Advertising has always been a competitive and cutthroat industry. Advertisers are always seeking new and innovative ways to outsmart the competition, and “traditional” print, radio, and television advertising have given us memorable campaigns and moments that changed the trajectory of iconic brands forever. But media digital and digital ads, in particular, can be an especially overwhelming task if you want to stand out from the competition: it can feel akin to competing with every other fish in the ocean! Digital advertising happens at lightning speed thanks to programmatic advertising systems. So much of the digital advertising world is automated that we are bombarded by as many poorly conceived ads as we are engaging ones.

Standing out in a saturated digital advertising world is possible with the right content, strategy, and execution. Whether you are creating digital ads for a token project with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or a garden hose that will bring dead plants back to life, your ads need to stand out from the crowd by capturing user attention quickly. If you want to avoid becoming the “junk mail” of the Internet, and you want users to not only see your ads but actually click on them, consider these steps as you plan and execute your digital media marketing strategy campaigns.

Know Your Audience

Anyone in advertising and digital media/marketing has heard this mantra time and again. However, it is still one of the most fundamental lessons in advertising, digital or otherwise.

Just as a new burger chain is unlikely to see much ROI after buying print ads in a magazine geared toward vegans, a digital marketing strategy must reach the right audience in order to be successful. Luckily, the digital age has allowed us to define (and find) audiences in incredibly innovative and high-tech ways, especially through Google and Facebook. When advertising on Facebook, for example, you can define your audience with certain interests. The burger chain can be linked to groups of people who are interested in specific types of food and restaurants (and the vegan chain kind find its audience in the same way!) Social media is an incredible source of information when it comes to what people like and tapping into this knowledge bank is a goldmine in digital advertising. However, in order to maximize your advertising through sites like Facebook, you have to dig into metrics to better understand how your audience is reacting.

Mind the Metrics

“Likes” are great but let’s face it: when it comes to advertising, we are trying to drive sales. Your advertising strategy and the campaign should couple your social media metrics with hard metrics as well; you need to evaluate what activities (sales, new leads, etc.) are actually generated from your ads. Bear this in mind any digital platform where you choose to spend advertising dollars and consider the ways in which the information will be shared.

Keep it Fresh AND Consistent

Just like print advertising, digital advertising needs to be visually appealing. This sounds obvious enough, but in the frenzy to keep up with the lightning pace of the digital ad world, it can be easy to lose sight of this. To effectively promote your product and brand, you will want to use creative and engaging visuals, especially those that consistently reinforce your brand (with logos, certain colors, etc.). It is important to keep the content fresh so that users do not continually see the same ads; however, they should keep a consistent and familiar aesthetic. This is key to building brand recognition, especially for newer businesses.

Speaking of consistency, another way to achieve this is through integrated marketing channels. Different platforms have their own unique look and feel and you can tailor those ads to the platforms while also keeping a common aesthetic. Consider, for example, if you have advertised on Facebook, Instagram, and have also sent a direct email campaign to consumers. Are there common design/visual elements in all three areas as well as consistent text messaging? These three separate “ads” should not appear to have been created by three different companies; a common look and theme should tie them all together, even if in subtle and nuanced ways they are tailored to three different platforms.

And… Not all Platforms are Created Equally

Your goods or services may be well suited to advertising on particular platforms, whereas efforts to advertise on others may fail miserably. This may take some trial and error. Facebook is a favorite platform for many because there are opportunities to advertise to a very specific target audience with a limited marketing spend. Google AdWords may cost more, but this may be the better bet for a product with proven market demand. Analyzing the pros and cons of each platform, how they align with your target audience and, of course, the financial commitments will inform your decisions about which platforms to choose for your campaigns.

Do What the Competition Isn’t Doing

Your product may outperform the competitor’s product but does your AD outperform theirs? Any good advertising strategy will take into account how similar businesses are advertising their goods and services. When viewing the competition’s ads, ask yourself “what is missing?” Try to pinpoint an area where the ad fails to achieve its objective and see if you can come up with a creative way to do better on your own.

Lastly… Say Just Enough

This is one of the biggest challenges in advertising and in a digital world where ads are often viewed on smartphones, every word counts. Packing in just enough copy to drive the point home, while not overdoing it and losing the user’s attention, is critical. In many cases, we see that users are more engaged by visual content, so plan to use copy sparingly but also effectively.