The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Please, don't end ad fraud
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

Two guys in New York have created a programme they say will end ad fraud for good. And it's a real shame. Ad fraud was forcing the industry to re-examine how it measures online advertising. But if this tool works, it may not have to. The software's called Submit Guard and it can tell the difference between humans and internet bots with over 99% accuracy. Internet bots are responsible for fake clicks and views expected to cost the industry $6.3 billion this year.

The creators Eric Weissman and Jose Cotto told Business Insider: "Robots and humans interact with the web in drastically different ways. Robots scroll quickly and make herky-jerky mouse movements – we're able to detect all of that instantly and raise a red flag."

If it works, the software could restore faith in ad reporting again. And that's the problem. It'll be business as usual measuring clicks and views. Last year Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, published research proving how overvalued the click really is: "The more page views a site gets, the more people are reading, the more successful the site. Or so we thought…" Chartbeat analysed the user behaviour of 2 billion visits across the web and found that most people who click, don't read. More than half (55%) spend fewer than 15 seconds on the page they clicked through to.


Subjects: Digital, Advertising

04 March 2015 09:54

Tapping into the power of positivity
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Nick Bedford, Head of Sales and General Manager at Looking Glass Experiential.

It is a fact widely acknowledged that marketing will be more effective when the audiences are in a positive frame of mind. Many studies have been conducted to investigate in-store purchase triggers, including how far music influences mood and propensity to buy. A US study in 2011 even found that the very act of shopping can actively elevate the mood and make people feel better. Many creative campaigns, such as the McVitie's campaign featuring small fluffy animals emerging from biscuit packets, are geared towards generating this positivity in people.

Less well investigated is the amplification effect of communicating with people at times when they are already likely to be in a relaxed and positive mindset. For example, when visiting shopping centres, shoppers are already primed to receive messages on what to buy. This even applies when consumers are at the airport, before leaving for a holiday, ready to experience new things, but also relaxing and winding down. In malls, our research has found that 51 per cent of shoppers will make a spontaneous purchase on a visit, with average spend per visit in the UK's flagship shopping malls at close to £100. This presents an opportunity few brands could pass up.


Subjects: Marketing

03 March 2015 17:30

Five priorities for media directors in 2015
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Matt Green, senior marketing communications manager at the WFA.

The WFA has a wonderful vantage point on what the world's biggest companies are struggling with in media. Our MEDIAFORUM is a think-tank of contemporaries that discuss their struggles and try to leverage their experience to identify possible solutions.

It's a brains trust of people from the companies that help make pretty much every household name in almost every sector that you might care to think of.

One of our most recent meetings was able to access ideas and insights from all over the world with members of our WFA network in New York, joined by video link from London and Singapore to ensure that we had a viewpoint from senior marketers across the globe.


Subjects: Marketing

03 March 2015 10:40

Posted by: Faris Yakob, Co-founder, Genius Steals
Faris Yakob

Human beings rarely say exactly what they mean. One of the unspoken rules of being English, as identified by anthropologist Kate Fox, is the 'rule of not being earnest'. The English are constitutionally uncomfortable with too direct an assertion. This is why we love and use irony.

But even our more direct American cousins never say exactly what they mean. No one does. There are so many social and contextual determinants that impact the words we use. What we say, moreover, is accompanied by all kinds of secondary communication which can change its meaning. Irony is an obvious example where the secondary communication completely subverts the nominal meaning. When meta-communication isn't correctly parsed, you get the confusion that sometimes happens to English people in the US. (Or vice versa.)

These secondary communications are called meta-communication and they are an essential part of human interactions. They may be congruent with, or contradictory of, the content. What does a brand's meta-communication say and how does it impact the messages and content so lovingly crafted by its agencies?


Subjects: Brands, Marketing

02 March 2015 16:44

The science behind customer behaviour
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Brian Taylor, Digital MD at Jaywing.

What is the tipping point in the customer purchase decision journey? While marketers can use data and analysis to target customers with relevant products and services, sometimes it can take a little more to tip them over the edge into clicking the buy button.

Along the path to purchase there are specific points where a customer is more likely to buy. By marrying behavioural economics with the expertise of both data and creative specialists, brands can pinpoint the perfect moment to deliver the right creative that drives the customer to make that purchase.

The challenge of influencing purchase decisions today is not purely a creative one; it's one that needs to be underpinned by science. Encouraging customers to make that leap in the online world requires greater integration between creative specialists and data experts. Only when these two parts come together in the marketing process can brands create great customer communications that are built and delivered with both the customer and the brand in mind.


Subjects: Consumers

02 March 2015 16:02

#IBC: The rise and fall of social media challenge campaigns
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Dino Myers Lamptey, head of strategy at the7stars.

The proliferation of high-profile, selfie-driven campaigns like the No Make-Up Selfie and Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 could trigger a backlash in 2015. People will quickly tire of the Social 'Campaign or Cause' Selfie and eventually stop participating – an apathy that will start to impact on brands.

Cancer Research can be proud to be associated with arguably the first ever marketing campaign of this kind to go viral. It's estimated the #nomakeupselfie campaign raised £8m in just six days (Source: The Guardian, March 2014).


Subjects: Digital

28 February 2015 15:44

A roaming fridge, grassroots activism, launching a brand without TV and telling stories: Highlights from CASSIES 2015
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

The CASSIES (Canadian Advertising Success Stories) were published on last week. These awards recognise and reward the business effectiveness of advertising. There were 53 case studies in total, which Warc subscribers can view here.

But if you’ve only got time to read a few I highly recommend the following. Grassroots activism, user-generated strategies, newspaper partnerships and storytelling are just some of the themes explored.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Awards

25 February 2015 14:36

The evolution of marketing procurement
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Steve Lightfoot, senior manager – global marketing procurement at the World Federation of Advertisers.

The roots of marketing can be traced back to 1836 when the first paid advertising in a newspaper appeared in France. It goes back even further than that if you consider the brochures and flyers that could be created in the 16th century via Gutenberg's metal "movable type" printing machine.

By comparison, marketing procurement is barely a teenager, and some might argue it still has much to learn. The recency of its origins means the role is still very much in flux.

When you look at WFA membership, around 95% of global marketers have a marketing procurement operation. The average time that this operation has been engaging with marketing spend is between six and eight years (based on a 2013 WFA survey). Only a handful go back more than 12 years.


Subjects: Marketing

24 February 2015 10:55

New technology makes old technology redundant
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Returning to work after the festive season, we found ourselves comparing our children's respective Christmas present lists. And we noticed something surprising. Between us, we have three children, ranging from six to 21 years of age. And on all their wishlists, alongside the stuff you'd expect modern kids to desire – clothes, money and electronic gadgets – there were a lot of books. Not e-books, but real, paper books.

And what was noticeable was that all the kids spent lots of time reading these good old-fashioned books over the holidays. Not because they had to – there were plenty of other electronic options – but because they wanted to. One of them even spent New Year's Eve reading a book from the public library, of all things, ignoring her pile of shiny Christmas presents.

Surely not? Aren't books supposed to be dead? Don't kids spend all their time nowadays Snapchatting, watching YouTube and updating Facebook instead? It seems not. On New Year's Day, one of us had the odd experience of being the only one Facebooking while the rest of the family were engrossed in their books.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

13 February 2015 14:01

Do you eat your own dog food?
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

The Twitter account @middleclassprob is having a moment. The account retweets Twitter users overreacting to what we now call #FirstWorldProblems. Problems such as when Waitrose runs out of lemongrass. Or your artisanal coffee shop makes your latte wrong.

It's funny and it gives us all some muchneeded perspective. After all, Twitter moaning is indulgent when there are things like Ebola in the world. Yet, if you're reading this, I hope you'll forgive me because I'm going to indulge in some moaning.

I assume that most people reading this work in an agency or business that trades in solving First World problems. Problems such as 'How can I get a closer shave?' and 'Do I need a new phone?' So, not life threatening by any means, yet important to your job.


Subjects: Consumers, Brands

09 February 2015 10:59


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