Click-Throughs and Catvertising: Designing Digital Campaigns

Kam Diba, vice president of marketing for the Game Show Network, believes that technology provides an opportunity for advertisers to design a more immersive ad experience. Designers who don’t have a deep background in digital marketing or interactive design might find the idea of an immersive ad experience somewhat intimidating. What does that mean, exactly?

Well, Diba says that a digital ad really isn’t much different than a print ad. He says that you’re delivering a compelling message to the end-user, and the assumption should be that you’ll have a very limited amount of time to engage them, so you’re ad has to be compelling. The process leading up to the design isn’t so different either. “Before beginning your project, first identify the goals and objectives of the ad with stakeholders. Sometimes an ad is geared towards awareness, whereas another ad is geared to drive click-through. If your goal is to drive interaction, you must focus on designing an experience that will not only engage the user, but also entice them enough to want to click on the ad. Put yourself in the user’s shoe—would you click on the ad? If your answer is no, you’ll want to go back to the drawing board until you create something with a more enticing call to action,” Diba says.

Kam Diba teaches you how to design digital campaigns that work

In his On Demand HOW Design Tutorial, Kam Diba will teach you how to approach digital advertising creative strategy, and how to effectively engage with your audience online. – Learn more!

How Do You Design a Viral Campaign?

Now, what if your client or marketing director says, “We need this campaign to go viral!” Ah yes, everyone loves the viral potential of digital advertising. Think of some of the great viral campaigns. What made them so attractive to users? Let’s take the Toronto-based agency, John St.’s, video “Catvertising.” This video has nearly 2 million views on YouTube. The interesting thing about this video is that people take the time to figure out who made it, but you’re still left asking, “Is this a joke?” John St. played off of that curiosity by extending the idea further. They actually created some spots for clients—Mitsubishi, Tetley and the World Wildlife Fund. Yet, we’re still left wondering whether or not the whole thing was a ruse.

What about the classic Old Spice spots? These commercials took market research and blew it up into a campaign that was so outrageous that people couldn’t help but share it. Some of these spots have more than 40 million views on YouTube. So how do you develop something that will go viral? ” There are many differences to strategizing a viral campaign vs. a traditional ad buy—but in a nutshell, the most distinct difference will be in timing,” Diba says. He adds that viral campaigns naturally need time to take hold and gain visibility. They’re going to be developed to drive awareness, whereas a traditional campaign will be focused on response and driving action.

Go to Where Your Audience Is

Something else to consider is the new mix of media that’s available. It’s not just about an ad buy that includes print, TV, radio or outdoor. You’ve got traditional web, mobile and social media. There’s a lot more to consider these days. Diba believes that, regardless of the medium, it still all comes down to audience. “Each medium has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the goals you’re trying to achieve,” he says. You can have a huge ad buy across all media and still get poor results. “If you can target your message to where the fish are, you’ll be much better off,” Diba says.

Where the fish are these days, is largely on the move. More people are accessing the web via their phones and other mobile devices. Diba says that attitudes on advertising via mobile have shifted dramatically. “There was a time when people would have been appalled by the idea of an advertisement being displayed on their mobile device. But, with the advent of ad-based games, our philosophy has shifted quite a bit. As the mobile device becomes more integrated into our daily interactions, advertisers will inevitably look for more ways to inject their message into the content that we consume,” he says.

The world has indeed changed dramatically in the last ten years when it comes to the way users consume content, but as it relates to the ways designers adapt? Perhaps it’s best to look at it the same way you’re beginning to look at the rest of the world—if you can think it, you can design it!