Rob Barton | June 2, 2016

Stepping up your digital advertising game

Digital advertising is a critical component of nearly every ad campaign today. However, with the proliferation of online banners, ads are increasingly ignored. Accordingly, advertisers need more than just a basic banner ad to see return on investment. To effectively reach a specific audience, businesses need a strategy that takes advantage of the latest targeting and creative tools.

By way of some background, digital advertising (aka digital display advertising) is when an ad is “displayed” on a website, an app or mobile site. This form of advertising is typically purchased by impressions, or the number of times the ad is guaranteed to be shown.

In terms of targeting, the vast amount of data available to today’s marketers is mind-boggling: browsing history, cookies, IP addresses, purchasing history. All of these can be analysed to ensure customers are met in the right place, at the right time, and within the right context. All with very little waste.

To do this, marketers can use a variety of tools:

Retargeting – perhaps the most familiar form of digital advertising. Retargeting works by adding a line of code to a website which places cookies on a visitor’s browser. Cookied users are then served ads across other websites they visit. In other words, a customer has shown purchase intent by visiting a product or service online. Armed with this knowledge, an ad for the same product or service follows the customer around the web until they either click on the ad or it’s ignored and eventually disappears.

Demographic targeting – this uses data from various sources to serve ads to the audience based on their demographic information, including age, gender, household income, etc.

Contextual targeting – this technology works by scanning a website for relevant keywords. Ads are then served on web pages within ad networks based on the content displayed to the customer. By placing ads on pages that feature content relating to campaign messages and audiences, advertisers can drive highly-targeted traffic to a website.

Behavioural targeting is a technique used to increase the effectiveness of campaigns through information collected on an individual’s browsing behaviour, such as the pages visited or the searches made. This technique helps deliver online ads to the users who will be the most interested in them. Behavioural data can also be combined with other user information such as purchase history to create a complete user profile. As with retargeting, when a user visits a website, a cookie is placed into the browser. The cookie has details about the visit that separates the user into a specific group. From that point, ads will only show information relevant to the particular user.

Geo-fencing – this is great for hyper-local targeting. By using GPS technology, ads are served to people on mobile devices as they enter a specific radius around a designated area. This technique allows businesses to reach an audience with extraordinary geographic precision.

Rich Media Display ads – using DoubleClick Creative Solutions and Google Web Designer, advertisers can now create engaging, interactive HTML5-based designs and motion graphics that run on any device. By creating ads that tell a story and combining them with the latest targeting tool, advertisers can engage users with their brand in a more enjoyable, memorable, and meaningful way.

All of these tools and techniques allow businesses to create a digital advertising campaign that is highly specific to their needs and therefore highly likely to yield a direct return on investment.

Rob Barton

Head of Interactive + Principal