Tips for clutter-free advertising in the digital era

The right amount of innovation and creativity will ensure eyeballs and recall

Published: 28, Jun 2016

MindShift Interactive is a digital outreach powerhouse that provides businesses with a data-centric approach towards achieving an intelligent and impactful digital presence. We combine digital marketing and research to provide a better experience for the consumer and brand. It currently houses two business verticals - MindShift Digital, their digital marketing and influencer relations arm, and MindShift Metrics, a digital research & reputation management agency

To transform the way ads have been programmed so far, one will need to pay close attention to the existing metrics and re-evaluate different brand strategies.  (Photo: Shutterstock)
To transform the way ads have been programmed so far, one will need to pay close attention to the existing metrics and re-evaluate different brand strategies. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Clutter has become synonymous with the advertising industry in recent times and this extends to all realms of marketing, offline and online. There is an increasing trend of being greeted with an explosive assortment of ads when one logs onto a website. These ads transcend genres of -commerce, consumer goods, tourism, hospitality, and more. While views on these ads may be relatively high, the recall seems to be questionable in many cases. In this scenario, tracing the consumer’s preferences for brand advertisements becomes extremely difficult.

Herein, we aim to address the simple question of how a brand must aspire to break clutter and switch to viewability of the content rather than served impressions, which has been the conventional way of running ads within the industry.

To transform the way ads have been programmed so far, one will need to pay close attention to the existing metrics and re-evaluate different brand strategies. The traditional route for marketers adopting online ads has been banners, images, audio, and video. The measurement was based on served impressions, i.e., the countable times that an advertisement gets fetched from the source, irrespective of whether it was clicked or not.

Viewable impressions, on the other hand, are measurable to a more accurate degree. For an impression to be counted as viewable, at least 50 percent of it must be visible to the user for a minimum of one second. This provides for ‘some versus no’ value, but does it justify the money spent behind it? According to a study conducted by ComScore, 54 percent of the display ads that are up on the website are actually not seen and this is despite the fact that some of them cost a lot.

It is implicit that advertisers would be interested in posts which guarantee a decidedly higher viewability, so publishers offering such inventory will be at an advantage too. There’s another bonus to this because measurable data of this sort will make it easier for rate comparison of different brands among multiple publishers.

While served impressions have been working well towards adding higher numbers to charts and creating a presumption over the total awareness created through it, there are three primary concerns:

  • If the targeted user leaves the page before it loads completely, he/she will miss the ad.
  • A lot of search and display ads are placed at the bottom of the webpage, so if the user does not scroll all the way down, it’s a lost cause for the advertiser.
  • If a proxy server, crawler or spider opens the page, there is no certain way to ascertain the measures.

In order to ensure visibility and derive the right returns on your investments, you must plan your advertisements with the right placement and communication. Here are a few things that advertisers must keep in mind when attempting to stand out from the clutter of ads:

1.       The right placements: Avoid the footer unless you have something absolutely gripping that would take away the attention from the content of the website onto your ad.

2.       Invest in the masthead: If money can buy you space, it’s the masthead that will draw all the attention. However, ensure you have something captivating to showcase as most readers are used to ad placements and know which areas to turn a blindspot on.

3.       Beat the system: Advertisements placed in between the content are another form of ensuring they get seen, especially on websites that load in parts. This is a tactic being used by major players in the market currently due to the views it generates.

4.       Gain insights on websites: Not all websites operate the same way towards delivering views or clicks. Ensure you’re able to gain insights on what works on a website and customise your strategy to deliver a different delivery system for each portal.

5.       Content is king: The way you creatively package your content will go a long way in grabbing eyeballs. One size does not fit all, so don’t replicate your other marketing activities directly onto digital, but create something that breaks away from the clutter and not only drives interactions but also recall.

6.       Keep a mobile mindset: Most people are consuming content on-the-move these days, hence a mobile optimised strategy is the need of the hour. Mobile optimised sites will guarantee a good experience regardless of the device that is being used. By ensuring the use of responsive and mobile-friendly templates that resize ads according to the devices where it is being viewed, the viewable measures of the ad can be enhanced.

7.       Keep experimenting: While banner ads and takeovers have been there for ages, there are new forms of providing viewable impressions that go a long way. Native advertising has given rise to a more organic and acceptable form of content absorption and brand recall. Being non-intrusive and telling a story like an advertorial would help towards higher views and recall value. Similarly, rich media content provides for higher levels of engagement and shareability for a brand, with marketers revelling in the return on investment it delivers, if done well.

With advertisement forms rapidly evolving, your strategy is incomplete without researching what works for your target audience and delivering a customised plan of action. To break away for the clutter of advertisements and to ensure you receive eyeballs and recall, the right amount of innovation and creativity must be put in to produce content that goes a long way in giving you the right bang for your buck.

– By Arashdeep Sandhu, Head of Operations & Metrics, MindShift Interactive

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