An effective, efficient, scalable digital media strategy that creates real assets for the brand requires several key components.
Your media buying choices aren’t driven by publisher or platform, but rather by target audience. The audience you’re targeting is more important than where an ad is being displayed. Digital makes this truer than ever. Advertisers often still buy exclusively by property or media brand. There is obviously some value to that as it guarantees a certain level of audience quality, but it can’t replace customer data that gives you sure knowledge of a person’s status, interests, or characteristics as they relate to the campaign.
You use an advertiser-side ad server. Both sides should absolutely be using an ad server. The publisher uses it to maximize revenue and manage ad space, and the advertiser needs to do the same, but to maximize investments, confirm impressions/clicks, and verify the pace of campaign delivery. Moreover, advertisers who only have access to Google Analytics to track their performance are missing critical data for awareness or conversion campaigns. Without this performance measurement data, it becomes very difficult to attribute the success of a media investment to the right effort.
Your media approach varies depending on where the customer is in the purchase cycle. Your messaging, creative, and landing pages change if you are speaking to customers who are ready to buy:
You have the technical ability and the creative assets required to approach all these groups of customers in a sequential, almost conversational way as they get closer to being ready to buy your product or service.
You have a data strategy. Data should take up an important place in your media strategy. You use it to improve targeting, and to produce insights about your target audience. You make use of the data you’ve accumulated and organized over the course of your campaigns, but you also use new data that you’ve gotten by trading or negotiating with partners, or through sponsorships. You’ll often buy data in your campaigns to extend your target audience and take advantage of qualified data. Combined with testing, a data-based approach to media can transform your media investments into long term assets.
You do testing, and allow yourself to make mistakes. You work hard to be able to test several messages and creatives for each campaign, so you can get a real sense of what performs and redirect your efforts accordingly. You are open-minded, because the results are a surprise every time. You prefer to let the data talk. You are such a believer in this approach, that before every television or radio campaign, you test a percentage of your investment online before launching the campaign in traditional media where it’s harder to get this sense of what resonates best.
Part of your media plan is invested in CPA. You’ve been working for a while now with several publishers, and have negotiated a division of risk that allows you to control your costs to the point that you are able to acquire new customers at a fixed price. You take this approach as often as possible for customers who are on the verge of purchase or conversion.
You constantly measure the impact of your campaigns on brand awareness and consideration. You take advantage of the benefits of digital and frequently or systematically check to see the impact of your investments in terms of brand awareness, both online and off, by surveying customers who may or may not have been exposed to your campaigns. This approach allows you to understand the marginal impact on awareness and brand consideration of each of your campaigns.
With all this, you know that you have a scalable, effective, and efficient media strategy, and are even creating meaningful assets for the future of your company!