MediaPost – 8 Mid-Market Brand Tips to Outsmart the Competition

Very few brands have the budget of the P&Gs of the world. But proactively planning the core components of your brand marketing strategies and building continual learning into your day-to-day will help the team accomplish more with less. Coegi’s Elise Stieferman shares eight mid-market brand tips to gain market share from enterprise brands by using a flexible advertising strategy:

4 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs Dynamic Creative Optimization

Gone are the days where brands can get by with subpar or generic advertising content and yield positive return. Consumers are savvy – they expect brands to tailor their messages and offers to their target audiences, and failure to do so can quickly have a negative impact on both brand perception and sales. 

The challenge for many marketers is that doing content “right” can be a massive undertaking, both in terms of human and financial resources. Fortunately, there are tools available that combine creativity with machine learning and artificial intelligence to simplify the creative production process. This is most commonly known as dynamic creative optimization, or DCO. As stated in this source from Amazon, “…DCO technology rapidly builds multiple iterations of an ad using the same base creative, while tailoring parts of the ad based on audiences, context, and past performance.” While there are native tools in platforms like Amazon and Meta that make dynamic creatives widely accessible without a great deal of investment in new base creatives or technologies; however, there are other third-party tools that also facilitate this capability in non-walled garden environments to allow for the full-range of benefits. 

Here are the top four reasons why your brand should consider tapping into the power of dynamic creative optimization (DCO):

#1: DCO offers a lot of efficiency

I think most marketers understand that having high quality content to support advertising is all but mandatory to achieve ideal marketing results. But the reality is that what is “ideal” is not always realistic, especially with smaller marketing teams and diminishing budgets. DCO helps make content best practices more feasible, by using technology to reduce man hours needed to produce content, increasing the speed at which new content iterations can be created, and avoiding having to start from scratch to test new creative ideas. Speaking of tests…

#2: Dynamic creative optimization provides a great platform for ongoing testing

Have three good creative ideas and are struggling to determine which one is the “best?” Or do you have a primary concept that you’re aligned on, but are unsure which version of the copy will drive the best response? Dynamic creative optimization allows you to try multiple versions and use the data to evaluate the best creative rather than gut intuition or time consuming focus groups. Furthermore, this technology enables your team to make small changes along the way based on the results, allowing for streamlined application of these data-driven learnings. 

#3: DCO provides greater flexibility to adapt to shifting platform technology

It’s no surprise to any marketer who has worked in digital that online platforms, especially social platforms, love to make changes. Surprise! You can now have 50% more words on your ad description. Surprise! Our algorithm is now going to put preference toward our newly announced placements because we just know users will love it. Surprise! Our ad policies have changed and the creative you’ve run for the last three months now goes against our community rules. You name it, marketers have experienced it. Dynamic creatives can help marketers pivot with greater agility, adapting creative sizing, orientation and even message to better meet platform specifications. Pair this with the power that generative AI can bring to creative production and you can move more easily with the speed of your business needs and rapidly moving industry norms. 

#4: Dynamic creative optimization allows for increased relevancy and personalization

This is arguably the most important use case for dynamic creatives. Consumers are inundated with ads on a near constant basis – so having your brand stand out in its advertising is no small task. However, you most certainly don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons – with content that is self-serving, irrelevant, or just downright bad. Dynamic creative optimization ties creatives more closely to data, both in terms of activation and placements as well as with post-impression analysis, helping marketers have a greater likelihood of reaching the right person with the right message in the right environment and informing adjustments in creative strategy based on performance metrics. 

To continue optimizing your approach to creative content, check out:

The Drum – The Concept of a Marketing ‘Funnel’ is Flawed

The traditional marketing funnel no longer works for the modern customer journey because it makes assumptions about consumer behavior that are great in theory but not reflective of reality. In this article on The Drum, Coegi’s Elise Stieferman explains why it is time to drop one of advertising’s favorite concepts and  how your brand can strategically drive performance in the modern  marketplace.  

The Drum – Prepare for the ‘Trough of AI Disillusionment’: H2 2023 Predictions

As we hit the second half of 2023, The Drum brings you a tasting menu of Drum Network leaders‘ predictions, from AI disillusionment to… fungal growth and changes for pet owners. Elise Stieferman, director of marketing and business strategy, Coegi predicts that “AI will be H2 2023’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: both hero and villain for marketers, depending on expertise and perspective.” Learn more from Elise and other industry leaders in this article on The Drum.

5 Ways to Level Up Your Programmatic Marketing Strategy

The programmatic advertising marketplace is busier than ever, with several factors coalescing at once. Publishers are increasing available auctions, the ad tech landscape is shrinking, and more advertisers are interested in programmatic buying’s relative cost efficiency as they monitor risk for economic downturn. 

Automated Buying Doesn’t Mean Simple Buying

Increasingly, marketers are realizing that automated buying doesn’t mean simple buying. Advertisers looking for a “set it and forget it” approach are going to find their campaigns outbid and underperforming with low engagement rates and high bounce rates. 

How to Level Up Your Programmatic Marketing Strategy

Follow these five tips to ensure your programmatic buys are set up for success from the start: 

#1 – Know your audience and be choosy with your targeting data

Kickstart your media plans with a robust understanding of the key consumers you’re looking to reach. That means going beyond basic demographics and understanding their behaviors, interests, values, and motivations. You can accomplish this through data-driven research tools, existing customer analysis, and/or using pixel-based data combined with Google Analytics to understand website visitors and how they engaging with your content. Together, these learnings should impact the data you use.

Whether working within walled gardens or full-fledged DSPs, it’s never been more important to understand the ins and outs of your data segments. Challenge partners to explain how their data sourcing methods, how it’s been manipulated since, and how likely it is to be affected by larger industry changes. Higher quality data yields better long-term results than quick clicks from half-interested parties. Save your bids for the audience most likely to spark genuine engagement. 

Things to be aware of:

  • Over reliance on retargeting: Retargeting does tend to drive strong media metrics. However, overinvesting in this tactic means you are likely wasting media dollars on people who were already planning to convert. 
  • Cookie deprecation: When third-party cookies eventually go away, any audience data that relied on them will be null and void. Work to build up your first party data now so you can use AI to build smarter audiences for your display campaigns.

#2 – Stay vigilant with brand safety and quality in the open markets

The open marketplace allows you to reach your audience where they are, but not every stop in their browsing journey is a good fit for your brand. Marketers solely looking for display ad inventory with the lowest CPMs are chasing after the wrong goals (and are facing a massive waste of money). Platform-offered brand safety features and integrations will assist, but ultimately, it takes knowing a brand inside and out to know what content is suitable for their messaging. 

Pre-bid filtering controversial topics is the bare minimum. Complement it with custom blacklists, strategic use of contextual categories, and continuous monitoring of the sites and apps in your strategy. Private auctions can minimize the open market’s quality risk, but have a high probability of carrying higher costs or struggling to scale with effective reach. Balancing platform tools with dedicated human oversight is the best approach for ensuring quality while taking advantage of the open market’s cost savings and reach. 

Be sure to:

  • Regularly audit display campaigns to ensure they are meeting your standards
  • Continuously update site lists based on inventory performance 

#3 – Build an omni-channel and omni-device plan

Programmatic buying has historically boasted the streamlined view of your channels’ or campaigns’ performance compared to direct or ad network buying. However, with the rise of walled gardens and second-party providers, it’s important to plan for all of your potential audience touchpoints. 

First, research which environments and devices index with your audience’s behavior. Then discuss how each piece of your plan levels up to your overall marketing and brand goals. Rather than using the “programmatic” label as a stand-in to mean a singular display-banner channel, realize how programmatic technology can power your buying strategy across all digital media. 

As marketers face a cookieless future, contextual targeting is going to be increasingly critical. Having a display ad, for example, show up alongside relevant content helps build interest and trust since the consumer is already engaging with pertinent information.

Consider:

  • Leveraging direct buys, private marketplace deals, and content partnerships to feel confident knowing where, when and to whom your ads were served. 
  • Aligning your creative messaging and calls-to-action to the category to improve user experience.

#4 – Find your frequency balance

Frequency is often an afterthought in performance marketing due to its association with reach. But, it’s imperative to monitor when reaching your audience across channels and devices. Every brand’s consumer journey is unique, and each media goal will require a unique “sweet spot” for effective frequency. 

Discuss what you know upfront about your audience’s journey to set realistic expectations. Then, monitor your frequency against performance to find that optimal peak for your specific media plan to avoid diminishing returns. 

#5 – Remove artificial silos between media and creative

It’s a curse programmatic buyers know well: even the most thoroughly-researched, audience-conscious, “big idea” media plan will fall flat without creative alignment. Rather than retro-fitting your creative to your media or vice-versa, plan in tandem to personalize messaging for higher impact across all channels. Once live, commit to monitoring performance and optimizing your messaging alongside platform settings. 

Display ads don’t have to be boring. The first, and most cost effective, way to capture attention is by adding small animations to your banner ads. But to really make a splash with your display advertising campaign, test out high impact units. This could be in-read units, site takeovers, site anchors, in-banner videos, interactive units, etc. 

However, even showing up on premium publishers without the investment in “fancy” display ads will often do the trick. Associating your brands with high authority publishers automatically builds a level of credibility for your brand. 

Don’t forget to:

  • Establish accountability through clearly identified KPIs
  • Select units and publishers from an audience-first mentality

Use these key tips to step up your programmatic advertising strategy and drive meaningful results for your brand.

To see some of these principles in action, view our case study, Driving 12K Leads for a Luxury Home Appliance Brand

 

Retail Touchpoints – How to Drive Wine Sales with Digital Marketing

How can your wine brand stand out among thousands of competitors? It’s about more than having the most eye-catching packaging or best shelf spot — although these are important factors. To get people to reach for your product repeatedly, learn how to stand out across the customer journey using a digital-first media strategy.

To accomplish this effectively, wine brands need to:

  1. Establish emotional connection and awareness to drive brand trial
  2. Move into the consideration set for target audiences
  3. Grow in-store and ecommerce wine sales

Read more about how to drive wine sales through digital marketing on Retail Touchpoints:

Advanced Marketing Measurement and Modeling 101

A strong marketing measurement strategy is the cornerstone of media planning, answering the complex question: how is advertising supporting business success? 

A unified measurement framework guides brands toward achieving full-funnel goals. Sometimes, this is as simple as defining media KPIs and optimization points – think conversions, cost per action, reach and frequency, cost per unique reach, and so on.

But, oftentimes, media metrics alone cannot answer brands’ most critical questions. In these instances, advanced measurement studies and modeling strategies are critical tools to inform smart decision-making. 

Upgrading Marketing Data Insights With Advanced Measurement

Advanced measurement strategies don’t just track business success—they explain it. They answer the why before the what or how, providing a source of truth across multiple business disciplines and streamlining communication between stakeholders. 

What is advanced marketing measurement?

Advanced measurement refers to methods used to answer advertising questions that are difficult to address by standard media metrics alone. They’re important for understanding campaign performance in a more meaningful way than cost and reach. 

Examples of such questions include:

  • Did my brand have an increase in unaided brand awareness?
  • Did my retail locations gain incremental visits as a result of my marketing campaign?
  • Has my brand’s market share increased as a result of the media running?

In these situations, reporting back on simple media metrics won’t offer the depth of business intel you need. As Coegi’s Vice President of Marketing and Innovation, Ryan Green, quotes in Marketing Profs:

“Advanced measurement strategies mute the irrelevant metrics and form connective tissue between the rest so that marketers have a deeper understanding of how various campaign factors can help (or hurt) sales.” 

Some metrics simply matter more than others. When you shift toward performance metrics directly relating to your business goals, you’ll gain a clearer line of sight into what is and is not working.

5 Advanced Measurement and Modeling Tactics You Need to Know

Once you identify a need for advanced measurement, it’s time to determine which approach(es) will help fill that knowledge gap. Here are five of the most common advanced measurement methods we use at Coegi: 

#1 Brand Lift Study

What are brand lift studies?

Brand lift studies provide mid- or post-campaign consumer readouts to measure brand impact. Set up prior to campaign launch, these studies are ideal for awareness or consideration campaigns looking to track incremental improvements in more elusive KPIs such as brand awareness, ad recall, brand favorability and purchase intent. 

Brand lift studies are typically conducted through control vs. exposed consumer surveys that ask questions such as: 

  • Have you seen an advertisement for {{insert brand here}} in the last 30 days? 
  • What’s your perception of {{insert brand here}}? 
  • Would you consider purchasing {{insert brand here}} next time you visit the supermarket?

Depending on the media mix, you can deploy single-channel measurement studies. You’ve likely been served a one question survey before a YouTube video or in your Facebook feed – that is an example of a single-channel brand lift study. Or, you can run cross-channel measurement studies in a demand-side platform environment using display, video, audio, native, and connected TV methods.

These insights are able to be segmented by parameters such as audience, geography, creative, and channel to isolate the top performing elements.

Why use brand lift studies?

Brand lift studies help bridge communication gaps and showcase how various advertising channels work together to meet the primary goal. They can be useful for brands in any industry, especially those lacking broad awareness in cluttered categories.

#2 Foot Traffic Lift Study

What are foot traffic lift studies?

Foot traffic lift studies measure brick and mortar visitation. They connect the dots between awareness and conversion by measuring the lift of in-store foot traffic due to ad exposure. These studies are typically conducted using mobile location data from in-app user opt-in as well as one-to-one impression pixels. Industries that most commonly benefit from foot traffic studies are retail, auto, travel, QSR and CPG.

Why use foot traffic lift studies?

They serve as a valuable sales proxy for brands with brick and mortar locations or whose products are most commonly purchased at physical retail stores. Understanding visitation lift also helps understand consumer consideration, especially for large-scale items like automobiles that often have a longer purchase cycle. 

For industries and businesses without branded physical store fronts, creative assets should include retailer logos to direct consumers to distributors that are most convenient to consumers’ locations. 

#3 Sales Lift Study

What are sales lift studies?

Sales lift studies are used to measure SKU-level data and tie it back to advertising. They match in-store transactions to digital campaigns including digital, video, native, audio, social, and CTV ads. Oftentimes, these studies use first-party shopper data from retail loyalty programs to tie advertising exposure to in-store purchase behavior. Common sources for this information are retail media networks, IRi, and Catalina.

Why use sales lift studies?

These study results show the increase of in-store purchases due to omnichannel advertising efforts. Sales lift is ideal for CPG brands when incremental product sales and understanding of bottomline company growth is the most critical indicator of success. Attribution of sales is increasingly complicated as products are available in multiple online and offline marketplaces, and advertising is similarly fragmented. 

Sales lift helps zoom in on the most important metric, sales volume, without getting lost in the weeds. To see how Coegi used sales lift to prove ROI for a cookie brand, view our case study here

#4 – Media Mix Modeling

What is media mix modeling?

Media mix modeling (MMM) is an analysis method that helps define optimal media channel budget allocation using historical performance data. Through multi-linear regression models, this method assigns value to each marketing touchpoint, so marketers can determine how each variable impacted key outcomes. It requires at least two years of sales data and media metrics to make accurate predictions and performance optimizations.

Marketers like specifics, as they help with targeting and attribution, but MMM’s purpose is to help marketers understand how various marketing activities drive the business metrics of a product or service.” – Hugo Loriat 

Why use media mix modeling?

Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either. It is crucial to fully understand the context of the data you’re analyzing. What factors may have contributed to performance fluctuations? Creative? Messaging? Audience strategy? Seasonality? 

Media mix models help incorporate all of these variables to determine what story the data is telling. By blending multiple factors, rather than just a singular KPI, you can see a bird’s-eye view of how all the pieces are working together to impact long-term strategy and performance. 

Learn more on how to use MMM to boost your bottom line in this video: 

#5 – Performance Scoring Model

What is a performance scoring model?

A performance scoring model is a unified marketing measurement model that uses multiple, weighted data sources based on level of significance to define your media’s impact on business goals. It incorporates both media and non-media data to enable smart business decisions and more accurate predictions. 

In the end, you come out with a performance score that summarizes how your brand is doing in relation to business goals. Here’s a simplified graphic example of what a performance scoring model can look like: 

performance scoring model
Performance Scoring Model

Why use a performance scoring model?

No single marketing metric or strategy can equate to business success. Brands need a custom, yet flexible, solution to accurately track and measure marketing results on an ongoing basis. The performance scoring model is a great option for those looking for that flexibility and customization. It is an all-encompassing business dashboard you can use to unify data analytics, clearly qualify marketing’s impact and inform smart decision-making. 

Potential Barriers to Entry with Advanced Marketing Measurement

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before implementing any of these tactics. Consider and discuss these three primary challenges before selecting your advanced measurement plan: 

#1 – Cost

  • For lift studies, each measurement partner has a unique pricing structure. At times, these can be cost prohibitive for brands just getting started. Consider the available budget and expected outcomes beforehand. 
  • For advanced modeling, you will likely need to outsource a digital agency, such as Coegi, or a data technology partner to implement these analyses – unless you have an in-house expert with statistics training. 

#2 – Data Availability

  • For lift studies, some providers require impression volume or retail location minimums to ensure feasibility and statistical significance. It’s also important to identify which channels you want to analyze. Walled gardens (ie. Amazon, Meta) will require different solutions than other programmatic platforms that allow for cross-channel measurement.
  • For MMM, you need to already have two or more years of quality marketing and sales data to input. Similarly, the performance scoring model is more flexible, but will be most effective if you have strong consumer data to input from the start. 

#3 – Time

  • Lift studies tend to take several weeks to launch and gather statistically significant data. It’s important to plan early and set expectations. 

Launching Your Brand’s Advanced Marketing Measurement Plan

Once you’ve identified a need for advanced measurement or modeling, it is important to ensure the tactics you chose align with the desired business outcomes. 

To help you get started, we took our entire approach to marketing measurement and boiled it down to five simple steps. View our 5 Step Guide to Successful Marketing Measurement here

Partner With Coegi for Expert Marketing Measurement Strategies

Advanced measurement and modeling will become increasingly important for quantifying marketing success, especially in the cookieless future. But this can be a daunting task for any marketer.

If you are unsure what measurement strategy is best for your brand goals, contact Coegi for a discovery call to get started

The Drum – From Customized to Creepy: How to Get Ad Personalization Right

Personalization has been the gold standard for data-driven digital marketing for many years. But the role of personalization is changing as consumer expectations shift and technologies evolve. Personalization is no longer a value-add, but rather a need-to-have.

Failing to tailor your advertising to your highest-value customers will result in a lack of engagement and handing over the opportunity to convert to your competition. However, being personalized requires an element of restraint and nuance that is sometimes a difficult balance to strike without careful research and reflection on your marketing strategy.

Some methods of personalization are more impactful than others – and the best rule of thumb is to remember to treat your audiences as you would like to be treated. Losing sight of this golden rule can turn your ads from customized to creepy. So, here are three steps for staying on the right side of personalization…

MediaPost – How MySpace Created a Gateway to the Metaverse

The marketing world has been abuzz with talk of the metaverse for over a year now. From Wendy’s to Louis Vuitton, brands are leaning into the possibilities of Web3.0 as an opportunity to further ingratiate themselves to their customers. However, there is still a gap with consumer adoption, despite the attention it’s being given.

Why?

For one, the average consumer does not understand what the metaverse means, according to eMarketer. Secondly, it requires an investment: in a headset, in a game, in time. And most marketers aren’t willing to make that leap when they don’t understand the value.

From my perspective, though, the industry has been overcomplicating the concept of the metaverse rather than making it accessible for audiences. Rather than pointing back to the origin of the word from the 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” let’s instead compare the metaverse to something widely known and understood — not the obvious like The Sims or Fortnite. Instead, let’s discuss how MySpace created the gateway to the metaverse…

The Drum – 2023: Marketing’s Year of… ?

2023 will be the year of content.

Great marketing content will become more important than individual ads or campaigns. One could argue that it’s the year of data privacy as audience targeting rapidly diminishes amid tightening regulations. But the response to those limitations is not to find data workarounds or audience-targeting solutions. The key to success will be bringing content and paid media under the same strategic umbrella to keep your brand from drowning under the weight of the shifting privacy landscape.

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