11 Ways Digital Marketers Need to Part Ways from The Ads on Traditional Media

The shift in marketing budgets from traditional channels to digital channels not only has implications for how the public sees advertisements but also how an advertiser should design his ad-copy. The change in what works in digital media may come from differences in attitudes across generations, as well as the context and how the content is delivered.

The fast-evolving world of digital advertising mandates the advertisers to think in starkly different ways from the ads on traditional media –

  1. The commercial should have the capability to hook the viewer instantly. Because, the viewer often has the option of skipping the ad after a certain number of seconds or scrolling past it whenever he or she wants.
  2. Shift away from the way TV commercials generally work: by building up a linear story, and revealing the brand in the end. Since consumers can click away from the ad, the brand should be introduced in the beginning in a way that the viewers want to see more.
  3. Reverse the general structure of TV commercials, starting with the most intensive and attention-grabbing visuals at the beginning, and then building a context around it.
  4. Only a limited portion of the audience consumes digital media with sound. Therefore, video ads cannot rely upon audio to make sense: they should still have an impact even without sound. One way of doing this is to utilize captions or subtitles.
  5. Ads that are easy to understand have a more positive effect on ad recall. Since the viewer is often unengaged in the ad, not paying much attention and generally not very motivated to understand – it is always effective if the product is present in at least half of the ad.
  6. Advertisers need to think about digital not as one unified channel but as many different platforms. Consumers look for different things in different channels – they might also perceive an ad differently depending upon the context in which they see it. For example, an ad on Instagram might be perceived to have a higher aesthetic value, while an ad on Facebook a little personalized and an ad on a news site plain and generic. In wake of these nuances, brands should adapt their ads depending upon the exact channels in which they are presented, segment to which the consumer belongs and the perceptions they want to create.
  7. Move away from CTRs as the only means to measure online ad effectiveness. Many clicks on the phone are mistakes, or are done by non-human bots. The intentional clicks are not even a proportionate sample of the target audience. Many times, a small percentage of all visitors make most of the clicks, and these visitors tend to be younger and have lower incomes than average. In general, CTR (Click Through Rates) for display ads are dropping – due to changed attitudes and increased ad density. This does not mean that the effectiveness of ads are dropping; just that instead of driving a direct behavior such as a click, it leads to more traditional effects, such as increased brand equity or increased purchase intention. Hence a better measure for the effectiveness of online ads should be traditional brand-equity metrics
  8. Use A/B testing and other experimentations to allocate weightage and budgets to the better performing ads.
  9. Leverage the power of data collected automatically by analytics servers – such as clicking a mouse over ad or an action that has been taken on the website – to optimize the ads dynamically.
  10. The new opportunities and threats due to digital media for the brand, demands the marketing department to restructure to accommodate for the new needs. They must standardize some processes more, whereas leave some other processes for free experimentation.
  11. The marketing budget should match the structural changes in the new media marketing organization, with the main part going to reinvesting in what works and a smaller part to experimenting and to following up on trends.