Ask BPI Labs: How Do You Run An “Always-On” Media Campaign?
Today’s media landscape is more volatile than ever before. Advertisers have to compete against fake news, as well as the proliferation of self-publishing platforms that give anyone a voice, and the potential for news to disrupt the fractured attention spans of our audiences.
Our current media environment demands advertisers protect brands by rethinking the idea of a pre-set marketing calendar and developing a proactive “always-on” strategy that reinforces and defends the brand year-round – as well as aligns with other messaging lanes like earned media.
How do we best design marketing campaigns that allow organizations to stay top of mind? We believe there are two ways to structure these “always-on” campaigns:
– Divide our media budget evenly to deliver a moderate amount of media each day over the course of a flight. This “steady state” approach allows us to maintain a consistent media presence, swapping in new messages or platforms when needed to respond to events or change tactics.
– Focus on a surge of advertising around key moments. While we don’t want to be silent at any point, we can maintain a consistent but low-level presence and concentrate the bulk of our ad dollars on key “surge” moments. These include times where we think our audience is likely to respond well to our message (e.g., an environmental organization advertising on Earth Day) or times when we think it’s necessary to maximize market share (such as a retail brand on Black Friday).
Both steady state and surge moments satisfy our need for “always-on” advertising, but which is more effective? We designed a BPI Vantage test to answer this question – here’s how we did it.
First, we divided our audience into three groups:
1. Steady State: This group received a moderate frequency of advertising on a daily basis for the duration of the campaign.
2. Surge Moments: This group received half the frequency of media as the steady state group most of the time, spiking to double the frequency around key moments.
3. Control: This group received no media.
After wrapping up our first surge moment, we used Vantage to measure which method was best for increasing our client’s favorability and improving brand trust. We found that while both tactics persuaded our audience, the surge program was 1.5x more persuasive than steady state.
It’s important to note that not all key moments are created equally, and that this strategy should be evaluated based on the environment around a big marketing push. These “surges,” for example, took place in a relatively quiet media environment, but similar spend during the Super Bowl or Black Friday would likely have been drowned out. This is why it’s important to pair planning with measurement to continuously evaluate ad programs, and why both earned and paid media need to be coordinated based on the news cycle, to ensure your message gets through at an appropriate time.
We recognize that running a surge program is harder, requires faster speed and more creative work – but our results show that’s worth doing. If you want to know more about how to plan the most effective and cost-efficient “always-on” strategy for your brand, shoot us an email – we’re here to help.