Where should you put the budget for your next digital ad campaign? Desktop, mobile or video? It’s often difficult to choose an effective budget allocation strategy for any new campaign, as you don’t have the data to back up which channels are most successful for your new approach.
Whether you’re using new ads, or you’re targeting an entirely different audience, deciding which channels will reach the most appropriate viewers can feel like flying blind.
So how about…don’t fly blind.
Using competitive intelligence tools, you can identify how your competitors are budgeting and use this intel to inform your next campaign. Not only will this ensure a more targeted approach, but you’ll be able to reach more of your competition’s audience, as well.
Let’s walk through an example.
1. Identify Your Competitors
When evaluating ad spend, you’ll want to identify your closest competitors in terms of goals currently. Let’s say one of your top competitors is trying to enter a new market, and you have no interest in following suit. That competitor’s advertising strategy probably isn’t going to align with your brand’s goals right now, so it’s best to leave them out of your competitor analysis.
Identify your competitors with similar goals. They’re most likely targeting your ideal customers, if they’re doing everything right. If you’re Chase, and you want to track Citigroup’s activities, it’s as simple as typing in your competitor’s brand name and waiting for the data to populate.
2. Compare Spend Allocation
With the right competitive ad intelligence, you can compare your spend allocation to your competitors, or to your industry as a whole. It couldn’t hurt to do both.
First, take a look at how your industry is spending to catch any outliers and benchmark your own allocation. Below is an example of the travel industry’s spend in Q1 2017, with device allocation illustrated under “devices.” While most of the top advertisers spent across desktop, desktop video and mobile at least, some also put budget into mobile video, and others skipped desktop video entirely.
After you’ve browsed industry spend, compare your own brand’s advertising efforts to your competitors. Let’s take Delta, Southwest and United, for example. Each brand has a different strategy for budget allocation across channels.
Above: Delta ad spend in Q1 2017 hit nearly $3.4 million, with a major focus on desktop.
Above: Southwest ad spend in Q1 2017 hit more than $2.4 million, with 88 percent going to desktop advertising.
Above: United ad spend in Q1 2017 was at nearly $1.8 million. Unlike Delta and Southwest, a significant (73 percent) of spend went to desktop video.
3. Determine Who’s Getting The Most Bang for Their Buck
With very different allocation strategies, it’s crucial to determine which strategies garner the best CPM. In the example above, Delta and Southwest showed a preference for desktop advertising. These two brands got $16.08 and $11.21 CPMs, respectively. United, which spent 73 percent of its ad budget on desktop video, had a much higher CPM of $20.76.
4. Take a Deep Dive Into Audiences
CPM isn’t everything. It’s also crucial that you analyze the sites your competitors are receiving impressions from. While United may have had the highest CPM, the airline also may have had the most targeted audience for its ads. Take a look at the impression share to get a better sense of how each brand’s channel distribution is panning out in terms of audience.
Now that you’ve collected this information, you’re not flying blind on your next campaign. You have a starting point, based on industry and competitor data, to inform you allocation decisions and measure your success against.
Want to learn more about how to leverage competitor intelligence? Check out the related reads below.
- Choosing the Best Websites to Advertise On — Part 1, Getting Started
- What Is Ad Intelligence and How Can It Benefit Brands?
An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.