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Doubling Down on Digital Marketing

Digital ad spending isn't slowing down. And one of the areas capturing the attention of marketers is online videos, with spending expected to double by 2016.

December 2013, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Peter Martin

The digital marketing universe is changing at light speed. In this space, yesterday’s innovation doesn’t become tomorrow’s reality. So how do we keep up? Well, there are trends and shifts in thinking and spending that signal a fundamental change in how marketers reach their audience and collect their information.

This past June, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that digital advertising revenues in the U.S. market reached $9.6 billion in the first quarter 2013, a nearly 16 percent increase from the same period in 2012. That tells us advertisers believe their best chance to reach their audience is through interactive media.

In an effort to bring clarity and consistency to the digital marketplace, the IAB, an association of 500 leading media and technology companies responsible for selling 86 percent of U.S. online advertising, has developed standards by which marketers deliver their message, track engagement and determine return on investment. And what this group decides affects all advertisers and marketing platforms, as the standards it develops are widely recognized and adopted. And if your advertising agency, designers and media planners are not familiar with these standards, you should seek new partners.

The IAB recorded a dip in digital advertising in 2009. But that changed by early 2010 as the Great Recession began to wane. Since then, spending on digital advertising has risen dramatically. This year, spending climbed to nearly $10 billion in the first quarter. By the second quarter, spending crossed the $10 billion mark, just missing the highs realized in the fourth quarter 2012.

And spending should continue to rise now that Facebook allows sponsored posts to appear in “News Feeds.” Advertisers and their agencies are also developing more engaging banner and Web ads. Then there’s online video, which has become a critical channel for marketers seeking to attract the attention of consumers. But let’s delve deeper into the current trends and the things you need to do to stay ahead.

Video Marketing: Online video has become one of the fastest growing advertising channels, accounting for $4.1 billion of the more than $10 billion spent on digital advertising this year. And the prevalence of faster Internet speeds, improvements in hardware and software, and the rapid growth of mobile devices have made online video the digital equivalent of broadcast and cable television, but at far lower costs in terms of both production and delivery.

This past spring, eMarketer, a digital marketing research firm, projected U.S. spending on online video ads to nearly double by 2016 to $8.04 billion. And while most major marketers will tie their TV ads to their online marketing message, much can be learned from their huge expenditures and tracking efforts and applied in the automotive retail segment.

But there is much to consider when using video to market online, such as how to purchase it, cost of production, the type of ad you’ll create, pricing formats, the audience you want to reach, and the network on which your video ads will appear. Grasping all these nuances can be complicated, especially with how quickly things change. But just know the time and energy you put in won’t go to waste, as digital marketing will continue to become a larger part of your advertising and marketing spend in 2014 and beyond.

Remember the Basics: There are a number of basic fundamentals you need to focus on when it comes advertising and marketing. A lot of it involves just plain old common sense. So no matter what you hear, remember that the key to marketing will always be knowing your audience and engaging it with value.

Clarity and Brevity: When communicating your message to your audience, make sure your message is coherent, meaningful and short. Unattractive banner ads, poor quality video or audio, or convoluted messaging will simply be ignored. It can even turn the prospect away from your message or lead to poor online reviews.

Audience Targeting: You must have a keen understanding of the demographics of your current and potential customers. While TV and radio advertising allow for a shotgun approach, online advertising requires laser-like targeting. So be sure to ask whatever media outlet you’re considering for its demographics. And be sure your message matches up with those demographics, or you may simply waste your time and money.

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