Busting Four Brand Media Myths

May 08, 2024

Dominic Johnson
Myths around if a brand can or cannot invest in upper-funnel, awareness-driving media tactics are more common than one may think. It is time to uncover fact from fiction and bust the common myths surrounding the upper-funnel media channels.

Busting Four Brand Media Myths

Today’s marketers are tasked with balancing their media budgets between upper funnel, brand-building channels and lower funnel, conversion- and purchase-driving tactics. Many find themselves overinvesting in the lower funnel tactics because it is easier to prove their success with last-touch measurement than awareness-driving tactics like display (banners, rich media, home page takeovers, etc). And when we consider age-old beliefs about budget requirements and performance misconceptions, marketers often find reasons not to allocate funds to build brand awareness. To help distill fact from fiction, let’s dispel the four most common brand media myths.

Myth 1: A big brand media campaign isn’t within my budget 

Some marketers believe that various upper funnel, brand-building media tactics are beyond their budget, but this is not the case. Dated misconceptions around the need for a big television buy fuel these beliefs, but in fact, there are a number of brand media tactics that can fit within a brand’s budget, whether they use digital media, traditional media, or both. 

With a smaller brand media budget, many advertisers opt to go with digital-only approaches, but flighting is another way to make dollars go further. Upper funnel tactics don’t always need to be live year-round; media can be flighted to align with key seasonality, events, or sales to achieve upper funnel goals. For example, with a limited budget, digital tactics like native ads, animated banners, rich media, and home page takeovers can be flashy, impactful advertising placements that go beyond the standard assets used for reach and frequency building, but are more approachable from a budget perspective than a buy solely reliant on expensive channels like national television.

Myth 2: I don’t have the creative resources for a brand media campaign

While ad types like native, animated banners, and rich media are appealing to brands and their media plans, not everyone has a creative partner on retainer or in-house capabilities to create the necessary assets to bring the execution to life. Luckily, this problem has been recognized and remedied by various ad tech vendors and platforms.

For example, custom rich media ad units allow for all the flashy, engaging functionality of a website but within the space of a display ad — and the brand doesn’t even need to provide fully-baked assets, they only need a few of the following: 

  • The company’s brand guidelines (colors, fonts, rules for brand standards)
  • Logo
  • Any existing assets available, whether that is a banner ad, organic social post, print ad, etc.

It’s as easy as that! Rich media ad unit options will then be presented for review and feedback, and the brand will be running impactful, eye-catching ads in no time.

Myth 3: My audience is too niche for those fancy, custom ad units 

A common concern of marketers is that their audience is too small or specific to utilize more high-impact, custom ad units — that those types of ads are meant for big consumer brands. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, digital ads that go beyond the standard banner ad are being utilized all the time by a wide variety of B2C and B2B brands.

For example, B2B brands can utilize ad types like native or rich media to build brand awareness and still effectively reach their niche audience segments. How? By layering on data sources for targeting. High-impact media units like rich media are able to be run programmatically, utilizing many different types of data for targeting, such as:

  • Geography: Country, state, designated market area (DMA), ZIP code, and radius targeting
  • Demographic: Age, gender, household income, occupation, and children in home
  • In-market: Researching products being sold and purchasing complementary products
  • Behavioral: Psychographics, visiting relevant product sites, and visiting relevant stores
  • First-party: Customer relationship management (CRM), site visitors, store visitors, and purchasers

Fueled with these data, brands are able to effectively reach their target market with high-impact ad units and drive effective results doing so.

Myth 4: This type of media doesn’t perform well 

Upper funnel, awareness-driving brand media tactics are not the type of ads that draw immediate, last-click reactions (like paid search does, for example). This breeds the opinion that brand media does not “perform well” or doesn’t “impact the bottom line.” But this does not mean the media is performing poorly; instead, it shows that the wrong measurement strategies are being used to quantify success.

For example, paid search is an excellent lower funnel tactic that drives conversion, purchase, and revenue. Why? Paid search is inherently used by people who are showing intent, whether that is interest in finding that certain product they want to buy or a specific company they want to reach out to for a quote. These users are actively searching for information, so they are more likely to convert right away once they click on that paid search ad.

But what about someone who is reading an article and comes across a custom rich media ad? They might engage with the ad, but they are generally not ready to convert that very second because we reached them when they were in the middle of doing something else. Brand-media-focused ad channels often reach people in the middle of completing another task — whether that be watching a show, listening to a podcast, or checking the weather. This media simply plays a different role in their journey. Therefore, with the correct measurement tactics and strategies in place like conversion pixels, media mix modeling, and multi-touch attribution — combined with a focus on metrics like reach, frequency, and brand lift — marketers can uncover how high-impact, upper funnel media drives business results as an important touchpoint in the journey to revenue.

What marketers need to know

Many of the hurdles that used to exist for brands to run upper funnel, brand-focused media are no longer present. Brand media is accessible and effective for brands of all sizes and industries due to it being scalable, targetable, and easy to create. As long as you have a defined goal, are open to testing new ad types and tactics, and have the proper measurement strategy in place, brand-focused media tactics can benefit your business now more than ever before.