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Remarkable Ad Experiences for the Cookieless Web

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How to Develop Remarkable Ad Experiences for the Cookieless Web

As the elimination of third-party cookies puts a serious damper on ad tracking and audience targeting, how are brands supposed to make an impact with advertising? As audience data becomes harder to come by, advertisers will need to lean heavier on creative assets and messaging, and less on precision targeting. The old adage “the right place, at the right time, with the right message” has never been more important, and note, there is no “right audience segment” in that phrase…

But as the lack of audience segmentation takes away a key point of differentiation from one campaign to another, and creative becomes the dominant factor in pushing consumers through the funnel, how can you put your best creative foot forward and stand out in a crowded space? Just how crowded is this space? The average person spends more than 7.5 hours a day connected to digital devices, and sees more than 6,000 ads per day, according to eMarketer and PPC Protect. So the actual creative itself is important!

To stand out, we can prioritize building remarkable digital ad experiences designed for humans, by humans. By putting our human hat on instead of our marketing hat, we can do what humans do best - generate emotion and make a lasting impact. We can do that in a few key ways:

  • Respecting the consumers screen
  • Appealing to the consumers senses, and
  • Personalizing our content

Respect the consumers screen

The golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. It applies to advertising, because if we put ourselves in the shoes of the consumer, we would prioritize polite ad experiences. As marketers, we are tempted to buy the flashiest and biggest ad unit we can find, but that’s not actually what consumers respond well to. An intrusive ad experience leaves people in a frustrated emotional state - not ideal when you are trying to introduce your brand to them and get them to be a lifelong customer. A survey by Google suggests that 50% of consumers won’t re-engage with a brand once they’ve had a negative experience. 

It’s time to think like humans, not marketers, and ditch the disruptive ad experiences in exchange for creative that complements our consumption of content online. Reviewing the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) guidelines to familiarize yourself with ad experiences that have been deemed intrusive is a great place to start. Then, seek out advertising partners who are CBA compliant to ensure you only serve up polite experiences. We are proud to say that PadSquad is a CBA compliant partner - you can check out our ad gallery.


Appeal to their senses

Leverage the power of sight, sound and motion to make lasting connections with the person on the other side of the ad. Digital media provides a unique opportunity to interact and engage in a way that not many other mediums can. Sight, sound and motion are the building blocks for any digital ad execution in today’s world. 

Sight is how we experience most things for the first time, ads are no different. Ads should be eye catching to drive impact with consumers. It’s not the most colorful assets that make the biggest impact, but instead those that cleverly use lines, direction and other artistic techniques to draw consumers in and tell a story. 

When done in the right, polite way, sound has the power to transform digital advertising by adding another dimension to them. We’ve found that ads that incorporate user initiated sound see upwards of 4x the engagement rate benchmark for high impact creative. In this ad for Visit South Dakota consumers can experience what it's like to run with the buffalo through physical haptic feedback and sound effects. 

Finally, unlock the true power of mobile with touch-based interactivities. Embrace the curious nature of consumers by providing fun and interesting ways to reveal your brand story using tapping, swiping, pinching, and zooming. By building these types of experiences, you will inspire consumers to engage deeper with your brand. 


Personalize Content

Today, consumers expect more from brands than just good targeting based on cookies. They are looking for original and unique experiences that are tailored to match their wants and needs. Our ambition as marketers should be to create advertising that uniquely addresses the needs of our customer. Personalization is a key way of doing this. 

A main factor in personalization is relevance - adapting your creative based on the environment, content being consumed, and mindset of your customers. Unlike pinpointed audience targeting and some dynamic creative solutions, making your advertising more relevant by adapting it to context requires no PII whatsoever - a future-proofed solution for the eventual demise of third-party cookies.

This unofficial Kit Kat ad generated over 100,000 likes on LinkedIn because it resonated so deeply with remote workers during the pandemic. While it didn’t necessarily match the environment it was placed in, it matched the mindset of a remote worker tied to their never ending zoom meetings. Context can be more than the page and content an ad runs on.

Signals also help us to be more personal without intruding on privacy and data collection regulations. Signals like time of day, day of week, weather, and general location add personalization and context to an ad that make it more relevant and engaging. 

This award winning campaign and creative for Amelia Island leveraged both weather and location to drive bookings. Media activity would activate in select northern markets when the weather was poor to get travelers to consider booking a trip to Amelia Island. All this creativity and ingenuity stemmed from simply using privacy compliant signals vs. tracking audience behaviors via third-party cookies. 

Ultimately, the loss of third-party cookies for targeted digital advertising is nothing to fear, but something to celebrate. It makes us think outside of the box to creatively tell our stories and forge meaningful connections with consumers. When you stop relying on data to do the heavy lifting for your paid media campaigns, you start relying on the actual messaging to do its job. You know, the thing consumers actually see at the end of the day? Consumers don’t see the targeting behind a campaign, they only see the messaging and the creative you put in front of them to start a conversation. So, as cookies continue to fade away, and audience segments grow smaller, it’s time to get back to our creative roots and make a good first impression with our customers. 


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