Experts predict that next year, digital ad spending will surpass television ad spending for the first time. [tweetable]With an estimated $77.37 billion in U.S. digital ad spend, advertisers will be held to new standards of accountability [/tweetable] as brands demand even better returns on this investment.
The good news is that digital advertising is very literal: It provides the opportunity to directly track exposure and conversions, paving the way to show the value and efficiency of those ads.
This, in conjunction with the opportunity data provides to more efficiently target ads, ultimately helps ensure advertising messages are relevant, timely and personal, therefore increasing engagement and ultimately, ROAS.
This represents a changing tide in a world where wasted ad spend runs rampant due to inefficiencies in traditional targeting methods, as seen with cookie-based and device-centric approaches. In a world where the end game is all about optimization to ensure brands get the most out of paid content, we finally have the opportunity to be measured, accurate and efficient in the way we reach users.
Here are five ways advertisers can improve targeting and increase efficiency of their digital media budget:
1. Invest in Addressable Audiences
Addressable media is powered by the information marketers have about their engaged customers. Today’s consumers expect their experiences to be personalized based on their interactions, behaviors and preferences. As a matter of fact, nearly 80% of shoppers say they will only engage with an offer if it is related to how they previously interacted with the brand.
Advertisers can tap into the gold mine of first-party data their brand already owns to create personalized, relevant ads targeted at known audiences. This starts with connecting offline and online data to deterministically create a unified view of the customer. It may take longer than other tactics, but investing in a first-party data asset based on known customer information allows brands to continue and build on conversations that have already been started.
2. Use Persistent Profiles
The most reliable way for advertisers to connect their valuable offline data with online behaviors – and ultimately activate on addressable media strategies – is to leverage a persistent profile centered around a universal ID that lives beyond a single campaign or cookie lifespan for persistent, cross-channel recognition. This alleviates the inefficiencies of decaying third-party cookies, allowing advertisers to recognize and reach customers on a continuous basis at every touch point in their journey.
The benefit of this persistence is the ability to build rich customer views that get deeper over time, growing and evolving with each customer interaction. This allows advertisers to use every piece of historical and current knowledge about consumers, keeping the conversation relevant, current and focused on the right thing.
3. Keep Up in Real-Time
The media targeting efficiencies created through addressing known customers can be lost if an advertiser isn’t delivering the right message at the right time. Customers don’t stop shopping or browsing while advertisers wait for their data to batch and match. Real-time addressability allows advertisers to increase the relevance of a digital ad delivered to a customer when she is in market for a specific product, thus increasing the chance of conversion and decreasing wasted media dollars.
In addition, advertisers can immediately stop retargeting customers who just purchased an item, or capitalize the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell to shoppers based on their most recent interactions with a brand. In any case, it is possible to more efficiently focus on only the most meaningful and timely messages at any given point in the customer journey.
4. Enable Cross-Device Recognition
Real-time behaviors aren’t limited to one computer or mobile device. Today’s consumer regularly moves between devices to accomplish their every day tasks. But without a reliable way to identify customers across devices, brands could essentially be starting over with someone who has already been engaged elsewhere. And that could be detrimental to a relationship in which time and money has already been invested.
Think about it – if a customer took an action on her smartphone, the next dialogue that takes place on her computer or tablet should reflect that knowledge. Otherwise, brands lose the opportunity to deliver a consistent, engaging experience based on real-time behaviors.
5. Close the Loop on Attribution
Capitalizing on targeting efficiencies requires effectively measuring and optimizing digital advertising. Seeing the whole customer journey, not just a few slices of it, is critical for attribution, measurement and targeting with more precision.
Last-click attribution is not as much of an indicator of success as following the entire customer journey, therefore making it critical to close the loop between all data. This means successfully collecting and connecting the data between sources, channels and devices to best understand what works, what works together and what needs further optimization. While digital has several advantages in being literal, marketers need to continue to push for the ability to measure the causal lift of their marketing efforts, not just the last ad shown to someone before they convert.
Better targeting provides improved results. Optimize digital advertising based on current behaviors and current results to continue conversations and ensure only the most impactful messages are delivered to the right person at the right time in the right place.
Originally published April 21, 2016