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Mind the (digital) gap
August 5, 2019 | James Patrick Schmidt

With so many places to spend your advertising budget, it can feel impossible to decide which mediums are best. The onslaught of digital ads is even more confusing, so the safe play for many brands is to stick with the tried-and-true awareness ads that have always worked – like TV and trade magazines.

In 2019, traditional ads can provide a great starting point for your campaigns, but you can't stop there. If you haven't already, it's time to start getting digital. I'm not advocating for rolling over 100 percent of your budget, because we know that multi-channel marketing is always the most effective. But look for a digital opportunity that aligns with your business objectives and start there.

Whether you’re thinking about programmatic banner ads, enewsletters or Facebook ads, it’s important to put the “why” at the center of planning your campaign. It’s just like our name – you have to start with the “mind” before you get to the “fire.” And when they’re working together, the sparks will fly.

mind the digital gap

Target the right person

We spend a scary amount of time on our computers and phones, exposed to advertising all along the way. That's why digital ads have become so popular, along with their affordability and measurability (a little more on that later). But the real magic with digital is how good the targeting has become.

As we surf the web, our data is collected in the background by search engines, websites, apps and more, and then ads are sold to brands based on our online behavior and served up to us all across the internet. There are entire books on the subject, but trust me when I say that data companies are very good at figuring out what ads to show us. For a brand, that's great news.

Working with the right partners, we’ve been able to build campaigns that reached parents who take their children to parks or contractors looking to buy heavy machinery. And when you know who you're talking to, it's easier to build a digital campaign that will meet your business objectives.

Engage your audience

My favorite part of digital campaigns is that they become so much more than just an ad when they're done right. They are an invitation to engage with a brand and to have a real experience. This happens in other mediums, too, but digital ads are the easiest way to connect with your audience.

Facebook, or any social platform, are great examples for how this plays out. Ads that roll through your news feed can evoke users to engage with the content by clicking on the link, sharing the content or “liking” it. But as advertisers we need to remember that our audience will only interact with the best ads, those that give us a reason to care instead of scrolling on by. I like to say that advertisers need to provide value to their customers in an ad, such as a beautiful photograph, a funny headline or even information they can't live without. Think of it as trading your customers for their attention rather than trying to aggressively grab it away from them. It's amazing how much better your ads work if the customer actually enjoys them.

Go beyond click-throughs

Everybody loves to talk about how measurable their digital campaigns are (and how their proprietary data provides the best results). Digital metrics are important, but the best ones you'll find are determined first by your business objectives, not your media choices. I'm always going to ask for a click-through rate when I run a campaign, but that's rarely the best measure of our success.

For many of our clients, the real value comes from the second action someone takes on their website, such as by clicking on the "contact us" page or requesting additional information. Setting up a campaign to focus on acquisitions or "goals" that matter to your business ensures that you're looking at the right metrics.

If you haven’t started to integrate digital into your advertising campaigns yet, I recommend you start now. No matter your target customers and business objectives, there’s bound to be an opportunity that makes sense. At MindFire, we know how to tackle media buying. Drop us a line here.

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