- May 21, 2014
Digital enthusiasts cheered last month after the announcement that US digital ad spending outpaced broadcast TV spending for the first time. While overall TV (broadcast and cable) spending still captures the bulk of ad dollars, no one expects this trend to continue as digital technologies are in their infancy. As eyeballs continue to divert toward small portable screens and new content platforms emerge, the ad dollars will likely follow trend.
Navigating this transitional time requires finesse. What’s a marketer to do?
Keep focused on brand building. Complexity isn’t just a problem for the advertiser. Consumers are often overwhelmed by the barrage of messages flashing at them from screen to screen. Strong brands help consumers meet their needs by acting as mental shortcuts about what is good and bad, so they can tune out the rest of the marketing noise. For mass brands with an image to create and reinforce, TV probably bests digital – even today – as a sheer reach vehicle. Niche brands and sub-brands should take advantage of programmatic ads to hit their target straight on in the digital space.
Don’t think of digital as one medium. In traditional media planning, it is known that TV, print, outdoor, and radio each have their own strengths. Successful campaigns harness the strengths of each. The same discipline needs to be used in digital, but the options now include everything from rich media ads and digital videos to search and banner ads.
Test creative across different platforms. Mobile ads represent the greatest surge in digital spending, so getting mobile messaging right will be key. Plus, a compelling and persuasive ad on a television might not work on a smaller, on-the-go device like a smart phone. Advertisers should evaluate message effectiveness across screens and the possible additive benefits of multi-platform campaigns.
Take a more sophisticated approach to measuring ROI for your media. In the NBA and the NHL, a player’s impact isn’t measured just by the number of points he scores. There are various methods of computing plus/minus ratings that compare the team’s performance when the player is in the game vs. when he isn’t. A campaign that relies on different media to accomplish different jobs is like a team who depends on different players to do different jobs. Media mix modeling can help you appropriate ad dollars more effectively to let each media type perform its job optimally.
Though in its infancy now, digital marketing is growing up. Soon we’ll lament about the terrible teenage years. For now, keep these key points in focus, and you’ll make it through with as little angst as possible.