4 factors essential for maximum ad effectiveness

by Natalie Botha and Karen Moodley
Just 20% of brand touchpoints deliver 80% of your impact - but which 20% is that effective elite? Once you know, you can fine-tune and finesse your marketing efforts to ensure you’re working smarter not harder, based on the four factors that underpin channel effectiveness today.

In SA, ad success boils down to a fine balance between sufficient and effective investment, reach and phasing. Including TV in the media mix allows other channels to perform better in delivering overall brand impact, and while non-TV media perform well alone, they do much better with TV priming. TV is often the glue that holds multichannel campaigns together, so there’s merit in ensuring multichannel marketing and creative is optimised.

Successful media planning is also much more detailed than picking a channel, placing your bet and hoping for the best. Brands also need a realistic understanding of category dynamics and the generation they’re targeting.

That’s why forward-thinking brands in the financial services category are flourishing in the digital space, while often food and drink brands stick with tried-and-tested traditional media. And while Boomers still appreciate a printed flyer, Gen Z is all about TV and word-of-mouth recommendations.

All this variance shows the era of copy-paste marketing is over. When it comes to global brands in particular, quite often they hit the nail on the head with campaigns that speak to many markets, but sometimes, even if the brand is loved across the world, the content needs to be tweaked for the local market to ensure it resonates in those consumers’ minds.

So, the secret to getting your message across effectively lies in taking the time to understand both the media used to convey your message, and the person you are talking to.

It helps to speak to your consumers through Kantar’s Marketplace, a powerful market research platform, which can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes to make sure your message lands. Then, customise the creative with these results in mind.

Beyond this, four factors underpin media channel effectiveness for campaign success and brand impact:

1. Exposure: building meaningful reach

TV remains the most impactful media channel in SA but there’s no denying the definition of “mass media” has expanded with the rise of all things social and digital.

Consider how the unique audience of each channel is complementary, as well as duplication where channels overlap and at what point that repetition irritates the audience.

Determine your optimum frequencies and reach to drive engagement and minimise waste.

2. Synergy: the art of integration

Multimedia resonance and magnification effects are real and worth planning for, but remember media synergy comes from using reach overlaps for synchronous phasing. That’s why your creative needs to be tailored per platform instead of plugging the same concept into all media.

If your audience has already seen your 30-second ad on TV, they don’t want a frame-by-frame repeat on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Instead, why not think about launching a hashtagged competition on one, while revealing behind-the-scenes out-takes on another.

Comprehensive integration is vital because the more touchpoints you add, the better response you get, but do make sure that your “luggage” matches across the various platforms.

3. Receptivity: understanding consumer mindsets

When and where is your audience most receptive to your message? Brands need to understand consumers’ mindsets and ad tolerance to understand where their brand message is most likely to delight.

Audiences want to be in control, so work with skippable formats that let them decide what they see.

Also, remember social media is rife with branded and unlabelled influencer content. Inaccurate targeting and excessive frequency also turn off consumers, especially those aged 55 and over.

4. Customisation: adapting creatives to context

The more you tailor your creative to the context, the better the response rate - especially on digital.

Platform heritage plays a role in how consumers view ads, with lower tolerance for longer-form content on digital, so keep videos short and shoot vertically.

While sound is a must for the immersive full-screen experience, ensure your creative works without sound, as more commuters watch content this way.

So, where to from here?

Future forecast: What to expect from media and content in 2022

A sneak peek at what to expect post-pandemic reveals a strive to balance the fundamentals of short-term sales with long-term brand-building.

Many brands switched focus fast under lockdown, turning to performance marketing as sales were critical for survival in the worst of the pandemic. Now, as the dust settles with the state of disaster finally lifted, future-focused marketing is again a priority. But this is not an either/or situation. Instead, get the short-term gains of performance marketing and brand-building to work together.

Take Airbnb’s global “Made possible by hosts” campaign for example. Exploring themes of connection and meaning in travel, it resulted in a 20% unplanned increase in online traffic in a time when travel wasn’t even a consideration for many, proving long-term marketing efforts can also produce short-term effects.

It’s time to flip old marketing mantras on their head and use new lenses to capture our new reality.

The constant flow of new content types presents an overwhelming choice for consumers and advertisers alike in digital broadcasts. And while there were assumptions that global content such as House of Cards would dominate, Netflix’s biggest hit to date was the controversial Korean series, Squid Game. This “local to global” trend shows how the video streaming market continues to evolve.

Mass adoption of online video platforms and the subscription model is now a signal for brands to streamline efforts and collaborate as competition grows ever fiercer for the same limited audience.

The bottom line? Content is king, context is queen and the queen rules.

Useful resources:
The Red Zone
The Red Zone is a marketing and media website featuring breaking news from the industry as well as insightful opinion pieces and up to the minute event coverage.
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