Not All Digital Ads Are Created Equal

Digital advertising is on the rise, which is good news for us — the people that live and breathe in the online world.

However, as audiences migrate to digital media, better creative and more strategic ad placement is necessary. In today’s digital world, there is one point that must not be overlooked: not all digital ads are created equal.

Think about the traditional advertising world of billboards, TV ads, print magazine and newspaper ads. Each medium offers a different experience for consumers and can be associated with how consumers are spending their time.

Volkswagen knows which ad to place on a billboard while consumers drive by at 60 mph, and which ad to place in a newspaper, which consumers read on their commute to work or while they sip their morning coffee. The point is, marketers use different ads for different experiences. The same thing should be happening online across the various screens that consumers engage with.

New research from the Online Publishers Association shows that, for reading, 59% of tablet users surveyed prefer their tablet to their computer, 58% prefer tablet to a newspaper and 53% prefer tablets to magazines.

Other research dives deeper into how consumers use mobile devices throughout the day. According to InMobi, the average mobile web user consumes more than 7 hours of media per day — and 27% is spent on mobile devices (nearly 2 hours). Of that 2-hour period, 25% is spent while commuting to work, 15% while shopping, 67% while lying in bed and 39% while watching TV.

InMobi, Decision Fuel & On Device Research, Mobie Media Consumption Research, February 2012

The growth of innovation in mobile devices and tablets has led to heightened consumer engagement across all screens, at all times. Each of these technologies offers different experiences to the end user, engaging them through various features.

What Are They Doing On Their Tablets, And Where?

Consider when someone uses a desktop computer vs. when they use a tablet vs. a mobile device. Consumers may use their tablet device while lounging on their couch at home — which replaces activity they might have conducted in the past on their home desktop computer.

The Pew Research Center has uncovered multiple findings on time spent across devices and how consumers are using tablets and mobile devices compared to laptops. The site traffic from mobile provides advertisers with insight into user activity, as well as insight into on what device the activity is taking place.

One finding concluded that 42% of tablet users regularly read in-depth news articles and that people are using tablets as their primary news source. Prior to tablets, 79% of consumers retained their news from their desktop/laptop, 59% from a print newspaper or magazine and 57% from television. Research proves that times are changing.

Ads Should Match Activities And Mindset

The reason for using each digital device, and even when and where they are being used, then comes into play and should be reflected in the ads that are presented to users.

If advertisers layer on information about usage when they’re considering campaign buys, they can better decide which messages should be reaching what audience and what type of ad unit is served. Essentially, campaign goals and measurement will vary by device, by ad unit and creative.

Some research firms have started to explore how consumers use search on laptops more often vs. tablets and smartphones. For an advertiser, this means that consumers may be conducting more research from a laptop or desktop.

This might lead marketers to leverage strategies like search retargeting or behavioral advertising, which influence brand preference and buying decisions during the consideration process.

A new study from Adobe suggests that consumers are most engaged when watching video ads on tablets and smartphones. Additionally, Adobe’s study suggests that the number of people watching video content online could grow as much as 50% over the next five years.

One of the reasons for rapid growth of online video consumption is the use of social media. The rise of social media has led to easier sharing capabilities for video, making them more widely viewed — and social media has also provided advertisers with the ability to reach new audiences beyond their current ones.

For example, Facebook allows brand advertisers to show ads within users’ news feeds, and Twitter features promoted tweets that users are unable to ignore. Social media’s core is all about sharing, and this gives advertisers the opportunity to target a broader audience.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: is chief executive officer at search retargeting leader Magnetic charged with driving overall company expansion and building out Magnetic’s search retargeting infrastructure.

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