No question about it: The advertising sector has been at the forefront when it comes to digital transformation.
Last year, a whopping 36% of Chief Digital Officers were in the Advertising sector, according to research conducted by The CDO Club.
The next sectors with the most CDOs, Media and Publishing, had approximately just 18% each.
This is largely because Advertising, Media, and Publishing were the first to be disrupted by digital innovation in major ways. Developments such as social media and mobile purchases have made customer attribution and conversion much more complicated.
“Is any of this stuff going to make money?” asked Richard Kramer, Managing Director at Arete Research, at a panel of Chief Digital Officers from the advertising sector, held at the inaugural U.K. CDO Summit at the BBC in London, England, on 29 October 2014.
Kramer grilled the digital experts on the most pressing issues involving digital transformation, including everything from content creation to data privacy. Below are the top tips acquired from this panel.
Panelists included, shown from left to right in the photo and video below:
- Richard Kramer (Moderator): Managing Director at Arete Research
- Deirdre McGlashan: Chief Digital Officer at Mediacom
- Norm Johnston: Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare
- Lindsay Nuttall: Chief Digital Officer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH)
- Richard Firminger: Managing Director, Europe at Flurry
1. Learn to track identity across platforms and channels
“Five years ago it was all fine because we had desktop and ‘cookies,’” Richard Kramer quipped. Now “in the U.S. there’s more time spent on mobile than desktop,” he added.
“There is a new challenge as to how to profile a device and track that unique device,” Richard Firminger said.
“We are seeing a massive explosion in smart device content consumption. We spend about ten minutes less time on our devices consuming that content than we do actually watching TV. And most of that TV consumption is developing on tablets,” he explained. “The mobile TV is here: the tablet.”
Yet, according to Firminger, mobile advertising in the U.S. is only at 4%, and 14% in the U.K.
“Lots of companies have built huge databases on cookies that don’t apply and don’t work in the mobile world. And tracking that down to a conversation and attribution level is highly complex,” he added. “Attribution is a completely unregulated new world.”
2. Stay ahead of your clients so you can advise them when they catch up
“There is a constant tension in our business and with the clients, where you have to get the basics right in digital. Surf, social, mobile — they expect us to do that really well. But at the same time we have to keep an eye out on what’s next,” Norm Johnston warned.
By using a tool or platform before it gains mainstream acceptance, marketing firms can learn the advantages and pitfalls, and can later impart that knowledge to their clients.
“It’s avoiding the ‘Second Lifes’ that we went through,” Johnston said. When he had a workshop with Hewlett-Packard staff on navigating Second Life, an online virtual world, he said, “we couldn’t find anybody (in Second Life). We finally found a guy who was naked and wanted to have virtual sex.”
With a laugh, he added, “it’s partly about avoiding those sorts of mistakes.”
3. Budget by project and objective, not by channel
Instead of budgeting a certain amount for mobile initiatives, for example, Deirdre McGlashan advises clients to look at specific projects, or at consumer moments, and then to choose the best approach for those circumstances.
“Instead of getting focused on the technology, on the channel, or on the tool, they’re really focused on the consumer. Which is exactly where we should be focused,” she remarked.
4. Use digital to market creatively, not abusively
“People are starting to look at the actual content that gets fed through, and not just the machine. The machine gives us effectiveness, efficiency, which frees us up to do more creatively,” McGlashan said.
“You have to bring creativity into the process regardless in order to make it as effective as it can be,” Lindsay Nuttall agreed.
Instead of bombarding consumers with the same advertisements over several days, Nuttall proposed that companies should use digital tools in creative ways to increase conversion. An example would be a one-time special offer featuring content that consumers can bookmark and later link back to.
“That’s something that gets missed when you go after either programmatic or brand: Consumers respond to creativity and ideas in both spaces, and that makes your work a lot harder,” she said.
Johnston agreed, saying, “You can’t annoy people into liking you.”
5. Make mobile payment as easy as possible
“Maybe somehow within the app ecosystem is the ability to pay for these things really quickly,” Johnston said. All the experts agreed that making purchasing easy is the key to increased conversion in mobile.
“You have to look at every stage of the journey and make it as frictionless as you can,” Nuttall said. Problems like too many buying stages, or forcing the consumer to reenter a login, can instantly end a transaction. With one client, Nuttall found that a large percentage of users quit even after entering credit card information.
“They’ve gone through the effort of getting their card out of their purse, and they still didn’t press ‘complete.’”
Firminger noted that the ease-of-use present in Apple iTunes should be emulated. “The iTunes platform makes it super-easy, very seamless, frictionless. Therefore, if you look at the value of an Apple user relative to a Google user to developers, the difference is marked,” he said.
“Look at which users are much more valuable. If you make it super-easy, super-frictionless, and seamless, then clearly you monetize much more.”
Kramer defined success as “you’re not at any point ever asked to enter a 16-digit credit card number on a mobile phone.”
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