The last trend is that of content management becoming a business priority. As the ‘community’ fascination and like race that burned through our industry 12 months ago continues to calm we’ll see more brands begin to realize just how valuable fresh and timely content is. That realization though will extend beyond the walled garden of the Facebook page and confines of the company blog and begin to permeate the entire business.
That said the primary driver of this shift will still be social. As social customer service continues to flap in the wind, a recent study illustrated that only 3% of customers prefer to use social media as a service channel16, brands will need to change the conversation from one of ‘if you DM me your details I can help’ to one of brand interest and engagement.
We’ll also see the current search vacuum of decreasing CPC’s driven by mobile collapse courtesy of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns. This will again force brands to invest in content to build out their organic presence in a drive to better balance their paid and owned programs.
The growing importance of prospect and customer comms, a hot topic in many boardrooms will further accelerate the branded content need. As marketers look to personalize content and communication, agencies will be forced to supply a steady stream of fresh and relevant content.
This will bring changes to the way content is viewed within the campaign mix;
Content will infiltrate campaign planning as the conversation shifts from one of ‘content is king’ to that of ‘content is currency’. As a result campaigns will include their own content long tail to help extend the life and depth of the message(s) in market.
As a result there will need to be a re-evaluation of the current content production model. Campaign shoots, client commercial arrangements, talent contracts, post process and delivery methods will all need to be rethought. A process of optimization will need to be agreed that embraces flexibility and feedback that allows for inefficient creative to be altered mid campaign.
So there we are. My 2 cents on what will affect our industry in the coming year or years. The final point I’ll leave you with is that these trends rarely happen in isolation so if one begins to accelerate the others are likely to follow.
16 – Emarketer & TNS Omnibus Social Customer Service Survey 2012
4. THE CONVERSATION CHANGES FROM MOBILE TO MOBILITY
2013 will definitely not be the year of mobile, but it might be the year of mobility.
After all the behavioural statistics are compelling with 15% of Australians total media attention spent on their mobile screen. Yet the medium only commands 0.4% of all advertising investment.12 Why? What is broken?
Consumption and usage certainly isn’t heading backwards. In fact in the next 5 years mobile data demand will grow 13 times to 11.2 Exabyte’s per month!13 Yes, you may be wondering what an Exabyte is. To try and put that in perspective in 1999 the University of Berkley concluded that every single piece of information ever created in any form by humanity equated to about 12 Exabyte’s. So soon roughly 2000 years worth of data will be consumed every month just through the mobile screen!14
Consumers will also increasingly use their smart phone in a lean free way, accessing information on the go and using it to make decisions on the fly (95% of smartphone owners use their device to find local information with 88% taking action on the same day15). Brands and agencies alike need to get to grips with this third (location) contextual dimension or risk seeing their upper funnel activity become less effective as customers make more decisions in the moment.
Mobility has also been recognized by one of the established cornerstones of the web. Google’s recent refresh of AdWords and the roll out of Enhanced Campaigns blends deep contextual insight with the power of search intent to create a hyper relevant screen experience with mobility front and center, and if anyone can make mobility work, its Google.
As a result we will begin to see the conversations we are having evolve;
Brands will begin to embrace the idea of mobility over mobile. This means moving beyond a device or operating system toward creating a truly location neutral experience that adapts based on the context it is being consumed in.
There will be a significant lift in hyper local marketing, albeit off a low base, as brands (especially retailers) offer solutions to some of the markets bigger problems. We will see brands successfully and consistently bridge the physical/digital divide, retailers will conquer show rooming, agencies will unlock the power and pathway of mobile analytics delivering increased accountability & insight and we’ll see brands find additional value streams for their customers which can be delivered on the fly.
12 – Bohemia Attention Study 2012
13 – Cisco VNI Global Mobile Traffic Report 2012
14 – The University of Berkley, The Data That Defines Us 2003
The third trend focuses on user-generated data (UGD) rightly being taken seriously. The ongoing big data conversation can often spiral out of control and although enterprise data is a rich seam of intelligence it’s the largely unstructured and chaotic world of user generated data that is of most immediate value to marketers.
In fact 70% of the world’s data is currently being created passively by individuals and their daily digital and social actions8. Facebook is unsurprisingly the biggest beneficiary of this with its 1 billion odd users creating 500 terabytes of new user data each day9. In isolation each of these seemingly small data points (a like, check-in, photo tags etc) is principally inconsequential but combined can build a really rich audience picture. Interestingly the #2 social network, twitter, generates a small in comparison 12 terabytes of new user-generated data each day!
The value of this UGD is starting to find traction with traditional and emerging organizations alike. Nielsen recently bought Social Guide10, a social TV analytics platform and have in fact shifted their entire social media strategy to focus on analytics as opposed to monitoring. Twitter on the back of creating the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating have also acquired a social TV analytics technology in Blue Fin Labs11, so expect more movement in this space is it continues to mature.
As the value of UGD is more thoroughly explored we’ll start to see its impact felt in different ways;
Firstly brands and agencies will need to invest in increased data rigor and processing. With up to 60% of the social signal categorised as noise UGD will need to be subjected to the same level of cleansing as other consumer sources.
Secondly the increased levels of data confidence that will come with this rigor will help drive a shift in campaign measurement. Traditional media currencies will come under pressure as more insightful and meaningful alternatives emerge.
Lastly the UGD set will grow in prominence and value to brands as they look for an immediate source of insight and feedback to power the real time marketing trend mentioned earlier.
8 – IDC Whitepaper – The Diverse & Exploding Digital Universe 2008
The second trend is that of a more relaxed web audience. Since Apple launched the first iPad in 2010 internet behaviour and consumption has changed dramatically.
In fact tablets are the main driver of this trend. In Q4 2012 tablet sales accounted for 35% of all PC shipments worldwide4 and are predicted to overtake PC volumes this year. A quite staggering statistic considering the market is less than 3 years old. Australian tablet penetration is also predicted to grow to as much as 48%5 by the end of the year, certainly scale enough to push the digital marketing industry in a new direction.
That said tablets are also by and large an inert device with 79%6 of usage occurring in the home and on the couch. This leant back consumption is predominantly a new usage occasion and not a cannibalization of another screen. This is an important distinction to make and one that has driven tablet households to spend an additional 1 ¾ hours online7.
The impact of these contextual and behavioural changes are likely to be more profound then many are anticipating;
Firstly there is what I call a growing gesture gap. The vast majority of brand and campaign experiences are built with mouse based navigation in mind. Point, click and consume. It’s treated us all well for many years. However more and more Australians are accessing the web via touch screens devices, using their finger to navigate and interact with those same brand and campaign experiences. At what point do we flip the paradigm and stop offering a sub standard touch experience because of our focus on the mouse and shift perspective toward creating a gesture optimized experience?
Secondly brands and agencies need to think harder about the content need that sits behind each device, and not just treat each screen simply as a gateway to a standardized web. If tablets drive a lean back, desktops a lean forward and mobiles a lean free experience then how does the content need to differ to deliver the most relevant experience.
Lastly since tablet growth is driving incremental usage and not necessarily cannibalizing desktop/laptop activity the cross device measurement conundrum only grows in importance. Without a single user view the idea of true omni-screen marketing remains just out of reach. Until this puzzle is cracked brands and agencies will still feel a sense of insecurity when it comes to managing campaign activity, frequency and investment.
Who in advertising doesn’t love a good trend? I certainly do and in January of each year it feels like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all rolled into one. Every agency and their mother pops out a trends deck and the world is full of thoughtful and often insightful thinking.
So why bother pulling together 5 trends in April? Surely the boat has sailed. Maybe it has or maybe the air is just a little clearer now.
In my opinion any prediction worth it’s salt is based on a quantifiable behavior that is happening now. It works for the weather and it can work for communication, which is why, just like the Bureau of Meteorology, I have based my future views on data accessible today.
1. MARKETING GOES REAL TIME
The first trend is a push toward real (or near real) time marketing.
Globally real time targeting and buying technology is advancing at quite a pace while instantaneous data processing and decision making systems are helping to put the right information in the hands of the right people, at the right time. This combination of increasing knowledge and capability only leaves us with a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ real time marketing will disrupt our industry completely.
In terms of what’s driving real time marketing forward we firstly have the accelerating investment in programmatic buying technology. Although not ‘new’, the first DSP was launched in 1999, the technology didn’t really find traction until 2007 when 5 of todays major DSP’s were founded and Ad-Exchanges became hot commodities with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all acquiring smaller players. Today Australia’s RTB market is the fastest growing in the world with 30% Q on Q growth1, and although it will likely temper slightly across the rest of 2013 we’ll still see the marketing ending in substantial positive growth.
In addition to media agencies buying and refining digital in real time marketers are exploring ways to pull through real time data streams to turn in market observations into in campaign optimisations. A topical example of this in action was the power cut at the Super Dome during this years Super Bowl. As social conversation grew the likes of Oreo’s, Calvin Klein, VW and Audi all used the event as a platform to share a highly relevant and timely message. In fact a recently published report2 suggested that 53% of senior marketers would be looking at social analytics to help provide real time feedback on campaign activity.
However it’s one thing being able to market in real time but if we can’t measure its contribution in the same way then is it worth the investment? Unsurprisingly brand research organisations have taken notice of this emerging trend and are releasing or developing products that answer this question. Millward Brown for example recently launched AdIndex Dash3, a specially designed brand tracker that analyses the impact of digital comms on key brand measures in real time.
However it’s important to recognize that any shift toward real time marketing comes with its own set of challenges.
Firstly there will be a significant resource impact. Programmatic buying technology is a fantastic innovation but over time it will commoditize. Therefore the most valuable element of any trade desk will continue to be the man or woman behind the tools. However to truly deliver on the promise of real time the trade desk will need to be resourced appropriately thus ensuring that every marketing opportunity is capatilised on in the most effective manner. This comes with an increased operational cost and potentially a higher staff requirement. Both of which would put pressure on current agency / client commercial relationships.
Secondly existing agency and media/publisher relationships or terms of business would need to be changed. Complete flexibility and transparency would need to be built in to each engagement along with an agreed set of measures to monitor in campaign performance. The idea of a long-term deal or a volume trading arrangement would certainly encumber the ideal of true real time marketing.
Thirdly creative agencies will need to be ready to adapt inefficient creative on the fly. As campaign insights and consumer feedback filter through social channels there stands a very real opportunity to optimize the creative voice mid campaign. This may extend beyond tweaking in market creative to actually developing new collateral to amplify a behavioural response and generate additional word of mouth around a brand.
Lastly agencies will need to invest in data management and visualization platforms. The sheer volume of data available to process will require a central data nerve center to process and visualize ready for interpretation and action. Without it the value that lives in the data will always remain one cell away from discovery.
Tomorrow we’ll cover a second disruptive trend, The Web Leaning Back
Emarketer & The Rubicon Project RTB Report Q4 2012
InfoGroup Targeting Solutions 2012 Social Analytics Report
Content needs to be fresh, timely and relevant if it is going to succeed in todays cluttered digital world. Some brands get this, many many brands don’t. One that does is Oreo’s, we saw that during the Superdomes blackout at the Super Bowl and we see it here with this awesome casestudy called The Oreo Daily Twist. I urge any marketer involved in content to watch this immediately.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while at my agency and after seeing this fantastic app by XMGravity in Indonesia I want to do it even more! Designed to tap into the pulse of the agency the Happiness App allows each employee to quickly and easily log their mood (two unhappy days in a row messages their manager to check in on things), disseminate news, socialfy client campaigns by centralising the most influential staff in one place and act as a company directory ensuring everyone can be contacted in an emergency.
Clearly not satisfied with the synchronised awesomeness of the recent ‘Super Synch Sports Experiment‘ Google have launched another connected mobile/browser experience called ‘The World Wide Maze‘ that turns any web page into a marble maze that is controlled by your mobile phone. It’s fantastic, lag free and makes you wonder whats next. The Google guys of late have been doing some absolutely stonking work, whether its the creative fun seen across their Chrome experiments series, the gorgeous hardware coming out of its design and development team like the Pixel or their relentless quest for Android glory. Keep it up Googlers, i’m loving it!
Who doesn’t love Coca Cola’s Happiness Project? It’s one of the all time great creative platforms that time and time again delivers exceptional ideas. The latest, a Small World Vending Machines again hacks the traditional vending machine creating a cool interactive experience where Coke lovers from different parts of the world connect to unlock some free Coke. The project hasn’t been launched yet as far as I can tell but expect some it this year.