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Social media has been a key marketing channel since its conception and has increasingly played a role in how people shop. But up until now, shopping behaviour was limited to discovery and consideration, with purchase taking place off-platform on a brand or retailer website.

Today, social platforms look poised to ’close the loop’, meaning users will be able to browse, shop and purchase seamlessly and entirely within one connected social media experience. This development has the potential to fundamentally transform the way we buy online.

Welcome to the future of ‘social commerce’.

To better understand shopper behaviours, attitudes and beliefs in this space, we polled a nationally representative audience of UK shoppers, discovering that nearly two-in-three people would be more likely to purchase from a brand if they could browse and shop entirely within a social media platform.

From this, the evidence is clear: the winners of tomorrow will be the brands that embrace social commerce as a real tool for customer acquisition and retention. For those that fail to act, loss of market share could become a tangible concern. In a social world, learning how to navigate these waters is no longer just a ‘nice to have’.

The rise of social commerce

According to the latest research, social commerce is a market with a remarkable growth trajectory, with analysts projecting it could be worth $600bn in the next seven years.

As we’ve seen in the past year, Covid-19 has accelerated existing trends in shopper behaviour. The latest figures suggest an extra £5.3bn will be spent via e-commerce in the UK alone in 2020 as the fallout from the pandemic has forced more people online than ever before. Early figures suggest this behaviour is set to stay as we emerge from the pandemic.

Although shoppers are flocking online, social commerce is still a fairly nascent market in the UK and US. In fact, studies suggest that only 6% of UK consumers have purchased directly on a social platform, in part due to the lack of in-platform purchasing options in these markets.

In more advanced countries like China, however, social commerce is an integral part of the online shopping experience. Tencent’s WeChat delivered $115bn in social commerce sales in 2019 alone, while Pinduoduo, a group-buying app where friends can purchase together on social media, has grown from an innovative startup to China’s second most valuable online retailer.

As US platforms look to replicate some of this functionality, China provides us with a model of how social will likely evolve for commerce in the west.

Shopper thinking will be crucial to navigate social commerce

Today, brands have more opportunities to interact with people than ever, across an increasing number of digital touchpoints. Digital and social platforms have succeeded at meeting new customer expectations, with values such as convenience, ease of use, customisation and control redefining the shopping experience.

It’s not surprising, then, that social media is uniquely positioned to deliver on these needs. Based on our research, however, social will remain a nuanced and highly intricate channel. Careful consideration of different shopper motivations and barriers, as well as brand experience across the shopper journey, will be key to maximising shoppability across brands’ social media channels.

Consumer behaviour in this channel is anything but homogenous; in fact, our research suggests adoption of social commerce will differ by age. Being able to buy within platform would encourage 75% of 21- to 34-year-olds to purchase with a brand, suggesting that demographic differences will necessitate careful persona planning.

Price also seems to be a determining factor in whether or not someone would purchase on social, with our research suggesting that big-ticket items such as travel and luxury are much less popular than more affordable items.

Different categories also differ in their appeal, with respondents ranking fashion, beauty, wellbeing and grocery as the categories they would most like to shop for on social.

Taken as a whole, these findings are representative of a shift towards social media as a new and growing e-commerce channel, but they also demonstrate a need for smart planning. For brands, understanding where, when and how to activate a social commerce strategy as part of a connected shopper experience will be key as we move into 2021.

Social platforms at different levels of readiness

Another consideration is that the platforms themselves are at different levels of ‘readiness’ when it comes to social commerce.

Instagram, for example, has beta-tested its Checkout feature, which allows users to search and shop directly within the app. The mass rollout of this feature will transform how people shop with brands online, making it more convenient to shop not only directly from a brand’s posts, but from influencer posts too. These platform changes will make the social shopping experience on Instagram feel effortless and seamless – all the way from discovery to purchase.

The rollout of Shops across Facebook, meanwhile, allows brands to create digital storefronts, with links to purchase products either on the retailer’s website or directly within Facebook itself.

Even YouTube and TikTok are experimenting with social commerce. YouTube Shopping allows customers to make purchases directly on-site by browsing through catalogues offered by sellers, while TikTok’s partnership with Shopify allows merchants to create and show shoppable content on the platform.

Even before these functionality considerations, each platform lends itself differently to the shopping experience and users’ openness to brand advertising. Instagram, for example, feels like a natural fit for commerce as its highly visual nature emulates a glossy magazine, where products feel native and premium.

This was validated in our research findings, which showed nearly half of all shoppers (45%) would prefer to shop on Instagram, with Facebook (41%) coming in a close second.

These two platforms appear, at the moment, to be far ahead in terms of delivering on shopper expectations, with YouTube (9%) and TikTok (5%) capturing a much smaller percentage of shopper interest.

The sophisticated targeting options available to brands through Facebook Advertising (which includes Instagram) and Google (YouTube) also present opportunities for personalisation and disruption along the shopper journey.

Moreover, social commerce is a particularly exciting development for brands that sell exclusively through retailers, since it presents an opportunity to provide shoppers with a more personalised experience (in lieu of a true direct-to-consumer offering).

We spoke with Joseph Harper, e-commerce marketing manager at Kellogg Company, who notes: “The way people shop in the future will be totally different – it will be completely interactive and personalised.

“We know that retailers are starting to see themselves as media platforms and media platforms are starting to see themselves as retailers. That, in essence, is the crux of social commerce.”

Creating a connected experience for consumers

For a marketing channel with considerable upside, social commerce looks set to have a significant impact on the way shoppers discover, browse and buy. E-commerce has already lowered the barriers to entry, enabling new digital startups to burst on to the scene while forcing legacy brands to rethink existing strategies.

Social looks set to do the same again, challenging traditional brand and retailer relationships and ways of marketing to consumers.

But for the forward-thinking brand, success will come from more than just taking advantage of new platform innovations. Brands need to build connected experiences across all touchpoints that deliver on the values of a new generation of shoppers.

Whether researching on Amazon, being inspired on Instagram, watching adverts on TV or unpacking an order at home, there’s an ever-expanding ecosystem of places shoppers can engage with brands.

Marketers need to focus on optimising the customer journey and include social commerce as a key touchpoint in this. In doing so, brands can take one step closer to delivering a truly connected omnichannel experience.

Feature Image Credit: Initials advise marketers to better optimise the customer journey using social commerce

By

Josh Tilley, senior strategist at Initials.

Sourced from The Drum

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Since being in digital I have seen a standard timeline for businesses developing their websites. Make a new one every four or five years to experience an evolutionary leap forwards.

Is this still the right thing to do given the technology and options available to us today?

Basically no, it was never a great option anyway. Building websites, in general, is a difficult task and these days, websites are key revenue drivers for businesses, making it increasingly risky if it goes wrong. I still see cases where organic rankings plummet and conversion rates drop after so much hope has been pinned on a new site launch. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of stress, a sense of achievement on launch day and then panic.

Nowadays there is so much more available to us to mitigate the risk of launching a new website. Yet it is still untapped and companies are reticent to make the additional investment which is a small percentage of the overall cost. We all need to feel we are getting a good deal right so its an element regularly dropped from proposals.

So how do we improve this gambling situation? We need to be able to see into the future and find out how a new site will perform on launch. Good news! We can! Well, sort of…

No, we don’t have a time machine… but we can pre-test a website to see how it performs before exposing it to our entire user base and business to the new unknown. In my experience a lot of stakeholders want to have input on designs and battle for site real estate, this then defines how the new website is designed, from internal opinion alone and HIPPOs. To avoid this trap there are two ways which can give unbiased insight:

User testing

User testing outside of your own web environment can give you a level of feedback and information you simply can’t get from internal stakeholders and outside help. Even as an experienced CRO I can’t tell you for sure which new design is going to be better than your current one. We have to ask user testers what they think.

There are various techniques such as preference tests where user testers will vote for their preferred version, this type of feedback is great at the design stage of a website build.

Another is a click test, this involves finding out what a user would click on first upon landing on the new design. This ensures users are engaging and clicking the call to action most relevant for the business.

One of my favourites is the five second flash test. Users are shown the new version for five seconds and then asked some non-leading open questions: “What does the company do?”, “What would you click on first?”, “Which page element stood out the most?”. The answers from this type of test tell us how scan readers interpret the new design. Businesses can also run this test on the current version and see how the answers compare.

Any of the above can settle design debates and give real information on what users will respond best to. Designs can be updated and retested until 90% of user testers prefer a version. Not so much a shot in the dark now.

A/B testing

The other option is to start testing new designs and website experiences on the live website through A/B testing software. The software enables us to send a percentage of live traffic (usually 50/50) to a new version which is measured against the original. So let’s say designers have followed an internal brief, come up with a new homepage design and some stakeholders like it and some don’t, that’s normal. To find out if the new design really is better (and who is right) it can be tested against the original.

These rounds of testing can be done piece by piece on different layouts, images, fonts, branding, journeys and more. Gradually this gives valuable information on how users respond to the new design and importantly, to change.

Top tip

If you have a large user base and a high amount of returning visitors you can let them know that you will be launching a new website. Send them emails with a launch date combined with a promotion maybe.

One step further is to create a beta site and get feedback from users before the big switch is done. Companies like the BBC and Facebook regularly use this technique. It is a staple in the gaming industry, gamers are invited to use a beta version knowing it might break. Their reward for giving feedback is early access and feeling like a VIP, the game producers get free insight and debugging, win win.

Round up

Adding user testing and a/b testing does make a web build a more lengthy and expensive process. However, from experience, it is worth it. Web site changes can be vanity driven and a “need” to be done at a fast pace leading to errors. Going with a user led approach may be longer but it will help safeguard the business.

It’s also a mindset change, moving from completely changing a site every three to five years to constant tested small changes and evolution. An iterative tested approach removes stress, big lump sum costs and keeps websites up to date.

By

CRO consultant at Impression.

Sourced from The Drum

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Programmatic media buying is on the verge of a new era built on collaboration.

This was the key thread in the panel session on the future of programmatic run in association with digital advertising technology provider PubMatic at The Drum’s Agencies 4 Growth Festival. Watch the fascinating panel here.

Although advertising as a whole has been battered by the pandemic, the use of programmatic media buying continues to increase. At the beginning of October, IAB Europe published its 2020 Attitudes to Programmatic survey, which showed that the number of advertisers spending more than 41% of their display budget through programmatic channels had increased from 55% in 2019 to 77% in 2020. Similarly, the number spending more than 41% of their video advertising budget programmatically grew from 50% in 2019 to 54% in 2020.

As programmatic grows, the way it’s being managed continues to change. The IAB survey found that the number of advertisers using hybrid models, where brands bring some elements of programmatic buying in-house, supplemented with agency expertise, had doubled since 2019 to almost a third. In-housing of programmatic, meanwhile, fell from 38% of advertisers in 2019 to 20% in 2020.

Speaking on The Drum panel, Richard Kanolik, programmatic lead at Vodafone, put this change down to the growing level of programmatic expertise. Programmatic used to be a “black box” tended by the agency, he said, but now advertisers want more visibility and control of their media buy, and they can hire in the people to deliver that.

But he argued that there’s still a need for agencies to fill in the gaps.

“Advertisers can underestimate what’s required to bring programmatic in house,” he said. “Hence the hybrid model.”

This view was backed up by Chris Camacho, chief performance officer at Mindshare. He pointed out that in-housing involves more than just a deal with a DSP provider.

“You also need to think about the set-up, data, tools and talent,” he said. “It’s not easy, but with the right infrastructure, the right support and the right agency, it can be done. There’s a lot of value to having a guide.”

Lisa Kalyuzhny, senior director, advertising solutions, EMEA at PubMatic agreed that working together is crucial, both across the business and between the business and its agencies.

“It’s about knowing what your strengths are as a brand, and being able to use the people you have on the ground internally as well the agency, and being able to really collaborate. That’s where we’ve seen the most success,” she said.

But brands and agencies working together isn’t the only form of collaboration that’s changing programmatic buying. Kalyuzhny pointed out that the introduction of header bidding revealed to advertisers that they could be using 20 or 30 different partners to buy the same inventory, and they started asking themselves what the benefit was.

“Supply Path Optimisation has become a catchphrase for many different adtech initiatives. At the core, it’s about buyers understanding and optimising supply. To deliver better media buying and selling strategies, the collaborative relationships and understanding of both buyers’ and sellers’ goals are a must have,” she said. “In digital advertising, brands and publishers are ultimately working towards the same goal: creating a transparent programmatic set-up that optimises consumers’ ad experiences and values inventory at a fair price for all.”

Kanolik argued that programmatic’s transparency problems were self-inflicted, the result of an infant industry prioritising technology and innovation at the expense of clarity. But he also said that buy and sell sides know that transparency is crucial to programmatic maturing as a medium, and that awareness is bringing the two sides together.

“For programmatic to evolve into a trusted medium, transparency is key,” he said. “We’re moving towards that, and it will kick off a new era of programmatic advertising.”

To watch the entire panel discussion on the future of programmatic media buying, presented in partnership with PubMatic, click here.

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Sourced from The Drum

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n the last few years, podcasts have exploded – but you don’t need anyone to tell you that. Every man, his dog, and his competitor have launched a podcast recently, and it’s hard to know where to start.

Podcasting keeps making the headlines, too. Joe Rogan went viral when he signed an exclusive deal with Spotify, and the streaming platform doubled down when they also signed Michelle Obama. In fact, journalists actually listen to more and more podcasts now to source quotes from people for their stories, quotes that are out in the public domain. And to make the case for B2B, one statistic found that there are avid fans of business podcasts in a massive 13 million households.

Podcasts are ideal for brand awareness and managing your personal brand, in an on-the-go, busy lifestyle. How do you get yours noticed in a landscape where the top 0.1% most popular ones reign and the market becomes more saturated every day?

You don’t need to create your own show to thrive in podcast land

People, and brands, launch podcasts on social media almost daily.

While this should be rewarded, people only have so many hours a day to listen to podcasts and don’t always have time for new ones. Plus, you need a lot of spare cash for ads and need to be ready to make a big commitment, having people lined up ready to guest each week.

If you’re starting out, you should dip your toes into the water first. Podcasts are fantastic for small and medium-sized businesses and their executives to grow awareness. By taking part in podcasts and guesting on existing shows, you’ll get:

1. Free advertising/brand awareness

2. Likely a 15-30 second slot to plug yourself

3. To promote yourself as a thought leader

4. See how other people run podcasts, for future reference in case you set up your own later

5. An opportunity to network and connect with key influencers.

How do I become a guest on podcasts?

There’s so many of them out there, it can be easy to become a deer in headlights at the vast number of podcasts available, but it doesn’t need to be scary.

If you start your own podcast, you need to grow it from scratch, develop a long-term content strategy, and invest a lot of time and money. But if you start by guesting on others – they’ve already done the hard work for you!

Research relevant podcasts by searching key terms

As of January this year, there were more than 850,000 active podcasts. The easiest way to filter down to find podcasts that are right for you to be on, to get in front of your audience is by searching for the key terms on your podcast app of choice.

For instance, if you search ‘SaaS’ on Apple, Google, Acast, Spotify etc, it’ll show the shows which mention SaaS in previous episodes, or their titles. Search for your job title, or for your audience base. For example, if your core offering is smart pay solutions, you can search for:

  • Smart pay
  • Finance
  • Young people + money
  • Retail

There’s also nothing wrong with just searching for top podcasts in your industry on Google, too – but some of these lists may be outdated, and the devil moves quickly, but podcasts move quicker.

Look at their relevance, not popularity

With almost a million podcasts, it’s impossible for them all to have high listening figures – there’s only so many hours in a day. Many should look at the reviews and ratings on the podcast to see how popular it is.

But Megaphone collected data on the US iTunes store which found that 80% of podcasts have no rating listed. Think about podcasts in the same situation as a microwave – who actually leaves ratings? Usually it’s those who think it’s the best microwave they have ever bought and it’s life-changing, or those who actively hate it. The millions of people who bought the microwave and think it’s good won’t leave a review. The same can be applied to podcasts.

You don’t need to guest on a podcast with 100,000 weekly listeners. All you need to do is make sure that they’re relevant. Don’t feel like you can’t ask the host or organiser who their target audience is, just to be sure, as they’ll have more of that data than you will be able to see.

If you do want to see what Joe Public has to say about the podcast, you’ll have a better chance by searching the name of it on Twitter and LinkedIn, where people tend to post about things they enjoy that are relevant to them and to others in their industry. At Hallam, we noticed that The Goat Agency’s podcast, The 30,000ft View, was being spoken about a lot on Twitter, and so pitched Susan Hallam MBE in to speak on one of their next episodes – which they said yes to.

Identify your niche talking point

You want to be seen as the expert, and that won’t happen if you’re just repeating what everyone else is saying.

What can you tell their listeners that someone else can’t? Think of it like a speaking slot – what’s your podcast USP? To identify what your brand, and your people can talk about, answer the following questions which might help you to identify your key talking points:

Do you have any major thoughts or controversial opinions on recent news in your industry?

What are you doing about consumer behaviour changes? Can you offer your thoughts on this?

Everyone’s favourite phrase – digital transformation. What are you doing to cater to it in your industry?

Do you have any major company hacks that you can share which have helped you to become more productive/successful/happier?

Are there any new regulations you can comment on?

What do you see people doing all the time that is wrong or you don’t agree with?

Any cool customer data you can share?

Securing the spot

Search on Twitter. Set up an alert on ‘IfThisThenThat’ which will help you to get alerted every time someone includes the word ‘podcast’ with the hashtag #JournoRequest or #PRRequest. This will save you scanning thousands of tweets a day.

Once you know which podcasts you want to go on, reach out to them and ask. They’ll likely have a website with their contact information, or it will be on their social media. Explain why you like their podcast, and what you can offer to their audience.

Connect with podcast hosts on Twitter and LinkedIn, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If you start to interact with them and build up a relationship organically, you’ll likely be ahead of the pack when it comes to securing that coveted spot. Kieran S-Lawler, Head of Content and Social Media at Hallam, was being vocal on LinkedIn, and his connections at Pitch Consultants noticed him. As a result, they invited him onto their podcast.

Thought Leadership 2.0

We all want to be thought leaders, and get in front of our audience. Adding value to a podcast will have people searching for you and your brand after, and one guest appearance can easily turn into ten. Once people hear you on one relevant podcast, they might invite you on theirs.

Guesting on podcasts will allow you to broaden your brand and reach out and build your reputation on the topic in your industry, whether it’s digital marketing, SaaS, hair and beauty, or finance.

It will also help you to increase your exposure and develop personal relationships, There may be an opportunity, should you eventually launch your own podcast, to invite them onto yours – with their raised following, you’re more likely to get a higher number of listeners.

Feature Image: Hallam comment on the growth of business podcasts and suggest that now might be the time to get in front of new listeners.

By .

Rebecca Peel is senior PR and content consultant at Hallam.

Sourced from The Drum

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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.”

By 

Sourced from The Drum

Sourced from The Drum

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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