This post is by Sam Finlay, head of Digital and Custom Solutions at Time Inc. UK.
If there was one theme to emerge from my day at the Digital Media Strategies conference held last month it was that premium publishers are seemingly getting their swagger back, realising they hold real value in today's digital advertising ecosystem. The unique premise that there is no scarcity of supply in digital inventory is now being challenged more than ever as clients and agencies seek transparency, quality and engagement.
Watching sessions involving speakers from Enders, New York Times, Johnston Press, Taboola, Omnicom and Mashable left me with the impression that there are five strong reasons why premium publishers have good reason to be cheerful:
1. Trading automation: once feared for its impending crushing of ad yields, automated trading is quickly growing beyond performance campaigns and into branding. This is where premium publishers can offer the relevant environment with the trust and loyalty of its audience who have an affinity with their brand. Douglas McCabe, CEO of Enders, reiterated research from the AOP which showed advocacy, engagement and direct contact were far higher after seeing ads across original content sites than portals or social networks. If Automation efficiently delivers these benefits to a wider selection and greater volume of clients, then this can only be a good thing.
The Warc Prize for Social Strategy shortlist features 32 entries which Warc subscribers can view here. And what a shortlist! There are some great case studies that demonstrate excellent use of social/digital that drove solid business results. These cases mark a notable maturity in digital marketing, linking earned media to commercial impact.
In 2011, the innovation world realised that the way we created new products was wrong. In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries exposed the risk of spending millions, pre-launch, creating a perfect product behind closed doors. This old approach, accepted as inevitable by every company in the world, produced a failure rate of 80% as most of those 'perfect' products flopped with real customers. Our cloistered R&D and processes failed so often because the actual market hardly ever responds the way we think it will.
A new way - dubbed 'Lean' - was proposed, and has since become almost ubiquitously embraced. The idea of Lean is that you take a new innovation as quickly as possible to market, then develop it on the fly using the feedback of early customers. Visit any start-up incubator anywhere now and you'll find companies eschewing extensive product development in favour of building their 'minimum viable product' at a sprint before signing up early customers to study how well the product works for them. Based on those learnings, the product is iterated continually until it becomes genuinely powerful. Lean start-ups deliberately make a succession of minor failures and recoveries on the path to success, to avoid one disastrous failure at the end. The logic is so seductive that everyone from Silicon Valley tech startups to Coca-Cola has adopted these 'agile development' principles.
This post is by Sarah Newman, Director of the APG.
The APG started 2015 with a relaunch and a new identity. We've got plenty of anecdotal feedback that people like what we're doing but we'd like to get a real sense of what's good and what isn't - what you value and what you want us to do more of - to help us to plan for the future.
The link takes you through to a very quick and easy to fill in survey. We'd be absolutely delighted if you would take the time to fill it in and let us know what you think.
APG: A short survey
The DMA UK Awards 2014 were recently published on warc.com. The Direct Marketing Association recognises campaigns that demonstrate how brilliant strategic thought and creative ideas drive outstanding results. There were 61 case studies in total, which Warc subscribers can view here but if you're short on time then I highly recommend the following.
Crimestoppers UK: Putpockets
Crimestoppers, the UK’s biggest crime fighting charity, wanted to raise awareness about pickpocketing. Taking direct marketing to a whole new level, the campaign took a stunt marketing approach by placing leaflets shaped like commonly stolen items in people’s bags and pockets, doing so without their knowledge. The tactic showed in a very practical and personal way how easily someone could be a victim of pickpocketing.
Recently, I've been looking at some prominent trends in marketing. I've explored the power of partnerships and the increasing use of 'occasion marketing' strategies. This week I turn my attention to the world of media and note the rise of ambient.
But what exactly is ambient media? One definition offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing points out that ambient was originally known as ‘fringe media’, but now it consists of “communications platforms that surround us in everyday life - from petrol pump advertising to advertising projected onto buildings to advertising on theatre tickets, cricket pitches or even pay slips”.
2015 marks the 65th anniversary of George Orwell's death. By the time he died he was living on the remote island of Jura, isolated from a consumerist society that he saw as plagued with problems. For Orwell, advertising was to blame for many of these issues since it inflamed consumer desires for materialistic goods. As he so memorably stated: "Advertising is the rattling of a stick in the swill bucket of society".
Unfortunately, it seems that Orwell is not alone in this view. In a study conducted by ZenithOptimedia amongst 452 students, only 24 per cent thought advertising benefited society. But was Orwell's opinion justified or an example of groundless moralising? Cyril Connolly, after all, wrote of Orwell "He couldn't blow his nose without moralising on the conditions of the handkerchief industry".
At the core of Orwell's argument is the accusation that advertising creates a desire for products that consumers can't resist. There are two parts to this argument. Firstly, let's look at the irresistibly part. Anyone working in advertising knows this isn't true. It's hard to change opinion and harder still to change behaviour. Consumers don't have the Pavlovian reaction that Orwell insinuates as they are aware that adverts are biased. Ads are interpreted with a healthy dose of scepticism.
This post is by Matt Green, senior marketing communications manager at the WFA.
For much of the year, the WFA's MEDIAMFORUM features clients talking about how they manage or plan to manage their agencies in order to secure better results and an improved relationship.
At Deutsche Telekom's offices in Berlin the tables were turned for the last MEDIAMFORUM of the year. We invited three agencies to reveal their vision for the future and to discuss some of the big themes that have emerged in recent years and are potentially preventing the client and agency relationship from becoming the powerful business partnership it could be.
Representatives of CROSS MEDIA, Havas Media Group and ZenithOptimedia created a panel with a diversity of company backgrounds to provide a range of opinions as to what agencies should be doing in the future:
One of the most powerful insights from cognitive science is the System 1/System 2 dichotomy, coined by Stanovich and West as shorthand for two types of thinking - one fast, resource-efficient and automatic (System 1); the other slow, deliberative and effortful (System 2) . Many in marketing and MR now accept that, because consumer decision making is dominated by System 1, many of our buying decisions are fast, flawed and emotional, rather than slow, logical and consistent. So far so good, but I’m worried that a sheep-like acceptance that System 1 is somehow ‘good’ for marketing, whereas System 2 is ‘bad’ might lead us into some ‘woolly’ thinking about how to measure consumer response.
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.