Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut-Media Buyers, Shake Up Your Media Mix

Agency professionals and media buyers know the benefits of mastering a channel for their client’s campaigns. There are troves of agencies that specialize in paid search marketing and paid social media marketing—because it makes sense for them to do so.

These are tried and true channels that are proven to bring them success, while also providing a good Return On Investment (ROI) for clients when optimized properly.

There’s just one problem: the online landscape is always changing—search and social aren’t enough anymore.

If your agency is reliant solely on search or social media, you might get stuck in a rut with campaigns that just won’t scale. 2018 is the year to shake up your media mix.

Programmatic and native advertising options have changed the playing field. Their access to the massive audiences on the open web works well for brands. We’re going to dive into the new media mix additions of today, and tips for agencies who want to get started now.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is difficult to define. In fact, the industry frequently discusses how to define it, as well as its accompanying lexicon, which is sometimes hard to navigate.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines native advertising as the following in its Native Advertising Playbook.

“Paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

Because of their consistency with their environment, native ads are effectively fighting rising trends like banner blindness and content shock.

Even so, the lack of definition and direction has created a roadblock between agencies and native advertising. It’s tough for media buyers to fit the concept alongside the other types of advertising they know so well.

Reconciling the pricing methodologies of other formats with native, building a plan to charge clients to fit this new methodology, and a lack of understanding of the topic altogether stand in the way.

The bottom line—you’re not going to run native ads if you don’t know how, but it’s not as tough as the industry makes it seem.

Take these three steps today to get your clients on board and easily adapt your current campaigns to a native format:

  • Tip #1: When you’re talking to clients, start with the numbers, because they’re hard to argue with: consumers look at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads, they generate 85 to 93% more clicks than banner ads, and purchase intent is 53% higher.
  • Tip #2: Sell mobile, because native is the answer to your client’s mobile advertising problem. According the research by Sharethrough and Nielsen, native mobile ads draw substantially more user attention than banner ads.
  • Tip #3: Understand that it’s easy to adapt your current social campaigns to native—you already have the images and headlines to get you started. A/B test your image and headline combinations to see what works, paying special attention to headlines as these play a huge role in the success of native campaigns.

Native advertising is growing fast, and as it grows, it encompasses a wider and wider range of solutions—the latest being in-feed native advertising.

In-feed Native Advertising

As mobile audiences grow, these in-feed formats become more and more relevant because of their effectiveness on mobile devices.

In-feed native placements, similar to all native placements, match the form and function of the surrounding content. The only difference is that they match the form and function of a particular feed. On mobile devices, this is particularly effective for a non-disruptive and organic experience.

In-feed native should especially be a part of any media buyer’s media mix looking to capitalize on mobile audiences in 2018.

Here’s how your media mix can get your clients on board and your foot in the door fast:

  • Tip #1: Start with the numbers, again. According to eMarketer, people are spending a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes per day on their mobile devices. This time is proven to be prolific for marketers—this clothing service increased mobile leads by 960%.
  • Tip #2: Keep the creatives as short, snappy, and eye-catching as possible. Headlines should be short – we recommend under 40 characters, and images should be as enticing as possible.

Your media mix in 2018 probably isn’t just going to include content—video is the next frontier. You’re most likely already relying on in-stream and social media for video distribution, but we suggest you mix it up a bit.

Native Video

In the midst of an industry fighting about content shock, there’s a silver lining for marketers—demand for video is rising and there’s not a ton of great quality content out there yet.

According to eMarketer, 60% of all ad spend is going into programmatic. Programmatic video spend is expected to grow by 40%, reaching an unprecedented $9 billion for the channel in 2018, reported AdPushup.

The term programmatic essentially means that ad impressions of all sorts can be traded via algorithms—now you can do it with video.

There are some roadblocks to the adoption of programmatic video as well. Video is expensive to create, measurement is challenging, and up until now there’s been a limited number of channels through which you can distribute it.

But again, it’s not as tough as the industry makes it seem. Here’s how to get your clients on board:

  • Tip #1: Relay to your clients that it’s easy to adapt content you already have to programmatic video—commercials, product videos, and other video projects can be distributed programmatically with more granular targeting.
  • Tip #2: Be upfront with how you’re going to measure ROI—branded video campaigns are measured with KPIs like completion rates and viewability, whereas performance videos are generally measured more traditionally, with KPIs like CTR and CVR.
  • Tip #3: Align your request with their brand goals. Programmatic video is best used when you want to reach an audience exploring on the open web, open to discovering something new.

Along the same lines, programmatic TV is still developing, but holds an opportunity for brands to be the first entrants into a new channel.

Programmatic TV

Programmatic distribution is no longer confined to just the web – it’s starting to evolve to television as well. Digiday defined programmatic TV as the following:

“Programmatic TV advertising is the data-driven automation of audience-based advertising transactions. It inverts the industry standard, in which marketers rely on show ratings to determine desirable audiences for their ads. Instead, with programmatic tech, marketers use audience data to pipe advertising to optimal places.”

While traditionally effective, TV advertising is expensive. As online advertising gets more and more targeted, many media buyers are calling for the same capabilities for TV placements, and programmatic TV could be the beginning to that.

Here’s how to convince your clients to jump on board with a channel that’s still developing:

  • Tip #1: Focus on targeting first. Clients will reach a more specific audience that can be targeted by income and previous purchases.
  • Tip #2: It’s not yet widely adopted, so there’s still a chance to be the first to the race. As new channels develop, the brands and influencers that dominate them were often early adopters. A willingness to try something new could create huge impact for your client’s brand.

To be successful in 2018, media buyers will have to break out of their comfort zones. The online advertising landscape is growing, and as it grows, there are more options available for agencies than ever before.

Shake up your media mix this coming year with new channels, and discover new audiences for unprecedented campaign scale, reach, and ROI.


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