As online advertising has become more sophisticated, so have the needs and wants of advertisers — and the solutions that media outlets can offer.
“A lot of people were doing it 10 years ago, but you probably notice the most new activity (in) the past five years,” said Janel Patti, executive vice president and creative director for The Marcus Group.
Budgetary constraints on businesses have forced them to negotiate how money is spent between new technology and traditional advertising mediums. One option that had been popular to advertisers is going through a combination of traditional outlets — like newspapers, television and radio stations — and using their expertise to manage their Web presence.
“In some cases, they will provide discounts for online, but most publications are treating them separately,” Patti said. “They’ve all recognized there’s value in both places, so the pricing is structured differently.”
The integrated approach allows companies to do traditional branding advertising, where measuring impressions is key, in addition to online advertising, where price-per-clicks is king. Patti said budgets have been shifted to allow for more online advertising, but targeting the right audience is paramount to getting the most value out of online advertising.
“All of those specific search capabilities and target capabilities are allowing the advertisers to fine-tune their strategies, in terms of making sure they’re reaching exactly who they want to reach,” Patti said.
North Jersey Media Group, which produces the Bergen Record and NorthJersey.com, is part of a Yahoo consortium, said vice president of digital, Brian Burns.
“Some businesses find it surprising. ‘You’re a newspaper — you do what?’ Burns said. “We have to evolve, our development has to evolve, and we’re getting there and being involved with the technical community.”
“Mom-and-pop” clients have responded to the ability to reach local customers on NorthJersey.com and through Yahoo searches, which provide very specific geographical and keyword targeting. That “yields a much higher click-through,” Burns said.
Measuring how the successful online ad placement and targeting is has also changed.
“Measurement is definitely more advanced now — it’s come a long way,” Patti said. Clients can now see how viewers are directed to their site, and what path they follow to the desired actions, she said.
“More than ever, that expectation has been raised, in terms of seeing results,” Patti said. “So if they’re not getting the number of clicks they’re looking for, the number of impressions they’re looking for, they are quicker to jump to another medium than they are to keep going.”
Patti said feedback from consumers saying they saw the ad does not always match with the number of clicks generated.
“The ads that tend to get the biggest response are the ones that have offers. Image advertising is overall branding; a one-off message — if there isn’t some compelling reason to click, you’re going to have a much harder time to get those click numbers.”
While the increase in data available to clients for monitoring their ad successes and failures has caused Patti and other advertising firms to work much faster, “it helps agencies to really keep on top of what’s working and what’s not, and adjusting our strategies in order to get better results for the client.”
Burns said listening to the client is key to understanding where to place an ad, how to target the right consumers and which technologies companies should be using.
“Not every product is for every advertiser,” Burns said. “What we don’t want to do is go out and throw everything we have at an advertiser. If we know our advertisers well, and we’re actually participating in needs-based selling, it’s really just a good conversation about what they’re looking to do either now or in the future, and where they see their business. At that point, we can make the correct recommendations.”
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