Back to Blog - by The Digilant Team

We’re excited to announce our new video series, “Countdown to the Cookieless Future,” aiming to demystify the impending shift in digital advertising due to the depreciation of third-party cookies in Chrome and outline proactive steps for advertisers.

As we embark on this journey, it’s crucial to recognize the foundational role third-party cookies have played in digital advertising and the reasons behind their phased removal. Our first episode,  “Understanding the Deprecation of Cookies and Its Implications for Advertisers,” sets the stage as Digilant’s Director of Marketing, Victoria de Leon, sits down with Digilant’s own Kyle Malone, Director of Solutions Engineering, and Otniel Calderon, Manager of Solutions Engineering, to discuss what these changes mean for advertisers and how they can adapt.

For anyone looking for a primer to better understand and navigate the post-cookie landscape, hit play on the video or check out the full recap below.

Want to tune in but short on time? Listen to or download the full episode on Spotify and get up-to-speed while you’re on the move.


The Dawn of a New Era in Digital Advertising

To set the stage for the removal of third-party cookies, Victoria de Leon covered the basics with a simple, but important question:

What is a basic understanding of third-party cookies?

Otniel Calderon elaborates on the essence of cookies, likening them to digital footprints that map a user’s journey across the internet. This tracking capability has been instrumental in enabling advertisers to deliver personalized experiences, measure campaign effectiveness, and optimize strategies in real-time. He underscores the critical junction the industry faces, propelled by technological advancements and heightened legal scrutiny, signaling a pivotal moment for evolution.


Third-party cookies have acted as a cornerstone for targeted advertising, leading de Leon to ask:

Why is Google removing third-party cookies from Chrome?

Kyle Malone points to the growing global demand for privacy and data protection as the catalyst for change. With regulations like GDPR and CCPA setting new standards, the digital landscape is shifting towards a more privacy-conscious framework. Calderon adds that transparency has become a non-negotiable expectation among consumers, driving platforms like Google to reimagine data collection and usage practices. This transition, they argue, reflects a broader industry movement towards ethical data use, prioritizing user consent and control.

Background: A Brief History of the Cookie Depreciation

The conversation takes a step back to review the timeline of Google’s announcement and the industry’s journey towards acceptance and preparation for a cookieless future, as de Leon asks:

What is Google’s Timeline for the removal of Third-Party Cookies?

Reflecting on the initial announcement in early 2020, the panelists discuss the industry’s mixed reactions, ranging from skepticism to proactive adaptation. The slow progression towards cookie deprecation, marked by delays and uncertainty, served as a grace period for many. However, in January 2024, Google began phasing out cookies, starting with 1% of users, making the reality of a cookieless future undeniable.


de Leon then challenged the panelist to underscore the urgency of Google’s changes by asking:

When will we see third-party cookies completely disappear?

Malone offers insights into the timeline, noting Google’s tentative deadline but also acknowledging the fluidity of these estimates. The uncertainty underscores the need for continuous adaptation and preparedness. He advocates for a proactive approach, emphasizing the importance of staying ahead through ongoing testing and learning.

Navigating the Transition: Strategies and Considerations

Knowing that the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome is underway, the conversation transitioned to actionable insights and strategies for advertisers to adapt and thrive de Leon asks:

Now that we have arrived and Google has started this process of removing third-party cookies, what should advertisers do to embrace cookie-free solutions?

Calderon highlights the urgency of adopting new strategies, citing the example of companies like Apple, which has already moved away from cookies, demonstrating significant impacts on the advertising ecosystem. The key, he suggests, is in experimentation and flexibility. Advertisers need to explore alternative data sources, such as first-party data and contextual targeting, to maintain relevance and effectiveness in their campaigns. This transition period offers a unique opportunity for innovation, pushing advertisers to develop more sophisticated and privacy-compliant methods of engaging with their audiences.


To offer solace for those who haven’t made steps toward cookie-free advertising, de Leon prompted the panelists to offer tangible tactics and solutions with the question:

How does the industry prepare for this massive change if they haven’t already?

Malone and Calderon offer a comprehensive roadmap for advertisers, stressing the significance of first-party data, collaboration with technology partners, and the exploration of new advertising channels. They encourage a holistic view of audience engagement, moving beyond cookies to embrace a future built on transparency, consent, and mutual value exchange between brands and consumers.

The Future is Bright: Looking Forward with Optimism

The episode concludes with a message of resilience and opportunity, encouraging advertisers to focus on the future with a strategic and open-minded approach. The panelists reflect on the transformative potential of the cookieless future, envisioning a digital advertising landscape that is not only more privacy-compliant but also more innovative and effective. They underscore the importance of embracing change, testing new approaches, and remaining adaptable as the key to thriving in the evolving digital ecosystem. Watch the full video for a comprehensive exploration of the topics discussed.

Looking for more tips and solutions as we face the depreciation of third-party cookies? Check out us for the next installment in our series, where we dive into the nuances of first and zero-party data strategies. Watch Episode 2 here. 

Back to Blog - by Christina Homer Evra

As Mother’s and Father’s Day draw near, the advertising world buzzes with activity, aiming to tap into the sentimental value of these occasions. With individuals seeking to express their appreciation through thoughtful gifts, advertisers are presented with a golden opportunity to engage with their target audience. This surge in consumer spending behavior is a call for brands to refine and tailor their advertising strategies to meet the ever-evolving market demands effectively.

To help, this blog offers insights into consumer behaviors, strategic digital tactics, and the creative messaging that resonates, ensuring advertisers can craft Mother’s and Father’s Day campaigns that not only engage but also convert.

Interested in our full roundup of trends and strategic recommendations ahead of Mother’s and Father’s Day? Download Digilant’s snapshot for advertisers here.

Market Snapshot: Key Figures Shaping Mother’s and Father’s Day Purchases

Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand the broader landscape of Mother’s and Father’s Day shopping. The evolving consumer preferences, combined with the surge in spending, highlight the need for advertisers to be agile and informed. Crafting strategies that are both data-driven and empathetic towards the sentiments of these holidays can significantly enhance the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Ramping Up for a Record-Breaking Year

The significance of Mother’s and Father’s Day in the retail calendar cannot be overstated. 2023 was a record-breaking year as consumers spent an average of $274.02 on a person’s gift, totaling a staggering $35.7 billion. Father’s Day wasn’t far behind, with an average spend of $196.23 per person, amounting to $22.9 billion.

Shift in Preference Toward Personalized and Unique Gifts

Consumer preferences are evolving, with a noticeable shift towards personalized and unique gifts. For Mother’s Day, 31% of consumers planned to gift an experience, and 46% showed interest in subscription services, indicating a desire for more meaningful and enduring gifts. The top three gift categories for Mother’s Day were greeting cards, flowers, and special outings, while for Father’s Day, they were greeting cards, clothing, and special outings, highlighting the diversity in gift preferences.

Consumers Opt for Multi-Channel Shopping

Shopping habits reveal a multi-channel approach, with 34% of consumers shopping online and an equal percentage visiting department stores. Specialty stores and local or small businesses also play a significant role, demonstrating the importance of a robust presence across various channels to capture consumer interest.

The Majority of Consumers Shop Last-Minute

Procrastination in gift shopping presents a unique opportunity for advertisers. Nearly one-third of consumers shop for gifts two days before the holiday, so being top of mind through targeted advertising becomes crucial. This trend underscores the need for timely and persuasive messaging to sway decision-makers in a rush.

3 Digital Strategies to Win Mother’s and Father’s Day

1. Leverage Retail Media Networks (RMN)

Retail Media Networks offer a treasure trove of first-party data that can be instrumental in targeting Mother’s and Father’s Day shoppers. The benefits of leveraging RMNs include access to deterministic data, resilience against the deprecation of cookies, and the ability to reach consumers at various points in their online journey. Advertisers can use this data to craft messages that resonate with consumers looking for the perfect gift, ensuring that their products are front and center during the decision-making process. The measurable nature of RMNs and their accessibility for non-endemic brands mean that even companies not traditionally associated with these holidays can effectively engage potential customers.

2. Harness the Power of Robust Audience and Contextual Solutions

Understanding the audience is key to engaging Mother’s and Father’s Day shoppers effectively. By utilizing a mix of audience data (behavioral, purchase history, first-party, and location-based), advertisers can segment their campaigns to target those most likely to be in the market for gifts. Contextual targeting further refines this approach, aligning ad placements with content related to Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts, such as articles about flowers, high-tech gadgets, or wellness trips. This strategy ensures that ads are not only seen by the right people but also in the right context, enhancing relevance and the likelihood of engagement.

3. Emerging Channels & Formats

To stand out in the crowded digital space, employing innovative channels and creative formats is crucial. Advanced TV, digital audio platforms (including podcasts and streaming music), in-game advertising, and digital out-of-home mediums offer fresh avenues to capture the attention of those shopping for Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. Additionally, dynamic creative formats, such as social CTV ads and dynamic product feeds, allow for personalized messaging that can update in real-time based on inventory data, ensuring ads remain relevant and engaging. These strategies enable advertisers to reach consumers in unexpected yet highly engaging ways, making their message more memorable.

Interested in more strategic recommendations ahead of the holidays? Download Digilant’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day snapshot for advertisers here.

Tying it all Together for a Successful Season

The intricacies of Mother’s and Father’s Day marketing demand a nuanced approach, blending data-driven insights with creative flair. By understanding key consumer trends and leveraging the right digital strategies, advertisers can create impactful campaigns that resonate with their audience. Whether through the precise targeting capabilities of Retail Media Networks, the relevance of audience and contextual data, or the novelty of emerging channels and formats, the opportunities to connect with Mother’s and Father’s Day shoppers are vast.

For those seeking to elevate their marketing game, the Digilant team provides tailored solutions that harness these strategies for maximum effect. Reach out today to discover how we can help you capture the hearts and minds of consumers during these special occasions.

Back to Blog - by The Digilant Team

In 2022, internet users worldwide used social media for an average of 147 minutes every day. As the amount of time spent on social media platforms continues to increase, it’s more important than ever for advertisers to hone their paid social strategies and successfully reach their target audiences.

When it comes to creating paid social media strategies, advertisers fall within one of two buckets:

1. Those not utilizing paid social media.

If you’re interested in incorporating these channels into your marketing strategies, keep reading, as we’ll outline how to find and target your specific audience through paid social advertising.

2. Those using paid social strategies.

This blog post will serve as a great outline for checking in on your tactics and targeting practices to ensure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Your brand has likely been using an organic strategy for years. While this method of advertising certainly has a place and purpose for brands, continuous platform updates combined with oversaturated channels and shortened attention spans among consumers have likely made it increasingly difficult for you to actually reach your target audience. For example, Hootsuite reports that the average Facebook page sees 0.07% engagement and reaches about 5.5% of follower counts.

Fortunately, implementing paid social media campaigns in addition to organic posts can help combat these challenges. Paid social media advertising boosts your brand by getting it in front of the eyes of your ideal target audience. And that’s the catch — setting up paid campaigns can’t be a blind guess with a handful of money. As with every other tactic in advertising, even the biggest budget for a campaign only pays off if it reaches the right audience.

While it is tempting to move fast to keep up with ever-evolving trends, it is more important to strategize, identify a social media advertising target audience, and build a solid foundation for optimal growth.

Understanding Social Media Targeted Advertising Platforms

Planning paid social media campaigns involves navigating a lot of options, and even the most experienced advertisers can get lost in the weeds. When choosing a platform for your targeted advertising campaign, consider the benefits and core audiences of each to ensure the best results for your brand. Below is a breakdown of the most common social media platforms and their targeting capabilities.

Facebook and Instagram

  • Use second-party data to reach your audience based on interests, location, behavior, demographics, and connections.
  • Connect with people who have already shown interest in your business, whether they’re a loyal customer or people who have used your app or visited your website.
  • Reach new people whose interests are similar to those of your best customers.

LinkedIn

  • Retarget users who visited your website on LinkedIn.
  • Create lookalike audiences with CRM or account-based targeting.

Twitter

  • Target your desired audience based on location, language, demographics, events, conversations, devices, keywords, interests, and more.
  • Create a custom audience based on CRM, website, or app activity.

Pinterest

  • Create audiences from your customer lists, people who’ve visited your site, or people who have already interacted with your content on Pinterest.
  • Reach new people who behave similarly to one of your existing audiences.
  • Select topics related to your ad to reach people with similar tastes.
  • Target by keywords, demographics, and devices.
  • Choose where you’d like your ads to appear on Pinterest.
  • Reach even more people by automatically targeting your ad to people searching for similar keywords or interests as the ones you selected.

Reddit

  • Find users based on browsing behavior across groups of communities.
  • Target users who subscribe to or visit specific communities by device or geolocation.
  • Serve or suppress content to users based on a CRM list.
  • Leverage 400+ segments with a third-party audience.

TikTok

  • Target based on demographics, internet operation, and interests.
  • Add, exclude, and replace your custom audience.
  • Create lookalike audiences.

While every social channel has unique benefits, finding the right combination to reach your specific audience is essential. At Digilant, our media strategists can help identify the best social media strategy based on your brand and audience.

How to Identify Target Audience on Social Media

The key to identifying target audiences is to be as specific as possible. The more intentional you are at this step, the more time and money you’ll get back over time. Here’s how to get started:

1. Create and refine persona identifications.

Take a step back and think about your audience in general. Determine who fits your brand’s target demographic — their qualities, attributes, behaviors, and characteristics. Then, take it a step further by identifying their purchase drivers with these questions:

  • What information are they looking for and why?
  • Where do they go for information?
  • What conversations are they having?
  • Who do they trust?

This information will serve as a guiding point for your overall social media targeted advertising strategy. As you refine your strategy and potentially add more channels, these profiles will help keep your goals on track. They will also ensure you’re creating a streamlined experience and prioritizing consumers’ needs no matter how they interact with your brand.

2. Look to competitors for inspiration.

Competition can provide great information about what is and isn’t working. You can begin gathering information from competitor websites and advertisements by asking the following:

  • What types of people are they targeting?
  • What are they doing right?
  • What is missing?
  • What benefits are they emphasizing?
  • How often are they posting?
  • What content seems to work best?
  • What is their tone?

3. Shape goals by identifying key benefits.

Once you’ve established audience personas (and taken a few lessons from your competitors), think about what solutions your brand can offer to resolve your audience’s main pain points. This will not only help curate messaging, but it will also help determine the overall goal for paid social media campaigns.

Ask clarifying questions to make sure your goals are aligned with consumer needs. Are you looking to generate brand awareness or conversions? Are paid social campaigns a good opportunity to launch a new product or offering? Is this a good channel to increase your first-party data by driving form sign-ups? Determining your goals early on can help keep your advertising strategies on track and generate higher success rates.

Additionally, don’t forget that the best way to reach and connect with your target audience is to ask them specifically what they want. Don’t shy away from surveying consumers — it often provides an authentic approach to advertising that resonates with your target audience and allows more room for trust.

Ready to Improve Your Social Media Advertising Strategy?

It’s important to always circle back to the big picture: consumer experience. Consumers want personalized, timely, and authentic content. The only way to successfully deliver that is to have a full picture of the consumer journey and consistently ensure your social media targeted advertising is effective, accurate, and holistically delivering on brand values.

Want more insight on how to find your social media advertising target audience? Connect with our Digilant team to learn how we can help your brand meet its specific goals and needs.

Back to Blog - by Milo Kopf

Earlier this month, the National Retail Federation (NRF) hosted its annual “Retail’s Big Show” in New York City. Drawing professionals from across the retail sector, panels and conversations focused on innovative solutions, the changing retail landscape, and key themes poised to shape the future of retail. Amidst a wealth of insights, one message resonated clearly: we are at a tipping point where technology’s role in retail is not just transformative but foundational for success.

Embracing Technology: A Strategy for Success

The Tractor Supply Company (TSC), once a simple catalog retailer for tractor parts, now stands as a testament to strategic technology investment. CEO Hal Lawton attributes their remarkable revenue growth over five years to “…pick[ing] the right thing to invest in, in a stepwise fashion.” With smart cameras in parking lots and checkout lines to monitor customer behavior and optimize team member responses, the company exemplifies how technology can streamline operations and, more crucially, prioritize the customer experience.

Ulta Beauty, although operating in a vastly different retail domain, shares this focus. They’ve zeroed in on gathering customer insight and data, funneling an impressive 95% of sales through their loyalty program. This data isn’t just information; it’s the blueprint Ulta uses to tailor and enhance the customer journey. Their strategic investments in technology, particularly their app, are direct responses to the insights gained from the loyalty program.

As customers interact with the app’s innovative features like virtual try-ons and skin diagnosis, not only does their shopping experience become more personalized and engaging, but each interaction also feeds back into the loyalty program. This seamless integration ensures that every purchase, every preference, and every piece of feedback captured through the app enriches Ulta’s understanding of its customers. The result? A self-reinforcing loop where technology improvements are continuously informed by customer behavior, leading to ever-enhancing customer experiences and, in turn, driving loyalty and sales.

Technology and Advertising: A Symbiotic Relationship

For advertisers, the rise of technology in the retail sector is not just a trend—it’s a transformation. During the conference, BJ’s Wholesale Club and FedEx spoke on how leveraging technology, especially AI, has helped them deeply personalize the consumer journey.

BJ’s employs AI not just to target, but to tailor communication, ensuring that every ad is specifically crafted to an individual’s needs and preferences. This approach transforms generic advertising into a personalized dialogue with each customer.

Similarly, FedEx’s adoption of predictive technologies revolutionizes customer service. By proactively providing delivery updates based on predictive analysis, FedEx sets a new standard in customer communication. This not only enhances the customer experience but also builds brand trust and loyalty.

These examples underscore the evolving role of technology in advertising: it’s not just about reaching customers, but about understanding and engaging them in a way that’s both proactive and deeply personal.

Technology as the Cornerstone of Customer Service

The key takeaway from “Retail’s Big Show” is clear: the future of modern retail belongs to those who leverage technology to understand, engage, and delight the consumer. Companies like Tractor Supply Company and Ulta Beauty are not just surviving but thriving by recognizing and responding to this shift.

To summarize our learning from the conference, we echo the sentiments of TSC’s Hal Lawton: “In today’s world, where many times you feel like retail is going the opposite of customer service, we want to make sure we’re doubling down on customer service.” In essence, the heart of retail remains unchanged; it’s about creating an exceptional customer experience. What has changed, however, is the how. In this digital era, technology is the new cornerstone of an exceptional customer experience, and embracing it is not just an option but a necessity for success.

Back to Blog - by Shannon Bloemker

In our previous March Madness posts, we’ve empowered advertisers with insightful strategies to navigate the evolving dynamics of the tournament, spotlighting key advertising channels and innovative creative formats. This year’s tournament coincides with a crucial moment in digital advertising, as Google begins the phase-out of third-party cookies, signaling a major industry shift.

The transition to a post-cookie era necessitates a new playbook for advertisers, especially during high-stakes events like March Madness. This change calls for innovative targeting methods that extend beyond the traditional reliance on third-party cookies.

3 Targeting Tactics to Harness in a Cookie-Free Landscape

Let’s explore three strategies, each offering unique ways to effectively and meaningfully connect your brand with the March Madness audience.

1. Automatic Content Recognition (ACR)

Leverage user preferences by targeting audiences based on their viewing habits, such as fans of specific March Madness games from 2023, real-time game viewers, or devoted sports enthusiasts. ACR facilitates precise segmentation at the game or network level, ensuring your brand resonates perfectly with the preferences of March Madness aficionados.

2. Retail Media Networks (RMN)

RMNs are a key emerging channel for the tournament, but they also provide a direct avenue to harness first-party data for targeted advertising. Whether running campaigns across RMN websites and apps or tapping into their rich repository of consumer insights, advertisers can tailor their March Madness messages toward specific audience groups. Align your brand with the purchasing intent of engaged viewers, ensuring you reach consumers at an optimal time during their purchase journey.

3. Contextual Targeting

Align your brand seamlessly with March Madness content that resonates with the audience, such as articles recapping games, interviews, and game analyses. Craft your strategy around terms like “March Madness,” “Final Four,” or “Game Day recipes” to position your brand within the contextual fabric of the tournament. This approach guarantees that your message reaches the right audience in a way that enhances their overall experience of March Madness.

Elevate Your Brand in the Basketball (and Post-Cookie) Madness

As we wrap up our post-cookie advertising strategies for March Madness, it’s clear that Automatic Content Recognition, Retail Media Networks, and Contextual Targeting are more than just tools – they are game-changers. These strategies are the key to unlocking meaningful connections with your audience, ensuring your brand’s message not only reaches, but resonates with March Madness fans. Embrace these tactics to navigate the tournament’s advertising landscape with confidence and precision, setting your brand up for a winning season.

For tailored March Madness packages and to elevate your brand’s game, reach out to the Digilant team here. Let the madness begin!

Back to Blog - by Shannon Bloemker

This year’s highly-anticipated March Madness will offer advertisers unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the excitement of the tournament. We’ve compiled essential information to help advertisers navigate the upcoming media frenzy and capitalize on opportunities throughout the games. Let’s jump in.

What Was March Madness Viewership Like in 2023?

The 2023 Men’s March Madness Tournament witnessed a remarkable 5% surge in total viewership, captivating a staggering 36 million U.S. households across all games. The championship game had a 13% spike in viewership from 2022, solidifying its status as the most-watched basketball game of the year. Interestingly, 37% of Men’s March Madness viewers tuned in for the Women’s tournament, underscoring the crossover appeal of the two competitions.

On the women’s side, the numbers were equally impressive, with a 71% increase in total viewership compared to the previous year. The championship game drew an average of 9.92 million viewers, peaking at 12.6 million. This not only established it as the most-watched women’s college basketball game to date but also reflected a 65% increase in viewership for the two Final Four contests, averaging 4.5 million viewers. As noted, there’s a strong relationship between men’s and women’s fans. On the women’s side, 76% of viewers were also avid followers of the men’s tournament.

5 Recommendations for Advertisers to Reach March Madness Fans and Viewers

By strategically employing multiple channels, unique creative formats, and key targeting strategies, advertisers can boost brand awareness while fostering meaningful interactions and engagement among basketball fans. Here are five channels that advertisers can use throughout the tournament to create personalized, unique, and impactful brand interactions for consumers.

1. Advanced TV

Streaming TV is vying to dethrone cable and satellite when it comes to fans’ preferred viewing methods. In 2023, 58% of fans tuned into games via cable and satellite whereas 48% chose live TV streaming services. Additionally, 26% of fans watched via the March Madness site or app compounding the impact of non-linear viewing habits.

With the surge in popularity of streaming services and CTV, seize the opportunity to connect with viewers on a personalized level. Tailor campaigns to align seamlessly with March Madness, using in-game integrations and exclusive content sponsorships to capture the attention of engaged audiences.

2. Podcasts through Advanced Audio

Podcast listenership has steadily grown in recent years; currently, more than a quarter of the U.S. population listens to podcasts every week. When it comes to March Madness, there’s no shortage of content as sports takes 4th place for share of weekly listeners.

Podcasts provide a non-intrusive yet highly engaging way to connect with audiences during the tournament. Advertisers can target ads within tournament-related or sports-adjacent content to reach and resonate with passionate March Madness fans.

3. Digital out-of-home (DOOH)

While the digital realm commands attention, advertisers shouldn’t overlook the physical world. DOOH provides an opportunity to capture consumer attention beyond personal screens. Engage viewers on their commutes or at March Madness events through strategically placed billboards and interactive displays. Craft visually compelling ads that align with the spirit of the tournament, ensuring your brand becomes an integral part of the March Madness experience both online and offline.

4. Retail Media Networks

Collaborating with retail platforms during March Madness offers a direct avenue to align advertising efforts with consumers’ purchasing journeys. Strategically position your brand on retail media platforms, leveraging targeted advertising to feature special promotions or exclusive March Madness-themed products. By meeting consumers at the intersection of their shopping intent and March Madness enthusiasm, your brand can seamlessly integrate into the purchasing path, resulting in heightened engagement and conversion.

5. TikTok

TikTok offers advertisers a wide array of creative and dynamic advertising opportunities to reach 108 million TikTok users in the U.S. Brands can reach diverse and younger audiences with tailored strategies to seamlessly integrate into March Madness conversations on TikTok. With seemingly endless creative opportunities, brands can creative formats to foster engagement and make lasting impressions. Consider some of the following ideas:

  • Promote interactive challenges to boost user engagement
  • Collaborate with influencers for authentic connections
  • Share March Madness moments through short-form videos
  • Utilize AR challenge filters for interactive experiences
  • Introduce exclusive offers to drive excitement and conversion.

The upcoming March Madness Tournament promises great opportunities for advertisers to immerse themselves in the tournament’s excitement. As we’ve explored the 2023 tournament’s substantial viewership and strategic recommendations for engagement across diverse channels, now, it’s time for advertisers to grab the ball and score big.

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Back to Blog - by Otniel Calderon

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

I attended the conference and am excited to share five key takeaways covering everything from platform improvements to redefining the value of this channel. Let’s dive in.

1. “Premium Content” is Rebranding

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

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

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

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

2. FAST is Quickly Making an Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. The Future of CTV is Shoppable

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Blog - by Christina Homer Evra

While the 2023 school year may be wrapping up for many, the 2024 back-to-school season is just around the corner — blink, and you might miss it. To find and secure the best deals for school supplies, many shoppers often plan ahead, purchasing items all through the summer leading into the fall. Savvy brands and advertisers know that there’s no better time to plan their back-to-school media strategy than during the late spring and early summer, ensuring they reach their target audiences with the most relevant ads when they’re most likely to shop. And, by planning their media strategies early, advertisers can cut through the noise and beat out the competition.

To make the most of their media dollars, advertisers must understand who their back-to-school shoppers are, what’s top of mind for them, and how to reach them.

Primary back-to-school (BTS) shoppers

Parents

Once school is out, parents have what seems like a never-ending list of supplies to prepare for the upcoming year. And due to the rising costs of inflation, their budgets have also increased with the average spend totaling $661 per child in BTS spending. Most parents often plan their spending in advance, shopping at major retailers such as Walmart, Target, The Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Walgreens. Clothing and accessories are a top driver for parents, with overall spending around double that of shoes and school supplies.

College Students

While most parents might plan their purchases in advance and search for the best deals to make the most of every dollar, college students tend to spend last minute. According to the NRF, 28% of college students do their back-to-school shopping two weeks before their semester starts. And what’s on that shopping list?

Essentials, of course.

The NRF reports that back-to-college shoppers are purchasing dorm and apartment furniture, shoes, and electronics as about 59% of them prepare to leave home. Not-so-essential items on their lists? Accessories for their electronics, fitness trackers, or watches.

Teachers

The average teacher in the US makes $66,397 a year and spends an average of $820, or approximately 1% of their salary, on school supplies throughout the school year. And while back-to-school purchases may only account for a small portion of their salaries, teacher salaries have not been adjusted to keep up with inflation in ten years. When adjusted for inflation, however, teachers make $3,644 less than they did a decade ago.

Why does this matter? It’s likely that teachers will apply a shrewd approach to back-to-school shopping this year by comparing prices and purchasing their usual essentials — books, cleaning supplies, snacks, and consumables —  well in advance of incoming students to maximize their spending power.

What is driving back-to-school spending behavior?

Inflation

From 2021 to 2022, the cost of school supplies rose an average of 10%. Price is still top of mind heading into the upcoming school year.

For the 2022-2023 school season, 77% of shoppers planned to purchase a different brand based on better pricing and inventory options, which falls in line with consumers wanting the best price and the product or service as quickly as possible. Inflation and supply chain issues have altered consumer brand loyalty, driving them to do more research during their purchase journeys, compare prices against different retailers or apps, pay closer attention to sales, or search for items earlier than needed to capitalize on lower prices.

Concerns of mental and physical health

While most school systems are back in person, the pandemic has certainly changed perceptions of health and well-being. Fifty percent of parents are more concerned about their child’s mental health. College students are also prioritizing their mental health, seeking out on-campus or external resources, practicing self-care, and managing their schedules. Teachers are increasingly bringing mindfulness to the classroom, helping students reduce stress and stay engaged in the classroom.

Decrease in online learning /spend on electronics

After an increase in technology spending to enhance online learning in 2021, many parents took a step back in 2022. While in 2021, 72% of parents planned to spend on virtual or online learning only 62% did so for the 2022 to 2023 school year. As the education system continues to go digital, schools are providing more technological resources as it becomes essential for classroom learning.

A+ Recommendations to reach Back-to-School shoppers

Here are a few recommendations to help lead consumers down the purchase funnel throughout the summer.

1. Start early

Now is the time to dive deep into your audience to understand their buying behaviors, preferences, values, and needs for the upcoming school year. Most consumers often complete their back-to-school lists by mid-late July. Wondering how you can keep your brand top of mind? Many shoppers browse social media to find products; creating engaging content on social media that reaches them across all their devices — particularly mobile  — can help keep your brand top of mind. BTS shoppers also compare products before purchasing, making dynamic campaigns essential in reaching consumers at different stages of their buying journeys.

In terms of campaign considerations, advertisers may want to create custom segments, so allocating time for the creation will allow for a timely campaign launch. Advertisers can also consider additional measurement partners to track foot traffic or a sales lift study to see how their campaign performed outside the standard online metrics.

2. Split your content between motivations and inspirations

In your campaigns, the content can focus on the reason kids are going to school or inspiration for what they do and how they look when they get there (Oracle URL Analysis, Back to School URLs, 2022-23). Lets use a pen brand as an example. For motivation, the brand may focus their messaging around getting into college or landing your dream job. For inspiration, the brand could highlight an individual becoming a writer or showing their creativity. Targeting and creative decisions can split along these lines as well to maximize campaign relevance.

Consider A/B testing in your campaigns to see what resonates, including messaging, audience, and platforms.

3. Think Omnichannel

It is still essential for advertisers to take an omnichannel approach to BTS shopping as consumers shop in store, on desktops, and other devices. Considering that 65% of consumers shop on smartphones, an increase of 8% between 2021 to 2022, and 35% of consumers use social media for back-to-school shopping, it behooves advertisers to take an omnichannel approach to reach and engage consumers across multiple devices and channels throughout their shopper journey.

Advertisers can tap into channels like digital out-of-home (DOOH) ads to reach shoppers when they are on the go, keep their brand top of mind while they shop in stores, on their morning commute, and more. Additionally, connected TV and over-the-top can serve as a powerful compliment to your in-app or open web campaigns by reaching consumers while they watch their favorite shows, creating awareness and consideration. While these are just two examples, tying in your strategy across channels creates a cohesive experience for back-to-school shopping, and advertisers can simultaneously obtain a holistic view of how their campaigns are performing.

4. Deliver value in your offerings

While there are many tactical approaches in developing your BTS strategy, it’s crucial to provide value in your campaigns by delivering timely, thoughtful advertisements. Consider the following questions for your next BTS campaign:

  • Are you reaching consumers on their preferred channels?
  • Are you delivering ads that match where your target audience is in their buying journey?

BTS shoppers are price-conscious, so they may be more inclined to purchase during a sale or through a rewards program. For more expensive items like electronics, advertisers must demonstrate the longevity of their product and how it can improve the educational experience for students.

Want to learn more about back-to-school advertising opportunities? Contact us today.

Back to Blog - by Kyle Malone

Over the past few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown to be a key asset for businesses. We have seen several unique use cases, ranging from Lowe’s “Lowbot” which provides tailored information to shoppers in-store, to Netflix’s AI-driven machine learning technology to give personalized recommendations on new content for viewing. Consumers use this technology daily, whether voice recognition, chatbots, virtual assistants, digital maps/navigation, or even on social media.

As consumers continue to explore the world of AI, so are advertisers. AI is no longer perceived as a novelty tool, but rather an up-and-coming technology that will be necessary for marketers to maintain efficiency in their processes. According to a Salesforce report, 62% of marketing organizations say they already use AI. And by 2028, the market for AI in marketing is expected to reach $107.5 billion. This goes to show – artificial intelligence growth has no intention of slowing down.

What are the benefits of using AI in Marketing?

Automation

Automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry and analysis, allowing marketers to focus on more complex and creative tasks.

Improved decision-making

AI can help identify patterns and insights in data that humans might miss, leading to better decision-making in areas such as finance, healthcare, and marketing.

Efficiency

AI can process large amounts of data quickly and accurately, making it useful for tasks such as image and speech recognition, natural language processing, and decision-making. With higher lead generation and productivity, advertisers may see greater cost savings.

Personalization

Advertisers can create personalized experiences, such as recommending products or content, based on an individual’s preferences and behavior. Advertisers can then better meet consumers at all stages of their buying journey.

What are the different types of AI used in Marketing?

There are several types of AI; here are the two typically used across advertising:

Predictive AI

This type refers to artificial intelligence systems that use statistical models, machine learning algorithms, and data-driven approaches to make predictions about future outcomes based on historical data. Predictive AI predicts future events or outcomes based on historical data.

Generative AI

The second type refers to artificial intelligence systems that generate new content or outputs based on a given set of input data. Generative AI uses machine learning algorithms and deep learning techniques to create new outputs, such as text, images, music, or videos, that are similar to a given training data set. Generative AI models can be used for tasks such as image generation, text generation, and anomaly detection.

Recently, the buzz around AI has been focused on a particular platform: ChatGPT.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a generative artificial intelligence application, created by Open AI. According to USAToday, ChatGPT is an AI computer program that uses its intelligence to intake, comprehend and produce a response that mimics the natural diction of human language. In recent months, people have used the chatbot to help fill out job applications, write resumes, respond to emails, and more (most people use it to generate ideas – so do marketers!)

Since its release in November of 2022, ChatGPT has quickly become one of the fastest-growing applications, gaining over 100 million users within its first two months of release. While AI is no stranger to the advertising world, ChatGPT has definitely made a splash in how this technology will be used in businesses.

How is ChatGPT impacting the field of advertising/marketing?

  • Marketers have the option to quickly generate ideas and help streamline content creation.
  • Data can be analyzed at a rapid pace, giving advertisers more insights into their consumers to better serve them.
  • Marketers can easily stay on top of trends in their target audience and modify campaigns accordingly.
  • ChatGPT can help automate customer service, helping to increase engagements by providing personalized answers to inquiries.

There is no denying that ChatGPT and other forms of AI provide benefits to advertisers. However, when AI is paired with the human element of creativity, decision-making, and strategy, that is where campaigns will see the most success.

How you can use AI in digital advertising

Whether you are a marketer working on your next newsletter or an advertiser seeking to run your next campaign, below are a few creative ways to use artificial intelligence in digital advertising and marketing.

1. Content Ideation

We’ve all experienced so-called “Writer’s Block.” When the ideas aren’t flowing, it can be difficult to start. This is where generative platforms like ChatGPT shine, allowing the user to provide a prompt and generate a well-written response based on millions of sources from the web. Whether you are looking to brainstorm ideas for a new campaign or write a catchy email subject line, generative AI can help streamline the process.

2. Enhanced Chatbot

Let’s think about when a Chatbot doesn’t work, and how frustrating that can be on the consumer end. With an advanced Chatbot, consumers can easily get answers to their questions on a brand’s website and receive an elevated brand experience – all while the brand simultaneously gathers this data to glean consumer insights. Quick, personalized answers may also increase customer engagement and satisfaction.

3. Optimizing Ad Campaigns

Harnessing data is essential before, during, and after a campaign runs. With the use of predictive AI, advertisers can identify new targeting segments, deliver ads at optimal rates while also focusing on the campaign goal, and generate insights for future campaigns such as audience behaviors.

How Digilant uses machine learning and AI

At Digilant, we leverage machine learning AI through our data and DSP partnerships to optimize campaign performance.

Here are a few examples:

1. Search

If a consumer makes a search on Google for a new pair of sunglasses, Google can use its machine learning algorithms to target ads based on these searches, and the consumer is then served an ad. Additionally, the consumer can also receive sunglasses ads on other websites.

2. Social Media

Social media networks use machine learning to target ads to specific people based on interest, engagements, and who they follow.

3. Amazon

Amazon uses machine learning to target ads based on what people have recently bought or searched. This insight then allows them to target that user with similar or complementary products.

At Digilant, we understand the complexities that correspond with digital advertising. While artificial intelligence and machine learning have boosted advertising efforts, there are still advancements to be made, and we are constantly learning and testing new ways to use these tools? Contact us today to learn more.

Back to Blog - by Christina Homer Evra

As a marketer, you likely already know that consumer habits are rapidly changing. Regarding how people consume media in 2023, consumers are:

  • shifting from cable to CTV.
  • streaming digital audio and podcasts rather than listening to the radio.
  • spending more time on mobile than ever before.

All of these trends mean you have to make a choice — rely on traditional forms of media knowing there may be a smaller, less engaged audience or shift your media budget and test the waters of these new emerging channels.

Advertising During Economic Uncertainty

Around eight in 10 U.S. adults expect to struggle financially during 2023, which means it’s more important than ever to pay attention to these shifts in behaviors and platforms. However, your advertising not only needs to reach them, but speak to them directly. Every media dollar spent needs to be purposeful in where it is run and showcase the value of your product or service.

Now is the time to keep a close eye on your strategy to ensure you have the best tactics in place to effectively reach your audience. To help ensure your media dollars are being spent wisely, consider the following questions:

  • What is your current impact on the market?
  • What is your value proposition as consumers face a more difficult decision regarding where they spend their money?
  • What is your value add in comparison to your competitors?
  • Where are you losing consumers in the sales funnel?
  • What stories or ad types successfully move the needle with consumers?
  • Where can you shift ad spending to hone in on these successes?
  • What will be most important to ensure success through the end of the year?

Economic uncertainty doesn’t mean that you can’t take risks. It simply means you need to know what you do well and then make data-driven, strategic decisions to invest in new opportunities where your audience spends time and will most likely interact with your brand.

Why Is Video Necessary for Strategic Advertising?

In these uncertain times, you must capitalize on your advertising efforts by targeting channels that are popular and resonate with your consumers. Fortunately, video is an attractive option. As the video landscape continues to grow and evolve, there are a few reasons why you should consider this engaging channel:

Video provides in-depth analysis

To maximize a tight budget, you must invest in strong analytics and performance-measurement tools. For TV video advertising, tools like Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) can change the game regarding your ad strategy. With ACR, you know exactly what type of content your audience is viewing, on which devices, and at what time they’re viewing it. This allows you to better target consumers and re-target them across devices, ultimately driving viewers down the funnel and increasing conversions.

Video includes numerous ad formats

As an advertiser, you now have more options than ever for where to run video ads. Rather than paying a premium for linear ad space, you can take advantage of the many different ways video can be used. There are numerous areas in this fragmented space where you can invest your resources and reach your target audience more effectively, including:

  • In-Stream Pre-Roll
  • Out-Stream Video
  • Mobile In-App
  • CTV connected to the internet, such as through Roku or Apple TV
  • OTT content streamed to a laptop, phone, tablet, or CTV
  • Social Video

Video is where consumers are

Appealing to price-conscious consumers is an integral part of strategic advertising. This is especially true in 2023, as 65% of consumers have turned to ad-supported streaming services to help offset subscription costs. Additionally, more than 50% of U.S. digital video viewers watch advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD) content on platforms like YouTube, Facebook Watch, Peacock, and more.

Fortunately, 91% of consumers want to see more online video content from brands, so the popularitly of this channel doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

How to Navigate Consumer Spending Habits With Video Advertising

With the many benefits of video advertising in mind, there are several tactics to establish an effective video advertising strategy to ultimately increase the effectiveness of your digital advertising. The following are some of the best ways to get started:

1. Understand the content your audience consumes.

Consumers now have multiple streaming subscriptions and watch content on various devices such as CTVs, tablets, and mobile devices. Powerful data sets will give you access to the shows your audience is consuming, which apps they’re using, and what genres they prefer. All of which can help tailor your ads to meet their preferences. By gathering a more complete picture of your target audience, you can create more effective advertisements and ensure your efforts align with what consumers want.

2. Ensure you have an effective messaging strategy.

As consumers watch their spending more closely, they need to feel that their purchases provide real value. This is where your ad creative and messaging come in. In uncertain times, it’s even more difficult to cut through the noise, but fine-tuning your messaging to resonate with your audience is the key to getting your message across. For example, you might discover that a five-second bumper ad with a clear call-to-action or incentive to click is more effective for driving conversions than a 30-second non-skippable ad.

4. Use analytics to update campaigns in real time.

In addition to testing different ad formats, analyzing your campaign’s performance in real time is crucial for strategic advertising. With tools like ACR, you can track who viewed your ad and when, allowing you to make necessary adjustments. Did your ad reach your target audience with the right frequency? Were they retargeted across multiple devices? By attributing actions taken by your audience, you can gain a big-picture view of your campaign’s impact and effectiveness.

Now Is the Time to Adjust for Strategic Advertising

With consumers becoming more cautious with their spending in today’s unpredictable economic climate, utilizing video to convey messages effectively is crucial for your brand to stay ahead of the competition and capture the attention of your target audience. After all, video can help connect with your audience and drive revenue even during uncertain times.

For more help with improving your video advertising strategy, get in touch with our team at Digilant. Our knowledge and experience in helping advertisers improve their reach and conversion can enhance your advertising strategies and help you meet your specific goals.