The question of where to place advertisements is no longer relegated to simply print or digital, radio or television. There are countless combinations of channels and approaches brands can take when trying to reach their target audiences with relevant ads today.
When clients seek recommendations for the best ad platform for their brand from their agency partners, many variables must be considered to find the best fit. Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share the top things they would look at before recommending an ad platform to a client.
1. Competition In Correlation To Budget
An often overlooked factor is competition in correlation to budget, as most ad platforms are auction-based. For example, a client may want to run Google Ads, but if competition is strong in their industry, the cost-per-click may be prohibitive, yielding only a few visits. In such a case, we might opt for Microsoft Ads, which can still deliver qualified visitors at a lower cost, albeit with a smaller audience. – Justin Cook, 9thCO Inc.
2. The Return On The Business Goal
When determining what ad platform and strategy we will deploy, we consider the brand, the level of awareness of the product/service/offering and the company providing it, as well as budget. The key consideration is the return on the business goal (revenue) from this investment. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B
Many programmatic platforms have opaque reporting and charge extra fees to discourage close examination. Find a partner who welcomes curious customers and actively encourages their use of detailed reporting features. Walled gardens make detailed media reporting off-limits and campaigns difficult to structure, so the incrementality of campaign-attributed conversions must be measurable. – Ajay Gupta, Stirista
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4. How Well-Developed Your Initial Strategies Are
Any ad platform can be successful based on your need, but the platform itself is not a “silver bullet”—it’s simply a tool to help you execute. The big key is to make sure your initial marketing and branding strategies are developed before looking to any platform as an answer or a saving grace. Once that’s solved, vet multiple platforms and figure out where there’s a competitive advantage. – Scott Harkey, OH Partners
5. Targeting Options, Cost And Expected Performance
Determine whether the platform has targeting options that will effectively reach your desired audience. Cost is also a consideration. Even if the platform can reach your audience, can it do so at an efficient cost per mille compared to other platforms? Also, consider expected performance. Can the platform provide benchmark data within your industry vertical that proves it’s worth the investment? – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo
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6. The Campaign’s Main Objective
Ask yourself what your main objective is for the campaign. Are you trying to increase brand awareness and reach? Is your purpose to generate quality leads for your sales team? Do you need to boost sales through e-commerce? Knowing the goal for a campaign can help you determine which ad platform to choose. – Sara Steever, Paulsen
7. Persona Research Into Your Target Audiences
Clients who are serious about wanting to use their budget well and map to channels must invest in defining their target audiences and empowering the agency to do the deep-dive persona research up front. This provides a blueprint for where your target audiences will be found. The next step is customizing the ad to that audience and the specific channel. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
8. The Technology’s Ease Of Use
Beyond the relevancy of the audience, ease of use weighs heavily on my mind when choosing an ad platform. Integrated campaigns are complex enough without adding an additional layer of user-unfriendly technology. We need to get in-market and make real-time changes—the harder that is to do, the more strain that introduces into my client relationships. – Jeremy Jackson, SKY Marketing Consultants, LLC
9. Brand Safety And Trust
An increasingly important consideration for choosing advertising platforms and networks is that of brand safety and trust. Especially in cases where programmatic buying is involved, it’s vital to understand the safety measures that an advertising platform takes to protect both your brand and the audiences that it serves. – Chris Martin, FlexMR
10. The Ease Of Integration With Other Channels
While most marketers will say performance is the No. 1 consideration, I lean more toward how easy it is to integrate the ad platform. Can I tie this new solution in with all of the other channels I am running? Today, there is not one ad platform; there are many. Multichannel marketing is key to generating great results, and connected platforms are what allow for scalability and volume. – Jerry Kelly, Marketing 360®
11. Context And Competition
Once you are clear on the target audience and the platforms they connect with, context and competition are equally important. An ad platform ignored by your competitors might deliver stronger results for your business. Always take into consideration the context of the channel your ads will run in and the impact that audio, written or visual advertising elements will have in that channel. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing
Ad platforms, and even affiliate platforms, need to scale and be able to integrate everything from Google and Pinterest to influencers and coupon codes. Without this, you’ll always fall back on spreadsheets to crunch the data. – Loren Baker, Foundation Digital
13. Cross-Channel Ad Sales Attribution
The ability of your ad platform to accurately attribute ad sales through to conversion is critical. While the price of that platform may be higher, connecting the journey across channels to a sale is critical so that you fully understand the buyer’s journey, the time to sale and the value of those target audiences. – Douglas Karr, Highbridge
14. The Type Of Business Being Advertised
The type of business for which the ads will be running is key when choosing an ad platform. Paid search options such as Google Ads will work for most businesses. For B2B, LinkedIn can get ads in front of decision makers in a chosen industry. More abstract or newer companies would benefit most from audience targeting through traditional social media or the ubiquity of television and video ads (if budget allows). – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member