The Battle Against Digital Fragmentation
February 2, 2017
AJ Casale, Vice President, Digital
In 2016, digital advertising budgets surpassed television ad budgets. Similarly, Americans are spending more time with digital media than television. However, digital media faces its own challenge in fragmentation across several different platforms and varieties of media – desktop vs. mobile, display vs. video, social networks vs. websites.
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Public Affairs Council’s Advocacy Conference to talk about this disjointed landscape and DDC’s approach to building a cohesive digital ad campaign for advocacy campaigns. In creating a cohesive campaign for our clients, we take the following step-by-step approach:
Situational Analysis. We start by taking a step back to understand the goals of the campaign, what pieces are needed to achieve that goal, and how we will define a successful campaign.
Audience Development. We’ve analyzed the larger objectives of our efforts but we must also analyze and identify who we need to inform, persuade, and activate. Once we’ve identified these audiences, we use advanced data analytics to understand as much as we can about the audience – who they are (demographics, behaviors, values), what we should be saying to them (the messages that will move them in the right direction), and how to reach them (the right platforms to reach them). Answering these questions with our analytics process ensures you deliver the right message, to the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
Creative. The best data and media plan can’t save bad creative. At DDC, our advertising and data teams work hand-in-hand with our creative team to make certain everything we learned in the audience development stage is properly incorporated into our messaging and creative content – from imagery to text. By producing audience-specific, research-based creative, you will better identify with those individuals, helping move the needle with your targets.
Ad Planning. Each audience should have its own media plan. And the data we look at will inform how we develop that media plan. Once we’ve identified the values and characteristics of these groups, we then aim to reach those audiences through the right channels, including:
- Targeted Advertising. When a specific issue is at hand, we have the ability to build microtargeted audiences constructed specifically around those issues – allowing you to reach individuals wherever they are, no matter the site.
- Publication-Specific Advertising. For some campaigns, it is important to have a presence on a specific and relevant site. For example, when attempting to influence a legislator in a state capitol, we would want advertising to be placed in their hometown paper. This allows for maximum impact. If we were looking to produce similar influence in D.C., Politico would be on our shortlist.
- Social Media. Social platforms allow us to reach our audiences where they spend a great deal of their time. Each platform has a unique purpose – Facebook and Twitter both have extensive reach, Instagram allows us to use more unique content, LinkedIn connects us with specific audiences based on industries they work in or job positions, and Snapchat can help reach millennials or drive earned media coverage.
- Search–based Advertising. When issue-related news breaks, people head to Google to learn more. Having advertising at the top of that search is critical to driving traffic to your online properties and therefore, helping control the narrative.
Analytics. Ongoing analysis of your digital efforts is important in balancing the process. By measuring the right numbers and analyzing the data within the context of your goals, we can continue to optimize strategy and tactics to always produce the best results and understand best practices for your specific program – building a consistently innovative and successful program and battling the fragmentation of digital media.
Of course, we could spend pages upon pages listing out every tactic and strategy that strengthens each of the above steps. Digital media can be complicated with the fragmentation within the space but one that’s easy to tackle with the right resources and experts by your side. Our digital team is ready to help you walk through how our process and our capabilities can take your program to the next level.