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Does marketing have the power to change the world? The year 2020 has forced us all to redress the net result of the industrial revolution, which spurred mass consumption and throw-away consumerism. So, can our industry – with the abundance of talent, skill and creativity- champion for a better future for all?

The Drum and Facebook have partnered to bring together teams from brands and agencies across the globe to provide some answers to this very challenging question. The idea is to get together experts from the industry to find solutions to business and societal challenges to help create value for the people and the communities it impacts.

The creative brief

Uniting three markets under the theme of ‘stakeholder capitalism’ – with attention to inclusion and diversity – three separate teams in North America, EMEA and APAC were put together to answer the brief that involves a rethink of how small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs) that are run by minorities operate, and how as an industry we can help create more resilient businesses especially in these unprecedented times.

Each of the three regions were given three separate briefs – The US (North America) team’s brief is to focus on women run SMEs. So how to overcome systemic social and financial challenges while starting and sustaining female-led businesses? Do they need to approach entrepreneurship differently?

For the London, UK (EMEA) team the theme was immigrant-led small business. Are immigrant-owned businesses the untapped potential? What are the challenges and opportunities of migrant founders and their businesses?

The theme for the APAC team is silver start-ups. A growing number of over-65s are now delaying retirement by starting their own firm, fueling a ‘grey business’ boom. What are their challenges, can we identify the most pertinent ones and solve those problems?

The first meet-up

Each of the teams kicked off their first virtual brainstorm session to find a campaign solution that would positively impact the lives of minority groups operating in the SME market. Each of the teams were also given mentors to help guide through the process.

Following is the list of the three teams:

Team US

  • Tom Spaven, brand director, Bombay Sapphire, North America (mentor)
  • Stephanie Walker, innovation marketing manager, Pepsico
  • Cassie Begalle, strategy and innovation brand Manager – U by Kotex, Kimberly-Clark
  • Iyanni Callender, junior art director, Strawberry Frog
  • Paola Ortega, associate strategy director, DDB Chicago
  • Michael Rodriguez, content strategist, 3 Leches Creative

Team UK

  • Arjoon Bose, marketing head- culture & brand experience (Europe-Australasia), General Mills (mentor)
  • Andre Campbell, partnerships lead, Mercedes-Benz
  • Fatima Diez, head of marketing, MunchFit
  • Shannie Mears, co-founder & talent chief, The Elephant Room
  • Jade Nodinot, former creative associate, BlackBook London
  • Emma Luxton, former senior account executive, Avantgarde London

Team APAC

  • Erica Kerner, SVP, marketing strategy & partnerships, ONE Championship (mentor)
  • Triveni Rajagopal, global digital director, skin cleansing and BPC, Unilever
  • Chandini Malla, senior manager, Diageo
  • Bryan Martin, social media executive, Reprise Digital
  • Adrianne Pan, planner, Havas Singapore

Team US: A fact-finding mission

Gender equality is at risk of being set back decades in the current climate – not just minorities in general, but especially women in it. In the US, the focus is on women-owned SMEs, looking at how female-led businesses can overcome systemic social and financial challenges, as well as addressing the different approaches that this cohort might have to entrepreneurship in order to succeed.

One such challenge was posed by keynote speaker Victoria Monsul Singolda, owner and creative director of Iris & Virgil, who discussed that though it might be true that for women-led businesses, their vulnerabilities as women and as small business owners are compounded, there needs to be a gender-smart approach because not all women-led businesses are the same.

“I never really thought of myself as a female business owner, I’m just a business owner. Maybe because my mother was very dominant in the household, she was a student, she was a business owner, she was a mum, we always saw her, we were always together. Maybe that’s why I never thought that there was something different or special being a girl.”

Headed up by mentor Tom Spaven from Bombay Sapphire, the team immediately honed into “resilience” and “impact” as the insights towards this gender-smart approach.

The team delved into discussions to align on common goals and objectives. The first step was to focus on the challenges in order to find the most creative solution – with three key take-aways that these women are lacking: Knowledge and resources to tap into; a community to help them venture into this new world; and platforms available to really share and have people learn more about.

The team then decided that the initial insight-led approach would begin with a fact-finding mission to assess the situation and the scale of the problem that the campaign needed to solve; followed by the consumer insight to understand the deep motivations and needs of the target to ultimately give the barrier they need to start to push against in order to solve the problem; and finally, culture listening around this topic – all of which would help to get a clear, sharpened brief about the real problem they are trying to solve.

Team EMEA: Move from ‘pivot to evolve’

On the other side of the Atlantic, Team EMEA, led by mentor Arjoon Bose from General Mills, tackled the untapped potential of ethnic minority and immigrant-owned founders, their challenges and opportunities.

“The last few months have been testing and I think we’ve all come up with a ton of learning. But I think we’re at that stage right now where we’re needing to move from pivot to evolve,” said Bose. “A growth mindset is what we’re going to have to need as we come out of this and prepare to get stronger and accelerate.”

After hearing from keynote speakers Sharon Jandu, director, Yorkshire Asian Business Association and director, Northern Asian Power List; and Steph Douglas, founder, Don’t Buy Her Flowers, it was clear that a heavy emphasis on networking, relationships and experiences, along with access to digital technologies, were key in bringing this community together.

“For an SME, they are so busy doing what they do that they don’t have the time or the capacity to think about what they can do – or they don’t have the networks to enable them to get the contacts to get investments or to get ideas. They are constantly running on a treadmill, trying to do and keep what they are doing alive. How can we stop them becoming so absorbed in their business that they can actually distance themselves and look at it from an aerial perspective?” asked Jandu.

The team identified the need to listen and learn directly from migrant-led business owners themselves to understand their experience, their struggles and challenges with direct feedback through focus groups and on-the-ground research. This would allow them to narrow down into one or two sectors that need the drive and support. They identified Facebook’s own small business community as a great place to start to create a questionnaire in order to gain invaluable insights to help shape their strategy.

“The opportunity that digital gives us to connect these immigrant-owned businesses with each other and provide each other with their own experience and their own knowledge can be a very valuable thing that we could leverage if it’s relevant to their challenge,” said Fatima Diez.

Team APAC: Reinventing and re-energising culture

With a growing number of over 65s now delaying retirement and fuelling a ‘grey business’ boom, the focus for Team APAC was on overcoming the challenges faced by the silver start-ups, particularly when it comes to navigating through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mentored by Erica Kerner from ONE Championship, the team was presented with a keynote talk by Jeremy Nguee, founder, Preparazzi Gourmet Catering; Batu Lesung Spice Company; who helped his mother set up Mrs. Kueh, a local sweet treat business. They touched upon some of the unique experiences and challenges of their business that they ran from home.

Hoping to learn from this experience and translate these lessons to help support silver entrepreneurs and home-based businesses through his volunteering role in the Hawkers United Facebook community, Nguee said: “I think this is going to be a very, very big market. There are a lot more home-based businesses coming up because of high unemployment in the market.”

Inspired by the talk, the team decided to focus on Singapore food culture and food service industry run by silver entrepreneurs, that has an international dimension throughout much of its history but continues to retain features firmly rooted in the locality so that the global and local are not always distinct. The team wanted to understand the different segments of businesses and the landscape in which they were working in.

“The complexities of Asia, the complexities of the segment, the types of digital, could become such a beast,” says Kerner. “My instinct is to start with the data. Starting a business now, no matter what your age is a challenge and a lot of small businesses are obviously struggling to survive. We’ve got a lot of things to think about. What aspect of this do we want to try to unbuckle?” asked Kerner. “In Singapore we are losing a lot of that Hawker culture and if we can find a way to re energise it, and bring more people back into it, it’s good for all of Singapore culture.”

The next steps

Over the upcoming weeks, the teams will continue to work on their campaign and then subsequently present the big idea for solving that problem.

The final ideas will be entered in The Drum Social Purpose Awards.

The Drum consulting editor, Sonoo Singh, said: I’m inspired to see the true power of marketing when used to promote issues that are critical to our societies, persuade a change in behaviours, and influence a positive shift in behavior that would benefit our environment. Having been involved with all the teams, I cannot wait to see the final outcome of this very challenging brief.”

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A report published by Influencer and GlobalWebIndex has found that two thirds of consumers think they will use social media to the same extent once restrictions are lifted. This comes as the report also finds that 72% of consumers who follow influencers in the U.S. and the UK say they’re spending more time on social media per day since the outbreak of coronavirus.

The news proves that the coronavirus outbreak has shifted the social media landscape in a potentially permanent way. The trends that the marketing industry has seen in recent months are set to have long lasting impacts, with consumers suggesting that their interaction with influencers is here to stay.

The report from Influencer offers custom research on influencer marketing alongside existing research on the coronavirus to dig into the impact the outbreak has had on consumers’ behaviors. The survey taken in May 2020, defined their audience as internet users who say they follow content creators/influencers on social media. This definition rendered a sample of 1,056 (UK) and 1,038 (U.S.) internet users aged 16-64.

The goal of the report was to unearth the effect that coronavirus has had on influencer marketing and consumer behaviours, as well as consumer relationships to content creators. This report is being used as a guide post for brands concerned with how to successfully work with creators moving forward.

Influencer’s findings proved that consumer media use has increased over the coronavirus period, largely because people have been restricted from doing their normal day-to-day activities. The report confirmed that content consumption has risen, showing that 72% of consumers who follow influencers in the U.S. and the UK say they’re spending more time on social media per day since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Gen Z already use social media at high levels, however, the research by Influencer has shown that this has increased to 84%. It was found to be only a little lower for baby boomers at 68%, showing that time spent on social media has increased across all age groups. People are using social media at higher levels across the board, and crucially, they see this as something that they will continue to do.

One of the key findings of the report was that two-thirds of consumers who follow influencers say they’re likely to continue using social media to the same extent once restrictions are lifted. The report showed that baby boomers are more inclined to say they’re likely to continue using social media to the same extent than Gen Z; 69% of boomers say this compared to 57% of Gen Z.

The findings have proven that social media use is at an all time high, and this high is set to continue into 2020 and beyond. Consumer perceptions of social media are shifting, as more people become comfortable with consuming content on social platforms.

Read the full report here: The Age of Influence: How COVID-19 has propelled brands into the era of influencer marketing

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Marketing holds a unique place in the modern world; it has the ability to challenge and shape perspectives, to inform culture and to kickstart movements.

Now, in a time of global crisis, we see more clearly than ever the industry’s ability to effect real change, by driving positive messages and offering platforms to those that need it.

It is in the spirit of this fundamental belief that The Drum and Facebook have teamed up to launch the ‘Marketers Can Change the World’ global initiative, which aims to unite and support the industry across three areas: EMEA, North America and APAC.

At its heart, Facebook exists to help create and sustain communities, even from a distance. Now, during Covid-19, that distance is felt more than ever. Pledging to donate $100mn to 30,000 small-to-medium size businesses (SMBs) across these markets, Facebook will support established and rising marketing leaders to rethink how these businesses are run and how we can make them more resilient in times of struggle.

Discussing the exciting new initiative and how marketing can effect positive change in the world is; General Mills marketing head- culture & brand experience (Europe-Australasia), Arjoon Bose, Bombay Sapphire brand director, North America, Tom Spaven, Facebook global industry relations and intelligence lead, Sylvia Zhou, and The Drum associate editor, Sonoo Singh.

What steps have been taken?

“You’ll have seen the Coronavirus Information Centre located at the top of your news feed from the start of the pandemic,” says Zhou. “This was introduced so that our users are up-to-date with news and developments, from a source they can trust.” Facebook has also offered free ads to public health authorities such as the W.H.O, created Community Help where people can support their peers and recently launched Facebook Shops to help users pivot their business online.

Spaven speaks of Bacardi’s commitment to their consumers during this trying period: “The bar and events industry was particularly impacted by Covid-19, so we wanted to give back to the businesses that have continually supported our business.” The project pledged $3mn in financial aid to bars and bartenders facing difficulty during this period, as well as offering up their platforms and marketing expertise for those that need it. For Bacardi, it was a case of serving those that serve them; an idea also seen at General Mills. With the enforcement of lockdown, Bose understood that it was essential to reiterate the kitchen as being the heart of the home and to promote the everyday products needed by families.

What more can bigger brands do to provide support?

“Now is the time to be bold and responsible,” Bose responds. Marketing has always been at the forefront of significant change. He argues that during these difficult times marketing gives consumers a reason to spend and a reason to hope. Now is the time to reiterate brand identity.

Spaven believes that going back to basics is the surest way to engage your consumer base. “The fundamentals of marketing, as well as of human behavior don’t change, only budgets and resources do.”

What are the objectives of the Facebook project?

The ‘Marketers Can Change the World’ global initiative supports small-to-medium size businesses (SMBs) across EMEA, North America and APAC and will focus predominantly on those run by immigrants, senior citizens, or women. “Statistics show that businesses run by these marginalized groups encounter more difficulties in acquiring resources and financial funding,” Zhou shares with us. The project will give rising stars in the marketing industry the opportunity to collaborate with senior mentors with vast experience in the field. Working together on a prescribed brief, the teams will create business policies that give value for the people and communities they impact. Facebook will provide essential training and access to tools that will allow these businesses to thrive both during and after the pandemic.

What knowledge will the mentors be able to impart?

Both Arjoon Bose and Tom Spaven express their sincere gratitude at having been asked to take part in the initiative as mentors. “This is a great opportunity to listen and learn from others, and to experience situations in a new way,” Spaven says. These views are echoed by Bose, who recognizes this opportunity to collaborate with different people and teams, as a teaching moment.

“I hope to be able to provide a fresh perspective to the team members and ask the right questions,” shares Spaven. This initiative lets teams combine the quick thinking of big brands with the even quicker movement of smaller, more centralised businesses.

At the heart of this, is our consumers- and their needs are changing rapidly. How are brands able to keep pace with this?

“Brands have to always be open to change,” states Bose. “Whether that’s remaining open to rethinking your retention strategy, trying out new tools or reprioritizing your products in line with consumer needs- we must be agile.”

Similarly, for Spaven businesses should always be thinking about their brand experience and how this meets customer needs. “Purpose is so important for every brand, but that doesn’t mean they all have to save the world,” he affirms. Understanding your brand’s mission and ensuring you deliver that, ethically and responsibly is enough.

Spaven adds that diversifying the industry needs to be a top priority if we are to truly meet the demands of today’s consumer; “It’s not about ticking a box, it’s about benefitting your bottom line- it’s just good business sense.”

Zhou agrees: “This mission is at the core of what Facebook wants to achieve in this initiative. By channelling our every effort into increasing the visibility of these groups, we want to create a ripple effect throughout the industry. This project will reveal the true power of marketing to influence for good and change the world for the better.”

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With both legacy and new media titles strained, we discover how indie magazine Delayed Gratification has been adapting to changed circumstances under lockdown.

With the collapse of advertising and marketing spend in recent months, media titles and especially magazine publishers have had a rough time of it, with lay-offs and pay cuts reported across the sector. Just this week, Dennis Publishing, the owner of brands such as Viz and The Week, announced that it was putting a quarter of its staff into a redundancy consultation.

However, for some publishers, a significant increase in magazine subscriptions has offset market woes. A study from Jellyfish found that demand for magazine subs has skyrocketed under lockdown, with verticals such as tech and gaming seeing a 268% year-on-year increase.

With less reliance on physical office space and smaller staffs, independent magazines have found themselves better positioned to cater to that increase in subscription demand.

Delayed Gratification is a quarterly indie title that champions ‘slow journalism’, covering current affairs with a three-month lag. Founded in 2010 with the tag ’Last to breaking news’, it’s considered a darling of the indie scene for its infographics and longform reporting.

According to co-founder and editorial director Rob Orchard, it’s also seen record-breaking subscription sales during the lockdown period.

“We’ve seen subscription sales that at times look more like Christmas sales,” he says. “We’ve seen a major rise in subscriptions, which has been the silver lining for us. We’ve had record-breaking sales, at times double what we would expect for this time of year.”

However, distribution networks and the newsstand have been significantly impaired.

According to Orchard, Delayed Gratification’s latest issue, which covered the final quarter of 2019, was sent to the United States the day before the country locked down incoming air mail deliveries. While US subscribers got their copies on time, thousands meant for the newsstand have been held up at distribution houses, as the bookshops and magazine stores that stock the magazine closed their doors.

“They’ve just been sitting there in warehouses. That’s tens of thousands of pounds worth of stock that is usable, but only if we sell insane numbers of back issues over the next 20 years.”

Digital edition

Distribution headaches, and the fear that the title’s printers would cease operations, led to the magazine unveiling its first-ever digital edition. ”People have asked us for years for a digital version of the magazine… but we’ve always shied away from it because we didn’t think that it was as special,” says Orchard. Since launching “with zero fanfare”, the title has gained its first seven digital-only subscribers. Orchard says the title will build on that base going forward to capture those readers uninterested in printed matter or in territories that make shipping prohibitive.

“That prospect of not being able to print the magazine gave us a real kick up the bottom to get that sorted,” he adds.

The magazine has also taken its events business virtual, albeit reluctantly. “We’ve always said it won’t be the same. You wouldn’t have that kind of intimacy that you get from being in the same room as other people.

“If anything, it’s kind of been better and more intimate, in a weird way. We’ve had smaller groups of readers, but from all over the world. It’s amazing – you’re talking to somebody in Brazil, and somebody who’s in Las Vegas, and somebody who’s in Dublin, all on the same call in a way that would never be possible before.”

Changing reader habits

To cope with changed circumstances in the streets, the title plans to clip back the print run – usually around 10,000 copies – of its next issue, due out later this month. “We’ll be bringing it down significantly,” Orchard explains. And while high streets and newsstands are beginning to re-open, he suggests consumer habits will not return to normal as quickly, if at all.

“Independent magazines cost quite a lot – it’s much less of an impulse purchase. And if people are not going to be browsing in the same way, then I think there’s every chance that sales of indie mags will be much, much lower.”

“It may just be that all people want to do is go to the pub and just drink solidly, as much as they possibly can,” he suggests.

On the other hand, recent events could spur the adoption of new habit-forming behaviours for magazine readers. “More people are going to need things that make them feel part of something. I think there is going to be real engagement with the world and a desire to know about it.

“People need to know what’s going on, more than ever before.”

Feature Image Credit: Delayed Gratification has, like many other indie titles, been boosted and hit by the coronavirus lockdown. / Delayed Gratification

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UK TV broadcasters are attracting record audiences, meeting their public service remit, and keeping the lights on while working from home. In return, they are bracing for a precipitous drop in ad revenue these next few months.

First, ITV said it expected a 10% ad revenue drop in April. Just weeks later, Channel 4 announced business cuts and staff furloughs, blaming the pandemic’s “severe effect” on demand and predicting that the current situation would burn a 50% hole in the TV market in April and May. ITV also said it was “taking measures to reduce costs and manage cash flow”.

At any other time, these audiences would be cause for celebration for the TV industry (ThinkBox says Easter weekend viewing in the UK was up 29% year on year). However, there are a difficult few months ahead as broadcasters look to ensure the flow of content keeps people informed and entertained at home, which balancing the books.

Barney Farmer, sales and marketing director at Nielsen Online, says its data shows that UK ad spend dropped 27% year-on-year across all media channels in March. Money coming in from from travel, transport and business utilities halved, while retail investments fell by a fifth. Some sectors saw the reverse. Among them was government advertising was up by 38%, food was up 16%, and tech/computing rose a massive 60% from an already high base.

Farmer explains: “The initial data for TV advertising in April does not paint a pretty picture, and it is expected that the numbers will drop significantly for the overall month.”

Many TV budgets have been frozenbroadcasters are unable to rely on tentpole events to prop them up. Brands looking to activate around the now delayed Euro 2020 (which ITV was expecting a particularly strong performance from) have been forced to shelve their best-laid plans. Other businesses are turning off the tap due to diminishing stock or demand.

“Broadcasters will be looking at all avenues for revenues, whether that is through different advertising sectors or ways to ensure money stays in their businesses via different digital channels,” adds Farmer. “Out of a crisis often comes new ideas so we can potentially expect something emerging that doesn’t exist today.”

The UK’s major broadcasters are all reliant upon ad income, although to differing degrees. ITV is less vulnerable to the ad freeze than the likes of Channel 4 due to its diversification efforts in production, e-commerce and its stake in streaming service BritBox. Sky, meanwhile, has user-generated revenue to lean on — although without the draw of its sports properties it could be bleeding custom.

Which brands are still on TV?

Amid this bleak outlook, British broadcasters are forming battle plans.

Some advertisers are still spending, with many leaning on TV to communicate how they are adapting to the pandemic or driving home message for viewers to ‘Stay At Home’. Though it’s brought the economy to a grinding halt, there is an opportunity for usefulness and long-term goodwill from brands willing to embrace a higher purpose. Others TV spenders may still follow, be it retailers directing shoppers from their shuttered stores to online, or games and apps looking to grab the attention of a bored locked-down populace — also, prices for a premium ad slot have dropped significantly.

“It’s looking like the cheapest TV pricing I’ve ever seen in my in my media career,” asserts Mihir Haria-Shah, head of broadcast at Total Media. Some audiences are down 50% year on year in terms of pricing. “I wasn’t working then, but it is comparable to the 2008 recession”.

The combination of larger audiences tuning into the TV at home and a reduction in demand for the inventory is to blame, argues Haria-Shah. “TV is really deflationary at the moment, and prices have really fallen kind of through the floor.”

Haria-Shah also notes some trepidation among brands that have been absent from TV for a while, a quick return may look “opportunistic”.

“Given the current circumstances, there’s quite a fine balance between doing the right thing for your business and also maintaining your long-term brand reputation,” he continues.

He adds its important to note that not every brand’s been fully hamstrung by the pandemic: “Some brands have actually reported their best sales in years, or for younger brands, the best in their existence.” FMCGs are among those seeing a bump from some of the early panic-buying of essential items, for which toilet paper will long be a visual metaphor for.

Right now, one of the biggest barriers to entry on TV, beyond falling ad budgets, is the lack of ability to produce big-ticket, sensitive creative. With most of ad land under lockdown, amendments will have to be made to existing films. Shots of friends and family out in the world having fun, or even in close contact, now carry negative connotations. The tone has to be right. The message can’t deviate too far from stay home. And the work can’t feel cynical, else long-term damage will be done in the name of short-term gains.

Some brands have been quick to adapt though. Apple is telling us that the lockdown doesn’t mean the end of creativity. Nike has been showing the home training routines of athletes. Toyota new creative was directed over Zoom. Mobile-footage and sweeping image slideshows driven by voiceover are the flavour of the day for brands limited in what in they can produce.

Accessibility

To woo brands among all this, broadcasters are looking to remove as much as the friction from buying and production as possible. Certain fees are being waived, and the best spots are more readily available than they’ve been.

On the production side, ITV’s in-house team is now being tooled to help clients where it can. There’s a great effort to get the work over the line fashion in its keen to help and others will be doing the same.

The in-house creative teams have indeed been busy too, Channel 4 and the BBC’s PSA efforts both landed earlier this week with strikingly different tones but the same message – ‘stay at home (and watch TV)’.

Further down the chain, according to Haria-Shah, TV ad clearance house Clearcast is reportedly working at an impressive rate – its new priority is to ensure no TV ads exploit the pandemic, spread misinformation, or offer advice contrary to that government guidance: “It’s [clearance period] seems to be down from five to three working days.”

He believes demand in TV ads will rise these coming weeks.

“TVs always been seen as the best brand builder. And now consumption is through the roof, you can sit alongside record audiences on trusted news or alongside the escapism of comedy, soaps and drama. There’s a lot of longer-term positive associations, that brands that advertise correctly can build right now.”

The aforementioned broadcaster budget cuts threaten this dynamic. Many productions have been frozen, few that were on the slate can be delivered under lockdown. As replacements, broadcasters have literal warehouses of archive content they can tap into.

ITV moved fast in releasing Euro 96 footage to its on-demand Hub as was requested by fans. BBC’s current affairs panel show is going ahead with phoned-in floating heads in a virtual studio. Netflix released a series of calls between Joel McHale as a bonus Tiger King episode. A BBC weatherman stole headlines by entering a frenzied cover of the news theme after his delivering his forecasts.

Will these bold makeshift productions continue to draw high attention these next few months? Or will audiences get their heads turned by a wealth of entertainment content on many of the ad-free subscription video-on-demand services.

Disney+ has just launched, Netflix and Prime and going anywhere. And for some, Quibi may be worth a look.

Concluding, Haria-Shah says: “You always believed that soaps like Coronation Street would always be on the TV. Its pause is a real symbol of how serious an impact this is having on the TV landscape.”

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From The Trade Desk to Condé Nast and Puma to PepsiCo, we ask some of the world’s best digital marketers where they think the next big industry shift will come from?

Nigel Vaz, global chief executive officer, Publicis Sapient

If you’re riding (or getting hit by) waves then you’re probably still swimming in the shallows. By which I mean it would be easy to answer that the next big wave is the ability to reach new possibilities in personalization at scale, across touchpoints, through data and machine learning. It’s true, but tells only part of the story. What we are all here to do is not to help clients create a deliverable, but a way to operate and exist so they don’t end up on the receiving end of another company’s disruptive breakthrough. The most compelling conversations I have are with business leaders who aren’t looking for waves, but horizons: people such as Novartis chief executive Vas Narasimhan, whose vision is to move beyond being a pharmaceutical company and to create value for patients and support them through their entire lifecycle. That’s an incredibly powerful and purposeful ambition that requires reimagining that business on a number of fronts, from strategy to experience to the application of data.

Oliver Deane, director of commercial digital, Global

Voice will start to have a huge impact on our daily lives. We will begin to do much more than ask Alexa to play the radio. As we embrace voice to be more productive, we will use our devices to order groceries while we make dinner, have a long-form feature read to us while we exercise and book our train travel while shopping. Much of this technology is already accessible – the wave of disruption in the coming years will be how much voice is used and how regular it becomes within our lives.

Ray Soto, director of emerging tech, Gannett

The digital signs of the next big wave are all around us, but you can’t focus on one without considering the others. I foresee the next big wave will be a convergence of several technologies that solves a problem and delivers an experience worth being a part of. I see it as something that helps us navigate our digital space differently, but provides a more immersive experience and efficiency without a lack of connection we may feel today.

Adam Harris, director of custom solutions, Twitch

I believe live sport is surfing the first wave of digital disruption. Sports often look to expand their reach into different audiences or look for different ways to communicate with existing fans. On top of that you have a host of traditional sports, such as golf and Formula 1, with aging fan bases, contrasted with the eSports scene, which is thriving among younger demographics – just look at the success of the recent Fortnite World Cup.

With eSports’ success as a purely digital-first experience, traditional sports have a huge opportunity. Interactive live environments such as Twitch are made for the kind of communal, passionate tribal experiences live sport delivers. We are already seeing strong engagement in this area with the likes of the NFL, Champions and Europa Leagues, MLS, Rugby League and National Women’s Hockey League all broadcasting live on Twitch.

Luke Davies, senior manager of global yield, Reuters

Data privacy law, again. GDPR is a slow burner and unfortunately our industry’s attempts of adoption have reduced the general user experience quality across the web. For GDPR, and now CCPA in 2020, with the potential for wider uptake across the US market, we can expect to experience changing tides across the next few years.

Simon Gresham Jones, chief digital officer, Condé Nast

On our mobile devices, again. 5G will open up a new frontier of business and creative possibilities for brands. For media and entertainment in particular, there’s an opportunity to re-imagine how we inspire our audiences at scale.

Morten Grubak, executive creative director for northern Europe, Virtue

The intellectual properties of brands. Brands need to be innovative in the products, services and solutions they bring to the world (this is where adding value really gets to live), not just in their communication.

Creative agencies should have as much contact with product development and innovation, not just marketing. We need to prove our value by solving real problems – and not just that, but doing it in surprising and interesting ways to capture the world’s increasingly scarce attention. It’s harder than it sounds. But don’t fret: the world is young.

Alexandra Willis, head of communications, content and digital, AELTC

A continuation of the ability of AI, machine learning and automation to drive personalization: it will just get better and more sophisticated and therefore true choice for the consumer over experience, rather than just customization within rules.

Voice: not being wedded to keyboards will rapidly increase the speed at which things are expected to happen, both in terms of the way we work and how consumers engage.

5G penetration: if it does what it says, it could transform the cost and flexibility of content production in such a way that we move completely away from linear and digital, and have a truly integrated model.

Alysia Borsa, chief marketing and data officer, Meredith

It’s hard to pick just one thing. From a consumer perspective, behaviors continue to evolve and expand to multiple platforms, with voice being a major shift in engagement. From a business perspective, providing personalization and relevancy in a cookieless world is going to be disruptive, and players who have direct relationships with consumers will be best set up to succeed.

Julie Clark, global head of automation revenue and podcast monetization, Spotify

How we leverage and utilize data is going to be a massive disruptor to our industry; we all need to plan for it now rather than allowing it to happen to us. There is also a reimagining happening right now as we start to connect digital back to real-world engagement of consumers. While direct to consumer brands have fundamentally changed purchase behaviors, I do believe human tactile experiences will continue to be fundamental now and into the future. From pop-up store trends to retailers becoming more skilled in connecting their on and offline worlds, I think we are going to have an interesting few years seeing these worlds merge.

Victor Knaap, chief executive officer, MediaMonks

In my opinion the word ‘digital’ needs to be killed soon – everything is digital. Besides that, my prediction is media companies that don’t master programmatic will have a real hard time in the next 12 months. To be frank, I am afraid we all generally expect too much from the near future. Old models die slowly, while we are overlooking the real change that will happen in the long-term. The media, agency and consultancy industry will look completely different in 10 years’ time.

Tamara Rogers, global chief marketing officer, GSK Consumer Healthcare

A truly intelligent internet of things. A world where the devices around you no longer just respond to your instructions, but predict your needs based on the behavioral data patterns they have tracked. For example, your vehicle self-adjusting the seat and heat pads to the optimum position and temperature to ease your back pain, identified as an issue from the way you have been moving during sleep the previous night and your range of mobility since rising. How are brands part of a dynamic system to improve the quality of life?

Aaron Cho, head of digital, IPG Mediabrands Hong Kong

There are growing privacy concerns around the usage of data, while digital properties continue to tighten their data policies. I think these forces might bring about the next big shift in digital marketing for two main reasons. Firstly, the privacy landscape is still changing and the dust has yet to settle – there’s no clear indication about which digital linkages will break and which ones marketers will need to bridge, which affects practices around identity resolution and data-driven audience planning. Secondly, while there are numerous data and tech companies on the market right now, their solutions are mostly still in development in the APAC region and there’s also a very real shortage of talent that understands how to manage their implementation.

Josh Peters, director of data partnerships, BuzzFeed

First-party audience collection and data privacy. They’re intrinsically linked together – as they should be – and companies and brands who handle this well will be big winners. We’re already seeing apps like BigToken helping consumers not just take control of their data but also helping them monetize it themselves. That’s a huge shift in the market – users making money off their own data instead of just companies. This, in turn, makes the data the app holds even more valuable in the market.

For brands and publishers, the ways in which they collect and use audiences is going to be imperative to future success, especially in an industry whose regulatory structure is exponentially increasing in complexity. Tech that makes it easy to collect in areas third-party pixels can’t, that seamlessly connects to privacy compliance frameworks and even the privacy frameworks themselves, will change the way marketers do business. The ones who make it both easy and effective will help change the course of digital marketing soon.

Sean Lyons, global chief executive officer, R/GA

Data privacy. There are a lot of new technologies currently in development that rely on almost unlimited access to people’s behavioral and personal data. What happens when people, and legislators, decide that privacy is more important than personalized messages and services? What happens when these technologies fall into the wrong hands? There is a big opportunity to solve this problem in fair and novel ways.

Mike Scafidi, head of martech, adtech and consumer data, PepsiCo

The next digital disruption will be through establishing trust. This will protect the interests of the consumer and improve the marketer’s ability to have an accurate understanding of the consumer. This will fundamentally disrupt everything we see in the data ecosystem today.

Sujatha Kumar, senior director of marketing, Visa India

I think we are seeing it as we speak. It’s no longer a fragmented market or media, but it’s a fragmented consumer who has a myriad of choices and a short attention span – hence the rise of programmatic ad platforms for dynamic creative optimization. There’s still a long way to go on how these platforms really evolve to serve their purpose – not just to us marketers, but also the end consumer.

The other big disruption will be voice – how it will become the key enabler and how tools such as facial and voice recognition will become the norm for security encryptions.

Stephan Loerke, chief executive officer, World Federation of Advertisers

The next big wave of digital disruption will be voice. We see penetration of voice assistants growing exponentially, and hurdles to voice commerce are comparatively low – once the technology is fully there. From a brand marketer’s perspective, voice will change the equation fundamentally – in terms of consumer trust, role of platforms and brand presence.

Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer, Visa

Augmented reality will hit in a big way. I think we’ll see it primarily through virtual shopping experiences, with consumers being able to trigger supplemental experiences through AR and brands. With AR, companies can manifest much more engaging experiences with their consumers than what we generally see today.

Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing, Puma

I think many brands have been successful in making the jump from advertising-based messaging to storytelling, story creation and content-focused messaging. Now we must find ways to actually leverage the power of the technology at our fingertips to leverage content and story creation in a targeted way, at scale. That’s the issue at the heart of the current moment of stress and tension in the industry. Once we overcome the hurdle of getting promising dots to line up, then we can all start to focus on the ‘next’ wave, which I have to assume will be linked to end customers beginning to exert ownership of their personally owned marketing space and opting in to virtually all messaging that we want to deliver.

Jeff Green, chief executive officer, The Trade Desk

As I have said before, we will likely never see a bigger industry shift than what’s happening right now in connected TV. We are at the very beginning of the digitization of TV advertising. For the first time, advertisers can apply real data to their large TV ad campaigns. Much of what we’ve done over the past decade has simply been a dress rehearsal for the digital shift happening in TV right now. Every top advertiser wants to know how they can best access CTV inventory at scale and how they can apply programmatic to it.

Nicolas Bidon, global chief executive officer, Xaxis

To use a famous quote: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” I believe the next big wave of digital disruption will be when some of the forces that have been at play in China for a couple of years already – such as mobile-first experiences powered by AI, social commerce at scale and frictionless mobile financial payments, to name just a few – will make their way to the US and Europe.

Lisa Utzschneider, chief executive officer, IAS

At IAS we are placing big bets on connected TV and OTT as the next digital disruption. We are already seeing major broadcasters start the shift to CTV/OTT content and that trend is expected to continue and grow. We’re leaders in creating solutions for advertisers and publishers to ensure that every ad impression is viewable, brand-safe and fraud-free, and we’re bringing our 10 years of experience in digital verification to the CTV space with our open beta in the US.

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Sourced from The Drum

By .

I founded my content marketing studio when I was 22. I’d already been a full-time social media freelancer for about three years, and I thought I’d been through it all – highs and lows with clients big and small, stints at advertising agencies, meetings and tedious admin.

In early 2018 projects just kept coming, and I decided it’s time to expand. I thought it wouldn’t be any different, really (big misconception), and I can handle it no matter what (debatable).

As I’m writing this, I’m 24 and my agency is nearing its second birthday. We’re now a team of five residing in a small office in East London – not the biggest enterprise the world has seen, but I wouldn’t have thought it possible two years ago.

I’d always preferred to stay quiet about my age. I believe we should be judged by the quality of our work, and I suspect many people would equate my age with a lack of experience. Or, worse, take it as a sign I could be taken advantage of, offered unpaid – or underpaid – gigs.

Beyond ageism

Ageism in the marketing industry is alive and well. It tends to hit those on the other side of the spectrum than me the most, though. It is an industry where fresh ideas are valued above all, and fresh ideas are often unfairly associated with youth. I don’t want to participate in spreading that mindset.

So, I kept my age to myself, considering it nothing but a liability. But we all grow up in different times and circumstances, and as a result, end up with different worldviews. They are all equally valuable.

One day, as I was talking to a friend, I noticed how surprised he was to find out I supplemented my income in the early days of my career by building websites, designing flyers and creating illustrations.

Indeed, I spent so much time on my laptop in my teens that by the time I was 19, I was a junior social media manager, junior copywriter, junior web developer, junior graphic designer and a junior illustrator rolled into one. That’s because I grew up in precarious times, in a bad economy, with pretty bleak prospects. I knew I had to diversify my skillset from a very young age.

Turns out, growing up in the 2000s and early 2010s brought a lot of valuable lessons.

Seeing the potential in others

I was still a teen when I landed my first freelance gig.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without the clients who took a chance on me (just like Abba). My first client, who had a 19-year-old Eastern European me running all his socials, and who recommended me to other clients. A PR consultant who taught me to stop using emojis in emails (yes, I needed to be told). An agency that kept giving me more responsibilities because they believed I could handle it. Another agency which had me sit in on all the big scary meetings, so I had an opportunity to learn. A client who thought I had potential and allowed me to spread my wings — the same client who believed in me even if I messed up.

I like to extend all of the kindness I received to marketing juniors. When I need help on a project, I’m not overlooking people with little to no relevant experience, no matter their age — I’m looking for someone I could believe in.

Flexible working

The marketing industry is no stranger to flexible working. I don’t believe the future of creative work relies on a rigid eight hour working day.

Therefore, if a 9 to 5 isn’t your thing, I trust you’re able to deliver what’s asked of you within a reasonable timeline. I work with adults, I’m not running a daycare — I don’t need to know where you are as long as the work is done.

Be prepared for everything

Would you like to know how to set Gen Z and millennials apart? Since no one agrees what the exact cut-off year between the two is, follow this handy guide instead:

Have they grown up in the era of economic prosperity, and entered the workforce just before, or during the financial collapse of the late 2000s? Have they been surprised to realise they will most likely be financially worse off than their parents? They’re a millennial.

Has the 2008 crisis marked their childhood or teenage years? Have they grown up in a precarious economy and entered the workforce fully aware that they may never buy a house or expect a traditional career path? They’re Gen Z.

I was 12/13 when the market collapsed. Even though it didn’t affect me directly back then, I was aware something has changed for good. I was a teen when the political upheaval in Europe started, and I was in my late teens when environmental issues became a mainstream issue. Any illusions of a safe world I had as a kid were quickly dispersed. It became apparent that if I follow my mum’s (literature teacher) or my dad’s (radio journalist turned writer) paths, I will never buy a house. Hell, I will probably never buy a house anyway. And I may not be able to retire for a very, very, very long time.

If I live long enough for retirement, that is – given that most climate emergency projections paint a catastrophic view of the 2050s. My earliest retirement year is 2063.

So, my constant need for self-improvement is pretty much fueled by existential anxiety. Can’t think of a better motivation!

Everyone’s time is valuable

I coded websites for a living, so when the time came to let someone else code mine, I wasn’t cutting costs. I know how much of your time and heart goes into building a website.

I used to create illustrations for clients, so I wouldn’t offer the illustrators I commission an unfair deal. I remember how soul-crushing it was to receive negative feedback on your art.

My early freelance experiences in various roles helped me empathise with how valuable everyone’s time is. I’ve met freelancers-turned-agency-owners who charged the clients double the day rate they paid the freelancer. I’ve met people who never freelanced and charged the client triple the day rate while cutting the costs as much as they could.

If I believe a freelancer’s work is worth £500 a day and the client agrees, I’m not going to pay them £250 and pocket the rest. They get the whole thing.

The power of belief

Which brings me to my next point – I have opinions I feel strongly about. I don’t just talk about ethics because I heard that’s what the kids like now: I am the kids in question. If I don’t run my business ethically, I won’t be able to look at myself in the mirror. I genuinely believe that we can all do our part in making the world a better place.

This translates itself to the work I do as well. I want it to be meaningful. I want it to be inclusive.

By .

MJ Widomska, founder and creative director, YRS TRULY

Sourced from The Drum

By .

Influencer marketing has proved to be a reliable marketing resource throughout the years.

A number of companies have allocated a large portion of their overall marketing budget to influencer marketing activations. It is a great way to get user-generated content, feedback from users/customers, improve brand awareness and increase sales (especially when a specific discount code or time-sensitive offer is used by an influencer in a TikTok video, YouTube video or Instagram story).

Yet, as we enter a new year, agencies and brands should be aware of the biggest challenges the influencer marketing industry will face in 2020. They should pay attention to the following:

  • How much do I compensate influencers?
  • What metrics should I track?
  • How to be truly authentic?

As the campaign budget expands, it becomes even more crucial to gauge compensation to the influencer and calculating payment isn’t as simple as one may think. In fact, calculating an amount per post published that is based only on the number of followers would not be accurate, since it is fairly simple to manipulate that metric (for example buying fake followers). A good number of brands and agencies pay influencers based on the number of followers and engagement rate. This is also additional metric that is easy to manipulate by purchasing fake likes or participating at engagement pods (private groups where influencers exchange comments to each others social media posts).

With that being said, a brand or agency should take more factors into consideration when it comes to compensating influencers and I’ve listed some of the main factors below:

  • Country of the influencer
  • Geo-location of the audience of the influencer
  • N. of followers
  • AQS (Audience Quality Score) that can be calculated using free tools online that analyze a sample of the followers of an influencer to find any fake profiles or follow/unfollow pattern
  • Quality of the comments: Are they related and specific to that content or just generic and full of emojis?
  • YouTube videos: are they strong for SEO? What’s the traction of a specific video? You can use a tool like VIDQ to make an- in-depth analysis
  • Time spent in: creating the storytelling, shooting a video or a series of photos, editing and post-production, number of contents sent to the client or agency for approval

Once you have decided on the amount that you are going to pay a specific influencer or group of influencers, it becomes crucial to track the right metrics that will determine whether or not your campaign will be successful. Before even beginning the campaign, the agency and the client have to be on the same page to avoid any miscommunication. KPIs and metrics have to be decided. KPIs and metrics depend on the type of campaign and goals of a specific campaign, but some examples could be:

  • Organic reach
  • User-generated content
  • Sign-ups generated on the client’s website
  • Number of download of the client’s app
  • Sales on an eCommerce
  • N of. Time a promo-code has been used during the campaign

It is important to remember that an influencer marketing campaign is not directly associated with generating sales or signups of an app. In fact, influencer marketing is one of the many touch points to get in contact with potential users and customers that will see the promotion from one of their favorite influencers, and they might activate and become paying customers or download the client’s app in a second moment. Results can even be seen weeks after the marketing campaign has been completed. For that reason, is important not to compare influencer marketing with display ads, programmatic or remarketing activities, as they are completely different ways to communicate to the users.

Lastly, It will be even more vital for influencers to be authentic in 2020. Users are enjoying less of the same perfect and aesthetic Instagram content. In turn, starting to prefer more raw photos and videos. TikTok is the best example of how to be authentic and relatable: Gen Z users want to feel accepted and share their emotions and feelings with other peers of the same age around the world. Less photoshop and more “be yourself” will gain some wins in 2020.

By

Alessandro Bogliari, co-founder and CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory.

Sourced from The Drum

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Marketers must stop prioritising strategies built around cookie data if they’re to succeed in the 2020s. Speaking on a panel at The Drum’s Predictions 2020 event at Sea Containers this week, Andy Chandler, Adjust’s VP for UK and Ireland, called for brands to evolve in the post-cookie world and start to work out whether they’re truly adding value to their customers’ lives.

“With Google Chrome getting rid of third party cookies, brands need to start looking at data differently or they’re going to very quickly get left behind,” he explained. “We are moving into a cookie-less world, where consumers are interacting more with apps than browsers, so the way we measure data needs to truly reflect that. We need to keep evolving and keep up with where people are, ensuring we add real value to their lives.”

A recent feature by The Drum explored the impact of Google’s plans to “render third-party cookies obsolete” and how brands must now respond. According to Ed Preedy, chief revenue office at Cavai, one solution could be for brands to use online messenger apps to speak directly to their consumers. He says messenger apps can ensure more tailored advertising and better conversion rates when it comes to making a purchase.

He added: “In 2019, there were 73 trillion posts across all messaging apps. And in markets like APAC and Latin America, something like 63% of consumers purchased over a messaging app or spoke directly to a business. These are becoming hotbeds for commercial opportunity and it will only grow in the decade ahead in the UK too.

“Messaging apps allow for a genuine two-way interaction. They qualify what users want and who they are almost instantly, so therefore the advertising that runs is contextually relevant. They will become so much more important as cookies start to dissipate. I think there will be a wider move to more personalised platforms, where advertising is less random.”

It was a frank assessment that Tanzil Bukhari, managing director for EMEA at DoubleVerify, very much agreed with. He insisted consumers now want to see more relevant advertising and that getting rid of cookies will ensure this happens more consistently. “The Google Chrome announcement will mean publishers have to offer much richer and directional content, and that’s only a good thing.”

Using data in the right way

But there was also a message of caution in the air, with Vodafone’s brand director Maria Koutsoudakis warning that brands and agencies who prioritise data too heavily risk becoming irrelevant, on a panel earlier that morning alongside Ogilvy CEO UK, Michael Frolich. Koutsoudakis asked the audience: “When was the last time you spoke to a customer? If you stood back from click attributions and A/V testing then what do you really know about your customers now?

“By only really focusing on data, there’s a risk we create a generation of marketers who don’t understand brand, consumers or behavioural change and aren’t agile enough to cope with it. There needs to be more of a blend of people being on the ground, really speaking to their customers, as well as having a good data strategy. If marketers only care about digital metrics then there’s a risk they become irrelevant in marketing in the 2020s.”

With consumer data obviously so important to the UK mobile network’s business, she admitted it has taken a back step to ensure it’s precious about protecting it. “We don’t sell this data as we can’t afford to lose our consumers’ trust,” she admitted. “Being so cautious might mean we get left behind, but I think it’s worth it as we can’t take any chances.”

Frolich agreed with Koutsoudakis’ sentiment. In the 2020s, he said ad agencies shouldn’t be using client and third party data unless they can absolutely prove it has a positive impact on creativity and this in turn enriches the lives of their customers.

“We aren’t a data company, we are a creative agency,” he insisted. “We use client data and third party data to feed our creativity and build better work that consumers then enjoy. If you’re using this data and it isn’t creating better human insights then you’re using it incorrectly.

“Agencies have bought big data companies and it isn’t working because they’re not using the information to create better marketing. If we can work with a client like Vodafone and use their data to feed better creativity then we’re winning.”

The sentiments around trust were picked on another panel, where Courtney Wylie, VP of product & marketing, Mention Me had a word of caution: “We’re going to continue to see this evolving trend of lack of trust. A declining trust in influencers, brands, marketing channels.”

However, the way the relationship between agencies and brands works will become a lot more adaptable over the coming years, with a one-size-fits-all approach now completely redundant. John Readman, CEO & Founder, Modo25, explained: “In past there were only two options: work with an agency or do something in-house, but we will see these lines blurring more and more. There’s no reason why a combination of both won’t be the best way forward.”

Talking about the way forward, Andrew Challier, chief client officer, Ebiquity predicted that the industry will finally see “the rebirth of creativity and the importance of creativity in engaging people and reaching people in a meaningful way.”

A more ethical way of thinking could impact Facebook and Amazon

As we move further into the 2020s, some of the event’s panellists warned that established retailers and social media brands could start to fall short, as consumers switch to a more ethical way of thinking.

“Yes, lot’s of people still buy off Amazon, but the fact Brits also want to become more engaged with their local community means independent retailers should be confident heading into this new decade,” predicted Hero Brown, founder of Muddy Stilettos.

She explained further: “We’ve noticed a real shift in our readers wanting to support the high street more and more, and there’s this ethical thinking coming through, which could be detrimental to an Amazon. Shoppers want real-life experiences, even from online brands. They’re starting to get tired of faceless fast transactions and want to see brands brought to life in a more physical way. This trend will only intensify in 2020.”

Meanwhile, Darren Savage, chief strategy officer at Tribal, would like to see Facebook’s dominancy recede in the social media space. “I think major firms who consistently lie will come unstuck in the 2020s as people won’t put up with it anymore,” he said. “An immoral toxic cess-pit like Facebook will come tumbling down.

“The blatant lies they tell around consumer data will mean people will leave the platform in much bigger numbers. Truth is more important than ever before and just being a big business isn’t going to protect you if you mislead consumers.”

Proving you’re making a difference

This ethical way of thinking also extends to a brand’s commitment to sustainability, and Misha Sokolov, co-founder of MNFST, believes this will only rise in importance over the coming years.

“I spoke recently to someone at the Volkswagen Group and he was telling me how they calculated they were responsible for 1% of all global emissions, and that’s why they now want to be carbon neutral within 10 years,” he said. “The smartest brands won’t just put a nice message on their packaging, but do something that has a provable positive impact on the environment and helping reduce climate change. It must happen automatically as brands will lose market share if consumers don’t think their being ethical enough. There’s no excuse in the 2020s.”

And businesses shouldn’t just think of sustainability in environmental terms either, with it also being just as wrapped up in how a brand and business treats its employees. Stéphanie Genin, global VP of enterprise marketing at Hootsuite, says employee advocacy will be a huge trend moving forward, as consumer want to ensure their favourite brands treat their staff good before supporting them with a purchase.

She added: “Employee advocacy and employee generated content will become so so important. When you empower employees to be the communicator of what your business stands for it really adds to brand value and boosts sales. I think marketers are missing a trick by not prioritising this more heavily.”

However, Readman, added none of this will work unless it’s part of a global governance policy. “It’s all good being sustainable and doing good things for employees in one market, but if it’s not something you’re doing consistently across the board then consumers will work it out and there will be a backlash.”

Meanwhile, for John Young, executive creative director and co-founder, M-is, as brands start to really understand the consumers through personal engagagement, “the advertising budgets will transfer into experiential budgets.”

Be as safe as possible

Another topic of conversation that came up throughout the day was brands ensuring the data they keep on consumers remains safe, especially as more and more of their ads are traded programmatically.

Francesco Petruzzelli, chief technology officer at Bidstack, said that 13% of global ads are currently fraudulent and that while major brands know it’s a “big issue”, they’re not necessarily doing enough to prevent it. “We acquired a publishing guard to protect publishers, but I find a lot of people aren’t thinking seriously enough about this issue. It won’t go away!”

Dan Lowden, chief strategy officer at Whiteops, added how he recently worked with a major brand who believed bots were accounting for up to 5% of fake views of its £10m campaign, but says his team worked out they were actually accounting for 36% of traffic.

Looking ahead, he concluded: “The bad guys aren’t going to let up and will keep on persisting with cyber crime in the 2020s. We all need to be serious about tackling this problem and do more to collaborate as an industry to ensure that marketing dollars are genuinely being spent on human engagement and not just robots.”

By

Sourced from The Drum

As we begin a new digital decade, what are the key developments that will shape publishing in the next 12 months?

Here are nine trends and issues that will influence publishers, content creators, media companies and brands in 2020 and beyond.

1: The Streaming Wars Commence

Are these the SVOD Services you are looking for?

In 2019, both Apple and Disney+ entered into the Subscription VOD (SVOD) services arena. They did so with substantial budgets.

The Hollywood Reporter stated that Disney’s Chairman, Bob Iger,  “invested $2.6 billion to acquire the necessary technology, shuffled his executive ranks to create a new direct-to-consumer division, forgone $150 million in annual income by ending the studio’s output deal with Netflix and even spent $71.3 billion for the 21st Century Fox assets to beef up Disney’s production capabilities and content library.” They also noted “Disney is sparing no expense on programming, projecting a 2020 original content budget short of $1 billion.”

Meanwhile, “Apple is reportedly spending $6 billion on its initial lineup of TV shows, documentary series, and other originals,” The Verge said. “That’s about $5 billion more than what Apple was originally slated to spend,” they observed, citing a Financial Times report. “It’s also about 25 percent of Disney’s entire 2019 content budget.”

As Quartz reveals, these new entrants are pushing up production costs of tentpole shows to new levels. “The age of the $15-million-per-episode TV series has already come and gone,” they wrote. “We’re now entering the era of the $25 million show.”

In 2020, the streaming pantheon will be joined by a number of notable entrants including NBC’s new streaming service, Peacock, (rumored to be a free, advertising paid-for service,) HBO Max, which will cost $14.99 a month when it launches in May, and Quibi, a mobile-based service launching in April, and costing $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without.

Whether consumers can afford all of these services (or the ones they want, especially when other media is also increasingly subscription-led), have the time to watch the content on offer, or if this will cannibalise our consumption of other media, remains to be seen.

2: Publishers may already have hit peak-paywall

The willingness of audiences to pay for content, especially news content, has long vexed media executives, researchers and policy makers alike.

Last year’s Digital News Report found “only a small increase in the numbers paying for any online news,” observed Richard Fletcher, a Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. “Some in the news business worry that, even though subscriber numbers remain low by some standards, we might already be close to reaching an upper limit,” he added.

As we shared last June, the report found: “Growth in online payments of any kind – including subscriptions, memberships, or donations – has grown slightly in Norway (34% up 4%,) Sweden (27% up just 1% from last year). The number paying in the US (16%) remains static.”

Since then, more publishers, such as The Atlantic, have (re)joined the paywall-fray. Some outlets – such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist and Washington Post – may continue to grow their subscriber numbers, especially in an election year, but others may find the going a little tougher.

Audiences only have a finite amount of money to spend on their media. And news media – compared to other mediums – does not come cheap.

Chart from: Pay Models for Online News in the US and Europe: 2019 Update, by Felix M. Simon and Lucas Graves, for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

3: Making the case – why audiences should pay for news media

As Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton has commented:

“News consumption used to be about daily habits — reading the paper every morning, watching the 6 o’clock news every night. Now it seeps into our days as much or as little as we want it to. Civically useful journalism is competing with every other form of media, content, or diversion on your phone. In that context, many people decide, as rational economic actors, they’re better off without us. How can we convince them otherwise?”

This problem is especially acute at a local level. Despite the fact that 1,800 local newspapers have closed in the U.S. since 2004, according to the Pew Research Center, 71% of Americans “think their local news media are doing just fine financially.” This may be one reason why only 14% of them financially supported a local news source in the past year.

With more media choices than ever, publishers must make a better case to their audiences for the value of their work and why it needs to be (financially) supported.

4: Overcoming news avoidance

A further challenge in convincing audiences to pay for content can be seen in the high levels of news avoidance.

Abstinence, the Digital News Report suggested, “may be because the world has become a more depressing place or because the media coverage tends to be relentlessly negative – or a mix of the two.”

To address this, it will be incumbent on news outlets to do things differently. This may involve telling stories in fresh and innovative ways, changing the tone of content, engaging with audiences online and offline, as well as exploring new beats and approaches to storytelling (such as solutions journalism).

With the political climate in a country seeming to be a key determinant in news avoidance, it’s difficult to see much changing unless these types of shifts take place. Doing things the way they’ve always been done is unlikely to shift the news avoidance needle.

5: Rebuilding trust

Publishers must go beyond changing formats and their approaches to the work they produce, they also need to communicate what they are doing (and why). Arguably, this is essential if trust is to be rebuilt with audiences.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that globally, people were much more inclined (75%) to trust “my employer” to do what is right, than NGOs (57%), business (56%) and media (47%).

In the States, one component of this issue is seen in Pew’s finding that half U.S. adults say “made-up news” is a big problem, ranking this concern about violent crime (49%), climate change (46%), racism (40%) and illegal immigration (36%).

“U.S. adults blame political leaders and activists far more than journalists for the creation of made-up news intended to mislead the public,” their research discovered. “But they believe it is primarily the responsibility of journalists to fix the problem. And they think the issue will get worse in the foreseeable future.”

Image: via 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer

6: Mobile matters more than ever

Alongside these attitudinal and philosophical considerations, content creators also need to keep in mind continued shifts in consumer behaviour.

Of paramount importance in this space is the role of mobile.

For the first time, in 2019 “US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV,” eMarketer reported during the summer. “As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones.”

And as a further sign of how quickly this market has evolved, Mary Meeker’s annual data deck showed that mobile now accounts for 33% of ad spend, up from 0.5% at the start of the decade.

By 2018, mobile accounted for both a third of our media time and of advertising spend. Compared to print, radio, TV and desktop, mobile has been the only platform to grow in terms of both time spent and advertising revenue, since 2010.

7: Stories are the format of today. And tomorrow.

An essential part of the mobile experience, especially for younger audiences, is the stories format.

These ephemeral (they self-destruct after 24 hours), vertical pieces of content, were pioneered by Snapchat, but are now omnipresent across all the major social networks. More than 1 billion stories are shared every day across the Facebook family alone.

In 2018, Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox shared his view that “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.”

And it’s not just friends who are embracing this format. Brands, marketers and media organisations (including more establishment brands such as The Telegraph and The Economist and Penguin) are all actively investing in Stories.

As the “swipe up” functionality of this format continues to develop, so we can expect publishers to further explore the possibilities for eCommerce, subscriptions and other forms of engagement, that Stories may help unlock.

8: Podcasting’s popularity keeps growing

The past year saw a slew of crystal ball gazing about the continued rise of podcasting.

In November, the market research company Forrester, in its Predictions 2020 report (paywall), suggested that podcasts will be the next $1 billion media market, which “would be pretty sharp growth,” MediaPost noted.

However, Forrester weren’t alone in their optimism. Earlier in the year, the third annual Podcast Revenue Report by IAB and PwC predicted that the American podcasting market would hit the $1 billion milestone in 2021, which is all the more striking given that they anticipated companies will spend $479 million to advertise on podcasts in the U.S., itself up from $314 million in 2017.

One reason for this optimism is the investment in this field from major media companies, celebrities and platforms. Alongside this, podcasting’s share of audio listening has more than doubled in five years (+122% since 2014,) according to Edison Research’s “The Podcast Consumer 2019.” Overall, around 90 million Americans, akin to just under a third of those aged over 12, listen to podcasts each month.

Spotify’s moves into podcasting remain one to watch. “Apple Podcasts played a pivotal role in the development of the industry and remains the dominant app for listening,” wrote Li Jin, Avery Segal, and Bennett Carroccio at az16. Their analysis, which was published in May, commented at the time that “Apple’s share of the podcasting market has slipped from over 80% to 63%, while Spotify has quickly grown to almost 10% of the market.”

In February, Spotify bought Gimlet Media and Anchor for around $340 million. As Stratechery’s Ben Thompson, observed: “Spotify is still a distant second to Apple in podcasts, but they are growing fast. Just as importantly, Spotify already has a strongly growing advertising business — again, larger than the entire podcast market — that it can extend to podcasts.”

Early indications seem to suggest that this move is paying off. The company reported “exponential growth in podcast hours streamed (up approximately 39% Q/Q) and early indications that podcast engagement is driving a virtuous cycle of increased overall engagement and significantly increased conversion of free to paid users,” in an October 2019 letter to shareholders.

9: Will we still be talking about TikTok?

TikTok was arguably the app of 2019, having surpassed 1.5 billion global downloads in November, a mere seven months after hitting (in February) the 1 billion mark.

A report by Activate Consulting noted that, in the USA, users of TikTok spend an average of 10 hours a month on the platform. This was the most for any single social platform. Yet, interestingly, India is the largest market – based on downloads – for the app, ahead of China and the USA.

The rapid uptake of the app (security concerns aside) has sparked considerable interest from brands and media companies, given TikTok’s creative potential, large youth audience and the ability to engage with audiences in fun, innovative, ways.

Will it still be garnering as much attention this time next year?

 

Sourced from WNIP