As the global leader in digital advertising solutions, VivaKi needs to stay on top of—or ahead of—digital marketing trends. New trends bring new tools, new techniques, and new data that VivaKi can use to help its clients. The company's integrated marketing platform provides it with a unified solution for cross-channel digital marketing, and Executive Managing Director Marco Bertozzi explains why that's such a big deal for both company and client.

Written by
Marco Bertozzi
March 2014

Display advertising has changed dramatically over the years. And with innovation comes complexity. There are more formats, channels and devices than ever before, providing almost countless ways for brands to connect with consumers. This level of opportunity is exciting but also daunting. Fragmentation is a huge issue. Advertisers and agencies need to figure out how to create, launch and manage integrated campaigns efficiently.

At VivaKi, one of the world’€™s largest media counsel and buying groups, we feel these challenges keenly. To help our clients find effective ways to access and leverage their customer data, we'€™re turning to technology platforms. But there are many questions we need to ask when evaluating them. Will it make us more efficient? Will it drive a better experience for the consumer? Will it provide more opportunities to reach that targeted customer? Will it deliver better results?

This is where a platform—€”a unified solution for digital marketing—€”can be extremely valuable. However, this is not to say that once you€™ve committed to a platform, you can set it and forget it. Shifts in the industry will always necessitate adaptation. As your clients’€™ needs evolve, so does your quest to find the right tools. Recently, for example, this has increasingly involved the practice of retargeting—€”the idea of driving visitors back to your site with targeted messaging.

As an early adopter of an integrated platform, at scale, we'€™ve been quite pleased, and the benefits for our clients have been significant. Here I'€™ve detailed some of the major features we'€™ve come to value as well as some of the results our clients have experienced because of its implementation. In our case, the solution we'€™re describing is DoubleClick Digital Marketing.

Multi-channel support. We use the data from search campaigns and from social, display, video and mobile channels to power an extended dialogue with consumers, and this goes beyond using search ad performance to improve results. For example, in any given search campaign, you convert a percentage of leads, but the rest remain visitors who have not bought or done anything. On an integrated platform, reconnecting with these unfulfilled leads is easy because display and search campaigns are on the same platform.

Building brand response. Facebook, YouTube and the like provide a real opportunity for brand building, and we'€™re now able to seamlessly connect brand activity with lead generation. Consumers are very engaged on YouTube, and an integrated platform makes it possible to reconnect or continue the conversation with this highly engaged audience.

Insights from analytics. Imagine the range of actions people conduct on your site. If you dig into this data and gain understanding from the site analytics, you can then use this information to reconnect consumers. It allows you to turbo-charge the sophistication of your messaging, seamlessly aggregating insights to design creative that'€™s immediately applicable across the web. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to campaigns, and advertisers now have the ability to adapt their creative strategy easily and quickly, using a single, unified platform.

Real-time response. The term "€œreal time"€ is often overused, but it has a specific meaning when applied to the bid process and programmatic buying. Here, recency and frequency are key: The ability to deliver a tailored message to a consumer quickly after a site visit is vital to today'€™s campaigns. Our platform lets us schedule an ad to run within the first two hours after a site visit. We can incorporate an aggressive call to action, and we can set the frequency at high. The research window is often small—€”the time it takes a consumer to research car insurance plans online, for instance. That consumer might look at only five sites, with a strong intent to purchase, so it'€™s important to act quickly and efficiently. Using a single stack has allowed us to bring this to life, providing a new opportunity for advertisers to react fast.

Real-time data. "€œReal time"€ also has a specific meaning when applied to generating insights. Take conversion data, for instance; our platform removes the pain point of waiting to reconcile and mash up conversion reports to get a full view of our performance across channels. Because everything is happening on the same platform, we can make up-to-the-minute decisions using real-time conversion information.

Better workflow. Workflow is incredibly important, as is knowledge sharing among teams. The platform brings together so many different disciplines—€”search, display, mobile, analytics—€”all working together for a single purpose: the client. The process of using paid search signals and applying them to our bidding activity is seamless and immediate. There'€™s no cumbersome uploading and downloading to deal with or spreadsheets to manipulate. We now have a single user interface for all of our experts to work with and share across agency teams.

Increased performance. There is now a smarter, easier and faster way to make media-buying decisions. Results are what matters, and our integrated platform has provided us with many new ways to generate insights that drive results. For example, we'€™ve seen a better than 60% improvement in CPA across our travel and auto advertisers when they have incorporated their paid search signals into their display activity, using display remarketing from search ads. And when we used our stack for the U.K.'s first video retargeting campaign, we smashed all of our KPIs.

In this forever-changing landscape, a common mistake is assuming that merely implementing technology is the answer to everything. In reality, it'€™s the questions you ask of the technology that make the real difference. Asking the right questions—€”those that can make you more efficient and provide nuanced messaging for consumers and better results for clients—is a step in the right direction. For us, and many others, choosing an integrated platform that brings together all advertising activity was a good first step.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.