Brands on the dance floor

Ad Tech Players are dancing but are the Brands?

Wednesday 27 April, 2016

Our industry is undergoing an explosive revolution with programmatic growth expected to reach 80% of all digital spend by 2018; publisher co-ops creating networks of dominant online reach as they fear the future alone; viewability, ad blocking and ad fraud are delivering mixed messages to the advertising industry; the lack of awareness on technological advancements on attribution modelling, offline measurement tools and last but not least the hype of data driven advertising. Evidently, we are on the dance floor, dancing to the rhythms of our technological achievements while brands remain stuck to the tables trying to understand what is really going on and if they can make the same moves. Here lies the problem. There are three possible reasons why I believe brands are not joining us on the dance floor and I will briefly explain these:

For one, digital ads targeted across desktop, mobile and tablet devices need to reach a single person at the right moment, on the right screen to deliver brand engagement. With all the targeting features and data available to us today, failure is ripe when traders do not know how to use their licensed or recently acquired ad tech platform to its full potential or that the DSP technology used is acting as a mere tool to access exchange inventory with no real time function.

Secondly, the level of industry experience is limited today. Traders are pushing ads out on the internet and these ads are not being pulled by the online consumer, this creates wastage of media budgets by missing the most relevant online audiences.

Thirdly, digital creative delivery has not been mastered. Creative ads need to be designed and built in the best ad format representing each part of the purchasing funnel: awareness, consideration and action, to deliver optimum brand affinity matching the online users’ interests and styles. Maybe it’s because the industry’s love affair with measurement and technology has left creative innovation on the touch line.

Brands want to connect with people online with scale but they continue to miss. Advertisers’ digital media budgets are heavily focused on seductive statistics of programmatic growth and not on whether the ad viewed by the online user is personally relevant and engaging. It is clear programmatic traders today are pushing ads to users who simply do not have an interest in the brands’ messages via the open market or within PMPs. The effective distribution of the ads is key, otherwise all fails. Leo Burnett quoted “The work of an advertising agency is warmly and immediately human. It deals with human needs, wants, dreams and hopes. Its 'product' cannot be turned out on an assembly line.” Maybe agencies want to be seen as ad tech players, and it is taking time for them to morph into a true ad tech solution provider, which once was an ad network world. If the agency’s story is not compelling and proven, Brands will accelerate the move towards doing it themselves.  Indeed, the threat of their own revolution continues to brew.

It is only when audience targeting is delivered accurately, that I know, each audience segment becomes smaller in size and ultimately will always be as small as one person, at that specific time. To deliver such refined and bespoke audience targeting, access to real time data analytics and real time data application are the vital components for the online campaign to deliver its positive ROAS. At this point only, the Brands will join us on the dance floor!

Written by: Tony Laskar, founder and chief executive of Audience2Media

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