In the age of digital marketing, there’s a huge importance regarding not only advertising content but its placement. If your ad placement isn’t successful, it could have a huge effect on your entire campaign. However, good placement means that your message will be well-received by the prospective customers you’re trying to reach.
When it comes to offline advertising, such as in a print newspaper or magazine, you can usually designate your ad to be placed by a corresponding article or photo. Even campaigns you see on the side of a commuter bus or billboard are based off of specific templates to get your point across in the most direct way possible.
Social media channels Facebook, Twitter, and now even Instagram and Pinterest are getting into the game with specific templates for advertising (whether it be a featured post or hashtag) and ad placement. Templates are also mainly a given for website banner advertisements, or websites that embed their ad placement into their mainframe. All of these platforms make placement easier for you, as they’ve already figured out the best solution.
“Above the fold” advertising is a well-known fact for print publications, but the same concept can also be applied to digital publications. Instead of an ad appearing above the physical fold of a newspaper, digital publications apply the approach of “above the scroll” – or advertisements appearing at the top of the page before you scroll down to continue viewing your content. In this instance, placement is crucial, as you don’t want to accrue empty impressions and dollars spent for ads that are not likely to be seen below the fold. However, there are always exceptions such as content type sites with reading material where a user will be scrolling to the bottom of the page.
In 2015, insurance giant Nationwide ran a SuperBowl commercial simply titled “Boy” that featured a cute kid talking about everything he would have experienced in life – if only he wasn’t dead.
Nationwide’s choice of placing the ad to run during the SuperBowl put it up against an audience that went on to compare it to the feel-good competition of the Budweiser puppy or the pop-culture referencing commercial from their direct competitor Assurance. Not only did Nationwide face a hugely negative audience reaction from what was widely considered to be inappropriate placement, but even after defending the ad, they eventually went in a completely different direction for their 2016 SuperBowl campaign.
The same sort of backlash happened to the New York Police Department in 2014. Trying to increase social awareness, the NYPD launched the “#myNYPD” hashtag campaign on Twitter, asking followers to post photos featuring NYPD officers. What started as an innocent request to try and boost community support, instead found the hashtag flooded with photos of police brutality. Whereas the campaign had a good base idea – “portray the NYPD in a positive light” – the use of Twitter as the main placement for the campaign platform almost instantaneously turned it on its head, turning the conversation more about the NYPD’s past faults rather than the good will they were trying to foster.
In the end, you could have a great advertising idea, but if the location of your paid ads on a website are nowhere near the top of the page, your television commercial fails to entertain your audience, or your campaign hashtag proves to be a larger draw for trolls than it does prospective customers, placement could be to blame.