The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

3D experiences
 
Posted by: Gareth Kay, Co-founder, Chapter SF
 
Gareth Kay

Twenty-one years ago, the iconoclastic ad agency Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury produced a wonderfully provocative, and ahead of its time, pamphlet called Marketing At A Point of Change. I remember getting hold of a copy when it came out and it had a huge impact on how I thought about brands and marketing. It's a remarkably prescient read, arguing that in a more marketing literate world, brands need to become providers of experience rather than pronouncement. It's arguably more timely now than it was on its publication.

One of the central tenets of their argument is that "marketing will be replaced by 3D marketing, an experience that actively links the customers, the media and the brand… communication in the new world will include advertising, but it will no longer occupy centre stage. 'Brand experience' will replace broadcasting." Over the past decade, we have undoubtedly made strides as an industry towards this goal (although, arguably, progress that has not been far or fast enough). The design of experiences, increasingly, is the currency by which we measure marketing.

But on this 21st anniversary, I wonder if we should take the time to reflect on whether we have really begun to develop three-dimensional experiences? My observation on most work is that it feels remarkably one- or two-dimensional, especially when compared with the best non-marketing experiences that people engage with in their day-to-day lives. More often than not, we are either designing experiences that are no more than glorified sugar-coated messages (the bulk of the ad industry's integrated case studies wheeled out every year at Cannes) or, at the other extreme, soulless and dry experiences offered up by UX practitioners. Usability may be great, but it can also feel soul-crushingly dull. I wonder if it's time we began to think about designing experiences that come to life across different dimensions. For example, some of the best user experiences around at the moment - from Mailchimp to Slack - understand that form and function alone is not enough. Great user experiences require careful design around the voice, tone and language the experiences use. In many cases, these experiences are producing far more compelling and interesting writing than the great majority of advertising that is around today. And, without a doubt, they are producing a magnetic user experience by injecting dimensions beyond usability into the design of the experience.

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Subjects: Marketing, Digital

04 August 2015 16:36

Moving social media measurement in sponsorship from vanity to value
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Chris Pinner, sponsorship analyst at Synergy Sponsorship.

Closing the Telegraph's Business of Sport article on 'The importance of social media in sport', Synergy CEO Tim Crow says rightsholders "need to focus less on selling price and impressions and much more on delivering engagement and value".

He's right – value metrics are the future. And with more words set to be published on Twitter in the next 2 years than in all books ever printed, the cost of getting social media measurement wrong – by using vanity metrics such as "likes" and "clicks" – is set to skyrocket. This blog aims to provide a quick guide to moving sponsorship towards better social media measurement.

The majority of data points available in off-the-shelf analytics packages are what author of The Lean Startup, Eric Reis, calls Vanity Metrics – they might make you feel good, but don't offer clear guidance on what actions to take. Put another way, they do not help make decisions on how to drive value. Since around 80% of companies use vanity metrics, it's clear that sponsorship must move from vanity to value in social media ASAP.

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Subjects: Marketing, Digital, Data

30 July 2015 15:45

How publishers can boost ad revenues in the age of disruption
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Richard Jones, CEO at marketing engagement platform, EngageSciences.

Most publishing companies are navigating the difficult path from print to digital brought about by mobile broadband, multi-screen and social media, to name a few.

In this new world one of their key decisions is how best to appeal to advertisers. After all, there's more money around for those that get it right. Digital advertising spend has increased from just 14% of total advertising revenue in 2009 to 25% in 2013 and is forecast to hit 33% by 2018, according to PWC.

But this spend will be only be made available to the innovative few. Google and Facebook own more than 50% of static banners, video and image ads meaning the more traditional digital advertising market is saturated. As such, if publishers are to thrive they really must find unique ways of appealing to advertisers, and in return they can expect increased traffic/subscriptions along with a boost in revenue.

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Subjects: Digital, Advertising

22 July 2015 16:02

Should you automate your customer relations?
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Rhys John, Digital Marketing Executive at Thomas Design.

The future is here and robots are running everything.

Before you panic and start worrying about Skynet taking over, let me just explain that I don't mean judgement day is upon us, I simply mean that we've come to a stage where almost everything is automated.

You call up your gas and electric supplier and before you speak to a human you go through to an automated system to narrow down what you're looking for. When you order something online a robot tells another robot that you would like to buy said item, which then tells another robot to take the money from your bank while a separate robot tells a person (maybe) to ship the item to you.

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Subjects: Digital, Consumers

17 July 2015 11:52

What Serial's success can teach marketers
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Gail Marie, brand journalist at McKinney.

Call them stories, narratives or yarns, science has proven that they can "change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors." So says Paul J. Zak in the Harvard Business Review and many chief creative officers every day. Specifically, by measuring oxytocin levels, Zak found that our brains are most attracted to visual stories of characters who try to overcome adversity, and that our attention is most concentrated when the outcome is uncertain.

The world's most successful podcast, Serial, proved the same effect is possible with stories we can only hear, so much so that the phrase "the Serial Effect" was coined and the entire podcast platform benefited. A McKinney survey of Serial's newsletter subscribers showed 23% had never listened to a podcast before Serial, and nearly half of them are now listening to other podcasts at least once a week.

McKinney's Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Cude met with the creators of Serial on stage at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity last month to talk about how these storytelling heroes did it and what marketers can learn from them. This is what I took from their conversation.

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Subjects: Marketing, Digital, Consumers

14 July 2015 08:54

Four reasons our keyword obsession needs to stop to protect brand safety
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Nick Welch, Business Development Director at ADmantX.

Keywords are the most commonly used indicator in the purchase of ad placements. Yet there is a problem with relying on this simplistic mechanic – probability. Keyword targeting relies on the likelihood that a word will retain the same meaning in every relevant environment. But words are shape-shifters; their meaning can vary greatly depending on the context they appear in. As such, keywords can only offer marketers a prediction of what the content might be, leaving its true context ambiguous and increasing the risk of inappropriate placements that can damage campaigns.

In fact, almost one-third of advertisers are concerned about the possibility of their ads appearing alongside undesirable content. So how can advertisers and marketers avert disaster and secure brand safety? One answer is advanced contextual analysis. Powered by semantic technology and Natural Language Processing, it identifies the emotions content elicits and matches ads with precision. Going beyond safeguarding against salacious content, this approach generates greater value for advertising campaigns and gives brands confidence that their investment is protected. Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why contextual analysis offers a more robust strategy to ensure brand safety:

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Subjects: Digital, Advertising

06 July 2015 10:16

Three reasons your business needs responsive web design
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Rhys John, digital marketing executive at Thomas Design.

With higher and higher percentages of the population viewing websites and other forms of media on tablets, phones or netbooks, responsive web design is becoming more of a norm for businesses with an online presence. Making it difficult for customers to view your website on different devices could be more costly than you might anticipate – with design costs far less than the potential loss of business.

Here are the three main reasons to get a responsively designed website:

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Subjects: Digital, Marketing, Media

03 July 2015 11:47

Creativity, trust and the adoption of programmatic advertising
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Graham Wylie, senior director EMEA & APAC marketing at AppNexus.

I doubt this is the last year that the annual advertising industry gathering in Cannes will be billed as the 'Festival of Creativity'; but with data and technology sharply in focus across the opening days of this year's event, it feels as though creativity is taking on a much broader definition.

Take part in a digital advertising survey from AppNexus, Warc and DDM Alliance, and receive a free pre-publication copy of the final report:

Yet as with all things new, it's hard to get good data about this evolution as it happens. All looks clear in hindsight, but few of us have the luxury of waiting for a few years before deciding how we are going to respond.

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Subjects: Advertising, Digital

23 June 2015 15:32

Retailers need to focus on retail technology to drive footfall
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Gavin Ray, SVP of marketing & products at ip.access.

"The high street is dead", the critics proclaim. Mary Portas walks down the empty street like Will Smith in I am legend; a post-apocalyptic nightmare with boarded up shops and tumbleweed drifting slowly along in the wind. There’s no one about.

Depicting the current high street as some sort of ghost town is perhaps slightly disingenuous. If you consider that 94 per cent of global retail is conducted offline (in the real-world of high streets and shopping centres), it puts into perspective the fact that bricks-and-mortar retail is still alive and kicking strongly.

But there is a problem. Retailers are fighting to unify the shopping experience for consumers moving between these worlds. While 76 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in store, 66 per cent of shoppers have said that in-store delivered messages influence their purchasing decision (Popai), and there-in lies the problem. Two thirds of shoppers clearly see that there is high benefit in making informed purchasing decisions, but not enough is being done yet to provide them with useful and relevant information that will better equip them to purchase particular products in-store like they do online.

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Subjects: Marketing, Consumers, Digital

19 June 2015 17:26

Letting the data tail wag the evaluation dog
 
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB
 
Mythbuster

Recently we've been helping some of our clients assess their latest ad campaign. It's a great little campaign, which seems to have helped boost sales and market share, but evaluation is complicated because of the number of media used. The bulk of the budget was spent on traditional media, particularly TV and outdoor, but the remainder was spent on a mix of digital channels, mobile messaging and PR stunts. Working out the contribution of each is a challenge.

At the first meeting, our clients presented a detailed review of each strand. And something immediately struck us as odd. Traditional media, which accounted for almost threequarters of the budget, were dismissed in about 15 minutes. Then nearly two hours was devoted to the smaller, newer media. In fact, it almost seemed that the less money was spent on a channel, the more attention it got.

One reason was that there was simply more data on the newer, digital channels. Slide after slide was presented, crowded with figures on the number of views, clicks, likes, shares, tweets, followers, comments, and uploads. Dwell times and conversion metrics were analysed in exquisite detail. But for TV, only one number was presented: the cost. This is a clear example of the data tail wagging the evaluation dog. Rather than focusing on what was important (i.e. the media where most money was at stake), we found ourselves focusing on what was easy to measure.

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Subjects: Data, Digital

16 June 2015 15:39

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