Big Changes Coming with iOS 9, and What it Means for Marketers

apple_wwdc_news_thumbnailEarlier this month at its annual developer conference, Apple announced some big changes coming with the next operating system. Now that we’ve had some time to digest, here are the some of the new features that will impact marketers:

  1. Apple’s “News” app
    Apple introduced a new magazine-like news experience with its news app, simply called “News.” News content from third party publishes will be curated based on a user’s preferences, allowing readers to choose topics, similarly to the popular news curation app, Flipboard. This is a big opportunity for publishers to get content in front of more readers and monetize via ads: publishers will get 100% of revenue from ads they sell and 70% from ads sold by Apple’s iAd. For marketers, it’s another channel to reach engaged audience on their iOS devices.
  2. New & improved search features
    Apple announced a number of updates related to search, including upgrades to Siri and in-app deep-linking. Siri will be enhanced with better voice-recognition technology, which Apple claims will improve by 40%. Users will swipe right to access to new Search tool offering personalized suggestions from Siri, who will learn a user’s preferences over time. Suggestions will be based on the time, location and user’s previous behavior. With deep-linking to third party apps, users will be able to search for content inside their apps – which is a great feature for app publishers and marketers looking to improve discoverability and engagement for their in-app content.
  3. Ability to block adds on Safari
    iOS 9 will give developers an easy way to develop mobile ad blockers, which could spell trouble for ad networks like Google. According to 9to5mac.com, “When users download an app with an ad blocker extension, it shows up in Settings. Users can keep the app installed and disable the content blocker independently by using the toggle switches.” Only time well tell when and how developers will utilize this feature in their apps, and what impact it will have on ad networks.
  4. iOS Apps Won’t See User’s other Installed Apps
    In an effort to beef up its privacy promise, Apple will prevent apps from getting data on what other apps users have installed in iOS 9. Twitter and Facebook have typically accessed this data to help with ad targeting. We’ll be seeing more like this from Apple, who is not going to monetize its users’ personal data, per Tim Cook’s recent comments: “Some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

The battle between the largest tech players, Facebook, Google and Apple, is as interesting as ever. Some of Apple’s updates and new features are obvious digs at their competitors. But ultimately, Apple’s direction simply makes sense. Consumers today expect a personalized, simple experience where their privacy is not compromised. Apple is smart to develop features and products that enhance the experience without compromising personal data. As users become more savvy, sketchy data practices will become more scrutinized and even made illegal, so business models that support customer privacy will come out on top (not that Apple isn’t on top, already!).

Further reading:

 

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace-

The Rise of Social TV (and what it means for marketers)

Image source: ClickZ.com

Image source: ClickZ.com

We all know television is in a state of flux. Between the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and a growing number of millennials cutting the cord to avoid rising cable bills, it’s no wonder TV execs are scrambling for the “next big thing.”

Well, the next big thing may be here already. Social TV, the integration of social elements with TV to create a dual-screen experience, is on the rise and proving quite popular. According to Mobile Marketer, brands like ABC who have integrated hashtags into their TV experience have seen immense participation across the Twittersphere. Another example is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week—the channel’s iPad app featured content intended to be consumed while users watched Shark Week on TV. SproutSocial reported that this campaign led to more than 13 million people having 21 million interactions with Shark Week on Facebook.

It’s no surprise that this trend is most prominent amongst millennials. Deloitte’s Digital Democracy survey (released in Spring 2014) found that 48% of millennials say they use a social network while watching TV. 86% of all US consumers say they are multitasking while watching TV, up from 72% two years prior.

So what does this mean for marketers? We should be thinking about an integrated approach when engaging consumers through TV. If we want our audience’s full attention, we need to take over their TVs and the device in their hands. But, heed this good advice from Clickz: “Before deciding whether you should spend your marketing budget on a social TV campaign, take a close look at your brand. If you think your brand does not have a lot to say in the space, look for other channels to engage your audience.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

NYC Removes Mobile Beacons after BuzzFeed Article Blasts Privacy Issues

Image source: BuzzFeed.com

Image source: BuzzFeed.com

An NYC agency approved hundreds of beacons—devices that can push ads and track mobile devices—to be installed in phone booths around Manhattan. But after BuzzFeed published an article about the beacons yesterday, City Hall promptly requested that they be removed.

As BuzzFeed reported, the beacons were installed without any public notice. This is problematic because of the potential privacy issues. BuzzFeed wrote, “The spread of beacon technology to public spaces could turn any city into a giant matrix of hidden commercialization.” Because the beacons can track the location of the public’s personal mobile devices, privacy advocates are concerned about the lack of transparency.

Hours after BuzzFeed published its article, City Hall requested that the beacons be removed. According to the Wall Street Journal, transparency is critical when using new technologies such as beacons: “It shows that while marketers tend to get jazzed about new advertising technologies, it is important not to creep consumers out or try to dupe them.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Will Programmatic Advertising Stifle Creativity?

Image source: Maxusglobal.us

Image source: Maxusglobal.us

Programmatic advertising was a hot topic at Advertising Week in NYC this year. The 5-day event, which draws to a close tomorrow October 3rd, features more than 200 events including seminars and workshops that focus on key business drivers in advertising and marketing. (For a further dive into what exactly “programmatic” means, read this Aspiring CMO post from July.)

On Wednesday, Havas Chief Executive Yannick Bollore spoke about programmatic advertising and whether it threatens to stifle creative output from execs. “Algorithm will never replace the creative director; I’m not worried at all for the future of creativity,” said Mr. Bollore.

Despite Mr. Bollore’s confidence that human creativity will always remain at the heart of advertising, Business Insider’s Programmatic Advertising Report claims “Programmatic platforms are on pace to fundamentally reshape the entire digital advertising landscape.” The report found that real-time-bidding (RTB), one of the key components to programmatic buying, will account for over $18.2 billion in U.S. digital ad revenues in 2018, up from $3.1 billion in 2013.

There is no doubt programmatic advertising will garner an increasingly large investment from marketers in the coming years, but creativity remains crucial for the success of any campaign. While programmatic may cut out some of the middle men/women who plan, buy and optimize campaigns, it doesn’t replace the human ideas that fuel ad concepts.

I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Bollore that art and science can, and must, coexist in the new advertising age. According to Mr. Bollore, “It is nonsense to oppose data with creative, and to oppose emotion with rationality. A combination of the two can completely work.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Measuring Mobile Performance: Don’t Rely on CTRs

Image source: Forrester.com

Image source: Forrester.com

A recent study from xAd and Nielson found that Click-Through-Rate is a poor indicator of ad performance on mobile. In fact, Lower CTRs were often associated with the highest offline in-store visitation rates.

The study ran on xAd’s platform and measured 80 campaigns from 12 brands during Q1 and Q2 of 2014. Placed, a local analytics provider, measured in-store visits as a response to ads.

CTR is commonly used as a measurement of engagement for ads on the web. The assumption is that if a viewer clicks on an ad, he or she is probably interested in the product or service advertised. However, the likelihood that a viewer might accidentally click on an ad is much higher in a mobile environment. In its report, xAd said as many as 40% of clicks on mobile devices are accidental.

So how should marketers be measuring ROI in mobile? xAd suggests they should be looking at the full picture, which includes CTR along with SAR (secondary action rate) and SVL (store visitation lift). Because the vast amount of commercial activity still occurs at a physical store location, xAd recommends SVL as the best measurement for mobile ad effectiveness.

The question of how to best measure mobile effectiveness has plagued marketers for years. A recent study by Forrester shows that only 13% of marketers feel very confident in their ability to measure cross-channel, and only 18% are confident in their ability to measure the ROI of mobile efforts.

With over 10 million iPhone 6 phones sold by Apple in one weekend, there’s no question that mobile is a channel to be reckoned with. But marketers will shy away from spending on mobile advertising until the technology can catch up.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Yahoo is Acquiring Flurry, a Mobile Analytics Company

Image source: Flurry.com

Image source: Flurry.com

The race to capture marketers’ mobile dollars is in high gear as Yahoo allegedly purchased mobile analytics firm Flurry today, according to TechCrunch and MarketWatch. As written on Flurry’s website, “Flurry Analytics is the industry standard in mobile, and provides more than 170,000 developers the business data they need to understand their audience, usage and performance.

Yahoo’s latest purchase is one in a string of mobile acquisitions made by tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook in recent months. In October 2013, Facebook acquired mobile analytics firm Onavo. Twitter acquired native mobile ad platform Namo Media and mobile commerce firm TapCommerce in June. Google acquired mobile analytics company Adometry in May. Amazon developed its own mobile analytics platform. (You get the picture.)

These recent moves are part of each company’s effort to increase offerings in the mobile advertising space. An estimated 1.75 billion people will use Smartphones in 2014, with usage growing every day. Mobile ad market spend will hit $18 billion this year. Everybody wants a piece of that pie, and a majority slice to boot.

Further reading:

Is Predictive Targeting the Way of the Future?

Image source: Freestockphotos.biz

Image source: Freestockphotos.biz

Most digital marketers are familiar with the term “retargeting,” a tactic that allows us to show ads to individuals who have visited our website or exist already in our database. Retargeting can be done through display ads on Google, Yahoo and Bing as well as on Facebook via Facebook Exchange or Custom Audiences.

Retargeting can be particularly effective, if not creepy, for prospective customers in the e-commerce world. Many of us have had the experience where we placed a pair of shoes in our virtual shopping cart, then abandoned the site, only to see that exact pair of shoes following us across the web for weeks.

But how effective is retargeting, really? In an article published yesterday on AdAge, Tom Goodwin – CEO of London-based agency Tomorrow Group – argues that retargeting is not effective, and the way of the future is pretargeting. Goodwin argues that retargeting is based on actions users have already taken, and these users are not likely to act again. He writes, “There is no time in my life I am less likely to buy some white pants, a toaster or a flight to Los Angeles than after I’ve just bought these items, yet that’s precisely the time I see ads for these products or services.”

Goodwin also claims that Paid Search, while it is the only opportunity to address people at their moment of need, will be trumped by “converting needs we don’t yet know we have.” Enter: predictive advertising, or pretargeting.

Prospective customers are painting accurate pictures of their lives, Goodwin claims, by liking posts on Facebook and sharing information across devices, among all of the other ways they transmit information across the web. Data that we share about ourselves through online behaviors can be used to show us ads with the right message at the right time. Goodwin gives several examples:


“It will be the coffee shop suggested when you have time and it’s about to rain; the Taxi2 ridesharing app telling you someone else wants to go the same way as it thinks you do; the car garage that will repair the problem only your car knows it has; the train times when snow blocks your route to work; the meal special offer when your friends are close and your calendar is free.”

Some ad companies are already taking advantage of new technology that enables predictive targeting. ViralHeat provides “sophisticated predictive social analytics” to uncover users who are mentioning a brand in real-time. Nugg.ad used various data sources, both internal e.g. surfing behavior on publisher client’s site, as well external data to develop statistical models of a target audience group.

If all of this sounds a little complicated, and unproven, that’s because it’s so new and constantly evolving. Mr. Goodwin writes that we should “accept that privacy is a lost battle” and embrace the act of sharing information to further general acceptance of pretargeting. The benefit for marketers is obvious, but what about for consumers? Take a look at Nugg.ad’s Consumer Portal, where it allows users to opt-out or in to its advertising:

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Yes, I would like to continue to have advertising relevant to my interests displayed and I consent to theme-based analysis of my surfing habits by nugg.ad. This consent is restricted to one year (“Opt-In“).

No, I do not want nugg-ad to continue theme-based analysis of my surfing habits on websites. This Opt-Out is stored as a cookie in my browser and has a lifespan of ten years. The user is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate cookie is not deleted from his browser as long as he wishes the Opt-Out to be valid. The (“Opt-Out“) is stored in a cookie with the name “nuggstopp“.

The argument is that most consumers will want to share information in order to see more relevant ads. But the consumer consensus on this has yet to be seen.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace