An Introduction To How Digital Branding Campaigns Work

The following is a guest post by Future Buzz community member Danny Wong. If you want to guest post here, please read the guidelines.

Today I’d like to debunk some of the frequent misconceptions new marketers have about branding campaigns. Specifically, I want to share how they can be profitable and even if the campaigns send traffic but zero direct sales that can actually be OK.

Further, I want to get the point across that branding isn’t just a marketing strategy that big companies can employ. Small businesses can and should surgically use branding campaigns to saturate target channels as part of an overall approach to win their market.

Let’s start by chatting about “horizontal saturation” of consumer’s media space.

The concept of “horizontal saturation” is when an audience (even just one individual) sees a business everywhere they look, finding the business more credible, therefore leading to more sales from that audience. But it’s not always a direct line from awareness to sale.

Customers are now smarter than ever and will frequently conduct research after seeing and clicking your display ad, then following a more complicated conversion path. Unfortunately, this way, the last source is almost always attributed with the sale, not the display ad, not even partially, even though it contributed to the sales funnel.

Let’s look at an all too common example of a web conversion path from a branding campaign:

  • You place a few display ads on 3 different networks,
  • Let’s say one visitor ends up seeing those 3 different ads on 3 different sites,
  • The visitor clicks the last ad, sees the site, wonders a bit about what your business is all about,
  • Then Googles “your business + review” and finds a product review some blogger did about you,
  • Later, searches news.google.com for the latest news on “your brand” then sees you in a big news story
  • Finally, clicking over to your site from the link in the news story and converting to a customer.

Your analytics (pending how you’re setup) is most likely to attribute the sale to the big news story, not any of the display ads, even the last one. Especially if that person is blocking any types of tracking cookies you have setup.

But the fact is, you probably got 5,000 clicks to your site from your display ads. And while you might have gotten no sales directly from that ad, you might have seen an increase in sales from other sources of traffic: whether it be 10 more sales from people Googling your name and 100 sales from a 3 month-old product review. Or maybe even 50 sales from your big news story, which is 3 days old, plus 60 new sales from Twitter after new customers were intrigued, followed your brand, and you engaged with them personally (therefore leading them to trust you more and eventually ‘pull the trigger’ on a purchase).

While you spent $7,000 on your display ads, which led to 5,000 clicks and no direct sales, you may have seen 110 extra sales coming in from other sources inspired by but not directly attributed to the campaign. Considering you value a new sale at $100, then from those 110 sales you have made $11,000, which is $4,000 more than the $7,000 cost to support those ads. Granted, legwork and visibility of your brand digitally need to be in place first: but over time being able to show sustained returns from effective ad spends may be the icing on your online marketing cake.

Digital branding: saturate the right audience

Branding campaigns work digitally, perhaps even better than they did pre-web in that you can create multiple, cross-channel ‘touch points’ with your customers before they become customers. As the old marketing saying goes: someone needs to see or hear about your product and company several times before they finally convert to a customer. But the best part is this is now affordable even for small businesses to saturate a well-defined targeted audience through many of the modern paid promotion tactics and ad networks available.

Figure out efficient ways to saturate an audience’s media space by advertising across channels smartly in a way that reaches specific audiences. As part of a holistic digital marketing program, branding should never be forgotten.

Danny Wong is the Brand Manager Blank Label Group’s brands Blank Label, Thread Traditionand RE:custom. He’s also a writer at HuffingtonPost, TheNextWeb and ReadWriteWeb.

Post Image: Copenhagen City Bus Wrap