Social, search and mobile are building up more and more steam every day, like a freight train headed downhill – an unstoppable force, showing no signs of slowing down.

These days, the online marketplace is congested, overcrowded, and everyone wants in – from global super brands, to mom and pop shops, to Kickstarter products, startups and everything in between. The more saturated the digital ad market gets, the more noisy it becomes, which makes it incredibly challenging for your brand to earn a like, snag a click, or drive a sweepstakes sign-up – and get ROI.

So where does this leave us? How does a brand break through the clutter and actually get noticed in this overpopulated online ad market? What’s a Breakout Brand to do?

Most tenured brand marketers will answer, “You’ve got to make it pop!” and “Use a strong call to action.” While certainly true, this alone will not cut it to drive ROI.

Don’t get me wrong. I am indeed an advocate for investing in beautiful imagery and punchy ad copy for your campaign, but there’s a crucial element to your online ad strategy that you’re probably not paying enough attention to – and it will make or break your campaign.

The real MVP is your ad’s distribution strategy.

No, not nearly as sexy as the eye-grabbing headlines, flashy cinemagraphs, clever puns and stop-motion videos that you concepted in your late-night brainstorm session. Your campaign’s distribution strategy will make or break everything.

While images and words help develop your brand and illicit an emotional reaction, the ad’s distribution dictates the impact your campaign will have on your business. We’re talking about dollars and cents.

So why, then, is it that brands and digital agencies invest countless hours tirelessly perfecting the ‘look and feel’ of their ad campaign, but then severely underinvest in the campaign’s distribution strategy? Whatever the reason may be, this presents an opportunity for those who “get it.” An opportunity to outsmart the others, and break through the clutter. An opportunity to be a Breakout Brand.

To really knock your distribution strategy out of the ballpark, you must think beyond the basics of “Who do I want my ad to reach?” The real magic happens when determining how to reach that audience.

There are indeed a plethora of digital targeting methods to help you hone in on your audience, but here are the tactics you absolutely must consider before spending another dollar online:

  • Geo-fencing location targeting: More than just choosing a city or state, this tactic allows you to create an invisible fence around a designated area, and show your content to online users within your geo-fence.
  • Interest targeting: Among the more popular tactics, this allows you to reach a group of people with like-minded interests.
  • Behavioral targeting: This tactic looks at users’ web activity and online behavior over time to learn about browsing behavior, searches and pages visited.
  • Contextual targeting: Uses similar data to behavioral, with the distinction of timeliness. Ads are served to those searching for similar content at that exact moment.
  • Remarketing: Target people who have previously expressed interest in your brand’s message and content (using cookie pools, e-mail lists and tracking pixels).

Alas, here’s where the rubber meets the road: You must now take this knowledge and put it to great use. Continue to invest in eye-popping creative and, now, great distribution.

Break through the clutter by perfecting how you reach your target audience. Maximize the ROI of your own investment. Test. Learn. Improve. Grow. Repeat.

If you could use a hand with your distribution plan, get in touch with us. We’ll help you get the most out of your online ad campaign; ensuring it reaches the right people, in the right place and at the right time.