What must digital do to take on the might of TV advertising? Niki Stoker presents a six-point plan for success
TV remains the daddy when it comes to delivering big-reach, big-awareness campaigns. So, while time spent on digital platforms continues to grow, brand money still isn’t following them to a proportionate degree. This is not brand advertisers being silly. This is because few digital advertising providers have managed to combine all the things they need to feel comfortable investing on the web.
But, as their audiences for traditional media outlets fragment, brands are desperate for digital to offer them a solution. So what do we need to offer? Here’s the shortlist:
1. Audience understanding
Brands are used to serious audience profiling techniques. They expect to hear insight into exactly who their target customer should be and techniques for reaching them effectively. Digital can do it so much better. We don’t have to start with a made-up model of a customer. We can use real-life and, often, real-time data to tell them exactly who their customers are and enable them to target those people as they arrive on a web page, with creative that meets their needs exactly. And we can optimise all of that as the campaign progresses. We need to do a much better job of explaining this story and proving its benefits.
2. Benefits not technology
It takes incredibly large and sophisticated technology to collect, collate and make sense of data to make it of any practical use to advertisers. But, advertisers don’t care about that. They just want to know what it does and see that it works. They’re only interested in their ads being delivered to the people they expect when they expect. For digital providers our technology is often the crux of our USPs. We need to ensure that we are communicating the benefits of these assets, not their features.
Advertisers need access to the right audiences at real scale. Describing a brand’s perfect user by a detailed list of attributes is no good if that only describes a few people they can actually target. Global reach is essential to make fine-grain targeting meaningful, particularly for brand awareness campaigns that demand large audiences.
Name your three favourite TV ads. Now name your three favourite online ads. Creative that demands attention and rewards it is essential to drive better brand results for advertisers. So, providers need to deliver creative that is enormously relevant to the right audiences and engages those audiences more effectively. We need to make a bigger deal of how audience insights should drive creative as much as the media buy, but also need to accept that the magic has to go along with the logic.
5. Brand pricing models
CPM as a pricing model has been dragged into the performance game. Allowing the cost of impressions to be worked back to DR objectives like click-through and conversion has done the effort to attract brand money no favours. Pricing models need to evolve to ensure that digital campaigns are gauged against brand metrics. Cost per engagement – where the advertiser is only charged when a user engages with their ad is one.
Most crucially, online providers need to be built to serve brand advertisers needs. Performance marketing is where the money is and has been – but this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we want to attract TV money, we need to organise ourselves for it. That means everything the company does drives towards serving brands. It means speaking their language and it means defining success, not just by the revenue you attract, but the type of revenue you attract.
There is an enormous tendency for any new generation to remain mystified at the intransigence of the previous one to join their bandwagon. If we didn’t need the support of traditional brand advertisers that would be fine. But, we do. We therefore we need to turn our thinking on its head, remind ourselves that no successful marketer does anything without good reason and then ask what good reasons we can provide to help TV money find its way to the web.
Niki Stoker, Managing Director, Tribal Fusion UK