What is sequential messaging, and how can it improve the performance of your ad campaigns?

Looking for ways to improve the performance of your digital campaigns? Find out how sequential messaging can help – especially when teamed with connected media and DCO.

Consumers today are bombarded by ads from the moment they wake and reach for their phone, to virtually the minute they switch off at night. It’s estimated that we see, on average, between 4-10,000 ads every day.

With such a vast range of messages, how can you ensure that the people you want to reach notice, remember and engage with your ads? The solution is sequential messaging.

What is sequential messaging?

While the term ‘sequential messaging’ may not be familiar to you, the philosophy will. Essentially, sequential messaging (also sometimes known as sequential advertising or sequential retargeting) means showing a series of ads to potential customers that connect up to tell a continual message or story.

Sequential messaging works across your customer lifecycle

All customers will engage with your marketing through a lifecycle comprised of three stages:

  • New – reaching new customers and making them aware of your brand and offering
  • Convert – nurturing people through to a purchase or other action
  • Grow – increasing the value of your customer through a repeat purchase, cross sell or up sell

Sequential messaging works cross this marketing lifecycle, ensuring that people see advertising that is relevant to where they are right now, and helps move them to the next stage. And we know that the more relevant and tailored messages are, the more likely it is that people will notice, remember and engage with them.

Here’s an example of a messaging sequence, taking a coffee lover all the way from introducing them to a new premium coffee blend, to suggesting they brew cafe-quality coffee at home, to incentivising their first order with a discount, to an abandoned cart message, to a post-purchase up sell of coffee accessories, with offer:

Why sequential messaging relies on connected media

What makes sequential messaging so powerful is its ability to reach potential customers across all marketing channels.

So, for example, someone may be served an ad on their mobile phone in the morning. They may see a DOOH or connected TV ad on their way into work. They may notice an ad on the news site on their computer at work. They may hear an audio ad while listening to a podcast on their way home from work. They may see an ad on their laptop while looking for something to watch in bed at night. And get served another ad while checking the news on their phone before going to sleep.

According to one report, successful marketers are almost 35 times more likely to use connect media (also known as omni-channel marketing, multi-channel marketing or cross-channel marketing). Five of the key benefits of connected media include:

  • Visibility: People are more likely to notice you when your ads appear across different devices.
  • Lifecycle: Connected media increases your ability to reach people throughout your customer lifecycle.
  • Convenience: Connected media advertising means you can reach customers where they are, on the devices and platforms they prefer.
  • Recall: One study found that recall increased by 13% when using more than one advertising channel.
  • Consistency: By using different channels you ensure that your sequential ads are seen consistently, avoiding the risk of people losing interest or forgetting you.

Just think: if you aren’t already using connected media, what opportunities are you missing out on? Are you not reaching potential customers when they are commuting, bored and open to distraction via the right ads showing them products and services they are interested in, for example?

And if you also aren’t practising sequential messaging across your connected media campaigns, are you serving ads that don’t match where people are in your lifecycle? With messages that don’t connect or even jar with them? And as a result miss an opportunity to move them through your customer journey or even secure a sale?

How DCO makes sequential messaging even more powerful

There’s one more essential element that combines with sequential messaging across connected media to deliver unbeatably powerful performance, and that is dynamic creative optimisation (DCO).

DCO enables you to tailor and optimise the performance of your ad creative using real-time technology. For a DCO campaign, an agency will have a wide selection of ad components prepared, such as backgrounds, main images, text, value propositions, calls to action etc on a digital asset management system. Creative can include video, animation, native components, and interactive elements.

Then, when an ad is served to someone, it is assembled in real time with the relevant elements for that person, and their place in the customer lifecycle. There can be tens of thousands of potential ad variations in a DCO campaign, which means every person will see a highly tailored ad that is far more likely to both attract attention and interest (and therefore engagement).

Put DCO together with sequential messaging and connected media and you have a highly personalised ad campaign that can connect with your ideal customers at the right times, on the right devices and platforms, throughout their day.

Make sure your campaigns are always consented

There’s one thing that is important to highlight when talking about any advertising campaign, but particularly sequential messaging: your campaigns should always be fully consented and legally compliant.

The crackdown on cookies over the past few years has made it harder for advertisers to reach the right people, and even harder to accurately attribute where their leads have come from.

So it is important to work with companies that are fully compliant (for example, certified as Gold Standard 2.0 by the IAB) and able to deliver the results you need without relying on cookies or first party data.

We’ve developed our own unique technology to replace the role of the cookie. Our consenTag manages consent, and our non-cookie-based user targeting and attribution technology ActiveID allows advertisers to accurately target without cookies. As a result we are already successfully operating cookie-less in Apple and Firefox Browsers right now.

Our technology means that we don’t need to build alternate identifiers to track people as they browse across the web, and we don’t use them in our products. Our web products are powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering industry-beating results. (If you want to learn more about how we deliver these results just get in touch.)

Our commitment to ethical and safe advertising means we were one of the first companies to be certified Gold Standard by the IAB, and continue to be at the forefront of privacy, safety and compliance.

Are you using sequential messaging?

Sequential messaging has been proven to improve the performance of programmatic ad campaigns – especially when used with connected media and DCO. So if you’re not currently using it in your campaigns, you could be missing out.

If you’d like to learn more about how sequential messaging can benefit you, and see examples of successful campaigns please get in touch