adserving, applicationing, innovating, listening, phdcast, planning, programmatic buying

PHDcast 31.05.13: Programmatic Buying, How Superman Shaves and Tumblr

PHDcast for Mediation 470lots of fun on the PHDcast last week as Stew and Nic and I were joined by some awesome people from PHD Australia’s team digital. Peter Hunter and Lauren Oldham joined us to talk everything from programmatic buying to Gillette’s YouTubey Man Of Steel activation.

first up, programmatic buying. B&T quotes eMarketer who suggest that: “more than a quarter of all display-ad spending in the U.S. will occur via real-time auctions by 2016. Spending is predicted to increase from US$1.9bn in 2012 to more than US$7bn to make up 28% of total display-ad buying by the end of that year.”

great debate from the team, the main upshot of which was that programmatic buying will soon be how we predominantly buy ‘traditional’ online, with content moving even further up the online food chain, becoming of fundamental importance as online real-estate for brands.

a key implication is that it allows the conversations we have with our media owner partners to move on and focus on what, arguably, is the core point of those relationships – ideas, collaboration and creative use of media.

the other main implication is for those big traditional (broadcast) media owners who, as they mediate the future of their own media platforms, will see PB encroach on how they trade with agencies. whilst some broadcasters are already experimenting with DSP technology, its something that is unlikely to happen overnight. inertia aside, I genuinely believe that as revenues fragment across different channels, making PB work will become a strategic imperative, rather than an interesting inconvenience to broadcasters.

also this week, Gillette are exploring how exactly Superman shaves? a great activation on the brands’ YouTube channel has geeky celebrities proposing how they think the Man Of Steel shaves. awesome activation – will be even more so if the team involved find a way to amplify the content into broadcast.

gillette how does he shave

also this week an awesome app from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that allows you to use their data to explore the opinions and attitudes of people in your (or any) suburb and town across the nation.

oh, and that US$1.1bn purchase by Yahoo! of Tumblr. The Hunter observes that, when looked at from a data perspective, Yahoo! have essentially paid $4 each for the records of 300,000,000 active users – which makes it quite the bargain. whether it’s enough for the somewhat ailing Yahoo! remains to be seen.

innovating, listening

Spotify hits Mobiles: how ad funded music on demand will kill the MP3

right, Mediation has been away catching some rays but I'm back now and just been sent the above link by Vizeum's own Simon C.  it's a demo for a Spotify mobile phone application, showcase yesterday at a Google developer conference in San Fran.

its looks a joy, and another nail in the coffin for consumer paid-for music.  millions of tracks online available to listen to wherever you are whenever you want them.  and all courtesy – presumably – of the ad money that could (and should) be invested in the platfrom.

as a post on the site says: "this is just a demo and very much still a work
in progress. And to head off the inevitable questions, we don’t have
any more details on when it will be available, etc. Also, this isn’t
the only mobile app we’re working on, so stay tuned to this space…"

but the direction is clear: welcome to data being accessed from the cloud, welcome to the end of broadcast dominance, and welcome to the new contract between consumers, advertisers, and the stuff that brings them together…

its good to be back ;o)

blogging, branding, broadcasting, listening, social networking

Twitter’s ascent: why the emergence of this best kind of media space means brands have never had it so good

and so to Twitter, which – thanks to, in part, Obama, Ross and Fry – post a 27-fold increase in the last 12 months is now the seventh most popular SN site in the UK.  with such growth has come the inevitable and necessary Campaign article on how brands can capitalise on this particular bit of media evolution.

some sense talked by Robin "have genuine conversations with people … show your real personality and allow people to connect with you" Grant and Faris "we've got to earn attention by being entertaining, useful and also nice" Yakob. 

but also some craziness bounded about by Dare's Flo "create a fake receptionist" Heiss and internet consultant David "don't anthropomorphise it, what if an inanimate object was to Tweet" Bain.  the question of how much fun a social network would be if inanimate objects Tweeted aside, (although its not entirely mad – my fridge for example; "feeling great today post a thorough defrosting and clean out yesterday, brrrrr – life good" or my Wii "exhausted post Chris playing for sixteen hours non-stop on Super Mario Galaxy – still at least he's completed it now and he and I can get back on with our lives"), the question remains why, when and how should brands enter the Twittersphere?

the debate is picked up in a post on Robin's We Are Social blog, where he makes two important points: (1) a brand's Twitter strategy should be built around the business objectives its trying to achieve, and (2) the hard work only really begins when you're up and out there creating and managing the day after day micro-interactions with real

its worth reading down the comments, one by Adriana Lukes struck me as particularly relevant:

"If you think about brand as identity and branding as behaviour lots of
the idiotic advice rightly ridiculed in the post just looks absurd.
Fictional or inanimate characters' behaviour fools no one and is just
another tool in the messaging toolbox. And one-way communication is
messaging, two-way communication is behaviour. Twitter is rather
supercharged on that front…"

the evolution of media and communications and the fragmentation of
channels and empowerment of consumers that has come with it, is not a
beast to be grappled with.  rather its a gift to be embraced.

we need to change our collective idea of what 'broadcasting our brand communications' means.  from… a single-minded focus on one-to-many (with things like Twitter playing around the edge), to… having and using a tapestry of touchpoints by which to reach existing and potential customers.

TV ads and Twitter should be part of the same plan, because they come from the same place – the brand, and more specifically the reason for being & idea that sit behind that brand.  understanding and continually and consistently articulating that idea is what will align 'one-to-many' as well as 'many-to-many' touchpoints.

Twitter isn't something 'else'… like so many emerging platforms its the best kind of brand space; a space where you're forced to be relevant, interesting and polite, but most of all a space where the people you're so desperate to talk to, can talk back.  we've never had it so good.

advertising, blogging, branding, broadcasting, content creating, converging, engaging, listening, planning, regulating, researching, social networking, user-generating

Fighting the Future: reaching a rose-tinted concensus at the IPA 44 Club’s Future of Advertising in a Networked Society

A short history of marketing from jabi on Vimeo.

the rather lovely above video – by jabi – neatly sums up the collective dilemma of how brands, marketers and, specifically, agencies address the challenge of social media.  the issue was the topic of discussion last night at the IPA 44 Club's inaugural event of 2009:
The future of advertising in a networked society.  quite the session it was… here's the gist:

part one – report findings

  • social media = the online tools and platforms people use to share information, thoughts, opinions, content etc
  • problems is that brands are "crashing the party rather than hosting it" (Russell Davies)
  • many brands are experimenting but not getting traction in the area
  • we need a model of comms that reflects 'ME' as opposed to 'brand'
  • a model that's about conversation and participation rather than interruption and engagement
  • a model that incorporates David Armano's thinking about 'influence ripples'
  • Johnny X by Dare is a cracking example
  • which succeeded in concentrating the feeds into and out of it's online space (64% of upstream and 84% of downstream feeds came from 10 sites each)
  • planning social media should focus on targeting the few, that demonstrate: (1) expansiveness (propensity to chatter), (2) popularity (propensity to filter and target) and (3) reciprocity (likelihood to act)
  • network size is predictable, as is network flow, as is circulation

part two – agency survey

  • brands in a socially-networked world are more responsible for creating and disseminating the right information – brands should be more discretionary in what they produce [Mediation found this less than substantiated and at odds with Clay Shirky's comments at the MGEITF this year on filtering in a content-abundant world being after the fact, ie produce then allow the network to filter]
  • the way to reward brand advocates is not through financial incentive
  • the industry disagrees on two areas: (1) that advertising principles are the same in a networked society and (2) that social media behaves in a fundamentally new way
  • it is believed that most revenue is up for grabs in content creation, then data & insight, then market research & insight gathering (amongst others)
  • these new revenue streams represent £11bn of additional revenue opportunity, with another £5bn potentially
  • …which would be (exactly!) enough to meet the £16bn shortfall in industry revenues by 2016 predicted by the IPA's Future of Advertising and Agencies report of two years ago (£16bn = the difference between the IPA's 'Central' and 'Consumer' Scenarios)

part three – the discussion

I won't bullet this because it's getting late and you had to be there, but this was the better part of the evening with discussion ranging between philosophy of brands in a social media space to the (inevitable) measurement and accountability of such activity.

for me a kind of rose-tinted consensus was reached; consensus that went along the lines of:

  • marketing has always been about great social networking, the challenge is the same – getting the right content in the right place, its just that…
  • (1) people power is more potent (we have 500 networked connections not 50 disparate ones) and (2) we need to react to the context our message are in rather than control the context our messages are in
  • it's brilliant because we can react to real people in real time in the context of a real conversations
  • social media isn't a bolt on, it has to be woven into every brand touchpoint
  • brands need to behave differently, and understand that their relationship with consumers is – to consumers – much less important than consumers' relationships with other consumers

so in a nutshell social media is great because it's as old as the hills, better than the disruption model, measurable …and there's a freak-off big commercial opportunity for the brands and agencies that get it right.

I just don't think that it' that easy.  our industry is woefully
unprepared for the future.  there's some brilliant thinking and debate
going on, but the commercial models, joined-up industry measurement
systems, and marketing best practice principles – from a 'what works'
as opposed to a 'self-regulatory' point of view – just aren't moving
fast enough.

most importantly, not enough consideration was given
to the integration of broadcast and social media.  they're not going to
exist in isolation and broadcast media is going nowhere. iTunes didn't
kill CDs and Amazon didn't kill Waterstones.  social media certainly
won't kill mainstream broadcast media; the same mainstream broadcast
media that in the vast majority of instances provides social media
users with the content they comment on, pass on, or reappropriate for
their own ends.

the other interesting question is how the
behaviour of digital natives will evolve…  we're familiar with the
media 'hubs' that are the current crop of adolescent's bedrooms;
they're multi-tasking away across ten devices and infinite bits of
content.  but what happens when they grow-up?  how much of their social
media behaviour will they take with them into adulthood and how much
will they replace with the aggregated broadcast consumption of their

we live in interesting times; and I guess we wouldn't have it any other way.

one last word, I urge you to read JVW's post
about the event and specifically his debate on how the IPA can use social media
to get their social media report into more people's hands whilst not
impacting on revenues.  a pleasure and a joy.

blogging, converging, listening, planning

Listening and learning: Contagious and Naughton on the importance of responding to conversations

Twas the day before Christmas, when all thru the comms industry; Not a planner was stirring, not even a still-drunk buyer from the Christmas party the night before…

and so the last post before Chrimbo brings the loveliest of Christmas pressies from Contagious, who have given us all their Most Contagious review of the year for free.  it's packed full of cracking examples of the best marketing and comms ideas from the last twelve months, some of which pick up on what was their anticipated theme of the year – the conversation:

"If 2006 was about user-generated content and 2007 about social media, then 2008 is about the conversation.’ So predicted Contagious editor Paul Kemp-Robertson in The International Herald Tribune back in January. ‘In other words, brands will have to steel themselves to the idea that marketing is a two-way street, not just a conduit for directing their messages toward pliant consumers."
I hope that's true.  I want it to be true.  I want 2008 to be the year that our conversations stopped being one-way, and where marketing and communications learned how to listen in interesting and relevant ways.  because listening isn't enough; it's easy to say 'we're listening' with one hand yet continue to deploy messages for perception or behavioural change in the broadcast streams with the other.

and if 2008 was the year of the conversation, I hope that 2009 brings the year of informed debate.  the year that we can use those conversations in ways that influence how we go about doing what we do and saying what we say.

this importance of conversation was highlighted in a great article by John Naughton in the Observer, who reports on how a WSJ article failed to correctly understand a story on Google's relationship with ISPs.  more crucially though, when the blogosphere went about correcting the article, their contribution was then largely derided by the broadcast stream.  Naughton observes that:

"Watching the discussion unfold online was like eavesdropping on a
civilised and enlightening conversation. Browsing through it I thought:
this is what the internet is like at its best – a powerful extension of
what Jürgen Habermas once called 'the public sphere'."
this is the ambition, this is the hope.  that brands not just only listen in on the conversation, but then act on the information and opinion discussed within it's increasingly public sphere…  have awesome Chrimbo's guys, here's one last little treat from those crazy kids at AKQA, enjoy.