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journey advertising reality check
Jun 14, 2022

Consumer Journey Advertising Needs a Reality Check

Insights from AcuityAds’ CSO Seraj Bhawani and IAB’s VP Measurement and Attribution, Angelina Eng


Full-funnel or Consumer Journey Advertising is the new mantra in the media world. But is it all it’s made out to be? Earlier this month, AcuityAds’ CSO Seraj Bharwani joined Angelina Eng, Vice President, Measurement & Attribution at IAB to talk about precisely that. Together they discussed whether or not Consumer Journey Advertising passes muster on media scale, insights and accountability, and if it is a worthwhile investment for advertisers. Here are some highlights from their conversation.


What is Consumer Journey Advertising and why should advertisers bother? 

As Seraj explained, “The Consumer Journey has long been a metaphor for the consumer’s state of mind with respect to satisfying a need. This need can be for a product, service or cause that they want to contribute to.”

The more familiar advertisers are with this Consumer Journey, the more relevant they can be in their advertising approach. Some consumers may not even know they have a need, and they may also not be aware of the choices available to them. That’s where Consumer Journey Advertising comes in — reaching audiences across different points of the journey and delivering a message that’s best suited to where they’re at. 


How can marketers take a journey approach?

Marketers generally start by mapping a hypothetical journey on a white board with different audiences they want to reach, guided by some form of market research. While this is a great place to start, consumers are rarely so linear and orderly in their decision making process. 

Instead, Seraj advised that “advertisers need to understand that while a consumer’s journey is a fluid and dynamic process that only they have control over, Consumer Journey Advertising refers to the specific points at which advertisers intercept that journey with messaging that adds value.”


Does message sequence impact business outcomes?

While there is generally an order to the consumer journey, marketing communications don’t need to have a specific order, as they are usually siloed to the specific stage (awareness vs engagement vs conversion). The idea that consistency across stages might matter or that the order in which the messages are delivered could make a difference has been discussed at a conceptual level, but has not been the subject of rigorous testing and research. There is, however, early indication that message order can deliver up to 3.5X higher ROAS in specific categories. Whether you start with a video, audio or native and follow up with a display could potentially have a material difference on the business outcome.  Testing multiple sequences within a channel should always be a part of your Journey Advertising campaign. This will help you to discover the most optimal path to reach your marketing goals. 


Final thoughts

It is always important to get user consent with a clear value exchange in order for your communications to be trustworthy and actionable. Focus on the use of zero and first-party data and context (granular classifications – text, image, video) to further legitimize communications. Finally, avoid 3rd-party cookies and any other forms of tracking for which you don’t have an explicit permission from the consumer. 

To view the full interview click here


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illumin is the only programmatic advertising platform that connects the consumer journey – allowing you to meet consumers where they are and deliver the right message at the right time. See what the power of journey advertising can do for your business and schedule a demo today!