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BizReport : Advertising archives : February 18, 2019

Brands: How dark marketing can improve engagement

Have you ever noticed that you rarely see social media ads from big brands like Apple or even Google? That is because many big brands have keyed in on targeting, and as such, their ads are shown to only a handful of consumers. It's a strategy called dark marketing and the strategy could prove valuable for smaller and mid-size brands.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: As social media has evolved there have been several additions to marketers' jargon - sponsored stories, influencer marketing, etc. Now there is dark marketing - what is dark marketing? 
Alon Leibovich, CEO & Co-Founder, Brand Total: Dark marketing is a new phenomenon revolutionizing the contemporary digital marketing ecosystem--hyper-customized, targeted marketing. It's the process of gathering all the information that people openly share on the internet - from demographics to interests - and using that information to create custom audiences and drive messages that is unique to the individual's online experience. This means that ad campaigns are only shown to carefully curated audiences - and only those audiences. These dark, or non-public ads create a paradigm where a brand's full campaign strategy is no longer visible to everyone, and essentially hidden from public view. In fact, 90% of Twitter ads, 85% of Facebook ads and 60% of YouTube ads are "dark," creating a sizable blind spot for competitive brands and marketers. 

Kristina: What is the benefit of this kind of marketing? What about drawbacks? 

Alon: The benefit of leveraging dark marketing is that brands avoid wasting resources through "spray and pray" advertising and instead, reach audiences most likely to be receptive to their messages. This practice can increase conversion rates, brand sentiment and engagement scores. The downside of dark marketing is actually most prevalent among your competitors - in that it becomes increasingly difficult to obtain a comprehensive view of how a given brand is conducting its ad and marketing campaigns. This lack of visibility can be highly problematic, as understanding your competition's marketing strategies is vital to survival for most brands. 

Kristina: How can brands ensure they're approaching dark marketing in the right way?

Alon: Brands need to find a resource that can bring transparency to what their competitors are doing in order to adjust their own strategies for dark marketing based with regard to audience, demographics, publishing schedules, creative trends and more - in order to identify opportunities and exploit gaps within a competitor's strategy. 

Kristina: What can brands learn from competitors' dark marketing campaigns? 

Alon: Having a full understanding of what brands are doing within your industry is imperative to acquiring and maintaining a competitive edge. To stay agile and compete, contemporary marketers must be able to get a glimpse behind the screens of their customers to see how competitors are targeting them. By using sophisticated technology like BrandTotal's platform, marketers can capture and illuminate their competitor's dark marketing campaigns. This allows them to gain a comprehensive view of the customer experience. Once consolidated, this data can be used to piece together the campaign's intricate puzzle, putting your brand back in control. 

Tags: advertising, Brand Total, dark marketing, social marketing, targeted advertising, targeting strategy

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