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How to cut through the digital media clutter

How to cut through the digital media clutter

By Dave Katz, managing director at Ybrant Digital

There is an enormous variety of digital media channels to choose from.

Why should you invest in search, rather than display?  What is the optimal social media strategy?  Isn’t viral the best way to advertise because it’s free?  How do I determine the potential split of my digital media budget, given the vast preponderance of available opportunities?

Within reason, there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ media; only media which is well or badly priced.  A site that ‘only’ produces one conversion from every 1m impressions can be a good site if you are able to advertise on it at next to no cost (including adserving).  With brand campaigns, perhaps, there might be some sites that you want to steer clear of if you think that the mental association between your brand and their content is undesirable. 

However if consumers are on the site then they presumably think that the content is acceptable – so it is always necessary to think about how the audience views the site (and by association your brand) not just how you personally react to the content.  

Do not fall into the trap of optimising performance campaigns by pure efficiency alone; unless you take overall volume into account as well as return on investment efficiency, you might be in danger of running at 10% of your target cost per acquisition (CPA), but only getting 50% of the volume.  Sometimes it is necessary to relax your CAP rules in order to hit your volume targets. 

This is even more important when setting the CPA for a third party – give them the highest CPA possible, you can always reduce it later - sometimes a CPA that is 5% higher can get you 300% more conversions

Try not to be overly reliant on ‘the next big thing’, everyone is clamouring for eyeballs in the social space so conventional display advertising is experiencing a slow-down in demand; it may, therefore, represent better value in the short term.

Try not to arbitrarily rule out any specific channel – let the channels available select themselves by testing them all. 

Try not to plan your digital media spend (either by channel or supplier within specific channels) purely on the basis of using only the most efficient channels from last month.  Always keep a proportion of the budget back for testing new partners, ensuring that you do not rely on any conversions from those test partners.  This will spread your partners wide so if all of your previous month’s partners have no availability, or suddenly become inefficient, you will have nowhere to go

Always keep 10% of the budget back for mid-campaign up weights.  You will generally either get the same or better rates on such up weights (very rarely worse) and you can ensure that you maximise overall value this way.

The best digital campaigns will use the full gamut of opportunities; display, social (both media and engagement activity), video, email, search (SEO and PPC), mobile, gaming.  

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