The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Privacy and the importance of "informed choice"
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

Who owns your data? Who has access to it? How is it being used? Can it, will it, ever be used against you? How is data being managed? And can data ever discriminate? These were some of the important questions raised at a recent debate hosted in London by The Foundation, an independent growth and innovation consultancy.

Information is multiplying and in many ways is making life simpler and more convenient, but, according to Charlie Dawson, founding partner at The Foundation, people are becoming more and more aware that their entire lives can be "captured, examined and publicised" and so "consequences are starting to emerge", he warned.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing, Data

13 November 2015 11:30

The value of brand valuations
Posted by: Brian Carruthers, News Editor, Warc
Brian Carruthers

Brand valuations are bullshit, according to Mark Ritson, associate professor at the Melbourne Business School. And he told an audience at the Festival of Marketing just why this was so, outlining three "sins" committed by those whose business it is to come up with them.

First up was variation: how is it possible, he asked, that they can value the same brands so differently – not just a few millions either way but billions of dollars. There were "outrageous differences", he declared, offering up the examples of Apple and Visa. While the three leading brand valuation businesses – Interbrand, BrandZ and Brand Finance – all agreed that Apple was the world's biggest brand, Brand Z's valuation of $247bn was almost twice that Brand Finance's $128bn. The difference of $119bn was, said an incredulous Ritson, equivalent to the GDP of Belarus. And when it came to Visa, BrandZ's valuation was 15 times greater than that of Interbrand.


Subjects: Brands, Data

13 November 2015 11:09

Warc/AA advertising expenditure summary
Posted by: MEC

All channels, apart from news and magazine brands, saw increases in adspend, with overall mobile adspend in the first half of 2015 hitting the billion-pound mark for the first time.

This post is by Emma Lane, MEC.

UK advertising expenditure reached a record high of £9,424m in the first half of 2015, according to the latest advertising association and Warc Expenditure report – an increase of 5.8% year on year.

News and magazine brands were the only formats to see drops in overall spend, reporting falls of -8.2% and -5.4% respectively. However, digital investment in these channels did see increases year on year, with a 13.3% increase in digital news brands spend and an 8% increase for magazine brands. All other channels saw increased investment, even TV spot advertising, which saw an impressive 7.1% increase year on year despite comparisons with H1 2014, in which the FIFA World Cup took place. This comes thanks to a strong Q1 performance where 11.5% growth was recorded.


Subjects: Data

09 November 2015 16:35

Marketing to mums
Posted by: MEC

With a plethora of information coming from traditional media, new media and word of mouth, brands that develop relevant messaging will appeal to mums.

This post is by Louise Twycross-Lewis, MEC.

Brands and marketers have long been attracted to the purchasing influence mums have on their households. With approximately 7 million mums in the UK, with children aged 15 and under in their households (source: GB TGI 2015 Q3), they are a sizeable chunk of the population. While it cannot be claimed that this audience is ignored, it is clear that brands are not always speaking to them in the right way.

Mintel's Marketing To Mums report details mothers' attitudes towards advertising, the role that the internet and social media has in their purchasing journeys, and highlights some of the ways of marketing to mums today.


Subjects: Consumers, Data

06 October 2015 10:36

Demystifying attribution: The importance of attribution models in measuring campaign impact
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Jon Buss, Managing Director EMEA at Criteo.

Anyone working in the marketing industry knows all too well the necessity of proving the worth of corporate communications to those at the top. With competition increasing in all market sectors, businesses are starting to bring all activities down to the bottom line and qualitative measures of impact are no longer enough for the c-suite.

Attribution modelling appears at first to be a simple solution to the problem; introducing a method of measuring the financial impact of communications in terms of business objectives, such as revenue, profits, customer retention and new business. However, the process of measuring the effects of advertising, marketing and corporate messaging on the bottom line is not a simple task, and requires multiple tools and techniques in order to establish a quantitative representation.

Communications have traditionally been measured by qualitative means; including variables like the business' share of voice within the industry, the number of visits to the corporate website, click through rates and impressions. Whilst these are legitimate aspects of the marketer's toolbox, their importance rarely translates to the c-suite where executives speak in terms of financial return on investment (ROI). Therefore, attribution models provide marketers with a tool to assist in justifying their activities and budget in terms that can be clearly understood and appreciated by the decision makers of the organisation.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing, Data

23 September 2015 12:03

Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2015
Posted by: MEC

The annual report on the UK's media habits reveals a steady increase in the use of video-on-demand services, smartphones and mobile online behaviour through 4G.

This post is by Victoria Stevens, Consumer Insights Director at MEC.

Ofcom's Communications Market Report is an annual account of media consumption, technology adoption and digital proficiency in the UK. Highlights of the latest edition are:

Traditional TV viewing is in decline

In 2014, the average number of minutes of broadcast television watched on a television set fell 4.9% year on year. Viewing diminished across all age groups with significant proportional declines among children aged 4-15 (-12.4%), adults aged 25-34 (-8.8%) and 35-44 (-8.0%). Among the over-65s, viewing dropped the least – this age group still spends 82% of their viewing time watching traditional TV.


Subjects: Media, Data

05 September 2015 17:26

The unintended (or intended?) consequences of undertaking surveys
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
Peter Mouncey

One major accusation levelled at the pollsters in their failure to correctly predict the likely outcome of the UK general election back in May was that their incorrect forecasts influenced both the intentions of voters, and the strategies of the political parties.

Recently, I've seen two further examples of how we have to think carefully about the consequences, intended or unintended, when conducting research.

The first echoes the issues surrounding political opinion polls. As you probably know, the heat is already being turned up under the 2016 presidential election in the USA, especially with the first round of TV debates by prospective Republican contenders' launching their primary campaigns producing a lot of contentious statements and debate. It's a blog post by John Dick (CEO CivicScience, Pittsburgh) warning pollsters of the dangers posed by the 'audience reach' of findings based on inadequate samples which can become disproportionately high due to media coverage. In support of his case, Dick cites two recent USA national surveys designed to study political attitudes of Republicans based on samples of 252 (Wall Street Journal) and 423 (Monmouth University).


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing, Data

02 September 2015 16:32

Snapchat's bid for advertising
Posted by: MEC

The popular social media app may be the 'coolest', but it should reconsider its aversion to data if it is to compete with Facebook and Twitter for advertising.

This post is by Ed Kitchingman, MEC.

Snapchat has been making its big pitch for advertising's pounds and dollars in recent months. A tour of agencies and brands by its co-founder Evan Spiegel was followed by an interview with Bloomberg News, where the Snapchat Ceo talked about how he aims to make advertising a rewarding part of the social media experience: "a lot of people look at internet advertising as a tax on the system. That's sort of discouraging if you care about making new products, and especially discouraging if you feel like you can solve problems."


Subjects: Digital, Data

15 August 2015 17:11

Curing programmatic's growing pains
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Alex Kuhnel, Chief operating officer at Kantar Media TGI.

There has been much hand wringing recently in the digital advertising industry over the threat posed by ad blocking, as new software is launched promising to block ads on mobiles. Advertisers and trading desks worry how much take up will this witness and how they can fight back.

At the same time, a debate has been going on about whether the content of programmatic ads is up to scratch when compared to the quality of other types of advertising.

In fact, both worries tap into a deeper truth about programmatic, which is that cookie-based advertising's promise of targeting a browser regardless of where they are online, disregards the all-important match between an ad and the environment in which it appears. The weaker the connection between advertising and context, the less receptive the consumer is likely to be.


Subjects: Advertising, Digital, Data

07 August 2015 10:48

The new Big Bang theory: Where the worlds of data, creativity and tech collide
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Karl Weaver, CEO of Data2Decisions.

Change is a good thing. It forces us to think differently and re-establish the norms we take for granted. For the creative industry, data and technology has been an explosive catalyst for change, forcing the uncomfortable debate about whether data and creativity can work together to produce not only more effective, but more emotionally engaging creative work. There were early distractions as the data ‘geeks’ and creatives were pitted against each other, but thankfully the debate about whether data helps or hinders creativity is nearing completion. The two worlds have well and truly collided and we are finally ‘doing’ the collaboration we’ve been talking about for so long. The results so far have been very promising.

Take artificial intelligence for example, one of the most exciting, if not frightening collisions of data, creativity and technology we’ve seen yet. The technology has advanced in leaps and bounds throughout the past decade, with investors pouring millions into robotics companies now bringing interactive and emotionally intelligent robots to consumers on masse. Earlier this year, Robot Pepper, a humanoid robot with the emotional capacity to understand and communicate with humans went on sale in Japan. Creators Aldebaran Robotics sold out 1,000 units priced at £1,107 each in less than a minute. The demand is real and the possibilities endless.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Data

06 August 2015 09:25


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