Mar 9 2022
Basis Technologies

Omnichannel Advertising Platforms: What They Are and Why You Need One


Frequent reporting, quick experimentation, effective optimization, flawless execution.

This is the basic blueprint for success for any digital advertising campaign. Of course, there are great nuances to each stage, but this is essentially what a successful advertising strategy in action looks like.

Two decades ago, this cycle was fairly simple to manage. Marketers only had to concern themselves with building a couple of creative iterations, reaching one device, measuring a handful of cost types (for example, CPM or PPC), and utilizing a few tracking methods. However, today’s reality couldn’t be starker. The explosion of digital intermediaries, coupled with the continued emergence of new channels, has irrevocably changed the media landscape—enabling a proliferation of touchpoints and breeding an environment rife with fragmentation.

The Need for Omnichannel Advertising

To combat these challenges, many marketing organizations have simply added more and more single-point solutions to their technology stacks—the theory being that separate, bespoke systems built to master individual channels or specific devices will ultimately drive the best results.

This tactic was once powerful enough to satisfy consumers who wanted nothing more than the basics, like quality service and competitive pricing. But meeting the needs of today’s consumer is a far more demanding proposition. They assume the promotional code they see on Hulu will be valid both on a website and in-store. They believe if they fill up their basket online and close the desktop window, said basket will automatically transfer to the mobile app. They presume an online chat agent will have full knowledge of the complaint they lodged days ago on social media. As such, unified cross-channel experiences and cross-platform mobility are now overtly baseline requirements for brands.

These evolving consumer expectations—driven by tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z—are perennially pushing marketers to improve the seamlessness of their advertising operation. Those that fail to do so will fall behind the curve.

Consider these statistics:

  • 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs.
  • 52% of customers expect offers to always be personalized.
  • 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments.

Together, these numbers highlight just how important it is for brands to embrace an omnichannel marketing strategy that works by breaking down silos and putting audiences at the very center of the advertising experience. By doing this, media buyers can get hyper-granular and more precise with their execution, delivering relevant messages that meet individuals right in their moment. Examples of this in practice might include:

  • A shopper receiving an SMS message about a discount while browsing in store.
  • A tailored promotional email alerting the recipient to check their mailbox for a physical postcard with coupons.
  • A customer getting retargeted on Facebook with the product they have left abandoned in their online basket.

The benefits of this approach are both profound and wide-ranging—heightened operational efficiency, improved customer retention, and increased customer lifetime value, to name but a few.

However, these sizable rewards don’t come easily, and the path leading to them is riddled with complexity. Many companies have attempted to implement an omnichannel strategy, yet few have truly succeeded in constructing a sweeping, unified experience for the consumer. Some don’t even bother initiating the process due to the perception that the effort would demand an unreasonable amount of time and personnel resources, while those that have done so often stumble because of immature implementation methods, competing priorities, slow progress, and spiraling costs. The most significant hurdle, though, is technology: legacy systems designed to run basic single-channel consumer interactions lack the necessary interconnectivity inherent to a true omnichannel experience, which can create massive holes in the ambition for single, holistic campaigns.

There’s A New Technology in Town

The good news for media buyers is that novel solutions are coming onto the market equipped with everything required to nullify all these barriers simultaneously: genuine omnichannel advertising platforms.

This new breed of cognitive technology is a game-changer for advertisers. The omnichannel platform empowers marketers by connecting all the major digital channels—programmatic, site direct, search, social, and connected TV—in one centralized ecosystem, thereby simplifying campaign management and execution. It ultimately consigns the days of multiple single-point solution logins to the past: with omnichannel platforms, marketers can buy programmatic audio inventory, negotiate guaranteed direct page takeovers, and run a series of dynamic carousel ads on Facebook from one interface.

To be clear, this technology should not be confused with omnichannel programmatic platforms that deal solely in the programmatic sphere. An omnichannel platform can do everything those systems can and then some, pulling together all the core components of an omnichannel campaign and adding on top a combination of solutions like workflow automation, integrated reporting, and other AI-powered functionalities built to enhance collaboration and partnership both internally and externally.

By leveraging this type of all-in-one digital media technology, marketers can gain instant access to every tool they need to power data-based growth and unlock massive time-saving benefits that can transform the way they communicate and engage with consumers.

The Benefits of an Omnichannel Advertising Platform

Consolidated Data

For marketing organizations large and small, the practice of data consolidation has never been more important. It is the key to building the kind of data-driven culture that’s fundamental to success in a severely fractured industry. Data itself is a dynamic asset, and marketers rely heavily on its accuracy to run effective programs that drive overarching business goals. Unfortunately, many still find themselves perpetually handicapped by incomplete analytics, where siloed data lies scattered in a mix of disparate systems, email chains, Excel spreadsheets, and other communication channels such as Slack or Teams. These limitations are time-sapping and inefficient and make it nearly impossible for marketing organizations to maximize ROI.

With the implementation of an omnichannel platform, marketers can remove such hindrances from their day-to-day by activating a system of record that automatically consolidates, aggregates, and stores campaign data in one centralized hub.

It is a move with two major advantages.

First, it presents a better investment in human capital. By effectively untying talent from tedious, task-oriented manual data cleaning processes, marketing leaders can unleash their team on more meaningful strategic initiatives that create real impact—a shift that’s likely to open a direct path to employee fulfillment (and retention).

Second, it promotes better collaboration. When data consolidation is the working model, all groups under the marketing umbrella can see valuable data sets that would have otherwise been sitting inaccessible across multiple venues. This simplification of campaign intelligence can ultimately unlock synergies and reveal unforeseen opportunities for interoperability.

On-Demand Multi-Dimensional Reporting

Creative type A resonated well in California but performed poorly in Michigan. Customer Y browses online but always moves to in-app before purchasing. Prospect Z was in a campaign targeting utility buyers but actually purchased a luxury product. Creative type B converts 75% more from Forbes over Yahoo Finance.

When organizations adopt an omnichannel platform equipped with a robust reporting engine, they can give their marketing and media buying teams unprecedented granular visibility at scale. In simple terms, this analytical architecture can surface real-time correlations and customer behaviors that were previously invisible to the naked eye. It automates the process of merging disconnected reports and displays them in dynamic, interactive dashboards that break down media performance on both micro and macro levels.

This type of omnichannel platform can radically change the day-to-day working lives of media buyers and analysts. No more manual data stitching. No more missing spreadsheets. No more guesswork required. Everything automatically unified. With this technology in their arsenal, organizations can essentially do six hugely important things:

  1. Slice and dice their big data like never before.
  2. Dissect market trends in real-time.
  3. Uncover more path-to-purchase scenarios.
  4. Pinpoint the cross-channel experiences that resonate most with target audiences.
  5. Refine digital profiles for optimal addressability.
  6. Anticipate what lies ahead (allocate future budgets with confidence).

The actionable intelligence this reporting engine can provide is startling. It enables campaign optimization on levels that are virtually impossible to reach without it.

Enhanced Campaign Execution

A 2021 survey revealed the majority of advertisers use seven platforms in a typical day and nine platforms over the course of a typical ad campaign. The findings are evidence that for all the incredible progress the industry has seen around digital processes and the development of AI-powered support—particularly over the last 10 years—there has been a stark lack of any proportionate upgrade to the technology and procedures designed to help marketers manage it all.

Omnichannel platforms remedy this growing imbalance. By deploying campaigns across all programmatic, site direct, search, social, and connected TV channels from one singular interface, media buyers no longer need to bounce around between multiple disparate systems in order to simply do their job. The real-world implications of these efficiency gains are massive—shortened workflow processes allow marketers to be nimbler with their movement of media weight and can help them adapt digital spend around unplanned events more quickly to improve profit margins. Whether it is uploading new media to a specific channel, iterating on creative within existing assets, altering the segmentation of targeting parameters, or pulling entire omnichannel campaigns from the market, procedures that once took days—or even weeks—now take mere hours.

All of this increases a brand’s ability to keep pace with the forever-changing demands of consumers and deliver impactful advertising that flows freely across channels.

Omnichannel Advertising Platforms—Wrapping Up

Today, success with omnichannel marketing is not the daunting, seemingly unachievable aspiration it was. An omnichannel platform makes it all possible by providing marketing organizations with all the functionalities they need to create a customer-centric, journey-focused approach that is now so vital in the fight to win hearts and wallets.

The data shows that the demand for seamless experiences is high and utilizing multiple disconnected single-point solutions simply won’t meet them. It is now up to marketers to evolve with the times and deal with these expectations head on. This all-encompassing technology is the starting point.

Learn More About Omnichannel Advertising Platforms