Simple Truths Propel Big Ideas & Better Advertising

Big ideas and better digital experiences start with simple truths.


They say that every big idea should challenge a status quo. It’s also true that most big ideas don’t start out as one singular thought with a clear plan of action. Rather, we take an incremental approach, building off existing conditions to continually improve upon what already exists.

When it comes to the advertising industry – a space propelled by rapid advances in technology – we still rely on relics of the past to try to attract consumer attention. Why not use the simple truths about consumers and marketing to drive big ideas and create great digital experiences for customers?

Truth #1: Advances in technology have allowed consumers to avoid ads.

According to Deloitte, 27% of Canadians use ad-blocking software on their computers and 12% use an ad blocker on their mobile phones. There is hope, as most install ad blockers because of interruptive ad formats and security concerns. However, 77% of consumers are willing to view some ad formats. It’s clear that consumers don’t want all ads to disappear; they understand the value exchange (free content), but aren’t willing to tolerate formats that disrespect their time.

Idea #1: Place the consumer at the center and build that experience around them.

The most successful tech companies of the last decade have thrived on giving the consumer the ability to choose. For example, Facebook facilitates this idea of choice through content curation. Today’s internet user should have the same breadth of choice available for their advertising experiences.

What if the idea was to create a user opt-in experience for video advertising? One transacted on viewability to ensure the credit we take for delivering metrics can be backed up by the fact that the ad was seen in the first place? The benefits are two-fold: you engage consumers who are interested and might act, and you avoid wasting everyone’s time and money on consumers who aren’t interested in your product or service.

Truth #2: In physics, there’s an equation that notes it’s easier to pull an object than to push it.

This is the same in marketing; if you allow the consumer to choose where and when they interact with your brand, there will be less friction and a lessened desire to block ads.

Idea #2: We don’t have to sacrifice our digital media campaign ROI by running video, we just need to think differently.

What if we included elements of pull and push marketing? Pull the consumer in with relevant and data-driven creative, providing the option to elect an interaction, and guide them to purchase. We can include things such as store locator maps for ease of navigation, or one-click purchasing within that video experience. Consider breaking down the video silos and aim to draw consumers in with compelling creative in favorable formats, while including elements of push to reduce friction along that path to purchase.

Truth #3: The customer journey is crucial when getting to know, buy from and love a brand.  

Idea #3: Engage consumers at every stage and base a campaign’s success on performance metrics that reflect each stage of the journey.

In our digital world, our obsession with metrics and boiling everything down can cause us to lose sight of our main priority, getting consumers to know, buy and love our brands.

Breaking it into actual metrics, the “know” outcome should entail measurements around viewability and brand awareness or consideration. The “buy” outcome should entail measurement around YoY market share gains within your vertical, revenue Increases, share of consumer spend. The “love” outcome should be centered around customer loyalty & satisfaction, lifetime value, renewal rates, etc. These metrics paired with a solid non intrusive video strategy will ensure consumers are getting the best ad experience and you are gaining an understanding of the effectiveness of video

We are at an inflection point as marketers. Consumer apathy and ad avoidance are both a major threat and an opportunity. By keeping the simple truths about consumers in mind, we can spark real progress as we seek more customers that know, buy and love us.

Jim Johnson, VP, Account Planning, Exponential

Exponential is a technology-driven advertising company that enables brands to drive consumer engagement and performance across display, video and mobile. Exponential uses big data and machine learning to understand consumer interests in real-time, and delivers innovative creative experiences designed to trigger emotions that drive affinity and spend.Learn more at