Is Digital Media Costing You Sales?

Is Digital Media Costing You Sales?

The booming interest in digital advertising could be costing you sales, even for the most data literate companies out there. Digital has its advantages. Its effects can be seen within seconds, minutes or days. Its a brilliant tool when it comes to task driven moments and great for reaching a specific set of consumers with targeted messages quickly, efficiently and at low cost. But new research from Bain & Company shows that it is far less effective than traditional advertising at getting consumers to recall an advertisement and not enough to increase interest in purchasing a new product.

Research was carried out on a well-known consumer goods company in a developed market and has big implications for marketers struggling to determine the optimal mix for their advertising investment between traditional and digital.

Research centered around four types of media – online banner ads, online video, TV and storefronts – analysing the cost of each additional 1% of reach and the rate of which people recalled the ads.

No surprises that digital was less expensive than its traditional counterparts. However the ‘recollected reach’ – which is the number of people that remember a campaign expressed as a percentage – is lowest for digital media with a ceiling at around 30%. By comparison, while TV advertising was more costly than digital media, messages are recollected at a much higher rate – as high as 60%.

How many of your favourite ads are digital ads? How many of the ads you can remember seeing over the last week, were digital? Mainstream media is experiencing an explosion of new innovation, making them ever more effective in delivering consumer impact.

Recall however is just one step in the communications process. The big question is whether a brands advertising will deliver positive changes in buyer behaviour. It’s easy to assume that digital delivers on these objectives, given the instant feedback loop. But what we actually find is intent to purchase rises with multiple exposures to different types of media – not digital alone. Purchase intent jumped to 80% in some instances where multiple channels were used in combination, which included both digital and traditional. As communications planning continues to evolve, more and more research supports the fact that integration leads to better business results.

Brands that get the best outcomes from their advertising are those that focus on anchoring the brand in consumer’s long-term memory, broadcasting the brand’s messages over an extended period of time to as big an audience as budgets permit – across a combination of media.

Minds can only hold so many brands in the head at any one time. We only retain a limited number of messages, which is why staying top of mind takes consistency, persistence and repetition. By building familiarity our brand is brought to mind easily, feels like a good choice and is easy to spot on the shelf.

The equation is not as simple for smaller brands, with smaller budgets. But the pattern holds true – while digital can help target the heaviest category buyers to reap quick wins, ultimately these smaller brands must scale in order to leverage broadcast channels. And as they grow in size, so too does their return from investing in traditional channels.

For these smaller brands, its vital they follow best practice in creating effective digital work. These tips have proven to be the most useful.

1. Design for speed.

Assume viewers will only see your ad for a maximum of 2 seconds. Extended animation is not only costly, but virtually useless. We (humans) can only process around 5 words per second, which gives a clear brief to copywriting – keep it simple.

2. Use your distinctive assets.

A brand is not just the logo. Iconic characters, shapes, colour schemes and fonts all act as powerful ways to trigger the brand in memory.

3. Trigger the campaign idea.

Display banners don’t exist in isolation. Campaigns that reinforce the same message across channels build better business results, as these messages have a better chance to be remembered. 

4. Creativity is the crown.

All advertising requires creativity to make sure that work doesn’t fall flat. It’s the economic multiplier that allows investment in media to live on long after your advertising is off-air.

5. Consumers are the king.

Knowing your audience, what and how they think as well as how they engage with media, are vital pieces of the puzzle. These insights must inform creative & media decisions to ensure investment can drive positive business results.

Media will continue to adapt and find innovative new formats for brands to communicate. Not all channels are created equally, which is why we have developed a unique scoring tool to understand the kind of impact our client’s media investment will have on people’s attention and memory.

If you’re not getting the right business outcomes from your media investment, talk to us today.