Digital advertising: Not the new kid on the block

It’s not breaking news that TV, in its traditional advertising format, has had its day. With people spending at least 3 hours a day online, FMCG brands need to have a strong presence in the digital sphere. While many still believe in the power of a good 30-second commercial, engagement levels are still surpassed by digital. Netflix, for instance, caused free-to-air TV viewing to drop by 50% in the United States. This has caused brands to reconsider where to advertise because for the first time in history, digital will surpass TV spending, giving digital a slightly higher share in media spending. Knowing how to mobilise digital advertising can mean the difference between widespread engagement or none at all.

Digital advertising is much more effective than its traditional counterpart, especially for FMCG. It allows interaction between brands and customers, and most importantly, the ability to reach out to almost anyone, anywhere. While traditional media are immobile, digital advertising allows brands to engage their target audience the right way, unlike watching live TV and being served irrelevant commercials. While TV, radio and print can increase awareness, it’s much more challenging to report the ROI. Digital ads, however, provide real-time data with almost complete accuracy. The data available about user behaviour online are so powerful that it can predict trends and narrow down an audience. Cost-wise, a digital campaign can amount to only a fraction of the costs of traditional advertising. This is because digital ads allow you to pause or stop a campaign if it hasn’t been fruitful. And adjustments due to typos or errors can be edited without wasting hours and thousands of dollars to reprint or rerecord.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has become an important source for advertisers and marketers. This takes form in two ways; search and display. A display campaign serves banner ads on any website, while a search campaign involves serving text ads to users who have performed a targeted search in any search engine. These ads would typically appear at the top of the page, between the search itself and the organic, non-paid results. The Google Display Network consists of over 2 million websites for advertisers to place their images, videos, and html5 responsive ads. Unlike TV, these ads can be targeted to a specific audience, narrowing down to age group, interests, even geographic location. The online video we produced for Waxaway is a perfect example of an ad that can be rolled out across the Google Display Network, YouTube and social media. It targeted women when they were more likely to be at the supermarket, thus putting the product in top-of-mind. With full control over your ads and their targeting, the Display Network can offer incredible returns.

Social media is not to be overlooked. Marketers are spending 500% more on millennial-oriented advertising compared to other groups combined. This means that there has been a resurgence of new advertising options in this channel. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram all offer native advertising, which are ads that camouflage as content on the rest of the site. As a result, social media ads achieve higher engagement rates as the posts are viewed more as suggestions. Today, Facebook has truly redefined social media advertising by offering creative ways brands can interact with the audience. On top of slideshows, carousels and videos, Facebook recently introduced Canvas, a full-screen, immersive experience that combines videos, images and text. Even Instagram’s relatively new Stories feature has begun to slip in skippable ads between user-generated stories. Facebook’s Lookalike Audience targeting feature can give you an even wider reach by tapping into people with similar behavioural patterns as your customers; people who are likely to be interested in your business.

Behavioural retargeting or remarketing is also a form of digital advertising that is crucial to keeping your customers. Retargeting can reach three types of users; site visitors, cart abandoners, and existing buyers. Site visitors are those who have visited the site and then are served ads on social media or other websites to convince them to come back. On average, a visitor who has been retargeted with an ad is 70% more likely to convert. Cart abandoners are people who had items in their cart but left the site before completing their purchase. Using the data gathered from their previous session on the site, these users can be targeted with ads that include the items they had in their cart, even with an extra discount included as added incentive to complete the transaction. Existing buyers are easier to convince considering they have already purchased from you. This group can be targeted with ads for new products they might like based on their browsing history or discounts on products they looked at in their previous session.

With all this engagement and communication between brands and users, it’s no surprise that digital advertising for FMCG has the upper hand to traditional advertising. Liam, our Digital Campaign Manager, explains that understanding how to advertise online effectively can be the most important thing you can do for your brand. “You can spend millions for a spot on TV, radio, and billboards. It’s going to grab the attention of people, for sure, but it’s not necessarily going to have the reach, or certainly the engagement, with the right ones. That’s something digital can do, and it does it exceptionally well.”