Is Putting Digital First Still Paramount for Advertisers?


ADOTAS — Today, brands are putting all their eggs in the digital basket, investing heavily in online campaigns instead of print and outdoor advertising. True, people are spending more and more of their time in front of digital screens these days, but there are limitations of digital that brands may not yet fully recognize. For example, while online metrics make it much easier to track online activity, the branding advantages to print ads and word of mouth still influence a significant number of customers to make a purchase.

In order to mitigate the over-reliance on digital channels, some brands are starting to shift budgets to incorporate a combination of real-world advertising through print with a digital twist that makes the impact of both formats easier to track for campaign success.

Companies like Digimarc have been bridging the gap between print ads and online tracking by creating a way to embed links into print photos via image recognition technologies, so that when scanned by a smartphone, they link to a branded microsite or landing page online, much like the unsightly QR code.

On the analytics side, the marketing services company Valassis has begun tracking mobile device behaviors and comparing them to people’s real-world behaviors – and has been educating its clients on the value of combining online and offline data for integrated campaigns.

“Leveraging online and offline data provides a holistic view of the consumer,” said Beth Keegan, vice president of marketing solutions at Valassis. “This combination of syndicated, proprietary and client data allows marketers to optimize a campaign’s performance to reach their target audience with the right message, using the right channel and at the right time. Marketers can find their ‘act alikes’ and know where and how to touch them to accelerate their path to purchase. The key to this valuable data lies in making it actionable.”

Valassis conducted a test campaign for CPG giant Del Monte that compared how digital display was used to drive offline coupon prints versus traditional online targeting. The findings revealed that consumers engaged deeply with the offer and the coupon print rate soared 133 percent, the click-through rate increased 63 percent and consumers exhibited a 12 percent increase in purchase intent. When used in the most efficient way, offline geographic data matters to digital and this example highlights the staggering potential of integrated marketing approaches.

“To drive ROI and make the most of their advertising dollars, brands and retailers must know their consumer – connect the who to the where using both online and offline data,” Keegan added. “The future is likely to bring even more data from an increased number of sources. Not unlike today, the key will be making that data actionable. Geography is the unifying touch point to help pinpoint the best shopper. Going forward, marketers should be willing to test and learn and to let data drive their planning.”


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