Ignore Data to Stand Out

The world of online advertising is becoming increasingly data driven.  The amount of information that is gathered on individuals online allows us to target messages based on browsing behaviour, products purchased, products not purchased, products viewed, time of day, day of week, time since browsing, recent online purchases, demographics, location and a myriad of other data points.

The availability of such data is making us as digital practitioners more focussed on targeting of audiences and individuals to the nth degree.  Clients, more pressured for results than ever before, are looking for the highest return on investment as possible.  So they too want to be as focussed as possible on their ‘target audience’ and make sure every penny they spend works as hard as possible.

As a result we becoming consumed with the data and targeting.  Chasing the audience (and their online spending) around the web like an over eager car salesman stalking his prey around the forecourt.

Everyone is Doing it

The problem is, the competition is doing exactly the same thing.  We may be using different technology and data to do it, but our objective is the same.  Find the perfect customer at the right time with the right message.

The result being inflated pricing and a consumer who has become used to seeing ads for products they have viewed, or ads targeted to their demographic or location.  It’s no long new, interesting, or different, it is the new norm.

So whilst I think targeting and profiling are still going to remain common practice in digital marketing in the future, I also believe smart marketers need to find a new way to stand out and being different and creative becomes of increasing importance.  In world where targeting based on numbers is the norm, the need to stand out becomes increasingly important.

Separate Digital Media by Objectives

The availability of the data available to target audiences should mean that this becomes the foundation of your digital advertising strategy.  Much like TV planning and buying is now separated into traditional broadcast and direct response, digital advertising should have a similar compliment of objectives.

Takeovers, interactive ad formats, content based partnerships will gain cut through and stand out for a brand when done well in the right environment.  Targeting remains important, but more based on overall audience of users and fit with the site/content rather than focussing on individual user metrics. Having a section of your digital schedule focussed on creative, brand focussed activity will aid you in gaining cut through in a cultured online advertising environment.

Finding alternative metrics

Of course all advertising needs some form of measurement in order to be justified against the alternatives.  So these types of channels need to be measured based on engagement metrics, reach and uplift in brand perceptions rather than direct sales.  These metrics, whilst a little softer than direct sales, are equally as important when looking to gain share of voice and ultimately share of sales.

And these types of metrics are equally as important for challenger brands, those with smaller budgets, and those with a traditional DR focus.  In a world where we are bombarded with adverts at our every online turn, do you really think you can stand out doing the same as everybody else?