Dominic Yacoubian, head of digital EMEA at Publicitas, looks closer at the current state of the industry and the importance of engaging content marketing.
Keeping brands and consumers at the core of digital advertising strategy is key to tackling the current issues such as lack of transparency and ad blocking. Companies like Publicitas help brands to build strong relationships with their customers, producing marketing campaigns using innovative and immersive cross-platform formats backed with a fully transparent reporting system.
With digital advertising worldwide now representing 31.1% of the total media ad spend, media and advertising service providers must raise the standards of their offering – not only in terms of effective tech platforms, but also fully transparent reporting to brands. These factors are crucial to advertisers, marketers and publishers alike, as they allow them to focus their efforts into developing key messages and high quality content, and based on feedback to adapt these across various channels using advertising formats relevant to their target audiences.
Changes in end-users’ habits such as an increase in the use of websites on the go – for instance today 61% of all time spent with retail sites is now accessed on mobile – have resulted in a shift of advertising budgets towards digital. Understanding the market requirements and adapting to the fast-evolving ad-tech environment is crucial for media and advertising service companies like Publicitas in order to continue providing premium services.
Problematic business decisions
The industry has seen a massive shift of consumers towards mobile media from stationary computers or desktops, and this trend is expected to continue; for example, the US digital video advertising market is predicted to nearly double by 2019. This means putting a premium on mobile, reaching consumers in a targeted and personalised way.
Mobile video is seen as a key format and channel to engage with consumers and create positive brand experience; however, this investment into digital ad formats also opened the door to strategies and tactics that go against best practice.
Advertisers and agencies started implementing pop-up or pre-roll ads, and although they were previously seen as an effective way of collecting email addresses and generating click through rates, in the age of Big Data this general, mass-market approach does not work. The intrusive and often irrelevant nature of such digital advertising has irritated consumers, especially on the smaller smartphone screens. Consumers expect meaningful engagement from brands, and if they feel like their private sphere is being invaded by blanket marketing messages, the next step is usually installation of ad blocking software.
Furthermore, with brands realising that these ad formats do not provide true value, the question they need to ask themselves is what a successful and effective campaign looks like and how much they are willing to invest into truly influencing the consumer.
The industry needs to strike a balance between a consumer-led approach and business-led decisions, creating engaging digital advertising campaigns that improve online ads quality and content to meet consumer expectations.
How do we stop ad blocking?
The rapid rise in ad blocking adopters is a direct reaction to intrusive ads; eMarketer estimates that nearly 15 million people in the UK only will use ad blocking software by 2017, while 21% of the world’s smartphone users already use mobile ad blocking browsers. In case of pop-up or pre-roll advertising formats, financials and click through rates were prioritised over the user’s experience; however, this tactic of bombarding consumers with irrelevant, forced and intrusive content is clearly not the right one.
Marketing and advertising service providers are already developing and implementing user-friendly formats such as outstream video, which give the power of decision back to the consumer, and by using engaging content they also create positive media experience. These non-intrusive formats disappear if the user does not want to watch them; and post-visual options are adding value to the consumers’ experience, offering an opportunity to increase brand time. Most importantly, they help to build a positive relationship with the brand.
“Opaque” reporting should not exist anymore
Intrusive ad formats also bring up the issue of miss clicks and opaque reporting. Fake traffic has become a commodity, pop-ups and accidental clicks help to inflate the visitor numbers, and digital ads can appear on websites that are far from premium, further enhancing numbers that need to be presented back to the clients in order to justify the budget spend.
This approach not only irritates the customers; according to recent eMarketer’s report, ROI was the number one reason why marketers were reluctant to put more money into campaigns around digital video programming: 54% of respondents said they weren’t worth the investment” .
Today’s tech platforms enable advertising service providers to present their clients with detailed campaign data and an in-depth understanding on where their adverts are placed, how they’re performing, and what actions were taken to optimise these, right down to site level. Furthermore, since all the Big Data is readily available, ‘opaque’ reports should simply not exist anymore; focusing purely on the numbers rather than actual end-user engagement means they are simply misleading and harm the relationship between marketing solutions providers, brands, and consumers.
Engagement is the new king. Key messages still need to be translated into creative campaigns; however, the way these are presented to consumers is changing. Working with forward-thinking organisations that understand how the industry is being shaped, what really matters to brands and their clients will help deliver effective and successful campaigns.
Publicitas Media and Marketing Priorities
In June, Publicitas will be publishing the results of its latest industry survey, ‘Publicitas Media and Marketing Priorities’, which will provide insights into the future marketing and advertising trends and challenges facing the industry in an ever-changing ad-tech environment.
Publicitas’ premium digital products offer includes:
- Publicitas InPage Video, a premium flexible outstream solution,
- Publicitas Mobile with its highly immersive and innovative formats,
- And an in-house premium programmatic trading sol
- ution delivered to audiences on a global scale. Publicitas is uniquely placed to deliver your marketing goals through our world class technology and transparent, independent approach.
 Source: eMarketer, March 2016
 Source: “The Changing Path to Purchase: What It Means to Add Mobile into the Mix”, April 2016, eMarketer
 Source: eMarketer, DIGITAL VIDEO FOR BRANDS IN THE US: CHALLENGES TO CONSIDER AND QUESTIONS TO ASK AHEAD OF THE NEWFRONTS, April 2016