It goes without saying that today’s digital marketer has an infinite set of options for reaching their target audience online. Within the single umbrella of “digital” there are multiple formats ranging from classic display media to native advertising, and from keyword marketing to high-impact video advertising. Plus, just about every device is now connected so marketers also need to think about replicating their messaging on mobile, desktop, tablets, and eventually, virtual reality.
These choices present endless options, and marketers today are under significant pressure to understand, utilize, and ultimately master them all. Stitching enough media partners together to achieve the necessary scale seems like a daunting task, let alone the process of buying, optimizing, and reporting on such a broad media plan.
If marketers do have the wherewithal to build and execute on such a plan, how then do they think about issues such as viewability, cross-device tracking, and multi-touch attribution? With so much of the “traditional digital” media ecosystem existing in the long-tail, these concerns can stop the best laid media plan in its tracks. Content publishers themselves will tell you that delivering audience at scale involves so many third party vendors and stitched-together technologies that even getting an accurate measure of ad viewability is near impossible.
But there are media companies that can fuse together today’s most important ad formats and deliver them seamlessly across every device. I call them “autonomous marketing platforms” because they are technologically independent and do not conform to most of the traditional media formats. You call them Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Kik, etc. Interestingly, they eliminate most of the cross-platform and accountability problems just outlined while delivering on most of today’s digital marketer’s needs.
Autonomous marketing platforms certainly deliver scale. The ecosystem, in its entirety, reaches over 2 billion unique consumers – or nearly a third of the earth’s population. And they don’t just offer reach, they connect the most diverse set of audience segments across the globe, all of which can be targeted by geography, demographics, and a broad range of interests. Since most of these platforms have a strong sense of their user’s identity, in addition to simple geo and demo targeting, they make hyper-advanced targeting possible. This ranges from targeting a company’s actual customer-base and lookalikes, to layering on a multitude of behavioral, lifestyle, and intent information from third-party data companies.
This ecosystem also offers the most impactful media formats. Most of the advertising inventory is native, which always delivers an experience that is unique to the platform. And when you consider the video distribution across YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, you can hit any GRP target with far greater efficiency than traditional television.
And of course, autonomous marketing platforms run on all devices, with a heavy emphasis on mobile, which captures attention in a powerful way. But it’s not just the multi-device nature of these platforms that makes them so powerful, it is the fact that they have the ability to tie every impression back to a unique identifier and help marketers truly understand their unduplicated reach across devices. True multi-touch, multi-channel, multi-device attribution becomes possible – without all the stress of viewability that traditional digital media brings.
The Holy Grail is bringing all of these autonomous marketing platforms together in a way that generalizes their differences and simplifies the process of planning and buying across multiple platforms, but at the same time takes advantage of all the unique opportunities that each has to offer.
Now that technology is bringing the industry closer to this Holy Grail, marketers should ask themselves – with the ability to reach the largest audiences in the world with the most precise and accurate targeting, utilizing the most effective media formats across many trackable devices, in order to achieve virtually any marketing objective – why would I invest my media dollars anywhere else?
Marie Joshi is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Adaptly.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.