Digital Tips for 2016

Digital advertising is a large and unwieldy machine and, with thousands of options for each campaign, it can prove difficult to build a successful campaign.  The tips below have been culled from actual campaigns running throughout 2015 and showcase some suggestions that you can use to improve your future digital advertising.

Larger Sizes

Over the last decade the digital advertising industry has been primarily focused on three primary sizes:  728x90, 300x250 and 160x600.  While those sizes can be effective, we have seen degradation in their impact as more and more ad units are appearing on websites around the Internet.

In 2015, we began the migration to larger ad units, particularly the 300x600, to help circumvent this clutter and provide more engaging opportunities for our clients.   After this change was made, there was a clear and repeatable lift to interactions for those larger ad units with a higher than average performance.

While these units tend to be more expensive than the standard units on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis, this cost is more than offset when the units are viewed on a cost per engagement.

The 300x600 unit (also known as a Double Stack, Monster or Half-Page) serves as a powerful tool on desktop, but as more and more traffic is transitioning to mobile (local media now pulls 40 – 60percent of their total traffic from the mobile space) the option becomes less available.  An option that delivers similar results in the mobile space is the 300x250 in-feed unit.

In planning your future campaigns we recommend the following:

  • Utilize more large space ad units (300x600 on desktop and 300x250 on mobile) as opposed to the traditional sizes.
  • Consider other large space options.  We have also found success with the interstitial unit that allows for a rich media experience, a larger size, and the ability to target by geography.
  • When using larger ad sizes, apply a frequency cap that will limit the number of your ads shown to each potential client.

Custom Creative

We are in an enviable position to see a lot creative on a weekly basis here at MANSI, and last year we compiled some of that insight to share with our advertising partners.  In designing your ads, consider the following four tips:

  1. Include people within your ad copy.  This inclusion can be a single person, a family or a group, but having a recognizable human face tends to help drive up response to online ads.
  2. Ask a question.  As opposed to a direct statement or an offer, ads that ask a question (ex. “Do you have x?” or “Have you ever y?”) drive a greater level of engagement.
  3. Use local addresses or phone numbers.  This can be more difficult for a multi-region or statewide campaign, but calling out locations on a city-by-city basis will help to improve ad response.
  4. Include a call to action.  As simple as it sounds, including instructions (ex. “Click to Learn More”) within the ad copy will improve the click through rate (CTR) of your advertising.

While each of these guidelines holds true in general, each campaign has its own quirks and specialties.  With every campaign, we suggest running at least two types of creative to test the effectiveness of different options.

Targeting Revisited

With digital advertising we often default to targeting that is as precise and focused as possible.  By analyzing historical data, we have found that many campaigns are not served by this focus on deep targeting. 

Here are two examples:

  • Local news media websites often perform better when targeting is limited to geography and content.  For a marketer, this seems counter-intuitive, but we have to remember that local news media is inherently targeted, by the nature of their readership, to a population that is educated and affluent.
  • Programmatic buys that include targeting based on a white label domain list focused on niche websites (ex. sites like that focus on the health consumer), search re-targeting (targeting based on a users search behavior) or general contextual targeting (targeting based on content currently being displayed on the page) tend to drive a higher response rate.  This comparison is for those campaigns relying solely on third-party data for demographic and behavioral data.

For future campaigns we recommend loosening targeting on local news media websites and using a mix of targeting options through programmatic.

Ongoing Disruption

The digital space continues to be one of continuous disruption.  Our strategy should evolve with each of these changes and we expect them to continue in 2016.  From ad blocking, to increased mobile penetration to the growth of video with older audiences, the space remains in flux.  MANSI Media is here to help with your local media planning and placement.  Reach out for your next campaign and allow us to simplify the process for you.

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