The C-Suite Conversation

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Yesterday, CEO Luke Judge joined the line-up of high-ranking industry experts at The Drum’s Programmatic Punch to face off on some of the biggest topics in Programmatic right now. Alongside Anna Forbes, UK General Manager of The Trade Desk, Luke answered questions from Justin Pearse, Partner of Bluestripe, on some of the business trends within the programmatic industry and the challenges still to overcome.

Whilst the advertising industry, and programmatic display in particular, has never had the cleanest reputation, and Marc Pritchard’s speech last year called out the lack of transparency within the programmatic space, on this panel the tone was much more optimistic. 

A Murky Past?

It’s no secret that the programmatic display industry is complicated, and there is an overall lack of understanding about what goes on. The panellists, Judge and Forbes, agreed that Pritchard was right to call out those who were engaging in bad practises and to put out a call to action for the rest. However, they also rallied against some of the hyped rhetoric of the claims and sought to demonstrate that things aren’t as murky or even as fraudulent as some might claim. 

Unsurprisingly, trust surfaced early on in the discussions as a central challenge still to overcome. While trust between both the consumer and advertisers, and between advertisers and agencies, has improved over the last year, it’s fair to say that it is still a major issue within the industry. However, Luke highlights that this is exactly the way it should be. Trust should always be the number one priority for advertisers and the industry at large, as it allows change to happen quicker and more fluidly. 

This bleeds into the trend towards in-housing that has made headlines throughout 2019. The case for brands to in-house their digital marketing is not always a clear one, but the panellists argued that it doesn’t have to be a black-or-white decision. There are degrees of in-housing that brands can take advantage of and this is often where the sweet spot lies. Perhaps this involves owning the technology platforms, or the data that your agency are using; the specifics will depend on your brand’s unique needs. 

Crucial to this is a great agency partnership; one where the relationship has become integral. The best work can be done when agencies are able to work closely with their clients and become a part of the team, rather than something external. 

With the basics covered, advertisers can begin to handle some of the other challenges that might be on their radar. The main discussion point here? The quality of creatives and the overall user experience. GDPR has required explicit consent to cookies, but more often than not, those pop-ups are more annoying than the ads themselves, thus having a hugely negative impact on the overall user experience. 

Future-Gazing

There’s a lot to be excited about that Luke and Anna were looking forward to as we move into 2020. 

New formats for video through Connected TV will allow smaller businesses to lean in to video advertising, further opening up the video advertising space even on non-TV devices. On top of this, new opportunities are beginning to crop up as publishers begin to develop their own supply-side platforms, allowing advertisers to make specific creatives that are designed to talk to the unique placements; for example The Washington Post’s Zeus Prime. While this will require additional expertise in a space that is becoming increasingly specialised, it does unlock more personalisation options so as to continue to make ads as relevant as possible. 

For the C-Suite, there’s a lot to take away from this panel, but perhaps the biggest takeaway is the overwhelming sense of optimism that 2020 offers. From new platforms to new ways of working with clients, there’s a lot to take advantage of here for those who are ready to jump in.

 

Amazon: The Missing Piece of the User Journey

At PI Live this year, Peter won the public vote to speak at the conference – and with Amazon such a hot topic this year it’s no wonder why. As we move into a key retailing period, his presentation provides the perfect overview of this newly evolving channel. 

The Rise of Amazon

A Feedvisor study from March this year highlights that two-thirds of US shoppers typically start their search for new products on Amazon; showing just how far the ecommerce giant has permeated into consumer habits. For contrast, only one-fifth of respondents used a search engine like Google, and only 3% looked on another marketplace. It comes top for vendors too, with nearly half of Amazon’s US vendors and sellers selling exclusively on Amazon; accounting for between 80-100% of their total business ecommerce revenue.

Unsurprisingly, we’re also seeing digital spend on Amazon Ads climbing. In 2018, Amazon saw YoY growth of 123% while this year’s forecasts suggest YoY growth of 53%. Driving this growth is the size of the audience available on the channel, all primed and ready to purchase. With over 200 million users a month in the US alone, retailers are able to chase some strong performance and ROI. 

Understanding User Behaviour 

Amazon offers an easy, efficient and familiar user experience, with a built-in feedback loop that keeps users coming back for more. This has ingrained the channel into the mindset of consumers, making it the primary destination for product searches. However, it’s important to understand its place within the user journey, especially with relation to the other ecommerce giant – Google. 

When it comes to Brand – related searches and Generic searches, Google comes out on top; with most users preferring to do their research here. Amazon instead dominates on specific product terms – as this is when they are at a much higher propensity to buy. Conversion rate is also much higher on Amazon, again reflecting the purchasing mindset, even if CTR tends to be much higher on Google. 

Creating a Less Siloed Channel

Amazon itself is notoriously siloed as a channel, but there are a number of things you can do to effectively enhance your performance. 

Amazon is very similar to other paid search channels, which means that you can share data across channels to optimise your performance. For example, you can analyse search queries and patterns across platforms to discover new keywords for your campaigns. 

With access to heaps of data from Google, you can use this to better inform bidding decisions on Amazon. This would allow you to utilise cost and conversion data from different channels to improve ROI on a multi-channel level. 

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, you’ll need to find an effective way of measuring your performance in a holistic way. One option here is to use Amazon Attribution to measure how user behaviour differs from your website compared to Amazon. This allows you to see patterns such as where users prefer to convert and how they behave between the two purchasing options. 

Amazon provides a huge opportunity for retailers, especially as we move into Q4. This is the perfect time to get to grips with this highly lucrative channel. To find out more about making the most out of Amazon, join Pete on 13th November for his upcoming webinar, covering more practical tips for your campaigns. 

Incubeta Ignite: Data: The Road Ahead

Read Time: 3 mins

The consequences of the industry’s misuse of data have finally caught up with us. Restrictions and technical limitations, enforced on us by legislation, web browsers and technology platforms, have curtailed many of our practices. With the turn of the decade upon us, Kate Jervis takes us through the road ahead for data.

Restrictions and Regulations

One of the biggest challenges we now face is that the “perfect” single customer view doesn’t exist. Of course, it never really has existed, however it’s something the industry has long been aiming for. Now, due to the impact of GDPR, it’s no longer a sustainable objective to work towards. What we’re able to track has fundamentally changed. 

GDPR wasn’t the first legislative restriction placed upon tracking; in 2011 the EU Directive stated that consent was now required to drop non-essential cookies. However, this wasn’t too limiting with the ICO providing guidelines which suggested implied consent (pre-ticked boxes for accepting cookies) was reasonable, and so we were still able to work towards tracking a complete view of the customer.

This all changed with GDPR legislation coming into play towards the turn of the century, and best practice guidelines from the ICO highlighted an important industry development; analytics cookies are considered non-essential and therefore need explicit user consent before they can be dropped and recorded.

Whilst they provide businesses with useful information that can help site optimisation for user experience, analytics cookies aren’t part of the functionality a user is requesting when they use an online service. If a website didn’t have any analytics on-site, a user would still be able to access the site itself, hence the classification as non-essential. Recent stats before GDPR came into effect show that between 8-20% of analytics tracking is being blocked, and so with all these legislation changes, it’s certainly likely that this number will grow.

Remaining Optimistic

Despite this, there is still a lot to be optimistic about and there are a few different solutions being discussed. Perhaps the most promising technical solution involves cross-industry unification, a blue-sky possibility conceptualised by the IAB; they talk of a world where information would travel with the consumer throughout the digital supply chain, giving any advertiser or website who is compliant with privacy regulations access to the consumer’s information. It may be a long way down the line, but it’s important to remember that the challenge of cookie-less tracking is not a singular business challenge – it’s an industry-wide issue, and therefore the true resolution lies in all our hands as a collective.

But in the short-term, what else is an option? There’s fingerprinting, or even a move from user-centric analytics to sessional data. Or if we were to stop thinking about the technical options for a second, we might realise that we could have a positive mindset, and work with what we’ve already got! We’ve become so obsessed with everything being measurable that our ability to take action has been seriously hindered. We will never be able to have the perfect customer view that we’ve pictured for years, so it’s time to let it go. Looking back from ten years ago to now, we have better technology, better insights and better skill-sets than we’ve ever had before, and so it’s time to start from where we are, instead of living in the past.

Team NMPi Head to PI Live!

The NMPi team are headed to PI Live next week to meet, greet, and share insight at performance marketing’s biggest event! You can find us at stand 12, where we’ll be showcasing some of our tools designed to help advertisers across their Paid Search, Display, and Paid Social activity.

Come and Visit Us!

Our PPC specialists will be offering live demos of our proprietary technology, NMPinsight, which can identify opportunities in potential new markets, analyse how competitive a specific search space is, and determine whether an advertiser is appearing for some of the most popular search terms, and if so, where. Visitors will receive a report specific to their sector, followed by a personalised analysis of their competitive search space.

If you’re more interested in Display, you can schedule a personal session with our data-driven creative team. They’ll help you brainstorm some potential creative options based on your brand design, proposition, and site functionality! You’ll even get some shiny examples sent over after the conference. 

Finally, never incorrectly implement your social pixels again, as our experts run an audit to make sure it’s effectively placed on your site and suggest any areas of improvement. This helps to ensure smooth running and measurement of your Social activity. 

If you are interested in having a one-to-one session with our specialists, book a meeting now.

Catch our Speakers

Make sure to catch our speakers throughout the event as they cover top performance strategies for Amazon and CSS. 


Amazon: The Missing Piece of the User Journey

Peter Munton, Day 2, 12:00-12:30, Marin Dome Stage


Integrate to Survive: The Future of Brand and Performance

Luke Judge (moderator), Day 2, 14.00-14.30, Main Stage


Google CSS and PLA: Strategies, Predictions and Ultimate Setup

Max Flajsner, Day 2, 15.40-16.10, Main Stage


You can also follow our status throughout the conference on all your favourite social channels, just look for #nmpilive

Incubeta Ignite: The Next Billion Users

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Since 2005, a lot has changed in the world, but there is one key stat that Google’s Ian Turner wants us to focus on: the 2% of Africa’s nearly 1 billion population who had access to the internet in 2005, compared to the 46% of Europe. Flashing forward to 2019, 82% of all developed economies are online, compared to 40% of those still developing. Africa has seen an upswing in adoption, but still only has 25% of the population online. 

Google recognises that the next billion users will come from across Asia, South America and Africa, and in most cases, the potential for growth is more than half the populations. This being said, their internet use is markedly different compared to that of the current user base, as well as their habits and interactions with different devices. 

The biggest trend is that these populations are largely mobile-first, because they are only on mobile devices. Statistics suggest that around 50% of all smartphone users are in Asia, but general usages is high across India, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. 

With the high permeation of smartphones in these places, voice usage is also very high; for example, 30% of search queries in India use voice. On top of this, the use of language is often very fluid across these regions. For those who only speak Hindi, they’ll use an all-Hindi keyboard. Those who also speak English might speak Hindi or “hinglish” with the English alphabet with friends, and Hindi with the English alphabet to their grandparents. Then there’s also the shifts and blends with Punjabi or Urdu to contend with.

Video content is particularly popular, especially YouTube, and localised content including localised languages is also incredibly important. However, this highlights some of the biggest challenges that we face bringing these populations online. Localised content is hard to maintain, while the phones being used are often low spec. Getting, and staying, online is often difficult thanks to poor and costly connectivity.

Google are making strides to develop their products to ensure that they are accessible to the users that are coming online. Technology can and does make a huge difference to lives across the world, and it’s exciting to see how the next billion users will find the online world.

You can download Ian’s slides here. 

Incubeta Ignite: Changing Your Mindset

Read Time: 2 mins

While many of our presentations have focused on the technical opportunities and challenges of the upcoming decade, Pauliina Jamsa of Siemens highlights a very different opportunity available to us: that of emotional intelligence. It’s not necessarily always about the coolest technology, but how you make people feel – and how you help them to share those feelings with the world. 

It was once the old adage that if I didn’t film or photograph it and put it on social, it never happened. Now, you must also appear in it for it to have happened. Users are now craving something real from the advertising and technology they’re exposed to.

Keeping this in mind, there are a few things that Pauliina believes we should focus on. 

  • Companies need their top talent more than the top talent needs them. Employees tend to value more flexibility, freedom and culture than money or status. Building a working environment that uses technology to grand more freedom will allow your employees to succeed.
  • Don’t forget the digital experiences of the older generations. While so much attention is being paid to Millenials and Gen z (with good reason), this doesn’t give us license to forget the silver foxes. They can often help to bridge the generation gap.
  • You’re competing against the last best experience that consumer had, so focus on UX after purchase. Many of us will focus on getting the user to convert, then letting the experience drop off afterwards. By turning our attention to the post-purchase interaction, we can stick in the user’s mind for longer.

Perhaps most importantly, Pauliina reminds us to show that we care. It’s a simple gesture, but it is incredibly clear when we don’t.

You can download Pauliina’s slides here.

Incubeta Ignite: The Bremont Watch Company

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Nick English is the co-founder of the Bremont Watch Company, a company who brought watchmaking back to British shores to develop one of the most sought after brands in the industry. In his passionate presentation, Nick discusses how he and his brother grew the brand into the powerhouse it is today. 

Build Your Own History

For Nick and Bremont, it is not about emulating others. Despite the fact that the Swiss have become the most well-known suppliers of watches in recent years, Bremont has always been driven by authenticity. When starting from scratch, Nick advises that you should try to build your own history, rather than co-opt someone else’s.

Dare To Be Different

When coming into a well-established market, dare to be different. Watch manufacturers have a showcase in Basel every year where brands can go and show off their wares. Nick and his brother decided to take Bremont down a different and unique route: hiring a townhouse in the UK and flying out all of those people they wanted to get in front of. Now, rather than competing against all the other brands at the show for 20 minutes with a journalist, they have a day or two to spend with all of the people they want to speak to, with the ability to introduce them to their team and factory. Another example is how they approach their brick and mortars, rather than recreating the watch shops they saw on the high street, they made stores that reflected their desired audience: adding a bar, making it feel more like a clubhouse. 

The Power of Social

Bremont has never underestimated the power of social media, getting online when all the other brands considered it a vulgar practise. This allowed them to grow the brand much further afield in America and Asia for example.

Customer Satisfaction

Perhaps the most important thing for Bremont is customer satisfaction. It’s not just about “converting a customer”, but how you care for them afterwards. Make your customer feel immensely special, and especially in luxury retail, you have to make them feel like rockstars. Fundamentally, people connect with people, and tools like a CRM can help foster the relationship. 

When it comes to setting up your own business though, Nick has 5 pieces of advice for you to bear in mind. Be Passionate. Be Authentic. Be Smart. Innovate. Tell your story.

You can download Nick’s slides here

Incubeta Ignite: The Future of Advertising

Read Time: 3 mins

We live in a world where we want to make our lives easier, where we’ve developed technology to make our lives more efficient and simpler. We’ve become more accustomed to an AI world – think Alexa, Siri, Tesla’s self-driving cars, Nest – and as we look to the decade ahead we’ll expect all aspects of our lives to operate much more efficiently and easily. 

Applying this to the field of marketing, we know that we must find the balance between being engaging, but not intrusive; more personalised, but not creepy; more conversational. The best way to be helpful, engaging and personal, with our current capabilities, is human interaction. Consider a personal shopper, or advice for a consumer in a technology store. Unfortunately, this doesn’t scale, especially not online, so how can we make these kinds of personalised experiences work on a mass scale?

Conversational AI

Conversational AI uses messaging apps, voice-activated assistants and chatbots to automate communication and make these experiences personalised on a much greater scale. Google have been tapping into this kind of technology to develop a new innovative ad format called AdLingo – a chatbot housed inside a banner ad, powered by conversational AI technology.

 

When the user clicks on the ad, the ad then starts a conversation thread with the user without having to move to a website. Since this format is powered by Google, you can tap into the GDN to scale up your activity, and use their vast audience targeting tools for your personalisation. But one of the biggest benefits here is the ability to easily talk to new users, who haven’t intentionally gone to your website. This gives you incredibly valuable insight into customer pain points, their preferences, their complaints. From a marketing perspective, this gives you some excellent intel which can fuel your future campaigns. 

From a user perspective, they are able to ask questions and find out information right there and then, without having to search through your website. By removing some of these barriers, this could help you to close the funnel faster, and secure more conversions.  

AdLingo also offers use cases that appeal to different types of consumers across the entire buying cycle:

  • You can build your brand image, creating a deep brand connection that drives awareness and favourability. 
  • You can offer a guided shopping experience the provides personalised product recommendations based on the user data you have at your disposal.
  • For more technical products or new launches, you can develop FAQ-style conversations that help to educate consumers.
  • Using questions, you can generate high-quality leads that have already been qualified.

Preparing Yourself

Fundamentally, conversational AI requires a different approach to engagement. It requires a full understanding of your consumer; what are their needs, how do they want to interact with you? Once this has been determined, you can begin to plan out the specifics of your project. Define the purpose of the project and how you want it to help customers on their journey. Knowing what you want to achieve will make it easier for you to deliver. Anticipate what your users will say or what they need out of a conversational interaction in order to make them more useful and engaging. Crucially, design for conversation: be sure to invest in conversation and dialogue flow and how to visually present information. Essentially you are giving a voice to your brand and personifying it, so being fully prepared is essential to ensuring a great execution.

Conversational ads are set to play a big part of Display advertising in the months to come, so get ahead of the curve with Farrah’s guidance to find your strategy.

You can download Farrah’s slides here.

Incubeta Ignite: Am I A Bad Person?

Read Time: 2 minutes

Outside of the world of advertising, data has fueled huge leaps forward in education, science and healthcare. Closer to home, we know how crucial data is for driving effective advertising campaigns. But recent news developments have made me think: am I a bad person?

Surveillance is one of the biggest concerns. That some of the work we do as advertisers might be intruding on a consumer’s privacy will go against many of our moral codes. This being said, the purpose of big data is not surveillance. The definition of surveillance is “the careful watching of a person or place”, which certainly doesn’t tally with what we do. 

As advertisers, we aggregate information to find common themes, meaning the vast majority of our data actions should be anonymous. So while surveillance might be the word of the day, that doesn’t reflect how we work with big data.

We cannot deny that data has been used to exploit – but every commodity can be used to exploit if it falls into the wrong hands. To date, it certainly fallen into the wrong hands – think Cambridge Analytica, the EU referendum, and presidential elections – but this is nothing new. Newspaper, radio, TV; all have been used throughout history for political gain. So how can we rebuild the public’s opinion and confidence, and use it for a force of good?

Principles

  • Be Clear: Make sure your audience knows what you’re collecting and how it will be used. This means no legal jargon, just plain English explaining the data collection.
  • Be Secure: Ensure that data security runs through your organisation. Data breaches typically occur because someone in the organisation didn’t follow a process intended to protect consumer data. To cut the risk of this, make sure that from day one, all of your employees understand the importance of data security.
  • Be Helpful: Use data to aid, not obstruct. We should be using data to serve ads that are relevant and beneficial to the consumer, not ones that annoy them. Helpful ads are successful ads, and data allows us to improve our relevancy.
  • Be Honest: Use messaging that resonates but doesn’t mislead. While we know it allows us to be relevant, we also know it can be used to prey on people’s fears and mislead them. 

The key here is that we all must make a concerted effort to change. Moving towards more transparent data practices must be done in union. If we work together, we can reinvent what data means to the public, rather than allowing those with more nefarious motives to dictate public opinion. 

It is Damien’s hope that in ten years time, as we look back on the decade, we can see how data has allowed people to live longer, how education levels across the world are higher, and how data has helped us to face and solve the climate crisis.

You can download Damien’s slides here.

Incubeta Ignite: Your Q4 Strategies

Read Time: 3 mins

Q4 is perhaps the most important period for retailers, with Cyber Weekend, Christmas, and the Boxing Day Sales taking up the tail end of the quarter, and we know getting your strategies right is crucial to setting you up for success. We heard from Alice Malthouse, NMPi; David Maddison, HSBC; Derek Freer, Webgains; and Simon Boice, Lovehoney as they discussed how to make the most out of the season.

What are the big consumer trends affecting marketing both now and into the future?

Alice highlights that the way users are consuming media has changed over the last few years, and video is now playing a very central role; with users even going to YouTube to check out reviews. Google has released new formats to help advertisers and brands take advantage of this growing trend.

Other trends our panellists called out were Insta-Checkout from Instagram, consumers going back to basics, and a fundamental shift in customer loyalty.

What tactics can be used to promote retention?

Retention of customers is always important, but during the holiday period, you’re likely to come across customers who only visit once a year – to buy for a loved one. First-party data will play a central role here, especially when it comes to building awareness ahead of the buying season, which then allows you to create audiences that you can serve offers to later on. 

What can advertisers do to mitigate the problems of Brexit?

With uncertainty at the core of Brexit negotiations, transparent communication with your customers will help to maintain trust. Simon highlights that this is part of Lovehoney’s strategy: if deliveries are running a few days late, then the team make sure it’s on the homepage to manage expectations. 

Should brands be engaging in Black Friday this year?

The question here should really be “can brands afford not to?”. Put simply, even if you yourself don’t want to engage, retail as a whole will be. Your competitors will almost certainly be planning on ramping up their activity – and you’ll have to respond. Never-the-less, remember that you have January, February and even Single’s Day still to come, so don’t worry about putting all of your eggs in one basket. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to devise a new offer for Black Friday, though. We see many brands repackage their existing offers as Black Friday deals. Consumers are still in a mindset of conversion during this period, so regardless of whether it’s a brand new deal or you’re just repackaging your existing offers, you have to be there for your consumers. 

Finally, consider preparing your strategy for Black Friday immediately after the previous one. Knee-jerk reactions kill your margin, whereas using your insights while they’re still fresh will help you to go further.

How do you see the drive for more sustainable ecologically friendly products and business practices playing out?

Environmentalism is a growing consumer demand, and it is inexcusable not to be working towards plastic-free packaging now. On top of this, being at the forefront of lobbying efforts is also in businesses best interest. If you have to react to legislation, the PR fallout of not reacting quick enough can be deadly.

But, if you’re on the right side of environmentalism, it is a handy tool that can be a part of your marketing strategy, especially to those generations where it is a big factor of their lives. Being proud of your efforts, having an environmental policy that you can use, or a badge that can go onsite are all handy marketing tools as they reflect a shared concern and interest with your consumer.