The Battle to Win the Consumer: Ad Relevance vs. Ad Engagement

The advertising market is vast. Many myths of success exist that are not fact-based. Let’s bust another one today. One other belief in the industry is that focus needs to be on ad creativity and emotional engagement rather than its relevance to the consumer. Let’s see if it is enough to connect with the consumer and increase your brand’s success.

As we discussed before, emotional engagement increases recognition of the advertising. The challenge is that by itself it might not have any effect on the brand. Or even worse, as it happened with Chase Bank in 2019 with their #MondayMotivation tweet. The thought of using social media to engage people might have been effective if marketers considered the importance of the relevance of the message itself. When they expressed a stereotypic notion that people can’t save money because they spent too much, it sent a wrong message by shaming those who don’t have a good balance on their accounts. Also, most people found the ad irrelevant because only people with low balances or bad saving habits considered the target audience. In the end, the campaign was rated as one of the worst brand failures of the year.

So how do you stay relevant to the potential consumers?

To summarize, we came up with 4M: 4 pillars of relevance that will enhance your ad success. 

  • Market or targeting to the right consumers. Your consumer demographics must always suit your campaign, tailor-made, and research is your best friend in the process. 
  • Message or information being communicated to the consumer. It should perfectly serve your purpose and market, without any room for misdirection. 

  • Messenger or who and via what channels are you communicating to your consumer. Unlike PepsiCo’s “Live for Now – Moments” ad, the main character must be appropriate to your brand and the message. The environment and presentation style might also cause consumers to think differently about the brand. 38% of consumers tend to lose trust in a brand if an ad is placed next to objectionable content. Ensuring the relevance of the messenger is appropriate is a critical step to prevent people from assigning different meanings to your ad. 

  • Moment or the time when the customer is open to receiving your message and product: We are not only referring to the targeting of the consumers when they are looking for it. One should consider the timing and socio-economic conditions consumers are in to prevent incidents like “Floating World” ad Airbnb did in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana.

One famous campaign that genuinely ticked all four pillars of relevancy is Always #LikeAGirl of 2015. It is a very inspirational demonstration of relevance that had a significant effect on brand recognition and reputation. The brand knew their market well, and they used an appropriate message that many women can relate to. The time was most relevant to target consumer tendencies, and the content, sources, and characters of the advertisement were very well thought out. All these elements were immensely relevant to the end-consumer. Coupled with a very emotional presentation made it a great success for the brand.

There have been many marketing campaigns with limited relevance, and you probably don’t remember them because, oh well, they were not relatable to you. So, while viewer engagement is critical for the breakthrough, one of the first steps to branded ad success should be keeping 4M in mind. Marketers must become an expert of the target consumers, their values, emotions, and behaviours. We cannot always predict the future, as it happened with Airbnb, but we have the power to adapt and change the direction of your ad campaign. 

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our innovative approach to predict your ad success and track its performance.