Not all digital media is created equal and here’s why

Venessa Hunt
By Venessa Hunt | 10 March 2021
Venessa Hunt

How can you sort the fact from the fiction when it comes to digital media? Venessa Hunt explains.

We’re all acutely aware of the risks that exist in the digital ecosystem. Brand safety, brand suitability, invalid traffic, click farms, fraud – the list goes on.

During my career within media agencies, publishers and tech solutions, I have seen enough evidence and data to prove all digital media is not equal. In the never-ending battle to chase an audience wherever they are, to get that last click – like addicts – we seem to have forgotten that.

Considering $9.5 billion was spent on digital advertising in Australia in 2020, and that the good old banner ad was around long before many of the people in the industry were even born, digital marketing strategies must evolve.   

So how can you get the most out of your digital media investment?

Always consider hygiene factors

The first and most important thing when considering an advertising channel is whether your ad will be seen. It seems so basic, and so 2018 to be talking about viewability, but the reality is, advertisers are often paying for ad placements no one sees at all or that people see for just a split second. Sometimes advertisers aren’t aware of this or choose to ignore it in favour of last ‘view’ attribution. Just because a consumer was on a platform before they went to your site to, say, book a test drive, if the consumer didn’t ‘see’ an ad, how can the platform claim any causality to the outcome? So beware platforms that self-report because no matter how much a report says the platform is ‘working’, how can it be, if the ad is visible less for less than one in 10 impressions? With digital, as with all channels, make sure you take care of the basics.

Get your audit on

I get it. Auditing isn’t sexy. But neither is throwing money away. So, there’s no avoiding the fact that you have to get your audit on. Do a little test and audit your top channel URLs in user generate content environments. Even though your targeting says you’re aiming at people 25-to-54, that four-year-old watching Dora the Explorer under mum’s login will not be applying for the credit card you just showed her. You might be surprised at what you find and wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along.

Consider the context

With the pending disappearance of cookies that collect third-party data, there has been an increased interest in context. Context refers to the environment in which ads are featured. There’s a big difference between an ad running as pre-roll for a video – the contents of which you have no prior knowledge – and being specifically placed alongside thematically relevant, professionally produced content.  

Using targeting on platforms without any consideration for content is inefficient at best and, at worst, a waste of money. There’s a host of reasons why. Just ask Dr Duane Varan from audience research lab MediaScience. According to research conducted by Dr Varan, the context and placement of ads has a range of effects on attitude, attention, memory structures, and the path to purchase. One impact context can have is ‘positive valence’, which means content puts you in a good mood which makes you then view ads more favourably.

What’s more, a 2017 study by Neuro-Insight found that ads that sit alongside premium content are significantly more engaging than ads that sit on social networks. This engagement works to help people encode memories by firing up both the left and right sides of the brain providing the best opportunity for creative strategies to influence a consumer’s long-term memory. 

There’s no denying that digital is an important part of every media plan but it takes more than just chucking your budget at the latest and greatest platform to genuinely connect, engage and convert Aussies.

You can easily reduce your risk with verifiable tech tools or by buying through reputable, trustworthy, high quality digital media partners.

At the end of the day, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. 

Venessa Hunt is the General Manager of ThinkPremiumDigital. 

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