If you look back at the recent history of advertising, one of the biggest transformational innovations was the emergence of social audience targeting. Facebook started this trend with a rich library of demographics and interests, and extended it to powerful customer data matching and lookalike modeling capabilities with Custom Audiences. Now, targeting consumers with relevant ads has become the standard practice on every social media channel. Targeted advertising is so popular because it’s effective — customers want to be treated like humans. They want brands to know them and they reward those who figure them out.
It’s clear that the future of advertising involves better personalization — no customer wants to receive irrelevant ads. In 2017, we think marketers will need to focus on the next big thing: sequential advertising that uses data from every single customer touchpoint.
At the root of sequential advertising is the idea that companies should be adapting their messages to consumers based on their actions during the purchase process. It’s getting the right message to the right person at the right time.
When I think about adding value with sequential advertising in 2017, it’s all about aligning the three Es:
There needs to be a consistent experience for the customer across paid, owned, and earned content. With sequential advertising, brands create an engaging experience throughout the whole customer journey. It’s like peeling back an onion – you’re progressively getting potential customers more engaged with your brand, and when they display interest, following up with more personalized advertising based on what you’ve learned about them along the way.
When sequential advertising is done right, you decrease money wasted on ads that target the wrong customer or perform poorly. For example, you may first target a customer with a video about your brand that piques her interest. Once you know that she saw your video, you follow up with blog content to generate more interest in your product or service. If this customer engages with your blog, then you send a direct response call to action to view a product page.
In 2017, nobody should be going through spreadsheets to make advertising decisions. Social, sequential advertising should be dynamic and automated, facilitating a seamless, efficient experience.
One out of three marketing executives still define success based on superficial metrics, such as likes, shares, and clicks – measures that don’t paint a full picture of the customer experience. This leaves out an essential metric: relevancy.
In 2017 and beyond, customers will continue to call the shots. The brands that will survive and thrive are the ones replacing batch and blast campaigns with data-based, sequential messages that create the most value for customers.
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