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The dos and don’ts of online advertising

When it comes to online advertising, there's a right way and a wrong way, so David Harvey at Altair Media has highlighted the dos and don'ts when marketing your business on the web.
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Programmatic has become the new norm in media buying, set to account for more than three quarters of all digital display media buys over the coming year according to eMarketer. With its promise of efficient targeting combined with minimal wastage, it is easy to understand the allure of programmatic online advertising and its meteoric rise over the past few years.

An unfortunate by-product of the programmatic revolution – other than fraud, which is a different ball game all together – is a rise in the amount of irrelevant online advertising. Spam, as it is unlovingly known.

One of the inherent risks when online advertising is powered by a complex web of machines talking to machines and ads are more precisely served than ever: it stings that much more when ads make poor assumptions about those on the receiving end.

Banners and pop-ups may be intrusive and irritating, but the expectation is that they’ll fall short in the personalisation stakes. Ads populating, say, the sidebars within email accounts have already bypassed the guest list, so to speak – people expect intimacy, familiarity and relevance.

The good news is that you can cut through the competition – so long as you’re smart about your approach.

A good rule of thumb when planning any campaign is to ask two questions: When should I serve an ad? And, crucially, when shouldn’t I serve an ad?

Both are absolutely essential to ensure online advertising effectiveness, yet very few ask the second. Some guidelines to ensure your online advertising messages make the right sort of impact follow, as I reveal the key dos and don’ts.

Do use as much data as you can get your hands on

Despite the explosion in audience data, 87 per cent, so most, of marketers still consider data their organisation’s most underused asset. Buck this trend by mining all available data to make informed judgements.

For a campaign we ran for B&Q, we took into consideration every piece of information available including the time since a user’s last visit, whether the ad was relevant to content now being read, right down to individuals’ recent mind set. This data directly informed which message/s were served, while we also controlled frequency by user, and by day.

Don’t make assumptions about your audience

Just because a user responded warmly to a certain message previously, don’t assume their behaviour will be the same this time. Strike the right balance between harnessing existing and recent data to meet your audience’s changing needs and to justify or adapt your messaging.

Continue reading for the outstanding online advertising dos and don’ts on the next page.

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