The Best Advanced Audio Strategies to Add to Your Marketing Efforts

Traditional and digital advertising share two common goals: find consumers where they are and connect with them in the best ways at the best times in the best places. That said, digital advertising strategies enable advertisers to more easily pick and choose where and when they appear to consumers.

With digital audio advertising specifically, it’s becoming ever more possible to reach people throughout the day as they tune in to their favorite stations, platforms, and podcasts. Advertisers can connect with users listening on their computers or phones, after work, on their morning walks, or at bedtime. The possibilities are endless.

How Digilant Helps Advertisers Implement an Effective Advanced Audio Strategy

Digilant’s Advanced Audio Solutions help advertisers achieve everyday integration through inventory, premium supply partners, and data-driven targeting.

  • Inventory. Inventory refers to our network of leading global audio providers, through which advertisers can reach thousands of premium stations and connect with consumers wherever they are, from iHeart Radio to Spotify Podcasts and beyond.
  • Premium Supply Partners. Supply-side partners and demand-side partners ensure we can tap into this extensive audio inventory supply. Our partnerships with AdsWizz, Pandora, and Spotify, help us work strategically with clients no matter their goals.
  • Targeting. Personalization ensures that we get the right audio in the right ears. Targeting can happen in various ways. We can target digital streaming audio by weather, theme, local points of interest, or even the type of speaker through which the user is listening.

These strategies are uniquely positioned to ensure advertisers effectively connect with consumers as their digital habits shift and evolve. Throughout the pandemic, consumers shifted even more toward digital streaming audio, and this trend isn’t slowing down. Now advertisers can capitalize on a digital audio listenership that represents a more engaged audience in which consumers have a higher brand recall.

We used an advanced audio strategy in recent work with a fast-casual restaurant. The restaurant’s goal was to drive customers, especially families, to different franchise locations. We used a combination of tactics — including audio ads with data-driven targeting, retargeting, and sequential messaging via banner ads — to encourage online orders and in-store visits across the restaurant’s 60 locations. In the end, the campaign drove a 95% audio completion rate and a 25.76% standard lift. Needless to say, audio advertising is as powerful in practice as it is on paper. 

The Best Audio Advertising Tactics for Digital Advertisers Today

The best advanced audio advertising strategies use several tactics to target and reach listeners throughout their daily routines. Here are some of the most important to include as you integrate audio ads into your marketing efforts.

1. Advanced targeting

This tactic gives you a wealth of ways to direct your messages to the people who will find them most relevant and interesting. For example, you could target based on first, second, and third-party data parameters, including CRM, location, and device.

2. Sequential targeting

 Targeted sequential messaging allows you to message groups of listeners across different formats once they’ve engaged with your audio. You can then target and retarget audio listeners with video, native, or display banners across mobile, desktop, TV, or social platforms.

3. Measurement

When setting audio KPIs, you need to quantify success in a way that is appropriate to the audio environment. Because engagement is different in audio advertising, some podcast metrics might include impressions and genre, while important radio streaming metrics might focus on geo breakdown or listen-through rate. It’s up to you to decide which metrics are most important for your brand.

4. Attribution

Once you’re targeting and measuring, you can use an attribution tool, like AdsWizz’s powerful attribution pixel, to track conversions that are happening across devices. Integrate with a further app like Foursquare, and you can connect to foot traffic data, too, giving a more thorough picture of your listeners’ journeys.

5. Reporting

It’s important to practice transparent reporting with your metrics. You should actively report and review your impressions, reach, and frequency metrics, as well as landing page visits and sales. By partnering with an end-to-end omnichannel partner that prioritizes transparent reporting, you can visualize how your digital audio campaigns fit into your full suite of marketing strategies.

6. Partners

When you have access to a wide and evolving list of global audio partners, you can adapt your digital advertising strategies according to your goals and your listeners. We partner with demand-side platforms like AudioGO and The Trade Desk and private marketplaces like Spotify and Amazon Music; and we have network partners, too — our relationship with iHeart Radio means we can reach millions of listeners as they go about their daily lives.

Audio ads give you the power to accompany your audience throughout their day: while they work, while they work out, while they eat, and while they relax. By partnering with diverse platforms and audio solutions, you can expand and deepen the impact your brand has as well.

If you want to learn more about advanced audio ad strategies, check out our webinar on how to leverage digital audio and podcast advertising this year. Ready to incorporate advanced audio advertising into your media mix? Contact us today to get started.

5 Best Practices for Using AI Tools to Upgrade Your Influencer Marketing

No matter what type of product or service your brand offers, chances are you have at least heard of influencer marketing — or you may already be leveraging it. Influencer marketing aligns you with specific creators who will help draw awareness to your brand, create credibility, and ultimately drive conversions. The influencer industry is already projected to reach $16.4 billion globally in 2022.

But the industry is evolving. Working with influencers used to be a guessing game, which typically boxed them into working with major players only (think Tyler Oakley and Warby Parker). Now, as the industry has grown, smaller influencers and brands are able to form partnerships successfully, thanks to better technology. So not only has technology expanded access in the world of influencer marketing, but it’s now equipping brands with more information about which influencers will best meet their needs.

Artificial intelligence offers an instant upgrade to any digital marketer’s strategy — especially when it comes to influencer marketing. AI advertising tools can scan a potential influencer’s followers and insights to give you a sense of whether they’re a good fit for your brand. Plus, AI can help determine which influencers have truly quality accounts that you would be proud to associate with your brand.

Read on to find out our top five best practices for leveraging AI advertising tools to jump-start your influencer marketing.

1.Stay away from inflated metrics.

As with all forms of digital advertising, finding the right influencers comes with inherent risk. Even when dealing with influencer networks, which can give you access to trust influencers across various industries, advertisers have to be cautious about inflated metrics, engagement, or followers. Make sure an influencer’s engagement rate isn’t inflated by fake followers or other tactics.

2. Find influencers that share your brand’s vision and values.

Many influencer partnerships are obvious, such as beauty influencers and makeup brands or travel influencers and luggage companies. However, the rise of micro-influencers has brought more opportunities for brands to partner with people across varying types of content and in varying niches. This means that you have opportunities for less obvious influencer partnerships based on other interests their followers may have that align with certain segments of your audience.

The increase in AI technology across influencer marketing enables brands to uncover these previously hidden audience segment connections. Within an influencer’s scope, there may be crossover to other industries that brands had never realized until audience targeting, analysis, and AI came into play. As a result, the world of influencer marketing has opened up far beyond the 1:1 connection, giving brands more opportunities to interact and work with influencers.

3. Leverage AI to inform compensation.

Because influencer marketing is still a relatively new medium, influencer compensation can be tricky to navigate. Bigger influencers who’ve been around longer may establish terms of their own and minimums, but micro-influencers or creators newer to the industry may be more willing to negotiate. Either way, it’s important to ensure that your investment is worthwhile by doing appropriate quality checks and vetting potential partners. AI-powered advertising tools can help you predict how much engagement a specific influencer is likely to create for your brand.

4. Maintain your brand image.

When partnering with influencers, brands are putting trust in the creators to marry their own authenticity with the brand’s image and tone. The last thing you want is to invest in an advertising campaign that ends up striking the wrong tone with your audience and alienating them. AI advertising tools allow you to maintain an authentic brand strategy by analyzing photos across different platforms that contain your products, relevant themes, or competitor products. Then, they can generate reports that allow you to understand which influencers fit best with your brand.

5. Test and match the right content type with the right influencer.

AI advertising tools allow you to get granular with the types of content or products you match with certain creators. Think of this as elevated A/B testing in which you can skip the wasted media spend and instead get answers upfront about which creators and content types best prompt potential customers to buy specific products. That means you can more quickly, easily, and cheaply scale your influencer marketing buys across different product or service divisions.

At Digilant, as part of our performance marketing solution, we offer comprehensive influencer marketing solutions to ensure brands are partnered with the best creators to reach their audience. We partner with over 25,000 creators through strategic influencer networks to help you find the best partners for your brand’s advertising needs. We also help monitor and analyze social media content to learn more about consumer insights and provide a detailed report on brand positioning, awareness, and relevance across social media and display platforms.

Most importantly, we’ll help you get optimal digital advertising ROI — while still maintaining an authentic brand strategy and properly leveraging AI advertising tools. Get in touch today to learn more!

The Evolution of CTV/OTT: An Industry Veteran’s POV

Authored by: Sue Peabody, Director of Sales, Southeast at Digilant

When I started in the OTT (Over-the-top) and CTV (connected TV) space in 2017, my consultations largely involved explaining to buyers how to watch it. Publishers were figuring out how to monetize their new platforms and relied on their own sales staff and direct deals with a handful of resellers to help move the inventory. The technology for programmatic to work in the CTV/OTT space was not there yet. The issues had to do mainly with ad serving, although the inventory was not nearly as abundant as it is now, so the need was not immediate.

Flash forward to today, and it seems like everyone is streaming. And as a result, the way ad inventory is bought and sold has changed.

Ad tech has evolved quickly – viewability, brand safety and fraud protection partners abound. Ad serving has become seamless due to the development of servers that integrate directly with the media company’s stream to “stitch” the ad into the content for a better user experience.

 The Rise of Cord-Cutters

I used to position CTV/OTT as an extension of a linear TV buy. Ratings were declining, and it was a good hedge for posting. Cord-cutting was a concept many clients did not fully comprehend at the time. At the time, there were about 81.2 million smart TV users in the US, whereas now that number sits at about 119 million. I explained that CTV/OTT should not be thought of in the same way as digital video or display – it was TV with some digital characteristics. Since it was, and still is, a cookieless environment, CTV/OTT was simply this: acquire inventory and overlay probabilistic audiences. In essence, you were buying expensive inventory and using inexpensive data to take a shot at reaching your audience. 1:1 targeting and attribution were non-existent. The game has changed.

CTV/OTT & The Cookieless Future

The impending demise of third-party trackers (aka cookies) has accelerated the creation of sophisticated device mapping and identity graphs. Device maps are created by associating individual connected devices to a household IP address. Tech platforms developing these maps can then take deterministic data such as location, logins, email addresses, app downloads, online and offline purchases, memberships, etc. to create more accurate and relevant audience profiles.

CTV/OTT Inventory – Caveat Emptor

Fraud prevention and brand safety have improved by leaps and bounds. Pre-bid stopgaps help, but diligent, proactive campaign management and analysis are still a must. Buyers need to ask questions and be willing to dig for info. I recently observed first-hand a situation where an agency was using a DSP under a managed service agreement. They were buying a lot of CTV and on the surface, it seemed legitimate. However, upon further investigation, I found that they were paying very high rates for premium inventory only to water it down with extremely cheap inventory to hit CPM goals and the buyer had no idea this was happening.

Outstream video and pre-roll on TV station websites are two examples of inventory that sometimes gets bundled in on CTV lines. They both have their place in the ecosystem, but most buyers would not consider them true CTV. The word transparency gets thrown around a lot and I can tell you that it is truly relative. So be clear with your provider about your expectations and stay curious. Choose a strong performing partner with access to solid inventory.

CTV/OTT in an Omnichannel World

Most digital media plans are executed in silos or rather multichannel buys; buy some display, buy some video, buy some CTV/OTT and see if it works. However, it is equally important to know what is working, or not, and why – the key difference between omnichannel & multichannel media buys. Optimizations are not happening in real-time, and often you do not know how effective your campaigns are until after the end. To further complicate matters, throw in some traditional media, and now you really have a challenge.

The deterministically-built audience profiles mentioned above work to solve this challenge. They can be implemented into omnichannel campaigns through cross-device retargeting.

A partner like Digilant has the tools to unite disparate platforms and measurements and implement true omnichannel campaigns. However, we now can target linear TV viewers on digital channels through Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology. Can you believe it?

What is ACR technology?

ACR is an identification technology that is built to recognize content played on a media device or present in a media file.

This gives us the ability to build custom audiences based on user TV viewing habits, target (and retarget) them across devices, and measure users who took an online action after seeing a commercial.

How does it work?

  1. Unboxing & Consent: ACR is launched when an individual turns on a wi-fi powered device for the first time, then selects to opt into audio/video data collection during the initial set-up.
  2. Fragment Analyzation: Once a user opts into data collection, a device provider can analyze small fragments of images or sounds from the content consumed over time.
  3. Content Matching: ACR software processes these tiny samples and uploads them to cloud storage.  The content is then cross-referenced and matched to existing data.
  4. Personalized Targeting: Once the content is matched, the data is shared with select advertisers.  From there, marketers can link devices together to target consumers where they are most interested.

Digilant’s Advanced TV Solution

If you’re accustomed to buying CTV/OTT from a “single source,” you probably have faced frustrations from a siloed environment this creates. Digilant’s proprietary technology and deep partnerships across the entire digital ecosystem solve this challenge.

We can give you a more transparent view into the customer journey and attribution, so you understand upfront the nuances of your audience. We can then optimize campaigns in real-time to make the most efficient use of your media spend. Our platform-agnostic methodology means we can execute across a multitude of partners without favoring one over the other; our entire focus is on outcomes.

Are you interested in learning more about Digilant’s Advanced TV Solution? Let’s talk.

How to Tell When a Non-Skippable Ad Is the Right Choice

For the average consumer, skipping ads is just another part of searching the web. Years of navigating the internet have solidified this ingrained behavior, and according to research by Magna and IPG Media Lab, 76% of consumers skip ads without even thinking about it.

Over time, skipping ads has become an automatic behavior for consumers, ultimately forcing advertisers to change their content strategies in the hopes of creating lasting impressions. To appease consumers, advertisers may opt for the safety of skippable ads.

But a brand with a desire to connect with its audience and inspire authenticity might be more drawn to a non-skippable ad format. Advertisers, then, have to decide which option is best for their specific purpose while also meeting the needs of their audience.

When Is a Non-Skippable Ad the Right Choice?

If you’re looking to generate an uptick in general brand awareness, non-skippable ads are the best route to take. These longer formats give consumers a taste of your brand or product and establish you in your industry. They need to be engaging and bold, grabbing attention early on with catchy hooks, surprising messages, or creative imagery. If consumers are engaged, they’ll be happy to watch longer ads.

An audience’s acceptance of non-skippable ads also depends on what platform and format they’re using. Because consumers use many channels during their day, an omnichannel approach to choosing ad formats is often most effective.

Take social media, for example. A brand takeover ad on TikTok is an immersive ad experience that appears when the app is opened. The content is non-skippable but lasts only three to five seconds. Compare this to over-the-top media services, where users stream television content via networks or devices. In this format, ads can be longer because that’s the expectation consumers have on that platform.

Additionally, consumers will be more willing to stay engaged with a non-skippable ad when they know how long it will be and what will be covered. Including a countdown means consumers are aware of the time they’ll invest in watching, and it shows that you value their time.

Knowing how to create a successful non-skippable ad campaign is only half the battle. Before giving the green light, it’s best to sit down as a team and discuss whether skippable or non-skippable ads are right for your purpose.

4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Skippable or Non-Skippable Ads

You want to reap all the benefits of video advertising and use the best video advertising techniques in your playbook, but how do you know whether you’ve chosen the best format for your message? Here’s a checklist of questions to ask before you decide:

1. Is there an emotional element involved?

Non-skippable ads need to be clear and concise to boost brand awareness, but they also need to evoke an emotion from the viewer. It’s an age-old adage, but it’s true: People won’t remember what you said; they’ll remember how you made them feel. If you can give them an ad experience that takes them on an emotional journey, they’ll be more likely to have a positive impression of your brand.

2. Does the ad format match your goal?

If you’re looking to drive conversions, skippable ads may be the best investment. While it seems counterintuitive, the few seconds of pre-skip content is prime time to offer deals and encourage clicks. Non-skippable ads are better used for boosting credibility, brand awareness, or product awareness, not encouraging click-throughs. It also makes sense for a longer, multipart story. Bumper ads on YouTube, for example, can be played sequentially to tell a larger story about your brand in installments.

3. Are you only looking at the completion rate?

A high completion rate does not necessarily equal a successful campaign. In some cases, a non-skippable ad could yield an 80% completion rate, whereas a skippable ad could net only 40%. However, it’s meaningless to compare these figures if your end goal is to engage consumers. A consumer may be highly engaged and still skip an ad or highly disengaged and see it through to the end. Campaigns need to be measured by the overall value they bring to the full marketing strategy, not by their completion rate.

4. Do you have a strong digital strategy?

Digital advertising should be data-driven and targeted precisely to your audience. This becomes even more important when an ad campaign is involved. Using smart video advertising techniques like contextual targeting and sequential messaging will drive home your brand messaging.

You may think that all consumers use the YouTube “skip-ad” button, but in the showdown of non-skippable versus skippable ads, the choice isn’t quite as clear. If you can leverage an omnichannel approach and craft ads that engage the user emotionally, there’s no reason that a non-skippable ad couldn’t be your best bet.

How to Use Pop Culture in Advertising Within Your Brand Messaging Strategy

According to Bloomberg, Netflix’s popular show “Squid Game“ reached 142 million houses worldwide, making it the most-watched new show in Netflix history. Not only that, but the show generated $891.1 million in impact value — approximately 41.7 times the budget allotted for its creation.

The success of “Squid Game” demonstrates how quickly pop culture trends pop up. When new cultural phenomena come on the scene, they take over rapidly. But they sometimes fade just as fast. That said, marketers have to be mindful of using pop culture in advertising. Add to that just how fast-paced conversations about these trends are, and brands must be extra vigilant.

Ultimately, the question isn’t, “Everyone is talking about this, so what do we say?” Rather it’s, “Should we talk about this just because everyone else is talking about it?” Advertisers have to think, first and foremost, about what actually fits in their brand messaging strategy and make decisions from there.

Turning Moments of Pop Culture Phenomena Into Branding Opportunities

Culture has the power to enhance your brand’s advertising efforts, just as long as your brand messaging strategy keeps up with pop culture trends and the sentiments surrounding them. We’ve created a few questions to ask yourself to help determine whether you are prepared to incorporate rapid-fire response into your media mix.

Evaluate your brand messaging and tone.

Before you start creating ads or responses about pop culture trends, you first need to have an established, foundational brand message. Responses to trends should enhance your brand, but they aren’t the backbone of it. Do consumers see your brand the way you want them to? If the answer is yes, you have room to layer in trends and other elements that bolster your established branding. Consider taking a pulse on your current strategy with the following questions:

  • How do you want consumers to see your brand? What are the core values you want to communicate?
  • Alternately, how do consumers currently view your brand? Do your vision and reality align?
  • What tactics and solutions are you using to ensure that consumers understand the integral attributes and offerings of your brand?
  • What tactics do you need to implement to ensure the right audience is being reached with this messaging?
  • What tactics could you implement to take your messaging a step further?
  • At what point in the next 12 months could you start implementing more rapid-fire responses into your brand messaging?

How Advertisers Can Capitalize on Pop Culture Trends Strategically

Here’s how you can utilize current trends and pop culture in advertising while staying on brand strategy:

1. Understand your competition.

One of the best tools you can use to evaluate whether you should create pop culture-oriented ads and brand messages is knowing how your competitors are doing it. What do they do well? How could you take your outreach a step further? Having a blueprint for what is and isn’t working well outside of your own brand is an incredibly valuable tool if you’re hoping to make cultural moments part of your advertising.

2. Have a crisis management process prepared.

When commenting on pop culture in real time, there is always the chance you will miss the mark. Someone on social media might not take to your response or advertisement well, stirring backlash among other consumers. Have a process in place detailing how you will deal with problems if they arise.

3. Pick a brand messaging strategy that makes sense for you.

Identify general topics or areas of interest that align with your brand and key stakeholders. Having this list to reference when an opportunity arises will make deciding to join the conversation much easier. It will also help ensure that your brand continues to meet consumer expectations. Granted, there will be opportunities that arise that you hadn’t discussed when making this list, but it is a good starting point.

4. Consider which tools and channels will further your messaging.

In advertising, certain channels work best for different steps in the sales funnel. You have to determine where in this process you will incorporate direct-response opportunities. Ask yourself where in your current media mix you feel most confident: Where can you switch the budget toward direct-response messages? Which channels are you using for awareness, consideration, and sales? Answering these questions will help you boldly commit to your budget in times of change.

5. Continue moving your marketing forward.

Creating a marketing strategy that incorporates pop culture trends isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it process. It has to be reiterated every few months to ensure that any changes have been addressed, new opportunities are being met, and your baseline strategy is still successful.

Pop culture trends change rapidly, so it’s important to remain flexible but on-brand if you incorporate them into your brand messaging. Remember: You don’t have to enter every conversation — only those that align with your goals and really enable you to connect with your audience. To learn more about this and other ways to make your advertising effective and strategic, get in touch today.

How to Achieve Scale and Authenticity in Podcast Network Advertising

As an advertiser, one of the most important decisions you make is which channels to leverage for digital ads. Podcast advertising has recently become popular with marketers of all industries. In its advent, advertisers or brands would team up within a podcast host to have their ad played during one show or throughout the “season.”As the medium has evolved, now advertisers have access to podcast networks which give them the chance to have content played across various podcasts — all hypertargeted to your target audience — within that network.

Podcast listeners tune into eight different podcasts a week on average, making it a lucrative advertising channel. Podcast networks are a great way to ensure that you aren’t putting all your eggs in one basket, and they let you engage with listeners as they tune into podcasts you might not have been advertising on before.

The Benefits of Podcast Programmatic Advertising

Rather than investing all your podcast advertising dollars in one show, podcast networks let you reach more listeners across various shows. For example, using Pandora alone gives advertisers access to reach 1 in 3 Americans online.

Why advertise on podcasts? Not only do podcast networks cover a variety of shows and genres, but they also have great data and information about their audiences, overlaps, and areas of opportunity. With insights and data from podcast networks, you can better track conversions across multiple devices, gain insights into your campaigns’ performance, measure impact across devices, and gain a holistic view of your customers’ journey to inform future campaigns.

Finally, some podcast networks allow for unique creative ad formats, such as AdsWizz’s Shake Me Ads. These audio ads enable listeners to shake their phones or smartwatches and trigger an action like downloading a coupon or app, opening a link, or placing a call. All of these can help you find new disruptive ways to reach your audience.The

Future of Podcast Programmatic Advertising

Still, as in all advertising decisions, there are pros and cons. For example, advertising on a podcast network versus a specific podcast does require you to give up the personal aspect of host-read audio ads (which have value in making listeners feel they’re engaging with a trusted source). You may also lose access to certain shows, depending on what the podcast network has access to.

All things considered, though, podcast network advertising is still one of the most promising digital advertising channels for the coming years. Monthly listeners in 12- to 34-year-olds grew 22% in three years. Plus, podcast listeners have a median age of 34, younger than the broadcast ratio at 47 and network television at 57.

Below are some tips for using a podcast network in such a way that you’re able to achieve scale and authenticity.

1.Never compromise creative best practices for the sake of scale.

It’s tempting to come in guns blazing to the podcast network advertising game as you create your ad campaign, but don’t forget about basic creative best practices. For example, keep audio ads as short as possible to be effective — as brief as 10–15 seconds if you can. Test out both lengths to see what performs best based on your goals.

Be sure to also include a clear CTA every time. When targeting a specific channel, such as smartphones, consider a mobile-specific CTA like “Text for a coupon.” Remember, listeners aren’t always looking at a screen, so avoid words like “tap” or “click.” And always tailor your tone to your audience.

2. Keep your message fresh.

If your audience hears the same ad from you too many times, they’ll start tuning you out. Try testing at least two different audio spots and leveraging dynamic audio for more engaging audio ads tailored to the audience. This offers a better listening experience and gives you insight into what messages work best.

Then, for longer campaigns, swap in new audio spots every few months and feature seasonal promotions if applicable. As always, your goal should be to use creative that is memorable and entertaining. If your brand has proprietary jingles or sonic identifiers, be sure to include those as well.

3. Be mindful of frequency.

Audio advertising offers the tremendous opportunity of one-on-one connection, but that makes it all the more important that you’re mindful of frequency. There’s a fine line between being memorable and being annoying.

New brand promotions and time-sensitive offers do warrant higher frequencies, but longer campaigns should be lower-frequency. A good middle ground is three to five times per week.

4. Measure everything.

Podcast networks offer a variety of measurement solutions to evaluate podcast advertising effectiveness. Make sure you know what’s available to you to ensure that you’re receiving the best analytics for your investment. Consider in advance what insights you want to gain so that you can make data-informed decisions to inform your future campaigns.

For example, some valuable actions to measure, which may not be offered by every partner, include tracking conversions from listeners that switch devices before taking the action on a landing page or website and tracking foot traffic attribution. Both require a complex tracking system that not all networks can offer.

5. Align your brand with your podcasting network.

Don’t be sucked in by big-name podcasts and networks. The last thing you want to do is pay a high price for a network that’s not even relevant to your audience.

Instead, evaluate the network on its ability to reach your target audience. What are their listenership metrics? Additionally, how do they measure their audiences? What data do they use to understand who their audience is? How often is that data refreshed?

Podcast network advertising is gaining popularity for a reason. This channel allows you to strategically select the best podcasts for your specific target audience, all while achieving scale and authenticity.

The more you take time to evaluate the whole picture of the podcast network — from who listens to their podcasts to how they know who listens to their podcasts — the better you’ll be able to ensure you’ll reach your audience and find success across your campaigns.

To learn more about effective podcast advertising, get in touch with the Digilant team today.

The ‘Skip Ad’ Button: 4 Strategies to Keep Consumers Watching

Current content consumption trends have made advertisers’ jobs more complicated; Whether consumers are presented with an actual “skip ad” button or they are quick to grab their phones, open a new tab, or move to a different platform to avoid ever watching an ad, advertisers now have about five to seven seconds to make a good first impression on consumers. And while consumers engage with ads on certain channels without hitting “skip” as often (completion rates for CTV and OTT come in at about 94%), they don’t on others. Pre-roll and in-stream ads (i.e., on desktop and mobile), for example, come in at only 62%.

Consumers are choosing what to view. When presented with a skip ad button, chances are good that they take you up on the offer. But the fact that they know what they want from their media consumption isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be a benefit.

Addressing ‘Skip Button’ Challenges in Advertising Today

If you can make consumers forget the skip button, your ads are more likely to drive conversions. Although today’s content consumption trends do make this challenging, they don’t make it impossible. Here’s how to find success:

1. Address the creative element.

Skipping ads has become habitual. An IPG survey found 76% of people who hit the skip ad button do so out of ingrained behavior. Brands, then, should focus on telling a story that compels them to behave differently. Showcase your key message within the first 10 seconds of a clip. Keep it creative, captivating, and informative, using a combination of graphics, people, and text. Making it more dynamic helps you capture viewers’ attention.

Beyond that, don’t forget to mention your brand early on. You can expect people to watch only 5.5 seconds of a 15-second spot. Thirty-second ads enjoy longer viewing, but still only 7.4 seconds on average. Also, consider enabling subtitles, which accounts for a major content consumption trend: viewing content with the sound off.

2. Prioritize relevancy.

According to one Twilio Segment study, 44% of consumers would likely take their business elsewhere should a brand fail to deliver personalized experiences. The most creative, informative ad will do nothing to move products if it’s not relevant to the consumer. That skip ad button is just a click away.

Ask yourself, what kind of targeting tactics will best ensure our ads are seen by the ideal customer? What sorts of behavioral data in digital advertising can we use to serve ads at the right time along the consumer journey? What channels do our ideal customers use when consuming content? Is it social media? YouTube? Video game apps?

3. Define your goals.

Digital marketing objectives can do more than make personalized advertising efforts measurable — though this is important. They can help you clarify your ideas, provide direction, and make better use of your resources. So it all comes down to one question: Do you want to improve click or completion rates? A person who clicks isn’t watching the ad until the end, while a person who watches the full ad won’t likely be able to click through.

If clicks are your priority, include a call to action early on. Consider a “click now” bubble at the bottom of the ad throughout the spot and go long — from 30 to 60 seconds — as the click-through rate is often better at an average of 0.15% or more. If you’re looking for higher completion rates, no CTA is needed, but you’ll still want a hook. Start off spots with something that pulls the viewer in. Just make sure to avoid loud music as it may result in the viewer clicking away. Also, keep it short and sweet, as 15-second ads see a 70% higher video completion rate.

4. Tie digital advertising to overall marketing strategy.

A digital ad will rarely seal the deal on its own. Omnichannel strategies are often necessary to keep brands top of mind — and to continue moving consumers down the sales funnel. After all, the more consumers interact with your brand, the more familiar they’ll become with your messaging. With time, they’ll recognize how your product or service can solve whatever needs solving.

Consider a retargeting tactic to support digital advertising. Dynamic segmentation, for example, evaluates 70+ attributes to customize retargeting bids based on real-time buying indications. Let’s say a consumer watches your ad to completion on CTV. Dynamic segmentation would later serve them a follow-up message on another channel to move them closer to a sale.

At the end of the day, today’s consumers want authentic, personalized experiences. Personalized advertising needs to be targeted and compelling to have a chance of breaking the skip ad cycle. Test new ad formats. Try new marketing channels. Once you make an impression, it can be everlasting.

To learn more about how to beat the “skip” problem, get in touch today.

Video Reward Ads: A Game Changer for Digital Marketing

When searching for a recipe or an answer to a random question on Google, consumers are accustomed to skimming over digital display ads. They have a mission: to find whatever information they’re seeking.

But there’s one audience that exhibits different behavior: gamers. This group continues to grow exponentially, both in volume and in the depth of their investment in their craft. In fact, mobile gaming app downloads increased 45% in 2020, compared with 35% in 2019. With that growth curve and the unique ad formats available for in-game advertisements, you can imagine why games are such an opportunity for advertisers.

What Are In-Game Interstitial Ads?

Interstitial ads are interactive, full-screen ads that cover the content of the host app. They might be static images, videos, or even gamified ads. Typically, interstitial ads appear at natural breaks in the game, meaning they feel much less disruptive and more organic.

Interstitial ads generally follow a “prompt, opt-in, reward” structure, so these video game advertisements work best in action, arcade-style, puzzle, and sports games that easily provide users benefits for watching an ad.

When the mobile game ad is displayed, a user can tap the content and be directed to a landing page or close the ad to continue the game. If the mobile game ad includes rich media, such as video, the user usually has to watch the ad for a specific length of time, typically five seconds, before they can close out of it.

This ad format doesn’t just benefit advertisers, but also users. Thanks to the nature of the medium, gamers are twice as likely to pay attention to in-game display ads than other internet display ads. That’s because more than 70% prefer to “pay” for in-game content (such as game points, currency, or other related benefits) by watching video “reward” ads rather than spending actual money.

As an example, in many games, gamers have a set number of lives. If they’ve reached a certain level and lose, users have to start from the beginning once they’re out of these lives. Video reward ads could prompt them to view or interact with the ad in exchange for additional life so that they no longer have to start the game from scratch.

This structure is a win-win for everyone; the advertiser gets the gamer’s attention, the gamer saves money, and the game producer still gets revenue by selling the interstitial ad space.

The Value of Video Reward Ads

Video reward ads offer many benefits. Here are a few of the most important:

  • User engagement. The bigger the ad, the bigger the impact. Interstitials are more memorable than other mobile game ads. They engage users better because they’re less disruptive and more “helpful.” In fact, 50% of userssay they would be less satisfied with their app experiences if reward ads were removed.
  • Audience diversity. The volume of this industry makes it ripe with opportunity. There are more than 5 billion gamersin the world, and they aren’t just young men. Forty-six percent of gamers are women, and 40% are between 25- and 44-years-old. That offers potential for advertisers in various industries seeking different demographics’ attention.
  • Brand safety. Finally,in-game mobile marketing is a highly brand-safe environment. The content is not user-generated (as with social media or YouTube, for example), so brands have more control over their image and messaging. The content is also usually lighter and lower-risk. That said, advertisers should still use only trusted partners that monitor and make brand safety measures a top priority.

Getting Started With In-Game Advertising

Keep the following best practices in mind as you determine how to best advertise in mobile games.

1. Define your audience upfront.

This industry has long outgrown the niche “gamer” stereotype, so knowing your target audience and how to reach it is more important than ever. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable impressions. Consider different targeting (or anti-targeting) metrics, such as age, gender, geo, device, language, and interest segments. Then, layer on contextual segments targeting gaming content. If you have specific gaming apps you wish to run on, create and target a site list for those apps specifically.

2. Be mindful of where you send the user.

The offer you showcase in your ad should directly tie to where the user lands upon post-click. We recommend creating a specific post-click landing page (rather than just sending users to your website). This is more respectful to the user, so you’re actually providing value and not coming across as salesy.

3. Keep your audience in mind when designing creative.

It might be tempting to use this space to show off your team’s graphic design skills, but it’s better to create a clear UX for gamers, including a clear exit button and captivating, memorable content. To capture gamers’ attention, your ad must first be useful and entertaining.

4. Implement advertising measurement tools.

The data available to advertisers is one of the key benefits of the gaming format. Many developers allow advertisers to integrate third-party measurement tools, such as Frameplay and Kochava, that use a new impression-to-conversion attribution model. Through this partnership, advertisers can track conversions based on in-game mobile marketing to see how effective their marketing dollars are in terms of video game advertisements.

5. Stay up-to-date with industry trends.

The gaming space moves quickly, so it’s key to keep yourself educated and updated from a compliance and privacy standpoint. The Media Rating Council is working with the Interactive Advertising Bureau and industry to update the 2009 In-Game Advertising Measurement Guidelines, as in-game advertising has evolved significantly over the past 13 years.

In-game mobile marketing offers a growing market of opportunity — not to mention invested audience — to advertisers willing to make the leap. Interstitial and “reward” ads, in particular, drive value for the customer, make brands memorable, and allow you to get your audience’s undivided attention and hopefully direct consumers to a specially-designed landing page.

To learn more about developing a strong mobile game advertising strategy, get in touch today.

2022: THE Year of Contextual Advertising

You may be tired of hearing it, but the countdown to the cookieless future is nearing closer. With the upcoming changes on the horizon, advertisers hunt for new or alternative solutions to the historically beloved third-party cookie. As companies work to create or improve their replacement solutions, like universal IDs, it’s important to keep in mind that advertisers can already use tangible and successful tactics to reach their target audience with the same, if not better, relevancy targeting that cookies provide. 

Contextual advertising is one of those solutions. 

Contextual advertising is not new or “up and coming”; rather, some industry experts have coined it “retro.” This solution was once a fan favorite. Take mobile, for example – prior to third party cookies being readily available, advertisers leaned on contextual placements. However, once those audience targeting solutions arrived in the mobile space, it was quickly overlooked and replaced by the powers of these targeting capabilities. 

But, in keeping with the fashion metaphor, it looks like everything does come back in style. Advertisers steering away from behavioral or audience targeting combined with the recognition of technological improvements made in the contextual space is poised for a significant comeback. In fact, according to Yahoo News, 86% of media owners expect contextual solutions to grow by 2023. 

What is contextual advertising?

Contextual targeting gives advertisers the ability to reach audiences by targeting ads based on the context of the content they are consuming. Keyword, topic targeting, and AI tools are used to scan the page’s content the visitor is on and place relevant ads that match the environment of the page. 

How does it work?

To set up a successful contextual targeting campaign, advertisers need to establish what the campaign is about to align their ad with relevant content successfully. This has historically been done via keyword and topic targeting. However, as mentioned previously, contextual advertising has made leaps in bounds in advancing the technology to improve the way in which pages are analyzed. 

Today’s contextual analysis artificial intelligence goes above and beyond topics and keywords to truly understand the entire content and tone of the page through semantic targeting. With this technology, all aspects of the page are taken into account, including:

  • The sentiment of the page
  • Potential brand safety concerns
  • The overall quality of the page 
  • Viral and trending content
  • Videos on the page
  • Images on the page
  • Ad fraud possibility 
  • Multilingual content

This improved technology analyzes every page’s content holistically to understand the meaning and ensure the best possible ad placement for a brand creating a curated experience for consumers and advertisers.

With this new technology, advertisers can still decide how strict they want to be with their ads. Ranging from only placing ads on specific pages to extending the reach of our content, advertisers can also opt for different styles of contextual buys, including:

  • Board Reach: Historically, this type of ad buy didn’t require your keyword to be used on the page but simply fell within your topic list. This is a more lenient method for contextual advertising, so there is some inherent risk.
  • Specific Reach: Historically, this would entail only placing ads on pages where your keyword list was used. Think of this as a strict but not restrictive option.
  • Site lists: You provide a list of sites that you would like your ad to run on when the context is applicable. 

Improved technology in action: An example

The image above perfectly showcases how contextual targeting has improved. When looking at the content from a keyword or topic viewpoint (the traditional method for contextual buys), the word “engaged” would fall within a ring company’s keyword buy, misplacing the ad on non-relevant content. However, with semantic targeting focused on the true content of the page, it’s clear that this is a prime opportunity for a financial or investment company to get their brand in front of interested consumers. 

Benefits of Contextual advertising

1.Not dependent on cookies, making it future proof

Unlike audience targeting, which depends on a cookie to track consumers’ behavior, contextual targeting doesn’t require any cookie or third-party data to implement or run. However, it still has the effectiveness and power to get relevant ads before consumers.  

2. User privacy is top of mind

Similar to what’s mentioned above, using contextual targeting does not require any data or consumer tracking. This makes it an excellent tool for advertisers as we move away from third-party cookies but also to stay compliant with privacy protection laws like CCPA and GDPR. 

3. Brand safe environment

Because advertisers are choosing the environment their brand is showcased, there is limited risk in the context their ad will appear alongside. 

Taking this a step further, when selecting a contextual advertising partner, inquire about the brand safety measures they automatically have in their technology. Be sure to ask questions about how they identify at-risk pages and how often is their block list updated. Good data partners, like DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, Moat and Peer39 (all partners of Digilant) use machine learning technology to continually improve how they identify patterns, expected trends, and keywords that are unsuitable need to be blocked.

4. Great user experience

Consumers have made it clear that they prefer ad experiences that align with their interests and personal experience. Contextual targeting perfectly solves these requests as your brand is showcased next to relevant content that they are already consuming. 

When cookware companies can target consumer browsing recipes, eyewear companies can target consumer reading book reviews, and furniture companies target people watching HGTV, the consumer feels as though the brand naturally fits into the setting of the content they’re consuming and therefore, it doesn’t distract. 

Contextual advertising not only improves your metrics because of its accuracy, but it improves the user experience as well. A win-win for all!

Digilant’s Advanced Contextual Solutions

According to OpenSlate, brands plan to spend about 20% of the media budget on contextual advertising in 2022. At Digilant, we understand the value of this solution for brands looking to move away from third-party cookies and simply make better connections with consumers. 

Our Advanced Contextual Solutions uses the industry’s best data providers, including Peer39, Oracle, Comscore, and MOAT, to ensure our clients receive the best and safest contextual targeting available. Solutions across display, mobile, social, search, alongside trending channels like digital audio and OTT/CTV, give advertisers a full suite of capabilities to target consumers contextually. 

Are you interested in learning more about implementing contextual advertising into your media mix? We’re eager to talk! Contact us here. 

5 Steps to Incorporate DOOH Advertising into Your Marketing Mix

Today, most modern consumers connect with brands across multiple channels before making purchasing decisions. This is great news for companies with omnichannel marketing strategies designed to follow individuals as they move through their daily routines.

But too many marketers have focused their omnichannel strategies entirely on the online world. What about physical advertising? Out-of-home (OOH) advertising still has a lot of power — especially when it’s made digital.

DOOH Advertising, Explained

What is digital out-of-home, or DOOH, advertising? It’s a way to reach people through traditional out-of-home advertising vehicles, like billboards, gas station menu boards, or office building lobby screens in an augmented way. Traditionally, OOH advertising has been fairly static. DOOH changes that, amplifying its possibilities and turning it into a powerful way to extend your branding and connect with consumers.

For instance, take an on-the-go person traveling through a typical workday. At the train station, they interact with a standalone digital billboard that features real-time messaging related to the upcoming weather forecast. When they head out for lunch with a client, their table includes a touchscreen ordering device that sends them unique content based on their choices. On the way back to the train station, they spy another digital outdoor advertising sign reminding them about a limited sale happening at a nearby store.

From the consumer’s perspective, these interactions seem natural because they’re woven into the day’s digital routine. They’re relevant and not intrusive. And given that 98% of Americans pass by at least one DOOH venue every month, according to research from Vistar and MFour, weaving DOOH advertising into marketing strategies is a strategic move.

Advantages of DOOH Advertising

Every marketing technique has its advantages. DOOH advertising is no exception. One of the most appealing is that you can finally measure ROI, which used to be nearly impossible with OOH marketing. The digital interface capabilities of DOOH campaigns allow you to collect a wealth of data, ensuring that the dollars you funnel to OOH work harder and go further. Ultimately, when done well, your DOOH advertising will move with a target user through their consumer journey, giving you more chances to get in front of — and convert — your prospects.

Another upshot to DOOH is its retargeting capabilities. You’re able to collect the device IDs of those who were likely exposed to your DOOH content. Later, you can leverage those IDs to send users relevant mobile ads. This combination of tactics is so powerful, Posterscope found that you can improve your reach by up to 303% by folding DOOH into a web or mobile campaign.

Doing DOOH Well

Since the advent of DOOH over the past two decades, a few brands have captivated audience interest and shown how exciting (and lucrative) DOOH advertising can be.

One of these brands was Coors Light, which created a DOOH campaign that was time-focused, appearing when people were most likely to leave work. Throughout Manhattan, a series of DOOH billboards appeared during happy hour. The billboards teased: “Your commute can wait,” and included visuals of Coors beer. The campaign successfully improved Coors sales in nearby neighborhoods.

Launching a DOOH Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

If you’re ready to incorporate DOOH into your media mix, here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Know your goals going into any DOOH campaign.

Before investing in DOOH, outline what you hope to achieve and how you expect it to support your other digital advertising initiatives. Will DOOH fill customer journey awareness, traffic, or conversion gaps? Be intentional and specific. That way, you’ll have a better sense of whether your DOOH is working.

2. Identify your ideal targeting methods.

With DOOH, you have access to various data-driven targeting tactics, including behavioral, demographic, proximity, and more. You can use the data alone or overlap it with third-party data to get more specific. However, it’s key to identify the types of data and data partnerships you need before deploying any campaign.

3. Get creative.

Consumers are bombarded with information all day. Think big and bold with your DOOH to capture and maintain attention. Don’t be afraid to be unique with your DOOH creative. The more your digital ads stand out, the higher the likelihood you’ll get a boost from them in the form of organic social media mentions and buzz in the press.

4. Replace and change creative formats.

Ad saturation can lead to consumer fatigue, so you’ll want to update your DOOH advertising to keep it fresh and avoid disinterest. Consider opportunities like different messaging based on major events, limited-time sales, or even the weather, like McDonald’s U.K.-based cold beverage DOOH campaign from 2019. The fast-food giant used real-time temperatures to encourage thirsty passersby to stop in.

5. Implement advertising measurement tools.

Today, we have the technology to measure ad performance in DOOH campaigns — both in upper- and lower-funnel KPIs. Feel free to tie the impact of your DOOH exposure to anything from brand lift to foot traffic. Just make sure you clearly define your metrics and have the advertising measurement tools you need to gauge your success.

To learn more about incorporating DOOH advertising into your marketing mix, get in touch today!

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