September 2017 was dominated by 2 huge digital marketing events as industry leaders descended on Cologne for DMExco, and New York for AdWeek. Here are the key topics from the 2 events, with insight from Clicksco CMO — Pete Danks.
If Content is King, Data is hand to the King 👑
Whilst GDPR continues to loom over the ad ecosystem as the May 2018 deadline approaches; data is in every conversation when it comes to digital marketing, and increasingly in offline marketing too.
“Spend 80% of your time on the data; spend 20% of your time on making sure that you never forget that providing value to your customer is what matters most.”
Allen Blue, Co-Founder of LinkedIn, speaking @ DMEXCO ‘17
The potential for data to resurrect TV — for instance Facebook launching the “Watch” tab — was perhaps a more medium term suggestion of how far data is reaching, though recent reports suggest the broadcast industry could lose £1bn to digital. In the more short term sense, given that approximately 93% of purchases still take place offline, using online/offline data to help retailers in particular could be huge. In addition; Smartphones & social media have created short attention-span consumers that now demand fast-loading content. This then puts pressure on data & AI to ensure consumers’ attention across ads and content.
Danks’ view: Invest in good quality content and you’ll earn the right to use data-driven monetisation options for your audience.
AI has been one of the key topics of 2017 and these 2 events were no different. However, there’s much debate around how developed it is so far, whether it still needs developing and the value of using it in its current forms. There was a whole track on AI at Ad Week and whilst there’s some consensus around how AI works for consumers, there’s some demanding more for businesses — and we at Clicksco are keen to help both sides. There was much talk about “Brand to Demand” at Ad Week whereby businesses want more cohesive approaches that combine brand & demand generation strategy. The key ingredient: Intent data.
Danks’ view: Marketers recognise the importance of intent data in developing efficient and effective campaigns, but now the technology exists — such as Clicksco’s Carbon — to gather and analyse intent data at scale its imperative that they do so. Intent data not only lets sales and marketing teams know who to call, but also when to call and what to say to encourage the prospect to continue through the funnel. The same data could be used for branding too, ensuring content is personalised & optimised to deliver the strongest brand experience.
Brand Safety & Transparency
Transparency was a key element of both events with data the solutions to help publishers understand the where, when and how to serve the right content in order to maintain a great user experience — adding value. Publishers need to look at all their revenue streams, overlaying analytics to offer the user control of their own experience with the least friction possible.
Danks’ view: Data & analytics are key here, which is why data and producing actionable insights is our core focus. Pleasing all parties in the ecosystem is hard; but if you keep customers happy, brands will continue to maintain their audiences, and profits will keep growing.
Oath & Amazon challenge to Duopoly
Oath is looking to differentiate from the likes of Google & Facebook by focusing on audiences, content and mobile (apps, media & ads). With over 1bn Oath consumers (2bn by 2020) having an audience-focused, brand safe network of trusted publishers across devices will help everyone win: consumers get a quality experience, brands have a safe environment to reach them, and publishers have a way to monetise their media.
“The most passion driven audience business in the world” Tim Armstrong, describing Oath @ AdWeek
New products are bound to come out of the budding Ad giant — such as Digital Turbine, an app recommendation engine it is testing. However, it is the use of data that poses the biggest opportunity & threat. Using data on its vast audience will help serve better content & ads, but equally consumers have increasing power over their data as well as the sites they use so overstepping could be dangerous.
Amazon is also playing down competition with the duopoly. Instead, Amazon Marketing Services is aiming for simplicity — how can they help brands reach over 300m active customer accounts worldwide. There are 3 solutions to this so far: sponsored products, headline search ads, and product display ads; and whilst this may be a limited product set there’s no doubt there’ll be more to come, all driven by purchase data. Digiday recently released Amazon’s pitch deck for its various ad solutions.
Danks’ view: We already work closely with Oath — having been a successful partner of Yahoo for many years — so we’re closely aligning ourselves with their strategy of quality content to make for easier media monetisation — particularly on mobile. Amazon is an interesting one to watch; whilst you could argue their scope is limited (i.e. ecommerce) the purchase & intent data is hugely powerful.
Voice & vCommerce
Talking about Amazon gives a good segue into the future of commerce. Consumer behaviour shifts are dictating much of where ecommerce is going and with such a large amount of purchases still happening offline, it makes digital a challenge. However; with 57% of US smart speaker owners having already made a purchase via those devices, Voice could be the next major shift gives that voice’s reach goes beyond voice devices & into practically any device whether its a phone, a watch, entertainment systems, and even cars. With ecommerce & search going hand-in-hand, Voice Search is another channel to keep aware of in order to find brand fit.
Danks’ view: Whilst voice won’t quicken the pace of purchases moving online, it will begin to have to bigger influence over Search, eCommerce and utility. Testing & optimising for voice across channels will help brand’s to find where voice fits into their strategies. Equally though voice devices give power to audio too, so keep abreast of platforms such as Spotify for ad opportunities.