therefore, increasing the likelihood to be seen by the audience you’re trying to attract. For instance, if you’re selling to new parents, you would want your ad to be placed next to an article written for first-time moms and dads. This solidifies your advertising strategy and helps consumers stay aware of your brand’s message.

Contextual targeting in digital marketing works well — most of the time. When it doesn’t, it tends to backfire spectacularly. Case in point: In 2017, a raft of giant brands left YouTube because their ads appeared next to extremist, inflammatory videos. Two years later, the problem recurred. In response, Google unveiled enhanced contextual advertising in 2020. However, the enhancement isn’t perfect. Plus, Google doesn’t control all the sites where brands advertise.

So how can you protect your brand online when investing in digital advertising? The answer is to prioritize brand safety. Remember that 80% of American consumers say that seeing a brand’s ad next to harmful online content would sway their brand sentiment and purchasing behaviors. Accordingly, you need to make sure that you’re doing all you can to construct a brand-safe environment when advertising online. And that means making sure that your brand’s content never appears next to unsafe, insensitive, compromising, or otherwise unwelcome and unwanted material with next-gen contextual advertising solutions.

Contextual Advertising Vigilance Promotes Brand Safety

It’s not enough to let publishing sites set contextual advertising guidelines. To get the biggest impact and benefits of contextual advertising, you must play an active role in keeping your brand reputation safe online. When you do, you can gain several advantages, starting with a positive brand sentiment.

Consumers quickly turn on brands that appear in risky environments. Conversely, they embrace brands surrounded by positive, relevant information. This naturally leads to higher levels of engagement because consumers are more apt to stay engaged in brand-safe environments. That means a stronger chance of a robust ROI from your advertising campaign.

Below are four key considerations to ensure your contextual advertising investments are brand safe and impactful.

1. Craft your own “brand safety” definition.

It’s hard to engage in brand-safe advertising if you don’t have any rules to follow. As such, your organization must outline a definition together and build a framework to set brand safety parameters that everyone can agree on.

A good starting point is to check out industry-standard definitions of what online content is generally deemed unsafe or riskier. You can also use existing definitions as a springboard and adjust your business’ rules accordingly. What’s important is that the guidelines are in place to help your advertising campaign stay on track.

2. Build a map of blocklist sites.

Blocklists are sites where you don’t want your ads to run. A blocklist is sometimes referred to as negative targeting, blacklists, or exclusion lists. No matter what you call it, you need to have a running, evolving document that contains your blocklisted sites. When you do, you can easily exclude any topic, content, or specific website you’d rather not have your brand associated with.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to build your blocklist from scratch. Your strategic programmatic partner should be able to share a list of sites they block for all their campaigns. Their list can serve as the foundation for a more customized one to better fit your specific brand goals.

3. Find a programmatic partner that puts brand safety first.

Ensuring your brand remains brand-safe is tough if your programmatic partner doesn’t emphasize brand safety. At Digilant, our three-prong brand safety strategy is designed to combat most brands’ online advertising concerns.

How does our safety strategy work? First, our system crawls all web traffic received and classifies it to determine the safety of content based on brand-safe whitelists and Deal IDs. Next, we analyze data for patterns to identify fraudulent traffic sources and botnet locations. Finally, we negatively target impressions with insufficient data to better measure accessibility. These measures work time and again to keep our partners’ brands clean.

4. Monitor your campaigns.

When you advertise on digital channels, you can monitor results in real-time. You can monitor brand safety at the same time. Then, if you spot an issue, you can quickly change or adjust the settings of your campaign. A keen eye also will enable you to catch potential bot traffic or fraud detection.

If you notice that you’re having a lot of hits or your brand safety concerns extend way beyond industry standards, consider buying premium ads. Premium ad buys give you access to specific, pre-approved site lists that ensure your content is only shown on those pages. You’ll still want to monitor your campaigns, but you’ll be less likely to find your brand advertised alongside unacceptable content.

Unsafe online environments pose huge risks for advertisers. At Digilant, we can help you mitigate this risk. Contact us here to learn more about finding a better contextual advertising solution for your business and top-notch brand safety practices.

4 Key Strategies to Launch Your Podcast Programmatic Advertising Campaign

Podcasts have been around for quite a while, though it wasn’t until recently that their popularity skyrocketed. Audiences are continuously increasing across all demographics: Edison Research found around 177 million Americans over the age of 12 will listen to a podcast in 2022. Additionally, Neilsen’s poll found that 56% of respondents report listening to more podcasts more frequently since the onset of the pandemic.

Due to these increasing audio trends, advertisers have followed suit to get their messages in front of a captivated audience. Research has discovered that 81% of consumers are more receptive to podcast ads over radio and TV commercials, billboards, or even sponsored social posts. More consumers are listening to full episodes, with 65% of loyal listeners staying through to the end.

Although the shift to remote work and school was an initial contributing factor, it’s likely that the popularity of audio advertising will only grow further. Currently, about two-thirds of the market is held by two key players: Apple Podcasts (40.7% of podcast listeners) and Spotify (25.3%). More companies, like Alphabet, Amazon, and even Twitter, are poised to get their foot in the door soon, which will continue to boost the popularity of podcasts. After all, we listen to podcasts at home and on the go; that’s why it’s time for your business to dedicate a budget to programmatic podcast advertising.

Digital audio advertising trends will inevitably draw competition like any other channel, but the unique demographic targeting with this over-the-top (OTT) advertising strategy can’t be ignored. If you’re unsure how to advertise on podcasts, keep reading to learn more about the benefits, drawbacks, and how to get started.

Does Podcast Advertising Work?

Consumers have voiced that they love the authenticity and personalization that comes from hearing their favorite podcast hosts put unique spins on ad reads. As such, it’s no wonder that advertisers continue to embrace this ad type and invest more dollars into them. However, this ad format does have a few drawbacks:

  • They can be expensive to produce because you are paying a premium to have the host read the ad.
  • They cannot be edited if they are incorporated directly into the audio file when uploaded to a platform.
  • They can date themselves quickly. While some podcasts (such as timely news shows) have shorter shelf lives, there are a whole host of podcasts that users listen back to months, if not years, down the road.

As a business, you will get more run time from the ad because it won’t change no matter when or where the consumer listens. However, this does run the risk of dating an ad. On the consumer side, you may have experienced this if you’ve gone into the archives of one of your favorite podcasts. Maybe you’ve heard a holiday special promo in the middle of July, now being served an ad with an expired promo code.

As more podcast hosts incorporate unique creative ad formats that enable dynamic insertion, the risks outlined above disappear. However, it does rely on the podcast host, or the hosting platform they use, to set time stamp markers within their content that would then be used to automatically insert an advertiser’s organic, curated, customized ad. When adapting this process and ad form, podcasters can reap the following rewards:

  • Cuts down on the work required by the podcaster
  • Allows podcasters to focus on the content by offloading ad placement
  • Avoid ads becoming stale and irrelevant
  • Much more automated process
  • Still remains a brand-safe environment for both podcast hosts and advertisers
  • You can still insert host-read or prerecorded ads into these spots.

Cutting through the Noise with Digital Audio Advertising

Today’s digital audio ads should ideally have audience targeting or insight layered behind them to ensure that each message is targeting the right consumer. As mentioned, digital audio and podcast advertising is quickly growing in popularity so creating personalized experiences for your consumer based on where they are in the customer journey is increasingly important. Two ad experiences we recommend to accomplish this and create a seamless customer experience are dynamic digital advertising and sequential messaging.

Dynamic advertising and sequential targeting differ in whether the content adapts to align with the consumer or vice versa.

These specific audio advertising techniques add an extra layer of personalization that more “traditional” digital ads do not have. While both unique solutions offer great benefits for digital audio and podcast ad campaigns, the advantage of digital audio advertising don’t stop there.

When working with a strategic digital advertising partner, these ad experiences can be taken across the customer journey to multiple channels such as mobile, desktop, tablet, TV, social, digital out-of-home (DOOH), and beyond. Using strategic targeting, advertisers can retarget audio listeners based on their individual customer experiences.

Dynamic Digital Advertising

Dynamic digital advertising in audio marries dynamic content with programmatic ad buying. This means your digital audio advertising content — text, audio, video, visuals, etc. — changes based on user behavior, preferences, and quantifiable data.

In the case of dynamic digital audio, each ad can change and adapt content and promotions as necessary to specifically fit each user. This ensures that each consumer is exposed to an ad that most aligns with their interests and specific customer journey. Ultimately, this increases personalization and allows for more clicks or consumer actions.

Sequential Targeting

Sequential targeting transforms the typical single ad experience into a more robust storytelling experience targeted at a consumer, based on their individual behavior. Advertisers can base their stories on tangible data, such as exposure and click history, through a sequence of ads served in real time.

Think of digital audio sequential targeting as storytelling rather than advertising. It is a simple story told via ads likely used to increase brand awareness and keep the listener engaged. To keep the format authentic, some advertisers even choose not to incorporate a CTA until the final message of a “series” in order to maintain a feeling of storytelling over advertising.

How to Advertise on Podcasts in 4 Steps

Now that you understand the problems, solutions, and benefits, it’s time to get your OTT advertising strategy podcast-ready. It’s the only non-visual form of marketing within mainstream channels, so that means you need to focus on four key areas.

1. Invest in Effective Technology and Data

The data required for a targeted campaign like this is available, and powerful technology to collect, manage, and analyze this information is essential. Without a strategic cross-device or device mapping platform solution and a strategic data management platform, the data cannot be used effectively enough to maintain a data-driven campaign like this.

There are multiple ad formats, different channels, multiple audiences, and audiences at different stages of the customer journey. Additionally, all the insights needed to run these campaigns are updated and, in turn, need to be implemented in real time. To execute this process successfully requires resources — both personnel and technology-wise. It’s no easy task, but with the right strategies, you will reap the rewards of your efforts.

2. Focus on Strong Storytelling

If you’re going to invest time and resources into an ad format such as this, ensure that you have a strong, captivating story to tell. If you simply want to express different features your brand has or promotions you’re running, a more traditional ad format will be more than sufficient.

Programmatic podcast advertising is a unique format and, as such, the story you tell and the interactions you have with consumers need to be unique to that of your other digital advertising efforts.

3. Identify the Right Channels for Your Business

As mentioned before, these tactics can be used simply within podcast advertising or can be taken across the full scope of your digital advertising efforts. Understand which channels make the most sense for your brand to use this style of messaging and then which channels make the most sense for which parts of the story.

Do you want your initial impact to happen within a podcast? On social media? Once a consumer is moving down the funnel, how can you ensure an ad with a specific CTA happens on a channel that most likely will produce said action? These are questions and areas to focus on as you begin to ideate on unique ad formats such as these.

4. Know Your Target Audience

Before you start any digital advertising initiative, understand your target audience. This will help ensure that you know where and when your message needs to go. Taking it a step further within the realm of sequential and dynamic ad formats, consider which of your target audiences this type of ad campaign is best suited for.

It is possible to reach all your audiences; however, this might also be a great opportunity to home in on a particular audience you’ve struggled to reach. This could be one who is stuck in the consideration phase and won’t make the leap to conversion, or a segment that you know would be most appreciative of a storytelling consumer experience.

Because you’re putting extra time and attention into this ad journey, knowing your audience arguably is the most important step in your OTT advertising strategy. To learn how Digilant can help you create audio advertisements specifically for your desired audience, get in touch today.

How to Target B2B Customers in a Work-From-Anywhere World

With the shift to work-from-anywhere, B2B advertising has drastically changed. Before, B2B targeting centered on in-office advertising via IP targeting. Now, with many B2B professionals working from home, what’s a feasible and effective strategy to reach the modern B2B consumer?


The simple answer: a B2B digital advertising strategy that leverages an omnichannel approach similar to that of B2C. Why? While B2B decisions affect corporations, the people making these decisions are just that: people. As such, they require a digital marketing strategy that reflects their shopping habits and provides targeting approaches for a seamless buying experience.


Today’s omnichannel consumers no longer rely on one channel to browse and buy products. Whether B2B or B2C, they move along their buyer journeys in a combination of both online and offline channels. Because of this, the advertising experience has to follow them as well.


Blurred Lines


As we enter a new age of remote work, the lines between working and personal life have blurred. Prior to the pandemic, many business professionals left their work at the office. During those times, digital marketers would typically place time restrictions on their B2B ad campaigns as there was no sense in spending money when consumers weren’t in the office or on their commutes. They weren’t in the working frame of mind, so it wasn’t the best strategy for advertisers to place business-related ads in those moments.


Now, in a new age of remote work, many people work in the same setting where they do the rest of their daily activities. Additionally, working hours have become more flexible and diversified to meet employee needs. This new landscape and work style offers a great opportunity for B2B digital advertising. Today’s B2B marketers now have more channels and more opportunities than ever to reach their customers.


This also means that marketers should reconsider legacy tactics that may no longer be relevant to today’s B2B customers. Consider that 60% of all B2B technology buyers in 2021 are Millennials. As such, advertisers need to enlist tactics that speak to this demographic. They’re much more likely to respond to podcast advertising, social media, and email B2B targeting strategies.


Ready to learn how to target B2B customers in a remote work context? You can start by following these steps.


1. Seek out a strategic partner with effective data solutions.


When considering partnering with a B2B digital advertising agency, ensure that they have strategic data partnerships in place to reach your audience. Ideally, find a partner that doesn’t rely solely on IP targeting methods to reach business professionals. In the past, IP targeting saw B2B advertisers relying on a client list of company names and matching IP addresses to company routers for ad placements. Now that remote work is more prevalent, relying on company IP addresses alone is no longer beneficial.


When it comes to data solutions, quality is key. At Digilant, we have an exclusive partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, giving you access to a wide range of professional targeting segments. D&B uses 100% deterministic data, which ensures the accuracy of 240 million-plus business profiles. Bombora, another partner, aggregates a wide range of B2B intent data as well as demographic and firmographic data. It also collects data from a combination of anonymized publisher registration data, proprietary IP-to-company mapping technology, and offline data sources.


2. Match your solutions to your goals.


B2B companies historically looked at digital channels just as an entry point for commercial orders. However, today’s consumers now look to find, interact, converse, browse, and shop for products and services via B2B digital advertising channels.


Consider what stage of the buyer funnel you want to reach with different messages and implement solutions that allow you to do just that. For example, to generate awareness, you might use account-based marketing, behavioral targeting, app ownership, or lookalike audiences. To increase consideration, CRM targeting and search engine optimization are great options. To drive conversions, consider using adaptive segmentation or an algorithmic optimizer.


3. Don’t be afraid to test and try.


Consider implementing surge reports and company surge analytics in your media mix. These options help you understand demand surges so that you know where to best invest your marketing dollars.


There are other “newer” tactics worth trying. Consider advanced audio advertising and LinkedIn advertising. Within LinkedIn advertising, try video ads (at least one for each stage of the buyer’s journey), dynamic ads (hyper-personalized for your audiences), and carousel ads (which give you a chance to tell an interactive, action-inducing story). All these options also offer clear digital advertising performance metrics that allow you to evaluate which aspects of your marketing mix are performing the best.


Digilant’s B2B Digital Advertising Solutions


With more B2B customers working from home than ever, it’s time to start viewing B2B customers as people rather than IP addresses. By targeting them and following them through the buyer’s journey just as you would a B2C customer, you can keep them engaged and interested in your company all the way to conversion.


Interested in learning more about how to effectively reach B2B audiences in today’s new normal? Get in touch today!

Ready or Not, Here They Come: The Arrival of Ads on Top-Tier Streaming

In years past, streaming services differentiated themselves from linear TV providers by allowing customers to purchase premium access as a way to avoid ads while watching TV. When these platforms first burst onto the scene, most consumers maintained their cable subscriptions and added one or two streaming services to the mix. Now, the scale has tipped the other way: more U.S. consumers rely on streaming services than cable. In light of these consumer changes, the ad-free platforms appear to be an idea of the past, as such platforms are facing a harsh reality that to maintain competitiveness in an increasingly saturated market time and ensure revenue numbers are reached, they’ll need to incorporate ads sooner rather than later.

The biggest names in streaming, Netflix and Disney+, have recently announced that they’ll start allowing advertisers to place ads within their premium streaming packages. This follows suit with many of the other streaming services — Hulu, Peacock, and HBO Max — that have found great success with ad-based models as well.

Netflix and streaming are nearly synonymous, as Netflix was the first successful platform to emerge when consumer trends began shifting toward streaming. So to see the king of streaming making this change raises some questions and possible concerns. Luckily, the decision to incorporate this ad-based service tier will ultimately benefit all parties involved:

  • Advertisers: Marketers will once again have the opportunity to reach viewers while they consume TV through streaming services, thanks to the creation of new advertising options.
  • Consumers:Consumers have the option to purchase an ad-free tier if they desire, though an ad-based model allows viewers more choice in what they consume and where their money goes.
  • Platforms:An ad-based model is a straightforward way to reestablish a revenue stream for streaming services without making drastic platform changes.

So while the headlines may be jarring, the outlook is not so grim. With more opportunities on the horizon, now is the perfect time for marketers to dip their toes into advertising on streaming platforms. Here’s what you need to know as you begin shifting your budget and business objectives to the different advertising opportunities available across both different platforms and different tiers.

1. Research the ad-supporting streaming services.

Each streaming service has a slightly different subscription pricing structure and approach to paid advertising, so it’s crucial to understand the many options available. For example, Netflix announced in 2022 that it would introduce a lower-priced, ad-supported version in the near future. Hulu already offers different subscription levels, including an ad-supported tier (which 70% of their customers use). Peacock, Pluto, and Tubi are all built to carry ads at a base level, and Amazon Prime, Roku, and HBO Max all have ad-supported services to choose from. Additionally, Disney+ announced in March that it would introduce a lower-price advertising tier as well.

As a marketer, you need to conduct research before choosing which streaming service(s) to invest your advertising budget. The top four platforms collectively earned $3.5 billion in advertising revenue between September 2020 and September 2021. That number will only continue to rise as more and more companies see the value in streaming-based advertising, meaning now is the time to get ahead of the game.

2. Find a digital advertising partner.

This is one of the most effective steps you can take now to future-proof your advertising campaigns. When seeking out a partner, you will want to find a company that has access to premium inventory across different publishers and platforms. This will help eliminate the challenge of navigating the evolving streaming landscape and limited reach and scale.

A good partner will help you target customers while managing your frequency capping and consolidating dashboards. They’ll help you explore solutions such as contextual targeting, device ID, access to premium publishers, inside access to the biggest OTT players, and best-in-breed omnichannel DSP platforms.

3. Invest in automated content recognition.

Consider investing in automated content recognition technology. ACR is an identification technology that recognizes content played on a media device or present in a media file. ACR works when an individual turns on a Wi-Fi-powered device for the first time, and then selects to opt-in to audio and video data collection during setup. The device provider is then able to analyze small fragments of images or sounds from the content being consumed over time.

The tiny samples processed by ACR software are cross-referenced and matched to existing data. This data is then shared with advertisers like you to help better inform ad placement decisions. For instance, you might retarget TV ad viewers or target new users who saw competitors’ TV ads. Using ACR technology allows you to create custom audiences based on observed behavior, ultimately resulting in a better advertising campaign and content tailored for specific consumers.

4. Start small as proof of concept.

You may find it beneficial to shift a smaller “test” portion of your budget toward tiered ad programs to see how to reach your target audience most effectively. If you need a resource to guide you in shifting your budget, this chart can help you understand strategic budget moves for streaming ads.

Because advertisers can still rely on third-party cookies, the next few months present an opportune environment for marketers like you to test out the water and see whether you are ready to dive into a new advertising medium.

Big changes are coming for streaming service customers and advertisers alike. By capitalizing on the advantages of tier-based advertising and related technology, you can proactively position your brand for success among strategic audiences. The principles of traditional advertising still apply, but streaming technology and digital tracking allow you to hyper-target audiences like never before.

If you’re ready to begin leveraging new opportunities in your marketing mix, contact us to learn more about our robust Advanced TV Solutions here.

3 Ways Healthcare Advertisers can Ditch the Third-Party Cookie Diet

We’re moving into an increasingly cookieless environment. And that means marketers who have long relied on these identifiers to target their audiences have to rethink and get creative to continue to reach their audiences while remaining compliant with their digital advertising campaigns.


Luckily, this isn’t a completely new practice for healthcare and pharma organizations, as they have always had to be extremely careful with sensitive data. The industry is heavily regulated, after all. However, being able to leverage third-party cookies did help provide advertising teams with consumer insights that could be utilized for remarketing and retargeting. With third-party cookies going by the wayside as part of the cookieless future, healthcare marketers will be forced to find innovative ways to remain HIPAA-compliant while still creating personalized experiences with patients.


HIPAA mandates that all healthcare entities safeguard consumers’ personal health information. In other words, marketers must be highly cautious about how they gather and use consumer data — even first-party data. Consider this example. All HIPAA clearly states that to receive and use first-party data, healthcare companies and marketers must obtain written authorization from the consumers. This “opt-in” culture puts the power in the hands of healthcare consumers, which is good. At the same time, it creates an additional hoop for healthcare advertising professionals to jump through.


Take data mining on social media as an example. Gathering publicly available unencrypted data on social sites goes against HIPAA. So does sharing reviews or praises on marketing materials — even if the names are changed. Accordingly, many healthcare advertisers have begun to feel that their hands are tied. The good news is that they’re not. Hope is on the horizon.


Certainly, a cookieless world without third-party cookies isn’t what most marketers want because it requires a major switch in mindset and tactics. Nevertheless, there are several key things healthcare advertisers can do to build customer bases and genuine, long-term relationships based on personalization.


1. Rethink your data sources


Reach for second-party data


Third-party data isn’t the only data on the block. Second-party data can be strategically used in campaigns to ensure healthcare consumers have an individualized experience. The trick is to work with a second-party data source that is 100% HIPAA-compliant.


At Digilant, we vet all second-party and other data providers to make certain they follow strict patient data compliance practices. This is one of the reasons we value our partnership with Lasso, an omnichannel healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing and analytics platform.


Within our partnership, we can plan, activate, and measure healthcare provider and direct-to-consumer targeted campaigns without the worry of compliance violations. Accordingly, we can reach patients prescribed a competitor’s medication through competitor RX conquesting or target consumers while they’re at a certain location using geofencing. Everything happens within the boundaries of HIPAA regulations, making it possible to get traction without the need for third-party cookies.


Build out first-party data


As long as first-party data is ethically obtained, stored, and implemented, it can become the springboard for an exceptional user experience. Plus, with the right strategy and resources, it’s not as difficult to obtain first-party data as one might assume. From mobile apps and websites to surveys and direct mail, healthcare entities have many avenues to glean clean and up-to-date first-party data.


Healthcare advertisers have more connections with consumers and patients than they realize. Just using a solid CRM platform to collect, organize, unify, and utilize first-party data can transform a company’s ability to deploy high-ROI digital advertising campaigns.


2. Lean into contextual targeting.


Contextual targeting is one of the best tools advertisers have in a cookieless environment. The beauty of contextual targeting is that it allows marketers to reach audiences by targeting ads based on the context in which that ad will be placed.


Here’s how contextual targeting can create alignment across audiences, content, and ad placements: First, an ad is written and published. AI-fueled crawlers then “read” and learn the context of the ad. When a consumer searches for a similar topic, the ad appears right away. As such, the consumer gets vital information immediately.


Though contextual targeting wasn’t always a surefire curated experience, it’s dramatically improved in recent years thanks to technological advancements and machine learning. Gone are the days of misplacing an ad due to a mistake in understanding a word or phrase. Today, contextual targeting is a winning workaround instead of relying on third-party cookies.


3. Maintain robust relationships with current patients.


A final tip to master a cookieless future is to develop stronger connections with active patients. Current patients can be a great resource and they may even serve as means to grow a healthcare brand through their sharing of awareness campaigns or providing referrals.


Even patients who aren’t actively in need of healthcare should be a focus. Regularly check in and follow up when it makes sense. Sending them surveys can help them stay in the fold, too. In some cases, healthcare organizations may even want to implement loyalty, rewards, or patient appreciation programs. Any form of outreach that maintains necessary levels of data privacy in advertising can keep communications channels open and patients more satisfied.


Deploying cookieless digital advertising is going to be necessary soon, and healthcare advertisers should start planning accordingly. Although the prospect might seem overwhelming, it won’t be long before providers, systems, and marketers realize that advertising without cookies is just as full of potential and opportunity as before. The future is bright.


If you want to learn more about healthcare advertising in the cookieless future, we’re here to help! Get in touch today.

3 Ways to Practice Good Storytelling in Healthcare Advertising

The biggest mistake healthcare advertising campaigns make is being too clinical. While the subject matter may require a certain formality, a cautious tone, and unglamorous language, that doesn’t mean that storytelling in healthcare has to feel like a doctor’s waiting room. In fact, the success of healthcare advertising may rest on our ability to transcend the clinic to share a compelling narrative.

What Mistakes Do Healthcare Advertisers Make?

Advertisers often experience tunnel vision when handling healthcare topics. They sometimes focus on the wrong things, getting stuck in the weeds of the product and its features, rather than trying to build relationships with potential patients. While it may be tempting to highlight new achievements, technology, products, or services at your organization, your storytelling needs to center on the person with the problem.

Because advertisers get stuck in the weeds, they risk overexplaining and becoming too long-winded in their messaging. Today’s consumers are bombarded with ads, and their attention spans are fleeting — with healthcare as with any topic, an ad has only a few seconds to make an impression. For this reason, advertisers also need to be careful that they’re getting their messages to the right audience segments.

What Makes Storytelling Effective in a Healthcare Setting?

Humans have always relied on storytelling to pass down information. It’s rooted deeply in our nature to want to listen to a good story — so much so that we still retain 70% more information when it comes to us via storytelling rather than statistics alone.

This fact is incredibly important for healthcare advertising campaigns. In the world of healthcare marketing, many organizations rely on facts or statistics to win the trust of patients. But what many marketers miss is that an emotional connection may mean the difference between someone becoming a loyal patient and turning elsewhere for treatment.

That doesn’t mean that a healthcare story needs to avoid necessary facts and information that showcase the benefits and prestige of your organization. But even the stuffiest data can be presented in a way that raises awareness, shows empathy for a problem, and inspires action in the end.

The key ingredients of a good story in a healthcare ad? You’re looking to show authenticity and consistency. Patients seek genuine information and care; they won’t stand for anything less. And a personal, human angle is best. Patients do not appreciate being treated as points on a graph.

A good healthcare story will always answer the question: What makes you unique? Consumers no longer have to rely on the organizations in their area. They have the power to do their research and shop around. This makes it even more essential to ensure that your organization stands out from the competition.

3 Ways for Healthcare Advertisers to Implement These Practices

Healthcare and pharma digital advertising can run the gamut from boring to alarming, but the sweet spot is to tell a relatable, authentic story — one that makes a potential patient sit up and listen, and then breathe a sigh of relief. Here’s how it works in practice:

1. Ideate before you narrate.

Effective storytelling in healthcare starts with determining what you need from your story. What could you highlight that will be of interest to your consumers? Is there a particular challenge or situation that your audience is struggling with? Could you turn this problem into a scene, testimonial, or narrative? Make sure that at this stage you consider what will resonate with your particular audience. Don’t talk about pregnancy woes to elderly men.

2. Choose the perfect format for your story.

Your audience will spend more time with certain advertising channels, and certain stories will better suit different formats. For example, an in-depth client story may be best suited for a video ad, but a portion of that story via a quote could work well in a display ad. How can you use different formats to best convey your message? How will you retarget consumers across different channels to continue to move them down the funnel?

3. Reaffirm your message.

Before you get ready to launch an ad campaign, it’s important to check your stories against your central ideals and values: Does the content, tone, and language speak to the essence of your organization? Is this how you want patients to see you? Authenticity and honesty may be two of the most important aspect of storytelling in healthcare and pharma marketing, so it’s never a bad idea to check, double-check, and maybe even ask for a second opinion before going live.

How Can Digilant Help?

The key to good storytelling is knowing who your audience is and where they’re at in their customer journey. At Digilant, our approach starts with consumer research to define target audiences, which allows us to develop an integrated marketing strategy and sets the stage for measurable performance.

Are you interested in learning more about bolstering your healthcare advertising with storytelling? Get in touch today!

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