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Advertising: Choose Digital Over Traditional

What CU marketers need to know about the trend toward digital advertising.

May 18, 2015

Many credit unions have been slow to adapt to the changing landscape of digital advertising, according to Jim Pond, co-founder and partner at James & Matthew.

Pond, who has more than 15 years of experience in digital advertising, online video marketing, and social media, will lead a CUNA webinar on the topic in June.

Pond recently participated in a Q&A with Credit Union Magazine to explain some digital advertising basics, best practices—and mistakes to avoid.

CU Mag: What are some benefits of digital advertising over traditional advertising?

Pond: The primary benefit of digital advertising is the ability to utilize feedback to improve the advertising on almost any timescale, then change your efforts based on that feedback. Traditional advertising requires long-term commitments down a singular path that cannot be adjusted easily.

That is one of the primary reasons for massive shifts to digital during the past decade. One study from Ad Age shows that in 2015 there will be a 50% growth in digital investment.

Traditional advertising cannot claim that because the effectiveness of the medium is in question consistently, whereas properly executed digital campaigns have high levels of traceability.

CU Mag: Do you need to make sure your digital assets are up to snuff before you invest in digital advertising?

Pond: Having a mobile site, ideally with responsive design, is key. The ability to capture customer information and present mobile options for loan applications is very important.

Just providing information on a mobile platform is not good enough.

If you want to be able to track conversions and tie growth back to your digital efforts, your site must be set up to track conversions.

However, it is not just about your website and social pages. Many credit unions use very antiquated loan processing systems that do not allow for tracking once the consumer decides to apply for a loan.

The consumer basically disappears from any relevant tracking systems.

Analytic data is only useful if it can be tied back to data on current and prospective members within the credit union.

CU Mag: What’s the best way to get started with digital advertising?

Pond: The self-service networks of Google and Facebook are ideal places to start. While these do not offer as many targeting opportunities as other routes, they will help you to get an understanding of what is available.

Stay away from the display offerings of local and regional traditional media groups, as they tend to be highly overpriced.

CU Mag: What are some common mistakes CUs should avoid?

Pond: Attempting to wedge a traditional media campaign into a digital medium.

Another area to steer clear of is spreading your digital budget too thin. Boosting a post on Facebook a few times for $10 a pop won’t yield results.

You will need to divert funds away from your traditional media, or get digital specific increases in the budget, so campaigns can be properly executed.

Pond’s 60-minute webinar, "Executing and Measuring Digital Advertising," will be held June 9 at 11 a.m.