Awareness: Finding Purpose With Your Digital Ads

Traditionally as marketers we’ve always looked at awareness as a strategy to reach the same massive audiences that we do through TV, radio and the press. We’re targeting different audiences in these different mediums. Digital is the same thing, except we’re using the digital medium. We’re looking at screens- mobile, desktop, tablets to name a few. Acquiring as much exposure and reach as possible is great with digital because we can target specific audiences, right down to the individual.

Ultimately, the purpose of a digital campaign shouldn’t just be exposure, but actually sending a message to a wider audience. Whether the ad is being run through Facebook advertising or Google Display Network, users will see your brand or product on the side of the screen meaning an increase in website traffic.

What is the ad’s purpose?

If the purpose of a digital campaign is to send a message, how can the ad serve that goal? Will users be focusing on that message, or will they just be looking at the product itself? Will they be looking at a particular service, or whats on offer? These are the things we need to think about. Where many advertisers go wrong is commissioning branding-focused creative. Sometimes the ad is even sent out without a call to action, or any marketing strategy or purpose. This is especially true with those from a traditional media background in press, radio and TV. With digital, if we’re interrupting a customer’s attention with an ad, we need to make sure we actually offer something of value, and something unique. For example: offering a discount on the ad isn’t just about bringing exposure to a product or service, but actually provokes action.

Often marketers focus too much on their brand or just on an offer but it is important to give integrate both into a campaign. When we hear of marketers saying that display banners don’t work – of course they won’t work if they’re just chasing clicks. If there’s an offer or a deeper purpose behind your ad, and it leads to a page that illustrates something of value to the customer, it’ll be more successful.

Why digital advertising?

Digital ads can build trust between consumers and businesses by presenting personalised content that targets the wants of your specific audience and making sure the ads remain a continuous process in order to create deeper brand recognition.

It’s also important to target the people who will most likely be influenced. Trying to reach everyone is a waste of time, effort and money – why bother people who won’t be interested in what you’re offering? This means knowing your ideal customer from looking at popular search terms, people’s interests and other relevant information in relation to your product or service, as well as tracking previous digital ad performance. Having a specific target audience and knowing when and where they will most likely be online is the best way to optimise ad performance. Digital ads allow businesses to track their performance so we are able to see which are the more successful ads and how much website traffic or sales occurred.

Let’s also not forget digital ads are a cost effective way for businesses to gain high exposure. Costs are flexible and can be adjusted based on ad performance. Google Adwords, for example, only charge per click and allow you to set a budget.

What to avoid with digital ads

It’s easy for people to be put off by digital advertisements- they’re making unsolicited sales calls, after all. It is important to make sure your digital ads don’t come across irritating to consumers. That’s why it’s so important to make ads that your audience actually wants to see. You are already targeting them by their interests, so spend a bit of time to appeal to them. Take a look at those pop up ads that always appear when you enter a website. Many consumers find them annoying so Google is now trying to remove these type of ads from appearing on websites. Another example is auto-playing video adverts. These also seem to be ineffective and even though they capture attention, it’s usually because people are forced to listen while figuring out how to turn them off. So don’t let your digital ads come across as irritating to the public instead find out what your specific target audience would find of value and appealing to them.

But what do you do once you’ve established what your audience wants from your ads? As marketers it’s easy to forget what it is you want to achieve from the ads. This is why creating a set of objectives and goals helps measure how well the ad is performing once it’s up. An important question to ask yourself – are your ads suited for mobile? The majority of people today spend their time on mobile devices so it’s valuable to the business if digital ads can be viewed on mobile to maximise their audience potential.  

Another way to disrupt the flow of viewers is to have ads that are of interest to your specific audience. Whether it be scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed or Instagram page and stumble across your ad, it won’t come across as annoying if the content is engaging and valuable to them.

So when planning your awareness strategy, remember to optimise your digital ads by making sure they aren’t bothersome, offer something of value and are targeted towards the specific audience interested in your content.

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