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Digital Heart

First impressions count: The art of boosting ad engagement

Internet usage in Asia Pacific has been climbing steadily, with 150 million new online users added in the last three years. In addition, 47.5% of Internet users worldwide access from this region.

These statistics represent a huge opportunity for marketers looking to influence audiences across multiple screens. But my question is – how many consumers actually pay attention to display ads?

According to ComScore’s latest data, online display ads reach less than half of this audience. This means that a huge proportion of the audience doesn’t even have the opportunity to see the ads… let alone engage with the content.

With advertisers investing a great deal in digital, this is a big cause of concern. The pressure on marketers to ensure campaign visibility and convert impressions to tangible sales has never been higher.

Hence, the focus is now on achieving maximum online advertising effectiveness and engagement.

Enhancing viewability of your content and brand is the first step. If viewers don’t view your content, how will they engage with your brand?

Advertisers have legitimate reasons for needing to understand viewability levels that go beyond simply wanting to ensure they get what they pay for. In trying to attribute success or failure to a particular campaign, it is critical to have confidence that the playing field is level, and that all media placements are enjoying the same exposure to audience.

For any engagement or effectiveness metrics to make sense, campaign visibility is crucial.

While working with advertising partners, flexible pricing options that are based on consumer engagement instead of simply on impressions can help ensure you only pay for ads that are seen and engaged with. A little extra work in identifying the right measurement options can go a long way in tracking campaign performance. Using metrics such as cost-per-engagement makes it possible to ensure that your campaigns stack up.

Quality Inventory and Relationships

With the abundance of information available online, readers can deviate from a publisher’s website more easily than ever. To ensure visibility, put your best face forward with quality content that attracts readers and drives engagement.

When working with an advertising partner, select one who gives you access to premium publishers and unique inventory that uses the best audience data available to target the campaign to the right audience.

It is crucial that both brands and publishers protect their interests after all the effort to create the maximum number of viewable impressions possible. Fraudulent practices like stacking ads or auto-refreshed ads should be avoided at all costs.

Attention-driving creative

In online advertising, it always pays to be intriguing. Demand attention from your viewers by using relevant, engaging and interactive ad formats that speaks to the audience and captures their attention.

As for brands, it is equally important that ads given to online publishers are relevant, engaging and contextualised. An advertisement placement is only as good as a reader’s interest in it as no one likes seeing irrelevant ads. Alternatively, brands can work together with publishers to produce relevant, intriguing advertisements.

The viewability metric is still evolving and it will take a while for universally accepted guidelines to be created. The key takeaway for both advertisers and publishers is to create their own guidelines centred on user engagement for best results.

After all, digital media offers the greatest scope for creative audience interaction of any media channel. Whether its opt-in video viewing, data entry, sifting through galleries or game play engagement-based digital media offers reportable and verifiably human-only actions. When coupled with a buying model that only charges when interaction or engagement has been actioned, true viewability can be achieved.

The writer is Kelvin Tan, general manager of Southeast Asia/North Asia of Exponential.

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