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“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
I’ve written before about the issue of maximizing paid search and where to turn to next. Many advertisers understand that display advertising is an option. But the real hurdle to expanding beyond the paid search channel is actually pulling the trigger on something new. Compared to paid search, display is a whole new kind of complex. Choosing not to do display because it seems like an unbearable endeavor is wrong. At best, you will continue to capture existing demand for your product or service without generating additional interest or recognition. Or, at worst, your competition will take away market share. Knowledge here is key. Gain an understanding of the display channel, and then take small steps. Test for success and eliminate the rest. Why is it worth it? Simple: more conversions, prospects, and awareness are there for the taking with a good display program.
The big problem is that many advertisers simply don’t understand the display options. And this is where the digital advertising evolution stalls.
Self-serve or managed display services? In-house resource or choose an agency? Retargeting campaigns or prospecting?
No matter which path you choose, start with small budgets and test a few partners. Sometimes I see advertisers work with too many vendors at one time. This is especially concerning when there’s a small budget to work with. It becomes difficult to get a good read on a display campaign when five partners are sharing a very small amount of spend. When deciding to add display to your advertising mix, try to select two or three partners to start.
And what about strategies? Well, retargeting should always be one of the initial options – but retargeting alone only captures existing funnel activity. In order to grow your pool of prospects, try a demand side platform (DSP), look-a-like modeling (LAL), behavioral targeting (BT), or contextual targeting (CT). ReTargeter/AdRoll/FetchBack (retargeting), MediaMath/Turn/SimpliFi (DSP), QuantCast (LAL), Yahoo!/Bizo/ClearSpring (BT), and Peer39/Proximic (CT) are just a handful or partners to evaluate.
Once you’ve selected a few partners, measuring campaign success is the next thing to consider. When working with multiple one-on-one vendor relationships, you typically have to rely on unbiased third-party reports to value a campaign. This can cause problems, as your partners will often take credit for some overlap. To address this issue, consider using an ad server. Options like DoubleClick for Advertisers, Atlas, and Mediaplex can streamline your reporting capability. You truly can never know which partner works better than another if you’re relying on their reports; an ad server can help to set the record straight. (After fixing the multiple display partner attribution issue, the next evolution is de-duping between display and paid search campaigns. But that’s a topic for another post.)
Finally, you really need to ask yourself this question:
Should I ask for help?
All of this may still seem a bit overwhelming. Internal resources can only do so much. If you are already working with a paid search agency, see if they offer display services. If you are doing everything in-house, and a larger advertising plan seems daunting, consider outside help. A holistic digital marketing effort is key to growing market share and profits. Paid search is the king of capturing demand., but you still have to consider demand creation as well. Display advertising is the next step for many advertisers, even if they don’t know it yet.
Education is the key to moving beyond paid search. Focus on what you don’t know. Sticking with only what is known never got anyone anywhere – just ask Pablo.