Breaking down barriers to effective display and video marketing in your media mix

Lottie Namakando

Head of Paid Media

Digital marketing challenges

One of the biggest digital marketing challenges that brands face is breaking through the barrier to activating display and video. There are typically three main obstacles, however none of these is insurmountable. Here are some easy steps to begin the process of diversifying media from a heavy or sole reliance on PPC and SEO.

Challenge 1: Comparing performance to channels with a different purpose

Display and video are channels used for awareness and consideration. Remarketing aside, display and video are generally unprompted from the customer brand engagement, where the audience wasn’t necessarily in the mind set to convert, but are the right audience and are being primed for when they are in the right mind set. This means their performance will always look poorer in comparison to the results driven by channels such as PPC, which engage with audiences who have shown intent through actively searching at that time. This approach can only lead to disregarding the channel as ‘not working’ and limit your engagement with a previously untapped audience.


Review your overall business goals and think about what you’re looking to achieve and what you need to do so: More traffic to your site? Bigger market share? Following this, define each marketing channel’s purpose and map them based on their role against your marketing and business strategy.

Ensure the KPIs for the channel are appropriate for their role and position in achieving your business goals, be that reach, traffic, conversions, ROI. And remember not all channels will have the same KPIs as they do different things, so measure them accordingly from the start.

Challenge 2: Using last click attribution to measure performance

One of the biggest blockers which is tied very closely to the above challenge is attribution. Many brands rely on last-click attribution to measure performance across all their marketing channels. While this generally benefits your lower funnel channels, it’s an enormous challenge for branding and consideration channels, that don’t aim to be the last click point, but the initial or mid journey interaction points.

Think about your own consumer journeys; you are a building your home gym, and have started to research products and brands, during your lunch break at work. You’re shown a video or display ad for a new fitness brand, you click the banner/video ad, but you need to get back to work. You also need to do some more research, look at the products, compare them to other brands, take measurements, and then potentially come back later, when you have more time to either continue research or purchase. At the weekend, you recall the brand name, search for it and click an SEO listing or PPC ad. This is your last click before you make a purchase.

In this scenario, you were unaware of this new brand, so it wasn’t part of your consideration set. You only became aware of the brand after viewing that display ad, and subsequently searched and purchased. On a last click model however, PPC or SEO would have taken the credit, leaving display/video with a cost for the ad engagement but seemingly, no conversion value.


Review your current attribution set-up; is it suitable for the channel mix you’re using or want to explore? You don’t need to start with a brand-new attribution platform or model straight away. Begin by comparing your existing attribution model to alternatives, such as data driven attribution, to understand the changes in pattern and performance. Once you digest the differences you can review if you can adjust reporting to include both views to give the upper and mid funnel channels a fairer evaluation.

Also ask yourself: Is your current attribution platform and framework really working for your business? Are you working with the right partner, are the models being fed the right type of data? Not all platforms or models are the same, so picking the right one for the volume and type of data you’re imputing is incredibly important.

Challenge 3: Potential brand safety risk associated with appearing alongside unsuitable content

Brand safety concerns are always valid and should never be disregarded. However, there are ways to mitigate the risk. Utilising brand safety platforms such as Integral Ad Science or Double Verify, can provide a layer of brand protection. Whitelists are a more restrictive method of implementing brand safety processes but can ensure the websites your ads are showing on, are acceptable to your brand.


Understand what your brand needs for acceptable display and video activation. Ask your agency or reach out to brand protection platforms to learn about the level of brand safety they can provide. Could a whitelist approach work for you? Whitelists are lists of websites you have had vetted and align with your business values and content. This means there’s a low risk your ads will show against unsuitable content. This approach might be time consuming to set up but will enable you to show your ads against content, and on publications, you have pre-approved.

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