How confident are you that your digital strategy is serving you well? Is it effectively putting your brand in front of your target audience? While most brands understand their marketing efforts must include a digital component, it’s probably time for many businesses to re-evaluate their digital strategy. When digital promotions began expanding beyond basic websites, businesses everywhere started jumping on the bandwagon. The most common approach was a simple strategy – launching a Facebook page and buying banner ads through local news websites. And for a while, that worked – until three to four years ago. Then, the world changed – as it always does. And the businesses that continued distributing their digital message the same way now do so to dwindling audiences. That standard strategy is no longer enough – because what used to work now limits a brand’s digital reach. The digital realm is shapeless, huge and ever-morphing, so the changes weren’t glaringly obvious. What happened? A few things:

  • Facebook clamped down on organic reach. It started a few years ago, and their grasp is becoming increasing tight, especially for businesses. So unless you boost a post (by putting money behind it), probably only 10-20% of the people who actively follow you actually see it. And even that figure is generous if you’re not a brand that generates much engagement through your social posts.
  • People are becoming savvier about using ad blockers. While there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s important to be aware of how these tools affect your actual audience reach. It’s more than likely you’re simply not able to position your banner ads in front of as many people as you used to.
  • Traditionally, ad placements were geared for desktop only. But today’s most effective digital promotions must include mobile – because that’s where lots of people are doing their Internet surfing.

So what’s the underlying theme? To have truly effective digital promotions, you must be digitally diverse – more than you’ve been before. Here’s how:

  • Boost your Facebook (and other social network) posts. That’s how to get your content in front of both new people AND your current, engaged audience of people who are actively following your Page.
  • Make sure your content is entertaining, interesting and relevant to your target audience. Because people don’t mind advertising; they mind bad advertising. Good promotions are enjoyed like entertainment; they become part of the culture.
  • Place ads that will show up on both desktop and mobile screens. This means you’re going to need ads in new sizes, and it’s often not as simple as resizing your leaderboard. Often, you need a simpler approach so that it’s readable on a mobile screen.
  • Create brand messaging that is dynamic and visual. Think about online video and audio ads. They can do great things to get your brand noticed.
  • Consider the placements that ad blockers DON’T block – namely search ads, mobile app ads and native ads – and customize your digital ad placements and content to work well there.

Finally, don’t be intimidated. Although the channels of communications have changed, the basic strategies have not. Namely: The world is ever-changing, and the most effective marketers remain alert and adapt the way the message is delivered. Digital may always be new, but what is needed from marketers? Still timeless.

Alissa Menke

VP of digital innovation for jones huyett Partners. She recently presented on jhP’s work with Arrivalist to pinpoint tourism marketing ROI at the Digital Media Travel Summit in New York City.