Brands, now more than ever, are seeing the benefits of digital marketing: flexibility, addressability, and scalability. This is resulting in continuous growth in media investment, especially as more consumers are increasing their time spent on digital channels.
However, the more amateur marketers who fail to drill into the details of digital buying, yielding ad fraud, poor brand safety, and ineffective placements are undoubtedly wasting dollars and, in some cases, causing harm to their brand. These issues range from blatant criminal activity to troublesome contextual environments to sky-high ad frequency.
At Coegi, we have strict standards in place to ensure that we are treating our clients’ media investment as if it is our own. Here are the key factors to make your dollars work harder when setting up digital campaigns:
1) Reflect on the Past and Plan for the Future
It’s time for digital advertisers to take a look in the mirror. The last decade of explosive growth needs to be peeled back and examined. In its infancy, digital advertising was a marketer’s dream world. Everything was measurable and targetable – in other words, it felt easy. Marketers were able to reach anyone, anywhere.
Then entered increased regulation and walled gardens. Regulation, although needed for consumer protection, broke the original execution method. Programmatic is no longer the wild, wild west. Many have tried to continue operating as if nothing has changed, which has left massive vulnerabilities in the industry for ad fraud to enter the picture, often undetected. With this came wasted dollars, brand safety implications, and fear for the future of digital advertising.
2) Diversify your Marketing Dollars
Marketers need to have a high degree of inventory accountability and transparency. Direct and private marketplace placements will help, as you know exactly where your ad is being placed. However, it’s important to diversify in order to expand reach against your target audience.
Open exchange placements can be equally effective when carefully curated whitelists and blacklists are applied. Aggregate all media metrics within one dashboard to avoid siloed analysis, and ensure brand dollars are being used efficiently across your marketing tactics.
3) Invest in High Value, High Visibility Inventory
In today’s environment, inventory quality is the key driver of media success. If you want to be seen in a high impact medium – whether it’s a high traffic billboard, premium CTV spot, or something else – you have to invest the dollars.
No, I’m not here to tell you to just increase your media budget and everything will be great. You can also improve performance by leaning into channels which provide rich data and reliable, compliant targeting. Retail media, for example, is an excellent source of cookieless second party data and provides directional metrics to track down-funnel results. Direct publisher buys can provide access to contextual placements and premium audiences as well.
4) Go Back to the Basics of Measurement
It’s not just the cookie that’s dying, it’s last click attribution, IP tracking, and more. It’s time to substitute antiquated attribution models for more tried and true incremental measurement tactics to showcase actual marketing ROI, such as media mix modeling.
This will allow you to better define optimal budget allocation by stitching together sales-related data and media metrics – and also keep you focused on the data so fraudulent activity does not go unnoticed.
Paving the Way for a Stronger Future in Digital Marketing
The digital world has changed in drastic and permanent ways over the past decade. We can still benefit from the gains in automation and efficiency the industry has made. We will not go back to writing dozens or hundreds of IOs for a single campaign and trafficking ad tags to each publisher directly.
But, it’s due time to put more guardrails on the media buying process in terms of the publishers we leverage and the way we measure results.