Advertising has always been about communicating the benefits and features of products or services. In the past, many businesses would use radio, tv, print and outdoor advertising to pass their message along. Today things are different because the consumers are no longer watching tv or listening to radio. They have moved to streaming services and on-demand services for their entertainment.
How they consume this media is through digital devices like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. In Kenya it is said that 80% of our population has access to the internet.
As mentioned earlier advertising is about communicating, we as advertisers need to go where the people are. Now we define digital media buying as the process of purchasing placements for ads on websites, apps and other digital platforms. Digital media buyers are essential to helping companies navigate the rapidly evolving world of digital advertising.
What is Digital Media Buying
Traditional media buying involved getting ads on old media (tv, radio, print and billboards). That included strategy, negotiation, and ad placement. Digital media buying involves is almost the same thing. It does not include negotiation because instead of using a middleman, marketers can use online platforms to place their ads. Also, traditional media channels are avoided.
Digital media buying ensures ads are placed on the right platform, time, place, and context to influence potential clients to become customers. It takes advantage of eye-on-screen time by placing ad creatives on all possible platforms at a reasonable cost to ensure marketing success.
Digital Media Buying Strategy
Digital media buying begins with choosing a goal. After follows working with creatives, and strategists to break the goals into smaller ones. Once this is done the next step would coming up with a plan that would lead to the goals being achieved.
On the surface digital media buying involves pre-launch, running campaigns and lastly post-launch. In these three stages, the marketers identify their target audience and potential competitors, then develop a strategy and budget based on this information.
Secondly, the campaigns are run based on the previous information.
Lastly, the post-launch where the campaigns are reviewed to measure the effectiveness and results.
Step 1 Prelaunch Campaigns
Identify target audience
After goals have been set the next thing to be looked at are the target audience. This would be the proper understanding of who the customer is. Many companies use buyer personas to adequately describe their ideal clients. With this information you can find out demographic information like age, gender, and marital status; location (area, city, and county); behavior (interests and hobbies)
This information can be gotten through interviewing current customers and by using tools like google ads, Facebook ads, and Google analytics.
In addition, to knowing who they are the following step would be trying to find out what they would do next. This involves where they normally go; where do they shop; and if they buy online or at physical stores.
For example, if the target market is coming from a middle-income family then this is what can be assumed: they take public transport; they live in certain areas; they are in college or university; they are aware of current events and etc.
With this information you can get to pick the right places you will find them. You can choose between using Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Auditing the competition
A big part of digital media buying is analyzing the competition. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when another person has already done it. Without knowing the strategies that the competition is undertaking you can get to know a few things like their ad creatives; the platforms that are being used; and lastly their success.
Using this information, you can ensure the success of the campaign by building on what has been done and by making it better. This sets you apart and increases the likelihood of getting results at a lower cost.
Most of the pay-per-click ad platforms are auction based. Meaning you will have to compete with other people to get user attention. Without proper research, a company might find itself either spending too much or too little. As you can imagine these options have a negative effect on the bottom line.
Audit the competition: Digital media buyers also examine the competition in your area to determine how they are reaching their audience, and what you can do to set yourself apart. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is important for every company to have a plan of action in place to differentiate themselves from other brands.
Another important part of digital media buying is coming up with a budget. After getting customer information, goals and the competition, the next step would be coming up with a budget. The budget should always be big enough to reach the audiences while at the same time not to be wasteful.
On the other hand, having a small budget is a problem because you would not be able to address the market.
The budget would also determine which tools to use. Paying for social media ads clicks are much cheaper than paying for search ads clicks.
The benefit of using digital ads is that you can easily predict how much is needed to get certain results.
Step 2 Run Campaigns
Tracking and optimizing campaigns
Once everything has been setup up what follows would be running the campaigns. Unlike traditional media where you would have to wait of the end of the campaigns to monitor results, with digital media changes can be made on the fly after some data has been collected.
When the media buying campaigns go live, testing can be done to see which placements are working, ad creatives, and websites. When the ads are running you can monitor how the customers are reacting to the offers. You can see if the conversion rates are lower than expected and start making changes early.
Also, through this stage you can split test ads and web pages to get the optimal performance throughout the campaign.
Just in case there is a change in the market like for example the recent corona virus pandemic, marketers can change tack quickly and adjust to the new environment
Step 3 Post Launch
At the end of the campaign is the review of what has happened during its course. On the surface, you would want to see the results that have been obtained against the goals that were achieved. If they are more then the campaigns are deemed to be successful. If they are less, then it means further understanding of what went wrong.
Digging deeper, digital media buying would involve looking at all the data and how consumers reacted to it. This involves looking at the number of impressions, clicks, click-through rate, conversions, conversion rate, return on investment cost per conversion and lastly performance on the website.
More information can be gathered like, delivery, type of website, ads and how they performed. Using the data, you can find out strong and weak point of the campaigns. Aggregating the data, and to look for major and minor trends. Not looking at singular points, especially when they change the direction. Searching for relationships among variables or correlation and dependence patterns that help understand the logic. Finally, look at the data from different angles
Digital Media Buying Tools
As mentioned above, digital marketing tools means to take advantage of the current platforms available through Google and social media. Social media refers to all social platforms that are out there from Facebook to TikTok. Google and social media have organic awareness as well as paid promotion to spread the message.
It is the quickest and most efficient way to get clients because they are very targeted to the users’ needs.
This is placing ads on to users depending on search intent, and audience targeting. PPC is seen through Google Ads, Facebook ads, Twitter Ads etc.
PPC criteria or variables can include:
- Parental or marital status
- Household income
- Time of day or week
- Education level
- Homeownership status
- Device type
Search Engine Optimization
This is a long-term strategy that involves placing a website on the first page of Google and other search engines. One of the few advantages of SEO is that it once a site makes it to page 1 it takes a while to be removed and this is a good source of in bound leads.
Social media growth organically involves leveraging audience growth of a company to communicate marketing messages without incurring any costs. Consumers are bypassing search to make purchasing decisions directly on mature platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.