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Digital media

Digital media covers general usage of online channels for marketing, including online display, search, online video, microsites and social media (separate in-depth pages are available on WARC for some of these). Emerging formats include virtual and augmented reality, and in-game advertising. While the rise of digital media has led to new real-time, targeted opportunities, there are concerns that they have led to a focus on short-term ‘activation’ at the expense of long-term brand-building.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

Les Binet and Peter Field at how the use of digital channels of various kinds should be assessed. This paper builds on their previous IPA report, which found that emotional priming builds more profitable long-term effects and rational messaging is best for generating short-term sales.
This paper provides a best practice guide to boosting the return on investment of digital marketing.
What is digital media planning and how can marketers develop a successful digital campaign?
Stephen Rappaport's lessons learned from 197 digital metrics, 150 studies and 12 essays.
The developments in virtual and augmented reality that are offering new opportunities for emotional engagement.

Case Study

This case study shows how Badger and Winters, an advertising agency, successfully initiated change globally towards the non-objectification of women in advertising, by directly targeting the industry with powerful campaign films.

Case Study

This case study explains how animal advocacy charity WildAid united elephant NGOs and people around the world to persuade the UN to ban the ivory trade in a campaign driven by content and social media.

Case Study

This case study shows how Barbie, the toy brand, reversed declining sales in the US using a social media campaign focused on the doll's aspirations rather than her looks.

Case Study

This case study shows how Pedigree, a dog products brand, promoted its social platform and increased brand equity in Russia by focusing on the social misconception towards people with Down Syndrome.

Case Study

This case study shows how Hemnet, a property search portal, used big data to create the perfect dream home for Swedish buyers and made it available for pre-sale thus cementing its market leadership.

Case Study

This case study shows how Bajaj Auto, a motorcycle brand, successfully increased sales in India by developing a new model made with metal from a famous aircraft carrier.
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This event report looks at research into the effectiveness of B2B digital marketing which reveals that businesses need to look beyond traditional methods.


This article summarises the insights from a series of key papers addressing audience measurement, the quantifying of the number of people exposed to advertising across any given media; this includes radio listenership, TV viewing, newspaper and magazine readership, and traffic on websites.

Research Paper

This article shows that advertisers must understand the emotional needs of their consumers in real-life moments when brands become relevant, so they can cut through the clutter at times when consumers are most receptive to their messages.


This article provides marketers with information and guidance about how reach and frequency help brands identify the optimal advertising mix.


This event report looks at media agency GroupM’s move away from buying digital inventory on cost to focus on quality instead, in order to achieve better results.


This event report discusses how Keith Weed, CMO at Unilever, views brands that take a stand on issues and how he feels digital media buying needs to change.
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  1. Article

    This report looks at the trends and technologies that are set to become more important and relevant to marketers in 2017 including live video, VR and AR, web TV and chatbots.

  2. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2017 report, discusses how to achieve marketing effectiveness in the digital age by striking the right balance between close targeting and mass reach, and between short- and long-term strategies.

  3. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2017 report, explores how developments in virtual and augmented reality are offering new and increasingly viable ways for brands to emotionally engage with consumers.

  4. Article

    This article summarises Warc's Toolkit 2017, a guide to six key challenges for brands in the coming year.

  5. Article

    This report discusses Marketing in the Digital Age, a new work looking into the causes of marketing effectiveness from Les Binet and Peter Field.

  6. Article

    This article provides marketers with information and guidance about combining TV and digital media strategies.

View everything on this topic

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