5 Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Higher Education Marketing Agency

Higher education institutions, like many industries, have faced a challenging year. As schools switched their classes and programs to a virtual model, so did many recruitment and marketing events. Critical initiatives for attracting and retaining students, such as prospective student days, campus tours, shadowing, and in-person interviews, needed to be re-considered. Schools were quick on their feet, shifting to virtual recruitment opportunities, interacting with students online. 

But now, as the long-awaited “new normal” is quickly coming to fruition, it’s clear that many of these online initiatives were beneficial outside of the pandemic’s circumstances. And beyond virtual events, interacting and reaching students in an online manner presents excellent opportunities for schools moving forward. 

The bulk of today’s prospective students fall into the digital native generations of Gen Z and millennials who are keen to find new brands – or in this case, school and educational programs – in an online setting. They are online research wizards, social media mavens, and omnichannel shoppers, allowing schools to converse, reach, and interact with them across various digital advertising strategies. 

These online opportunities quickly made a splash with students, meaning that schools without an online digital advertising presence may soon fall behind, losing out on prospective students to their competitors. If your internal team doesn’t have the expertise or resources to implement a strategic digital marketing strategy finding a higher education marketing agency might be the best solution. Below we’ve outlined five benefits your organization will experience when deciding to outsource your digital advertising with a digital advertising partner. 

5 Benefits Higher Education Marketing Agencies Provide

1. Think Outside the Box

Higher education institutions naturally lean on the ideals of tradition and consistency to shape their messaging and marketing strategies. After all, these strong legacy ideals are what students are attracted to when applying to programs. Although the tone and messaging may provide success for the institution, traditional advertising channels and tactics may not hit the mark anymore. 

Hiring a digital marketing agency will allow an outside party to look at your marketing strategy, see what’s working well, and identify areas for opportunity and growth. Then, with a fresh set of eyes and a deep dive into your school, a digital marketing agency is poised to take your marketing efforts to the next level, with a fresh set of ideas, channels, and tactics to ensure you’re reaching the right students for your school.  

2. Implement an Omnichannel Experience

Just as consumers lean on omnichannel shopping experiences when buying their everyday goods, students also prefer an omnichannel “shopping” experience when browsing for potential schools. In 2018, a group of high school students was asked how they first contacted or made an initial inquiry about a school. Top answers included in-person college fairs, television ads, display ads, social media, and OOH ads. Clearly, there isn’t one overarching strategy that reaches students across the board.

Omnichannel Advertising strategies ensure that your school has a presence across the most critical channels that students use – search, social, OOH, CTV, display, and more. 

The benefit of hiring an experienced higher education marketing agency is that they have the subject matter and channel experts to implement the best campaigns across the different channels. Rather than using internal resources to learn the intricacies of each platform, an agency has an expert or team of experts for each channel to ensure your campaigns are optimized, compliant, and targeted.

In addition, having all your campaign under one roof gives the agency the ability to shift budgets and strategies quickly and efficiently to ensure the best use of your media budget (more on this to come).

3. Lead with Data-Driven Decisions

When making decisions about where to invest time and digital marketing budgets, many organizations rely on industry trends or where they think their audience is. When partnering with a higher education marketing agency, they’ll push you to shift this mindset to data-driven decisions. In turn, these decisions will provide a more comprehensive, successful strategy, setting your organization up for long-term success. 

Recently, we spoke with our client, Ross Pearo, the Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Marketing at the Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University, for a webinar covering the importance of data analytics. He stated that his team’s instincts about what they thought would work – drive conversions and engage their market – weren’t reflective of the data’s story. Since working with our team, Harvard DCE has shifted its mindset towards following actual data to inform their decisions. Now, knowing that data and optimization back their always-on strategies, they’re empowered and able to take strategic risks when appropriate, whether it be a new creative direction or channel. 

“We’ve found that data is the single best tool we’ve got to make good use of what budget we have.”

Ross Pearo, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Marketing in the Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University.

4. Cost-Effective Digital Marketing

Marketers are pressed more and more to justify their media budgets – working with smaller budgets but expected to drive the same ROI. Higher education marketers are no different. The entire organization needs to feel comfortable with how marketing dollars are spent. 

When working with a digital marketing agency, you get a complete picture of your marketing strategy, how the budget is allocated to ensure the best results and return.

An experienced higher education marketing agency will provide comprehensive reports and dashboards that enable you to see this data in real-time. Rather than piecemealing reports from different vendors, freelancers, and your internal materials, you will able to see how the data-driven decisions you’ve implemented are working to not only better reach your audience but also optimize your budget.  

5. Implement a Holistic Approach

It’s essential to maintain a strategic, high-level view of how all your marketing and advertising initiatives are working together to benefit your organization. As mentioned above, working with a higher education marketing agency ensure that nothing slips through the cracks due to a lack of resources and time. 

Going back to our recent conversion with Harvard DCE, Ross summed up the benefits of higher education marketers experience when partnering with an experienced digital marketing partner: 

“Nothing works well in isolation. You have to take a holistic view of how everything is working together to achieve your goals. With a [partnership], you can see SEM, social, and display all at the same time. That way, you aren’t sacrificing one for the detriment of the other.”

Ross Pearo

Interested in learning more about how we’ve helped the Harvard team use marketing analytics to drive growth during a pandemic? Watch our on-demand webinar here

Ready to Invest in a Higher Education Marketing Agency? 

According to Checkfront, 90% of enrolled students search for, discover, and choose higher education institutions and courses online. So, if your organization doesn’t already have an online digital advertising strategy in place, the time to invest is now. 

Digilant’s Expertise in Higher Education Digital Marketing

We understand the challenges that higher education marketers face: as students grow savvier with their research and decision process, the challenge to stand out from the competition increases. Pair this with tighter budgets and high expectations from the organization, and higher education marketers need to be strategic and thoughtful with where they invest.  

The Digilant has ample experience helping higher education institutions, large and small, across various program levels. Learn more about how we helped a prestigious university drive enrollment for their professional education programs by nearly 25% here.

Our campaigns start in the hands of our planning and insights team. They dive into audience research, ensuring we have a complete picture of your audience and uncover any potential groups or audience attributes that may have overlooked in the past. From there, we use this data to inform and create a data-driven strategy across appropriate channels – programmatic, search, and social.

As mentioned above, we know transparency into data and analytics is essential for marketers. We use holistic dashboards and analytics, updated in real-time to ensure our clients have a complete picture of their digital advertising strategy throughout their campaigns. Our team strives to empower our clients to make informed decisions, backed by data to push their advertising campaigns from now to next. 

Are you interested in learning more about Digilant’s expertise in higher education digital marketing? Let’s talk.

The sophistication of cannabis advertising is going to come quick

The Pot Market Is Blazing New Trails

The marijuana space is growing considerably, as more and more states permit recreational use, but serious obstacles remain

by David Ward via ANA

With an increasing number of states moving toward legalizing recreational use of pot and publishers growing more accepting of cannabis-themed advertising, marijuana brands are headed for the mainstream. Recently, Digilant EVP of Media Operations, Shaun Gibbons spoke with David Ward regarding the shift in attitude toward marijuana consumption and how digital publishers are loosening or ending those advertising restrictions.

“Cannabis advertisers can build manual site lists of endemic publishers, but they can also get access to pre-approved PMP (private marketplace) inventory through companies like Acuity Ads. If the inventory quality is uncertain, layering on exclusion and inclusion lists and investing in PMP inventory is a great place to take back some control of where your ad creatives are running.”

Shaun Gibbons, EVP Media Operations

Read the full piece here.

Digilant Appoints VP of Client Services to Further Accelerate Growth

Digilant Appoints VP of Client Services to Further Accelerate Growth

Coming off of a year of significant growth, Sandra Abi-Rashed joins Digilant as VP of Client Services

via Digilant

Abi-Rashed joins the team to further accelerate Digilant’s growth during 2020 — driven by the rapid onboarding of new business and strengthening of existing client relationships. Additionally, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an increased demand for omnichannel media strategy as emerging channels such as Connected TV (CTV) and Audio skyrocketed in popularity among consumers. In fact, eMarketer and Statista are projecting significant growth in CTV ($11.36 billion) and Audio ($3.1 billion) in 2021. Digilant has seen 2X growth for both CTV and digital audio or podcast spend among its clients in the last year.

“As we continue to dig in with our unified approach to use algorithms and machine learning to inform marketing decisions and grow our client portfolio, we’re thrilled to welcome Sandra to the team. I can think of no better leader to ensure our commitment to client service aligns with our business goals.”

-Raquel Rosenthal, Digilant CEO

Read the Full Piece Here.

COVID-19 Digital Marketing Trends That Are Here to Stay

Over the past year, advertisers quickly pivoted their marketing strategies, embracing a digital-first approach. They promptly shifted any day-parting strategies away from that previously sought-after commuting time. New creative formats like high impact and native advertising were utilized to stand out amongst the digital noise. And, new audience targeting tactics were quickly implemented to ensure nimble budgets were optimized.

Now, a year later, as advertisers grasp what is working, we’re faced with another change. As guidelines change and restrictions lift, you may feel the pressure to make a quick pivot again.

There’s a silver lining. Many of the trends and consumer behavior changes brought about by the pandemic are now projected to continue long after it’s over. So, although re-implementing more digital out-of-home, geo-fencing, or foot traffic studies are smart investments as people return to a more normal routine, you don’t have to rethink your strategy altogether. 

Below we’ve outlined the top 3 digital marketing trends brought on by the pandemic but are here to stay and worth the continued investment. Additionally, we’ve included tactics and channel recommendations to help you zero in on these trends to remain in lock with consumers. 

3 Pandemic-Proof Digital Marketing Trends

1. Amazon Shopping Gives Google a Run for its Money

Amazon’s rapidly growing popularity outdates the onset of the pandemic. However, you can’t ignore the drastic boom the company saw over the last year and how it’s paved the way to increasing popularity in online shopping. In 2020, US e-commerce sales grew 44%, and Amazon accounted for a whopping 31.4% of that growth. 

It will come as no surprise that the online shopping giant has solidified its number one spot, rounding out the year with just under $300 billion in revenue. However, what may come as a surprise is their growing power in search. 

People have long seen Google as the search powerhouse, but more consumers now start those on Amazon than on Google when it comes to product searches. To break down the numbers, 67% of online shoppers begin on Amazon, while 35% begin on Google.

Digital Marketing Recommendation: Shopping Ads on Amazon and Google

Advertisers shouldn’t abandon Google search ads; after all, more than ⅓ of shoppers still turn to this search engine as their top choice. However, if you haven’t implemented an Amazon shopping strategy, the time to start testing it is now. You can implement keyword-based shopping campaigns that promote online and inventory and drive sales.

2. CTV Surppases Cable

Over the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming platform saw a dramatic boom in subscribers and viewers. Netflix, for example, reached 200 million paid members globally, 37 million of whom signed on to the service in 2020. 

As more streaming platforms enter the market, this trend isn’t expected to slow down. People will continue to opt for these viewing options more and more. So much so that the households advertisers can reach with streaming now outnumber those reachable with cable, 84 million and 78 million households respectively (according to the TradeDesk).

Whether cord-cutters, cord-shavers, or cord-nevers, consumers opting for Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) viewing is quickly growing, and advertisers have a window of opportunity to stay a step ahead of the competition with a timely investment. 

Digital Marketing Recommendation: Bring Video and CTV into your Omnichannel Strategy

CTV and OTT’s historical use has been for top-funnel strategies used to drive awareness. With a strategic retargeting tactic in place, this is an excellent investment for brands to make. For example, a consumer sees your video ad while watching their favorite program, and then as they’re browsing, they’re targeted with a display ad, keeping your brand top of mind. 

However, with attribution and measurement solutions in play, advertisers no longer have to rely on CTV for top-funnel messaging. Now, advertisers can measure the impact these specific ads have on conversions and sales. 

So whether using CTV ad placements for awareness, consideration, or conversations, it’s a wise investment to make to improve your omnichannel marketing strategy. 

For a deeper dive into the trends and benefits of CTV, check out our recent blog post, 7 Benefits of Incorporating CTV in Your Omnichannel Marketing Plan.

3. Digital audio has surpassed radio

Just as we’ve seen in the CTV vs. linear tv research, digital has reigned supreme in the audio world, as well. At the start of the pandemic, industry experts were worried about this channel. As most people no longer commuted, the usual time for tuning in, predictions indicated that listenership would decline. However, the reality was just the opposite. According to eMarketer, time spent with digital audio increased 8.3% to 1:29 per day; and, it’s expected to increase another 4.8% this year. 

Whether people are streaming while working from home, in their car, while working out, or as people head back into the office and that commuting window returns, digital audio is an excellent investment for advertisers moving forward.

Digital Marketing Recommendation: Podcast Advertising

In the realm of digital audio are podcasts, which alone have grown 16% year-over-year. Advertisers can layer on location, behavioral, contextual, and first-party data to reach audio listeners. Podcast advertising also gives creative flexibility to brands as they can choose between pre-recorded and host-read podcasts. 

For more on the latest digital advertising trends, check out our recent blog Digital Audio Advertising Trends: Your Guide to Reaching Listeners in 2021

Implement Emerging Channels into your Digital Marketing Plan Today

Today’s consumers spend, on average, 5.4 hours on their mobile devices. As digital consumption continues to grow, new trends, channels, and tactics will emerge for advertisers. 

It’s important to say in step with these behaviors and trends so you know you’re making the most of your advertising dollars. Whether it’s Amazon, CTV, digital audio, or other channels consumers have flocked to over the past year, with strategic data-driven digital ads, you can ensure you’re not missing opportunities to get your brand in front of consumers. 

Digilant: Digital Advertising Partner Raking You From Now to Next

At Digilant, we pride ourselves on staying in step (even a step ahead) of these consumer trends. We know that understanding what’s to come and what’s popular with consumers lends itself to more strategic, better-informed media proposals and strategies for our clients.  

Our team of planning & insights strategists are skilled researchers, diving into data sets and industry news to ensure our clients are prepared for the future of digital advertising. So if you’re ready to take the step and build a digital advertising strategy built to take you from now to next, we’re eager to talk. Contact us today!

Looking to learn more about Covid-19 driven digital advertising trends that are here to stay? Our latest webinar covers the top digital advertising trends that we’ve seen – and will continue to – dominate this year. Watch our webinar on-demand: 2021 Digital Advertising Trends here

7 Benefits of Incorporating CTV in Your Omnichannel Marketing Plan

At the start of 2021, 70 million households maintained cable subscriptions, while at the same time, advertisers could reach more than 84 million households via connected streaming TV services (according to Statista). These numbers indicate that we’ve finally reached the tipping point where more consumers are choosing streaming services than traditional television formats like cable and satellite. 

What does this mean for advertisers? It’s time to make the switch to digital advertising formats like Connected TV (CTV). 

And many already are. Earlier this week, eMarketer released CTV ad spending projections across the next three years: expecting it to hit $13.4 billion this year, $17.4 billion in 2022, and $21.4 billion in 2023. Every CTV provider – Hulu, Roku, Tubi, etc. – is expected to see an increase in ad revenue (see chart right). 

After seeing these numbers, you may say to yourself, “just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean I need to.” This notion is correct. As with any up-and-coming ad format, brands and advertisers need to analyze the channel and decide if it is suitable to implement into their respective omnichannel marketing plans. Based on goals, you need to know how a channel will push your campaign in the right direction of achieving your desired KPIs

So, to help guide you in making that decision, we’ve outlined seven of the top benefits advertisers see when choosing to implement connected TV and how it complements the other channels you may already be using. Let’s dive in.

What is Connected TV?

Connected TV (CTV) is a smart device where users can access streaming television, live television, and the internet for apps/browsing. This includes both devices with a built-in internet connection with pre-installed apps, such as a smart TV, and separate devices that use an internet connection to access content through the television as the display mechanism, such as an Amazon Firestick. Some of the most popular are Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox, and Playstation.

How is it different from OTT?

OTT (over-the-top) is content where users stream television content through networks or devices accessed on any device, including Smart TVs, mobile smartphones, tablets, & laptops. Popular OTT providers include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Now.

Although OTT and CTV are different functions of internet-accessed content, many times they are used interchangeably, and when buying ad placements, you can purchase them across both OTT and CTV, or separately. So, for the purposes of this blog, CTV is used to encompass both OTT and CTV.

7 Benefits of CTV Advertising 

1. Reach the growing cord-cutting and cord-never audiences

Whether cord cutter, cord shaver, or cord nevers (see chart below to understand the difference), the number of houses that are tuning in to connected television is growing and quickly outnumbering households with traditional TV formats. About 72% of households are reachable via connected TV. 

As audiences skew younger, CTV grows more popular. 86% of millennials and Gen Zers watch their favorite programming on CTV.

2. More cost-effective to reach premium networks than linear TV

Many advertisers aren’t able to meet the minimums with linear television. Rather than buying into a television network with CTV, there is flexibility in choosing a price structure: cost per metric (1,000 views) or cost per completed view (CPCV). basis, making it more affordable to reach your audience on the big screen. 

3. Additionally, More Unique Opportunities with CTV than linear TV

In addition to flexible pricing, CTV reporting is more robust than you typically get across linear TV buys. Advertisers can see what audiences segments of different networks so they know who is viewing their ads. 

Another unique opportunity advertisers have is to run high-impact creative across CTV. For example, a QR code to drive users to convert, or a store locator to drive them to the nearest store to purchase the product. 

4. 100% fraud-free and brand-safe curated CTV marketplace.

One of the biggest concerns advertisers face when creating their omnichannel marketing plan is ad fraud. When incorporating CTV, you’re purchasing via Private-Marketplace (PMP) or an Open Auction, eliminating all ad fraud and brand safety concerns.  

An open auction occurs on actively managed supply via major players such as SpotX, Samba TV, and Freewheel. A private marketplace buy is through a curated marketplace giving advertisers privileged access to premium publishers that are: 

  • Negotiated
  • High-quality
  • Human-curated
  • Marketing objective-optimized 
  • 100% ads.txt verified

5. High completion rates, 100% viewable

Continuing in the realm of ad fraud, advertisers are understandably concerned about viewability. As we shift more and more to a digital world and advertisers and consumers are more accustomed to digital ads, advertisers want to ensure their message is received. CTV is the ideal format to justify these concerns. 

Unlike other digital video formats (which have tremendous benefits of their own), CTV is non-skippable; consumers have to watch the ad to the end to continue viewing their programming. This is why the industry-standard benchmarks sit at 94% video completion rate (VCR) and 100% viewability.

6. Apply contextual targeting to reach your audience through relevant content.

For advertisers who have long relied on linear television advertisements, it’s essential to understand that CTV not only allows you to reach a growing audience but also allows you to target your desired consumers better. When investing in linear television ads, you’re paying for your ad to reach all viewers with different demographics and contextual attributes. Some may be interested in your product, some may be part of your audience, but some may be neither, and in turn, you’re wasting those critical ad dollars.

With CTV advertising, deliver ads to contextually relevant placements through pre-determined content categories, ensuring that you reach consumers interested in your brand or product. For example, at Digilant, we use device ID technology to reach households within your target audience that use CTV devices. 

7. Track online and offline sales with attribution partners to measure the campaign’s impact on performance

CTV has long been considered a channel suitable for the awareness and consideration stages of an omnichannel marketing plan. As most CTV ads aren’t clickable, advertisers have difficulty trying the ads to actual sales. 

With various measurement and attribution solutions available, advertisers now have access to this data, how the ad ties directly to sales (both online and offline), justifying this ad format for all stages of the buying journeys.

At Digilant, we use our partnerships with MediaMath, The Trade Desk, and more, which gives advertisers the ability to measure the impact of CTV on sales lift, track exposure across your CTV/OTT campaign, and tie it to offline sales with measurements including: 

  • Viewer response and impact by weekday/daypart, device type, creative, campaign flight, app, etc.
  • Audience overlap and deduplicated reach by publisher
  • Key metrics such as frequency, conversion rates, and cost per visit
  • Reach, frequency, and recency analytics along with impressions and responses by geo. 

How CTV complements other channels in your omnichannel marketing plan

As mentioned above, CTV is a channel that can be used across every stage of the buying journey. With solutions such as cross-device and sequential messaging, advertisers can continue conversations with consumers once they view a CTV ad. For example: 

  • CTV and display: Once a consumer watches a CTV ad, it is followed by strategic display ads with a timely call-to-action
Digilant - CTV Sequential Messaging
  • CTV and paid search: Once someone familiarizes themselves with (or is remind of) your brand with a CTV ad, they inevitably search for products or services to buy. A paid search campaign ensures that search benefits your brand.
  • CTV and paid social: Just as consumers are streaming video more, they are also more active on social media. So as they browse their social feeds, you can follow up a CTV ad with either display or video ads. 

The benefits of CTV clearly outline why advertisers are making the switch to this digital-first channel. First and foremost, more consumers are tapping into this TV-viewing form. But beyond the growing viewership, the flexibility, pricing, and audience targeting abilities make it a clear winner.

The icing on the cake? Advertisers can track all marketing efforts in one place with robust measurement and attribution. With these tools, brands have a clear, overall picture of how all digital channels are working in conjunction to take their omnichannel marketing plan to success.

Digilant’s CTV solutions are built for your brand

Digilant is an omnichannel digital marketing partner built to take brands from now to next. We are a team of media experts, hungry to understand the latest and best digital advertising channels and position our solutions to best suit our clients. 

With the ever-growing popularity of video watching, we recognize the importance (rather, necessity) of a solid digital video solution, CTV included. Our savvy planning and insights strategist makes an informed decision based on your goals (clicks or video completes, for example) where your digital video will perform best. From there, our strategic partnerships with MediaMath, The Trade Desk, TVSquared, top publishers, and a robust curated marketplace ensure your ads are served across premium placements. And finally, we tie it all together with custom-built, automated, holistic analytics services to allow our clients to visualize their data, all in one tool. 

Are you interested in learning more about our CTV solutions? We’re eager to talk more about how we can help you reach your goals. Contact us today.

Luxury Digital Marketing Strategies: 5 Ways to Reach Buyers Online

Luxury brands have long relied on the in-store shopping experience to lend the majority of sales. Statista found that in 2018, only 10% of all global luxury good sales were made online. But, as we’ve seen over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more consumers to shop online across all verticals, luxury goods included. And, more recent studies have shown that these online shopping trends won’t slow down post-pandemic. So for luxury brands who have historically relied on a memorably lavish in-store shopping experience, the question becomes how they can replicate this sought-after experience in a competitive online environment? 

Luxury brands need to implement personalized, data-driven digital advertising campaigns to reach audiences and stay a step ahead of the competition. Utilizing strategic tactics across relevant channels will create a seamless omnichannel experience that digitally mirrors that of which buyers are used to experiencing in-person. 

At Digilant, we know that every successful digital marketing strategy begins with thoroughly researching and understanding your audience, so before we jump into our channel and tactics recommendations for luxury digital marketing strategies, let’s consider…

Expanding (and reconsidering) Your Target Audience

As luxury buyers shift to an online format, it will be more difficult for brands to benefit from the browse and buy, sales representative support of in-store shopping. Meaning, it is essential to thoroughly understand who your audience is and where they spend time online. 

Even for brands who have traditionally had a clear understanding of their target market, in the fast-paced, trend-shifting environment we live in, it’s important to ask yourself these questions about your audience continually:

  1. Who is buying my brand? What are their demographics and psychographics
  2. What triggered them to buy from my brand?
  3. Where can I reach them? Where do they spend time online?

This practice might reveal audience segments that you weren’t targeting previously, opening a wider pool of potential buyers. For example, traditionally, one thinks of males as the largest group of diamond purchasers. However, The Plumb Club found that today women ages 25-40 represent one-third of US diamond sales, and over 50% of millennial women with a household income of $75,000 or more make their own luxury jewelry purchases. Driven by a desire to get precisely what they want, reward themselves, or simply just because this is a clear indicator of shifting luxury brand buyers. 

5 Luxury Digital Marketing Strategies to Reach Buyers

1. Creative Strategy and Planning

Luxury brands are synonymous with glamor, polish, exclusivity, and digital ads need to evoke all of those emotions. It can be challenging to pinpoint precisely what ads will resonate with consumers. Still, a data-driven creative strategy will ensure the best messaging, visuals, and ad format are used to drive audience engagement. Investing in innovative ad formats such as dynamic creative optimization or social to display ensures that consumers see the best of the best content, which they expect from luxury brands. 

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing has been a long-time friend of digital marketers as 82% of consumers open email from brands, and this channel achieves an estimated ROI between 2500-3600%. Luxury brands have the power to use this tool to separate themselves from the vast email spam and create powerful, personalized, and informative experiences with their customers if appropriately executed.

Luxury brands need to think of their email marketing strategy in the same regard as their in-person assets. The templates and imagery should be as customized as a brochure or magazine. The content should be as helpful as an in-store sales representative. The offer, incentive, or product highlights should be as memorizing as an in-store display. Finally, and most importantly, these emails need to feel exclusive and personalized, straying away from generic email blasts that customers are accustomed to from other brands. 

3. Paid Social 

As mentioned above, the luxury buyer is changing, and one of the most significant changes is that the buyers are skewing younger. In 2019, 39% of luxury spending was from Millennials and Gen Z, and by 2026, as their income and disposable income increase, they’ll make up 60% of the expenditure. With a younger audience comes a greater opportunity to reach them on social media – both organically and paid social advertising placements. 

In 2020, Marketing Charts found that millennials spent over 2.5 hours browsing social media every day. This time isn’t just spent connecting with friends; this age group (and Gen Z) are looking to interact with brands, discover new products, and, more recently, actually buy directly within the app. Shoppable content is one of the technologies consumers are most excited about. 

4. Influencer Marketing

In similar regard as paid social, influencer marketing gives brands a window into younger millennials and gen z audiences. For example, 66% of consumers ages 18-29 and 61% ages 30-44 trust product reviews from influencers online, more so than celebrities, even. But, consumers aren’t just admiring these influencers; they are actually driving them to make purchases. A recent survey by Twitter found that 40% of respondents actually had purchased something online based on seeing it used a social media influencer on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Vine. 

Influencer marketing is a highly effective tactic for brands to use as it provides authentic, personalized stories to the younger buyers on a channel they trust. But as luxury brands explore this channel more, they need to be diligent in who they choose to represent their brand. Companies need to strike a balance of authentic storytelling while also ensuring the influencer stays true to the brand’s image. Once luxury brands find the right fit – an influencer that their audience trusts and looks to for guidance, which also correctly represents their brand – will be a powerful tool for luxury digital marketing strategies. 

5. Paid Search and SEO

Although the exact reason for purchase varies with each luxury buyer, shoppers trust luxury brands for quality and expertise – they are the leaders in their category. The expertise, craftsmanship, and industry knowledge can all be digitally attained through effective paid search and SEO campaigns.

Only 7% of shoppers start their searches with a manufacture or retailer’s name. Therefore, finding the top keywords for your sector ensures that shoppers continue to see your brand at the top of the search results as they browse, promoting your brand as the leader in information, expertise, and resources.

Finding a Digital Marketing Partner for you Luxury Brand

As you begin to research the benefits of investing in a digital-first strategy more thoroughly, you’ll quickly realize the intricacies and expertise required for each unique channel and tactic. This may prompt you to consider investing in a digital marketing partner. Just as you provide the top products and services for your customer, so does a quality digital marketing partner. Whether content strategy, audience data segmentation, technology partnerships, or platform expertise, quality digital marketing will provide top-tier service to meet your growing and changing needs. Learn more about the value of an except digital marketing partner in our blog post here

Digilant’s Luxury Digital Marketing Expertise

At Digilant, we understand the challenges luxury brands face in a digital-first world – maintaining solid relationships with your customers across different channels while not losing the quality of your brand image. That is why our approach starts with consumer research to define target audiences, which leads to the development of an integrated marketing strategy and sets the stage for measurable performance. Interesting in learning more about how we can create custom-built luxury digital marketing strategies for our clients? Let’s talk.

Interested in learning more about the changing world of luxury brands, specifically in the jewelry industry? Download our playbook that covers:

  • Critical insights
  • The impact of seasonality
  • Audience analytics
  • Changing consumer behavior
  • Imperatives for brands

Download The Advertiser’s Guide to the Changing Jewelry Consumer here.

How managed service can save your brand time and money

How managed service can save your brand time and money

by Kristina Knight featuring Todd Heger

via BizReport

Managed services are not new in the digital space, but with the ever-growing amount of advertising and content options, more brands are looking into the benefits. Managed services can offer brands a wealth of information at a much-reduced cost. Digilant CRO, Todd Heger, weighs in on how these emerging channels are set to disrupt the online space.

“As the vendor landscape continues to grow, especially as we see new players in identity resolution, contextual data, CTV and audio, it’s important to find a partner that can and will do the heavy lifting for advertisers. An ideal managed service partner will be platform-agnostic and will push the boundaries on digital media strategy and execution — always with the advertiser’s goals in mind.”

Read the Full Piece Here.

Preparing for Summer Travel 2021: 7 Tips for Travel & Tourism Digital Marketers

As consumers grow more comfortable leaving their quarantine bubbles and travel restrictions begin to lift, experts project that people will take to planes, trains, and automobiles in record numbers.

More specifically, experts project this influx of travel to peak in the summer months. TripAdvisor’s latest report, “2021 Summer Travel Index,” states that 67% of Americans are planning to travel this summer (June-August). 74% of this group plan to travel domestically, while 13% will take their travel outside our borders. 

As travel brands work on rebounding from the past year’s challenges, knowing how best to reach and interact with consumers as they browse and hunt for their vacations is essential. Whether it’s advanced cleaning protocols or free cancellations, let’s jump into what consumers expect and are looking for from travel brands before they hit the road this summer. 

What are travelers’ expectations and trends for the summer?

As mentioned above, even though US consumers are more willing to travel this coming summer, there are still certain expectations they have to feel comfortable doing so. Below are a few of the top trends brands should be aware of for the summer, including accommodations consumers expect. 

Enhanced Hygiene and Cleaning Protocols

According to YouGov, 57% of travelers rank cleanliness or hygiene as the top factor in selecting which airlines to fly and which hotels to book — outranking cost. 

Free (or flexible) Cancelations and Changes

Consumers want the assurance that if plans change, they won’t lose their entire trip cost. A study by Squaremouth, a travel insurance provider, found that more people are purchasing travel insurance, specifically COVID-19 benefits, this year. Roughly 27% of purchasers are springing for the ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ upgrade compared to the 19% who did so in 2020.

Research. Research. Research. 

Over the past year, consumers have been dreaming of their next vacation spot – where to go, stay, and what to do. So, when it finally comes time to book this long-awaited trip, they’ll spend more time researching, cost-comparing, and reading reviews to book their perfect vacation. Booking.com found that 95% of travelers spent time looking for vacation inspiration, with over a third of them (38%) looking at potential travel destinations as often as once a week. 

People are extending their vacations.

Some people have an increase of expendable income brought on by a year of savings. Others found low-cost flights allowing for more spending on accommodations. At the same time, some people have new flexibility to work from anywhere. Or others simply have a strong desire to getaway. No matter the reason, travelers are opting for longer R&R. In the same Trip Advisor study mentioned above, they found that 29% of travelers will opt for a weeklong trip. In comparison, nearly the same amount (28%) will extend their trip to 10 days. 

Outdoor (and warm) Destinations Will Prevail

Beach destinations will shine this summer, according to the Trip Advisor study. Specifically, consumers are looking for beach resorts and all-inclusive destinations. Find their complete list of top domestic destinations here

Digilant Pro-Tip: Don’t Forget the Last-Minute Vacationers

Although consumers have been dreaming up their ideal vacation destination and will be opting for longer trips, there is an outlier trend that travel marketers can’t forget about this summer: last-minute getaways. 

As consumers embrace the wait-and-see how we feel, approach, and understand that guidelines and restrictions can change rapidly, they’ll turn to road-trip-friendly destinations. In 2020, we saw a drastic increase in road-trip popularity. A recent study by Fifty Grande found that people felt most comfortable with hitting the road themselves in all travel-related activities. In turn, we don’t expect this trend to slow down.

This naturally lends itself to more last-minute, spontaneous trips that travel marketers should prepare for. So, whether it is a spontaneous decision or a spur-of-the-moment trip to visit family, travel marketers need to shell out some of their time and attention to this quick-thinking (and booking) group of vacationers. 

How to achieve 5-Star Digital Marketing Plans: 7 Tips for Travel Marketers

Understanding how travelers will think this summer and what they will prioritize from brands will help set a creative direction for your advertising campaigns. But, how you get these ads in front of consumers will be faced with stiff competition as travel brands compete to secure these travel dollars. 

An innovative and effective digital strategy ensures reaching these consumers at the right moment as they browse, research, and ultimately book their trip. Below, we’ve outlined seven digital strategies all travel marketers should consider implementing before the busy summer ahead. 

1. Target audiences using Travel Intent Data

Reach travelers through unique data that includes loyalty, search and booking data, travel patterns, trends, and behavior from close to one billion monthly unique traveler profiles across more than 200 of the world’s top travel brands. This data allows marketers to see reach audiences through every stage of the booking journey, such as: 

  • Who is looking to book a trip
  • Who has booked a trip to your destination
  • Who has booked travel to a competitive destination.

2. Credit Card Data

Similar to travel intent data, by implementing 3rd party credit card data, brands can continue to reach consumers even as they make purchase decisions. This data helps reach consumers such as:  

  • Consumers who have booked a flight, but no hotel
  • Consumers who have booked a hotel but no flight
  • Consumers who have stayed at “X” hotel in the last few months (competitive conquesting)

Check out how our team used Visa data segments to help our luxury resort client target travelers who had stayed at competitor’s hotels in the past. Learn more here

3. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)

Consumers have high expectations for the travel season ahead. DCO technology creates personalized ads based on data about the viewer at the moment when ads are served. This gives brands the ability to quickly iterate which ad creative they are displaying based on the user’s intent – showcasing the different ways you are meeting their expectations. 

4. Paid Social

The power of social media influence goes far beyond retail and e-commerce. Over half of millennials have decided to visit a particular location after seeing user-generated photos on social media. 60% of people actually use social media to choose their travel destination. Brands need a social media presence to engage with active social media users. A paid social strategy helps amplify your reach to find new prospects and encourages website and landing page visits.

5. Paid Search and Broad Match

As mentioned above, research will be massive for travelers this summer. Trip Advisor found that nearly 3/4 of travelers will spend more time choosing a destination this year. Implementing broad match technology allows you to reach the widest audience via search and keyword use. When using this strategy, your ads are eligible to appear whenever a user searches any word in your key phrase, in any order. 

6. Location-Based Targeting

Create custom location-based audiences by setting a specific radius that can be targeted on display or mobile devices. This gives marketers the ability to target people currently or who have previously traveled to a particular destination. 

7. Adaptive Segmentation

As more consumers browse for trips, you want to ensure your marketing dollars reach your ideal and most engaged audience. Adaptive segmentation allows you to develop custom segments based on observed behaviors to reach the most qualified audience segment. This gives you the power to segment consumers based on attributes such as: 

  • Consumers who have visited your booking site multiple times
  • Consumers who abandoned the booking cart 
  • Consumers who have clicked on ads but not yet converted.
Bonus Tip: Consider weather triggering

It was evident in projections for summer travel, consumers are looking to get outside and searching for warm, sunny destinations. Weather triggering gives you the ability to deliver ads based on real-time weather conditions. By setting weather triggers for cold, stormy, or rainy days, you can tap into consumers’ pathos with an ad highlighting your tropical, sunny destination. 

Summer Travel is Around the Corner: Solidify with Digital Strategy Today!

Consumers are growing steadfast in their expectations from brands. This means it’s more essential them ever to market to consumers for the moment. And the way to do so is with a timely, strategic digital advertising campaign. Summer officially kicks off on June 20, which means travel brands have about two months to ensure they’ve set up for success for the season ahead. 

Digilant’s Expertise in the Travel Marketing Industry

Whether it is helping a unique cruise line, like Bahamas Paradise, a ski town, or a tropical island’s tourism board, at Digilant, we know what it takes to employ a successful travel marketing strategy: a data-driven planning discipline with flawless execution across programmatic, search, social, and beyond. 

Our partnerships with Adara, Expedia, and Trip Advisor give our clients access to exclusive traveler data. Pair this with our team of media experts and premier reporting and data analytics; we ensure every client thrives in this ultra-competitive market. 

Are you interested in learning more about our travel marketing expertise? Learn more about our solutions here. And if you’re ready to invest in your digital marketing strategy, we’re eager to discuss a plan to fit your needs. Let’s talk.

Apple’s IDFA Change: Call It Advertising Shockwave: The Prequel!

Apple’s IDFA Change: Call It Advertising Shockwave: The Prequel!

By  Mike Addonizio via Street Fight Mag

Beginning with its iOS 14 update this week, Apple will require apps to ask users for permission (opt-in) to collect and share data on all Apple devices, most notably iPhones.

That’s just potentially one shoe dropping in the mobile advertising space. Google has yet to announce whether it will follow suit and make the Android Advertising ID (AAID) on Android devices opt-in as well at some point.

Because it has become so mobile-centric, how Facebook/Instagram adjusts to the lack of identifiers on Apple devices may provide a broad template for advertising on mobile devices, while also offering clues for how to execute desktop advertising once targeting becomes more challenging…

Mobile advertisers looking to continue to engage audiences on Apple devices should already be preparing for the post-IDFA world and beyond. But many of those broad lessons will need to be applied in the post-third-party cookie desktop world soon enough.

To learn more about the unknowns or Post-IDFA and options for advertisers, read the full piece here.

Digital Audio Advertising Trends: Your Guide to Reaching Listeners in 2021

Whether it’s Spotify, Youtube Music, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Amazon Music, or Pandora – everyone has found their favorite music and podcast streaming service. Although preferences differ from consumer to consumer, there’s one thing all music listening choices have in common: streaming or digital listening is the clear favorite. In the first half of 2014, about 7.9 million people in the US paid for a music streaming service. At the end of 2020, that number sat around 72 million consumers. Tack on another 116 million people who use the ad-supported versions of these platforms, and the proof is in the pudding: music and podcast streaming dominate the audio industry, and it’s here to stay. 

As advertisers, you must reach listeners where they are. Traditional radio advertisements are no longer the only option, nor should they be relied on to reach active listeners. Below we’ve outlined your guide to understanding the different digital audio advertising channels, the benefits of incorporating this ad format into your playbook, and how advertisers can get started with digital audio advertising.  

What Defines Digital Audio? 

At Digilant, when we define digital audio to include music streaming services (such as Pandora and Spotify), digital radio stations (Sirius XM), and podcasts. As mentioned above, consumers have their preferred listening methods, so let’s take a deeper dive into each of these channels and how advertisers can reach listeners.  

Streaming Services

Music streaming accounts for nearly 80% of all music consumption in the United States. Today’s music fans can choose from various streaming options, each offering unique ways to select, discover and enjoy music. When choosing to advertise on streaming services or “streaming radio,” markers can take advantage of the reach that traditional radio has offered while incorporating the tracking and audience targeting capabilities of digital advertising.

Digital Radio: Satellite 

SiriusXM’s streaming radio subscription service is the 3rd most popular subscription service for listeners. At the end of 2020, they had a user base of around 34.6 million people. For brands looking for national advertising coverage via news and talk radio, utilize their live reads by A-list exclusive talent, customized segment sponsorships, and targeted brand spots.

Podcast Listeners

Podcast listenership has seen a 10% growth year-over-year. Apple, which has a separate app from their music streaming services dedicated solely to podcasts, has historically been the most popular place for Americans to listen to podcasts, with 1 in 5 people choosing Apple podcasts. However, in 2021, Spotify, which benefits from users toggling between podcast and music all in the same app, will overtake Apple for the top spot, reaching more than 28 million podcast listeners. 

Whether a consumer is listening to their podcasts on Apple, Spotify, or elsewhere, advertisers can take advantage of the endorsement-focused,  lean-in, native advertising format at the beginning of and throughout podcast shows. 

Why Digital Audio Advertising is Important

The numbers outlined above showcase the sheer popularity of digital audio. Beyond the growing listenership rates this industry sees, there are many benefits to incorporating digital audio advertising into your marketing playbook.

Reach Consumers Where They Are

Traditional radio advertisements rely heavily on reaching consumers while they are driving in their car. Digital audio meets consumers where they are: at the gym, walking to work, on the run, working from home, and so many other places. Throughout the day, consumers are served ads as they look at their screen and televisions; digital audio bridges the gap when consumers aren’t looking at their devices but still listening to content with powerful audio-only ads. 

Align Your Message Contextually

As mentioned above, digital audio advertising combines traditional radio ads’ reach with the strategic audience targeting of digital advertising. Gone are the days of blasting your message on a radio station, hoping to reach your desired audience. Programmatic audio advertising allows you to reach your audience with strategic audience targeting features such as contextual, behavioral, device-type, geographical, and even genre relevance. 

Stratigic Media Spend

Marketers quickly realize the cost-benefit of digital advertising. With analytics and attribution models in play, brands can be sure that audio ad impressions are reaching the right audience and with the right message at the right time. 

There is additional benefit audio has for marketers looking to reduce their costs. Although audio and video have unique benefits and use-cases for brands, they are constantly compared. If an advertiser is looking to break into the video advertising space but knows they don’t have the budget for it, audio is a great stepping stone. The cost to create and produce the ads is less than video, but there are still strategic benefits to be gained from digital audio ads. 

Great Customer Engagement Rates

Finally, many advertisers opt for digital advertising ads because of stellar engagement and listen-through rates. Audio ads are not easily skippable, and they are easily digestible as listeners only hear (or engage) with one audio ad at a time. Midroll Media found that 60% of podcast listeners made a purchase after listening to a podcast audio ad. The audience targeting capabilities paired with a consumer-friendly ad placement creates a perfect scenario for advertisers to make a lasting impression on consumers. 

Listen Here: Its Time to Invest in Digital Audio Advertising 

In a short span of a little more than five years, streaming options have grown to dominate the marketplace. The popularity in streaming has grown so much that New Album and New Release charts have refigured how they calculate “album sales” to incorporate the streams. As consumers make these shifts more toward streaming, advertisers need to keep up. 

Digital’s Digital Audio Advertising Solutions

At Digilant, we offer digital audio advertising solutions across streaming services, streaming radio, and podcasts. When you choose to pair your digital audio strategy with your overall digital advertising strategy, all under one digital advertising partner’s roof, we can maximize our complete arsenal of tools to yield high-performing campaigns.  

Our strategic partnerships with music streaming powerhouses give brands exclusive access to private marketplace ad placements. We pair these partnerships with Digialnt’s team of media experts to create strategic, fully-integrated marketing strategies, to set the stage for measurable performance. Are you interested in learning more about adding Digilant’s digital audio solutions to your media mix in 2021? Let’s talk. 

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