Article

Kevin Svec
Kevin Svec 7 December 2020

3 Important Changes to The Digital Ad Space Marketers Need to Know About

Strategies that have worked in the past may be outdated - given current consumer behaviors, trends, and search engine algorithms. Let’s dive into some of the latest changes to digital advertising and what it means for marketers. 

The majority of most businesses’ marketing budgets are allocated toward digital advertising. This is certainly not surprising - as most interactions with customers these days occurs online. Most customers learn about new brands or products on the internet, through targeted ads, organic searches, or social media interactions.

However, since consumers are inundated with thousands of online ads every day, they often ignore most of this type of marketing. According to one survey, up to 80% of people completely glossed over paid ads that appeared on search result pages when browsing online.

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This news may be alarming to hear – but it certainly doesn’t mean that digital ads are a waste of money. They are still highly effective as long as they are utilized and created correctly. Companies are not holding back on this strategy. In fact, ad spending already exceeds all other types of marketing.

The digital ad space is quickly changing. Strategies that have worked in the past may be outdated - given current consumer behaviors, trends, and search engine algorithms. Marketers need to understand how to adjust their digital ad strategies. Otherwise, they could be wasting lots of funding and effort with little return.

Let’s dive into some of the latest changes to digital advertising and what it means for marketers.

1. Dynamic Ads are Superior to Static Ads

It is no surprise that personalization is a top priority in marketing these days. There are plenty of statistics showing that buyers prefer customized experiences. However, personalization can be incredibly challenging, especially with display advertising. Dynamic advertising makes this possible.

Dynamic ads will slightly alter the message, image, or placement of the ad based on the customer that is being targeted. For instance, say that their first interaction alerted them of an ongoing sale. The second ad could promote an individual item, based on past visits or searches.

According to a case study, dynamic ads drew in 25% more traffic than static ones. It also led to a remarkable 137% growth in conversion rates.

Facebook offers dynamic retargeting options, as does Google Ads. These systems allow marketers to automatically change little details about their ads for various audiences they want to remarket to. The trick here is to base your changes on details that will influence consumers – so you will need to lean on data for these decisions.

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2. SMBs are Thriving with Hyper-localized Ads

Another important shift happening in digital advertising is the focus on hyper-localized ads for smaller businesses. In the past, most companies relied on programmatic advertising to get their ads in front of the highest number of consumers possible. Usually, this meant advertising on popular sites with high costs per click.

However, many SMBs have had to tighten up the purse strings after a challenging year. This has led to a shift in partnering with local advertising outlets to reach specific niches. As Kenny Katzgrau, CEO of the direct ads sales platform Broadstreet put it:

 “Ironically, dozens of small, hyperlocal publishers - the very same publishers that Google and Facebook have been systematically destroying for years - are beginning to rebel...and with much success. Some hyperlocal publishers are thriving by selling digital ads directly to advertisers with specialized ad software. SMBs can now connect with local outlets and trade-in corporate-controlled ads for hyperlocal, real-time creative space.”

One of the greatest benefits here is that marketers can finally target specific niches based on important criteria, such as location or interest. These often cost far less than marketing through larger outlets. However, the audience reach is generally lower. The trick is to utilize audience demographic data to identify qualities that you can target through these local outlets.

For instance, say your company sells mountain bikes.

By looking at customer data, you see that large pockets of your customers live in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Washington state. By narrowing in on the data even further, you see that many customers live outside of the Seattle area - and purchase orders often peak in the springtime. Using this information, you could reach out to local publication services in the area to publish ads around these peak months.

Relying on localized, smaller publications lets you reach pockets of customers that are highly likely to convert – all at a much lower cost than traditional digital ad spaces.

3. Expect Privacy and Accountability to Increase

Unfortunately, many consumers have lost a lot of trust in businesses when it comes to handling private data. There have been several large breaches and countless other smaller data hacks where private information like contact numbers, names, and addresses, or even financial data have been compromised.

According to the latest survey from PWC, seventy-two percent of consumers do not believe that organizations have the resources to keep their data truly safe and protected. Seventy-one percent agreed that they would stop buying from a company that collected or shared their private data without permission.

However, consumers these days expect personalized experiences with businesses – which require personal data. So, this puts marketers in a tricky position.

The solution here is transparency and compliance with data safety regulations. Many are predicting new legislation regarding truth in advertising and privacy reform as a result of recent scandals. In October of 2020, senators submitted a draft for the Data Accountability and Transparency Act, proposing additional safety requirements for data collection, storage, and distribution.

Marketers need to be doing all they can to ensure data security with their audiences – in addition to following current regulations. The previously mentioned PWC survey found that consumers desired businesses to be more transparent and honest about their data. This includes alerting customers of data breaches and allowing customers to pick and choose what they shared.

It should also be noted that this level of transparency can be quite rewarding for businesses. Not only does it help to grow trust with your audience, but 88% of consumers would be willing to share more private data if they were sure the company was responsible for it.

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It is hard to categorize transparency as a new “trend” in digital advertising. But it does seem like consumers are looking for truth in advertising more than ever, especially around private data.

Conclusion

It seems like things are changing faster and faster these days. Marketers have always been required to stay up on the latest trends to improve their work and outcomes. When it comes to digital advertising, some of the latest changes are significant, and failing to adjust could be quite detrimental to the campaign’s success.

As we head towards a new year, there will without a doubt be even more changes for digital marketers to adjust to. The key here is to keep an open mind, stay “in the know”, and test out new trends to see what works best. And finally, remember that change is good – trying something new could be the best thing to happen to your marketing plan.

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