Connecting to your audience has never been easier, as businesses and consumers alike are spending more time online. Despite this, many brands struggle to develop a strong digital presence, wasting both their time and money on misguided planning.
Building a robust advertising strategy – that targets the right consumer groups – is no easy feat. Industry standards and best practices are constantly changing, which makes it increasingly difficult to decide which tactics will deliver the biggest impact online. It’s never been more important for marketers to regularly evaluate their strategy in order to maintain a competitive edge in today’s complicated online ecosystem.
Here are our top 5 tips to boost your digital advertising strategy – so you can drive customer engagement, raise brand awareness and generate more leads online:
1. Create personalised content & messaging
The digital landscape is filled with generic ad placements that fail to resonate with audiences. To stand out above the crowd, it’s important to personalise messaging based on consumer preferences, behaviours, wants and needs. These insights can then be used to create buyer personas – a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers based on data and research.
To develop a buyer persona, extensive research must first be conducted – first-party behavioural, transactional and demographic data are an excellent starting point. From here you can run targeted 1-1 surveys/interviews with prospective consumers for a more in-depth perception. Once you have narrowed down your main buyer personas, content can be matched to suit their specific interests and preferences.
Let’s say you run a sports equipment business and want to increase sales for a new range of basketball-related products. Instead of sending out identical emails or social media communications to all of your customers, you should accurately identify the main buyer personas for basketball products, and tailor specific messaging to their interests and/or previous purchasing behaviours.
Aligning ad content and messaging to these specific consumer segments will leave a lasting impression and develop a deeper authentic connection with your audience. This unique experience ensures consumers are more likely to purchase, as their needs are accurately addressed in the content and messaging that they receive.
2. Clearly map the customer journey
Knowing how and why individuals interact with your products provides essential context for your media planning. Now that you have established buyer personas, you can use the intelligence to create a well-researched customer journey. Customer journey mapping involves taking on the perspective of a particular consumer segment to understand how they interact with your brand at each point of the sales funnel. It’s critical to create an informed and effective program – which puts the consumer experience at the core.
Following from the earlier example, your internal research has found that basketball products are purchased mainly by parents and younger males. When mapping each journey, you find parents tend to shop in-store, while young males are shopping predominantly online. By acknowledging these key differences, relevant ads can be placed to meet their specific needs at the right time and place – EG digital billboards in shopping centres to target parents, or paid social to reach younger males.
By continuously analysing which segments are delivering the highest engagement, your investment can be more accurately spent on nurturing the right groups – creating more leads and boosting your return on investment.
3. Leverage first-party data to target key audiences
First-party data is the most direct and effective way to understand consumer behaviour. While third-party data has been an advertising staple for many years, it’s drastically losing its place in the digital realm. As third-party cookies have been retired from most search engines and will soon be removed from Google’s systems altogether – using verified, first-party data provides accurate insights into the real behaviours and preferences of your customers. This gives advertisers clear direction on who to target, and how to appeal to their specific audiences.
Back at the sports equipment store, you are ready to run a paid advertising campaign in order to connect to a wider audience online. It’s important that your targeting is on point – to ensure that you receive maximum ROI on your advertising budget. By using your first-party transactional and demographic data, you can create a seed audience to target like-minded individuals online – via a process known as lookalike modelling. Find out how first-party data is shaping the future of digital advertising.
4. Optimise your media buying with programmatic advertising
The digital landscape continues to demand flexibility and innovation, as new trends emerge at a rapid rate. Marketers can’t always afford to monitor all of these fluctuations as they happen – prompting them to utilise current technologies to automate the process. Traditional methods involve buying media directly from publishers, requiring greater resources and time to set up. This method has a clear downside – as it can’t automatically adjust for poor channel performance or external forces impacting the platform. Programmatic advertising avoids this by automatically choosing the right channels to deliver the highest engagement and conversion rates per impression. This dynamic form of media buying simplifies the advertising process as it regularly optimises itself with new data and trends.
The sports equipment company have decided to run ads programmatically, choosing a range of social media and video streaming platforms to connect to their audience. A week after the campaign launch, one of their social channels faced public scrutiny which prompted a large group of users to leave the platform. This drop in engagement does not harm the campaign’s success, as programmatic automations shift ad allocations to the channels that are performing the best. By optimising each campaign element you can effectively eliminate your media wastage, maximising the impact of your overall ad spend.
5. Venture into multiple channels
It’s important for businesses to consider the total spectrum of digital options available. Each channel has their own unique consumer interactions and demographics, with new opportunities presenting themselves every day. Keeping up with emerging new platforms and trends ensures your strategy is up-to-date and relevant, especially in the social media space. By utilising an omnichannel strategy, you can effectively reduce your marketing investment risk by diversifying your channel mix. If a particular channel begins to under-perform, you can easily shift your focus onto those that are delivering the best results. Programmatic advertising allows you to be more fluid with your media budget – allocating spend to the channels that are delivering the best campaign results. This means that you won’t be locked into deals or spend commitments with any specific publisher, providing you greater freedom and flexibility in general.
Widening your horizon can be as simple as ensuring ads are placed on social media AND a few video streaming platforms, not just one or the other. If one platform is impacted by major shifts in consumer behaviour, your budget is better protected and ready for change. Also, being open to trying new and emerging platforms can help you seize opportunities. For example – having an established presence on a growing platform such as TikTok allows you to leverage new developments as they arise – while also hedging the risk of other media channels performing poorly.
Building a digital advertising strategy is no easy task, great amounts of time and research are required before you can even reach your audience. For more information on how to set-up your next digital advertising plan for success, contact one of our media specialists today.