Sequential Messaging in Digital Advertising

January 15th, 2014 by Daniel Laws

Defining Sequential Messaging

If you’re a follower of @DaBrianMarket or @DanielLawsJr, you have most likely seen our past tweets about sequential messaging. Sequential Messaging is generally a technique where messages are recorded in a preset order and executed individually based on the each activation of a device (tablet, smartphone, etc.).
Sequential messaging has been a hot topic for us on Twitter.

So, What’s the big deal with sequential messaging?

Sequential Messaging has an opportunity to leverage the initial user interaction into a micro-conversion and target high quality leads. As an example, a shopper would click on a banner ad on a newspaper site for a new tablet. This action identifies the shopper as being interested in a new tablet and generates a series of sequential messages specific about the new tablet. The series of sequential messages could be on banners, emails, and perhaps in search engines. In some cases, the ad mix can be modified based on the shopper’s engagement with them.

What are the Future Possibilities of Sequential Messaging?

I think the future of sequential messaging is positive but contingent on the availability of technology to executive effective campaigns. I think there’s an opportunity to “connect the dots between digital advertising, TV advertising, mobile and gaming consoles.” It’s going to get easier to customize messages across devices with online tool-based logins, smart TVs, mobile devices, and gaming consoles offering more functionality and capabilities.

Take me for example. I’ve got a Samsung smart TV, Galaxy S4, Kindle, and more. My cell phone, which is connected to my Kindle, can change my TV channel. Thus, there’s no reason advertisers can’t create customized sequential messages across multiple devices. The capabilities of ad technology will be important to align with customer behaviors across multiple devices in order to customize the user’s overall experience with the brand. More specifically, it’s important that we obtain insights from sequential messaging to increase the effectiveness of marketing budgets and the ability to increase lead generation or sales.

What are the Challenges of Sequential Messaging in Digital Advertising?

In my opinion, one the main challenges will be measuring the effectiveness of sequential messaging in digital advertising and optimizing the process. In addition, the measurement of sequential messaging along with A/B or Multivariate testing across multiple devices. With the increasing importance on customer privacy, it will become increasingly challenging to track prospective customers, and with the recent Target data security breach, customers are becoming aware of the negative aspects of data collection and value their privacy. Furthermore, the tracking of sequential messaging will most likely require the tracking of customers’ unique logins as well as combining the data on their behaviors across multiple devices. Without educating customers on the benefits of doing so, it could be seen as intrusive and encounter a legal backlash from customers.

What about Measurement?

Last month in AdWeek, I read an article from Garett Sloane of Omnicom Digital which spoke of “sequential messaging as digital advertising’s next act.” I agree with Sloane’s point that sequential message could be the next step in digital advertising, but the execution requires powerful technology as well as perfect coordination. I think there will be a few businesses that look at sequential messaging as the next buzzword (right next to “big data”).

No matter the approach, it still needs to solve a business problem. Without measureable ad technology and the capabilities to collect the data, we’re going to have challenges measuring whether or not a message is resonating with the “right” customers. The right message, right person, and right time require the right analytical approach to improve the impact that sequential messaging has on delivering return-on-investment.

Is sequential messaging on your organization’s radar? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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