You’ll Never Guess What Happened with Digital Media in 2016

It seems like every year gets more and more crazy when it comes to the world of integrated marketing, especially in the digital arena. There are always new products, new strategies and always a few new restrictions that throw everyone for a loop.

But overall, 2016 was a good year for integrated marketing and those that invested will likely see a great return on their investment.

Now I’m a little biased, but from my perspective, digital is becoming a critical component that must be included in your artillery. Though some channels serve to build brand awareness, there seems to be a shift to strategies that deliver an effective ROI.

Here are a few things that I noticed this year that should help with your 2017 planning:

Narrow your focus, reach your limits, and then expand:

Every year, we hear the same thing. “I want to try this new thing I see everyone doing.” Though there might be some validity in testing new strategies every year, you can really only do so much based on your budget. And based on that budget, you still need to start with those strategies that are going to get you that ROI your boss is going to be looking for. Start out with things such as paid search that you know will bring in money. Once you get a feel for how much budget you can spend on that, you can expand to some display and social advertising.

Social isn’t just about being social anymore:

If you had asked me five years ago if social would play a big role in fundraising, I would have laughed, but as times have changed and the demographic for some of the most popular networks have changed, so has that theory. Social now has become one of the main sites that people go to, not only to keep up with their friends, but to find events, news and even offers. Though it still doesn’t generate as much revenue as some channels, we’re seeing a trend here. And in this context, Facebook is still king.

Test, but don’t over test:

In a digital world, not bound by the limits of a standard direct mail or out-of-home piece, we have the flexibility to test messaging and creative. But don’t over do it. Sure, when you are serving millions of impressions you don’t want to have stale creative after a while, but you also still need it to have some recognition. Limit your testing to a few variables, if you have too many factors at one time, it will divide your responses and you’ll be stuck trying to make decisions that aren’t based on any statistical validity. Instead, test one thing, find a winner and then go to the next test.

Finally, the best thing that you can do for digital integration is to be doing it year-round. Building your audiences year round and testing your message could really boost results during November and December. Yes, that probably means budgeting more throughout the year and being more dynamic each month, but that’s the reality of the world we live in now. Donors are going to give where they want, when they want, so you need to keep trends in digital media top of mind.

By: Dustin Riddle