The digital advertising industry has arrived at its saturation point. Ads pop up, slide in or play in the background on every platform, and consumers see right through this cacophony of attempts to grab their attention. Today’s market is faced with this spreading phenomenon — #adblindness. With lower price barriers to enter the market, digital advertisers proliferate. Businesses must adopt new marketing strategies to distinguish their ads from the rest. Essentially, they must deliver the right message at the right place and at the right time.
The more consumers become inundated with ads, the less effective these ads prove to be. Their low click-through rates can be attributed to their irrelevance, poor timing and shallow understanding of targeted consumers, among other factors. Marketers can overcome these blind spots through the use of various data-driven marketing strategies. New problems call for new tools — machine learning and other new technologies can systematize methods for businesses to reclaim consumer attention.
Ecommerce businesses are already using personalized ad strategies to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach, leveraging dynamic creatives based on consumer clicks, searches and browser history.
Data-driven advertising methods, such as predictive analytics and real-time optimization, unlock the ability to craft ads that are more likely to resonate with your audience. Implementing data-based marketing strategies can drive improved brand sentiment, loyalty, and engagement.
Here’s how you can combat #adblindness to extend your marketing dollars and ultimately reach customers through the clutter of their feeds.
The value exchange.
Consumers are willing to share their personal information in exchange for individualized treatment. This equitable transaction strengthens the relationship between a business and its patrons.
Dynamic ads allow marketers to tap into behavioral data, resulting in more relevant ads that are tailored to the interests and preferences of customers. This personalized ad experience creates value for customers, who feel their identity, wants and needs reflected in the ads that cross their screen. However, solely behavior-based dynamic advertising won’t be enough for marketers to cut through ad blindness, with more optimized data-driven tactics driving the industry forward. If a dynamic ad appears to a buyer at a non-optimal time in their shopping journey, consumer interest is likely to suffer even if that ad is personalized through behavioral data. More recently developed data-based marketing allows companies to meet consumers where they are, demonstrating a consideration not only of their interests but also of their current level of familiarization with the product, their present circumstances and other specific factors that could make the difference in an ad’s success.
Harness the power of machine learning.
Real-time optimization, also called dynamic content generation, leverages real-time data to target consumers at the appropriate place and time. Real-time optimization technology interprets consumer data in order to automate the curation of personalized ads. For example, when a consumer is shopping on Ticketmaster, they will be presented with a carefully selected range of options during checkout. The system utilizes machine learning to understand the consumer’s preferences and prioritize offers accordingly. If the consumer typically prefers VIP packages, the system will prioritize offering a VIP experience.
Additionally, machine learning algorithms take into account other details such as the consumer’s previous payment method and location to make the experience even more relevant. So if a consumer is attending a show in New York but lives in Denver, the system will not prioritize a parking deal, as the consumer is likely staying at a nearby hotel. The customer then senses that the business is paying attention to their needs and cares to provide a solution tailored to their particular situation.
The use of real-time data takes personalized marketing to a holistic level, where ads are relevant and helpful to consumers because they are informed by a constant intake and interpretation of consumer data. First-party data can provide insights into which offers, messages and channels will be most effective and for which customers. These machine learning marketing strategies present new, deeper routes by which to reach customers. And through the dynamic, data-driven adaptation of these marketing interactions, retailers can cultivate brand loyalty that grows and changes alongside their consumer base.
Keep messages simple and actionable.
Simplifying your messaging with a clear call to action is one way to ensure engagement. Using dynamically native ad formats makes your message more easily digestible and helps eliminate any confusion. Use short, concise sentences and avoid any jargon or technical language that could potentially snag your audience enough to lose them. Customers must grasp what is being offered without any struggle, then feel that they must act now to take advantage of the offer.
Timing is everything.
A well timed ad can help a product feel like a natural fit with a customer’s interests, while a poorly timed ad can feel irritating and even intrusive. Determining the best moment for an ad to show up requires marketers to understand the different stages a buyer goes through. The consumer’s journey — from being engaged and converted to making a purchase and supporting post-purchase satisfaction — benefits, as do sales, from skillfully timed ads that enforce the relevance and helpfulness of the products they promote.
For example, if a customer has recently ended their subscription, you can create reactivation campaigns to reconnect with them through an exclusive offer that entices them back into the user base. By offering a timely discount or promotion, you can encourage these customers to take action and make a purchase.
Tell your story.
Storytelling is one of the most compelling tactics a business can use to connect with customers. To foster client-brand relationships that endure longer than the few seconds it takes to look at an ad, it is crucial to craft captivating, original content. Sharing your brand’s story can forge a deeper emotional connection with them, which naturally leads to increases in customer engagement and retention.
With the multitude of voices on the internet clamoring for attention, it’s essential to know how to cut through the noise. Consumers’ attention spans are not decreasing, but rather the vast amount of information available to consume is increasing. Attention is a valuable yet scarce commodity. To deliver relevancy, it’s not just crucial to have the right message, but also to deliver it optimally.
The timing, channel and device surrounding an ad are all choices that can help it to sink or swim. Choosing wisely requires a deep understanding of customer behavior, preferences and past interactions with the brand. With careful consideration of the many aspects of an ad’s delivery, along with the help of data-driven marketing tactics, retailers can feel empowered to cut through #adblindness and welcome the business their marketing spending merits.
Paul Frantz is the SVP of Strategic Partnerships at Rokt, where he leads a team that is passionate about identifying relevant customer-centric ecommerce partnerships. His team works across key verticals such as travel, retail, financial services, entertainment, media and more. Rokt helps clients navigate the evolving marketing landscape and drive profitable and sustainable growth for their business by maximizing the value of every customer transaction. Frantz holds a Bachelor of Sociology from the University of Liverpool. He is now based out of New York City.