A lot happened in 2018 that impacted how you do your job as a marketer. Amazon became the third-largest digital ad platform in the US, GDPR gave a new meaning to data in the European Union and potentially, the future of US policy, and up-and-coming channels and technology like Connected TV (CTV), developed to offer more ways to reach consumers. These events and a myriad of others will continue to influence how you spend your digital ad dollars. However, with so many moving pieces and possibilities, proper allocation can be a challenge. To help you make those decisions, we looked back at 2018 and identified the areas poised to have the greatest impact in 2019. These are the nine digital marketing trends you can’t ignore.
Digital Marketing Trend #1:
Facebook Will Keep Growing Thanks to its Family of Apps and Overseas Expansion
While breaches, fake news, and election meddling deflected many consumers away from the value of Facebook, it’s hard to imagine a world that doesn’t encourage a good portion of your ad dollars to go through Facebook’s doors.
Although Facebook’s user base isn’t moving at the pace we’ve come to expect—Facebook still has 1.4 billion daily active users—other owned properties are pushing the boundaries from a user and advertising perspective, especially as Facebook expands overseas. Instagram, for example, is expected to grow by a steady clip over the next several years when it’ll account for nearly 70% of Facebook’s new revenue. With more than 2 million active advertisers on the platform, it’s clear that Instagram is no longer Facebook’s kid brother. With a focus on stories as well as the emergence of other Facebook-owned properties like WhatsApp and Messenger, expect Facebook and its family of apps to push forward. That said, as Facebook enforces more control with the likes of view-tagging limitations and mandating CBO come September, it’ll be interesting to see how the market reacts.
Digital Marketing Trend #2:
Amazon Continues to Shine and Fight the Duopoly
With a range of ad formats already taking hold as viable ways to gain exposure throughout Amazon’s ecosystem, Amazon’s showing its hand and giving the world a glimpse at what’s to come. Consider Amazon’s IMDb Freedive as exhibit A, which allows advertisers to tap into the loyal audiences on IMDb and Amazon Prime. Add to that a long-anticipated API on the table, which will further develop the platform’s technology, and the value of Amazon Advertising is poised for a serious boost in 2019.
Digital Marketing Trend #3:
Google and YouTube Remain an Advertising Mainstay
With over one-third of the market, Google can’t be considered a 2019 digital marketing trend, but with so much innovation and new digital advertising opportunities arriving in abundance, it can be tempting to abandon age-old tactics in lieu of the latest and greatest taking the world by storm. With Google at the helm of the triopoly’s quest to rule the digital advertising world, you’d be foolish to ignore it and its advertising powers.
Yes, Facebook and Amazon are pressuring Google and slowing overall growth, but the clash between the three may actually be positive and drive innovation. For Google and YouTube, expect mobile to steer the ship, especially when you consider that mobile accounts for over three-quarters of Google’s ad revenues and that the majority of people watch YouTube (and pay attention to the content) on mobile. Combine that with the reach of Google Play apps’ ad inventory and voice-assisted search on Android (powered by Google Assistant), and Google is positioned better than nearly any other provider to reach engaged mobile audiences. Paying attention to advancements in mobile technology and CTV services as well as maturing offerings like YouTube TV will pay dividends as the world increases its adoption.
Digital Marketing Trend #4:
Mobile In-App Is Greater Than the Mobile Web
With your customers using smartphones and related devices to search the web, engage with your content, and inform their purchase decisions, focusing some of your attention on mobile apps can be an effective way to scale. Not convinced? According to research, smartphone users now spend 89% of their total time spent on media in mobile apps. That’s in contrast to only 11% of the mobile web. This affinity toward in-app behaviors should shift, to some degree, how you look at mobile.
One way to use this inherent behavior to your advantage is to experiment with playable ads offered by the likes of Facebook and Snapchat, which afford you the opportunity to drive higher quality and higher intent users to install your apps. Of course, more commonly used formats exist, like interstitial ads that appear during transitions in an app as well as native ads that are designed to blend into the aesthetic of the app. However you go about in-app advertising, the unique opportunity to reach your target audience when other digital channels aren’t as effective, should be more appealing than ever.
Digital Marketing Trend #5:
Social Commerce Finally Emerges
Is social commerce ready for its time in the spotlight? Time will tell, but after years of false hope, many are bullish that this will be the year when the bridge between social and commerce finally connects. In fact, according to Abobe, social has seen a 110% spike over the past two years as a referral source for shopping visits.
As people become more accustomed to social’s role in the purchase journey, visual-focused platforms—think Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat—will remain key stakeholders. But, while it’s safe to say that your customers will become more reliant on social to inform their purchase decisions, I’m not suggesting that they’re completely ready to transact on the platforms. They may get there eventually, but expect the trepidation to continue. What is a foregone conclusion based on a handful of developments in 2018, is that the major social players will continue to innovate against off- and on-platform formats to meet the demand—think Instagram shopping tabs.
Digital Marketing Trend #6:
New Opportunities Via Voice & Visual Search
Even though voice and visual search are up-and-coming from a user, technology, and digital advertising perspective, that doesn’t mean you should shy away from experimenting. Those willing and ready to jump on board can expect to increase revenue by a good margin.
Combining a customer base willing to experiment with a product and service set that can fit well into new, sometimes experimental tactics, features, and capabilities available through technology like the Amazon Alexa can go a long way in providing an innovative experience. Despite corresponding advertising options through Amazon Alexa still forthcoming, the voice revolution is underway and worth paying attention to as it paves the way for incremental ROI.
Digital Marketing Trend #7:
OTT and CTV Are Worth the Hype
With a seemingly endless list of ways to connect your TV to access this content, the reality is that the majority of time spent with OTT is confined to just four of apps (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube). Today, two of them—Amazon Fire TV and Hulu—support advertising models. To that end, the inventory quality is challenging the value of programmatic CTV buys; however, there is a glimmer of hope. With talks swirling around an ad-supported model for Netflix, and new-comers approaching the table, like Disney, the OTT and CTV landscape is in for a serious transformation as more premium inventory, and ways to reach your customers with advertising, become available.
Digital Marketing Trend #8:
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Will Transform the Shopping Journey
As a marketer, you should always be looking for new and innovative ways to delight your audiences with creative experiences that stop the eye and drive engagement. Augmented and virtual reality has finally become a technically and financially feasible outlet for the mainstream advertiser.
In 2019, it’s expected that the technology and its corresponding advertising capabilities will see increased experimentation—augmented reality, specifically, is expected to see more than $2B in ad dollars by 2022—across verticals like travel, entertainment, and retail. However, it’s important to note that while brands and advertisers may be ready, consumers may not be. According to eMarketer, half of US Internet users have never used VR or AR while shopping and had no interest in doing so. Despite consumer reluctance and initial trepidation, the year will be packed with these futuristic experiences across advertising and on-site activations, and if the situation is right, may justify resources.
Digital Marketing Trend #9:
Cross-Channel Digital Takes Center Stage
While merging all of these initiatives together may seem daunting, connecting any existing silos must be your primary focus. The reality is that if your social team is focusing on connecting the commerce bridge, another team is concerned with advancing OTT and CTV capabilities, and your search team is paying attention to Google, the fragmentation will prohibit growth and stymie innovation.
As you unify new digital marketing initiatives (or build upon existing ones), implementing a cross-channel digital advertising strategy will be the trend with the greatest potential to drive your bottom line. In 2019, it’s the only way to deliver cohesive branded media across devices and digital channels in a unified way to create an interconnected digital journey that drives results and produces break-through clarity in the minds of your customers.
By now, the message should be clear: You need to be willing to take some risk. While some of these predictions carry more risk than others, holding out completely will put your brand and reputation at risk. The modern marketplace demands a strategy that takes chances and is ready to adapt to the demand of the market. What’s stopping you?
As the calendar turns to 2019, evaluating your Facebook advertising strategy to figure out what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do to improve is a good way to ring in the new year. It’s also a good time to circle calendar-based events that align with big consumer pushes—think Valentine’s Day. When it comes to the first big consumer holiday of the year, syncing your Facebook advertising efforts can make a lot of sense.
Why Valentine’s Day & Facebook Works
When you combine the spending power of modern consumers with the nature of Facebook users during previous Valentine’s Days, it’s tough to argue against the Valentine’s Day-Facebook duo.
In terms of monetary value, Valentine’s Day encourages spending. In fact, according to the most recent data from the National Retail Federation, US consumers celebrating the holiday were expected to spend nearly $150 each, while total spending was expected to eclipse $19 billion—an increase from $18.2 billion during the previous year’s holiday. With the US economic outlook healthy and working wages rising, expect those numbers to increase again this year.
Regarding Facebook’s role, hundreds of millions of people flock to the platform to connect
with their loved ones. Logically, you should expect a good percentage of them to continue this behavior during Valentine’s Day. To put this in perspective, between 2016 and 2017, which is the last time Facebook documented data related to the holiday, conversations around the topic grew 1.7X. When you take into account that Facebook’s monthly user base now tops 2 billion (roughly 300 million more than the beginning of 2016), more heart emojis are forthcoming.
With the connection between Valentine’s Day and Facebook clear, here are a handful of insights-driven tips you can use to take your Valentine’s Day Facebook advertising to the next level.
Don’t Be Paralyzed by Facebook Ad Tech
Facebook has come a long way since introducing paid ads to the platform. From innovative ad formats to best-in-class creative tools, Facebook offers a host of resources to refine your advertising efforts. While the advancement in technology can be intimidating, remaining willing to adopt advanced Facebook advertising tactics can be an effective way to accelerate your Valentine’s Day-related objectives.
Use Virtual Showcases: Before you finish setting up your campaign, you have to pick a format. Since your campaign likely centers around driving sales (conversions), your options will be whittled down to conversion-supported formats, including Carousels and Collections. While static and video options exist, both Carousels and Collections can be more effective due to their ability to showcase products in a compelling way. Collections, for example, you can drive conversions your target audience multiple products within an ad that expands into an instant shopping experience. And if you pair your Collection with a product catalog, Facebook will automatically rearrange your items based on what’s most relevant to each person.
Optimize for Mobile: Considering that the majority of Valentine’s Day activity comes from mobile, it’s important to optimize for the small screens. Sure, most of Facebook’s ad formats are already optimized for mobile, but there are additional steps you can take to ensure the experience remains cohesive across touchpoints. One way to accomplish this is with Instant Experiences, which are full-screen takeovers that open after someone interacts with your ad on a mobile device.
Stay Creative: No matter which format you use, your creative can go a long way. But with so much competition for attention, getting your target audience to notice your content can be challenging. To learn what creative is resonating resonates with different audiences, leverage Facebook’s Dynamic Creative, which finds top-performing ad creative combinations and delivers them to your target audience.
Focus on Conversions: General brand awareness is an important part of any Facebook advertising strategy, but during a rush when you know people are in the mood to buy, your money is best spent on conversions and people likely to convert. One of the best ways to focus your targeting is by leveraging the Facebook Pixel and connecting to the right events—think page views, shopping cart activities, and checkouts. Tying these together can help attribute sales and determine ROAS, which you can use as levers for future campaigns.
Adopt a Test and Learn Strategy: With the window to reach your customers time-sensitive, creating test campaigns can identify ad formats and creative that’s most effective. Once you see what’s working, quickly retarget, and adopt the most cost-efficient tactics that drive the best result and encourage conversions.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment: While default settings are a good rule of thumb when launching generic campaigns, Valentine’s Day may call for some alternatives paths. Connections targeting, for example, can help find your audience based on how they’re connected to your business. In the same breath, conversion windows can focus your ads based on the amount of time it typically takes for someone to complete an action after clicking or viewing your content.
Timing Your Campaign Just Right
There isn’t a golden rule to sync your Facebook ads perfectly with the rush of Valentine’s Day shoppers. What you can do is use a combination of Facebook technology and third-party partners to improve your chances that you’ll be around when your target audience is in the mood to shop.
Turn to Heavy-Up Campaigns: With your Valentine’s Day promotions centering around the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day itself, and the week following, heavy-up campaigns can be an effective way to push out a large number of ads in a short period of time to make sure your audience is exposed to your messages.
For Brand Networks’ customers, Open Signals can achieve the same outcome using date-based rules to automatically activate and pause Facebook ads leading up to, during, and after Valentine’s Day.
Accelerated Delivery: If you’re using a daily budget, you can set accelerated delivery to help you hit your goals in a shorter window. With market conditions changing rapidly during Valentine’ Day, checking this box can be a valuable lever for success.
While investing too much of your Facebook budget on consumer holidays can result in inefficient allocation, failing to take advantage of moments proven to bring people together, like Valentine’s Day, can be even costlier. Whether you have thousands to put toward your Valentine’s Day advertising strategy or just a few hundred, addressing the demand is almost always better than going dormant.
Want to learn more about how we can help take your Valentine’s Day advertising strategy on Facebook to the next level? Reach out and let’s talk.
It doesn’t matter what you sell or where you sell it or who you sell it to—people rely on the digital world throughout their purchase journey. There’s no avoiding it. While connecting the dots between all of these digital touchpoints can be challenging and time-consuming, it should be your primary focus during 2019 and beyond. A cross-channel marketing strategy can help you get there.
A Look at a Cross-Channel Shopping Journey
With three months before the golf season, Sam is in the market for a new set of clubs. Although he believes he’ll purchase the clubs at his local pro shop, he’s committed to sizing up the market beforehand to get the best deal.
To get a sense of his options, Sam turns to Google and types a handful of related queries. A few sites catch his eye, so he clicks through to conduct preliminary research. In his experience, branded websites, although they can be skewed, provide in-depth information that can act as the foundation for the rest of the journey.
With his options whittled down, Sam wants to get an idea of what the outside world is saying. To get an unbiased opinion, he goes to Amazon to read reviews and logs into Facebook to ask his friends and family what they think. Ultimately, he trusts his peers more than anyone.
Combining first- and third-party information, Sam’s made a decision. He heads to his local pro shop to make the purchase.
While your customers may take a different path to purchase, the message to you is the same: Shoppers have adopted (and will continue to) cross-channel behaviors. No one source reigns supreme and they all serve different purposes to different people. Yes, this adds a layer of complexity to your digital marketing efforts, but it also presents you with an unprecedented opportunity to meet them across these digital touchpoints, allowing you to focus your marketing dollars toward the channels driving the biggest impact on purchase decisions.
How to Meet Sam During His Digital Cross-Channel Shopping Journey
Opportunity #1: Sam started his search like most—he typed a handful of related queries into Google. Although your goal should be to rank for keywords and get him to visit your website, you can improve the likelihood of influencing Sam from the onset with search ads and placement opportunities offered by Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Meeting Sam here offers the unique value of introducing yourself when he’s looking to engage with brands like yours.
Opportunity #2: With Sam redirected to a branded website to continue his research, you have another chance to sway his decision. Inventory offered through DSPs can be an effective way to insert your message and guide Sam’s purchase toward your product. And even if he’s engaging in other online activities, like reading the news or watching his favorite TV show via OTT technology, this inventory can make sure you’re reaching Sam and others like him while they’re exhibiting online behaviors that signal buying intent. Using similar tactics in tandem with first -and third-party data segments will get you in front of shoppers who’re likely on the purchase trajectory you’re after.
Opportunity #3: With a better idea of what’s available, Sam wants an unbiased opinion on the golf clubs he’s deciding between. Like many people conducting product research, he heads to Amazon. With Amazon’s growing influence on the shopping journey, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Stores can have on improving visibility, boosting brand awareness, and inspiring people as they shop. Combine that strategy with Amazon’s targeting capabilities that use shopping behavior and lifestyle data, and you can take your cross-channel marketing strategy to new heights on and off of Amazon-owned property to reach Sam and others exhibiting similar behaviors.
Opportunity #4: Before making his purchase, Sam wants to feedback from his peers. Ultimately, he trusts them more than any source. While social commerce is an oft-debated topic for many, it’s hard to argue with the overarching influence of social, especially when you consider that the average person spends multiple hours on social daily. Although lack-click attribution models steal all the credit, there’s more than enough proof to say that the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter all play a significant role during purchase journey and have the swaying power to shape buying decisions.
These examples may not align perfectly with the way your business functions, i.e., you may use search ads to drive conversions and not to influence initial perception, there are so many opportunities to impact the modern shopper. What should be aligned is your digital advertising efforts. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling golf clubs or toothpaste, shoppers are immersed in digital, and you should be, too. And while you can’t control your customers’ journeys, you can observe it and react.
Reaching Shoppers Across Digital Touchpoints with a Cross-Channel Campaign
Regardless of how you map your customers’ journey, asking yourself what steps you have to take to reach them across digital touchpoints is a logical next step. A cross-channel digital advertising strategy is the only realistic way to achieve this.
To execute a successful cross-channel campaign, it’s important that you think about every aspect of your strategy and tie them together to create more cohesion and higher impact ad experiences. Here’s the groundwork to get started:
Pillar #1 | Media Mix Planning
Before any cross-channel campaign, crafting your strategy with insights derived from industry benchmarks and historical performance is key. Ask yourself, where can I achieve the greatest cost efficiencies? Where am I resonating the most favorably with my ideal customer? As you develop your understanding of customers across digital touchpoints, smarter budget allocation based on previous campaigns will pay dividends.
Pillar #2 | Audience Activation
It goes without saying that even the best intentions will go unnoticed if they’re not aimed at the right people. Avoid this potential roadblock by mapping your high-value customers across channels, and then refining your strategy with that insight. A structured test-and-learn approach will be your best friend as you strive to deepen your understanding.
Pillar #3: Creative Customization
Deliver engaging, seamless ads that unify your advertising experience by focusing on tying creative elements to overarching objectives and KPIs. Providing an enhanced customer experience at each stage is an often undervalued step to a cross-channel campaign.
Pillar #4: Media Optimization
Adapting your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not can be one of the most effective levers available for you to pull during any cross-channel advertising strategy. As you gain a better understanding of the ideal budget allocation, don’t be afraid to shift spend accordingly and strive for more efficient spending.
Pillar #5: Holistic Analysis
Finally, bridge the cross-channel measurement gap and capture holistic insights into how different audience subsets perform and what impact different channels are having on your cross-channel results. Actionable insights and data-driven directions will be your Northstar for cross-channel marketing success.
If you take one thing away from this, make it be this: Stop concentrating on specific digital capabilities and cost-cutting behaviors, and focus on creating the best digital experience across channels for your customers. How you go about this will be different for everyone, and that’s ok. Cross-channel transformation is hard, but it’s a necessity—it’s the only way to stay in step with your customers. The sooner you accept that the better.
Ready for a deep-dive into cross-channel advertising? Check out our whitepaper.
There’s no question that people are transitioning from traditional TV to over-the-top (OTT) services like Fire TV. In fact, there were nearly 200 million OTT viewers in 2018. When you consider the factors transforming OTT consumption into a mainstream behavior (for your customers as well as you, in all likelihood), the first thing you probably think about is the acceleration of cord-cutting and the documented success in the OTT space. It makes sense that Amazon is pushing forward to make its technology more appealing from an entertainment and advertising perspective. Right now, there’s no better indication of Amazon’s plans than the launch of Freedive—an ad-supported and free way to stream entertainment for your customers, and another way to expand your advertising presence on Amazon. It’s a win-win.
What Is Freedive and What Does It Means for Advertisers
Freedive, launched by Amazon through its subsidiary, IMDb (acquired by Amazon in 1998 to expand beyond books), is a streaming service that gives people access to an ad-supported collection of TV shows like Fringe, and The Bachelor as well as movies like The Illusionist, and Memento. The content is free for consumers and can be viewed through the IMDb website or through Amazon’s OTT technology, Fire TV.
From a user-facing perspective—Amazon wants to compete in the AVOD (ad-supported video-on-demand) world. Col Needham, Founder, and CEO of IMDb said, “Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch. With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.” There’s no ulterior motive.
From an advertising angle, Freedive takes advantage of IMDb’s loyal audience of over 250 million unique monthly visitors. Leveraging this brand and audience marks Amazon’s opening move into the AVOD world and positions the company to rival long-standing players in the space, like The Roku Channel. For you, Freedive advertising means a larger addressable audience and another opportunity to tap into Amazon Prime’s growing base of loyal online shoppers. If you’re an advertiser interested in gaining access to the living room glass of your audiences, getting out ahead of the curve on this before your competition latches on should be at the forefront of your strategy.
Freedive advertising opens up additional video inventory that you can use exclusively with Amazon’s expanding OTT advertising offerings. In a maturing advertising environment that encourages experimentation, this can be an effective and efficient way to scale. Furthermore, when you consider the ability to leverage Amazon’s exclusive targeting capabilities—which include behavioral segments—it’s easy to see why Freedive is expected to be a leading player in the space for years to come.
Already the third-largest digital ad seller in the US, Amazon’s expansion into premium and streamable content will make big waves for its ad business and pay dividends if you’re ready and willing to jump. With brands like Verizon and Toyota already realizing the value of Freedive advertising, it’s clear that the opportunity is ripe.
With “New Year, New Me” mentality in full swing and advertisers in planning mode for 2019, January is the perfect month for brands to kick off their 2019 campaigns. One platform they should definitely add to their list? Pinterest.
It’s no secret that Pinterest users are big time planners. Pinners tend to start searching for seasonal or event-related products early. What’s astounding is Pinterest reports that 77 percent of weekly Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest, according to a November 2018 GfK Pinterest Path to Purchase Study. This makes Pinterest an unmatched hot spot for advertisers to reach consumers during a prime planning period—right when they’re starting to look.
At Brand Networks, we sought to uncover just how valuable Pinterest has become to advertisers, particularly at the start of the year. After analyzing over 19 billion impressions served through Brand Networks software from Q2 of 2015 to Q3 of 2018, our internal insights make it abundantly clear why advertisers need to be investing in Pinterest during the so-called “post-holiday slump.”
Q1 Sees Reduced CPMs Following a Busy Q4
For brands, Q4 is notoriously one of the busiest times of the year, with companies eager to get their products in the hands of shoppers looking to buy for the holiday season. From Black Friday to Christmas, consumers buy more than any other time of year, meaning ads are in high demand and CPMs generally reach their peak. But what happens when the shopping frenzy dies down and everything starts anew?
After analyzing historical ad investment through our platform, Iris by Brand Networks, we noticed a significant difference in CPMs between Q4 and Q1 of the previous years. From Q4 of 2016 to Q1 of 2017, we observed a 26.3% drop in CPM and observed a similar trend the year after, when CPMs dropped 20.6% from Q4 of 2017 to Q1 of 2018. For advertisers, this meant more bang for their buck as they landed significantly more impressions for the same advertising investment. Because Pinterest’s user base is so proactive about planning, it follows that the brands taking advantage of this efficiency also observed a requisite increase in the number of business-driving actions.
Source: Brand Networks
The cost performance observed above isn’t the result of a lack of interest from advertisers, either. Advertisers must be witnessing meaningful business impact and ROI during this early part of the year and continuing to invest more each Q1.
From 2016 to 2018, total Pinterest impressions served through Brand Networks increased by more than 200%. Even more impressive, from 2016 to 2018, Q1 saw the largest year-over-year growth in ad impressions through our technology with a steady increase happening annually in the beginning of each calendar year. While a portion of this increase can be attributed to the growing popularity of Pinterest as a whole, the platform’s maturing advertising ecosystem has played a notable role in building trust among advertisers and attracting them to the platform.
From Q1 of 2017 to Q1 of 2018, total impressions served on the platform increased by 125.6%. Brand Networks analysts are bullish that 2019 will follow the same trend.
Source: Brand Networks
Expert Insights: A Smart New Year’s Resolution
As a visual discovery engine, Pinterest provides a unique value prop to consumers and advertisers alike. It’s one of the few channels where people actively go to discover something new while welcoming helpful advertisements in the process.
Given our findings, it’s clear that there’s a significant opportunity for brands to invest their ad spend at the beginning of the year, starting immediately in January. As impressions rise significantly every Q1 and CPMs drop after the busy holiday season, advertisers have a unique opportunity to get out of the gates strong. Marketers, this is a chance to achieve a cost efficiency you can’t overlook—making advertising on Pinterest your most valuable New Year’s Resolution of the year.
From the rebranding of Amazon Advertising to the decision to increase the amount of paid ads throughout its ecosystem and the augmentation of its over-the-top (OTT) advertising technology, Amazon continues to speak to advertisers. As the third-largest digital ad platform in the US, Amazon is also reaping the benefits. In a world consumed by digital, savvy advertisers should keep Amazon Advertising, including its OTT advertising offering, in the highest regard now and in the future.
If we open the aperture to look at digital’s influence on entertainment, Amazon’s push to grow through OTT makes sense. And from the looks of it, its loyal followers are on board. According to eMarketer, not only will OTT gain adoption among viewers, but Fire TV will be one of the players leading that charge.
So, not only does Amazon’s commitment to OTT make sense for its business, but it also makes sense for advertisers.
Getting Started with Amazon OTT Advertising
Advertisers can access Amazon OTT advertising inventory through the Amazon DSP (formerly Amazon Advertising Platform)—a demand-side platform that allows advertisers to programmatically reach their target audience across Fire TV’s growing inventory.
Linking through Amazon’s technology, either directly or with a partner with access to the Amazon DSP, advertisers can scale their voice to a hyper-targeted audience in a brand-safe environment.
Through visually stunning, full-screen ads, Amazon’s making it easy to go beyond traditional demographic targeting. And if you ask us, the real kicker with Amazon is that the same audience and in-market data that makes targeting elsewhere throughout its ecosystem so powerful and sought after is available through Fire TV’s advertising offerings.
As the digital world continues to develop, diversifying media to cover the gamut of what’s available will remain a challenging, albeit necessary initiative. When it comes to OTT advertising, not including it in a media mix will limit overall market exposure. It’ll also prevent ad dollars from reaching an audience with purchase intent, who have an affinity to browse and consume relevant content that interests them.
BOSTON, Nov. 29, 2018—Today, Brand Networks, the advertising optimization platform, brings core third-party data providers and customizable, mobile-first data providers to its platform to give advertisers increased access to audience insights that can be applied simultaneously across social, video, and programmatic display inventory. With these capabilities added to its Cross-Channel Managed Media Services offering, Brand Networks will be the go-to resource for the data and expertise needed for advertisers to reach their desired audiences across the open and social web and consistently hit their goals.
To offer a dynamic array of audience activation capabilities, Brand Networks is working with Acxiom, Experian, Oracle Data Cloud, Narrative, TruSignal, and PushSpring. With access to both core third-party and customizable data providers, Brand Networks customers will have a leg up on competitors scrambling to navigate the rapidly changing audience data ecosystem.
“The industry doesn’t need a middle man to help move ads from creative teams’ desks to consumers’ news feeds—they need a resource they can rely on to get the job done, and get it done right,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “With Brand Networks’ strategic set of audience partners, we’re pursuing our vision to put an end to siloed channel strategies and empowering advertisers to renew their focus on unique audiences. As a company, our goal is to do more than simply enable advertising campaigns. We exist to add value to every campaign running through our people and our platform—ensuring that our clients consistently pick the most opportune ways to reach their audience.”
Due to the growing need for first- and third-party audience data that can be applied across multiple inventory sources for more holistic campaign targeting, it’s become a priority for Brand Networks to enhance its data offering for customers and welcome a series of valuable audience providers to its platform.
“A big challenge for today’s advertisers is obtaining a comprehensive picture of who their audience is. That’s why success depends on having access to transparent and customizable data to derive insights about your brand’s specific audience,” said Nick Jordan, CEO at Narrative. “By integrating our unique data capabilities with Brand Networks, we’re helping advertisers discover new insights and precisely define audiences in meaningful ways; ultimately creating better outcomes with those users.”
“We believe that quality data and technology can help advertisers better understand their audiences, make the right marketing decisions and create an improved experience for customers,” said Kevin Dean, Experian’s President of Marketing Services. “Our collaboration with Brand Networks helps advertisers maximize the analytical insights to create and deliver more relevant content to consumers.”
“TruSignal’s custom approach to insights and lookalike audiences helps advertisers learn more about their customers and find more of the right people to target across channels,” said TruSignal CEO and Founder, David Dowhan. “Driven by our robust offline data and AI-driven predictive scoring technology, our solutions add a layer of consumer insights and sophisticated modeling to Brand Networks’ already advanced media buying technology so more advertisers can take advantage of first- and third-party data and predictive scoring to scale campaigns to people who drive KPIs.”
With a transparent cost structure, Brand Networks customers can use data from Acxiom, Experian, Oracle Data Cloud, Narrative, TruSignal, and PushSpring to power uniform targeting for their cross-channel campaigns.
About Brand Networks
Brand Networks offers advertising optimization and insights combining paid social media, programmatic display, and video. Brand Networks delivers award-winning adtech and managed media services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 81 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 of top US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. The company leverages Iris by Brand Networks, the first AI-based platform for social advertising, and the Tapad Graph, which powers the company’s Digital Activation services, to deliver unified digital advertising experiences for customers worldwide. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.
BOSTON, Nov. 15, 2018—Brand Networks, the advertising optimization platform and cross-channel managed media services provider, today announced that online furniture site Apt2B doubled its monthly purchase volume and tripled monthly website traffic through social advertising with Brand Networks. Apt2B knew the value of Facebook’s advertising ecosystem, and looked to Brand Networks to scale its digital advertising efforts for performance and cost-efficiency. With Brand Networks Media Services and proprietary technology, Apt2B was able to dramatically increase sales attributed to Facebook and Instagram, gaining a competitive advantage in the crowded ecommerce landscape.
Apt2B was faced with two major challenges that prevented them from growing their business through social advertising: increasing cost-per-click (CPC) for qualified prospects and decreasing return on advertising spend (ROAS). Social advertising, as a channel, had become hard to scale.
To reverse this trajectory, Brand Networks conducted a proprietary review called a Brand Networks Marketing DNA Audit to better understand Apt2B’s current approach to social, identified key areas of improvement, and developed an advanced prospecting strategy across Facebook and Instagram. The two-month campaign Brand Networks designed and executed helped Apt2B double its monthly purchase volume and triple its monthly site traffic when compared to benchmarks established in the first half of 2018—improving CPC and ROAS by 64 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
“We’re constantly seeking ways to differentiate ourselves through digital advertising, especially as popular social platforms like Facebook become crowded with e-commerce brands,” said Mat Herman, Co-founder and President of Apt2B. “As our Facebook Marketing Partner, Brand Networks provides our team with peace of mind knowing that we’re creating differentiation with a powerful strategy, flawless execution, and first-class data analysis that helps us maximize our efforts where they matter most.”
Apt2B’s campaign leveraged lookalike audiences created from first-party data and retargeting techniques to convert prospects. Additionally, the campaign used various ad types, including Instagram stories ads, static link ads, carousel ads, and dynamic ads. Optimize Now and Open Signals, Brand Networks’ proprietary automation technologies, augmented Facebook’s native advertising tools to help monitor, manage, and optimize the media.
“There’s a ton of untapped potential for mid-market brands like Apt2B in social advertising, but platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be tricky to navigate,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “At a time of much uncertainty in the advertising landscape, brands of all sizes need a guide. With years of expertise from working with top retailers, Brand Networks is thrilled to be able to help Apt2B master the social advertising realm, and see a true, immediate impact on its business.”
For more information about Apt2B’s campaign, strategy, and results, click here. To learn more about Brand Networks’ technology and Managed Media Services, visit bn.co.
Apt2B is one of the hottest emerging brands in the home furnishings industry. Over the past few years, they’ve been recognized for their great product selection of furniture and home decor with an emphasis on value. The company’s website, Apt2B.com, is a veritable treasure trove of affordable furniture that’s simultaneously stylish, comfy, and priced right. The company is not your average ecommerce retailer—they really know furniture. They put an emphasis on curating quality-made retro and modern pieces for less, and they have a commitment to service that can’t be beaten. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Apt2B ships nationwide and focuses on life in urban settings. Please visit www.Apt2B.com or follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest at @apt2b.
About Brand Networks
Brand Networks offers advertising optimization and insights combining paid social media, programmatic display, and video. The company delivers award-winning adtech and managed media services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 81 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 of top US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. The company leverages Iris by Brand Networks, the first AI-based platform for social advertising, and the Tapad Graph, which powers the company’s Digital Activation services, to deliver unified digital advertising experiences for customers worldwide. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney.
Michael Bodley of Digiday took to the web to cover why online furniture brand, Apt2B, decided to increase its ad spending across Facebook and Instagram by 900% following a three-month campaign.
Bodley dives into the specific tactics introduced by Brand Networks that helped Apt2B reverse inherent challenges faced by online furniture brands, like convincing people to buy furniture online. According to Apt2B President and CEO, Matt Herman, “It’s 10 times what we’ve ever spent, and we’re spending it because it’s pulling,” he said. “We’re not just spending it to spend.”
September 26, 2018, marked the date of Facebook’s annual Travel Summit at its New York City headquarters. Being a long-time Facebook Marketing Partner, select members of the Brand Networks media team who work primarily with travel brands were invited to discuss the exciting innovations Facebook is creating for this vertical.
A full day of speakers, breakout sessions, and networking, Facebook’s Travel Summit opened with introductory remarks from Industry Manager, Colleen Coulter. Topics included Facebook’s evolving technologies to measure incremental attribution, a push toward Messenger as a maturing marketing tool, and Facebook’s top-of-mind strategies to help travel marketers reach their consumers at each point in the Travel Cycle.
Travel brands are faced with unique hurdles when trying to reach their clientele, including an incredibly long path to purchase. In fact, a traveler’s path to purchase includes over 56 touch points spanning over 1.5 months*. Faced with this, Facebook continues to position itself as a leader in developing new technologies to help marketers drive their travel objectives.
The Traveler’s Consumer Journey
As part of the Travel Summit, Dave Elzinga (Partner, Chicago) and Eric Falardeau (Associate Partner) from Mckinsey and Company, outlined the “Consumer Decision Journey,” which starts with the consumer being triggered. You know what this looks like: You are going about your day and all of a sudden you see a picture in your Instagram feed of your favorite blogger with a new sun hat, boasting about the amazing beaches in Boca Raton. You think to yourself, “I have some time off, let me research some areas I might like to travel to.” Just like that, you are thrust into Step 3 of the Consumer Decision Journey: active evaluation. This step may take you a while since it includes comparing prices, resort amenities, etc. Believe it or not, you have already rushed past Step 2: initial consideration. This step consists of all of the brands or locations that you are willing to consider, and more than likely, you have only a small set of options in mind. For example, when booking hotels, there might be 58 available brands to choose from, but, on average, only 2.3 brands are even considered initially (4%). This makes it crucial that your brand is part of that initial consideration period*.
How can your brand get into the coveted initial consideration set? Elzinga and Falardeau champion the use of the Mckinsey’s CGI score or “Customer Growth Indicator” to discover opportunities to drive growth. CGI is a combination of initial consideration and a company’s market share. High-scoring brands might choose to focus their efforts on innovating product/experience/communication. Mid-range brands might want to expand their view of potential customers, while low-scoring brands may want to consider re-allocating funds to help get them top-of-mind when consumers are in their initial consideration stage.
Facebook’s Travel Offerings
After laying down the foundation for the “Why,” Facebook revealed “how” its tools can help travel brands and marketers. One such product is Trip Consideration. Beginning last year, Facebook rolled out this tool as an opportunity to prioritize ad delivery for people likely to travel. This includes general travel intent and is not specified to unique destinations. At Brand Networks, we have been using this tool on all of our travel clients’ Video View and Traffic campaigns, and have subsequently seen greater cost efficiencies and higher performance.
Another tool offered by Facebook is Dynamic Travel Ads. This product also allows marketers to reach people with travel intent but provides a dynamic experience that serves the most relevant ad to the consumer based on recent activities, and the most relevant product/destination within your inventory. One caveat with this is that marketers must use a product catalog; however, the product supports flights, hotels, and destination catalogs, meaning even if your brand is not necessarily looking for direct conversions, you can still create dynamic ads to move consumers down the funnel. While this offering has been out for a while, it is still being finely tuned to open up this opportunity to all travel clients from hotels to tourism boards.
Some very exciting news unveiled at the Travel Summit was the new tool Facebook is working on to give marketers further insight into where people are coming from when they travel. Tentatively named “Audience Insights Explorer,” this tool is currently in alpha and is positioning Facebook as a leader in travel insights. Based on Facebook check-ins and more data collected from the app, this tool is meant to allow businesses to explore travel trends by location, spanning 50 markets and 2,000 cities worldwide. You can also select multiple cities for trend analysis and comparisons. This tool can help answer some key questions like when do people travel and where are people traveling from? Brand Networks is excited to learn more about this tool and how it can help shape our future social advertising strategies.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that Facebook touched on its expanding Messenger capabilities since 43% of consumers prefer to interact with a travel provider on Messenger, and 1 in 3 people find ideas for trips on Messenger, but that’s another story for another time*.
Taking Full Advantage of Partner Offerings
Facebook’s offerings are rapidly expanding, which is a huge indication of where the industry is moving. In fact, the travel industry is evolving so quickly that multiple social platforms are developing solutions in response. At Brand Networks, our partnerships with Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter are invaluable to help us learn about the latest marketing advancements first, helping our travel clients take full advantage of these offerings to find the social advertising strategy that works best for them.
*All statistical information is from speakers and presentations disclosed via Facebook Travel Summit 2018.