"Smarter" TV Ads Means Opportunity for Digital Marketers

Marketers and media planners are constantly faced with the debate surrounding traditional television and digital video. Which do viewers spend more time watching? Which platform will give you a better ROI for your advertising dollars? Should marketers just forget about traditional TV all together?

The short answer to this debate: traditional TV is not dead, not even close.

Today’s programmatic and digital industry news states that millennials are cutting the cord on cable and if marketers and advertisers wish to target them, they have to reach them via digital platforms.

However, this isn’t the full story. Adweek reported a study done by the VAB (Video Advertising Bureau) which revealed that traditional TV lives, even with millennials:

  • The majority of viewers prefer to watch their favorite programs live
  • 81% of people reported that when watching VOD (video on demand), they watch at a time that’s convenient for them which results in increased ad impressions
  • Between 2014 and 2017, VOD ad impressions increased almost fourfold to 23.3 billion.

TV is still very present – consumers are watching it live and on demand – so for marketers, it’s important to understand that this is still a very important advertising channel not to be ignored or forgotten.

In addition, TV is seeing a lot of changes that allow for more effective targeting. Historically, this platform hasn’t seen much opportunity for growth or change, but new features and capabilities are challenging this norm, making it essential that marketers allow for budget in order to implement these changes.
The latest platform that media buyers should be investing time and budget for is Smart TVs and their compatibility with programmatic advertising. One of the biggest challenges that marketers have always found when using TV ads is tracking the consumer journey. What is the time from when they see an ad on TV to actually making a purchase? If someone sees an ad online, they click on the ad, even if they don’t purchase at that moment, as marketers, we are able to track when they eventually do make a purchase. For television, this wasn’t possible until now. Smart TVs are the solution to merging digital with TV for advertising.

Smart TVs create profiles that allow us to know who is watching which programs and thus, which ads they are seeing. This gives marketers a variety of opportunities for better targeting, segmentation, retargeting, sequential marketing, and cross-channel implementation. Examples include:

  • Targeting: Because marketers can see who is watching their ads, they no longer have to play a guessing game. Dollars can be spent more effectively as frequency and timing can be better thought out.
  • Segmentation: Traditionally, TV allowed for very little segmentation, it primarily relied on age and gender. With the smart TV profiles that are created, marketers can rely on more precisely segmented targeting profiles. This also allows them to see the most concentrated audience viewing a program.
  • Retargeting: Advertisers will know if a consumer has also seen a competitor’s ads, enabling them to target these consumers with their products instead – even a direct comparison. With Smart TVs, retargeting can happen both on TV and online.  
  • Sequential Ads: Advertisers know exactly which ads a consumer has seen. This allows them to use a series of ads, in a specific order, to tell a longer or more thorough story.
  • Cross Channel: Once a marketer knows a consumer has seen an ad, they can then target ads on the right device at the right moment.

When all of this comes together, traditional TV offers a great opportunity for marketers to reach consumers on different platforms, with unique messages and at optimal times. However, this can be taken one step further. One of the biggest advantages that advertisers have with Smart TVs is that they can also connect mobile location. This allows them to track from the moment the consumer sees the TV ad to when they eventually make it to the physical store. This eliminates the biggest challenge that TV poses in gauging the length of overall customer journey.

Traditional TV remains an essential part of advertisers budgets and should not be counted out anytime soon. But, in tandem with that, marketers need to ensure they are staying up to date on the latest features and tactics to ensure they are getting the most out of their spend. Tactics like Smart TVs and the ability to track and target cross-channel is a prime opportunity for media planners to reach performance KPIs. Consumers who saw a TV ad followed by a digital ad are 4x more likely to visit the physical store than those who only saw the TV ad. Similarly, consumers who see ads on both platforms, are 3x more likely to make a digital purchase within the hour. It’s clear that with programmatic capabilities, marketers are able to track their advertising more effectively, spend more efficiently and learn more about their consumers.

Talk to us about our TV and Video media buying capabilities including linear TV, programmatic TV, in-stream, out-stream, addressable TV and more.

How Advertisers Combat the "Skip Ad" Button

In mid-August, Netflix announced that they are going to start testing running advertisements between episodes – or as they referred to them, “recommendations… [to help] members discover stories they will enjoy faster.” And no surprise, subscribers are not impressed with the concept and has  caused significant backlash. Netflix, until now, had set themselves apart from their competitors such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube, because their platform was completely ad free. So, even if Netflix’s intentions behind implementing these “suggestions” are actually meant to improve user experience – it brings up the age old  question of why viewers are so opposed to ads? What lengths they will go to to avoid watching ads? And most importantly, how do marketers and digital advertisers keep our users engaged and interested enough so that they don’t feel the urge to push the “skip ad” button.

CNBC covered a study written by IPG stating that 65% of viewers will push the skip ad button as soon as it becomes an available option. But even more interesting is that, 76% of those people were also reported to do so out of habit, “[as] an ingrained behavior.” It is clear that viewers are so accustomed to ads, because they experience them in video, on social media, and listening to music on a daily basis, that they have become wired to skip them. For digital advertisers this is an opportunity to improve the experience enough so that audiences feel both engaged and interested in the content being offered to them, rather than annoyed.

Make it Engaging

Advertisers need to tell a good story in the language that addresses their audience. Advertising can’t just focus on pushing features and functionality, but rather engage with the viewer in order to tell them who their brand is and why they should pay attention.This doesn’t need to be complex or lengthly, but actually the shorter the better, since the average viewer only watches the first 5.5 seconds of a 15 second pre-roll ad. Advertisers have to pack a lot into those couple of seconds, needing to effectively tell their story in an engaging way that keeps the audience’s’ attention and encourages them to interact with their brand.  
To encourage viewers from skipping ads on YouTube, NBC showed cute images with messages that read, ““Only a monster would skip a video of a bunny in a bucket…Enjoy a moment of goodness, and maybe, just maybe, you will end up in the good place” to promote Season 3 of their hit-sitcom, “The Good Place.” Viewers that didn’t skip over the ad were rewarded with a sneak peak of Season 3. This successful storytelling technique not only promoted users not to skip the ad, but to actually engage with the content being presented.

Make it Relevant

eMarketer projects that by 2020, video ad spending will reach $19.81 billion. With mass amounts marketing dollars going toward this platform, advertisers need to ensure they are targeting the right audience. With the growing capabilities of programmatic video, the ability to contextually target a person with the appropriate message, timing and content is in now possible. Brands who use a combined DMP and DSP for their programmatic video buys have the ability to learn about their users in an efficient way so that they can deliver ads with content that they will not want to ‘skip’ in the right context of the video content being consumed.
Programmatic media buyers also have the option of using Dynamic Creative Optimization technology (DCO) which enables them to create and test different creative options, automatically and simultaneously, and identify which ad gets the best consumer engagement. Tactics like this, that enable advertisers to match individual consumers specific interests, exemplify why 60% of video ad spend money is going toward programmatic video, with that number only estimated to grow in the coming years.

Online video advertising is rapidly dominating the advertising atmosphere. However, today it’s not enough to create a one size fits all ad creative, if brands want to combat  ‘the skip button,’ otherwise their dollars spent on this tactic, will be wasted. Viewers are less likely to skip an ad with a unique and interesting story, even more so, if the story interests them personally. Programmatic video advertising combined with user data and great creative offers a huge opportunity for advertisers to keep audiences less inclined to dislike advertising enough to skip it all together. If you are interested in learning more or talking about how to improve your video strategy, reach out to us here.

Digital Advertising Lookback for 2017

What Happened in 2017?

Although your newsfeeds and inboxes have likely been inundated over the past few weeks with content and messages reflecting on the events from this past year, the digital marketing world really never pauses or slow downs. Since last January, global digital ad spend has increased 15%, surpassing TV ad spend for the first time ever. According to Statista, 2017 marked the first year in which mobile traffic composed more than half of all web traffic. It’s clear that the way that people consume content, interact with brands, and navigate the buyer’s journey is changing. Before you finish ramping up your marketing for the new year and embark on new digital ventures, we wanted to outline these major developments from 2017 to help you keep up with advancements being made today and anticipate transitions that advertisers will need to make tomorrow as we move into 2018.

Amazon Now Has Its Own DSP

Through the consolidation of many DSPs last year, we were left with one major surprise: Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP) exceeded Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) as the most used DSP. Despite remaining fairly below the radar, Amazon’s DSP is quickly gaining popularity because of its low agency fees, self-service option and unique commerce and purchase data. When ad buyers were asked for their preferred DSP, 23% answered Amazon. This tops the next choice, AppNexus, which falls at 19%. As the number of DSPs not owned by walled gardens, telcos, enterprise clouds or media companies decreases, differentiation becomes the key challenge.

Innovations in Transparency Hold Advertisers & Publishers More Accountable

Facebook updated their transparency policy to require political and retail-focused advertisers to reveal all ads they are running publicly in their feed. In October, Facebook announced, “Starting next month, people will be able to click ‘View Ads’ on a Page and view ads a Page is running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — whether or not the person viewing is in the intended target audience for the ad.” All ads must be associated with a page during the ad creation. This is a huge shift towards leveling the playing field for advertisers as they will be able to view all other ads that are running on these networks and gain competitive insights to optimize their funnels. In the past, advertisers could run dark posts, which permitted advertisers to run as many ads as they wanted without ever appearing on the brand’s own feed. This means that your competition could run multiple target specific tailored ads and you would never see them. With Facebook’s new policy, regardless of demographics, advertisers will be able to see the ads that their competition are running.

Although this initiative stemmed from a need for greater democratic transparency, Facebook’s new initiative is helpful for all parties in the digital advertising sphere and they’re not the only ones advocating for more honest advertising practices. The IAB has taken major strides to keep publishers accountable for any counterfeit inventory served to advertisers through their ads.txt project. The Ads.txt buying method confirms that each webpage uploads a file to its root domain detailing which SSP (Sell Side Platform – a tool that manages the programmatic advertising on a publisher’s site) offers its inventory, its Placement ID and its relationship with that SSP. The publishers publicly indicate who is actually authorized to market their advertising space eliminating inventory fraud. In 2018 we’ll begin to see many DSPs offer only inventory tagged with an ads.txt ID to their brand partners.

Retail eCommerce Flourishes as Online & Offline Experiences Blend

2017 was an extremely busy year for retail eCommerce with a 4.9% increase in U.S. sales and a number of mergers and acquisitions. Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion and Walmart acquired a number of eCommerce brands like Bonobos and Moosejaw. Despite the closure of many physical retail spaces, brands with brick and mortar stores are leveraging the data they’re gathering online to improve the offline customer experience, even implementing AI and AR to better understand and communicate with the customers. Conversely, strictly eCommerce brands like Casper mattresses and Harry’s shaving are partnering with traditional retailers like Target to bring online products to consumers more accustomed to offline shopping.

Cord Cutting Becomes More Popular & Advertisers Work to Gain Viewability

TVs, gaming devices, smart set-top boxes, desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones that all stream Amazon Video, Youtube TV, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO can be blamed for the slow death of cable TV. According to eMarketer, 22.2 million Americans, an 33% increase from 2016, have officially cut the cord and no longer pay for traditional cable, satellite or telco services. It’s forecasted that by 2021, 30% of adults won’t have traditional pay TV.

As online companies observed the increase in the number of streamers and the profitability this area brings, they were quick to jump onboard. In August, Facebook launched its new video service, “Watch.” This platform offers both live and pre-recorded videos that Facebook users can upload content to, similar to YouTube. However, they also partnered with Major League Baseball, the NBA, Nasa, Time Inc., National Geographic and NASA who pay to add their content to the viewing options. Facebook is not the only newcomer as Snapchat, Disney, Philo and countless TV networks created both paid and unpaid streaming platforms.

With this change in viewing preference, advertisers are finding new ways to reach these viewers. Many of the streaming platforms require users to watch a 15-60 second spot before their content plays. An advantage to this is that these ads are 100% viewable – there is no way to skip the ad. If advertisers are able to create clear, creative video that captures the attention of the viewer and seems more like an additional piece of content, this new shift will increase lift and be a great addition to many brand’s media mix.

Artificial Intelligence Knocks on Everyone’s Front Door

In 2017, artificial intelligence (AI) branched out from the areas where we were used to seeing it, like inside of our cars, smartphones and aircrafts, and is quickly integrating itself into our homes. Over the holiday season, Amazon said they sold “millions” of their Alexa products, including the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Connect, Echo Spot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Echo Look, and Amazon Fire TV stick. Google also saw success with their line of home products.

Luckily for these search and retail giants, consumers’ attitudes towards AI has shifted from fear that the technology would take their jobs to appreciation. 75% of Americans now believe that AI is here to help humans and that those who don’t embrace its benefits will be without a job in the future. As it becomes increasingly present in our lives and continues to collect rich voice data, in-home AI devices will soon lend just as much of a hand to digital advertisers as it does consumers. As 2018 moves forward, advertisers will begin to map out the uncharted territory that lies within the data accumulated from these devices.

Apple Says Goodbye to the Home Button

Apple decided to make their newest phone’s screen as large as possible and to make space for more phone, they eliminated the home button. A once standard feature on every iPhone, adjusting to the new process to unlock the smartphone via facial recognition will take time. Chief Design Officer, Jonathan Ive, spoke to the change and some of the initial opposition it faced in a recent interview with Time. Ive said that “[he] actually think[s] the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure.”

The world’s most valuable brand and owner of approximately 15% of the global smartphone market share believes that its 2013 purchase of Israeli 3D sensing company, PrimeSense, powering this technology will continue to position Apple as a mobile leader. Providing greater security and ease for users when accessing their phones, the disappearance of the home button fulfills Steve Jobs wish to create a more simplified login. The iPhone X is Apple’s most personalized phone to date prompting users to say that it feels almost like the phone is magical, and projections to sell 265 million iPhones in 2018 support this sentiment.
Videos and Visuals Dominate

Four of the fastest growing social media platforms are Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr and the common denominator within all of these platforms is visual content. People are no longer satisfied with solely written content and in order to stay engaged, especially for consumers in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, they are actively changing the way they view content. The average person gets distracted in about 8 seconds, so incorporating popular features such as photos, infographics, memes, illustrations and videos is essential. With 81% of people skimming the content they read online and image-related posts receiving a 650% higher engagement, it’s clear that captivating visual and video content is only going to become more important in 2018.

$10 Billion Spent on Data

According to a study from the IAB Data Center of Excellence and the Data & Marketing Association, US companies spent $10.05 billion on third-party audience data and $10.13 billion on solutions to support its activation in 2017. The $10.05 billion breaks down into $3.5 billion spent on email addresses, names, street addresses and other personally identifiable information, $2.9 billion on transactional data and $2 billion on digital identifiers. In regard to solution support, $4.3 billion was spent on supporting data integration, processing and hygiene, $4.2 billion spent on hosting and management solutions and $1.63 billion spent on analytics, modeling and segmentation solutions.

Snapchat Improves its Ad Tracking

Snapchat has had a very eventful year with many successes and challenges. Despite its devaluation after its IPO in March, the social platform has been very resilient. Snapchat boasts about 178 million daily users that spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the app and if you look at users under the age of 25 (about 60% of all users), this jumps to around 42 minutes of Snapchatting a day, making it more frequently used than its competitor. For brands looking to reach these users, there are a variety of ways to leverage the platform to promote their offerings, such as filters, geotags, and in-app ads that viewers see between viewing friends’ and publishers’ stories.

What’s most promising about Snapchat is its users’ disposition towards ads, with 50% receptive to or neutral to the ads they’re served. Brands are hoping to see positive results from their Snapchat campaigns and are also excited that they can now track them much more effectively. The recent release of the “Snap Pixel” allows advertisers to add a pixel to their ads and track campaign metrics and data analytics in real time. For the past three years since Snapchat began using advertising, it’s been making it easier for brands to automate campaigns, bid on ad space and measure the performance. With these advances and the platform’s sustained engagement of young millennials and Generation Z consumers, Snapchat is maintaining its position as a major player in digital advertising.


With an overwhelming amount of new players and shifting paradigms that have arisen in the digital ecosystem throughout 2017, there’s a lot to keep track of and a lot of opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of in 2018.  Having a strong digital partner to manage your brand’s digital ad buying is crucial and Digilant is ready to step in to help.  Reach out to us here to learn more about our digital media buying solutions and services and how to maximize your brand’s digital advertising potential in 2018.

Best Internet Advertising Strategies Explained

Effective internet advertising relies on the delivery of impactful messages to consumers through the digital media channels that will provide optimal return on investment. Advertising agencies use a variety of internet advertising strategies according to the goals of the brands with which they work. These strategies can include email marketing, search, social, and display marketing, content marketing, and more often than not, a combination of all of these types of internet advertising.

There’s no formulaic path to follow when embarking upon an internet advertising campaign, and the trends and tastes of digital consumers change over time. If you want to keep up, consider implementing some of the most frequently used and most effective forms of ad buying strategies found below.

1. Video Advertising on Social Media

There’s no denying that we’re consuming more and more video content on social media. 45% of users watch over an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week and 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. For these and other compelling reasons, social media platforms are including more ways for advertisers and publishers alike to create and engage with video.

Large video sharing platforms like YouTube have been selling video ad space for years, but have continuously enhanced their offerings, now allowing advertisers to have their videos appear in users’ search results.

What we have seen over the last two years is an explosion in video consumption on our platform, which in turn has created a great opportunity to take advantage of internet advertising,” said Graham Mudd, Director of Monetization Product Marketing at Facebook.

Live Videos

Since Facebook first took a chance on incorporating live streaming into its platform in April 2016 with “Facebook Live”, the video advertising landscape has undergone a turn. Previously, Twitter had bought and introduced a mobile device integration with Periscope, and most recently, Instagram launched Instagram stories. Similar to Snapchat, Instagram stories allow users to post photos and videos that can be viewed for up to 24 hours, however, Instagram differentiates itself with a live streaming feature.
This evolution in video advertising allowing for more personal interaction with users is key to understanding why many companies are deciding to allocate more and more of their ad spend towards social channels.
Big brands are capitalizing on these changes in information consumption to enhance their internet advertising strategies. Lowes, for example, unveiled its Black Friday deals on Facebook Live to an audience of 32,000 people and the recording was viewed an additional 891,000 times in the days following the live stream.

2. Remarketing

Have you ever looked at a flight without buying it and then it started to appear everywhere as you navigated the web? How many times have you been on the verge of buying a product on Amazon, but you ultimately remove it from your cart and it shows up on almost every page you visit? This form of internet advertising is what’s known as remarketing.
Remarketing is an advertising strategy that leverages browsing data in the form of cookies to remind users that they can still convert and purchase the product or service they left behind. If a user has shown interest in any of your products or services, but has not yet converted, tactful remarketing can attract the user back with display ads on other websites.

A Customized Strategy

Remarketing is considered one of the best internet advertising techniques for both small and large advertisers. The best thing about this ad buying tactic is that you can customize the message in a way that will increase conversions.

However, advertisers should use this tactic carefully because poor use of remarketing often reflects a negative image of a brands as being quite aggressive or annoying. Set yourself up for success by doing your homework on which users will be most likely to convert upon exposure to a remarketing ad.

A great place to start is the Google Display Network, where you can reach potential customers that have already shown a strong interest in your product or service. One of the best features of the network is its audience segmentation capabilities which allows for keyword, contextual, behavioral, and geo-targeting, among other tactics.

3. Inbound Marketing

Although inbound marketing is no longer the newest or most innovative of strategies, it’s still a great technique to drive internet advertising results. The reason? Inbound has adapted to the changing consumer-brand relationship.

The most important thing to prepare when planning your inbound marketing strategy is content. Not only does the content have to be consistent and available on the digital channels that your users access, but it also must be valuable content and tailored to the various audience segments to whom you’re trying to convert.

Identifying a variety of consumer personas and generating content catered to those personas is always the best first course of action before putting paper to pavement.  However, once you’re ready to launch an inbound marketing strategy, the below inbound lead generation tactics are a helpful roadmap to follow if you want to yield conversions for your business.

Inbound Marketing Tactics

  • Attracting Traffic: The first step of inbound is to get the user’s attention. It can be published periodically in your blog quality content, streamlining the different profiles of social networks or through the sending of newsletters, among other actions.
  • Conversion: If you offer quality content that provides value to your audience, such as free ebooks, thought pieces, infographics, guides, and videos, users will become loyal visitors to your site. Offer valuable materials that require a lead form from a landing page, so that
  • Closing: Once you’ve acquired the lead, it’s time to nurture it by further engaging the potential customer. Direct emails, webinars, and other personalized are all effective ways to capture leads.
  • Post-Campaign Analysis: Don’t forget this last step. In order to widen your inbound sales funnel, it’s important to analyze your campaign. What piece of content received the most downloads or site visits? What lead nurturing techniques worked best to seal the deal with your leads?

4. Native Advertising

Native Advertising is a type of internet advertising that, like inbound marketing, has also arisen because of the new digital consumer’s relationship with brands.

Native is popular because it’s a less intrusive digital advertising tactic compared to traditional banners and other forms of display advertising. Each ad unit appears as if it were just another piece of the publisher’s content because it integrates its creative to mirror the publisher’s. A common form of native that you’ve probably encountered are ads found amongst the posts in a social network’s newsfeed.

Characteristics of Native Advertising

Native Ad Units share similar attributes with publisher content like image size & ratio, layout, headline, caption, font colors and style. The key differences lie in that native ads also include ad labels.
If you manage to sell your brand in an original way and offer content that your user needs, you’ll start to win over your audience. Providing solutions rather than asking for a purchase grabs a user’s attention and might even encourage sharing of the ad with others.

5. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is one of the most innovative forms of internet advertising to date, integrating the digital and physical world together to create experiences that surprise even the savviest of consumers.

The interactive nature of augmented reality is exciting and catches participants off guard, leaving an impact and sometimes even causing the campaign to go viral. Most campaigns are setup to allow smartphone users direct their phones’ cameras at certain objects, whether a print advertisement or even just a cup of coffee, in order to prompt a 3D video to play.
According to Nielsen, 97% of millennials own a smartphone, making this internet advertising strategy highly accessible to users, and more specifically, users that aren’t always apt to engage with traditional advertising.
One of the most exciting aspects of augmented reality is its room for growth and expansion. It’s very experimental, but the evidence is there to back up its effectiveness. According to Deloitte, there are already 88% of mid-market companies implementing some form of virtual or augmented reality into their business

Choose your Audience Wisely

As you plan your next internet advertising campaign, consider the internet users that you’re trying to reach and which strategies at your disposal will result in those users being receptive to your campaign.  The above digital ad buying strategies all focus on the current, yet constantly evolving, consumer-brand relationship.
Today’s most effective online tactics generally aren’t implemented as a part of a campaign used to drive direct sales, but instead boost brand engagement. Advertisers must always question how they can break down barriers between their brand and the user. How can you reach and connect with your buyer personas?

Partners like Digilant can help you move forward in your next internet advertising campaign, leveraging actionable data science to analyze user behavior and create campaigns that reach consumers across the digital ecosystem, while uncovering new insights and audiences along the way.

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