Posts Tagged: branding

Online ads are brilliant

Now is the time for all brands to rethink the point and use of online display ads.

I’ve seen two opinion pieces recently about online display advertising, Jonathan Briggs’ piece asking whether online ads are outdated and James Erskine asking why brands persist with banners and MPUs. Both arguments are interesting but are based on clickthrough rates, failing to include data on brand metrics, engagement and offline, as well as online, sales.

Brand metrics, engagement and offline sales

Clickthrough is a useful stat, god knows how addicted I am to monitoring clicks. I love clicks. The problem with clickthrough though, is that it only tells a tiny, tiny part of the story. If I were a brand like Nestle or Cadbury running a campaign to sell chocolate bars and no one clicked on my online display ad – not a dickie bird – but I’d spent £200k on 60 million online display impressions, resulting in people knowing the bar was on sale, were x% more tempted to try it and a week later 2 million people did buy it, would I not be happy? I’d be over the bloody moon!

In fact, Cadbury have gone on record to say that they can make £3 for every £1 spent online. There are thousands of other case studies that prove online advertising’s effectiveness. Burberry is one that saw its revenue jump by 18% on the back of an online campaign.

Now is the time to rethink online display

It’s 2011 and online ads are a billion miles away from what they were in the past. They can carry high quality imagery, animation, video, interactivity like games and forms, and yes, you can click on them. What I would suggest, however, is that you approach them as if you are buying content space on another site.

I believe online ads’ biggest strength is in delivering a brand message. If you want purely direct response, perhaps email, search, affiliate and lead generation are some better options. However, online display ads are brilliant at delivering this too if you plan correctly. The best direct response ads I’ve seen online include all of the response mechanisms in the ad without the need to go to another site, like the O2 ad I showed on this blog a couple of years ago (on the right).

Please, please, please let’s all, as an industry, make this the year that we stop questioning online ads’ effectiveness based solely on clickthrough.

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When brands become broadcasters

Debenhams TV

On 10th January, Britney Spears’ latest single, Hold It Against Me, premiered on iTunes and other online mp3 shops to buy before it was played anywhere. Interestingly, Britney’s single instantly went to number one in the US without any prior airing on radio or online. It was the brand, hype and immediate praise on social media that sent it to the top.

This is one example of a growing trend where brands understand how online turns them into extremely capable broadcasters in their own right, able to significantly build brand themselves alongside paid-for activity.

Using your online presence for brand building broadcast

Britney Spears and retailer Debenhams share one thing in common: they both have a massive audience already. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people visit both of these brands’ sites, sign-up to email newsletters and engage with their social network presence each month. In reality, brands have always been broadcasters because of newsletters and websites, even using high street window displays. However, the last 12 months have seen brands turn a corner because of social media and online video use.

An online presence will rarely exist in isolation from other media and paid-for advertising, but what Britney Spears has learnt is that by placing online at the centre of an integrated marketing campaign, it’s possible to use your own audience for brand marketing. Clearly Debenhams understands this too. It recently invested in a vast amount of video content for its website (using AdjustYourSet), which can also be found on its Facebook page.

“Today is a showcase to the industry to demonstrate that Ben De Lisi [range of products] isn’t about restraint, restraint, restraint”, says De Lisi in one of the recent Debenhams videos. This is clear brand building activity on Debenhams’ own website, and one that well produced online video is brilliant at delivering. Even SME’s are using it, like 5 Minute Angels – an in-office massage company – who’ve experienced an increase in sales enquiries since adding a brand building video to their site.

Can your brand become a better broadcaster?

Online offers a suite of marketing tools, and a brand’s own online presence is one of them. In 2011, due to the growing use of social media and online video, we’re witnessing an adjustment of use of the brand online presence.

As a result, brands like Whiskas, Marks & Spencer and Lady Gaga have successfully turned their own online presence into a broadcast channel. Yours can too, but to act like a broadcaster you also have to think like one.

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5 Tips for Improved Facebook Brand Pages

Smirnoff Facebook PageEarlier this year I co-authored the IAB and Microsoft’s Search & Social Media report with the delightful Amy Kean. Included in this I wrote about brands considering social network pages instead of microsites. Benefits include strong SEO performance and potentially improved user experience because people inherently know how to use the likes of Facebook.

Over the weekend I conducted a sweep of over fifty brand Facebook pages. A minority like Sainsbury’s, Debenhams and other retail, FMCG and electronic brands have clearly thought out pages that have obviously received a fair amount of invested time and money. The majority however looked like they need a little helping hand.

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Revelation that online video brand recall is higher at work

Online video brand recall at work and homeNew IAB and Sky Video Ad Effectiveness research reveals that brand recall is higher at work (44%) than at home (39%), which suggests an incredible new opportunity for reaching consumers with brand messaging at their most receptive: in the work-place.

Consumer mindset and the importance of content quality and type

The research, conducted by agency Decipher, states the reason for this uplift in recall is due to differing mindsets. At work, people are highly focussed on the task at hand because they have limited time to visit an online video and watch what they have selected. While at home, people are more relaxed, have more time to browse around and there are more distractions.

Consumer receptivity to online video advertising depending on frame-of-mind is incredibly important, directly affecting campaign success. Viewers are 10% more likely to recall an ad if they enjoyed the content, highlighting the importance of advertising around quality, relevant content.

Type of content also matters, recall was higher around news, entertainment, sport, music, TV preview or movie trailers and then user generated clips respectively. Actively searching for an ad also aids recall, with referrals from friends delivering best (53%), actively looking for the clip second (48%) and just browsing last (39%).

At least 84% of the UK internet audience watches online video each month according to comScore and this study fits nicely into the picture as further evidence of the channel’s strengths. Evidently some advertisers already see this with investment in advertising around video content growing by 82% in the first half of this year, the fifth successive half-yearly increase (IAB / PwC AdSpend H1 2010).

What should advertisers do?

Advertisers should be capitalising on the reach online video offers now, paying particular attention to the work-place. Online video is uniquely positioned to deliver TV-like brand messaging in an environment where people are most receptive. Existing TV ad creative works in this environment as long as it is relevant to the viewer, and placement around highly sought-after or shared quality clips can deliver higher than average results.

Work-place, relevant placement and quality is a killer combination for online video brand campaigns and advertisers should begin planning this premium ad inventory into their schedules. Of course, with online targeting, you can do all of this with minimal waste too, as you target the exact demographic audience you need. This is another example of how you can use the portfolio of internet advertising tools to build brand.

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Diversity of advertiser solutions means online offers something for everyone

Online advertising in the UK continues to grow, this time to just under £2 billion for the first half of 2010. Exciting, but this growth isn’t the real story. The most interesting thing is that the latest IAB / PwC figures show that digital advertising offers the advertiser a really broad range of advertising solutions – meaning that it can accommodate the needs and objectives of any marketing campaign – from direct response to brand building.

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Why 27,586 people probably love Marks and Spencer a little bit more.

For a while now I’ve been trying to avoid Twitter like the plague. Not because it offends me in any way but purely just to make a point, to myself, that I’m not the kind of person to be dragged along by the bandwagon, mile after mile, knees furiously grazing, clothes ripping on the gravelly floor and the air filled with my cries of ‘but it’s cooooooool! Everyone is dooooing iiiiiiiiiit!’

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Where are the celebrities?

Iggy Pop

You can use celebrities in marketing campaigns to grab the attention of consumers. This is a basic rule of branding taught at GCSE level upwards and is used all the time on TV, in cinemas, in print, on the radio. Where then, are the celebrities in online advertising?! Ignoring the obvious film and TV campaigns, I can’t recall a single online advert that uses a celebrity to associate with a product or service and certainly not for a standalone online campaign.

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