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Shoptalk: Don’t Call It Advertising Anymore

Editor and Publisher

Exactly 20 years ago, I was part of the team that sold the very first banner ads on the World Wide Web. On Oct. 27, 1994, Wired magazine flipped the switch that lit up HotWired, the “cyberstation” that ushered brands like IBM, Volvo, MCI, Club Med and—famously—AT&T into the digital age. From the humble origin of a dozen brands paying $15,000 per month for static banner placement with zero analytics, Web advertising is now closing in on $50 billion in annual spending. At precisely the same moment, the banner ad (and related forms like the 15-second video pre-roll and the mobile display ad) has become a social touchstone that evokes a firestorm of condescension and condemnation at every turn. But can the digital ad business really have been built and sustained through such a flawed delivery vehicle? Digital advertising was born to an Internet that people read and watched.  And advertising—well, that was a practice to be grafted onto the Web from other forms of publishing and broadcasting as technology and bandwidth allowed. Those first crude banners eventually gave way to larger, more picturesque ‘magazine’ ads and then to TV-style video spots.  The business grew even as it continued to miss the larger point. Over these two decades, the Web has become something everyone does—not something they watch or read. We look for answers, we pass jokes back and forth to one another, we buy stuff, and we settle arguments. Always on, always in our hands, the Internet has become an extension of us as people. But advertising, mostly, has not kept up. And does content no longer matter? Or does it matter more than ever? The maddeningly simple answer is that it matters when it matters; when it’s closely aligned with the experience the consumer is living at that moment in time. And not for its own sake.

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What Ad Buyers Still Don’t Get About Sponsored Content

Contently

BuzzFeed, valued at $850 million this past August, has invested heavily in sponsored content. Yet as a recent story from The Wall Street Journal reveals, advertisers still aren’t sure what they’re getting out of the new media giant’s primary source of revenue.

While virtually every major digital media property seems to have a branded content studio these days, none has pinned as much of its success on native advertising as BuzzFeed, which does not run traditional display ads on its site.

As such, you would have to think the company’s financial stakeholders were displeased to read that, according to one major ad buyer, only 15 percent of clients who syndicated sponsored content on BuzzFeed in 2013 returned for 2014.

From the sound of things, brands have been hesitant to return to BuzzFeed because they have not yet been able to directly link sponsored stories to product sales—a line of thinking that fundamentally misunderstands the role content marketing plays in a company’s long-term success.

As DigitasLBi’s chief investment officer, Adam Shlachter, put it to The Wall Street Journal, “Social lift and buzz is great, but I have to know if that means I will sell more toothpaste.”

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Viewability: The Advertising Trend Of 2015

MediaPost

The IAB is calling 2015 a “year of transition” as it recommends that advertisers seek 70% viewability during the year. But 2015 is more than a year of transition in terms of viewability. Viewability will be the defining advertising trend of 2015.

The move toward 100% viewability is a move toward greater accountability, higher quality inventory, and improved ad experiences. And the responsibility for making these changes falls heavily on publishers.

But 100%  viewability is tough to achieve, given the current state of the industry and the various content models employed by publishers. It also comes at a higher cost, which is somewhat contrary to the initial objectives of programmatic.

Publishers now have to perform a difficult balancing act between the art of publishing and the science of monetization. They must drive more traffic by publishing better and more timely content — the art — while adapting to the changing technology requirements of both programmatic platforms and viewability demands – the science. And, of course, this balancing act amid a rapidly evolving landscape must result in eventual profit.

Those publishers that can master this balancing of art and science, stand to benefit greatly. They will be more and more attractive in the eyes of increasingly sophisticated marketers who are driving these trends by demanding better results and increased transparency.

 

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How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

IDG Connect 0811 How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

Marc Michaels is Director of Behaviour and Planning at the GIG at DST. As a marketing professional and procurement expert with extensive experience, Marc has become a champion for marketing communications for 28 years. As Director of Direct and Relationship Marketing and Evaluation at the COI, he managed a team of 50 professionals delivering hundreds of high profile government behaviour change campaigns involving direct mail, door drops, e-mail, contact centre and fulfilment, household distribution, field marketing, customer relationship management and campaign evaluation across all major COI clients. Now at the GIG at DST Marc now provides ‘end to end’ consultancy across strategy development, planning, implementation and evaluation. 

Marc is a life-time Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and industry speaker. His extensive experience in marketing has provided Marc with a unique stance. He believes wholeheartedly that marketing doesn’t just have to be digital.

In a tough economic climate where competition is rife it can be difficult to generate business exposure. From large businesses to SMEs, companies are constantly trying to market themselves better. Often this will be through the multitude of emerging digital channels that have opened up a wealth of opportunity for the savvy marketer. Channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to name only three, have made it easier and less expensive for businesses to promote themselves, if they have the skills and time to exploit them. However, whilst these new and flashy channels may look attractive and appear cheaper, it is important not to be seduced by them exclusively. Too many marketers are too quick to abandon physical marketing, perhaps because these particular methods are seen as outdated or untrendy compared to an eye-grabbing Vine or promoted Facebook post. Relying solely on social channels exclusively is flawed. Even within our continually and rapidly evolving digital world, offline solutions can still be right for your business.

Check out his tips here… 

 

Customer Experience Tops Asia/Pacific CMOs’ Investment Agenda

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Customer Experience Tops Asia/Pacific CMOs Investment Agenda

Singapore and Hong Kong, February 16, 2015 – International Data Corporation (IDC) announces today that this year customer experience will become the number one customer-related priority for organizations in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) or APEJ. However, the CMO and CIO will need to partner and align their goals to guarantee success.

“Today, being first to market, having the lowest price, or being the best does not necessarily help. Businesses need to be agile and give customers what they want 24/7. Customers may buy your products or services, but what keeps them coming back is the experience,” says Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Senior Program Manager, Big Data, Analytics, Enterprise Applications & Social Lead IDC Asia/Pacific.

He advises marketers to become savvier about the business, data, and customers to address the “empowered buyer” needs. CMOs are expected to lead the enterprise transformation around customer experience. In fact, IDC Asia/Pacific CMO Barometer shows that 31% of CMO roles are expanding to include customer experience and support.

Jimenez notes, “The CMO role is evolving to incorporate new responsibilities. In other regions, we have seen organizations completely replacing this role with a Customer Experience Head.”

There is no denying there has been a lot of hype around customer experience and many organizations still struggle with the concept, since there are many moving pieces and intangibles. However, customer experience is far from being just today’s buzzword; it is a top priority for CMOs in 2015.

“If you are not already thinking about this then you are not listening to your customers. The idea of delivering greater experiences is not new; but what is different now is that organizations are increasingly focused on ensuring these initiatives are tracked and are using metrics that are closely aligned to the business,” says Jimenez.

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Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Story

ResearchLogoBLACK no 2nd IDG Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Story

By Jen Garofalo,

Many years ago in my old neighborhood, a woman around my age moved into the small apartment on the second floor of the house next door. We gradually got to know each other, and one day the obligatory question about what we each do for a living came up. I explained that I work in market research and gave her a few standard lines about my job that I typically reserve for these types of situations. Then I paused, waiting for her to jump in and tell me about herself.

“I’m a professional storyteller,” she said. I blinked. Wait, what?
Did she just say she’s a storyteller?

I was intrigued.  “Oh, are you a writer then?”  I asked.  “No, not exactly,” she said. “It’s oral story telling. I visit area schools and I tell my stories to the kids. The stories are factual and have been compiled by my family over many generations, but I try and tailor them to make them relevant for the kids and the issues they’re facing – for example, overcoming fears or dealing with bullies.”

Well, I thought to myself, a storyteller! How cool is that? That’s miles apart from what I do in the office every day.

After some thought though, I realized that what I do really isn’t so wildly different. As a market researcher, my job is also to help tell stories; stories about brands, to be more specific. A typical client’s goal – much like my storyteller friend – is to connect with their target audience and to be as relevant as possible to the world that audience lives in and works in every day. In other words, find out whaStoryTeller Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Storyt issues their target audience is facing, and tell their brand’s story in a way that will make sense to that audience.

Market research, when done well, can be a very useful tool in the storytelling process. Like most storytellers, when beginning a new project I start off in search of answers. I want to know about your brand. Why was it created? What is your brand’s mission? What problems will your brand help to solve? I also want to know about your target audience. Who are they? What are they trying to accomplish? What are their most pressing challenges?

Maybe you can answer this first line of questioning pretty easily. But in some cases, as with a new brand or entry into a new market, that might not be so. Broad-based industry research, market segmentation and customer or prospect surveys can help you learn more about your audience’s needs, so you can better understand where you need to focus the most time and energy.

All good stories follow a pattern – you get to know the characters and their history, you learn about their intentions and motives. Once you have that information, the story picks up momentum and things chug along pretty well. But then – plot twist! –unexpected challenges arise. There’s a conflict. For a brand, this could be a bold move on the part of a competitor, a new development in the industry, a data security breach, or a change in popular trends or opinions. Now we get to the climax of the story. How will your brand respond to this conflict? How will your customers respond? You’re making decisions in real time, and you need information fast. Custom research can be a valuable tool in times of change or crisis. Understanding emerging market trends, as well as customer mindsets and strategies, can help your brand respond appropriately to change and come out looking like a hero. Producing content fueled by third-party market research contributes to the image of your brand as a thought leader and a voice of authority and reason in uncertain times.

There is one big difference between a brand’s story and the kinds of stories that my friend tells. A brand’s story never ends, it’s always evolving. It’s a continuous cycle of learning about and connecting with the people who need your brand right now, in this moment – of discovering who those people are and what their needs are today.

Here are some ways in which custom market research can help you along that journey:

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IAB Launches Guidelines To provide Greater Transparency in Digital Advertising

IAB
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) has released part one of a set of guidelines to help the marketing industry provide more transparency to consumers around ‘native’ advertising.
See the guidelines here
See the research here

The guidelines provide advertisers, publishers, agencies and advertising technology companies with clear and practical steps to make it easier for consumers to spot native advertising – digital ad formats designed to look and feel like editorial content.

Supported by ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – the Association for Online Publishers (AOP) and the Content Marketing Association (CMA), the guidelines meet the UK advertising industry’s CAP code, which is enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Two of the key guidelines for native advertising formats are:

  • Provide consumers with prominently visible visual cues enabling them to immediately understand they are engaging with marketing content compiled by a third party in a native ad format which isn’t editorially independent (e.g. brand logos or design, such as fonts or shading, clearly differentiating it from surrounding editorial content)
  • It must be labelled using wording that demonstrates a commercial arrangement is in place (e.g. ‘paid promotion’ or ‘brought to you by’).

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The New Premium: How Programmatic Changes The Way Advertisers Value Inventory

AdExchanger

Five years ago, if I told anyone in our industry that I wanted to buy or sell “premium” inventory, we’d all picture the same thing: inventory that was bought or sold directly between a media buyer and publisher’s salesperson. Maybe it would be home page inventory or a section front, a page takeover or rich unit. Or perhaps it would just involve a specific publisher that we agreed equated to “premium.”

New programmatic technologies are radically changing how we think of inventory overall, especially the term “premium.” Inventory is no longer one- or two-dimensional – the definition has become much more complex. It is a multidimensionally defined set of attributes that includes traditionally “publisher-controlled” inputs, such as page location, dimensions of the creative, category and content adjacencies. But today there are additional overlaid attributes that flesh out the definition.

Advertisers can bring their own data to the dance, which we’ll hesitantly call “first party,” and overlay additional data sources, which we’ll hesitantly call “third party.” And beneath the surface level attributes are underlying components that can be much more dynamic. These components can help predict how effectively an impression can drive a campaign’s goals or outcomes.

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Are US companies using social media better than UK firms?

The Drum

UK companies are one step behind their US compatriots when it comes to corporate communications and social media, according to a report from Investis.

The study reviewed more than 500 leading US and UK companies to score their use of eight social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube and found that US companies were far more active and engaged on social media.

The average volume of tweets from a US corporate account was 2,979 in a year dwarfing the UK’s 738. On LinkedIn, US firms saw three times as many posts as UK firms. YouTube saw a similar trend with US firms boasting 141 videos in comparison with the UK’s 45.

Similarly, on Facebook, US companies achieved an average of 45,111 likes, compared with the UK’s 1,177. LinkedIn proved to be the most popular social channel for companies with 93 per cent of studied firms owning such an account, in comparison, only two thirds of companies had Twitter accounts.

The highest-scoring company across all eight channels was Cisco Systems. However, the UK claimed two of the top ten firms with Royal Dutch Shell (fourth) and BP (tenth). Are US companies using  social media better than UK firms?

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