ROI. These three letters, when achieved across three digital screens -- PCs, tablets, and smartphones -- can separate savvy marketers from the masses. They make media buyers either cringe at the end of a digital campaign, or leave them wanting more.
No one will dispute that it is imperative for brands to reach their target audiences on whatever digital screens they are using. Nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones. In 2011, Google Android and Apple iOS smartphones led the market, with Android at nearly half and iOS accounting for nearly 30 percent of market share, according to comScore. In addition, eMarkerter reports that 29 percent of internet users will own tablets and the number of iPad users alone is projected to rise by more than 90 percent by the end of this year.
The problem is that the myriad online and mobile advertising platforms use different technologies that do not easily share data. That leaves marketers and ad agencies struggling to stitch them together to execute campaigns, which, in turn, wastes a lot of time and money and hobbles the instant feedback that makes digital advertising compelling. The bottom line for marketers: None of the current digital ad systems are integrated in the way advertisers can buy "digital."
The proliferation of devices and platforms has created a new challenge -- how to execute a cost-efficient digital advertising campaign with maximum ROI. Here are four tips to increase cost efficiency for digital advertising initiatives:
Create a consistent ad experience across three screens
Recognizing value in consistency is a cornerstone of branding. In order for digital brand messages to cut through the clutter, marketers must develop ad experiences -- from ad formats to microsites -- that consistently reflect the brand's identity and convey compelling messages. Effectively managing creative development will increase the chances of conversion and minimize the risk that each execution will deviate from the essence of the brand message across all devices.
Approach campaign performance from the three-screen view
Digital media gives marketers insight into the many layers of campaign performance metrics. Yet, when marketers rely on multiple channels to push digital messages, it can be daunting to analyze all metrics to derive meaningful insights. Advertisers must approach campaign performance holistically across all screens and understand exactly how ads are performing across PCs, smartphones, and tablet devices to truly increase efficiency.
Optimize digital marketing campaigns in real time
Rather than wait until the conclusion of digital campaigns to adjust future marketing strategies, marketers who optimize their campaigns in real time can nimbly make effective adjustments to increase the ROI. For example, when a marketer can see that a campaign is performing better on tablets and smartphones than on PC, that person can quickly optimize the campaign to divert more ad budget from low-performance devices to better-performing devices. The key element for the marketer is the ability to compare the real-time performance of different screens in a single dashboard view. Furthermore, consistency across all creative executions will ensure apples-to-apples comparisons of all devices.
Streamline production costs
Creating separate executions -- Flash for PC, HTML5 for smartphones and tablets -- can be expensive. Although it might seem intuitive, marketers might forget that technologies, like Flash, are simply a means to an end. Relying solely on Flash technology for a rich media experience can increase production costs and limit flexibility across devices. On the other hand, HTML5 implementations on PC browsers have not kept pace with their mobile counterparts. So, marketers should embrace the right technology platform that can create a single creative execution across all devices
While providing consumers with an engaging online experience is important, marketers must evaluate their current ad content development strategy against the ability to create a single ad format that can be delivered to any device. The savings from reduced production costs can be funneled back into reaching more audience, resulting in more impactful media buys.
Srini Dharmaji is founder, chairmen, and CEO of GoldSpot Media.
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