Digital advertising has been around for so long you'd be forgiven for thinking that measurement must be equally as innovative as campaign creative. This is far from the case. While there's an abundance of metrics for analysing clicks and browsing behaviour, understanding the true value of digital advertising remains a key challenge for marketers as they attempt to evaluate spend across multiple channels.

The knock-on effect is that many brands and agencies are receiving a fuzzy picture of how effective their campaigns are, and where they should focus improvements.

We’ve boiled down what we know about creating digital campaigns that build short-term sales and long-term loyalty into a checklist. Measurement approaches may take time to catch up – but if you’re asking yourself these five questions, your campaigns will become more effective.

1. Do you know your ABCs?

It’s not always easy to control where advertising appears online. Given the issue of invalid traffic, marketers first need to pay attention that it’s actually being served to real people, or the metrics will be skewed.

You also need to be sure you’re measuring the right things, which means determining upfront the consumer actions you expect. For example, if you expect people to buy your product once they’ve seen the ad, are you measuring the short- and long-term brand impact, or understanding the effect on sales?

2. Are you taking a holistic view across all media?

Digital media is often measured in isolation from other activities, but it shouldn’t be. As investment increases, so do expectations – and ROI becomes a critical benchmark. Measuring the number of people who click through is not sufficient because it doesn’t tell you what they did and why, or what they think about the brand.

Digital campaign measurement requires multiple layers of qualification so that the role of each medium in delivering unique reach, frequency and contribution to brand measures is clearly understood. This insight can then be used to influence the customer’s journey, making it more likely they’ll go on to buy.

Marketers also need to measure across all touchpoints to check that the brand experience matches the brand promise and purpose. Consumers expect consistency; if anything jars it leads to a disconnect in their minds.

3. Is your creative persuasive?

You need to earn the right to consumers’ attention. Advertisers generally have most success online if they aim to make an impact through the strength of their creative, rather than the intrusiveness of the ad unit. Even the best ads lose most of their audience in the first 10 seconds, so aim to hook viewers early by cutting to the chase and generating intrigue. Introduce the brand quickly and clearly.

Humour is the main weapon in skip prevention; it was stated as the top reason for sticking with an ad by consumers in 30 of the 42 countries involved in Millward Brown’s latest AdReaction survey. Twenty-nine percent of consumers globally said they were more likely to pay attention to online video ads that offer tangible rewards like discounts or points.

4. Does the consumer have the control?

Only 19% of Europeans feel positive towards viewing ads on mobile devices, according to AdReaction. Most consumers accept live TV ads as they’re familiar with them and are generally viewing in a passive mode. However, digital media is consumed more actively, so people expect to control what they see.

Boosting receptivity – and fighting back against the increasing use of ad-blocking software – requires giving back a bit of this control, by letting people choose if they want to play the ad, switch off the sound, or skip the ad. An ‘x’ button that’s too small makes it difficult to close a pop-up, which brings out the worst in all of us.

5. What devices do your target audience use?

This information is critical when choosing the most appropriate advertising platforms, and the formats your audience will be more receptive to.

The way consumers watch video is changing. AdReaction found that globally consumers spend more than three hours a day viewing videos: half of this time on TV, one-third via mobile devices and the rest on computers. If content isn’t fit for delivery in these placements you can’t maximise ROI.

It’s important to adapt to how customers use different devices in context. Their mindset will vary, which impacts on receptivity: while laptop use is more goal-orientated, smartphones are often used to overcome boredom while out and about, so the user is typically more receptive.

As more advertising spend is directed to digital, brands and agencies must be ready to maximise the incredible opportunity to get into consumers’ hearts and minds. It’s tougher to please a digital audience, but it can be done – by measuring more than clicks, then using the insight gained to target the right people in the right context with the right content.

 

By Jane Ostler, sector managing director for media, digital and BrandZ at Kantar Millward Brown UK

 

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