NMPi Predicts: 2019

With the dust firmly settled after the New Year, we asked the team for their 2019 industry predictions. Covering everything from democratised data and a US equivalent of GDPR, to an increase in investment in Analytics and expectations for the big three (Google, Facebook, and Amazon), here are their thoughts.

“Looking at the year ahead, the industry should expect 3 major step-changes. 

The Search landscape will face huge disruption in the coming year, owing to the rapid encroachment of voice assistants changing the way that users engage with search.

Analytics will become an even greater priority for businesses, and budgets will reflect this. Total spend on Marketing Analytics will likely increase by 35% YoY.

Thinking visually, digital video advertising will be incorporated on a wider scale, based upon a  25% uplift in video consumption across Social and Video platforms. Display will also get some much needed TLC as brands will start to care more about their creatives again. Specifically, keep an eye on product carousel ads: the industry should expect big changes (for the better) in product carousel ads.”   – Luke Judge, CEO

 

“Agencies will desperately try to categorise themselves as anything but an “Agency”, but most will do little to change the bad practices that led to the negative associations that businesses have with the word.

Looking towards the key players, we’ll see major improvements to Amazon’s advertising platform, while Google makes a significant move away from last-click measurement and announce a series of new initiatives to help SME retailers compete against larger brands.” – Damien Bennett, Director of Business Strategy.

 

“Instagram is a prime channel for retail and ecommerce, something we have known for a long time. The visual focus has drawn in influencers and in recent months the platform’s advertising capabilities have bloomed. This, in turn, has created a perfect storm which will see retail and beauty brands shifting their Paid Social budgets away from Facebook, so as to invest more heavily in Instagram.” – Ruthie Pinion, Junior Marketing Manager.

 

“There are 2 big themes that I think will come to the forefront by the end of 2019. First, major tech firms will be going big on cross-leveraging in an effort to sustain their historically stellar growth. Amazon will try to use its’ Shopping and Cloud dominance to push across into advertising, while Google tries to use their advertising dominance to leverage into the Cloud.

Secondly, we’ll start to see more democratised data that doesn’t require a PhD in data science to understand. As data tools get easier to use, it will also become easier to manage complex campaigns at scale; making it easier to in-house. Expect to see agencies responding to this with more sophisticated cross-platform services. The flip-side is that this will require ever-larger volumes  of data, which will result in more frequent – and larger – data scandals in 2019!” – Paul Rauff, Head of Technology.

 

“As prices rise on necessity goods like food, utilities, and transport, consumers will continue to cut costs where they can, especially with regards to entertainment, fashion, and holidays. This has caused many mid-range retailers to struggle over the past year, and we have seen many dropping prices or closing branches to compete.

This continuing trend will mean Direct-to-Consumer brands who can offer cheaper prices on many of the same products will really flourish in 2019. As noted by eMarketer, D2C brands don’t have the baggage of established brands, which means they can use their speed, flexibility and responsiveness to change to their advantage in a way which is highly cost-effective.” – Lisa Morton, Head of Marketing.

 

“Over the course of 2018, we saw a significant decline in organic clicks. This was down to a number of things. Google’s huge push on their ads last year was bad news for organic results; eating into organic real estate and forcing advertisers to increase their budgets. On top of this, there are a lot more features in the SERP – such as featured snippets and knowledge boxes – which have further reduced the real estate for organic results. Finally, as voice search continues to increase, fewer users are going to Search Engines. It should come as no surprise then that we’re expecting organic clicks to continue to fall.” Joe Comotto, Operations Director.

 

“With GDPR dominating headlines last year, it is likely that something similar will hit the States. We’re already seeing the groundwork being laid down for this with California’s Consumer Privacy Act, but expect it to become more widespread.

Also, Amazon will continue to grow and improve their systems, becoming more accessible to advertisers and agencies in the long run.

Finally, on-demand streaming/content services will continue to grow, leading to increased price competition and potentially new opportunities for advertising on these platforms as they struggle to remain competitive.” – Craig Brown, Account Director.

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“As voice-activated devices become more prevalent, the core providers will develop a costing model for advertisers to finally include voice search on plans. AR will also be a new market for advertisers to tap into. We’ve seen the clearest application of this through retailer sites such as ASOS, allowing users to see apparel contextually. As this continues to mature, many will be lining up to explore this innovative new form of advertising.” – Max Trifonovs, Display Consultant, DQ&A.

 

From what it means to be an agency, to the future of voice, to big disruption in the Search space, we’ll be keeping an eye on these trends over the coming months. Which of our predictions do you agree with? Let us know on our social channels!

 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of 2018

2018 was a big and exciting year.

There was a Royal Wedding, a World Cup, and a whole host of holidays to keep up with. Plenty of opportunities for fun and exciting advertising campaigns. As the fog of the holiday season fades away and the January Blues start to sink in, sometimes you need a helping hand to get the creative juices flowing – be that by looking at some truly great campaigns or learning from others mistakes.

So, grab a cup of tea, put your headphones in, and mute your emails for 10 minutes so you can get some inspiration from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2018 in relative peace. Be warned: this is definitely a bumper edition. It’s been a long year.  

The Good

There are two categories of “good” ads I want to call out in this yearly review: the funny, and the powerful.

My personal favourite of the year had us all questioning whether the ad we were watching was a Tide ad. Airing during the Superbowl, each spot was a parody of every ad under the sun. From Old Spice to Alexa, nothing was safe, and it made a mockery of every brand who had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a spot in the most coveted of all advertising days.

The campaign was so popular that it’s hashtag – #TideAd – is still popular today, with people continuing asking the important question: “Is this a Tide ad?”. It has fully ingrained itself in the public consciousness and for that, I must applaud them. It was also really funny.

But while we all need a laugh every now and then, our next two ads are here for a very different reason. Both Nike and Iceland made headlines this year for showing that you can use your platform as a big name brand to raise awareness for serious issues.

Nike’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” motto was a landmark moment, but when they released the ad featuring ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the sportswear brand made some very different waves. Back in late 2016, Kaepernick was responsible for leading the NFL protests which saw players kneeling during the US National Anthem to highlight and protest against racial injustice. He later opted out of the last year of his contract with the 49-ers, and since then has not been able to find work with an NFL team.

Impressed by his actions, he became the face of the 30th-anniversary campaign which featured his black-and-white headshop, overlaid with the quote: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”. This piece was exceptionally powerful: acknowledging that Kaepernick had lost his career to stand up for something incredibly important to not just him but thousands of people around the US and the globe.

On a similar vein, Iceland’s recently banned Christmas ad has been heralded by many as the campaign of the year. This powerfully emotional campaign highlights the devastation that farming Palm Oil is having on the environment and pledges to remove Palm Oil from their products. The ad never went on the air though, being banned by Clearcast, but Iceland still got theeir message out there with it going viral across the web. To date, the official video on YouTube has almost 6 million views and 87,000 likes.

Social and political responsibility is now, more than ever, an incredibly important factor in consumer purchasing decisions, particularly for Millennials. They’re even willing to pay more for sustainability.

Iceland and Nike serve as a masterclass in how to make a stand and come across as geniune in their attempts, unlike some others we have seen in the Good, Bad and Ugly series.

The Bad

Social responsibility is a tactic doesn’t always work, a lesson learned the hard way by MasterCard. During the World Cup, the finance brand promised that for every goal scored by their Brand Ambassadors Messi or Neymar Junior in the next two years, they would donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to the World Food Programme. Sounds great right?

Wrong.

The issue is, Mastercard clearly has the money to fund this kind of stunt regardless of how well these footballers performed. Why did they need to make it more complicated? Couldn’t they just donate the food? On top of this, there was literally nothing anyone could do to change the outcome. This isn’t the same as when you buy a product and a company donates a percentage of sales, like Toms. No-one can make Messi score more goals.

There was such universal backlash to this campaign that Mastercard ended up dropping it, electing to donate a flat 2 million meals along with the 400,000 already pledged. The Times journalist, Henry Winter got it right: “Compassion should never be a competition”. A lesson that Mastercard apparently learned the hard way.

Starbucks learned a very different lesson when they launched their Blonde Espresso: the importance of good ad copy. We have no idea who signed-off this campaign, and I am absolutely baffled that it made it to the public eye.

Now read it again. Still stumped?

I understand the gist of this campaign, as do the many people who have written about it and made fun of it online. What cannot be denied is the fact that this copy is an absolute mess.

The Ugly

I can’t discuss the ugly of 2018 without quickly mentioning the Diet Coke “Because I Can” campaign. I’m still really mad about it.

Anyway, moving on.

There has been a trend of late that has really angered me, and that is digital agencies buying up space in newsprint to talk about how bad newsprint is as an advertising avenue. Every time I see one of these pieces, my eyes roll so much they nearly get stuck in the back of my head.

OOH, TV and print all have their place in the advertising world, much like digital has its place. They all do different things, and we would be remiss to believe that we are the only one worth investing in. PPC may not be able to tell a brand story like TV ads can, but PPC is much better at being there when the user needs them. OOH might be more expensive, but it has a much greater guarantee of viewership. Whilst it is a lot easier to prove the effectiveness of your digital campaigns, it is ignorant to think they are the best and only option.

It’s been a year of some real highs and some shocking lows in the advertising game, and with them come many lessons to learn. Don’t be afraid to stand for something, but think about the message you’re putting out there.