23 Aug THE SORDID TRUTH ABOUT DIGITAL ADVERTISING
Despite the fact that the advertising industry is moving majority shares of media budgets over to digital channels, there are simply some things that aren’t talked about. Kind of like an uncle who did time in prison. But we are nothing if not fearless here at DAMN GOOD, so join us as we shine a light upon the dank underbelly of digital and talk the taboo topics of workload, tracking, viewability, and geofencing/hyper targeting.
(Insert foreboding lightning crash here)
WORK SMARTER AND HARDER
It’s often assumed that transitioning to digital is a step toward simplicity and efficiency. And it’s basically true. Templates and global landing pages make digital marketing really scalable. But this stuff doesn’t make itself. In reality, it requires a load of upfront work, and the efforts of a developer, designer, copywriter, and media buyer to pull off. Whereas before digital, when dinosaurs roamed the planet, an agency could basically create a print ad just by rubbing a designer and copywriter together. True story.
And because digital is dynamic, it means it doesn’t stay done. Once a print ad, billboard, or direct mailer is printed and published, it’s over. But digital content and should change often and frequently. Just like your underwear (We told you it would be sordid).
Furthermore, the one-to-one landing page model dictates that work is multiplied all the more. Digital advertising is so targeted and campaign-specific across all channels, that each campaign has to be aligned across email, paid search, display, social, and video. So let’s just stop pretending that digital is somehow a step down in effort.
FUNNELS TO NOWHERE
Compared to traditional media, the effectiveness of digital advertising is super measurable. We can track virtually every aspect of it, and put that data to use in optimizing campaigns, and the entire sales process. What’s not to love?
The roadblock comes when there’s no CRM platform to flow data into, or when the CRM is improperly set up, or just plain outdated. It’s a lot more common than you might expect, especially with B2Bs for some reason. Don’t make me have to tell you how many times I’ve found large corporations that were unable to tie their marketing leads directly to sales because they were running a CRM from the stone age.
Without proper marketing and sales integration, you may as well be using traditional media. You aren’t going to know how many leads were generated by each campaign across each channel, or track every lead in your CRM to a specific campaign to determine if the lead became a sale or customer if that’s just not something your CRM is set up to do. It doesn’t matter how much you invest in digital if you can’t account for every dollar, and only a properly integrated CRM is going to let you get that granular.
When you buy display or video advertising, you pay for every impression, even if the user didn’t actually see your ad. I’m not talking about how a user might suddenly spill hot coffee in their lap, and be too blinded by the pain to notice your awesome banner ad winking at them in all its 728×90 pixel glory. I’m talking about ads that don’t get seen because they are dumped down at the bottom the page, well below the fold. Just because the user doesn’t scroll down to see it, it doesn’t mean that you don’t still pay for that impression.
Now, a lot of major display vendors are fairly forthright when it comes to placement, but many simply are not. They have to sell ALL of the spaces, including the crappy placements below the fold, and a lot of reps are perfectly happy letting you think you’re getting a good deal.
Generally, you can buy specific inventory above the fold, or at least purchase it at a specific visibility percentage. Just realize that it will almost always come with a premium price, which may or may not change your mind about whether it’s worth it. In other words, caveat emptor!
It’s easy to buy into the hype about hyper targeting or geofencing. I mean, who WOULDN’T love the ability to serve ads to prospects as soon as they visit a competitor’s location or pass close to yours? Reality. That’s who.
The truth is that this kind of targeting ONLY works if the person connects to a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot, or if they happen to have a mobile app that has permission to access their location. Oh, and they also have to be actively using their mobile device at the same time. Does that sound like a lot of ifs? Because it is.
Generally, people don’t log into a Wi-Fi hotspot at a business unless they plan to stay awhile, or go there frequently. Mobile devices may connect users to hotspots automatically, but only if they’ve logged in manually and kept the location in their device’s preferences. Many large event companies have begun offering free Wi-Fi at events just for this reason, and are now collecting data on unsuspecting attendees.
And how many apps do you have on your smartphone or tablet that you allow to know your location? Does Candy Crush really ever need to know where you are in the world? It’s not hard to believe that most people only grant a few apps the ability to spy on them, and only a handful of those apps have much chance of being in use when a geofence is triggered.
You may have also heard about beacon technology that can send push notifications to people nearby. Well guess what? That will only work if users happen to have a specific app on their phone. And that’s a good thing, or else you’d be getting those notifications non-stop until you chucked your phone in the river.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Hopefully, none of this should dissuade you from pursuing a well-constructed digital advertising plan. Yes, it’s true that the industry does tend to over-promise or over-hype what evolving digital technology can do, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still light-years away from what’s possible with traditional media. Knowledge is an amazing tool whether it’s used to get the right message to the right customers, or just to learn what to watch out for in the dark underbelly of the industry.
We can help with both.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for future topics.