The digital world is already on the path guided by cross-channel advertising. However, that isn’t the final stage, as it’s consistently developing towards omnichannel marketing. The whole universe of marketing campaigns stopped counting only on channel multiplicity, and turned to a more comprehensive solution – channel inclusivity. From this point, let’s get a closer look at these new-age definitions, in order to see differences and understand what drives best results.

Key Differences Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Marketing

Even though multichannel and omnichannel concepts might be perceived as interchangeable, they have 3 key differences.

Channels utilization

The multichannel approach allows marketers to reach their target clients via a multitude of channels involved in a marketing strategy and drive better customer engagement. Multichannel is a marketing strategy where multiple channels are used such as website, print ad, live chat tool, mobile app, or social media to drive better user engagement. However, reaching customers through the channel of their choice doesn’t necessarily mean it will urge them to make a purchase (or respond to your call to action in any other way).

Alternatively, omnichannel is mainly focused on ensuring customers have the same brand look and feel while interacting with business across channels along with the seamless message delivery. Statistics show that companies with omnichannel customer experience strategies in place retain on average 89% of their customers, as opposed to the user retention rate of 33% for companies without a robust omnichannel strategy.  

omnichannle vs mutichannel marketing

The quality of engagement

Omnichannel and multichannel approaches both aim to improve customer experience, but the point is, do you want to make this experience good or excellent? Dozens of content (or ads across the web) do not add value unless they coincide with customers’ needs. In this myriad of digital channels, there’s always a subtle chance for an impression to get lost. The omnichannel approach aims to prevent abovementioned consequences. Omnichannel-oriented companies ensure all internal processes are working as a whole, seamlessly implementing a cohesive brand strategy through multiple channels.

Read more about which advertising strategy business should choose here.

Efforts spent

Multichannel marketing relies on channel development for customer experience improvement. Conversely, in omnichannel marketing, there is no need to focus on the number of channels since ad delivery depends also on efficient targeting. The ultimate priority of omnichannel campaigns is to make customer experience effortless. It becomes easy to forecast where the user may need to make an effort, and eliminate it in advance. If omnichannel marketing is done right, you can optimize your marketing campaign even further with valuable targeting indicators.

Let’s define multichannel as follows:

The era of mono-channel shoppers has ended. To get acquainted with your brand, customers prefer to gather info from more than one channel. Multichannel marketing, in short, is executing of a single brand strategy across all channels, platforms, and methods with an aim to keep a solid customer engagement.

Multichannel marketing: a brief glimpse at how it works

As soon as your marketing strategy is created, the next step is to implement it via all possible channels and platforms, allowing customers to interact with your brand. The channel may be a website, social media, mobile app, an email, a print ad, etc.  And here’s where the first pitfall may occur – every channel might be managed separately using a different strategy.

Evidently, much more software, tools, and automated platforms are needed to manage, analyze, and understand the data gathered per customer. All departments should be aligned to sustain a holistic user experience. Otherwise, it will lead to confusion, wasteful budget, and lower customer satisfaction.

The story is different with omnichannel marketing

“Omni” isn’t a random combination of syllables. Large companies need to deliver their brand message to potential customers more than once. It means that time, place, and other targeting options should be coherent. Omnichannel way of marketing ideally fits into a new mindset of multi-shoppers; clients prefer to investigate multiple channels (both online and offline) before they make a decision. This approach allows seamless tracking of every aspect of user behavior, using multiple channel approach and the whole spectrum of touchpoints altogether. This provides the customer with an integrated, long lasting experience. These scenarios have an important aspect in common – all channels are interconnected and exist as a one.

Omnichannel marketing vs multichannel marketing

Omnichannel advertising as a tool for omnichannel marketing

According to research, almost 50% of in-store purchases are happening on the web; moreover, this trend is predicted to grow by 58% by the end of 2022. Compared to siloed multichannel communications, omnichannel advertising is a strategic, cohesive approach based on seamless message delivery across platforms and channels.

A huge array of detailed user behavioral statistics is gathered into a single database. Therefore, it becomes easy to forecast future directions of your business and set the right goals. Knowing how and when to influence customers’ will ultimately lead to better targeting and higher conversion rates. All the information that companies gather from customers helps to create unified user profiles, and personalize messaging accordingly.

You can start creating perfect omnichannel ad campaigns in a few easy steps, using a DSP programmatic platform that supports all programmatic advertising channels, including mobile, in-app, desktop advertising mediums and delivers a unified experience across the screens.

Omnichannel advertising DSPs are easy to differentiate from basic solutions. Such a DSP platform will typically feature a whole lot of elements necessary for running the omnichannel campaign: multichannel ad formats, real-time optimization tools, insights generation. As well, full-stack omnichannel platforms include supplementary tools like DMP or CDP that automate user data ingestion, arrangement, and segment building.

omnichannel advertising

Pros and cons. Why brands choose omnichannel advertising?

Before you start creating omnichannel advertising strategy, it’s important to understand that omnichannel and multichannel approaches are not the opposite entities, so, it doesn’t make much sense to compare them. Omnichannel is a consequential continuation of multichannel experience, but with a broader and more sophisticated approach towards an overall digital marketing lifecycle. If you've already adopted it, congratulations, from now on, you can focus on a bigger picture.

When it comes to multichannel, a big bonus is that you are constantly building up newer distribution channels. However, it might turn to a significant con as well if these channels are not bound together for the creation of a holistic experience.

The only “con” of omnichannel advertising might be lack of internal resources or required tools in medium and small-sized businesses. This lack, however, is advertisers solve when they shift to the omnichannel DSPs. Such software doesn’t require any investments except the advertising budget that’s necessary for the ad campaign running.

How to make omnichannel campaigns work on your side?

An omnichannel approach to advertising along with instant machine learning advanced analytics help advertisers interpret users’ life cycle and augment their strategy accordingly. To make a leap towards a better customer experience you need proper advertising technology. Omnichannel marketing capabilities are embodied in SmartyAds programmatic solutions and one of them is SmartyAds omnichannel DSP.

SmartyAds omnichannel DSP provides advertisers with instant access to the top premium global desktop, mobile, and in-app traffic, and helps to serve all ad formats across verticals and channels. The solution enables 100% automated media-buying process in combination with high-quality traffic for effective omnichannel advertising experience. Thanks to extensive targeting options and various custom settings, advertisers can promote their special offers or notify their users about discount right at the brick-and-mortar shop.

Create cost-effective and efficient ad campaigns, using SmartyAds omnichannel demand-side platform that allows media advertisers, buyers, and ad agencies to purchase the best quality traffic that raises advertising ROI and contributes to impactful omnichannel campaigns. Thanks to the limitless opportunities of programmatic advertising, marketers can easily create app-based campaigns as well, ensuring that highly personalized messages hit the right audiences in real-time.       

Support your marketing with omnichannel advertising tools. Contact us now!

Written by
Irina Kovalenko, CMO of SmartyAds
September 2020