We hit an important milestone in the history of digital advertising this year.
According to eMarketer, digital media buys will surpass traditional U.S. ad spend for the first time, representing 54.2 percent of the total $238.82 billion ad spend in 2019. But do digital messages resonate with consumers?
It’s easy to understand why the focus is on digital media buys. Americans spend more than six hours a day consuming digital media, which accounts for more than any other form of media (TV, radio, magazines, newspapers) combined.
The Transition from Traditional to Digital Spend
For brands, however, transitioning from traditional advertising channels to digital is not as simple as it might seem. For one, advertisers are wary of “ad tech taxes,” which the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently estimated at roughly 42 cents of every media dollar.
There are also attribution and measurement concerns, one of which is cost-per-click, the traditional method for how advertisers pay publishers. This model is simply misaligned for marketers whose KPIs correlate much more than clicks with engagement over the course of an entire buying journey.
In addition to these considerations, what can truly stop a marketer in their tracks is the fear of frustrating customers with messaging that is irrelevant to their lifestyle and history with the brand. Showing a customer an ad for a product that they’ve already purchased introduces friction into the customer journey, creates a negative brand impression and leaves the customer with the feeling that the brand does not value their individual preferences. According to a recent study, 77 percent of consumers say they see too many retargeting ads from the same retailers. Further, 88 percent said that they’ve seen a retargeted ad for a product they’ve already purchased.
The In-House Movement & Importance of Personalization
So, how can brands combat message fatigue? One word: personalization.
Personalization is accomplished with more granular segmentation, targeting a specific ad audience based on demographics, interests and behaviors. It’s proven that this is effective – 71 percent of consumers say they prefer ads tailored to their interests and shopping habits.
For this reason, more advertisers are bringing their programmatic advertising efforts in-house. By doing this, they can avoid unnecessary ad tech fees and have more control over their targeting and measurement. Further, when combined with an in-house customer data platform (CDP), advertising can be even more customized and relevant to the individual’s buying journey. Pairing a CDP with an anonymous data environment paves the way for performance marketing KPIs to apply in the anonymous space.
Audience Suppression: Quick Wins
There are some low effort/high impact tactics brands should consider when it comes to ad personalization.
Audience suppression – which is when an advertiser onboards and activates an existing customer file to suppress them from seeing acquisition-oriented ads targeting new prospects – is a strategy that leading advertisers rely on.
For example, a marketer might suppress existing loyalty program members from ad campaigns designed to drive new enrollments in the loyalty program. Not only does this improve the results of the campaigns by only messaging to people who can join the program, it also means the media spend works harder against actual prospects instead of being wasted against current members. Serving the ad to current members would most certainly harm the brand.
Suppressing customers from paid search/keyword buys is also effective. This allows brands to focus search budget on prospects who are actively in the market for the specific product or service, rather than on customers who likely aren’t interested or who already love the brand.
First-Time Visitor to Customer is Easier Than Ever
Today’s consumers demand personalization across the entire customer lifecycle; brands simply don’t have the luxury of serving up generic website content if they want to acquire and retain loyal customers. Delivering content that isn’t in the context and cadence of an individualized customer journey will fail to convert customers, driving down effectiveness and brand affinity while simultaneously increasing message fatigue.
Brands need to leverage modern platforms that allow them to simplify onboarding and activation across the digital ecosystem. With a single UI and dynamic control over audience creation, marketers now have the ability to select audiences from known CDPs and from anonymous databases. This drastically improves onboarding, activation, acquisition, and measurement across the digital ecosystem.
Ultimately, this will also help combat message fatigue by giving marketers the ability to hyper-personalize a website experience for first-time visitors. In the past, if a first-time visitor to a brand’s website arrives without identifiers such as cookies, the site wouldn’t have insights to guide content, products, services, or offers. Now, thanks to advanced technology, brands can request an identifier and use it to personalize content for unknown visitors – significantly increasing the likelihood that the consumer will convert.
Personalization is an expectation for any customer journey and website personalization for anonymous and known visitors is a high impact, easily executed starting point.