Dominic Trigg, managing director Europe at Rocket Fuel, discusses how companies are becoming disillusioned by using click-through rates as a measure of successful online advertising. Here, he explains why he thinks that brands need to use online advertising to make sure that they are continually reaching prospective buyers at the right time with the right message, therefore building the overall appeal of the brand rather than just concentrating on that one purchase.
It wasn’t long between the mass adoption of home internet and the birth of the online advertising industry. At its core was the draw of large, targeted audiences and the belief that all advertising could finally be measured in a click-through – advertising’s holy grail had arrived.
Years later, the industry has matured, with new advertising formats and digital devices infiltrating every aspect of our lives. With this maturity comes the realisation that seeking clicks – direct response - for all online campaigns is a big missed opportunity.
Recent IAB data suggests that UK online display advertising spend has surpassed £1bn, after a 13.4% growth in 2011, while total Internet ad spend grew 14.4% to £4.8bn, up £687m year on year.
Beyond direct response
Perhaps understandably in the current economic climate, both offline and online campaigns are often focused on generating some kind of direct response – clicks, sales, ROI. While the value of this shouldn’t be underestimated, display advertising should no longer be seen as just a direct response medium.
Click-throughs represent a tiny proportion of those people exposed to an advertising campaign online. The vast majority are part of an invaluable community who won’t click through and purchase, but may become interested in the brand or buy at a later date.
Brands need to understand that online advertising can and should be used throughout the purchasing cycle. They need to talk to prospective buyers at the right time, with the right message, in the right place, and this simply isn’t always going to be about driving instant purchase. More frequently it will be about brand building and favourability.
Making it count
The IAB’s findings are symptomatic of the overall trend in online advertising. Brand advertising budgets are increasingly flowing away from big audience traditional media into highly targeted and increasingly sophisticated online advertising.
This year will see many more advertisers waking up to this opportunity and using online advertising to achieve brand objectives, alongside their DR campaigns. In response to this the tools and tactics for online advertising are also changing.
Increasingly capable digital devices and new coding standards are rapidly enhancing what is possible in online advertising creative. The rise of online video is also making it easy to reach targeted audiences with compelling TV-like brand advertising. Online advertising just got a lot more engaging.
Likewise, using algorithms and blended analytics combined with demographic, lifestyle, purchase intent and social data, it’s now possible to carefully target an exact audience, at the right time with the right message, and to measure effectively against real brand metrics.
Once brands have found an audience, automated technology can track every impression meaning campaigns can ‘learn’ from what works and can be optimised in real-time. This allows advertisers to focus on those audience members showing the most uplift in brand recognition.
The old adage that “Half the advertising budget is wasted, but you’ll never know which half” can safely be put to bed. Brands can now know which half and can swing the campaign towards the best results.
This approach means online advertising can be far more effective and measurable and is immensely valuable to brands and brand building. From targeting key audiences to dynamic creativity and feedback, it is now both possible and imperative to use online as part of the brand marketing armoury.