Retailers using display advertising purely for branding purposes are making a mistake. Display provides an opportunity to engage in direct response advertising—that is, to get a specific, measurable response to marketing efforts, and often to drive user acquisition.
Marketers often view direct response in simple terms: Did this campaign drive sales? But it doesn’t have to fit into the narrow vision of sale or no sale. The conversion can be any specific action, such as attracting customers to a website or drawing them into a brick-and-mortar store. And digital display advertising efforts are well-suited for this purpose.
Why Display Means Direct Response
Let’s say a consumer is in the market for a new shirt, but she hasn’t decided on which kind of shirt or brand she’s looking for. During this prospecting phase, programmatic display ads can reach the consumer regardless of what she’s engaging with online. Once you’ve caught her attention, you can put her into a specific audience bucket.
Intel about consumers who have purchased from your company can inform where to direct your prospecting efforts for new audiences.
Of course, display doesn’t come without hurdles. Search advertising offers a more direct path to purchase, making success easier to measure. Display is a more passive arena. Marketing might attract interest without an immediate sale, but display advertising pushes a message that drives consumers down the funnel and assists conversions.
The beauty of display, though, is that the same ad or browsed items can appear in front of the same person again as an extra nudge to purchase. When utilized correctly, display advertising can yield successful direct response results. Here’s how to get started on a display initiative that works for your team:
1. Leverage data to define and refine your target audience.
Although you might be certain about whom you’re trying to attract, launching a pre-campaign exploration on your audience can increase efficiency in your targeting. Apply tagging to your website prior to campaign launch so your platforms and tech solutions can start collecting audience data right away. This enables you to explore other potential prospects and refine your original target audience.
By the time you launch, you should know your audience like the back of your hand. Leverage the data you have, using your CRM list to refine and build up those audiences. Intel about consumers who have purchased from your company can inform where your prospecting efforts for new audiences should be directed.
2. Keep your creative and media cohesive.
The work that goes into your ad creatives is important, but if the creatives aren’t aligned with the action you’re seeking, that work might be for naught. If you’re using video ads, for example, ensure your brand is visible from the start.
You can’t assume your existing TV advertisements will translate perfectly into digital: They won’t. Know your medium inside and out so you can take advantage of the slim opportunity you have to gain consumers’ attention. The marriage between the creative and media portions of your marketing efforts must be cohesive to be effective.
3. Measure display ad performance with leading and lagging indicators.
Before launching display campaigns, define your leading and lagging indicators. That might mean offering coupon downloads as a leading KPI [key performance indicator] that enables you to tie the ads containing those coupons codes to new in-store redemption as a lagging KPI.
It might also mean leveraging audience and data platforms, where you can measure what drove a customer into a store. Tools like LiveRamp are useful for tracking lagging indicators such as in-store data, but it’s important to identify both types in order to optimize your ad campaigns.
Display ads are essential for brand marketing, but they’re more than just an image with a brand affixed to it. Display is a powerful tool to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to driving direct response. Follow these tips to ensure your display campaigns are working both sides for your brand.
Elite SEM is a digital agency specializing in performance marketing.