June was dominated by Investing in the future: Extended reality (XR), Emerging markets and Emerging channels all present key opportunities and challenges.
Oath launches “Extended Reality” Ads
Oath has been very focused on future-proofing its businesses in its bid to hit 2bn users by 2020; whether its their focus on GDPR and consumer data control, the importance of improving CX – particularly in mobile & content – and innovation through partnerships. Several of those innovation were revealed at Cannes 2018 where Oath launched extended reality ads.
Oath’s 3D ads will enable users to explore objects from any angle; whilst its programmatic VR ads – delivered via a partnerships with VR SSP Admix – let advertisers extend existing display assets into VR. Extended reality saw further exposure as video ad marketplace Teads showcased InRead AR at Cannes too – an AR ad format that allows users to interact with brand assets; whilst in early June ITV tested Virtual stadium perimeter ads during an England game.
Google rebrands Ad suite & invests in the future
The Google highlight of the month came quite late as they made the bold decision to rebrand its adtech suite including the retirement of AdWords to become “Google Ads”. The move is aimed at simplifying their monetisation offering as well as further extending the appeal of its buy-side wares to advertisers.
Google also continue to invest in emerging markets, in more ways than one. For instance; a $550m investment in JD.com will see Google work with the Chinese ecommerce giant in Europe, US and Southeast Asia. Furthermore; Google plans an AI centre in Ghana to explore the use of emerging tech in Africa following similar moves from Facebook in Nigeria whilst a $22m investment in KaiOS – a feature phone operating system – shows their emerging market ambitions. In terms of new ad products, the stand out announcement was the launch of audio ads on DBM enabling advertisers to purchase ad spots on Google Play Music, Spotify and other platforms.
The $7bn Mobile Opportunity adds to 2018 trends and challenges
Other than the continued dominance of the duopoly. the 2018 edition of the Mary Meeker Internet Trends report highlighted a number of key trends including the quickening pace of ecommerce growth (as digital now accounts for 13% of Global retail), the lift-off of voice driven by smart speaker growth, and the 3% gap between time spent on mobile and adspend – representing $7bn in opportunities. Furthermore to the mobile opportunity the latest Marin State of Digital Advertising 2018 report found that paid social is the dominant channel at 90% of marketers using it, and 70% expecting to invest more in social this year. However, whilst focusing on those channels there are number of trends/challenges (see below) including the dominance of the duopoly, and new entrants Amazon, that marketers need to explore.
Rising retail engagement channels
One of the key opportunities online is rising ecommerce. Customers are using more channels to interact with retailers from the dominant web and email through to chat and social; and as a result optimising customer journeys across multiple touch points is becoming key whilst using online data to optimise the online experience is also a top priority. For instance; Voice commerce is of growing significance with 30% of US internet users having used a voice assistant for research/purchase.
Developments in social retail channels will continue too. For instance; Snapchat is enabling people to buy event tickets within Snapchat in another move to extend its capabilities in driving commerce, whilst they’re also introducing goal-based bidding conversions using the Snapchat Pixel and allowing users to target purchases and sign ups. To prove the value of their ads Snapchat is also partnering with LiveRamp to launch “Offline Sales Impact”. Meanwhile; Facebook-owned Instagram also launched shoppable tags directly into Stories.
Newsbrands diversify to plug $28bn hole
With recent reports that globally newsbrands lost £28bn in revenue in the last 5 years and similarly UK press revenue more than halved in the last decade, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that innovation is needed. Innovation will take a number of forms including collaboration (for joint reach and joint audience data), tools to leverage audience data, and the development of improved monetisation strategies. Such innovation will benefit the ecosystem as a whole providing brand-safe, fraud-free environments to deliver better customer experiences, better ads, and better ROI.
Other important reads
- The latest Raconteur report – The Future CMO – covers how creativity with data could benefit brands, among other things. One of the title articles from the report talks about the ad industry cleaning up its act in terms of brand safety and moving away from the “spray & pray” approach.
- GDPR could go beyond Europe: According to Janrain 68% of US internet users would support GDPR-like policies in the US as concerns over the use of data continue to proliferate. Similarly, Unruly surveyed users in non-EU marketing finding of those that knew what GDPR was 93% would like to see GDPR rules in their country.
- Audio advertising is an area for marketers to keep a close eye on. After Pandora acquired AdsWizz – an audio adtech company – to upgrade their ad capabilities; we also saw reports that US podcast revenues hit $314m – 275% up on 2015 – and is predicted to rise to $659m by 2020, whilst Adobe launched automated, data-driven audio ads.