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Want to Boost Engagement? Synchronize Your Ad-Buying Strategies

Want to Boost Engagement? Synchronize Your Ad-Buying Strategies Sean Cotton

By Sean Cotton

During the glory days of TV-watching, there were no smartphones, tablets, or laptops. People flopped down on the couch and stared at one device for hours. 

Today's TV-watching experience looks drastically different. According to eMarketer, 85 percent of consumers use multiple devices while they watch television. As they catch up on the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory," they also scroll through their News Feed on Facebook, read Twitter, post selfies on Instagram, and text with their friends.

This explosion of multidevice and multiplatform connectivity has brands working around the clock to reach their audiences whenever and wherever they are. But unfortunately, many are working harder rather than smarter.

Marketing teams tend to be siloed, which leads to a disjointed strategy and a fragmented audience experience. When the TV, paid social, and display teams work independently, inconsistent messaging is inevitable.

Social advertising is typically labeled as the “in the moment” channel, where campaigns are responsive and turned around quickly. Search and display, on the other hand, are planned further in advance. But in reality, consumers are primed to receive in-the-moment brand messaging at all of these touchpoints. 

It’s impossible to deliver a coherent real-time brand experience across multiple digital platforms without synchronization. To establish a strong, consistent, and relevant voice, marketers must take active roles in gathering information outside of the channels they touch.

Orchestrated Campaigns Are Successful Campaigns

The goal of any marketing campaign should be orchestrated messaging, and in today's interconnected climate, it only makes sense to have your online advertising presence react in real time to what's happening on television. This boost in real-time relevance drives greater consumer response and ultimately delivers brand lift.

2016 study conducted by Turner and data science and media technology company 4C found that one in five social media engagements for brands is driven by TV advertising. Through my company’s partnership with 4C Insights, we've seen this synergy firsthand. 

In one instance during the 2016 Olympics, we ran an awareness campaign for a healthcare system that triggered social media ads every time the brand ran a commercial on television. These social ads revolved around the Olympic sport that was currently being televised. The relevance of the messaging combined with the engagement of the Olympics drove ad recall well above industry benchmarks.

 By taking a similar approach during the NBA Finals, software company SAP saw a 24 percent increase in click-through rates. The team customized its digital messaging to complement its TV content and reacted to whatever was happening in the game. This was a strategy that motivated viewers to go deeper into the customer journey.

Synchronize Your Strategies

Aligning messaging and branding across screens orchestrates a more cohesive and powerful brand statement. Here’s how to sync your strategies and boost meaningful engagement:

  1. Study your customer journey.Take stock of the customer experience, from initial contact all the way through purchase. In one survey, 86 percent of senior marketers said it's vital to create a cohesive customer journey, so look for areas that are out of alignment. Which touchpoints inspire the most engagement, and which see the highest fall-off rates? Examining the full customer journey will help you understand which aspects you can aid with your TV and digital media strategies and where to serve these ads.
  1. Tailor your message by publisher.Once you understand the journey, tailor your digital messages to fit into each publisher's ecosystem. What people want to see on TV is not the same as what they expect on social media; each medium and platform has a very different audience. Be consistent in voice and message, but customize the language, look, and overall approach according to different contexts.
  1. Keep up with your competitors.Syncing doesn’t only apply to your own messaging; it also helps you get an edge on competitors. You’re already monitoring what they’re doing, so use that knowledge to get in front of your target audience. For example, when your competitors run ads on high-indexing TV shows, amplify your social, display, and search ads to capitalize on the attention they're already drumming up. Divert the audience toward your

Gone are the days when watching a show, surfing the web, and talking to friends were distinct activities. Today, people are doing everything at once, and marketers should be ready for them wherever they are. 

Content consumption isn’t siloed anymore, so marketing strategies shouldn’t be either. Synchronization is key. 

Sean Cotton is president of Coegi, an independent programmatic and social media buying company that provides transparent and collaborative media services to agencies and in-house brand marketing teams. As an expert in digital and programmatic best practices, Sean has been featured as a speaker or a contributor for numerous digital industry associations. Prior to starting Coegi, Sean built and managed a large digital and social staff for one of the fastest-growing media agencies in the U.S.

Sean is an experienced media strategist who has worked extensively with agencies, Fortune 100 corporations, startup companies and regional small businesses. During this time he has partnered with leading digital technology companies in the marketing...

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