Audience Targeting in Local Media Markets: More Than a Sum of Its Parts

By Oliver Jacob, President and Co-Founder of Frequence

True, seamless omnichannel advertising has long been a tantalizing goal of the industry. Various technology upstarts have long promised the ability to reach the right person through multiple channels over time, with varying degrees of actual success.

As the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, audiences are both altering their behavior wholesale – where they live and spend their time, the media they consume, etc. – while in many cases sitting on extra accumulated savings. We stand at a profound moment of opportunity for advertisers across all markets, and as we do it’s worth taking a moment to review the promise of true omnichannel marketing and what makes it actually work.

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Exponential Returns

Investing in true omnichannel marketing carries initial operational benefits beyond end-of-funnel performance. A well-executed omnichannel campaign collects data and analytics in one place, in a clean and standardized form. The efficiency gain from not having to gather data from different sources stands alone as a persuasive selling point.

However, most savvy marketers will be quick to point out that in terms of pure media ROI and performance, omnichannel campaigns reliably generate returns that are greater than they would have been as a combination of single-channel executions. A recent study by Omnisend, for example, indicated that omnichannel campaign ROI was 287% higher than single-channel.

The question of why omnichannel campaigns generate returns greater than the sum of their parts is an interesting one. Perhaps, intuitively, witnessing a campaign executed across multiple channels throughout the day conveys the impression of a deeply resourced advertiser – one more likely to sell a quality product than a fly-by-night upstart.

It’s also possible that the reduction of friction stimulates purchase behavior. If an instagram ad with a purchase link follows a CTV ad in the same household, the direct path from message exposure to purchase button translates at scale to demonstrably stronger returns.

Whatever the reasons why omnichannel delivers exponential results, the fact remains that abundant data supports the conclusion that cross-channel campaigns, properly executed, deliver more than the sum of their parts. Even in-store visits increase when supported by an omnichannel campaign. With that established, it’s worth considering how this plays out at the local scale, where budgets and audiences can’t match the sophistication of large, national advertisers.

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At the local level, advertisers have fewer opportunities for quality touchpoints because of the diminished scale. Inventory quality becomes more important and more transparent. Without the scale of national campaigns, behavioral indicators of purchase intent become less reliable at the local level. The proper execution of a local omnichannel campaign thus requires operational efficiency and high-quality trading automation.

On the other side of that coin, local markets are better prepared for the upcoming depreciation of the third-party tracking cookie that has the digital advertising industry so preoccupied at the moment. Local campaigns have never received the same level of benefit from cookie-based targeting as their national counterparts, so local marketers wanting to execute an omnichannel strategy have multiple targeting approaches to achieve success.

Savvy marketers should be preparing for a digital landscape that rewards agility across channels, and local marketers have a wide variety of exciting tools available for optimizing their digital campaigns. As people emerge into a new world following a long disruption, they’re eager to spend money and try new things once again. The companies that best execute omnichannel campaigns stand to benefit greatly.  It’s an exciting moment to work in advertising.

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