The five rules of effectiveness in digital marketing

Posted on Tuesday 21 November 2023

IAB UK teams up with Kantar to analyse almost 400 campaigns, testing the factors that create an effective digital display campaign


You must be a member of the IAB UK to view this content. If you are not a member you can find out more here.

According to data from WARC (2018), digital display is now the second biggest display media, after TV. However, many businesses still use digital display as a performance-only channel.

IAB sought to understand both the effectiveness of display as a brand building medium, and how digital display campaigns perform when working alongside other media. Conducting robust analysis of the brand metrics of 263 individual campaigns, and a further 125 cross-media campaigns, Kantar was able to show how effective digital display can be, when they are executed well. In order to do this, we examined the top 20% performing digital display campaigns and looked at the difference between a number of brand metrics. For example, these campaigns achieved an uplift for purchase intent that was five times higher than average.

Analysis of the top 20% performing campaigns reinforced five basic rules for getting it right.

  1. Ensure the messaging is focused. Kantar’s analysis showed that a single message had a 42% recall level, compared to 20% and 19% when split into two messages.
  2. Make the brand instantly visible and prominent across all frames of the ad. Kantar’s case studies show that the presence of clear branding results in much higher awareness.
  3. Deliver new information about the product of brand. Ads that said something new about the brand increase purchase intent compared to those that did not. Tell the audience something they didn’t already know about the product, in order to capture their attention and be most effective.
  4. Make sure ads are highly relevant – targeting is key. When testing highly relevant creative against a control sample, there was a +7% uplift in brand favourability overall, and +13% amongst those in market for the product.
  5. Highly likeable ads are more likely to drive awareness. In this study, likeability led to consumers considering them unique and interesting, which also led to increased awareness of the brand.

IAB’s research also uncovered the benefits of pairing digital display with other media to maximise effectiveness. Kantar’s analysis showed a significant uplift in metrics of awareness, association and motivation when campaigns were paired with DOOH, and an uplift in the same metrics when digital display and TV campaigns were combined.

Interested in knowing more about digital effectiveness? Visit IAB’s Effectiveness Hub where you can read our guidelines on how to build effective campaigns, as well as case studies and tips from other IAB members.


You must be a member of the IAB UK to view this content. If you are not a member you can find out more here.


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