Why digital campaigns fail (and how to fix it)

Everyone said “go digital and save”, but what if the numbers and ROI are just not there? You might need to change your thinking a little.

Many South African brands struggle with lower-than-expected response rates to digital campaigns – especially in comparison to the amount invested into the campaign (that precious cost-per-thousand). But why? We take a look at the factors that cause a digital campaign to fail and explore ways to avoid them.


1. Research

The most important aspect is to ensure that the campaign is aimed to suit the desired target market. While this may sound extremely obvious, many brands continue to develop costly apps without ever taking the time to research how many of their customers have the smartphones needed to access the app. So, If your market has a low smart-device penetration percentage, then rather consider an SMS campaign with an internet link to your content. Nearly all cell phones today are internet enabled – even BlackBerrys! Researching your audience’s demographic profile as well as their needs and wants enables you to create content that speaks to them, resonates with them, and engages and captivates.


2. Avoid disruptive advertising

The purchasing cycle has changed and brands are no longer in control of the conversation. You have probably heard this before, but do you really understand what it means to your digital campaign? It means that, because your customers are no longer taking everything you say as gospel truth, your campaign needs to change. Customers do their research – online – and make informed buying decisions long before they walk on to the showroom floor or in to your store. Information conveyed through traditional advertising and a salesperson is becoming less and less important to the digitally savvy customer. These customers choose to search for more authentic and credible information by reading unbiased reviews, blogs and product information online. Many of the younger generations – the Millennials and an even younger generation – are blind to the traditional advertising that bombards them on a daily basis. Today, they fast-forward past TV ads and don’t even notice the right-hand banner on a website. They are fast becoming immune to disruptive advertising such as banners and pop-ups, which interfere with their tasks and online surfing.


3. Tailor-made content

When speaking to a specific market segment, tailor-make the content especially for them by talking to their interests, their needs, their concerns. This is an easy and cost-effective way to utilise your digital space and attract more interest. Tailor-made content makes customers feel as though the brand talking directly to them. This will grow their affinity and loyalty to the brand.


“Millennials respond positively to content when it is:
54% – Tailored to my age
55% – Tailored to my location
63% – Tailored to my cultural interest”
– NewsCred Survey conducted in 2014


4. Distribution is still key

Digital is far more cost-effective than print and other types of marketing; a brand can save a great deal of money on print and postage costs, but the customer still needs to know that a new digital magazine or blog post is available online for their reading pleasure. Therefore, some distribution expenses, albeit far less, still need to be be budgeted for. Some of the best cost-effective options include emailers, sms’s, whatsapps, etc. It all depends on what client information you have at your disposal.  


“Content is king, but distribution is the Queen and she wears the pants”
– Jonathon Perelman, head of digital, ICM Partners


When sending an emailer or a sms, consider the all-important factors such as the date, time and content; these will greatly affect the CTRs (click thru rates).


5. Marketing

Of course, great content is a big part of the equation, but the other, often overlooked, area of content marketing is content promotion and marketing. Digital assets and platforms need to be included and budgeted for in the overall strategy marketing plan.




So what’s the secret?

Strategy. We’re too inclined to think of going digital as an “easy way out”. We think we can cut print, distribution and advertising costs, take those savings and use it elsewhere, leaving just the bare minimum in our digital budgets just to create “some kind of online presence” and that’s it. Wrong. Yes, the bare bones of digital is cheaper, but the investment into supporting insights into your market, distribution tools and marketing should be on par with (if not more than) what you used to spend on other mediums.


Think strategically:

  1. Who is your market and what is the best way to really reach them?
  2. Think twice about blowing your entire budget on disruptive advertising that will just be ignored.
  3. Know your audience, and speak to their needs/fears/dreams/hopes first.
  4. Invest in or create a suitable means of distributing content – people need to know where and when to view your content.
  5. Budget for marketing your digital presences – again, people need to know about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Quantum House, Block J, The Terraces, Steenberg Office Park,
1 Silverwood Close, Tokai

021 701 0064   021 701 0070