Hands up, when was the last time you saw a really great digital execution anywhere, on mobile, tablet or desktop? If you’re scratching your head I’m sure you’re not alone. Questions like these underscore the biggest challenge facing the online ad space – limitless potential, limited priorities. We are facing an apocalypse of click-through rate (CTR) crack cocaine, leaving branding and creativity by the wayside.
As advertising dollars continue to pour out of newspapers and magazines into digital, the lack of allocation to digital branding flies in the face of logic.
The ability to create and track response is of course an invaluable part of digital advertising’s success. But the last couple of years have seen a complete focus on how we can trade and ads programmatically and very little focus on how to build brands online in the way that marketers have done offline for decades.
Brands are powerful things; you only need to look at the time, care and attention spent on TVCs or glossy magazine executions to understand the power of a strong branding statement. The golden age of advertising was based on the power of big creative ideas and their ability to influence consumer’s behavior. Fortunes were made and lost off the back of building powerful brands, created in part by brave and bold branding campaigns. More focus on building brands online would have the dual benefit of drawing more revenue into our channel and at the same time lifting the quality of the average ad. We might for example get more from a takeover than three static images with a second or two of animation.
The arrival of HTML5 means the opportunities for innovation and creative excellence have never been greater. Aligning with online publishers for meaningful and tailored brand advertising should be central brand-strategy, especially in a country where online ad-spend rose 16% last year alone. With $4.6 billion being spent on online ads last year, the impetus elevate your content above the pack has never been higher.
Moreover, more focus on online branding would enable wider use of the kind of brand metrics that marketers really want – awareness, intent, favorability and so on. By measuring our success in simple binary terms, we’re under-exploring what’s probably the greatest creative frontier of the century.
So I say, let’s challenge marketers and creatives to think more about online branding and creatively flex the abilities of the medium. Over to you guys.