The 4 Elements of Digital Advertising


What are the 4 Elements of Digital Advertising? 

Many people don’t know this, but Hip-Hop isn’t a genre – it’s a culture.

Born out of the frustration and desperation of 1970’s NYC – and going on to dominate the airwaves and dancefloors everywhere – Hip-Hop is first and foremost a culture of self-expression.  A self-expression expressed via the 4 Elements of Hip-Hop:


So naturally, I thought it was about time somebody wrote about the 4 Elements of Digital Advertising. Here they are:

#1. The Platform

#2. Targeting

#3. The Ad

#4. The LP

#1 The Platform:

When digital advertising got started in the 90s, there were really few platforms. You basically just had Display banners and pop-ups (remember those?). With the rise of a little company from Mountain View called Google, Search became the most prominent platform– and has reigned supreme for most of the time since then.

Over the last several years… the have been an explosion in platforms for Digital Ads: Programmatic, Social, Mobile, Video, Retargeting, Native, Content – you name it. Most notably, Facebook has really exploded in the last few years – with advanced targeting data and a reach and engagement rates that are unheard of.

Picking the right platforms for your campaigns is an essential element of your digital success. You need to be familiar with each platform’s strength’s and weaknesses, their ability scale or to micro-target,  in order to make the right choices when planning your campaigns.

It’s no less important to keep an eye to the future. Digital advertising is a landscape that is constantly evolving. What was once a best-practice may now be outdated. Keep an eye on emerging platforms that can offer cheaper inventory and exciting new targeting capabilities. 

#2 The Targeting

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Targeting capabilities vary from channel to channel.

Google AdWords lets create ads that target users based on what they’re looking for – allowing you to really be there at a user’s moment of need. LinkedIn is amazing for B2B firmographic targeting – you can target a user based on the Industry they work in, their title, company size, etc.

Yo -- I wrote extensively about LinkedIn targeting on Marketing Ramen's blog: check it out here.

Facebook has infinite combinations of how you can target users – I’ve found lookalike audiences to be extremely effective, especially when augmented with Interest and Behavioral targeting. Twitter has its own set of targeting capabilities (I’ll write more about that in an upcoming post). 

Your targeting really determines a lot about the success of your campaign – target the wrong people, and no matter how good your ads are – you will fail miserably. Target too specifically, and you won’t reach scale. 


#3 The Ad

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Ah, the ad. For many, this is the creative centerpiece of your campaign – for others, a minor nuisance that users must click on before getting to the real meat: the Landing Page.

Sometimes, the ad is just text – so as in Google AdWords. Often, it’s a banner. On Facebook, this is a combination of an image or video and text.

Making sure your Ad resonates well with your Target Audience is important – and not just from a branding perspective. A compelling ad gets higher a CTR (Click Through Rate), which usually corresponds with a lower CPC (Cost Per Click); the better the ad, the more people are interested, the cheaper it’ll cost you.

Running A/B tests on different ad copy, images, etc., is the best way to constantly improve your ads. The truth is: Nobody knows in advance exactly what will work. As long as you look at the results and keep learning and running new test – you ought to see an on-going rate of improvement on your ads. 


#4 The Landing Page

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This is really the money shot. The make or break moment.

In the words of Eminem:

“You’ve only got one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.”

After reviewing hundreds of visitor recordings on Hotjar (Hotjar is my best friend), I can tell you that people make up their minds about whether or they will convert or not in a second or two.

This is why 90% of your Landing Page’s strength lies above the fold. That first headline, image and Call To Action.

Getting your Landing Page to convert is one of the first things you need to make sure you do in any campaign. Without a high converting LP – nothing else above, not the channel, the targeting or the ad, will make a difference. This visitors will drop the mic and bounce.


BONUS ELEMENT: The 5th Element!

Analytics and Reporting.

Hidden under the hood, behind the scenes and invisible to many – is the analytics and reporting process of your campaigns. What you measure, how you measure it, how often you report on it (even if to yourself), must be the driving force of your actions.

Today, there is are endless solutions to Analytics and Reporting, and every good marketer has their favorite. But you’ll need at least the following: On-Platform Analytics and Customer Data. On-Platform data accuracy varies from platform to platform. But the main thing you can trust here is the Cost. Somehow, they seem to get that data point right. After that, you’ll want to match this data with Customer Data. In the end, you want to know the following:

Each campaign, on each channel: Cost, Impressions, Clicks, Conversions (Leads, Purchases, etc). To get really professional, you’ll also want to match this with down-funnel data like: MQLs, SQLs, Opportunities, Sales, Monthly Recurring Revenue.

That’s it. Those are the 4 Elements of Digital Advertising (and one bonus element). No one Element works on its own – they all need to work together in order to achieve your goals and get results.

In the words of Jay-Z:

“I will not lose for even in defeat / There’s a valuable lesson learned so it evens it up for me”

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  • Reply
    Raphael says:
    March 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Very good read. It's well structured and thought through, thanks for sharing :)

    • Reply
      Gabriel Ehrlich says:
      March 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks Raphael! I'm reflectively new at blogging, so the positive feedback is very welcome.

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