How do you know if your digital advertising is furthering your brand image? Data metrics can show whether people are engaging with your digital advertising by counting impressions, clicks, conversions, bounce rates, page values and more. However, these all tell you what your audience does rather than how they feel about your brand.

Did you know that 5.3 trillion display ads are shown online each year? That means people in the U.S. can be exposed to as many as 5,000 ads in just one day. With those high numbers, consumers see plenty of room for improvement. While 78 percent appreciate personalized ads, only 28 percent think such ads are customized correctly. This is perhaps because digital advertising is synonymous with ROI and ads can be pigeonholed into delivering on those metrics. To boil it down to the most easily measured impact is overly simplistic and condemns online advertising to its lowest common denominator—intrusive and annoying.

Digital creative has become much more artful in terms of brand storytelling. Unlike Tinder, if you ‘swipe left’ (don’t click) on an ad that doesn’t mean it didn’t leave an impression, and odds are consumers will encounter the advertised brand in real life in the near future. So, that impression, while unclicked, can still be both powerful and impactful.

On strategy
The average human attention span is about eight seconds, but that isn’t really long enough to absorb a detailed marketing message. It’s also a blunt data point, and oftentimes consumers will scroll past a digital ad without giving it the average length of time to connect. So, how can we make sure that our advertising gets 10, 20 or even 30 seconds of attention from our customers? It’s less about creating something that consumers will want to ‘swipe right’ (click) on and more about creating an ad that resonates with the brand and serves as a gateway to the internet’s true potential. Here are a few examples of companies that get it right:

The potential of online shoppingNothing beats a compelling offer when it comes to direct response. Zappos promoted their 365-day money back guarantee, free shipping and free returns—policies which appealed to consumers and caused sales to rise. While returns also increased, they still came out ahead because of the boost in sales. In addition to more business, the brand image increased, resulting in eager shoppers willing to sing the company’s praises to one another in a completely organic (and viral) fashion.

The potential of entertainment – Dollar Shave Club took the mundane task of shaving and turned it into something hilarious and charming. The first promotional video has been viewed over 26 million times. They decided on a brand vision and voice and they were consistent about it. Everything from its marketing to its onboarding, and from its packaging to its social engagement, is lighthearted, silly and tongue-in-cheek—and customers love them for it. The brand did such a good job, it was acquired for $1 billion by Unilever.

The potential to innovate – Digital marketing can be a great way to creatively innovate how you engage with your customers. UNIQLO wanted to build on a statement made by their President and CEO Tadashi Yanai, “We are not a fashion company. We are a technology company.” They created a campaign that utilized fast moving images to deliver a unique product code which is indistinguishable to the naked eye. Shoppers were prompted to take a picture (to freeze the frame and reveal the code) and then upload the five-digit code to the campaign website to learn about and redeem a sample from the HEATTECH clothing line. The results were extraordinary. The online videos were viewed 1.3 million times, and over 25,000 people signed up to receive the UNIQLO newsletters. In total, the campaign reached over four million people, resulting in 35,000 new customers.

Confirm it
If your consumer isn’t ‘swiping right’ on your content, how can you know if your strategy is working and that your brand has a positive image? Market research can answer this question! Insights from a campaign go deeper than ROI, and can explain how your customer feels about your brand. Market research allows companies to get important brand tracking insights, letting them know if consumers are finding another path-to-purchase and how they perceive the brand. Just because ‘swipe right’ isn’t occurring on the content doesn’t mean it’s not leaving a lasting impression and leading to purchase.

Swipe right
Digital content marketing is a process and it should be fun! Experiment and play to see what works for your brand. Tap the potential of the internet to fulfill the promise of your content. Be innovative and think outside the box to drive your audience to continue their engagement. This will eventually lead them down the path-to-purchase while bolstering your brand image. Market research can help you analyze behavioral impact (what the consumer does) and shed a light on brand opinion (what the consumer feels). Just because the customer didn’t ‘swipe right,’ doesn’t mean the brand message was lost.