Online advertising spending is projected to reach upwards of $46 billion in 2013, and is poised to overtake print spending by the end of 2012. As its growth rate demonstrates, online advertising is carving out its own space in the marketing landscape, and despite the storied success of traditional media channels, digital marketing has some distinct advantages that can make this channel more appealing than any other.
The principal benefits of digital include the relatively low cost, the ability to target audiences with unparalleled precision, and the speed with which campaigns can be executed and optimized. Though all important advantages, the subject of this post is how rapid response digital tactics can be invaluable to marketers.
Relevancy in Real Time
When it comes to real-time communication, the obvious example is social media marketing. And it’s certainly true; social media has changed the game when it comes to real-time conversations and has fundamentally, and perhaps irreversibly, rewritten the rulebook on what constitutes a good response time.
Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to air grievances or take a company to task for bad behavior. This isnt a new trend, but most companies are not living up to the task. As it stands, only about half of customer complaint tweets are responded to within 24 hours, a significant misstep on the part of brands.
But it’s just about customer service. If you or your clients are creating content, building a brand, and working to be viewed as a thought leader, customers and followers will expect you to respond to major news or goings-on in the space.
Edelman Digital’s SVP of mobile, Tim Hayden, recently explained that failure to respond to an event or debate can effectively “kill an opportunity to drive interest or purchase consideration.” Hayden is spot on–people expect contributions from brands on social, and if you or your client isn’t joining the conversation, you can bet the competitors will be.
Online advertising allows for unprecedented agility. If something isn’t working, you can revisit your campaign and make it work in a matter of hours or days rather than weeks or months.
The real differentiator is the existence of real-time feedback systems. Depending upon the channel, you may not be able to begin gathering valuable feedback immediately, but you are often able to track performance in real or near real-time and use that data to optimize for performance.
Take retargeting for example. While you may not be able to fully appreciate the success of a campaign until a few weeks has passed, you can gather performance data while a campaign is running and optimize accordingly. A good provider will be able to optimize based on individual site performance, for example, and will serve more ads on sites that lead to higher conversion rates, and fewer ads on sites that have demonstrated poor performance. Along that same vein, you can also optimize your ad creative within a single campaign. A/B testing not only allows you to optimize for performance within a single campaign, it can also provide you with data about what works for your next campaign.
Barriers to Entry
The rapidity with which most online channels can be measured, tweaked, adjusted, and optimized is one of the largest draws, yet one of the biggest challenges for bigger brands who have grown accustomed to moving slowly. There may be a higher barrier to entry for big brands hoping to move quickly and make real-time marketing decisions online, but failing to fully realize the advantage of speed will prevent you from realizing digital’s potential.