April 19, 2013
The future of mobile advertising… consumer data… privacy…
These are issue that many marketers confront daily, and some go to conferences to learn even more so they can share best practices with their colleagues.
Such is the case with SXSW attendees Chris Bohn, one of our regional sales managers in Chicago, and two of his clients, Allison Povse and Connor McCarthy, both digital media planning supervisors at integrated communications agency OMD, named the world’s most creative agency in 2012 by the Gunn Report for Media.
We sat down to discuss what they took away from the ever-growing and influential Austin festival, and how they plan to apply these lessons to their work moving forward.
Connor: Mobile was huge. In some respects, mobile phones know us better than we know ourselves. They track and store our behavior, our searches, our interactions, our shopping and our friends. That’s why there was so much discussion about location-based apps and the notion that many consumers are no longer afraid to share personal information, even financial data, and where they are at any given moment. For many consumers, that stigma seems to have gone away.
Allison: And given that mobile phones are so personal to each of us, we talked about the industry’s need to make media more personalized but at scale. Currently it is easier to personalize ads on mobile devices for the reasons that Connor described than it is on computers.
Connor: That’s right. I am based in Chicago but my IP address is in New York, so marketers sending me advertisements via my PC often get my location wrong—that doesn’t happen any more with mobile devices.
Chris, I hear you downloaded some pretty personalized mobile apps while in Austin.
Chris: Yes, and they have made me a bit reflective as both a consumer and a marketer. I downloaded Glympse, which lets you share, with an individual or a group of people, not only your location but also the path you are following and the places you are visiting over a specific period of time. If advertisers could target me on this app, I would not use it. It would be too invasive. So, as a marketer, I was reminded that people don’t want to feel like marketers are watching them and knowing their every move. This is why the privacy discussions were so prominent over the course of the festival.
Continuing with what Allison said about personalized advertising and media consumption… how does interactive video advertising fit in here?
Chris: Interactive video ads, even on mobile devices, are highly relevant to the discussion of personalization. If you run a standard pre-roll on a computer or a mobile device, then it’s for the masses. But if you accompany that pre-roll ad with extra content, say a few sequels to the initial ad that you believe a certain group of people will like, then you are talking personalization. And you’re talking brand engagement because you are giving the people the chance to touch the screen and participate in the storytelling.
Changing course a little bit… As we sat down for this interview, you said data and privacy were hot topics. What did you think?
Allison: I was really impressed with the number of viewpoints expressed at the festival, and I’ve come home better informed on the issues. In her SXSW blog post, Forrester analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo counted more than a dozen sessions about privacy, including her own talk on personal identity management. She has said that the industry and consumer groups should create a consumer bill of rights around privacy and has said that marketers need guidelines and best practices for privacy policies, governance and consumer data usage. She also noted that people at SXSW were talking about “Privacy by Design,” a concept where privacy and security are both taken into account. As marketers, it’s important to keep a pulse on privacy—one to be better informed and two to ensure we are following guidelines.
Connor: As I was saying before, consumers are sharing so much information these days… as marketers, we need to toe the line. We want to reach people in a meaningful way, which often requires knowledge about them, but also in a trustworthy way. We need to respect their personal boundaries.
Sorry for the shameless plug here…Connor, you’re using campaign data from VideoHub are you not?
Connor: Indeed, and at OMD, we strive to focus on what matters to the brand. What metrics ladder up to those marketing and corporate objectives? It’s imperative to answer the question because many pieces of data are peripheral and not worthy of our focus. We have used data from VideoHub for this purpose—we want to remain focused on how people are engaging with digital video advertising but only in the context of brand health.
Chris, building on Connor here… you’re able to access our VideoHub technology for insight into Tremor Video campaigns. How do you approach the data issue?
Chris: One thing I make sure to do when talking to clients is explain that we gather data for their respective campaigns responsibly. We look at data and trends across their campaign(s)—never at an individual level. For instance, we know that people responding to CPG ads watch a range of video content—from celebrity news to business—when engaging with a video ad. And people who engage with auto ads are not necessarily on a car site—they can be reading about politics and style and fashion just as easily. But here again, we’re talking trends over a range of Tremor Video campaigns.
Secondly, while people talk about “all powerful” data, it does have its limits. Marketing is a mix of science and art. Just because a type of viewer or type of variable did not respond well in one campaign does not mean that viewer profile will perform poorly in the next campaign. And that’s because every campaign is different—each campaign has its own messaging, its own goals, its own slot on the calendar. So many conditions are at play.
Net net, while we use data to understand and optimize campaign performance in real time, we still need to use our intuition, even art, for the next campaign.