Last week, ADTEKR was in New York for Advertising Week 2015. The team hosted our Adtech Stars New York event, attended a number of other industry events and also met with thought leaders in the sector – below are the key takeaways from the week and the common themes identified as forming the next big thing for adtech.
ADTEKR will be considering each of the below in more detail over the coming weeks.
Programmatic is becoming the de facto standard
From an exciting possibility which has grown in adoption over the past few years, programmatic is now becoming less of a buzzword in the industry and more a standard platform underpinning all adtech activity. Programmatic delivery technology remains important but has moved to being a standard assumption upon which solutions are developed rather than a technological selling point in itself. Rather than the ‘how’, the focus is now becoming the ‘what’.
The [programmatic] pipes are nice and shiny and new; the focus now needs to shift to what flows through them.
Sarah Wood, Co-CEO and Founder, Unruly
This viewpoint is supported by the fact that 50% of all digital display advertising in the UK in 2014 (a value in excess of £1bn) was traded programmatically. A recent report from eMarketer expects that by the end of 2016, this will have reached 70% with a value of £2.46bn.
Even more astonishing is the use of programmatic in developing sectors such as mobile, where eMarketer predicts that 68% of UK display ad spend will be purchased programmatically in 2015, rising to 75.5% in 2016.
Programmatic is no longer an optional part of marketing; it is the bedrock of future display marketing and cannot afford to be seen something that sits within the realm of the ‘techies’. All marketers need to understand how make use of this technology efficiently and effectively.
As focus moves from delivery technology to content, the industry is re-evaluating what makes advertising successful. As such, key players in the sector are now realising that, as ADTEKR posited in our previous post, technology alone does not make good advertising. Profiling and targeting to the nth degree is now accessible to the majority of advertisers. However, no matter how sophisticated these segments become, if the advertiser then delivers exactly the same creative regardless of target segment, the effectiveness of the targeting is strongly diminished.
New technologies from companies such as Adobe, Quantcast (following their acquisition of Struq late last year) and AdRoll are allowing advertisers to automate their creative to alter certain parameters on the fly dependent upon the profile of the user to whom the advert is being delivered. For example, a hotel may develop a creative which has a static background but delivers pricing for destinations which are relevant to the user in question (e.g. if the user has booked flights to JFK, the creative will show the best prices for hotels in New York).
Although none of this is revolutionary, the level of sophistication available from these technologies is dramatically increasing. Dynamic creative has to date been developed mostly as a commodity product which allows either automated selection from a limited number of prebuilt creatives (for example, selecting an appropriate version of a video pre-roll advert which is closest to the target user from a selection of 3 versions of a video) or allows limited information to be dynamically displayed within a creative (for example, a banner advert for a sports channel which automatically swaps in the logo of the users favourite football team). New technologies are allowing for entirely new creatives which are optimised on-the-fly for the audience being targeted by a given campaign. These products are still in their infancy, however, and it remains to be seen exactly how these will develop; much of this will be down to the quality of the creative that can be developed with minimal human interaction post campaign go-live.
Advertisers understand the value of delivering great creative to an audience and are beginning to unlock the true potential of dynamic creative, although there remains a way to go. This year will see much experimentation and innovation in this space – ADTEKR will keep you up-to-date on what a number of industry leaders are saying will truly be the next big thing in adtech.
Profiles of consumers are becoming ever more sophisticated, however, they currently have one flaw: the assumption that once a user profile is created, that user fits that profile at all times. From real world experience, we all know that this is a flawed view of people – an individual is very different sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon watching television than on a Monday morning, stressed at the office. To an advertiser, however, this user simply sits within an interest segment, irrespective of surroundings and time.
Moment marketing aims to change this perception by creating dynamic profiles which adapt dependent upon various factors such as location, time, context etc. This means that when User A visits a site at home at the weekend, they may be profiled as being receptive to sport-related advertising; when they visit on a Monday morning at work, their profile will instead map to being receptive to advertising for relevant professional services. Much of this dynamic profile generation depends on solving the cross-device challenge to allow for multiple personas for a single user to be captured across the many devices they may be accessing. Although they may respond differently at different moments, their core profile remains static – they should not be seen as wholly separate individuals when accessing the Internet via their phone, tablet and desktop.
Similar to moment marketing is intent marketing, as previously discussed on ADTEKR. This is a technique particularly suited to social networks (a great example is Pinterest), where a user’s social interactions and history can inform advertisers of the user’s intent and provide context to potentially ambiguous targeting information. For example, a user searching for “flowers” in February is liked to be targeted with Valentine’s Day advertising. However, a social network may also be aware of a number of conversations and posts relating to the fact that the user is getting married and hence provide additional intent information to allow an advertiser to deliver far more relevant advertising for wedding flowers instead.
As advertisers look past traditional targeting techniques to obtain the next level of engagement from users, moment marketing will continue to develop. Used in combination with techniques such as dynamic creative (as mentioned above), moment marketing will allow advertisers to react to users in an increasingly sophisticated manner; engaging a user’s human nature as it evolves over time rather than treating each person as a fixed, unvarying statistical point.