Digital advertising is one of the most powerful and most popular methods of reaching consumers and driving business results. Digital ads allow advertisers an incredible amount of control over messaging and creative rotation. And the digital world permits tremendous flexibility in market segmentation, ad frequency and overall campaign scale. To take advantage of the profitability gains achievable with digital marketing in 2019, keep these seven elements in mind.
1. Be everywhere to your niche audience.
One major difference between Fortune 500 advertising agencies and smaller firms is that the former can reach a larger pool of customers simply because they have more money. Smaller firms can’t hope to compete on raw numbers of people exposed to their message.
But the focus shouldn’t be on reaching the largest possible number of people. Instead, it should be on surrounding your target audience with your message everywhere they go. Reach your market at various times of the day, in a variety of settings, using various media. Make sure your target audience can’t help but notice your brand.
When consumers see and hear your brand everywhere — on Pandora or Spotify on their way to work; on Facebook, Instagram, or their favorite blog during their lunch break; and on streaming TV in the evening — they take action. The perception builds that your business is strong, it is popular, and it meets their needs. You reach them, make an impact and appeal to something in their psyche, giving you a sales opportunity and them a chance to purchase something they desperately want.
2. Use Facebook to your advantage.
Despite the scandals, political hearings and pressure from the press, Facebook continues to be the ultimate resource for businesses. More than six million advertisers rely on the platform to reach their respective markets. Here’s how to get the best return from your Facebook advertising expenditures in 2019:
• Efficiencies: Use Q1 buying power to earn additional efficiencies with your Facebook ads. Performance increases as the glut of holiday advertisers step away from the platform.
• Instagram Stories: If you aren’t already buying Instagram Stories (remember that Facebook owns Instagram), this a must for your ad campaign. I have found that these five-second ads can cost up to 35% less per click and per sale gained than Newsfeed ads.
• Creative testing: Facebook’s powerful algorithm determines when and where to place an ad to achieve the desired effect. But to improve performance, cycle through three to five creative formats at a time. Test unconventional creative efforts. On one recent campaign, I was able to reduce our cost per lead by 10% with this strategy.
3. Trust data and automation.
According to eMarketer, 84.5% of display advertising in 2019 will be programmatic, and mobile advertising accounts for 66% of total ad spending (subscription required). I see click rates dropping and CPMs becoming more expensive on desktop ads.
4. Remember that most media is digital media.
Out-of-home, radio and TV advertising are all digitally driven, giving us the ability to target consumers based on very specific data points. If you buy Lakers tickets, you’ll see an ad on your digital streaming service. If most Lakers tickets are in 10 specific zip codes, digital marketers can run ads on the billboards, transit shelters and malls in those target areas. Use these tools to reach your consumers across their screens and be everywhere they are.
5. Use identity resolution to change the game.
Three pieces of information connect you to your data: email address, advertiser ID and cookie. Advertisers only need one of those data points to get the other two, and with that information, they can market more directly to the consumer than ever before. This is great for auto dealers who want to know more about who walks on to their lot and for CPG advertisers who want to know more about shoppers at Ralphs. With this identifying information, we report data like the following about a very specific market segment:
• How far customers drive or walk to the store
• Household income
• Household language
• Wealth factors
• Lifestyle preferences
This information helps advertisers understand who their best customers are, how to market to those customers and how to ensure they come back for repeat purchases.
6. Track the returns on your advertising investment.
Your advertiser ID (or device ID) is unique to your phone. Through the apps you use, trillions of data points — every step you take — is being tracked, sold and used for ad targeting. We can tell if our mobile ad was seen just before a customer walks into a retail location. We can tell if a customer saw our billboard before walking into the store. And, of course, we can tell if an online buyer saw our ad before visiting a company website. It’s important to directly attribute advertising investment to business outcomes. The more you understand how it works, the better you can ask for the right solution from your advertising partner.
Say you’re selling T-shirts to Adele fans. Location data is so advanced that advertisers know consumers walked into a certain venue on a certain date specifically to see Adele. Your T-shirts can now be marketed directly to Adele fans on gaming apps, news sites, internet portals and niche blogs all over the web. The ads will appear in the placement and time most likely to drive a sale.
These immensely powerful capabilities were once the domain of Fortune 500 advertisers. Today, every business, regardless of size or budget, can use these tools. You, too, can work with agencies to develop robust digital advertising campaigns for your business within your budget. The Fortune 500 firms may have deep pockets and seemingly unlimited resources, but you can now use the same tools they do to be everywhere for your target market of potential customers and drive sales.