Changes that occur at this pace strain organizations and people; marketing outpaces product roadmaps, sometimes we bounce “hype-to-hype” in the press, and organizations move to strategic planning cycles measured in quarters, not years. Interesting times indeed.
Defining the new digital normal
Unquestionably, changes to the consumer, the data/targeting environment and to the underlying technology are conspiring to change the industry. But these changes are less revolutionary. They are, however, microwave-paced evolution.
1. The mobile consumer
The strategic goal is to drive marketing campaigns across the computer and mobile channels so to follow the consumer’s behavior across media. The challenge is that many agencies and publishers know about computers, but are just getting caught up to important differences and nuances of mobile. They are less mobile-fluent as advertising becomes more mobile-centric. The first wave of “mobilizing” was to try to fit the desktop ecosystem into mobile, which, for obvious reasons, failed. Now you see agencies and publishers invest in mobile leadership and building mobile competencies to ensure they are able to master mobile to catch up to a consumer that is already headlong into mobile.
Mobile advertising never had a universal and persistent cookie; the online cookie will go away. The irony is that mobile’s lack of a cookie was once thought of as its Achilles heel, but mobile’s solution is most likely to be become the reference model for a post-cookie digital environment. The model is premised on three norms:
- The mobile exchange integrates and delivers first- party data from the publishers and third-party data such as behavioral segments from BlueKai;
- The exchange also delivers mobile identifiers from the publisher and third-party providers like AdTruth; and
- Agencies and buyers create their own algorithmically-based method to link mobile and online identifiers to create a single profile and proprietary targeting/retargeting solutions.
Programmatic continues to take share of spend as publishers, agencies, and buyers pursue efficiencies. Programmatic technology’s central role in a high-frequency trading market such as digital advertising is both logical and inevitable; it follows other high-frequency markets that require efficiency at scale and decisioning at the atomic level, such as stock exchanges, commodities markets, energy markets, credit card transaction markets, etc. The path is clear: programmatic will underpin virtually all transactions (including direct deals) in digital advertising. Simply put, the efficiency, targeting, and decisioning capabilities of programmatic markets are inseparable from an efficient, fully liquid market.
Attribution has limited the market potential to date. However, attribution capabilities, premised on view-through, are emerging to give marketers the ability to see, adjust, and successfully deliver campaigns (both direct response and brand campaigns).
The hard news is that rapid change is upon our industry; the good news is that there are real capabilities and real progress that has the potential to enable marketers to engage and compel consumers across channels, and as consumers continue to opt to consume content via mobile. We are not there yet (as you know). But be careful of waiting for the change to conclude: whether responding to the mobile consumer, operating without the cookie, or mastering programmatic, the risks have already shifted from being early to market (and dealing with change) to being late to market and being left behind.
Todd is the Managing Director for Europe at Nexage. He has over 12 years of digital and mobile advertising experience. Todd comes from Apple where he was the General Manager of iAd in EMEA, Apple’s advertising business unit.
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