The decision by Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition authority, to rule against Facebook’s plans to merge user data from Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram is hugely significant and perhaps the first step towards the separation of data from the digital monopolies.
Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.
Of course, he was right. The advertising problems of the 50s and 60s remain today; how do you get the right ads in front of the right audience at the right time, with the right message? In our complex, bid-driven, programmatic advertising landscape we sometimes lose sight of this fundamental question.The difference between the advertising industry of yesteryear and today is that we now have the tools to help us answer these questions. Today’s technology gives us the power to put the right ads in front of the right people at the right time.
AI insight: the who, where and what
For too long, brands have focused on the ‘who’ and the ‘where’ of advertising and not the ‘what’. Despite the programmatic revolution, too many ads hit the wrong target and carry the wrong message or product. But AI – artificial intelligence – has the answer.
I know what you’re thinking – AI is just a buzzword, thrown around for fun to make techy types sound like they know what they’re talking about. AI has been heralded as both the best and worst thing to happen to any industry you care to mention. But amid the conjecture lies a grain of truth that’s quickly becoming a mighty harvest. In the media buying trade, AI makes perfect sense. And it’s already in use. AI is, right now, making thousands of smart decisions every millisecond, each based on fresh, relevant data, helping us all get better results and give consumers more engaging, targeted ads.
AI is helping us end the guesswork when it comes to the content of ads we deliver. And of course we must end the guesswork. Media pros like you and me are also consumers, and we know what it’s like to be served ads that we ignore because they simply aren’t relevant: 91 per cent of consumers say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. In other words, people are noticing ads for all the wrong reasons. We have the tools to make things so much better, yet a huge amount of anonymous usage data, like search histories, social sites visited and much more, is underused or even unused. The result, as we all know, is sloppily targeted campaigns that fail to reach the intended audience.
The medium is the message
Delivering the message is one thing, but delivering it well – and using the right product – is another. That’s why today’s self-service platforms offer what’s called ‘dynamic creative’, intelligent automation that creates up to 36 ad sizes and formats, covering every major device, all without human intervention. That‘s not all. The dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) process picks out the product, or combination of products, most likely to be successful, dropping it into the right ads at the right time for the right user.
The AI makes its choice based on the user’s internet browsing habits, but it’s predictive, so no more ‘why are you showing me a product I’ve already bought?’ after every purchase. Clever stuff that’s helping brands right now improve their cost per acquisition by up to 46%.
Unlock the ‘sometimes’
What’s good for media companies is also what’s good for consumers. Because no-one wants to be blasted with irrelevant advertising. Adblocker usage might feel like it’s snowballing, but in fact consumers aren’t as ‘anti-ad’ as the headlines might make you think. Research from HubSpot indicates that 77% of users would prefer to filter ads, not block them completely.
Show a consumer a product they have no interest in and guess what – they’ll ignore it. But show them a product that interests them, whether they just searched for products related to it or even exhibited other behaviours not directly linked to the product that correlate with the consumer’s relevancy, and you’ll substantially increase the chances of converting.
Like Howard Gossage said, consumers will “sometimes” read ads when they’re interested. Now we have the tools to instantly give them personalised product information that’s relevant to them – and that means we can work towards making “sometimes” every time.
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