Digital media has become a very difficult one to understand, it changes every day, it keeps getting more complicated… Up until now, traditional media planning was a numbers and flow charts deal, no objectives where taken into consideration by the media planners, since this was a duty of the communications planning or strategic teams, at the end, a 30” commercial will always be a 30” commercial, right?
With digital media and all of its outputs, both the strategic and communications planning teams need to be seated at the same table with the media planners when working on the overall strategy, in fact, everyone needs to understand the media and all of the touch points to fully plan and implement a successful digital strategy, otherwise, the resulting media plan will be based on the cheapest inventory available and the highest frequency possible and it is not necessarily the best way to go, digitally speaking.
The main issue? Few companies are doing it right … Communication planners are creating strategies without the digital media knowledge and then, sending guidelines and conclusions to the media planners who are not focusing on the objectives, but on the price of the media and without taken into account the final goals of the Advertiser’s campaign. Even when it comes to evaluating the results and reporting the overall performance, the focus has been on the media numbers, dismissing the fact that digital media is so quantifiable, that we could be looking at the performance and the accomplishment of our objectives, instead of the Click Through Rates or effective CPM’s … this is so 90’s by the way.
When we buy on any digital media, there are so many different price ranges that it seems crazy to pay a $30/CPM fee for an ad on a certain publisher’s site, when apparently, we can get basically the same for a tenth of that price; but what most advertisers do not know, and maybe many of the media sellers are not saying is that, a premium placement is not the same as a network placement, the first one will most likely be displayed at a good location within the site, while the second one, being part of a remnant inventory, might appear at the bottom of the page, where no one or few users will actually see, without any targeting whatsoever and not necessarily on a location related to our target, so yes, we would be paying a tenth of the premium placement price, but at what cost to the overall results? How much will the wasted inventory cost us? Please do not get me wrong, I’m not advocating against the networks or cheap inventory, I’m all for that; Networks do fulfill an important role within the digital media spectrum, I’m just making a point about focusing on the objectives when planning and buying digital media.
If our campaign objective is just branding or awareness, let’s do it, let’s run our ads everywhere, all the time; it doesn’t really matter where, as long as every users sees our brand 24/7, but if the Advertiser’s final objective is conversions or leads for example, let’s sit down and figure out what would work better, and let’s base our optimization process on the specific results that we are pursuing, instead of standard reporting metrics across all of our campaigns. If we are going for conversions, what difference does it make if a certain ad cost $30.00/CPM or $1.00/CPM if the first one is converting at a rate of $10.00 per lead and the less expensive one at a $20.00 per lead? Shouldn’t we be monitoring the results, the resulting cost per lead or the ROIs, instead of the cost of my ads or any other metric besides my objectives?
We need to understand that on the Internet and basically on any digital media output, we are able to track results along the way and down to the cent, we are able to know that for each dollar invested, we generated “x” amount of revenues; we can even monitor the branding effect of our campaigns, so knowing this, we need to start focusing on our objectives and optimize our digital activities and assets with this in mind. Let’s take advantage of the incredible possibilities that the today’s digital media can offer and let’s focus on what really matters, the results.
Joel Bary is CEO of LatinMedios.com A full service digital marketing strategy agency, serving the LATAM and US Hispanic Markets since 1999.