Blog Post

Growth in Digital Media Highlights the Need to Get More Creative

Digital trends call on marketers to be even more strategic
June 19, 2018

Nielsen’s recent report on research conducted with corporate marketing executives has some interesting, though not entirely unexpected insights. Now we consider how those insights can inform our efforts on behalf of the issue-focused clients with which we work.

Despite concerns (e.g., ad blocking) highlighted in recent years, Nielsen says spending for digital advertising is expected to continue to surpass spending on traditional channels such as TV, radio and print. A whopping 82% of respondents said they expect to increase spending on digital as a percentage of their total advertising budget, while only 30% said they plan to spend more on traditional media channels.

In particular, the report says, marketers rank social, search and mobile as effective digital channels, although many also consider online video and email to be important channels.

While traditional media like TV continues to be valued for corporate brand building, digital represents a valuable set of channels for nonprofits and public agencies looking to engage people around their issues.

Many organizations that can’t afford traditional TV placements find online platforms to be effective for brand-building placements, such as pre-roll video, YouTubeTV and video-based ads on social media platforms like Instagram.

The expanding digital landscape has forced agencies to continue to evolve in order to address the increasing demand for digital. In years past, we referred to having digital departments or teams. Today, digital is foundational to everything we do. And, we’re adapting creative for a much wider array of channels than in years or decades past.

The Nielsen report echoes this trend, noting that the wide array of digital media options combined with greater access to insights about audiences’ knowledge, beliefs and behaviors are further driving agencies’ need to adapt their creative output.

“Creative professionals are increasingly tasked with gaining an understanding of how audience insights can be leveraged to inform the creative process. Additionally, they have multiple concurrent advertising and content channels to evaluate. When it comes to digital media, this can involve the design of dynamic ad and content templates that can quickly increase in complexity. The dynamic insertion of content (creative versioning), whether images, video or text, helps set the stage for increased message relevance in all of its possible combinations. To do this, a creative agency needs to create an advertising program capable of adjusting the sequencing and content of its messaging based on exactly who the consumer is, where he/she is in the path to purchase and what products are under consideration.”

While Nielsen talks in terms of customizing ads to impact consumers’ product preferences and purchase decisions, many of the same strategies hold true for engaging people around issues and getting them to take action.

One such strategy is retargeting people who have visited your website, but have not completed the action you want them to take (i.e., “converted”). We recommend producing several retargeted ad versions, each with different messages reflective of audience drivers or motivators to trigger individuals to come back to your website to convert.

A different, more complex ad-versioning strategy can be used to tell an organization’s story incrementally through a series of ads (called sequential storytelling). So, instead of trying to tell your entire story in one banner ad, you tell the story over several banner ads that run in a sequence as your target audience navigates across the web.

The Nielsen report suggests this complexity in the digital media environment is putting additional pressure on agencies to have good strategic thinking driving their creative. The days of having a single high-quality ad that carries a campaign are over.

“Creative strategy needs to align with a more multi-pronged media approach,” says Nielsen.

You can read the entire 2018 Nielsen CMO Report here.

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