Avoid falling into the indifference trap with your digital marketing

While it may seem obvious, it is surprising just how many digital campaigns are being planned on auto-pilot, with an over-reliance on Meta and Google.

As Ori Gold, CEO and founder of Bench Media, explains, great creative placed in the wrong context against too broad and distracted an audience can go unnoticed.

In a fascinating social experiment in 2007, famous violinist Joshua Bell performed anonymously as a street busker at a Washington D.C. subway station.

Even as he performed complex pieces on his multi-million-dollar Stradivarius violin, most bystanders didn’t recognise or even stop to listen to the world-class music. Financially, he made $52.17 during that hour, a big contrast to what he was used to while with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The experiment is an excellent metaphor for the challenges we face in planning an effective digital media campaign, that is, great creative placed in the wrong context against too broad and distracted an audience can go unnoticed.

While this seems obvious, it is surprising just how many digital campaigns are being planned on auto-pilot with an over-reliance on Meta and Google and thereby falling into the indifference trap. Add to this the fact these two major platforms are losing market share (tracking to drop below 45% this year combined) plus the important consumer privacy changes taking place and it becomes doubly important you get your planning basics right to ensure your campaign doesn’t go unnoticed.

Overcoming these challenging market dynamics isn’t easy, but a major part of the solution is a strategically-led digital-first media plan built on rich data and customer insights that embraces the opportunities presented by the open internet and includes the following fundamental components.

Venture beyond the walled gardens

Embrace the opportunities that exist beyond the walled gardens! Meta and Google are very influential platforms. However, they present challenges for data exchange and are limited in the breadth of target audiences they can reach, so it is important for marketers to begin to diversify their media spending to other ecosystems.

The walled gardens offer limited transparency in data ownership and reporting, which makes it difficult for advertisers to understand how their campaigns are performing and they are falling short in their activation capabilities.

By diversifying media and data sources, businesses can mitigate risks, and tap into new and more refined audiences. This diversification will lead to improved performance, higher impact and better cost efficiency while providing enhanced data and insights to build and improve the outcomes over time. It also reduces exposure to the issues that result when a major platform changes its algorithms, policies, or pricing models, something that happens quite often.

Build and manage your own data

It’s time to manage your own data with third-party cookies on their way out and new privacy expectations. Already, over half of consumers are unreachable via the old methods.

Marketers must embrace first-party data. This means directly sourcing information from customers with their permission. Brands can either manage this in-house or work with reputable data partners to reach their audiences in a way that respects consumers’ experience.

Additionally, cookie-less advertising methods like contextual targeting and identity solutions are used widely and are effective tools for reaching audiences. To stay ahead in business, brands should start adapting to these changes now. Cookie-less advertising is a reality we all need to learn to live with.

Constantly Test and Learn

Data-driven testing and learning is a gift that keeps on giving. Over time, the marketing mix becomes more tailored to a company’s specific situation, objectives, and target groups. This gives the company a competitive advantage, as it can reach its target audience more effectively and efficiently. The sooner brands adopt systematic testing and learning frameworks in their media activity, the harder it becomes for competitors to catch up. The company constantly learns and improves while its competitors are stuck in the past.

Navigating today’s digital advertising landscape shouldn’t feel like trying to stand out in a bustling subway. Crafting a dynamic and digital-first media strategy built from deep audience insights, embracing the opportunities of the open internet, and being driven by a constant test and learn rigour can win the battle for attention and deliver far greater returns for your media investment.

Ori Gold is CEO and founder of Bench Media.


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