More channels, strategies and increasingly sophisticated technology have all contributed to the consistent growth of digital advertising over recent years, growth which is set to continue as digital ad spend is predicted to increase by a further 3.5% in 2019. As more brands see the value, and necessity, of running digital advertising for acquisition and retargeting, marketers must be looking at how they can maximise the effectiveness of online advertising at every opportunity.
At a time when so much budget is being invested in the channel, ensuring you receive a significant return on marketing investment from digital advertising is essential. And we don’t just mean financial return. ROI comes in many forms, in this instance it’s equally important to look at improvements to website bounce rates and time spent on site. Yet in a recent survey of marketers, only 10% selected programmatic advertising as the digital marketing channel they perceived generated them the highest ROI, with 57% stating it generated them low to medium ROI. So, what exactly is limiting digital advertising effectiveness? And what can you do to improve the effectiveness of online advertising?
Target the right audience
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; programmatic advertising is only as good as its audience. Developing precise audience segments to target is one of the most critical components of delivering effective advertising. Start by asking what you are trying to achieve and what you are looking to promote, then develop target audience groups that will have a high intent to engage with ads containing that specific content. Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach which favours quantity over quality - it’s more important to get your ads seen by the right people, than simply as many people as possible. You should be building user profiles that combine:
- Context - session events (what actions they have taken during their session) and shopping mode (are they browsers, researchers, product focused, bargain hunters, or one-time shoppers)
- Profile - behaviour (their interests, purchase history, browsing patterns etc.)
- Demographics - persona data (age, location, gender etc.)
By linking all these elements, you’ll be able to engage users based on not only who they are, but also their motivations and needs. You should also continue to target these audience segments with the same relevant experience during the rest of their journey.
Value impressions as well as clicks
How many times have you seen an ad, seemingly ignored it, only to visit that brand’s website at a later date? You might not have realised, or even made the connection, but the chances are; if you’ve seen an impactful advert, you probably went on to visit that website at some point. With an average click through rate (CTR) of 0.14% for display ads (July 2018), it’s clear that online advertising effectiveness isn’t dependant on clicks alone. If it were, brands most certainly wouldn’t be pumping so much budget into the channel. This is where we must also focus on the value of impressions, and how to maximise every single ad view.
An impression refers to the point at which a visitor views an advert. To create lasting impressions, not only must ads be visually engaging and clearly display your brand and products, they must also be highly relevant for your audience and their motivations. This includes placement on contextually relevant websites. By delivering content relevant to the segments you want to target, you’re also likely to improve viewability, one of the ad industry’s main challenges. You should be optimising ads for viewability to increase the chance of your audience scrolling and seeing your advert.
But digital advertising effectiveness isn’t achieved solely once you’ve gained an impression. The real power lies in what happens next; what happens when they land on your website?