The Dark Side of Digital Advertising

It’s been forty years since the first installment of the Star Wars series captivated a generation of moviegoers, but the universe George Lucas built in his imagination is more relevant now than ever.

Throughout the series, audiences have seen the characters face temptation, but at the end of the day, we’re rooting for their success. Similarly, digital marketers have faced some familiar and sometimes overwhelming challenges. What can we do to avoid the path to the dark side and instead come out as heroes to our customers? We’ve taken a few marketing lessons from Star Wars. Like this one from Yoda:

“You may dispense with the pleasantries. I am here to put you back on schedule.”

Avoid Being a Stormtrooper to Automation

Machines are necessary to automate and optimize digital advertising at scale with billions of ad impressions served every week and tens of billions of opportunities processed each day, but humans are still a valuable part of the equation.

Programmatic advertising is an automated service, that allows marketers to buy advertising based on specific audiences and demographics. Audience targeting allows marketers to focus their messaging. Real-time bidding allows them to bid on a per-impression basis. These marketing strategies are based on using machines to buy advertising space, as opposed to using humans. But solely entrusting your advertising to machines like Stormtroopers shouldn’t be the solution.

While technology and automation are vital for gathering and processing data, it’s the experts that turn numbers into insights and determine the right application of data for optimal campaign performance. In addition to advanced algorithms, marketers need individuals with superior analytical skills to maximize data outputs.

Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them. – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Put Trust in the Data

Marketers should continually assess, interpret and react to insights provided by data in addition to the sophisticated algorithms that process the huge volumes of data.

Iterative digital advertising methods involve using data to improve campaign performance continually. With the growth of automated technologies, marketers expect real-time data to drive ROI.

Marketers need to be layering data with automation, creating a virtuous circle of refinement that allows precise and effective targeting. The algorithm can do the heavy lifting, like adopting the mechanical part of the process, but humans are key for intelligent analysis and decision-making. Analysts also consider issues that machines may not be able to recognize, including unforeseen real-life events, seasonality and fraud.

By leaving it all to the machines, marketers risk missing the subtle nuances of consumer behavior.

In my experience, there is no such thing as luck. – Han Solo

Continue to Try New Things

Marketers don’t have the luxury of relying on a single technique for very long. Things change quickly, from new products to innovative technology to customer expectations. And though it might be far more convenient for marketers to simply invest in a pre-made programmatic solution, the truth is that every brand campaign has unique objectives.

Some will be driven by awareness, whereas others will be looking for specific actions, engagement, or sales. A proactive marketer will need to create a custom solution by understanding their market, alongside the data they have collected.  Carefully plan out programmatic strategy and make sure everyone is speaking the same language in terms of measurement.

Without programmatic solutions, there can be no balance in the Force. In the end, it’s the story of redemption that will turn digital marketers into heroes. Fight the stormtroopers head-on, trust the information, and always be willing to try something new.

Read more about marketing strategies at Tech.Co

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Written by:
Megan Sullivan-Jenks is Director of Marketing & Communications at Choozle –Easy Digital Advertising®. She executes marketing and advertising strategies for the company with a keen eye on engagement and ROI. From nonprofits and emergency services to consumer goods and software, Megan has helped brands create online and offline marketing strategies that are engaging and memorable.
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