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  • Writer's pictureHearst Pittsburgh

Delivering Unified Brand Experiences: Cross-Channel Advertising Best Practices

More than ever, when someone engages with media, they bounce from device to device and platform to platform. For the advertisers who try to catch their attention and interrupt their scrolling, this behavior presents big possibilities for engagement and conversion, but also considerable pitfalls.

So, what is the bright side? All that bouncing around in the realm of media provides ample opportunity to display a brand's offerings to a strategically developed audience segment.

And the pitfall? If a marketer isn't careful to creating a consistent and readily recognizable brand experience, integrated across various platforms and devices, the brand equity and recognizability can plummet.

Mixing up advertising across various channels matters and a smart approach to each platform can do wonders for a seamless experience that builds real connection in the digital world.

Cross-Channel Advertising as a Strategic Digital Approach

An active and consistent brand presence across multiple channels (i.e. social, TV, digital display, radio, podcasting, out-of-home, the list goes on.) develops the coherence of your brand needs to be recognizable, memorable, and likeable.

Before we delve into the "how" of making cross-channel communication work, let's consider the "why." Cross-channel advertising serves as the main element in establishing brand presence for these three major reasons:

01 | Crafting a Consistent Journey Whether a person comes across your brand in a social media ad, explores your website, or sees a television commercial, your ad creative, messaging, and brand voice should provide a uniform narrative, recognizable values, and a consistent set of unique value propositions. This consistency enhances the overall user experience and encourages engagement.

02 | Drive Brand Recall Consistent advertising strengthens brand recall. A consumer who comes across a compelling message on one platform is more inclined to respond positively when encountering a similar message elsewhere.

03 | Establish Trust Consumers look for consistency as an indicator of reliability. When audiences come across a consistent brand image, it fosters trust and strengthens your brand identity.

Building a cross-channel advertising strategy involves creating a recognizable brand presence across multiple platforms. Combining these elements will help your brand build a lasting and positive relationship with their audience, leaving great impressions across.

Navigating Audiences, Team Alignment, Insights, and Budgets

So, now that we've established why connecting with your audience using a consistent brand identity throughout their online experience is so important, let’s get into "how" that we promised. Here are six key elements for successful with cross-channel advertising:

01 | Ensure your ads are technically optimized for each campaign platform Make sure that your content is a perfect fit technical for the platform on which it's posted. That includes everything from cropping and sizing your visuals, to adjusting CTAs to match the specific platform and adjusting messaging to match the audience’s likings. For example, you can rely on a click-thru link for your video ads online, but your TV ads in the same campaign might need a QR code instead. These small changes can ensure your content can connect effectively and efficiently to your point-of-sale or desired pathway.

02 | Get to know the diverse audiences you'll be targeting: With so many platforms to choose from, there also comes a variety of audiences. Recognizing and understanding the unique behaviors and characteristics of each audience is critical to crafting a campaign that will connect with them in a way that's contextually relevant and exciting.

03 | Align your teams for consistent brand application Does the full team of individuals contributing to your ad campaigns know your brand and products inside and out? Document your brand look and feel, formalize your tone, and have your key messaging points crystal clear to create a unified presence across all platforms.

04 | Consider the full customer journey Think of all the touchpoints your customer could have with your brand as they navigate their purchase decision-making. From seeing a television ad to interacting with you on a social media, to a re-targeted display ad, guiding your audience organically is a great strategical move to offer an engaging experience. It helps create a connected system for your brand presence that feels natural and easy.

05 | Find the actionable insights within your campaign data Tap into your data analytics to figure out how your audience interacts with the full suite of platforms you use. This information can help adjust your strategy with your audience, replicate success, sunset the ads that don't perform, and ultimately be used towards a responsive content approach.

06 | Efficiently manage your campaign budget Allocate your advertising budget strategically across channels based on the performance data discussed above. Identify high-performing channels and prioritize budget to maximize the impact of your cross-channel campaigns.

Creating Ads Across All Platforms: What Can Serve You Best

Advertising on any platform is only be as good as the content that comes with it. An adaptive cross-channel strategy with a foundation in experimentation allows your to mix your creativity with brand strategy. Let’s explore a few available channels and consider their unique advantages:

Television Advertising

TV is where the sight, sound, and emotion of audio visual experiences meet the extensive reach of a mass media platform. Television plays a pivotal role with cross-channel advertising, especially at the top of your sales funnel, where people encounter your brand for the first time.

These non-skippable, big-screen ads are great for showcasing brand values and personality as well as products. Make sure to grab attention and create something that will leave your audience with something to remember.

Choosing a commercial slot that will work best for your audience can work wonders with viewer engagement. This can lead to positive brand recall, heightened sales, and an efficient media buy.  

A note on incremental reach with streaming TV: Don’t limit your reach to just TV viewers. Linking up with streaming services can help your brand’s message reach people beyond those sitting in front of a TV. It helps to extend your reach to where your audience is, making it all more accessible. Learn more about incremental reach in advertising here.

Targeted Digital Advertising

Painting with a broad brush here, we'll define digital advertising as anything within the world of targetable, internet-based platforms. These platforms allow for interactive engagement and directly communications between brands and their audiences, all while being provided by a cost-effective campaign. It’s a great way to balance adaptable messaging, placements, and targeting while simultaneously maintaining consistency. Some formats to consider adding to your digital playbook:

Sponsored Videos From 15 seconds to 30 seconds, it’s plenty of time to captivate attention from your targeted audience. With clear messaging and great contextual placement, you can create ads as entertaining as the media they're placed within.

Display Takeovers 

Taking over a homepage on a popular website with your ads in the full set of ad units (might we suggest if you're in the market for a cost-effective way to reach news audiences) can do wonders for your brand. It is also the perfect opportunity to use any specific, attention-grabbing CTAs in an can't-be-missed placement.

Branded Storytelling

Share longer form stories about your brand’s products and values with the help of content creators like the expert team at Hearst's Story Studio. Creating narratives connects people with your brand and encourages users to get to know your brand more deeply.

Conclusion: The Lasting Impact of Cross-Channeling

A unified customer experience is at the heart of cross-channel advertising strategy. It is more than an effort to stay “on-trend" or expand your campaign's for expansion's sake. Staying consistent across all channels and platforms will help create a smooth journey for your customers and will help ensure your brand is at their best.

Have questions about which platforms or ad formats could best suit your growth goals? Our ad specialists at WTAE Advertising are available as a resource! Get in touch!


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