A recent ad-effectiveness study that was conducted by Meta and Nielsen has confirmed what media planners have known for ages – the four most important factors for media impact include creative, frequency, campaign duration and reach.
Seems pretty basic, right? Yet, as digital media giants such as Meta and Google have grown over the last 20 years, many marketers have become obsessed with technological advancements such as deterministic attribution, algorithmic optimizations and other AI and machine learning.
Hey, what about the human factor? With all of this stress being placed on algorithms, it seems that we, as marketers, have strayed from the very basics. After all, if you have a message that is not very compelling and not being distributed through a strong media strategy, consumers are less likely to purchase whatever you have to offer.
Depending on the source, it’s estimated that consumers are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. What are you going to do to separate yourself from the noise and make your product or service stand out?
The Crave for Creative
Research has repeatedly shown that creative is the #1 most impactful media lever. Your creative should be eye-catching and compelling. It should complement your brand, audience, product and environment. If you are not fully confident in your creative, do it again.
But wait – even if you are 100% certain that your creative is on point for your brand and the message you want to convey, you must account for a shrinking consumer attention span. Your creative needs to contain elements that establish credible value within a matter of milliseconds. Time is money when it comes to grabbing your audience’s attention.
And once you have the attention of your audience, you won’t keep it for long. If you believe that your product is too complex to explain within 15 seconds, then divide your message across multiple ads according to funnel stage.
Finding Your Frequency Balance
Meta and Nielsen’s study discovered that showing an ad 2.25 times per week proved to be 80% more effective than showing only once per week. This reinforces the common belief that consumers need to see an ad eight to 10 times a month in order to create affinity.
But beware – too much frequency can be a bad thing. Not only will you be spending more than is necessary, you run the risk of becoming an annoyance to your audience when they see or hear your message every time they turn around. Many platforms, especially in streaming audio and video, are notorious for delivering the same ads to the same users over and over. You must be selective when choosing the platforms and vendors with which you entrust your brand’s message.
Don’t be too quick to react. Another downfall of all the access to realtime data and analytics is that many brands make the mistake of giving up on a campaign before it has even exited the learning phase.
Consumers require continuity in order to cultivate brand affinity and purchase intent. Evergreen efforts serve as regular reminders of the brand and its products or services. This consistency builds awareness and intent over time to move consumers through the purchase funnel.
Of course, it is OK and even necessary to test certain initiatives with a shorter life cycle; however, running an evergreen campaign is better at driving consistent incremental revenue than a short flight.
Money, Money, Money
If you persistently message the same 1,000 people, and they all happen to purchase your product, you still will not face a drastic shift in your performance. Even if you deliver an appropriate frequency with groundbreaking creative, focusing on a niche that is too small will never scale. You have to have enough critical mass to drive your business.
For the majority of brands, this often means one thing – the need to spend more money. It doesn’t take a mathematician or financial genius to understand that reaching 20 percent of your potential purchasers has a much greater chance of resulting in incremental revenue than only serving ads to a mere one percent.
Therefore, in order to reach an adequate number of consumers, you will need to invest. Building a brand and moving people to spend money with you requires financial commitment. It’s an investment. And it should be managed wisely.
The Bottom Line
Many marketers have forgotten (or were never told) what this industry is all about: connecting with your potential customer with relevant messaging, when, where, how and how often they want to be reached. There are certain fundamentals that will stand the test of time, and putting all of your trust into an algorithm may not be what’s best for your brand over the long term. The Ward Group will help you adhere to the basics while also taking advantage of technology. It’s a balancing act. Reach out to our skilled experts today and get started!