This time last year we posted a blog article on what we thought would be the â€œtop 5â€ challenges for Clients in 2012. Investing in creative, cookie legislation, real time bidding, mobile & local optimisation and using SEO & Social are all areas that had significant impact in 2012. They also continue to be priorities for Clients (interestingly weâ€™re still waiting to hear the ICOâ€™s response to Cookie implementation which was due in November).
For 2013 weâ€™ve selected another 5 areas that will be important for Clients to invest time to understand. As ever, itâ€™s our responsibility to ensure our Clients get to grips with these challenges. As with last year weâ€™ve focused on Digital Marketing challenges that can be responded to, rather than those out of our control. Weâ€™ve split it over two articles because we just had too much to say in one……
If weâ€™ve missed something that you think is going to be critical this year, get in touch and let us know why you think it will be important.
1. Paid Search, Feeds and Google Shopping
Google has already invested lots of time and money into updating its shopping offering over the pond and 2013 looks likely to be the year of real change here in the UK. In fact, from February 2013 the phased transition from the free Google Product Search to a paid offering featuring Google Product Listing Ads known as Google Shopping will begin.
Product Listing Ads (PLAâ€™s) are a unique ad format that allows for the addition of rich product specific information such as title, price, images and your company name (see below). They are charged on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) percentage basis for selected beta testers (in the US only).
Are PLAâ€™s important to me? Put simply, yes. They are the lifeblood of Googleâ€™s new shopping platform and have potential to be the next very big thing for all online retailers. This means that the need for a product feed, especially if you sell multiple products, is even more important and getting this feed into Google Merchant Center doubly so! https://www.equimedia.co.uk/files/pdf/Feedstream.pdf
Creating product ads requires an AdWords account and a Merchant Center account and it is essential to get those set up as soon as possible so that your account can start to build up history and learnings prior to the end of the free results. This will stand you in good stead for 2013….
2. The Human Impact on Real-Time Bidding
Real time bidding has dramatically changed the digital landscape, enabling advertisers to reach incredibly targeted audiences and bid for them in real time at impression level across multiple exchanges, therefore also providing huge scale. Traditionally, media planners would buy pre-defined audiences and placements across a number of sites, and negotiations with publishers and networks would take a up a large percentage of their time.
Sophisticated DSP technology removes the risk of wastage, enabling planners to target the user in real time rather than the site. It has automated some of the media buying and optimisation process, enabling media planners to make smarter decisions based on data and facilitating the media buy in real time. It has also provided transparency and control, automatically optimising campaigns according to parameters set by the media planner.
But will programmatic buying replace the human element of media planning?
Successful RTB campaigns rely on the ability to deliver upon human insight and should be based on the plannerâ€™s knowledge of the target marketâ€™s attitudes and intent. The human approach is about customisation and creating bespoke campaigns that solve specific client problems.
Firstly, it is vital that the initial set up of the campaign within the DSP is executed correctly â€“ equimediaâ€™s media planners will interpret and analyse 1st and 3rd party data which in turn will inform the re-targeting strategy, the most relevant keywords for contextual targeting, the most closely matched behavioural segments, the most relevant sites etc. Frequency, pacing, geo-targeting, creative, day-parting, recency and device are just a few of the other elements our media planners must consider. All of the above will require adjustments once the campaign is live, and are just a few of the optimisation levers they pull. The possibilities are endless, and therefore a robust test and learn strategy should also be in place before a campaign goes live.
Relationships with publishers are still of absolute importance as well â€“ we expect to see significant growth in private marketplaces this year, which require a period of negotiation between the media planner and the publisher to ensure a win-win situation. In addition, although RTB provides advertisers with scale and results in a more cost-effective media buy, inventory is not guaranteed, and therefore the purchase of guaranteed premium inventory or sponsored placements still relies on the planner-publisher relationship. However, we do anticipate a greater availability of premium ad inventory as a result of private marketplaces, which will break down the barrier to entry for brand marketers. We expect this influx in brand budget will fuel RTB ad spending in 2013, along with the rise and maturation of the Facebook exchange and the influx of mobile and video inventory into the RTB space.
RTB has revolutionised the online advertising industry and will continue to do so, but the human impact will definitely remain integral to it for 2013, and for years to come.
3. The growth of mobile display in 2013
With 51% of the UK population owning a smartphone in Q1 2012 vs 30% in Q1 2011,* no one can deny that smartphone penetration is on the rise and will continue to rise dramatically in 2013. Smartphones are used everywhere, with 97% of the UK population using them at home, 85% while they are on the go and 72% at work.
Your PPC mobile campaign is live and efficient, should you now be looking at investing in mobile display?
Potentially, yes. Mobile is mass media that is personal which is what differentiates it from any other media platform. In addition, a mobile device is always on and always with you.
Mobile display is being embraced by a number of advertisers to successfully drive brand awareness, consideration, purchases and loyalty. In fact mobile ad spend was up by 132% year on year to Â£181.5 million in H1 of 2012.* The targeting options are varied and include device and data connection, the type of content users are consuming, demographic characteristics, behavioural, contextual and location/proximity targeting.
However mobile display ad spend still doesnâ€™t yet compare with usage, with many advertisers still investing more in above the line media. Currently, media costs are still relatively low, but they are expected to increase as more advertisers begin to test the medium this year. Therefore perhaps now could be the ideal time for you to test mobile display advertising.
However, there are some considerations that must be taken into account before you go ahead and set a mobile display campaign live:
- It is vital that KPIs are defined from the start â€“ how will you measure the effectiveness of your mobile display campaign? Mobile display advertising is brilliant at creating brand awareness, and developing the top of the funnel. Brand impact and unique visitors are more relevant KPIs than Sales and CPS in this case. Vouchers and offers will impact the purchase point and therefore sales and CPS would be more relevant to measure their impact. Click-to-call and video completion rates are also valuable metrics to consider
- Do you have a mobile optimised site or a desktop site that renders well on a mobile phone or tablet? It wonâ€™t reflect well on a brand if they are served mobile creative but then directed to a site that does not render well
- Ensure you serve mobile-specific creative â€“ and consider the amount of space you have available to convey your message
If you can get these right initially, mobile display could soon become a integral part of your digital strategy.
This post was contributed to by Mike Sharp, Kathryn Jefferies, Tim Hooper and Jonathan Moore.
* Source: IAB 2012 H1 Adspend report