By Leonie Gates-Sumner, Client Director, Millward Brown

Digital marketing has been around long enough for myths and misconceptions to arise. Here I explain how myths about digital marketing can distort brand strategy.

The trouble with digital is that we think we understand it. Unfortunately, all too often what we think we understand is wrong and that can lead to problems.
If you are basing your digital strategy on myths then you could be wasting resources and investment and, ultimately, undermining your brand.
We’ve identified eight myths, all of which can potentially damage a brand’s digital strategy or at the very least the execution of it.

Myth No. 1: TV and online video follow the same rules

One of the most common myths we encounter is the assumption that online video will follow the same rules as TV, and therefore that a TV ad can just be placed online and succeed.

The key problem is that the online environment is very different from TV – the consumer’s state of mind and expectations are very different, and there is a lot more clutter. That’s not to say that TV ads can’t work well online, but placing a TV ad online without careful thought about both the content and its placement can be at best a waste of media spend and at worst really damaging to a brand.

Myth No. 2: Just having a presence online is enough to drive brand impact

It’s easy to jump on the digital bandwagon for relatively little investment and sometimes without much thought. However, just having an online presence – be that website, YouTube channel, fan page or advertising – does not automatically deliver brand impact. Having clear objectives about what you want to do and why you want to do it is vital to deliver significant return on your digital investments.

Myth No. 3: Click-through rates will tell me if my online campaign is a success

Click-through rates and other behavioural metrics can be really useful in understanding engagement with your online activity, and for a direct response campaign they are arguably sufficient indicators of success.

However, many studies show there is no correlation between CTR and brand measures, so for any campaign with a brand building objective, using behavioural metrics without taking into account the brand impact can be misleading.

The most effective measurement comes from looking at behavioural and attitudinal measures together to provide a holistic view of campaign performance.

Myth No. 4: Everyone interacts online

Interaction can be a powerful tool in engaging with the consumer, but in reality very few consumers will choose to interact with an online ad. Average interaction rates are around 2%, so making the assumption that people will interact and relying on that to deliver your brand and message can be a huge waste of spend. Always deliver your brand and key message to all, and utilise interaction to offer deeper brand engagement for those who want it.

Myth No. 5: Creative strength is less important online

A lot of time and effort goes into measuring and maximising the creative strength of TV ads, but the same effort is rarely applied to digital ads, despite their growing share of media budgets.

Our research shows there is a strong connection between enjoyment of an ad and in-market impact on brand measures such as awareness and purchase intent. Just because it is online doesn’t mean we should ignore creative strength, in fact in a more cluttered environment it may be even more important.

Myth No. 6: Consumers will automatically view and share my content if I put it online

There are very few truly, organic viral videos and for most brands great content alone is not enough to guarantee success. All video content will benefit from a well-planned Paid, Owned, Earned media strategy.

Myth No. 7: I don’t have enough media budget to create a separate online video for my campaign

Often the most successful online video ads are relatively simple productions, while glossy productions achieve far fewer views.

Behind the scenes footage can make great online content - 10 million people have watched Roger Federer doing a trickshot while making the Gillette Sensitive TV ad, compared to just 13k watching the ad itself online.

Because consumers can chose whether to watch your online ad or not, they will only select interesting or entertaining content. Consumer expectations of online content are focused far more on entertainment value than on how polished that content is.

Myth No. 8: Branding is the enemy of creative success

Creative agencies often shy away from explicit branding, believing that damages their efforts to create great content. However without good branding you will not achieve brand impact.

That doesn’t mean shoehorning the brand into your ad or sticking a logo at the end, the best ads have the brand at the very heart of the story they are telling and consumers accept its place there because the content delivers on their desire to be entertained.