How Online Advertising Changed the Way Brands Interact with Their Target Audience
Twenty years ago, companies reached target audiences via traditional forms of media. Digital advertising wasn’t as prevalent as it is today and social media was nothing more than a newsfeed or a few forums on AOL.
Today, digital advertising is in the budget for nearly every small business in the world. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting shutdowns have created more spend in online media and less in traditional mediums. Statista reports an increase of 14.3% in digital advertising in 2021 alone.
Such massive shifts in where companies advertise also change the ways they advertise. Here are the nine significant changes in the way brands interact with their target audiences.
1. Know Your Audience Better
Digital advertising brings advantages to organizations they might not have without the detailed data and statistics of the online world. In the past, you could certainly survey your customers or think through who visited your brick-and-mortar stores.
However, today, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips from cloud databases all around the world. Not only will you know the age and gender of your typical clients, but you can learn psychographic data such as their biggest fears or greatest needs.
2. Engage Your Followers
It’s easier to grab attention face-to-face. The nature of online advertising means you must figure out ways to grab the interest of your visitors and keep it. Facebook and Google control about 57% of the digital advertising world, so brush up your skills and ensure you know how people interact with search engines or social media.
3. Use Video Opportunities
Once, creating video footage was for huge corporations. The cost of hiring a camera crew, editing, and buying ad space was prohibitive. Today, sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and social media options allow nearly anyone to put up a clip for very little cost.
Improve smartphone cameras and attachable microphones give you near-studio quality for a fraction of the cost. People even have access to advanced video editing software and YouTube tutorials to learn how to use the programs.
4. Build Relationships with Users
In the past, advertisers could rely on catchy jingles and market saturation to keep business. Today, there isn’t one medium users turn to for entertainment. Even those who still watch television or read the newspaper may also utilize other resources, such as forums and blogs.
Online advertising has forced companies to be more customer-centered. If you want to keep your current patrons and attract new ones, you have to engage them and keep the lines of communication open.
5. Personalize Messages
Sites such as Amazon.com have forced brands to come up with custom solutions for customers. They expect the same level of customization even from small mom-and-pop businesses. This means you must create buyer personas and figure out ways to speak directly to their needs.
Around 89% of digital businesses invest in personalized content aimed directly at their audiences.
6. Be Innovative
The explosion of online business and advertising means smaller companies now compete against large mega-corporations. If you want to grab the limited attention of consumers, you must think outside the box and come up with something fresh and exciting.
The growth of online advertising forces marketers to think through what is different. They must be up on the latest trends so they can innovate new ones.
If you create an ad for Facebook, it should solve a pain point for your audience. If you choose an influencer to get the word out, make sure their followers match the people you’re trying to reach.
You’re competing with dozens of other things the average person could do at any given time. You have to be interesting enough to grab their attention and get them to click on the call to action (CTA) or interact with your post.
7. Segment Customers
Even though business owners knew they had customers from different walks of life, segmenting your audience is much more important today with the onslaught of online advertising.
One of the reasons digital ads are so effective is because you can plug-in parameters on who sees them. This saves money and effort, putting the promotion in front of the exact right people. However, you need to make sure you separate your audience into the right groups or your customized messages will fall flat.
Segment your customers and then create a message tapping into the emotions behind their pain points. Show them not only do they have a problem you can solve, but you understand the feelings behind the issue.
8. Automate Processes
One of the advantages of digital marketing is the ability to automate some of the work. Schedule a successful campaign to run on autopilot. Utilize chatbots to interact with customers until the robot needs help answering a question. You can even use a chatbot with Messenger to interact with leads.
One report shows 74% of consumers prefer chatbots to seek answers to basic questions. They like the immediate response and ability to avoid long, drawn-out conversations.
The key is knowing at what point they want to be switched over to a live agent. You’ll need to utilize trial and error to find the perfect mix between automation and personalization.
9. Change Methods
Technology changes rapidly. A few years ago, few people owned smart speakers. Today, more than half of all households have some type of device. Knowing what technology is on the rise and how it might impact your advertising methods gives you more opportunities to interact with your audience where they are.
Voice-enabled search augmented reality and machine learning all play a role in how advertisers create for digital promotions. Be aware of what’s new and if it’s time to implement it into what you do. Knowing your audience also helps, as they will either be tech-savvy or a bit slower to adopt new options.
One of the most significant benefits of online advertising is the way it’s changed the approach to ads. Each step of the process requires careful analysis and marketers are much more successful over time.
Not only will you look at data before creating and running an ad campaign, but you can carefully study the results and see what works and doesn’t work for your brand. It’s the perfect combination of technology and humanity to bring in new customers and help your company grow.