Branding strategies have become as diverse as coffee drinks at Starbucks. Those new to the coffeehouse menu can stand at the counter for what seems like an hour debating on whether to purchase a soy latte, a cappuccino, or an iced coffee with non-fat milk. Some search marketers also might feel that way when trying to expand search campaigns into social or display.
One thing is certain -- producing creative pieces for brand-building campaigns -- search, social or display -- should sit at the top of the list. Yet, the display advertising study -- Digital Advertising 2011: A Portrait of Conflict -- released this week by Collective finds that 57% of agencies believe the majority of their display objectives are to build the brand, yet only 11% cite ad creative as critical to the campaign's success.
There's evidence that online display advertising continues to shift from a direct-response form of advertising to full-fledged branding media. Findings reveal an industry in mid-transition between its roots in direct response and a brand-centric future, as illustrated by conflicting responses among those surveyed.
While 60% of agencies cite brand recall and intent to purchase as the most important measures of online success, performance -- clicks and conversions --remains the key criteria that agencies say they use to evaluate media.
A theme that runs throughout the study points to a general discontent with the impact of creative pieces. When marketers were asked the one thing they would improve in online display advertising, 14% of the responses involved the need for better, more impactful creative units. Agencies appeared to be less concerned with the need for more dynamic display creative, with 9% citing the need for more impactful units.
The most important component -- 34% and 33% -- of the online campaign remains content and ad environment by marketers and agencies, respectively. Audience data and targeting also remain important to marketers, at 26%, and agencies, at 28%. Across the board, 27% of those participating in the study said creative ad units and social interaction remain least important, too.
The study, which analyzes results from a survey of 400 agency media and brand marketers provided by Advertiser Perceptions, examines how marketers and advertising agencies are adjusting to the evolving brand advertising ecosystem.