Navigating the 2018 Digital Ad Landscape


With new technologies and exciting opportunities for digital advertising constantly evolving, it’s crucial for today’s marketers to optimize the ad tech resources and audience segments they use to engage their customers, donors, and prospects.

We chatted with our digital ad guru, Senior Vice President, Digital Product Management Will Clayton, to get a pulse on how marketers can set themselves up for success in today’s digital landscape.

What are the biggest challenges marketers face in today’s digital advertising landscape?

Marketers today face a number of challenges that have been brewing for some time. In terms of digital, perhaps the most important is the increased accountability being placed on marketing teams.

Marketers are held accountable not only for reasonable results, but for backing up their numbers with statistics and science. Savvy digital advertisers respond to this challenge with testing, clearly-defined optimization procedures, and holistic strategies and reporting. But the enhanced accountability that marketers feel also means the pressure on supply-side tools has never been greater.

We’re also seeing increased accountability for marketers to understand and honor consumers’ wishes regarding their personal data and how they interact with digital advertising. People-based addressable campaigns offer solutions to these challenges, allowing consumers to opt out and otherwise control their exposure to the ads they see. This fosters more positive interactions that meet the needs of both advertiser and consumer.

What’s the one thing marketers misunderstand most about digital advertising?

Because digital advertising provides more immediate, comprehensive feedback than other channels, the greatest mistake I see digital marketers make is using this quick feedback to make quick decisions about their digital programs. While the feedback may be more immediate, digital programs still require time for thoughtful, patient analysis. Savvy digital advertisers thus resist the urge to succumb to knee-jerk reactions based on small data sets. Instead, they recognize the need for constant analysis and optimization to give their digital campaigns the opportunity to show how successful they can be. This also means that, when it comes time to attribute results, each component of a digital program is given a fair shot at both credit for results and continuing budget.

Digital advertising is all about reaching the right audience. With so many audience segments available to advertisers, how do Wiland digital audiences distinguish themselves?

Like everything we do at Wiland, the thing that distinguishes our Custom Digital Audiences is the comprehensive transaction-level data on which they’re built. The Wiland Cooperative Database gives us insight into demonstrated consumer behavior that’s reliable and truly indicative of future response. That simply isn’t going to show up if you rely on readily available demographic, psychographic, or lifestyle segments. Even online behavioral segments aren’t as reliable as our transaction data—as consumers browsing web pages doesn’t necessarily translate into spending behavior.

What’s next on the horizon for digital marketing?

Most of the emerging developments we’re seeing in digital have been coming about slowly for some time. Mobile content, presence, and messaging continue to grow, as does cross-device targeting and measurement. Adding in new sources of data—smart TVs, smart speakers, in-game advertising, IoT, and social media—means that the future is going to be both very complex…and very exciting.

Underlying all of this is the importance of keeping the concerns and best interests of consumers in mind. With ads often driven by things like location-based insights, we need to keep in mind that just because we can leverage certain types of personal data about a consumer doesn’t mean that we always should. We need to uphold respect for individuals’ preferences and privacy, providing advertising solutions that drive great results for advertisers but are also beneficial to consumers. Digital is still a nascent capability, so we must ensure that we’re applying fundamental marketing principles and ethical approaches to each new technology.

What advice would you give to a first-time digital advertiser?

I would urge a first-time digital advertiser to set aside adequate budget and time for testing and learning how the whole digital ecosystem works. Then, engage with reputable partners. Be diligent in researching and choosing any partner you’re going to work with, checking references and asking prospective partners to go through the quantitative aspects of their programs to validate the thoroughness of their solutions. Following these guidelines, and with the right tools, marketers can find their digital sweet spot and develop strong and lasting connections with their target audiences.

About Will Clayton

Will Clayton is Senior Vice President, Digital Product Management with Wiland. With a notable career in digital marketing technology, Will brings his expertise to the delivery of effective solutions to Wiland clients across a broad range of industries, with emphasis on measurable results and the secure use of consumer data.

Categories: Display Advertising, Marketing Trends | Tags: , , , ,
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