Making The Most Of This Year’s Advertising Budgets: 15 Expert Tips

Over the last decade, the number of channels for marketing products has more than doubled. As expected, the amount of spending has matched the increased number of channels, with businesses in any industry striving to make the most of their advertising budgets so as to take advantage of as many marketing channels as possible.

With so many options available, it’s essential that organizations only invest in channels that actually prove their worth. Figuring out what those channels are early and getting in on the ground floor can put a company miles ahead in the game. To help out those businesses looking for the scoop, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council offer their insight into where an organization should put its advertising money this year for optimal results.

Make the most of your advertising budget

1. Focus On Digital And Win 

For the placement of a successful advertising message, the target group must still be addressed exactly where it spends most of its time. Due to the digital change, the advertising budget has not only increased in recent years, this change will also continue to assert itself with regard to technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Agencies that focus on online advertising will be among the winners! – Markus Hetzenegger, NYBA Media GmbH

2. Invest In What Consumers Want To Watch 

More and more video content is being consumed on our mobile phones. This content ranges from watching a long-form series on OTT platforms to short-form vertical videos on TikTok, Snapchat and Quibi. Instead of interrupting consumers viewing this content with banner ads and pre-roll, brands should start creating branded entertainment that viewers will want to seek out and engage in. – Kaaren Whitney-Vernon, Shaftesbury

3. Diversify To Multiply Your Advertising Effectiveness 

Time and again, research has proven the multiplier effect on awareness and consideration that advertising across multiple channels can have. The essential growth strategy for 2020 is to diversify. Try adding another channel into the mix. It’s also important that your advertising is optimized to each channel’s best practices — don’t just copy your ads and messaging from one channel to the next. – John Keehler, RUNNER Agency

4. Allocate More Funds To Personalization 

We’re going to see more ad dollars devoted to personalization. Consumer targeting will reach all new targeted peaks as brands build out robust multichannel marketing strategies yet manage to deliver personalized messages to each individual customer. Consumers want brands to make them feel special. Agencies that want to get ahead use data to deliver messages tailored for each individual customer. – Danica Kombol, Everywhere Agency

5. Spend It On The Customer Experience 

As everything commoditizes and advertisers continue to struggle to be noticed, it seems the best thing to do in 2020 is spend your money on the customer experience. Many of the typical media channels are so saturated that every dollar spent on the stakeholder experience may yield higher returns. With so many advertisers “screaming” at the consumer, actions might be the best advertising. – Bo Bothe, BrandExtract, LLC

6. Invest In Paid Social Media Targeting 

The media landscape continues to evolve with new digital players such as TikTok disrupting the game. However, the key to maximizing ad budget and ROI will continue to come down to your ability to effectively target your audience. With TV, print and billboards you are guessing. That’s not the case with paid social on Facebook and Instagram, which will remain the best place to spend money in 2020. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO

7. Leverage LinkedIn Promotional Media 

In business-to-business, this year’s trend will be to utilize and leverage various aspects of LinkedIn in a single campaign. Sponsored ads will lead to original posts which will lead to landing pages and calls to action. The concept is to begin by targeting a specific audience with something attention-getting, then transition to a thought leadership article or educational information, and eventually to a company’s website. – Francine Carb, Markitects, Inc.

8. Don’t Underestimate Facebook 

Facebook ads have been saturated for quite some time and the cost of “real estate,” so to speak, has been high. As many companies are shifting ad spend to other platforms, it will open up spaces on Facebook to gain cheaper traction within the platform, given the right model. – Michael Smith, MDS Media Inc.

9. Focus On Mobile Video Advertising 

Two massive audience trends are set to converge in 2020 — the migration to mobile and increased interest in video. Mobile’s share of the U.S. digital advertising market has grown to almost two-thirds, and more than half the population watches video content on mobile devices regularly. Agencies that produce compelling mobile video ads will be ahead of the game in the coming year. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

10. Prioritize Influencer Marketing 

With digital ad spend slated to overtake traditional ad spend, we’re going to see more companies prioritizing influencer marketing in their increasingly digital budgets. With all the ways to measure influencer performance, ROI-based campaigns are going to replace the initial wave of experimentation. Brands are turning away from fads and vanity metrics in favor of real KPIs. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group

11. Go Native 

Native advertising has gone through several reputation iterations, from seedy clickbait to social media staple. In the open web, it’s savvy programmatic buyers’ best-kept secret: When done right, native ads are content previews and lead to the highest post-click engagement. About $2.98 billion will go toward native ads outside social networks in 2020 — the fastest growth of any channel, according to eMarketer. – Lon Otremba, Bidtellect

12. Personalize Customer Touch Points 

“Best spent” means ROI to me, and advertising dollars that go toward direct, personalized customer touch points will deliver the most ROI. This includes email and mobile, but could encompass creative remarketing across digital and social channels, including in-home touch points like product packaging and direct mail. Marketers should think less about channels and more about omnichannel and experiential. – Tripp Donnelly, REQ

13. Put Your Money On CTV 

Connected TV will have one of the largest rates of expansion over the coming year. People still want content, but they continue to want it delivered on more diverse mediums, and Connected TV can reach them wherever they are. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

14. Place The Media Around Consumption Habits 

There are so many options when it comes to buying and placing media. Agencies and businesses can get ahead by only placing media around the target audience’s consumption habits. People who are 18 to 24 years old consume media differently than 35-to-44-year-olds. The social platforms they use, TV shows, magazines — all different. To avoid large amounts of wasted impressions, the execution needs to be hyper-targeted. – Sean Allen, Twelve Three Media

15. Spend Your Ad Dollars On Content Instead 

When you buy traffic, you only get one ROI. When you spend it on content, you make that ROI over and over again from earned organic traffic. The investment is longer term, but sticking to the inbound methodology will eventually lower your cost per acquisition below paid media. If you want to get ahead in the game, invest in content — you’ll still be generating traffic when your budget is gone. – David Ward, Meticulosity

The Versatility of Connected TV and How to Best Integrate Into Marketing Strategies

Connected TV covers a broad range of executions and it can be a very powerful tool in a media mix if properly deployed.

As consumers increasingly utilize streaming and connected TV services, either as a substitute for linear or as an extension of their TV viewing, connected TV advertising is proving to be a versatile channel in a brand’s overall marketing strategy. The truth is, connected TV covers a broad range of executions and it can be a very powerful tool in a media mix if properly deployed. In order to achieve proper execution, it is important to fully understand the entire versatility of the channel. In this article, we will explore the different iterations of CTV as well as the best ways to approach this emerging channel with and without traditional TV integration.
Bill Cogar

Connected TV: Making the Most of Your Advertising Dollars

Broadly speaking, CTV refers to TV programming that is streamed through an internet connected device. This includes smart TVs, Apple TV, Roku devices, gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox), and any video content streamed on an iPhone, tablet or desktop, commonly referred to as full episode player (FEP). In addition to device type, CTV also describes over-the-top (OTT), which refers to network provider extensions like DirecTV Now, HBO GO, and others. Additional examples of OTT include YouTube TV (lives in Google’s walled garden) and Hulu, which historically has operated from an open exchange and only recently started to break up its inventory putting more into auction.
When referring to CTV advertising, media buyers are referring to a range of executions, the nuances of which can be leveraged to drive brand awareness, lead generation and conversion as well as data and audience learnings, including attribution. The nuances that exist within CTV, including channel, programming type, and device type, can each be uniquely leveraged to reach specific users and achieve specific objectives. It is also important for brands to note that the nuances within CTV vary greatly in quality and cost. For example, a CTV ad delivered to a targeted audience using highly targeted data and delivered within premium network content during primetime hours provides a different value and experience than a CTV ad delivered to a broad demographic on mobile device in-app in off peak hours, yet on paper these can look deceptively similar. With the level of fragmentation that exists, it can be difficult to fully understand exactly what is being bought and placed, and if you are merely looking at delivery metrics to gauge performance, then dollars can be easily wasted.

Targeting and Tracking for Top Exposure

The most valuable aspect of CTV is the ability to apply granular audience targeting in order to identify high value users and bid specifically to place messaging in front them. In order to reach these highly valuable users, buyers and strategists must layer data, targeting, inventory, and bidding strategies in order to create effective and efficient buys. In addition to targeting, the ability to track and attribute your campaign to measurable actions like activity post exposure is beneficial for several reasons. Like other digital channels, CTV utilizes digital signals to track user’s activity after ad exposure. Smart TV executions rely on cross device mapping in order to create a device graph for each household, and measure activity on other devices tied to that IP address. With cross device mapping in place, marketers can see if a user who was served a CTV ad on their Roku device later visited a brand’s website on another device connected to the same WiFi router. This kind of direct attribution is beneficial because an individual’s ad exposure can be tracked to a user’s activity and optimized to ROI actions. Attribution is achieved by mapping the exposure of users to an advertisement to their web activity post-exposure. For example, direct actions like form fills or purchases, to indirect impact measurement like searches they conducted after being exposed. Additionally, ROI value is further enhanced when CTV is executed as part of a holistic digital campaign that includes display, social, and search.

CTV is effective for top of funnel efforts, while complementing other digital channels if the right strategies are deployed to ensure all channels work in harmony. These other strategies can include sequential message delivery, funnel modeled audience profiles, and re-engagement strategies that drive influenced actions. Beyond brand awareness and exposure, CTV can be leveraged with performance-based objectives in mind. Whether it is utilizing tracking and attribution to tie exposure to conversions, or as part of a re-engagement strategy to connect with users who have expressed interest but not yet converted, CTV is able to deliver high value messaging to specific users with specific influence in mind. CTV’s ability to be measured with high accuracy through pixels and cross device measurement means that even with view through attribution, the exposure these ads generate should be viewed as high value.

An additional benefit of a CTV campaign is its use as a testing platform to prove a creative or audience hypothesis, before rolling out to more mass reach channels like linear TV. Because CTV sits in between digital and traditional channels, it provides a platform to understand response and engagement with content and audiences with the flexibility of digital execution. Therefore, it is a great way to experiment with audiences, creative, programming, and other variables to collect data that can be used to make decisions across channels. CTV can uncover audiences that are likely to respond to your product or disprove audiences that will not respond. The campaign can identify data points for programming and interests within existing audiences; potentially preventing an expensive buy on a network that is not likely to perform, and it can deliver response metrics to different creative tests; helping direct creative teams toward more effective messaging. All of this can be accomplished with lower investments and within shorter time frames as statistical relevance can be reached quickly and cheaply if executed well.

The question becomes how should CTV be integrated into a brand’s marketing mix? Due to its flexibility, CTV can be executed in many different ways. It can be used as a testing vehicle for linear TV executions or as an integrated awareness driver with linear TV, providing an extension of reach and frequency that improves overall exposure rates and provides stronger attribution signals on the effectiveness of both channels. It can also be run as an extension of Digital buys as a way to fill the funnel with high value sight, sound, and motion touch points along with a re-engagement vehicle to drive deeper influence throughout a user’s journey, and as a way to deliver video content in attention heavy inventory. However, it can also be executed as its own standalone effort with its own KPIs for success. Overall the most effective position for CTV, like with any marketing channel, is within a larger strategy where all channels work together toward a common objective with shared thinking and data between them.

The strongest teams to run CTV campaigns will bring both TV and digital experience to the table, with the teams working closely to share expertise, share data and learnings, and leverage knowledge bases to extract the best of all that CTV has to offer.

6 Ways To Thrive In Today’s Challenging Omnichannel Economy

Omnichannel

By Jessica Hawthorne-Castro 

Original Publication: YPO.Org

Date of Publication: October 9, 2018

Today’s marketing landscape is broader, deeper and more complex than ever before. There are more channels, more choices and more customers who get more savvy every day. Thriving in this “omnichannel marketing” playground is a balancing act. Companies have to continuously evaluate and strengthen customer touchpoints while delivering a consistent and seamless experience across all channels.Omnichannel

It’s no easy task. My advice? Put the customer at the center, enact a prudent and adaptable plan that focuses on delivering consistency, measure constantly and be willing to take some risks. To that end, here are my top tips for effective omnichannel marketing:

START WITH THE CUSTOMER
Every customer wants to feel like your best customer, and the only way to deliver this is to put your customer at the center of your omnichannel approach. Whether calling in, walking in, shopping online or interacting any way, they expect a personal, seamless and pleasurable experience. Fine-tune all your customer touchpoints so they deliver on this, including social media and mobile sites. And remember, it isn’t just the purchasing experience that matters. Customers expect to be able to research product options (i.e., read product reviews on smartphones while standing in the retail store aisle), access coupons via text or a website, or even contact customer support using Facebook or Twitter. Bottom line: The customer is king — or queen — and every interaction with them matters.

UNIFY THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
In theory, it sounds simple. But maintaining consistency across various marketing channels is an ongoing challenge. The first step is to take a holistic look at all your marketing, advertising, sales and even product return activities. Then, examine each to make sure they are delivering a personalized experience that’s also uniform. That may mean focusing less on individual channel performance correlated to revenue goals or other specific measurements. You may also have to restructure processes and even your organization to eliminate silos and encourage cohesiveness.

Make sure to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. The optimization of cross-screen attribution methodologies allows a marketer to fine-tune creative content advertising by channel and device, as well as identify attribution insights driving media optimization for e-commerce and drive to retail campaigns.

ADOPT INTEGRATED STRATEGIES ACROSS ADVERTISING
Adopting cohesive and well-connected strategies across various advertising channels can lead to greater success. That means integration among digital (online and mobile) and search-engine marketing, television, over-the-top (OTT) content, video on demand, print, radio and display ads. Be sure to leverage multivariate testing — a technique for testing a hypothesis in which multiple variables are modified to determine landing page conversions, display ad effectiveness and other important measurements. And take time to review the ways consumers interact with your brand across all platforms. You’ll be able to draw fresh insights into their buying preferences, engagement times and transaction history.

CONTINUOUSLY TRACK, MEASURE AND OPTIMIZE
Collect data and learn how to effectively analyze and use it. It’s not just about having all the numbers and statistics at your fingertips. You can use the data to predict where the consumer is going to be, how they will be buying and how you can reach them in that setting — and at the right time. Use the data to stay ahead of the curve and to not only execute on a one-time basis, but also to duplicate the data in a way that allows you to repeat the successes and avoid mistakes.

I recommend using multi-touch attribution, mixed-media modeling and ingestion of first-party customer data that’s layered with second- and third-party data to provide a 360-degree analytic view, which will connect brands with customers to gain deeper insights. We’ve learned at Hawthorne, through experience, that custom-built analytics tools and methodologies utilizing real-time customer data gives companies insights to optimize marketing strategies.

TEST, LEARN, TEST AND REPEAT
There is no magic formula for omnichannel marketing. In fact, this is one of the most common mistakes companies make as they embark on their own omnichannel strategy. Instead, be prepared to put in time, patience and perseverance to discover the right formulas and implement them. And remember, digital media isn’t a panacea. Sure, you can achieve some quick results with digital media. But there’s no guarantee it will deliver the customer response you’re looking for. Nor does it always help customers find your products or services.

It takes constant tracking, measuring and optimizing. Track the consumer path to conversion across all screens and devices used by the target demographic, from TV to desktop and mobile. Measure the fractional response and weighted conversions that each media channel is individually driving, from linear TV to streaming and pre-roll video. Optimize the media allocation between media platforms to maximize reach, consumer response and ROI per advertising dollar on a weekly basis.

The days of “set it and forget it” media planning are gone. Data are always moving, and weekly optimization is key so use real-time data.

TAKE SOME RISKS
Be on the lookout for — and open to — emerging trends. For example, begin investigating the effectiveness of voice search, especially with the growth of smart speaker sales in the past year. Voice search has a lot of potential in microtargeting a local market. However, technology is still being developed to better optimize search results and the individual will need to learn how to succinctly communicate with the audio device to get relevant results.

By integrating these essential practices into your marketing strategy, you’ll be in a great position to realize the real power of the omnichannel. Just remember: Don’t expect immediate results (patience is a virtue here), and continuously test new techniques and selling strategies before you launch them. And perhaps most importantly, always keep your customers at the center.