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Every Impression Counts: Are Your Digital Advertising & Branding Tactics Delivering ROI?

It’s always important to make a good first impression. In digital marketing, an impression is made each time a customer connects with your brand — for example, how many times a person views your website, landing page or offer. And every impression carries considerable weight.

So, how are digital marketing impressions made? And how often do you need to make an impression before it leads to a conversion? The historic answer, from an array of industry experts, is that three impressions are needed before your message is recognized.

Why three? The idea originated from an article by Dr. Herbert Krugman — a pioneer in advertising research — published in the 1972 edition of the Journal of Advertising Research. The first exposure, according to Krugman, provokes a “What was it?” response from the viewer. The second elicits a “What of it?” response, and the third becomes the true reminder.

At digital advertising agency d3 Specialists, our digital media experts have seen a lot of campaigns, and know that in addition to serving the right impressions, it’s imperative that you target properly and that your offer has relevance. Especially in the uber-saturated media environment we live in today.

Overcoming ad saturation

So, just how many ads do consumers see in a day? It’s almost beyond belief. And your job is to break through this clutter and get your prospect to engage — no small feat.

Think of all the brands your target customer segment has interacted with since waking up this morning — from social media ads, app push notifications, clothing labels and cereal brands to their vehicle model, mass transit billboards, and the radio commercials or podcast sponsorships heard during the ride to work.

Most Americans are exposed to anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads during the roughly 600 minutes spent with media each day. This explains the marketing challenges of staying top of mind — presenting a message that is relevant, differentiated from competitors, and providing a consistent customer experience. But with so many distractions surrounding your target market, how can you get their attention in a way that makes them want to take action?

You don’t want to create a lackluster, or worse, a negative experience. You just need to make better impressions. Here’s how:

  • Segment your audiences and serve personalized, relevant messaging. More isn’t necessarily better. Make sure each impression is strategic and well-timed. Remember, making a sale is a process. Keep a close eye on your metrics and build offers and campaigns that fit consumers’ changing needs.
  • Make your ads contextual. Don’t think of an ad as just an ad. You need to give it context, providing customers with content that they need and want to see to push them toward a purchase.
  • Go omnichannel. You may not know exactly when or how a customer is going to connect, so have all of your bases covered. Seventy-two percent of consumers say they prefer to connect with brands through multiple channels before purchasing, according to Lead Forensics, so it’s in their best interest, as well as yours, to give them some variation. Trigger postal campaigns can add the extra push many consumers need to convert on sales left in carts.

People judge your brand each time they see it. So, think of your engagement as a story, and consider what you are saying from their point of view. Every impression counts and needs to be a relevant part of an ongoing dialogue.

Are you making an impression on your market?  

Mindshare is a measure of your brand’s visibility and popularity compared to your competition. For example, do you ask which aisle the bandages are in — or the Band Aids? In the most extreme examples of mindshare, brand names become synonymous with products. But even for less ubiquitous brands, high brand recognition translates into increased customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty is largely about impressions. It’s stronger, of course, when customers have positive associations with your brand. With the ongoing battle for customer loyalty, your brand’s mindshare is an important factor. Savvy marketers understand that buyers don’t wake up every morning thinking about your brand. So capturing their attention, and staying at the forefront of their minds for as long as possible, is critical.

Using matchback data as a tracking tool

Historically, direct marketers captured trackable source codes for about 80 percent of their orders. Today, many use digital matchback data techniques, taking leads and orders and matching them back to the source file used in the initial prospecting effort. Matchback identifies the originating source of a lead or customer helping to attribute marketing successes to an original effort.  Did a single impression generate a sale? The matchback process can be employed to help discover which types of audiences convert best, even if it took multiple touches to seal the deal.

Tracking impressions can also reveal how many customers you’re reaching and what content they’re best responding to. If you deploy an ad that gets few impressions right off the bat, you may need to tweak your content strategy to get better results.

Building a click-worthy campaign

No single tracking mechanism is perfect. And given that we never know exactly how many ads a person sees, there’s no perfect accounting for the value of branding. The fact is, consumers are saturated with media impressions. It takes ongoing, integrated and targeted, multi-channel messaging to reach the most profitable audience segments, and ultimately make impressions that deliver the highest ROI.

It’s hard work. But through testing, refining and engaging, acquisition happens. To give your brand a strategic advantage, begin your campaign with a distinguishable, multi-channel audience and target them with communications you know they’ll connect with.

About d3

A division of Specialists Marketing Services, Inc., d3 provides a single, knowledgeable resource for campaign data, strategy and analysis across the digital realm — relieving the day-to-day burden of managing multi-faceted digital campaigns and helping to accelerate your digital marketing ROI. For more information, visit d3specialists.

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