As Ran Cohen details, there are 10 ways to streamline your brand plan for 2009.
To help you get ahead of the curve, here are 10 insider tips that smarter branding campaigns will implement in 2009:
1. Optimizing for branding: Engagement metrics. It's a common mistake to evaluate performance of display ads exclusively by the clickthrough rate. Clicking is a direct response and not a measure of affinity or favorability towards a brand. Brand marketers are more interested in the reach and impact of campaigns, but what are the objective metrics here? Hint: it's about time. Time spent with adverts is a clear indication of brand interest. Considering increasing ad blindness online and time shifting on TV, real return on branding investment can only be assured by observing consumers as they choose to spend substantial time with the ad.
2. Driving conversions within the banner. Conversions can be defined depending on campaign objectives from purchasing a product, requesting a test-drive, downloading a brochure or engaging the user with the brand. Enabling conversions inside the banner facilitates measurement and enhances engagement. In 2009, its best to grab the consumer while you can and bring the brand experience directly to them in the banner. For example, for their recent launch of Mars Planets, Masterfood drove in-banner conversions, forgoing the destination site altogether. The result: 35,000 consumers subscribed to the sweepstakes in the first day alone, far exceeding past expectations.
3. Frequency capping. The time of overexposing consumers to wasted impressions is over. Determining optimal frequency is in. With tighter budgets in place, marketers should hold the reins of campaigns and conduct close reviews of ad performances by frequency at the first phase of a campaign. This will help marketers to determine the optimum frequency and to demand that publishers implement frequency caps for the duration of the campaign, and then rotate creatives accordingly.
4. Geo-targeting on the publisher side. Don't forget the small stuff. If the target audience is in the U.S., make sure that the buy is for U.S. users only. A specific site that is scoring high for a certain demographic can potentially include a wide mix of international users.
5. Creative targeting. Advertisers can and should target different creative executions via the agency ad server, sequencing creatives by time of day, user behavior ("behavioral sequencing"), user activity on an advertisers' website ("retargeting tags"), etc. Although identifying and targeting impressions to relevant consumer segments with publisher ad server capabilities has become increasingly common, it's times like these that agency ad servers should not be neglected.
6. Creative optimization. Making sure you're serving the best-performing creative across your online media buys is relatively simple, yet surprisingly overlooked. This is bound to change in the coming year as marketers look for ways to cost-effectively produce multiple campaign versions to optimize against.
7. Placement performance. By examining the consumer path to conversion, media planners can gain insight into the optimal allocation for impressions between search and display. Today, media planners can optimize media buys for reach and frequency by analyzing the overlap of unique users between publishers (the smaller the overlap, the higher the reach, while a higher overlap yields a higher frequency).
8. Creative meet analytics. Campaigns need to support brand impact and scrupulous measurement as much as the creative behind them. Creative and media teams should work more closely together to design creatives that speak to overall performance objectives. Creatives must include mechanisms that allow for analyzing, monitoring and optimization.
9. Cross-channel integration. Consumers switch between media channels to their heart's content, and 2009 will be the year for campaigns to capitalize on the full range of advertising media. As display advertising broadens its horizons past the PC, traditional, online, and mobile channels will come to the front line. Marketers will now be encouraged to "follow" active consumers throughout the day across all channels to optimize their branding budgets. Innovative tools to track the full path to conversion are also available.
10. Media verification. In tough times, you better make sure you get what you paid for. This means making sure that your run-of-site buy didn't land your impressions under the fold, near objectionable content, next to your competitors' ads, etc.
The tools and tactics needed to ride out the recession already exist for online advertising. By committing to these resolutions, all simple techniques for improving and demonstrating online ROI, smart marketers will leverage the recession to capitalize on digital marketing, making 2009 a memorable year for digital display advertising and online campaign management. So when the going gets tough, don't cut ad spends, just cut inefficiencies and focus on knowing what to look for, how to optimize and when to make changes.