There’s no denying it, the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and companies that have not yet recognized this in their marketing strategies need to adapt fast.

Why is digital marketing so important?
Because it is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media will soon replace more traditional forms altogether.

While older generations will no doubt lament the demise of paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods and traditional TV and radio broadcasts, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones as a God-given right are already embracing the brave new world of digital consumption.

The facts are that digital methods of communication and marketing are faster, more versatile, practical and streamlined, so it is perhaps unsurprising that once the technology became available we began quickly moving into the digital age. The good news is that digital offers just as much potential to marketers as it does to consumers on the other hand the bad news is that there is little to no credibility to news and announcements made on the digital world.
Digital world is a boon as well as a curse to the marketing world.

Before we look at the benefits of digital marketing, let’s take a quick snapshot of some of the key forms of it at present:

  • Websites and SEO content
  • Blogs
  • Internet banner ads
  • Online video content
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Mobile marketing (SMS, MMS, etc.)

This is far from an exhaustive list, and new forms of digital marketing, such as augmented reality, are arriving all the time.

So, Why digital marketing?
Digital marketing is infinitely more affordable than traditional offline marketing methods. An email or social media campaign, for example, can transmit a marketing message to consumers for the merest fraction of the cost of a TV ad or print campaign, and potentially reach a wider audience.

But one of the main benefits of conducting your marketing digitally is the ease with which results can be tracked and monitored. Rather than conducting expensive customer research, you can quickly view customer response rates and measure the success of your marketing campaign in real-time, enabling you to plan more effectively for the next one.

The 4Ps have acted as a rite of passage and guiding tool for marketers for decades. But in today’s complex digital environment, where advancements in technology have rapidly changed the delivery and measurement of digital advertising, and what new guiding principles should marketers take into account to navigate and succeed in this evolving environment?

From these lessons learned, we’ve identified a new list of 4Ps to guide marketers in a digital world: People, Performance, Programmatic, and Platforms.

It might seem right to say that consumers are the core of advertising. Of course to make an impact, advertising must reach a person, especially the right person with the right message.

One of the greatest promises of the Internet is the ability for advertisers to target with extreme precision and deliver a tailored message to their customers. Cookie-based targeting certainly helps to deliver on this promise and is a core reason why cookie targeting has become such a popular digital strategy. However, solely cookie-based planning and evaluation isn’t always the best approach.

Likewise, 37% of Internet users in Europe delete their ad server cookies per month and do so an average 6 times during the month. When it comes to campaign evaluation, these high levels of cookie deletion can wreak havoc on results provided by ad or website servers. With reach and frequency reporting, for example, the use of a solely cookie-based ad measurement solution can generate a 3.5X overstatement of reach and understate frequency to the same degree.

To understand the full impact of digital advertising, marketers need to take a performance approach that takes into account key effectiveness measures such as brand awareness, behavioral impact, sales lift, etc., that go beyond incomplete and often misleading metrics such as click-through rates.

Does the fact that so few people click on ads mean that online advertising does not work? The answer: a resounding “No”! Instead, it points to the simple, yet powerful fact that relying solely on a CTR is incomplete and often misleading. Fortunately, there are a variety of other metrics that can be used to demonstrate the impact of online advertising.

A recent series of comScore studies conducted in Europe revealed the following positive campaign results in the face of minimal CTRs:

  • 52% average lift in visitation to the advertiser’s site among those who were exposed to the campaign compared to matched audiences not exposed to the campaign.
  • 49% average lift in the number of branded search queries among those who were exposed to the campaign compared to matched audiences not exposed to the campaign.

Programmatic audience buying has been heralded as the ideal solution to current ecosystem challenges – with its ability to reduce costs while enabling improved targeting accuracy and ROI. However great the potential efficiency gains of programmatic, it is important to have realistic expectations whether each served ad will be seen by the intended audience.

Transparency is vital in the shift from high-touch, direct buying to low-touch, and automated trading. Clients and their agencies need to be able to discern the quality of campaign delivery as it relates to view ability, brand safety, non-human traffic and target audience. comScore’s benchmark for view ability in the UK is currently 38% of served impressions and 41% for on-target audience delivery. There are many factors that affect performance, but whatever is agreed as success for a campaign needs to be grounded in this reality. Having access to campaign delivery data in real-time and pre-bid insights can provide this much-needed transparency to the market and help support further trust in the digital market.

Increasingly, audiences are consuming content across a variety of screens, platforms and devices – and as eyeballs are moving to multi-screens so are advertising investments.

Multi-Platform digital consumers – those that access content across desktop computers and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets – now account for 75% of the online population in the UK, underscoring the importance of understanding the behavior of this new digital majority.

In this fragmenting digital environment, advertisers need to understand how their advertising is reaching and impacting consumers across screens. Indeed, a unified, unduplicated accounting of media consumption and advertising delivery will facilitate smarter media buying, selling and evaluation.

In order for online advertising campaigns to achieve optimal impact, provide the opportunity for real-time optimization and be fully comparable to TV, campaign measurement of true audience delivery needs to be scalable and granular. Faster and more reliable in-flight reporting will open the door for more efficient evaluation across channels and a better understanding of the value of digital relative to traditional media, like TV.

Digital can grow out of its direct response silo by focusing on people and the “Human GRP” rather than cookies, clicks and served impressions. Only then can it take its place in the full marketing mix for brand advertising.

Advertisers have already demanded this change in the US where trading on view ability and audience guarantees is becoming the norm.