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Gara Santos-Ontiveros, Google Philippines Industry Head
in Philippines by

From Google Philippines’ Industry Head: 3 keys to maximizing your digital marketing influence

People are more distracted now than ever before with the world’s information within everyone’s grasp through the supercomputers in their pockets. While this provides multiple avenues for marketers to grab consumer attention, the tendency to be distracted under a bombardment of signals is also posing a challenge.

The Global Web Index for 2017 says 65.8% of Filipinos use smartphones while watching TV. Having more than one screen to look at with diverse visual stimulators inevitably divides attention. As a long-time marketer, I think this is one of the biggest hurdles that a marketer has to overcome these days.

Within the past decade since the birth of YouTube and other social media platforms, we’ve seen brand custodians and advertisers finding themselves in a sweeping current towards digital with the imperative to learn new skill sets fast. But despite the increasingly complex world of digital media consumption, the marketing fundamentals on addressing consumers’ needs, wants and desires remain the same. The job of marketing, still, as Byron Sharp best describes in “How Brands Grow”, is to build and influence memories.

Memories are things we recall from what we paid attention to in the past. What we pay attention to are, mostly, an intentional choice. Therefore, our job as marketers is to look for the intent and build on the attention already there to influence future memories about our brands.

Here are 3 things you can do to maximize digital marketing influence based on attention and intent.

#1: Reach those you know are looking for you (with intent-based digital advertising)

It’s not rocket science. Digital advertising makes it possible for you to know who is looking for your brand, and to reach out to them instantaneously.

When a consumer types on a search bar, whether on Google, YouTube, or Play Store and countless other websites or apps, they are raising their hands, trying to get someone’s attention to supply them what they’re looking for and what they need or want. If you know their attention is on a certain need you can provide, you’d want to be there to respond with your solution before they get distracted by something else.

Imagine the maximum benefit of your ad showing up every time someone is looking for what you offer. You don’t miss out on the opportunity, regardless of day or hour. You don’t have to toss ad money to an unknown space hoping your message will reach the right person; you know with certainty that you are reaching out to someone who is already looking for you.

Note: Responding in the actual moment of need is the new rule. Knowing who’s looking for you so you can reach out at the right time is the essence of intent-based digital advertising. The intent goes both ways.

 #2: Pay attention to ‘attentive reach’, not just ‘reach’

The usual question many marketers ask when deciding on digital ad spend is, “Does the platform have reach?” ‘Reach’,  as in, “How many people are on the platform?” But the better question would be, “How many people who are active [daily/monthly] on that platform are actually looking for my category or brand?” Expanding the question to include intentional attention (ie, “looking for you”) is the more nuanced definition of ‘reach’ that you should not ignore. Reach in digital marketing must measure consumer attention and not merely consumer presence. Reach without attention is not really valuable and is an added distraction.

To measure attention on digital platforms, you must have (1) the number of seconds that the ad played, (2) the number of people who completed the ad until the very last second, (3) how much of the ad was on-screen and for how long, and (4) if the volume or sound was on when they were watching. These are all indicators of “attentive reach”  that only digital can offer, but that not all digital platforms can actually perform against.

Note: Attention in the midst of distraction is the new currency. Knowing if your consumers are paying attention is vital to knowing what kind of reach a digital platform offers you in exchange for your ad spend.


IMMAP’s Digital Measurement Board recommends the industry at large to measure these metrics for online video:

  1. Reach Metrics: Viewable Reach and Frequency
  2. Quality Metrics: Completed Views, Average View Duration, Audibility, Brand Suitability
  3. Cost Metrics: Cost Per Completed View OR Cost Per Viewable Impression OR Cost Per View (e.g. 3s for Facebook, 30s for YouTube)

For other digital ad units, please refer to: Philippine Digital Measurement Standard (2017)

#3: Create discoverable content designed for intent

Content creation on digital platform is increasingly about addressing intent-rich activities online and must be geared towards answering on-demand content and providing on-demand answers. Digital content creation is a strategic imperative that can differentiate between ads that consumers choose to skip, and ads that they love to watch and (re)discover.

Going back to Byron Sharp’s principle about marketers influencing memories, he articulated that stimulating many senses (i.e., visual and auditory) in communication makes influencing decisions more powerful and drives better awareness and recall. Personally, I know for a fact this works effectively in creating content that sticks. People pay more attention to materials that grab both visual and auditory attention, and they’re also easier to remember. When these two senses are stimulated together, the brand is more effectively triggered from memory when the need arises. That means, in order to drive attention to your brand from an existing intent, you have to have an ad that is visually pleasing and enhanced by audible support.

Note: Sight and sound is the surefire recipe for hooking attentive intent. Knowing that you’re building memories about your brand for your consumers to return to when their need once again arises, is what will sustain your digital marketing influence beyond the first outreach.


The author, Gara Santos-Ontiveros, is an Industry Head at Google Philippines with the mission to help bring every brand loved by Filipinos into the digital era. Before joining Google in 2015, she was a marketing practitioner for 14 years handling global brands like Rexona, Dove, Vaseline, Citra, Lux, and Lipton across stints in Indonesia, China, Singapore and the Philippines. The massive and inevitable consumer shift to digital fuelled her desire to master marketing in the digital age.