Adopt a Value-Based Mindset to Take Control of Your Digital Advertising

Five ways to make your digital media buying more impactful and efficient

by Nick McLachlan

posted on 06-15-2020

In times of crises or economic downturn, advertising is often the first area to face greater scrutiny and reduced budgets. In 2020, the expeditious impact of COVID-19 on business operations saw some industries left with no choice but to pause or reduce their advertising budgets.

As we enter the new normal and brands adapt to the changing circumstances, the term “outcome-driven advertising” will become front and center. CMOs and marketing teams will go under the microscope to deliver a return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent. Boardroom expectations on CMOs are about to shift from “trust us, our advertising is working” to “show us.”

Over the last few years in digital advertising, conversations around ROI almost always shift to a focus on what has become an all-purpose term, supply-path optimization (SPO). The basic premise: get as much of the advertising budget toward actual working media as possible, reducing technology and added costs in the process.

This debate has been amplified by recent developments:

Any supply chain, particularly one that is complex like the programmatic advertising ecosystem, should face pressure to articulate the value it is providing in return for the fees it is extracting. While many of these challenges have been created by some advertising technology platforms in pursuit of an infinite scale, the discussion about how to solve it (simply, get a higher percentage of advertising spend to publishers) is reductive.

At Adobe Advertising Cloud, we have always focused on value over volume — leaving us in a stronger position to deal with the structural issue of supply-path optimization. With that foundation, we can have more productive conversations around the issue. It is less about “Where does my ad dollar go?” and more about “How much value is my ad dollar creating?”

To adopt this mindset, brands must take control of their technology choices to maximize the value it delivers them and their customers.

Here are five ways we see today’s marketers doing this across the Adobe Advertising ecosystem:

1. Measure based on business outcomes, not media metrics

Connecting your advertising engagement data with your enterprise audiences and analytics allows marketers to speak the same language as the rest of their organization. Brands must seek and demand log-level data from their efforts and ensure that they can measure it against their key business goals or audiences in their analytics and data hubs to ensure they do not treat all media the same.

A great example of this is in Connected TV. A recent Adobe and Advanis study found viewability still ranks as the equal most important measurement metric in the channel, even though it is redundant. Kayo Sports, a sports streaming service in Australia, tackled Connected TV measurement in an innovative way. By understanding how their Connected TV ads drove their target audiences to sign up for free trials, they were able to invest with confidence in a channel that is frequently flagged as one of the toughest to measure.

2. Embrace flexibility in your media buying to meet the market needs

Removing fixed budgets between channels and publishers and being prepared to increase or decrease budgets based on what your audiences are telling you is a way to ensure that brands can capitalize on opportunities faster than their competitors. Just as important in these times is to rapidly shift away from underperforming strategies, rather than waiting for the end of the campaign.

A Marketer’s Guide to Navigating a Rapidly Changing World shows why this is important, even right now. While 39% of consumers have sought out new brands or products since the start of the pandemic, just 20% of marketers who are still running advertising are putting more focus on acquiring these new customers.

3. Take a value over volume approach to scale and inventory

Focusing on cost-cutting and lowering CPMs and media metrics can quickly disconnect your advertising strategy from its outcomes. This can amplify the problem you set out to solve.

In a recent study, Adobe and YouGov confirmed what most of us know deep down, that more engaged shoppers are more likely to purchase goods and services after seeing ads alongside premium content.

Brands need to remember that all media isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison and that CPMs or reach on their own are poor proxies as a lens on media effectiveness.

4. Seek incrementality through a test-and-learn culture

We know that customers are consuming more content than ever before, across more channels and devices. Brand advertising is also fragmenting in order to keep up. This makes knowing or finding where ads will drive incremental sales or uplift a challenge for brands who utilize a suite of partners across various channels.

Segmenting once and communicating everywhere, based on a customer’s stage in their journey, enables brands to test different ad types and helps creatives or strategies understand where they can deliver those valuable incremental sales for their business. The Adobe Creative Cloud team put this into practice themselves, utilizing the Adobe Experience Cloud stack.

5. Create an endless feedback loop to turn your data into a strategic advantage

Silos between data, analytics, and advertising tools and teams have often meant that customer insights can be few and far between. Ensuring that you have native data flows to and from your advertising tools will ensure that you are updating your view of the customer in real time, to ensure you can provide them with the message they want now, not what they wanted three weeks ago.

At our Virtual Summit this year, James Stewart from spoke about how they bring this to life at their company to turn prospects into advocates.

At Adobe, we believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment, and we also stand with the Black community against hate, intolerance and racism. We will continue to support, elevate, and amplify diverse voices through our community of employees, creatives, customers and partners. We believe Adobe has a responsibility to drive change and ensure that every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We must stand up and speak out against racial inequality and injustice. Read more about the actions we’re taking to make lasting change inside and outside of our company.

We also know many people are still impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis and our thoughts are with you. The entire Adobe team wants to thank you, our customers, and all creators around the world for the work you do to keep us inspired during this difficult time.

Topics: Advertising, Analytics, COVID-19

Products: Advertising Cloud