How to make interactive campaigns work for your business

The interactive advertising campaign needs to make itself heard above the noise in a very different way to TV ads. The online world is full of information about your product. Your product may be sold in a thousand places, each one with a star rating. You may have an erudite detractor who has amused millions by picking holes in what you sell, the way you sell it, or how rude one customer services person in Bangor or Bangalore was to them. All these will show up in Google above your campaign landing page, and right below that expensive AdWords slot. So your campaign, which has to sell what you do, should not try denying any of these things. That will only do damage to the brand. With the way things spread through social media you have to entice and be honest.

Business needs dictate that online campaigns should be effective above all else, and it’s for that reason they need to be efficient. Key to this is knowing your audience – not just a demographic group, but an actual person. Where they hang out, what they do, what messages make them sit up and listen and what messages turn them off. To aid this process we have seen the rise of programmatic advertising (RTB, Google AdWords). Programmatic advertising gives you faster access to ad inventory, total pricing control, instant and continuous delivery and an array of performance analytics.

The principles of TV ad campaigns and online interactive ones are similar. Both have to, in some way, touch the soul. It has to draw you in, fill you with belief – not just in the product, but the story that surrounds the product. 

Keep in mind from the start that any interactive campaign is also a journey with many entrance points. The journey needs a story which knows its audience and knows its end. A story that has the product at its heart, but is genuinely engaging in its own right. Constructing engaging ‘content’, short form text ads, video, apps and a whole heap more, allows people to delve deeply, or cut to the chase. This requires a clear understanding of what you want people to do. Whether that is to buy, or engage, or simply click ‘Like’.

To reach that point you need to first map the journey out. Plan every step of the way. For instance, take the initial touch points. How do you want them to be perceived? How do you want people to respond? When people click through to ‘discover’ more and are taken to the next touch point, ask these questions again. Then, once you have the journey mapped out, does the thing as a whole work? Does it represent your brand? Is it coherent? Is it consistent? Does it hold water? If not, repair the holes and then build from that through Google to the point of engagement.

One extra point worth mentioning in regards to creating the perfect journey, is study other online campaigns, particularly those of your rivals and those that stand out as successful. What can you learn from these? Are there ideas you can borrow? Are there ideas you can do better?

The truly great thing about interactive campaigns is that all parts of the experience, the discovery, the consideration, the research and the purchase, are all kept in the same place on that little rectangle of light that almost overnight has become the focus of people’s lives. So the speed at which exposure to your campaign turns into a transaction, can be almost immediate.

To make the campaign work you need to park the ego at the door and go in to it knowing it will never be perfect. Nothing ever is. But you do have the opportunity to make it great.

Ben Scott-Robinson is Ordnance Survey’s head of interactive experience.

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