With digital transformation, advertising isn’t just about growing brand awareness or planting a seed. Advertisers and their adtech partners can reach audiences big and small at any stage of the funnel, delivering cross-channel ads across multiple touchpoints. And they aren’t just using traditional demographics and ratings, they’re leveraging device-level or user-specific data, as well as contextual insights, to serve the right message to the right customer at the right time.
Advertising is deeply impacted by emerging tech platforms and social media trends, making it susceptible to constant disruptions. As marketers, you have to stay on top of your game by keeping up to date with industry trends.
As consumers have shifted their attention from traditional advertising to digital channels, it has become crucial for marketers to pivot. When this is studied within the context of an annual increase of 10.3% in the overall marketing budget and a 16.2% increase in digital marketing spending, we can see a trend of increasing reliance on digital advertising channels over traditional advertising options.
This data highlights the ever-evolving nature of advertising and underscores the importance of adopting relevant marketing strategies. It is only by understanding how customer preferences change over time that you can devise an effective advertising campaign.
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What are the best advertising practices?
The best advertising tactics are contextual and continue to evolve. Here are some guiding principles that can help with your advertising strategy.
Be adaptive. As marketers, you have to be able to keep up with the shifting landscape. After identifying what platforms drive the most traffic and are the most popular with your target group, you have to quickly learn and adapt to the platform’s features and algorithms. For example, TikTok’s popularity has grown exponentially; it had 1.2 billion monthly active users in Q4, 2021, up from 381 million in 2019. Additionally, the platform has repeatedly proven itself as a strong conversion channel, driving 155% more clicks than Instagram and Facebook ads for a Jungle Topp Media experiment.
Incorporate feedback. Your advertising methodology needs to have a built-in feedback loop to collect crucial performance data and incorporate it into your ongoing campaign. Create new content, release it, track metrics, collect feedback, and use it to design future campaigns. One of the biggest benefits of non-traditional marketing tools, such as social media, is that they generate actionable data that reveal insights. This makes assessing the impact of your campaigns easier than ever before.
For example, Instagram offers engagement insights for Reels and live broadcasts. For Reels, Instagram provides data on total plays, accounts reached, likes, comments, saves and shares. For live broadcasts, there is data on accounts reached, peak concurrent viewers, comments and shares. This is extremely valuable feedback that captures your current content’s effectiveness and engagement level, allowing you to tweak your future content accordingly.
Consider employing outside help. The best advertising practices are efficient. However, you have to be aware of the capacity of your business to use these tools effectively. Do you have the right team to produce content on emerging platforms? Does your team understand data and analytics? Using external vendors to optimize your advertising can give your business a competitive edge.
The most significant advantage of effective advertising is that it engages your audience. An engaged audience is more likely to purchase your products and refer your brand to other people through word of mouth. Specifically, advertising leads to audience development, and these are the benefits it offers:
- Customer acquisition: A burgeoning customer base is vital for your long-term revenue growth. To access new customer segments and markets, it is vital to make your brand visible and relatable. Advertising is that mechanism that fills the gap between your brand and potential customers.
- Customer retention: Since customer acquisition cost is often cited to be 5x the cost of customer retention, it is wise to increase your focus on building customer loyalty. Understanding customer feedback and implementing that into your campaign is essential for long-term relationship development.
Changes in the advertising landscape today
While the changing landscape driven by the amalgamation of tech and advertising is sure to bring multiple opportunities to marketers, it also imposes certain restrictions. Navigating this space can be challenging for the following reasons.
Standing out from the clutter. Advertising is omnipresent on the web today. Whether a customer is browsing on Google, reading an article, or watching a video on YouTube, they will see promotions and ads everywhere.
The sheer volume of advertising has made people increasingly numb to conventional digital advertising techniques. Marketers using digital advertising face more pressure than ever to stand out from the clutter and produce engaging content.
The decline of third-party cookies. Marketers have counted on third-party cookies for decades to track website visitors and collect consumer data online. This data is critical to improving user experience and generating targeted ads. However, data protection and privacy issues have now come to the forefront, bringing increased scrutiny to companies’ data practices and giving rise to regulatory frameworks to curb privacy violations.
Apple has implemented changes to its iOS14 operating system using Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). Firefox also offers Enhanced Tracking Protection that blocks third-party cookies by default. Google controls over 63% of the browser market and plans to phase out third-party cookies by 2023. Marketers will no longer be able to rely on these cookies to generate consumer-level data, which will hamper their ability to create targeted ads.
Adapting to industry changes
The message is clear – advertising, in the years to come, can’t be based on privacy breaches or manipulative tactics. Instead, successful advertisers will have to produce transparent, ethical ads that speak to consumers authentically.
Know your audience. Different tech platforms and social media channels cater to different audiences. As a marketer, you need to understand which platforms are most widely used by your customers and make your ads compatible with the platform you’re using to advertise. Unwanted ads drive 84% of consumers away from the platform, with approximately 40% of baby boomers paying for premium subscriptions to avoid them.
Platforms like TikTok and tools like Instagram Reels have incorporated ads into the content itself. Unlike YouTube, TikTok and Instagram ads are not disconnected from the underlying video content; rather, they assimilate the ads into the content itself. This kind of organic and informal approach to advertising is a better way to engage consumers.
Contextual advertising. Unlike targeted advertising, contextual advertising does not rely on third-party cookies. It involves matching the content of a webpage with the content of your ad. This model is able to influence consumers’ purchase decisions by taking into account the interests that drew them to that webpage while respecting their privacy.
Applications of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) in advertising have provided marketers with numerous opportunities. It is these capabilities that enable the “reading” of webpage content for effective contextual advertising. A recent study by GumGum, a contextual advertising company, and SPARK Neuro, a neuro analytics company, found that ads that match the underlying page’s content generate 43% more neural engagement and 2.2 times better ad recall. Contextual advertising can mitigate the impact of declining third-party cookies and provide a potent alternative for marketers.
Keys to successful advertising
The digital transformation of the advertising industry has provided multiple opportunities and challenges. While it is easier today than ever before to reach a larger audience through multiple platforms, growing content competition and rising privacy concerns have required marketers to be more creative.
At its core, successful advertising involves knowing your audience and identifying the most effective platform to deliver high-impact ads to your specific target group.
Resources for learning more about advertising
The advertising landscape is constantly changing, so brands need to develop new methods of audience engagement on a regular basis.
Here are some helpful advertising resources to help improve your strategies: