RISE OF THE MA­CHINE

Ar­guably no longer a dis­tinct chan­nel, the net­work of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is evolving rapidly.

New Zealand Marketing - - Tvnz -

Dig­i­tal is a tough chan­nel to sum up these days when it’s seem­ingly ev­ery­where and cross-stitched into plat­foms that we now refer to as ‘tra­di­tional’ me­dia. Ev­ery ar­ti­cle in a pa­per has its on­line equiv­a­lent; ev­ery ra­dio show can be streamed at leisure and even tele­vi­sion it­self is tech­ni­cally dig­i­tal.

Colenso BBDO head of in­no­va­tion and ven­tures Gavin Becker says we’re get­ting to a point now where dig­i­tal is start­ing to eclipse tra­di­tional chan­nels.

“I think we are see­ing brands us­ing [dig­i­tal] more ef­fec­tively. Not see­ing it through one chan­nel but see­ing ways to look across the ecosys­tems or the con­nected sys­tems of dig­i­tal,” he says.

Look­ing at it this way, the word ‘dig­i­tal’ seems a lit­tle out­moded, con­sid­er­ing how em­bed­ded it is with tra­di­tional me­dia and our daily lives, but Becker says for con­ve­nience’s sake, the term ‘dig­i­tal’ still has its uses.

“Within an in­dus­try that is help­ing brands cap­i­talise on con­sumer at­ten­tion, it’s a help­ful term to de­lin­eate be­tween the phys­i­cal and ana­logue world. Will there be a time when it goes away? Yes, I think it’s com­ing but I think we are still strad­dling two worlds.”

And as dig­i­tal creeps up on tra­di­tional chan­nels, ad spend cer­tainly re­flects this. Ac­cord­ing to IABNZ’S Q4 Ad Spend Re­port, in­ter­ac­tive ad spend was at $923 mil­lion (in­clud­ing dig­i­tal off­shoots of tra­di­tional chan­nels).

IABNZ has made changes to col­lec­tion and for­mat­ting method­olo­gies (mean­ing it can’t re­flect ad spend year-on year vari­ances at a gran­u­lar level), but asked con­trib­u­tors to sub­mit their 2016 to­tals us­ing the new for­mat, which brought 2016’s ad spend to $860 mil­lion, show­ing a seven per­cent in­crease for 2017.

Mea­sur­ing up

One of the al­lur­ing as­pects of dig­i­tal for mar­keters is its abil­ity for quick data col­lec­tion and mea­sur­a­bil­ity, and there­fore more at­tuned tar­get­ing and a fast re­sponse if their ap­proach doesn’t seem to be work­ing.

But, re­spond­ing promptly and ap­pro­pri­ately seems to be eas­ier said than done, and is some­thing that hasn’t yet been per­fected by mar­keters. Many of us still have ads we don’t want to see fol­low­ing us across our de­vices.

“It’s funny to see how [dig­i­tal] has evolved since the early days. Ban­ners re­ally are the equiv­a­lent of ana­log out­door or bill­boards. The be­hav­iours that have come along with that are old fash­ioned,” Becker says.

“It’s not enough to put some­thing out in the world and walk away and hope it per­forms.”

Becker says though there is a lot of bash­ing of dig­i­tal, there are plenty of mar­keters do­ing it well and the scope of dig­i­tal is much larger than dis­play ads.

“It’s not just one-size-fits-all on the serv­ing of ad­ver­tis­ing.

It’s now this lat­tice­work of con­nected mo­ments and there are some brands do­ing it re­ally well here in New Zealand.”

A ques­tion of eye­balls

Dig­i­tal isn’t the eas­i­est chan­nel to mea­sure and the ac­cu­racy for ad viewa­bil­ity num­bers on web pages has long been an is­sue. Some New Zealand com­pa­nies have made moves to in­crease trans­parency - like Me­di­a­works an­nounc­ing back in 2016 that its ads would be 100 per­cent view­able with the use of Google’s Dou­bleclick prod­uct.

IABNZ also an­nounced ear­lier this year it’s been work­ing with pub­lish­ers, agen­cies and tech ven­dors to im­ple­ment ads.txt, a global IAB ini­tia­tive de­signed to elim­i­nate coun­ter­feit in­ven­tory in the pro­gram­matic ad­ver­tis­ing ecosys­tem.

ANZA chief ex­ec­u­tive Lind­say Mouat says tra­di­tional viewa­bil­ity stan­dards are poor and cur­rent stan­dards ham­per the ef­fec­tive­ness of dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing.

“Global viewa­bil­ity lev­els as­so­ci­ated with the Me­dia Rat­ings Coun­cil’s (MRC) def­i­ni­tion are not ad­vanc­ing par­tic­u­larly fast.”

He says re­cent global viewa­bil­ity bench­marks from the World Fed­er­a­tion of Ad­ver­tis­ers shows the global dis­play mar­ket has edged up­wards to a fig­ure of 47.5 per­cent and that video has fared bet­ter, with in­creases of viewa­bil­ity lev­els for all but a few mar­kets, tak­ing the global level of in-view im­pres­sions to 60 per­cent.

“How­ever we ex­pect this to change as more global mar­keters pre­scribe a higher ba­sic viewa­bil­ity thresh­old.”

Glad­eye chief ex­ec­u­tive Tarver Gra­ham says though there’s no doubt there have been trans­parency is­sues with dig­i­tal ads, there is the same is­sue in tra­di­tional me­dia.

“You can’t help but no­tice the awe­some hypocrisy by ig­nor­ing the mea­sur­a­bil­ity and viewa­bil­ity flaws of other, more well-known, ex­pen­sive chan­nels such as TV, out­door or print,” he says. “Just be­cause it can be mea­sured, it seems to go un­der the mi­cro­scope when the other big boys at the back of the bus have got­ten off scot-free.”

Back to ba­sics

Hunch man­ag­ing part­ner Michael Goldthorpe says the fun­da­men­tals of mar­ket­ing strat­egy haven’t changed much at all.

“Go back to ba­sics. Don’t think dig­i­tal, think peo­ple. Who am I talk­ing to? What’s the one thing I want them to think, feel or do? Why will they be­lieve me or care? Once those are nailed, dig­i­tal comes into play in dis­tri­bu­tion, reach and conversion. But too many peo­ple start with the lat­ter, dig­i­tal lit­ter­bugs.”

He says bad dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is every­thing that’s bad about mar­ket­ing in gen­eral. “[And] made worse by our pas­sion for ‘click’ met­rics rather than brand mon­i­tors or long-term sales results.”

Mar­keters have quickly ral­lied to throw their money be­hind dig­i­tal, and rightly so, says Goldthorpe.

“There’s al­ways a prize for first past the post and dig­i­tal is a pre­ferred sales and com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel for many peo­ple. But I do think there is an over-in­vest­ment in ‘dig­i­tal how’ tools, like in­fra­struc­ture, CRM sys­tems and me­dia and not enough in­vest­ment in ‘what’,” he says.

Mar­keters need to re­fo­cus on the value they bring to the re­la­tion­ship with their cus­tomers, says Glad­eye’s Gra­ham.

“That means get­ting out of the board room and get­ting on the bus more often to lis­ten, to

ob­serve and to un­der­stand the real value gaps that your brand might be able to fill. Know­ing where to find un­der­priced at­ten­tion ar­eas to tell your story and com­mu­ni­cate your value will be­come clear.”

Cus­tomer is key

One of the key tenets of great mar­ket­ing is a brand’s abil­ity to serve the cus­tomer (or ‘add value’ if you want to talk mar­ket­ing lingo). And mar­keters are see­ing the mas­sive po­ten­tial dig­i­tal has to of­fer over a va­ri­ety of touch points.

One sec­tor that is do­ing this par­tic­u­larly well and re­ally think­ing out­side the box is the bank­ing sec­tor.

Soft­ware firm SAP’S an­nual New Zealand Dig­i­tal Ex­pe­ri­ence Re­port for 2017 shows the bank­ing in­dus­try leads the way for dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ences af­ter polling 2,131 New Zealan­ders on their dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ences. The in­surance and air travel in­dus­tries also scored well.

ASB cre­ated hype back in 2016 with the launch of its an­tic­i­pated Clever Kash, a dig­i­talised, an­thro­po­mor­phic money box, in­cen­tivis­ing kids to save and learn the value of money.

Becker says prod­ucts and ser­vices like Clever Kash are an as­pect of dig­i­tal that brands are start­ing to wake up to.

“If you think of the no­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices, they can be put out in the world very quickly and op­ti­mised and made bet­ter seem­ingly overnight as we learn about peo­ple’s be­hav­iours and what they love or don’t love. That’s ter­ri­tory we are work­ing more in.”

An­other brand in New Zealand us­ing dig­i­tal in cre­ative ways is Spark, with its launch of ‘The Bor­oughs’ in Auck­land, five basketball courts hooked up to Spark WIFI con­nect­ing ballers across the city.

Air New Zealand is also push­ing the en­ve­lope in dig­i­tal to please cus­tomers, re­cently dab­bling in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in the form of So­phie (above), a 'dig­i­tal hu­man' cre­ated by Soul Ma­chines to an­swer ques­tions about New Zealand as a tourist des­ti­na­tion and the air­line’s prod­ucts and ser­vices.

Goldthorpe says dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies can be bril­liant at mak­ing ef­fi­cient con­nec­tions.

“In­dus­tries that make peo­ple’s lives eas­ier through dig­i­tal are win­ning. I love my Air NZ app. I like hav­ing ac­cess to the world’s big­gest li­brary through Ama­zon. And I’m happy to pay a monthly fee to watch what I like, when I like through Net­flix.”

Dig­i­tal is evolving at a rapid rate. And with mea­sures to in­crease trans­parency is­sues in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, and con­sid­er­ing all the ad­vance­ments in this sphere, it’s an ex­cit­ing time for ad­ver­tis­ers and con­sumers alike. The in­dus­try has merely dipped its toe into the pool of dig­i­tal and the po­ten­tial of this chan­nel (if it in­deed re­mains a chan­nel) will con­tinue to be ex­plored in ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive ways.

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