Digital Advertising Trends You Need to Know

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Opportunities in mobile will continue to grow as consumers rely more and more on smartphones and other devices to connect readily while on-the-go. Pew Internet Project research indicates that, as of January 2014, 90% of Americans had a cellphone; 58% own a smartphone. The explosive growth in both the use of cellphones and the use of tablet devices (such as the iPad) has had a sudden impact on content managers.

Marrying mobile to social represents significant opportunity for marketers, says Kelly Cooper, senior marketing manager at Shoplgniter, a social media marketing firm based in Portland, Ore. "With more than 74% of daily Facebook users accessing the service on their mobile device, and time with social networks rated as the leading mobile activity, it's clear why marketers are flocking to social mobile to reach consumers," she says. "In addition to reaching consumers where they spend their time, social networks have incredibly rich and deep targeting mechanisms that allow digital advertisers to target the right content to the right person at the right time."It's critical for marketers to generate content that is mobile-optimized, says Cooper. For example, she says, forms should not exceed three to five fields, and landing pages should be designed to work well on a mobile device.

"Having a mobile strategy that includes both engagement and reach is critical," says Barry Lowenthal, CEO of The Media Kitchen, a media network. "Having a mobile strategy that includes shopping and engagement and reach is critical," says Lowenthal. "More people are connecting online through their mobile devices and more people are shopping and browsing using their phones. Mobile has disrupted and reframed the entire shopping purchase funnel so brands need to understand how to deploy mobility." But mobile is just part of the puzzle when it comes to connecting effectively with consumer markets. We live in a multiplatform world.


Delivering content effectively and seamlessly across multiple platforms is a must for 21st-century marketers, says Joseph Bachana, president and founder of DPCI, a New York City-based agency that works with brands and publishers to support an array of multichannel content marketing initiatives. "Content providers must rethink their advertising approach because of the evolving world of content delivery across channels and the need to reach people across different screens and platforms," says Bachana. "New models are emerging, such as sponsored content and native ads, but there is also a shift toward brands bypassing the network intermediaries, allowing them to target messaging to customers directly without having to create advertising." Think about how the laundry detergent makers were funding TV shows decades ago, he says-via "soap" operas. "In essence, we're returning to that, except the brands are actually creating the content and embedding their messaging inside, from subtle to obvious," Bachana adds.

Justin Hart, is director of Surf Air's member engagement and digital marketing, an "all-you-can-fly" membership airline launched in 2013 and based in California. "Our audience-founders, presidents, wealthy Californians who travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco-is a very difficult audience to target," says Hart. "Getting their attention is even more difficult." Multichannel touches, he says, are the key, including email, ads, retargeting, and mobile and social media. "Coordinating all of these digital efforts is not an easy task, but it's the only thing that will get you ‘above the noise.'"

Multiplatform consumption requires cross-channel measurement, of course. To ensure that the communication combinations being selected are most efficient and effective, content managers need to manage all channels, considering both their individual and collective contributions toward objectives. Attracting the attention of continually more segmented and communication-weary consumers across multiple platforms obviously requires relevant and compelling content. Increasingly, it also requires personalization.


Marketers are now able to dynamically send messages to users based on the context of their online activity through dynamic pop-ups, callouts, and inline messaging.

"Consumers are looking for engaging, dynamic content, and are excited to engage in suggestive selling," says Richard Linevsky, co-founder and president of in Fort Lauderdale. "They will stay longer on a site that maximizes the experience of discovering a brand, and they appreciate ‘related products' or ‘you might like this' prompts that personalize their online interactions," he says. "Digital advertising leveraging discovery shopping offers consumers guided queries for a personalized experience."

Of course, all of these advanced capabilities lead to an overriding concern that is also an ongoing-and growing-trend: privacy. While both marketers and consumers can benefit from the ability of organizations to finely target their messages to those who are most likely to be interested, there is a fine balance between helpful and creepy.

For content marketers, it's a brave new world out there, and one that is continually changing and emerging to meet consumer needs, as well as address their concerns. The balancing act can be challenging.


To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the wide range of digital advertising options and to ensure that their efforts are aligned with their organizations' strategies and desired outcomes, marketers are wise to consider the suggestions offered in the Demand Metric/ion study. They are as follows:

  • Don't let technology drive decisions. As always, the key to success is driven by clarifying the audience you are attempting to influence, how to best reach them and what they need to experience. Tool and technology options should be selected based on the ability to drive these results.
  • When developing a digital experience, lean toward the more sophisticated end of the digital experience spectrum.
  • Understand that metrics are essential, but don't expect immediate results.

Finally, continually using available tools and technology to monitor results will ensure that content marketers are maximizing opportunities, avoiding risks, and staying in tune with evolving consumer needs and technology options.

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