On-Demand Webinar: Digital Empathy in Online Advertising

Sustainable profit generation from structured user-centric ad placement, with the Digital Empathy Framework

Here's what you'll learn in the webinar:

Thinking about advertising communication solely based on the product range was yesterday's news. A user-centric approach is necessary to meet sustainable and strategic goals like building emotional bonds and relationships with customers. We share a psychologically and emotionally grounded framework for making digital empathy and high-quality user engagement using triggers, motives, and moments. This generates targeted behavioral incentives from ad targeting and a maximum intersection of defined customer segments and possible platform targeting.

Watch online now (German only):

The speakers

Christian Rainer, Head of Paid Advertising, is responsible for the Paid Advertising team, including Programmatic, SEA, Paid Social and Affiliate. Other responsibilities at diva-e include product development & quality assurance in digital ad marketing and strategic consulting in digital marketing. Christian Rainer joined diva-e in 2019.
Christian Rainer
Head of Paid Advertising
Vanessa Zimmermann, Senior Performance Marketing Manager, joined diva-e in 2020 and is an expert in PPC strategy & conception, product development and customer journey. She is also responsible for tasks in digital marketing strategy and paid to consult.
Vanessa Zimmermann
Senior Performance Marketing Manager

Transcript of the Webinar: Digital Empathy in Online Advertising

Introduction & Welcome

Hanni Gummel: Hello and welcome to today's diva-e webinar on digital empathy in online advertising. Our experts explain how user-centric ad placement can succeed with the help of a framework. My name is Hanni Gummel, I'm part of the marketing team, and I'm pleased to accompany you through the webinar today and welcome our speakers. Christian Rainer is Head of the CC Paid Advertising Competence Center, and Vanessa Zimmermann is Senior Performance Marketing Manager. Thank you very much for joining us today and sharing your experience and expertise in the field of advertising. I wish all participants many exciting, new insights and hand them over directly to you.

Vanessa Zimmermann: Great, thanks, Hanni. Then you should be able to see my screen now. Welcome again from Christian and me to our webinar today. First of all, let's introduce ourselves. As I said, my name is Vanessa Zimmermann. I'm a Senior Performance Marketing Manager here at diva-e, I've been working in online marketing for over six years now, since last October here at diva-e, and I'm mainly responsible for the topic of new customers, PPC strategy and also very much for the whole issue of the customer journey. Then I would also briefly hand it over to Christian so that he can also introduce himself again.

Christian Rainer: Thank you very much. Yes, welcome from my side. At diva-e, I'm responsible for CC Paid Advertising, which means everything that has to do with ad placement and media budgets. I've been in my position at diva-e since 2019. Before I worked for many other years in the agency, or on the agency side, as a service provider in SEA, and everything initially focused on it. And responsible for the entire CC as such. From the CC, we now offer, in addition to the classic topics of SEA and paid social, services around affiliate marketing, but also in the programmatic part, display, audio and video advertising. My background in this context, especially concerning today's topic, is, in addition to my responsibility or role, a strong focus of my personal development in the field of business psychology, from which I then also made the training as a LUXXprofile Master in 2020. I'm delighted that I can now incorporate this into my everyday work with colleagues again and again. I can also integrate well-founded personality diagnostic elements and psychological models into our work, especially in the conceptual design of targeted advertisements and campaigns. And what we like to do in everyday life, so to speak, we want to pick you up today and share some of our experiences with you.

What is digital empathy?

Vanessa Zimmermann: Exactly, that was the perfect transition for me, why the webinar is taking place today and why we are talking about digital empathy in our everyday working life. Whether you're coming from the client-side, or you're sitting, or you're in an agency, the goal is always to have a competitive strategy first. And from our experience here, it is always a very product-focused strategy. And we believe that the end customer, whether B2B or B2C, must be the focus. So not the product itself, to have a long-term, sustainable competitive strategy. And so, of course, the question is how can we create that success. And we believe that this can only be achieved through genuinely emotional ties with your end customers, designed to be very trusting. And through this, we can also get closer to the needs and wishes of these end customers and thus put certain confidence in the customers' expectations. And so, we believe that we can create viable business models for the future. That means we're putting the customer in the spotlight. And our goal today is to talk to you again about this digital empathy. And we don't just want to talk about general target groups. We want to talk about individual personas. And at this point, we always like to take a quote from Mahatma Gandhi to help us, which says that the customer himself is the most important visitor in our house, and he doesn't depend on us, we rely on him for, or we rely on him. And he does not interrupt our work, but he is the aim and purpose of our work. And he is not an outsider to that work, but a massive part of it. And we do him a favour by taking care of him. Why does that jump without me doing anything? Sorry. So, right, that means we want to focus on the individual customer. And how we can do that, we want to use digital empathy to show you guys today as well. We have brought the following agenda; first, Christian will discuss the digital framework and introduce it to you. And then, we've also got you a few examples of what that looks like in practice, in implementation. And finally, we've also included some time where we'll be happy to take your questions, your feedback and engage in a little bit of dialogue. And then I would hand it over to Christian at the very beginning.

Advertising in the Digital Empathy Framework

Christian Rainer: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, exactly—the Digital Empathy Framework, with a strong focus on the application in advertising. To roll up the field from the back, we start with the topic of advertising. In most cases, when we talk to clients, customers on our side, these are companies that have challenging goals, keywords, they want to gain market share, they want to gain new customers, they want to increase their sales, maximize their profits and the whole thing always with a strong focus on profitability so that the entire thing is also an economically successful topic. And we define our job or our activity as doing everything we can to activate the correct data in the right place through ideas, experience, help so that our customers can then enter into the conversation or make their messages available to their customers, as Vanessa has just mentioned. To also build correspondingly sustainable and emotionally strong bonds with the goal. But that also means that we often have to help our customers understand what makes their customers tick. And the first important step is to realize that these are always people. People who in turn are searching for information, striving to have certain moments that touch them emotionally, driven by motives that in turn are reflected in needs. And as social beings, which we are as humans, we always have an existing will to enter into certain relationships. And when we, to bring the whole thing into an appropriate balance, first and foremost via digital channels, and in our case, when we talk about advertising, ads, platforms or advertising platforms, we have gone over to optimizing all our measures, especially in the conceptual onboarding phase, but also in the further course, when it comes to setting up campaigns and then also in the ongoing operation. Here, the focus is always on implementing digital empathy as the general framework to radiate and build user relevance through what we communicate. What is this digital empathy that we have been talking about so far? Digital empathy, above all with a focus on advertising, ultimately means the cognitive and emotional ability to act in a reflective and socially responsible manner in the strategic use of digital media to transfer core principles of the psychological construct of empathy, namely cognition, compassion and emotion, to technical designs. On the one hand, when it comes to designing ads and controlling ads, but on the other hand, first and foremost, to improve the user experience as a whole, then of course, when it comes to continuing corresponding landing pages. And if we visualize the whole thing, we transfer that just in the context of ad placement to the momentum that ultimately every user and every person that I want to address per se, via digital channels, every user who is looking for something on Google, out of himself at the moment when he may be shown an ad, is moving in a specific situation by design, is in a confident self just surrounding moment. And at this moment, all possible motives are buzzing in him or lie anchored in him, in his inner, own motive world in a corresponding expression. And the goal must ultimately be to create this relevance for him in the, out of the message, with the right trigger out of an existing motive, actually to create a need in the right situation. A requirement that triggers the desired target behaviour, in most cases also an interaction with the ad, which also begins other behaviour, for example, on the website, in the app, etc. And when we have conceptually created this construct, which can be individual for each target group or actually for each person, and then summarized it in practicable elements in the form of motive-driven personas, then it is essential in a first step to transfer the identified persona conceptually and clearly to the possibilities of targeting and the corresponding messages in the ad elements within the advertising platform. And how we now explicitly proceed in practice, to implement these individually or these two steps in more depth, I can now hand over to Vanessa again.

Implementation in practice

Vanessa Zimmermann: Thank you, Christian, exactly. Now, as was just said, I want to give you a little bit of an introduction to the extent to which we're putting this into practice. And in general, as Christian already mentioned, we have a workshop for this that we do with the customers. The whole thing is part of the digital business model, where we then go deeper into these aspects, which persona we have, with which value proposition we want to position ourselves, which we want to address here. And to illustrate that a little bit better, I brought you a Miro board to have a screenshot of here. I hope you can see it now. And these are five tasks that we go through with our customers. This whole first area is a bit of a warm-up for the customer, where we take off the corporate glasses and put on the customer glasses to see when the customer, the end customer, is on the shop on the corporate side. What does he think, how does he feel, what gains he has, and what improvements can we show him. I'm going to go in a little bit further so we can see that better as well. Exactly, that simply showed us that you could get much closer to the end customers here because the company's customer deals more deeply with the potential target groups. In the next step, we go here, precisely what Christian also already meant with trigger situation and motives, there is here. So what information might the customer need, what explanation does he have in what situation, what situation is this persona in. And once we have defined this, we have a much better feeling of whom we want to address. And then the third step is actually to define this persona. And I have brought you an example here. I will go into it again in a moment. Christian is a LUXXprofile master, and in this case, we used the LUXXprofile as a tool to better define the persona. Because at the end of the day, each has different motives inside us. And you go back in and think about, okay, the persona we had in mind before, which explanation is strong in this person. And then, these guiding questions are used to define the personas deeply. I'll introduce you to another tool in a moment that you can use to do exactly that here on the left. Once we have the persona, we think about, okay, which value proposition do we approach this person? Because if necessary, we have different groups of people who need to be addressed differently. And here, we define the value proposition we want to give to the customer. And in a second step, we go into it again, okay, with which hypotheses, so to test them, we will do XY. And that is already the transfer into the ad placement or the channel selection. Based on the persona's description, we can perhaps also say, okay, the person is probably better to be picked up on Facebook than on LinkedIn. And then, the first test hypotheses are already set up here, which are then tested later. And in the best case, you have defined several personas with the customers, with the company. And in this last exercise, we look again, okay, how close is this persona to us as a brand, how easy is it to reach or how difficult? Okay, how many touchpoints do we need, if any, to get the person Tina. And all of that also gives us a prioritization help for the approach later on. Right, and as I just mentioned, there's not only the LUXXprofile that we can use to define the persona. Another possibility is the Limbic Map, which I'm sure some of you know, where you can simply classify the personas in these three areas and then actually define them again, similar to what was just seen in the task. What's essential for us to in practice is that by defining digital empathy, by limiting the personas, we can also control the approach and thus, as I said, create the hypotheses. And we simply noticed, you always like to talk, okay, yes, we have to test there. But through this structured procedure, we can write down hypotheses much better, try them continuously, and look at the approach. Do we have to optimize something again, are the motives that we have chosen, the trigger words that build on them sensibly, or do we already have approach points, here again, to make optimizations? This all sounds very interesting now probably, to be able to illustrate it to you again really deeper, we have now brought two examples again. And I think Christian would start here with the first example.

First example

Christian Rainer: Exactly, at the end of the day, whether it's the Limbic Map or the LUXXprofile, I'll just say which one to use or which criteria we decide on from our side for one or the other, always depends very much on where, I'll just say the contact persons on our side or the customer side, with whom we then interact in these conversations, have the origin in the context of the workshop and what is more tangible for them. The goal or the important premise is ultimately to get as clear a picture as possible of the people who need to be addressed. Once this has been done, and in this respect, the transition to a case example is that our customers approached us as manufacturers of mobile phone cases with the question of how they can, so to speak, first and foremost, also get the element of personalization possibilities of corresponding mobile phone cases and case foils, etc., communicated more strongly to the corresponding customer needs to push this area further. And together with them, we went there based on considering how we can get these pre-defined personas reflected in the targeting in the best possible way. And at the same time, go through the element of, let's say, a possible pre-validation and prioritization of the corresponding personas.

Defining personas

And here there are, I'll put it bluntly, with a view to Google, for example, two ways to approach the element contextually and qualitatively. A user comes to DeinDesign, which also reflects an emotional basis of the user's motive. And simply evaluate which target group signals we get from Google back to the individual users on the DeinDesign page. And there are then certainly in the context of these common interests also quite exciting topics with it. On the one hand, book lovers, music lovers, fashion fans, shoppers are certainly happy about a personalized case for their protective cover for their mobile phone, matching their outfit. But what can be just as exciting is broadening the horizon and saying that there are also cooking enthusiasts. Still, some elements can also give travel enthusiasts the idea of playing on their last vacation, so to speak, with a personalized cell phone case. The second is the question of the cognitive element. In which situations is a user open and ready for the corresponding message? Somewhere on the topic of video and photo services, whoever is looking for that is close to it. The element of wedding planning, engagement rings in the sense of gift ideas, if necessary also simple. But also the element of home and garden or even the question of the living room, where the topic can also be, so to speak, to be able to identify better or, yes, with such a design and aesthetic thought, perhaps also to transfer one's dream sofa to one's mobile phone. Or at least to have a mobile phone whose cover matches the colour of one's own living room interior. And what we then did is that we proceeded accordingly from these transitions, on the one hand, to define personas, together with the customers, based on the possibilities of data that we had, to prioritize this, and also to assign each persona corresponding main motives, in order then to formulate the whole thing in the form of hypotheses and to formulate corresponding personalized ads. And the whole thing then looks in or looked in the case of DeinDesign just as follows, that we had so to speak the first or different, two different example personas now also defined at the point. On the one hand, I say idea, potentially, the young start-up founder, element of people looking for something new and innovative, for whom it is important, but also autonomy, to act autonomously, to be self-determined. The topic would be self-employed people, elements of founders who are very active on the road but also want to stand out creatively and want to be successful and may also have a certain status motive in themselves, to stand out from the masses through their smartphone. And derived from this, so to speak, are the core motives of curiosity, variety, individuality, status, influence and creativity, which is then a matter of transferring into ads accordingly. In the case of DeinDesign, the topic of Google Ads as a response to searcher ads, so-called Response Research Ads, is an ad format in which several ad titles can be defined. And in addition, different descriptions can also be defined, which are then compiled from the algorithm performance-related, successively again and again to a maximum of three headlines and two descriptions, the classic ad, text ad format, as you know it on the Google results page. And what we have then done, in addition to the classic best practice recommendations of the transfer, or the transfer of classic best practice recommendations in the sense of, the brand to take into account, the keyword, so the search query to take into account, in titles and appropriate descriptions, and appropriate descriptions is just also times the other titles and description lines aligned to appropriate motifs. In the theme of curiosity and creativity, about just also times the element of, invent your new style. To be provocative from time to time, to say, do it yourself, to decorate the element of independence with a bit of humour. But then also to really question the individuality, in the sense of, which cover fits you, you are unique, show it, so also a confirmation of that or confirmation of self-confident individuality. And then, to design an ad accordingly, which you can then run against, as a hypothesis that this personalized address is better than the purely product-related address, to then, based on that, also adapt more closely to the user's needs in the situation. And the second persona we defined in this context was the young mother with her daughter as a symbol of someone who is driven by lightness, but also by a longing for a pleasurable, sensual life, which is open to discoveries, who finds her way towards your design through her demand for beauty. The artistic element, the individualization of the smartphone not from self-expression or an own elevation or demarcation, but just this element of artistic appreciation, to express something beautiful, so to speak, with it. And on the other hand, to reflect this theme of sociability in the expression of partnerships and friendships. To carry the people who are close to you. And from this, or crystallized out of it, core, main motifs, humour, lightness, enjoyment, sensuality, which we have then also geared towards, on the one hand, taking into account, so to speak, suitable product examples or product images in image extensions or also in the display area. And, or first and foremost again, the topic of the text, text display and the address just also quite clearly with to hand over, this lightness and nevertheless something special about simply extraordinary, your loved ones always quite close. This also to reproduce, covers after your taste, thus also, quasi this element of the sensuality, the beauty evenly to jump at. And what so to speak the, also at the point we have so to speak then both, this announcement again clearly on a target group aligned. And against, so to speak, the standard product ad or more product-driven ad. The hypothesis in both cases, or the two main hypotheses, on the one hand, is that we reach new target groups or the desired target group better through these ads, even beyond the actual keywords booked. And on the other hand, above all, we achieve a better interaction with the corresponding users. And the results proved us right in both cases. On average, we had an improvement in click-through rates of over 53 per cent across both tests, compared to product-related ad languages. At the same time, however, this element, because the users also have a higher emotional charge and a higher energetic, I say now that motive activation happened, through better address, a lower bounce rate. Users knew when they were on the page, where, what to expect and were also more willing to stay. And this was reflected above all in the increase in the conversion rate of around 60 per cent. This was also an expression for us, and at this point, we wanted to share this openly with the outside world, to say that it doesn't always have to be just cheap, the last available product. But to think more about the world and the emotions behind it with the customers is also worthwhile on the level. It leads to the bottom line that quasi also about the newly addressed target groups, or newly addressed users, which you can perhaps also reach through the higher variance in the ad, in the ad texts, in turn, information is made available, which also enables further optimization along the procedure shown above. A second example that reflects the whole even in the figurative language perhaps again better, Vanessa shows you now again. And with that, I hand it over to you again.


Vanessa Zimmermann: Exactly, thank you very much. Exactly, I brought you another example from our customer Eon. But this is actually about the recruitment of applicants for Eon itself. And we have, as we had presented the, as I had also introduced the process before, together with them in a workshop, defined different personas. And I just brought you Jana as an example, is 29, the motive is very much security, family. The situation in which she finds herself is that she always had quite a lot of bad luck with her old employers. One company had to close, the other had too high a workload and could not manage with family and work. And now she is looking for a new employer where she can stay for a long time. That already two points, motive and situation, and how did we implement that. On the right side, you can see on the one hand the search ad of Eon, where we worked with the triggers flexible working hours, strong team spirit, easy to combine work and family. But also pictorially, we've included text modules here that target exactly these motives and the situation that she's in, her job with flexible working hours. And you see how we were able to unify digital empathy here. And that already leads me to our, almost to the end. The three factors of digital empathy, cognition, emotion, and compassion, we can break down in ad placement, ad language into the three points of situation, motive, and trigger. And suppose we now transfer these three situations, as you have seen in the DeinDesign case or the E.ON case, to the target group, to the approach. In that case, we can get closer to the customer, the end customer, understand the needs and respond to the needs of the individual personas. And at the end of the day, as could be powerfully demonstrated with the Dein design cases, performance can also be increased. Whether it's Google Ads, Facebook, or LinkedIn, no matter what channel we're in here, you can apply that approach as well. For you guys, as Free Things to take away, it's essential in ad placement now to not just go for visibility but to dig deep, look at whom do we want to target, what situations, triggers, motives do this group of people have to be able to translate that into the targeting itself. And in doing so, you can create experiences digital experiences with our customers. And very important, you have noticed, we do it as a workshop, go yourself, be it internally in your company or as an agency, really go to workshops with the relevant people to think about precisely this. Because we have noticed that if you think about it in advance, then you will have much more time to optimize it later on, instead of having to start all over again, that's why we always like to do workshops, it's fun, and you get a lot out of it. And with that, we are at the end of this presentation and would be very happy if you now still have questions, feedback for us.


Hanni Gummel: Yes, thank you very much for your exciting insights into the topic of digital empathy. We are now entering the question and answer session. You currently have the opportunity to ask our two experts Vanessa and Christian directly, please just use the question box on the right side of the screen and write your questions there. One question has already reached me in any case. I'll just introduce it now.

How do I find my motive-based personas in targeting the advertising platforms?

Christian Rainer: Exactly, I'll just pick it up now. That was what I wanted to reflect about this element or this one Slight in the Your Design Case direction again and bring closer. Quite important part thereby is now not, or to take oneself quite also times the liberty to proceed here with something fantasy. The essential point is that everything I create conceptually in advance must not be perceived as set in stone but must also be understood as a corresponding hypothesis. I put a theory into the room, which must be tested. And this transfer can then also be a specific fantasy.

On the one hand, to think about it which target groups or targeting options does the respective platform give me. In, especially on the social media site, I can map more granularly or easily because I can also pick out the corresponding more nuanced topics in the targeting. But just that's what I wanted to share about the issue itself for Google Ads. And when it comes to doing a display campaign in that context, just taking what's out there and thinking about cognition, what is the cognitive process at the end of the day. That is what is reflected in the user's life situation and, if necessary, also the subject of a certain willingness to buy, which is perhaps already there. Or also the topic of particular interests and where I can then simply approach the whole thing and then, yes, the more often I have done this, the better the experience comes into play and can be carried along. We have already set up massive lists on our side in this respect, in which we then transfer the whole thing one to one, again and again, to become faster and be more efficient simply. But the important thing is true, from the basic idea to have made a picture of whom I would like to address at what point, then it is usually very, or it is straightforward to pick out the right ones from the possibilities in targeting.

Vanessa Zimmermann: Exactly, if I may briefly add to that, be open and dare to carry out tests. We have noticed that, especially from this description of the individual personas, when you talk about the interests of the unique personas, you can also derive a lot for target groups that you might not otherwise have on your radar. For example, a fashion customer doesn't always have to go for and is interested in outerwear or bargains. But if necessary, based on the interests, crystallizes out, there is a car lover with it. There's nothing to be said against addressing a target group called car lovers to see if we can find the group of people there that we've identified for ourselves. So be open-minded. Just dare to do a few tests.

Hanni Gummel: Thank you very much. Next question:

Do the motives in addressing customers differ between B2B and B2C customers?

Vanessa Zimmermann: I would take the question if it's okay. Exactly, no, basically, they don't differ. Because at the end of the day, you're just addressing people who have the same motives, the exact needs. Maybe the language used in the ads is slightly different, but the reasons don't differ here.

Christian Rainer: Maybe I just want to add the basic procedure in the sense that I have a single customer who may make a quick purchase somewhere emotionally driven, versus B2B, where I may have to convince a complete buying centre actually to bring about the transaction. But the bottom line is, exactly this, the point if I can, or I'm faster and more efficient at it, to address the individual people in the buying centre, on an emotional level, just at the, in the form of, I'll say now, the bait must taste good to the fish, not to the angler, so not just to play the benefits of my product, of which I am convinced. But to communicate the gifts that I would like to speak to every person in the buying centre as if I were, and then I'm back to the element of the B2B approach, it's about the person behind it. And he also has a very personal, individual need situation, which I can then address accordingly.

Hanni Gummel: Great, thank you very much. And one last question reached me. You have now talked a lot about the design of ads.

How does the Digital Empathy Framework help develop future business models?

Christian Rainer: Exactly, so the main point here is, on the one hand, to also think about when I want to develop my existing business model or also new ones, to approach it conceptually on the path, so to speak, that we are now taking from our side via the workshops, to first and foremost create a very comprehensive and also inwardly directed picture of the person that I would like to reach via my message. And suppose I have this, then, on the one hand. In that case, I am closer to my customers on a more interpersonal level and feel a specific stronger connection with them myself, which makes it possible, so to speak, out of a purely human, naturally innate competence of empathy, to better direct my messages towards them. On the other hand, however, I also can use this improved or personalized, more emotional approach, which is one thing. But it is much more the critical aspect, this emotional appeal, to also have a completely different value via the data and information that I get back from the advertising platforms via ad playout. This structured procedure of the tested hypotheses also allows me to reflect and identify changes in user behaviour in a consistent manner. This also allows me to better develop my business ideas in reflection. Or, if I am at the point of really wanting to test or try out a new idea, I can also get clear feedback from the respective platforms to identify what the crucial point is, especially if a business idea is perhaps not working, what can I perhaps fine-tune? If necessary, are these focal points that I have set in the product development, which do not coincide with my customers' needs? Can I adopt, in this respect, better respond to the motives, or perhaps only an element? What information do I play over the message if necessary? I have an insanely good product, but the user is not interested in it because I'm not reaching him in the right place. And so the framework helps marketing departments in particular, in exchange with the product development teams if necessary, or also in business within the company, to be ambassadors for the end customers, to further develop the further development not only, I'll just say in the ad design, but also really in the overall development of the business model towards a successful, sustainable, achievement of corporate goals, yes.

Hanni Gummel: Wonderful, thank you very much. Those were all the questions for now. Please feel free to contact Vanessa and Christian directly via email if you have any further questions. They are looking forward to your questions and the exchange with you. And, of course, you will receive the presentation and the recording afterwards. That's the end of it, we thank you for your participation and a huge thank you to Christian and Vanessa for your time today and the exciting input you provided. We wish all participants a relaxed pre-Christmas period, a charming and relaxing holiday season and a healthy new year. Stay healthy, see you next time, all the best, bye.