Banner advertisements have long been used for direct response campaigns, urging people to Click Now!, or take advantage of a timely deal. But digital marketing, and specifically display advertising, can be about more than just generating immediate clicks. Marketers now have the opportunity to develop campaigns for the purpose of branding.
Digital branding campaigns are becoming increasingly effective as the ability to track and understand users browsing behavior continues to advance. Marketers can focus efforts on building long-term brand awareness, recall, and lift, rather than just driving short-term conversions. Data regarding demographics, search history, and past purchasing information can all be used to craft effective branding campaignsan opportunity not to be missed.
The following are five ways for marketers to leverage the digital realm for branding:
1. Audience Targeting: Segment your branding efforts to those who fall within your target market.
For direct-response campaigns, the objective of audience targeting is often to reach the ideal audience. In targeting these users, marketers intend to drive immediate website visits and sales. Audience targeting can also be used to increase brand recognition. By capturing the attention of a brands identified target market, rather than just people who have demonstrated an intent to purchase, marketers can increase brand-awareness with a larger, qualified audience.
Audience targeting can be employed to suit several branding objectives. Digital marketers can expand their reach by serving ads to new audiences, or they may also reinforce branding initiatives within their currently defined target segments.
How does audience targeting enable such fine-tuned segmentation? By leveraging data on users browsing activity and history across multiple sites to create sophisticated user profiles. These user profiles can be defined further by demographic, geographic and contextual variables, empowering brand strategists with the ability to apply their budget to specific audience groups, such as, Female, Recent College-Grad, or, First-time parent from California.
2. Search Retargeting: Establish brand recall among people already searching for a specific product or service.
Search retargeting enables your brand to reach those who are already seeking out a certain product or service. This can be achieved in a couple of different ways; marketers may target interest-based keywords to connect with their target via relevant interests, or target trait-based keywords to emphasize unique traits of their brand. Because these users are already in-market consumers, they possess a higher degree of receptiveness and greater purchase-intent. Additionally, brands can set their parameters to serve ads when users search for the competition, reaching people while they are comparison shopping and drawing attention away from competitors.
3. Retargeting: Boost efforts among those who already possess preliminary brand awareness to drive further consideration.
There are many forms of retargeting; you can retarget those whove previously visited your site, opened an email, or as I just described, searched for your product. Regardless of the format of a persons prior engagement, retargeting is powerful in that you may convert someone with little or limited exposure to your brand into someone with far stronger interest by continuing to deliver meaningful impressions and drive further consideration.
As Arjun Dev Arora of ReTargeter describes,
Retargeting [also] adds what we call a ‘brand scaling’ effect. When a small brand is able to serve ads on premium sites like YouTube and Yahoo! specifically to the people they care about, they gain a level of legitimacy.
Retargeting was revealed to be the display ad strategy with the greatest impact on brand lift in a study conducted by comScore and ValueClick Media. Retargeted display advertisements resulted in a 1,046% lift in brand-term searches within a month after exposure. Retargeting also generated the largest lift in website visits within the month after exposure, at 726%. These figures reveal that a retargeting re-engagement strategy pose great benefits when looking to increase brand awareness and engagement.
4. Programmatic Premium: Combine the power and efficiency of Real-Time-Bidding with the brand-security of Premium Inventory.
Search retargeting, audience targeting and retargeting all allow you to engage with relevant users, regardless of where they are on the web, but how do you ensure that your ads are served on sites that ensure brand-security?
Programmatic Premium bridges the gap between RTB and super premium inventory and automates many tedious steps that advertisers used to be tasked with. However, with a decrease in direct purchasing of inventory, marketers may be nervous of where exactly their ads are being displayed. Serving ads on mature, user-generated, or inappropriate sites could prove disastrous to a brands image. Thus, marketers may choose to serve ads on inventory that has been classified as premium currently available on the exchanges. This premium content is brand-safe, well-lit inventory that isnt overcrowded. Furthermore, marketers may blacklist certain sites to ensure their ads are not served.
5. Creative Optimization: Tailor your creative to match your branding objectives.
Beyond reaching the right people, strong branding requires the right messaging. Creating long-lasting recall and brand recognition might not be achieved using the same creative that typically drives immediate sales. The key to creating the right impact is serving relevant messaging and creative that resonates. Leveraging the robust media options available to you and conducting A/B testing can help create long-term brand awareness that goes beyond immediate click-throughs.
With the expansion of display ad formats, there are even more options for conveying a brands story and making meaningful impressions. Flash-enabled rich media can create dynamic banner advertisements that range anywhere from brief animation to expandability that enables interaction with the ad unit. Expandable advertisements can include product feeds, surveys, and even games to drive memorability and messaging. Video advertisements integrated through traditional display ads, or through pre and post-roll advertisements, boast even more opportunities to communicate a brands message.
Conducting A/B tests around the wording of a brands value proposition, or the color, image and background or a banner ad can help marketers avoid speculation on what creative will be most effective and instead make data-driven decisions.
How to Evaluate Impact
When it comes to a branding campaign, CTR and other metrics typically used for direct response may not be telling the whole story. In fact, a significant percentage of Internet users never even click on the ads they are being served, but that doesnt mean theyre not working. The view-through conversion is one valuable metric for quantifying the impact of display advertisements because it accounts for the fact that not all display advertisements trigger an immediate action, but may instead influence later browsing behavior.
As Lori Weirman, head of product and marketing at Search Engine Monitor explains:
The goal of a branding campaign, isnt to drive a sale today but to create awareness about a specific trait, style, or need that your brand meets in turn driving long term customer loyalty.
The task of measuring long term customer loyalty and other positive effects of a branding campaign may seem trickier than the reliable CTR. However, to shy away from branding objectives in lieu of traditional direct response campaigns is to shy away from an increasingly lucrative opportunity. More concrete metrics continue to be developed for assessing the success of branding campaigns. But as it stands, brand lift, branded search, and brand studies are all reliable methods for detecting the efficacy of digital branding, and can help marketers determine how best to design their branding strategy.
Digital brand building is no easy feat, but these 5 keys comprise a strong launching point to help you craft your brand strategy and grow your brands digital presence.