Luke Hayter, Exponential UK

We’re pleased to welcome guest blogger Luke Hayter, Insights Specialist at Exponential UK with his top tips for clients when deciding on a digital advertising strategy.

“Digital Advertising can be an intimidating subject – crowded as it is with innumerable products, theories, buzz words and technology. It doesn’t have to be impenetrable though, and here I’ll offer four key points to bear in mind when planning to spend on digital advertising. For clarity, I’m going to focus on the display sector, as search, social, affiliate and mobile each deserve their own blog post!

1: What are you trying to achieve?

Decide upon a goal and stick to it. The goal, to a large extent, defines the message. There’s no point creating a high-impact, rich media ad format if what you want to achieve is a direct response or action, for example. So think about what action you want the user to take, and make sure that your creative design reflects that. If you want the user to buy something, make sure that the page you redirect them to makes it easy for them to do so. Remember, ease of user journey is vital where an action is required. The same applies whatever the action from linking to a social media page, entering a competition or commenting on a video, make the required action clear and concise for the user.

2: How are you measuring success?

Once you’ve defined your goal next step is to define how reaching this goal will be measured. A popular method in the early days of display advertising was to judge the success of a campaign based on clicks – this is erroneous, as research has clearly shown that people who click on ads are not the same as people who buy from ads. It’s best to have a CPA (cost-per action) target in mind as this will allow you to optimise your campaign.

3. Who are you trying to reach?

Now it’s time to think about your target audience, and this is where online display really excels as a medium. There are reams of data out there, and most media properties will be able to offer you a targeting package aligned to the audience you want to reach. The breadth and detail of the targeting available will vary from the simple, for example gender, location etc., to more behaviourally based parameters such as interest, life-stage, preferences etc. When thinking about buy fluconazole suspension targeting, it is important to match your audience as rigorously as possible. For example – anyone might be willing and able to enter a competition to win a car, but not everyone will be suitably excited by a cruise along the Rhine – consider the appeal of your product to differing audience segments before you define the targeting you would like. It’s always best to have your own demographic and/or behavioural data ready beforehand to ensure you’re really targeted.

4: Does the medium reflect the message?

You’ve defined your goals; you’ve decided how you will measure them; and you’ve identified your target audience, now you need to think about the creative execution itself.

First and foremost, don’t forget your call to action – even the most engaging ads are bound to do poorly if they don’t clearly invite (and incite) a consumer response. If possible create custom ads for each type of publisher (automotive, lifestyle, entertainment, and so on), and use those ads on the appropriate site moving forward.

• Make your ad interactive, studies have shown that ads requiring user interaction can see dwell rates of 103% compared with 39% for a standard “polite” banner. When it comes to ads that obscure page content, consumers would rather be in control of the ad viewing experience themselves.

• If you are using audio, make sure it is user-initiated. Let’s not forget that a large number of the consumers viewing your ad are very likely at work and would prefer not to draw attention to the fact that they’re surfing a site unrelated to their job. Audio that kicks in as soon as the ad is delivered only encourages the user to close it faster.

• Make your online media ads consistent with your offline ads, social media presence, and product website. There is much to be said for creating an integrated cross-media experience, particularly when it comes to encouraging product and message recall.

Once your campaign is live, make a point of checking your placements often to ensure the ad content meshes well with the content of the site page. Don’t use rich media unless it adds real value to your brand message. There are campaigns for which rich media is beneficial, and others for which employing it is about dramatic impact and nothing else. Be wary of which category your campaign falls into, or risk investing a bundle unnecessarily and wasting money.”