Beyond the Banner: Digital Audio and Video Advertising

by David Moffitt on

You may have heard the term “banner blindness,” which is the idea that consumers have been conditioned over time to scroll past or otherwise ignore digital advertisements on websites, because the ads aren’t at all relevant to their interests. If your campaign is unfocused or otherwise un-targeted, then your ads may be experiencing banner blindness - you may have an amazingly low cost per impression (that is, the cost to display an ad to a viewer), but the value of every impression is low because you’re not showing it to the right people. Just because your ad loads onto a page doesn’t mean anyone is paying attention to it.

So why, then, is digital still the best place to advertise, and is currently expanding in reach and utilization?

Most digital advertising platforms offer audio and video advertisements. YouTube and Pandora, for example, offer a combination of video, display and audio advertisements whose benefits far extend just showing an ad for an impression. On each of these platforms, users have registered and provided demographic data such as age, gender, location, and interests which allows advertisers to more accurately reach an audience that is interested in what they have to say.

Some of the most common targeting demographics are:


You can target by state, county, city or even zip code. Some platforms offer per-household or per-IP level targeting. You can also use this information to reach viewers as they enter or leave an area. If you are a brick and mortar retail location, you may want to reach people within 800 feet of your location. If you’re a bank or a credit union, you could show a vehicle loan to viewers who are near a car dealer. Conversely, you can use geography to exclude viewers if, for example, you already have excellent market penetration in one specific neighborhood, but want to continue to grow your audience in a nearby neighborhood. Through a combination of targeting decisions, using geography to target demographics can give you powerful control over your messaging.

Age, Gender, Marital Status

You may want to use these targeting demographics to fine tune an advertisement for that specific viewer. If you’re a clothing retailer, you may want to use gender demographics to show women a version of your ad that uses female models, while showing men a version that uses male models. It would be a waste of marketing budget to show an ad for diapers or household cleaning products to a male teenager, just as it would be a waste to show an ad for a skateboard to a senior citizen. Mistakes like these are avoidable through the use of a targeted digital campaign.

Listening / Viewing Habits

Digital platforms allow you to target specific genres, performers, shows or interests. Want viewers who are older, with higher income? Target classical music or jazz. Looking for younger adults? Try hard rock, pop, or electronic music. Even the length of time a viewer listens to or watches videos on a platform can lend itself to patterns. A person who listens to Pandora for eight hours a day may, in general, be more comfortable making a purchase online when compared to someone who only watches short cat video clips on YouTube once every few weeks.

Another benefit to digital advertisements, besides their highly targeted nature, is that they often “stand alone”. With traditional radio, television or print advertisements, your ad is lost among six minutes (or six pages) worth of other advertisements that are vying for the consumers attention. Platforms such as Pandora allow only one commercial at a time (and only a few each hour), keeping the viewers attention on your messaging. Some platforms are experimenting with letting an advertiser “sponsor” an hour or episode of uninterrupted use, in return for watching that sponsors longer video or audio message. Recently, the Montana Office of Travel and Tourism used a similar feature on Pandora to promote ski vacations in Montana. In doing so, they saw a 347% improvement in visibility among adults 25-54, and an uplift of 144% among adult winter sports enthusiasts. (source: Pandora for Brands)

In another success story, Rusnak Automotive, a high end import luxury dealership in Los Angeles, more than doubled the industry average digital click through ratio while spending under 1% of their total annual advertising budget. Rather than aim their advertisements at a broad audience, and thus spending more money to put the ad in front of more eyes, they opted to narrow in on a very specific demographic - viewers intending to purchase or lease an Audio within the next 6 months. The campaign had a clear call-to-action and utilized “Digital Addressable” multi-screen ads (showing ads to the same viewer across digital TV, tablets, and smartphones) overlaid with Polk data to be sure the creative was delivered on a nearly per-household if not per-person basis.

If you would like to learn more about how a digital advertising campaign could work with your media buying strategy, please contact us for a free evaluation of your current and planned buys!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rosenfeld Media.