Glen Calvert, founder of Social Targeting company Affectv, on the collective effort required to make the RTB ecosystem a better proposition for brands.
A common theme in the 2012 predictions for our industry was how we increase the budgets that brands dedicate to online, the often quoted ‘bringing TV budgets online’, and it’s set to be one of the biggest talking points in the coming years. If time spent online is greater than time spent watching TV, and continually increasing, then why is there a disparity on how marketing budgets are allocated. There are a number of issues that need addressing, and if tackled collectively, we’re sure to all reap the benefits in the coming years.
The budgets allocated to online for a brand campaign compared to TV is often less, as online often misses the fundamental purpose of a brand campaign. Namely, reporting the reach and frequency it can achieve against the target audience with the correct metrics, the context in which a message can be delivered, the emotional story that can be conveyed through a highly engaging rich experience, and the brand recall/uplift this can accomplish. Currently, online display and video is largely falling short on these criteria.
Unless real-time media buying can deliver on these objectives, it will always lag behind in terms of budget allocation compared to the eyeballs it reaches. So what are the issues that need to be addressed?
Reach and Frequency – Online display has the ability to deliver and track reach and frequency against a target audience like no other medium to date, yet true reach and frequency is not achieved by delivering a 728×90 below the fold where it isn’t seen. Until we collectively start to report on the true figure of users that have been exposed to a creative message, and were they the correct audience, will we start to attract greater budgets. Transparency on the visibility of an ad campaign will only help attract larger budgets.
Context – Engaging content attracts the consumers brands want to market to. Delivering a message in high quality, relevant environments will always be of upmost importance to brand advertisers. Even as intelligent audience targeting increases, we still need to have a contextually relevant offering. Currently, a 728×90 served below the fold on a blog with eight other 728×90’s is not contextually relevant, and context leads to formats…
Formats – Unfortunately, the majority of display creative does not achieve the desired effect for the brand. They are not part of the users experience, and are constrained by their size. PPC ads are so effective as they are part of the users experience, in being relevant and appearing like a search link. Budgets allocated to Facebook are growing at a rapid rate as the ads also appear within the appearance of the site, and offer social sanction which is part of the Facebook experience. Until expandables, video and bespoke formats can be bought as easily in RTB environments as banners, will brands be able to deliver formats that achieve engagement and a story that can provide true uplift and recall. Currently, creative restrictions around how long banners can animate for also is a barrier to entry.
The digital propositions that take the above into account have lead the way in driving larger budgets to the online channel; video ad networks, video seeding companies, portals. All have offered scale, rich units and contextually relevant placements. The RTB ecosystem is perfectly placed to lead the next wave in commanding brand campaigns, as the potential to reach relevant audiences, at scale, in real-time has never been easier, but the industry will need to start talking the same language and delivering on the true objectives for a brand, or face further years of being lower down the media plan.
Audience targeting companies are in the strongest position to lead the way in making online a more attractive proposition for big brand advertisers. It was the ad networks that led the way by offering scale for display, and the personalised retargeting providers that led the way in making display perform like search, and now audience targeting companies can help deliver on the needs that brands require.
With this is mind, the team at Affectv has been dedicated to offering brands a way to engage with audiences, with metrics and formats that meet their objectives.
Metrics – From February, all Affectv’s advertisers can choose to see the true exposure their creative had in front of the target audience, to know the true reach and frequency a campaign achieved and for how long the creative was viewed. Furthermore, the uplift and recall this exposure delivered through analysing returning site visits, offline uplift and social buzz.
Formats – By understanding what consumers discuss and share in social media with each other, and who they are connected to, Affectv is able to match consumers with a relevant expandable/video ad experience, as they browse the web. Affectv is this week launching our proprietary in-image ad format that offers brands an engaging method in which to socially target consumers, while in a contextually relevant environment. Built within Affectv’s image sharing widget for publishers, Slingpic, brands can deliver a bespoke video or rich media creative within the image as users engage with it. As a result, brands can achieve real-time intelligent audience targeting, with new bespoke formats that offer greater engagement and interactivity.
Context – The ability to offer audience targeting within contextually relevant environments is increasing by the month in RTB, as more and more premium publishers enable their inventory to be bought in real-time. Transparency around contextually relevant placements will increase the brand budgets that can be assigned to online.
Brands want to reach an audience and tell a story, and as an industry we’ve been too focussed on discussing the technology and positioning the proposition in a way Direct Response clients understand. By offering the right metrics, formats and context, with intelligent real-time audience targeting, we’ll all help grow the RTB industry further still.ExchangeWire