We’re in the early stages of a significant shift in advertising, but already it’s having a profound effect on the profession. The number of ways we can now reach our audiences — whether to drive brand engagement or product purchase — is immense. Similarly, brands are also demanding that agencies and marketers develop campaigns based on old-fashioned creativity and new insight into numbers.
While advertising will always be an art, the digital age means we’re able to combine the creativity with data to prove the value of campaigns with more confidence than ever before. Below are five ways technology can help agencies prove their worth:
1. Data, data, data
The data that digital metrics can provide, in real-time and huge quantities, means that we no longer have to wait to receive a monthly sales figure to see results — provided the right tools are used to collate the information and present it in a digestible format.
Likewise, data is helping us to gain a deeper understanding of demographic micro-segments. America’s largest cable and broadband firm, Time Warner Cable, is a great example. By melding publicly available data such as voter and land registry records with local viewing habits, it helps brands using their channels to build custom campaigns tailored to specific user groups.
2. Read your audience’s emotions
New user-friendly neuromarketing technologies allow canny advertisers to prove effectiveness through the audience’s emotional response – before campaigns are even launched.
They combine wearable tech and automated data analysis to measure conscious and unconscious emotional responses to media with impressive accuracy: after all, the body can’t lie.
It’s already been the subject of several successful trials, one of which identified a potential saving of some £10 million in Coca Cola’s festive advertising programme.
3. Make it mobile
According to eMarketer, people will this year spend one hour 49 minutes a day on mobile devices, an increase of 30 minutes compared to last year, whilst the Centre for Retail Research estimates that the UK will spend £8 billion shopping on mobile devices in 2014 alone.
It’s clear that mobile advertising needs to be more than just a line-item test on a media plan. Gartner estimates mobile advertising will hit $41.9 billion (£24.8 billion) in 2017. It’s no longer an additional channel – for many, it is the channel.
4. Syncing up with social
Social networks mean that people are sharing their opinions more than ever. Never has it been easier for people to voice their love or loathing for a brand, product or campaign. Social allows advertisers to spot and respond to trends much faster, creating more targeted campaigns which ride the wave of that moment’s zeitgeist. Oreo’s award-winning "you can still dunk in the dark" campaign of 2013 is a perfect example of when things go well.
Advertisers must now accept social channels as a valuable channel in their own right. According to BIA/Kelsey forecasts, social mobile ad revenues passed $1.5 billion in 2013 and will reach $7.6 billion by 2018.
5. Embrace the programmatic revolution
Programmatic buying offers a number of benefits to the marketing mix — more effective bottom line growth than traditional buying and optimisation methodologies being one. It provides immediate access to global audiences, the ability to finely target and optimise amongst those audiences centrally, and to measure results quickly and efficiently.
Asked at 9am to change media mix? See those changes in the market by 11am, with initial results by noon. This is why experts predict it will support 80 per cent-plus of spend in the next two years and big brands are investing heavily. American Express announced earlier this month it planned to shift 100 per cent of its online ad budget to programmatic channels.