Audience Centric Advertising

Michael Callahan

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For too long the industry was focused on how we reach as many eyeballs as possible at the most efficient costs. In doing so, we incentivised resource-heavy digital ads that detract from the online experience. And, consumers responded according by installing ad blockers. Naturally, we as marketers, get frustrated too with online advertising and chasing hits. So, we decided to simplify how we buy digital ads.

Our media buying methodology is based on a simple principle: think audience first. A great example of this includes a recent campaign for a food and grocery client. Our client wanted to drive traffic and grow an affinity for their market. Thus, we worked with our technology partner to build a digital “ad” that provided real value to the audience. When a user engaged with the ad, they saw a recipe video featuring an easy to make dish, with the full recipe listed below. If viewers scrolled up, they could see a map with directions to the nearest market. By considering our audience and their goals, we were able to build an ad experience that worked for them, instead of merely presenting a photo of the products.

Whether a buy happens directly through a content platform, or by working with a transparent partner to find the audience in real time based on data and cost, we ask four simple questions: who do we want to reach, how do we find them, where do we want them to go, and what do we want them to do when they get there? By keeping these questions at the heart of every campaign, we’re confident in our ability to deliver success—including through programmatic buying—that feels authentic without using unnecessary tools.

Our audience centric approach to programmatic buying is based both on our own experience and on industry trends that inform the choices we help clients make. In the past year, brands like Procter and Gamble and JPMorgan Chase have seen success by optimizing smaller digital budgets. For many campaigns, these companies have moved in the opposite direction of programmatic buying by widening their digital net while running fewer ads on fewer sites. At the same time, increasing concerns over a lack of transparency in the digital advertising supply chain has prompted many brands to look more carefully at programmatic strategies in particular. Holistically, this offers value when looking at where to spend media dollars. With this approach, we believe our clients will continue to grow brand awareness and generate new leads while allowing for programmatic retargeting to stay top-of-mind with our followers.

Analysis in a recent report on MarketingDive supports this idea, suggesting that programmatic advertising can be harder to control and that scaling down campaigns, like JPMorgan Chase did earlier this year, can deliver better results for less spend. Some publishers are building or partnering directly to support greater transparency and be aware of content your ads are surrounding.

Because we focus on the audience first, we help to mitigate any potential risks associated with a lack of transparency—we as an agency have guardrails in place with our partners to verify the accuracy of our targeting and the veracity of the results we report. We believe it is important to maintain a balance by not putting all of the advertising budget into one channel, but rather based on goals and audience expectations, keeping a mix to continue to engage, re-engage, and convert.

As we look forward, we know that ad blocking and tracking blocking will disrupt the marketplace. Apple’s High Sierra operating system launching this fall features an “intelligent tracker blocker. And, Google will include an ad blocker in the next overhaul of Chrome. We will continue to watch these developments, and adjust our marketing plan accordingly. What we can glean now is that these blockers might push more media spending to social networks, where the ads are unlikely to be blocked and are more likely to provide an overall pleasant experience for the user. What we do know is that digital executions work when they are tailored to the audience and provide real value.

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Michael Callahan

Associate Creative Director

Creative