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Opportunities, Reality & Display Ad Evolution

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Welcome to fabulous New York City. This post is the continuation of aimClearBlog’s coverage of SES NY 2009.

Session: Pardon My Reach: A Snapshot of the Display Ad Marketplace. Synopsis: This session broadened the discussion to include a focused dialog surrounding the topic of display advertising in the media marketplace. The panel addressed new opportunities and realities of heightened competition in a changing media landscape.

Moderator: Zach Rodgers, Managing Editor, ClickZ
Speakers/Panelists: Chris Paul, VP, Media Director, Digitas, Sarah Baehr, Vice President and National Media Lead, Razorfish, Adam Kasper, SVP, US Director of Digital, Media Contacts Boston, Adam Shlachter, Senior Partner, Digital Practice Lead, MEC Interactive

In the current landscape, hyper targeting is taking center stage and portal power has lost its luster. Zach Rodgers introduced this panel of industry heavyweights and immediately opened the floor for discussion.  They planned on covering a lot of ground.

Attribution models and Universal search
We are seeing amazing multipliers for digital advertising (Universal search) and the need to shift strategies (to encompass all of these options). Be sure to map out your attribution chain, integrate and co-opt with other models and integrate Display (advertising programs) with search (advertising programs).

Be sure to Integrate Search and display groups from top down to develop a smooth client and internal interface. Search and display advertising definitely impact each other. The industry is moving away from a “last click” attribution model.

It is wise to combine ad creative, display and search campaigns. All remain distinct BUT they are all working in concert as an integrated marketing model. They should all support each other because they do heighten each others effectiveness. This also positions your online platforms to support your offline/traditional media platforms much more effectively. It creates more opportunities.

How much credit should search get? Your entire media mix has a cumulative effect.  It changes from client to client. Does display advertising work?

Here is a panel Q&A from 10,000 ft.
How has Online marketing changed?
AK: “The dialog with clients is about the move from traditional media to digital media and how to validate ROI through track and measure.  What is your digital mix? Conversion has migrated past “Should we spend?” to “How much should we spend and where?”

CP: “Take full advantage of the medium. There are far more engagement and interactive opportunities than clients currently utilize. You have some incredible new options (Video, 2 way engagement ect.)”

How do we effectively purchase media against established sales metrics (ROI)?
• Use all of the tools necessary to get the desired outcome
• Analyze, test, analyze
• Deeper engagement. Stronger interplay
• If you have a solid brand, use it to your advantage. You will get higher clicks with stronger brand use.
AK: “Advertisers are looking beyond basic DR methods and require more qualitative metrics to validate ROI. Digital channels are changing the landscape.”
CP: “Much of the real estate traditional populated by banner ads is being replaced with newer , fresher more engaging content (Video, 2 way engagement ect).”
Measurability

How do you measure? What tools do you use?
It is a good idea to employ some form of BETA testing and internal analytics. There are many free tools available to help you. Atlas is in heavy use across the industry. The landscape is changing rapidly.
• Goals naturally change
• Labor intensive
• There is a ton of data to analyze
• There are no simple tools or applications or answers
Formats and creative possibilities are constantly evolving. The consumer and the industry demand better ads.

Are banner ads going away entirely?
“Online creative has been sitting in the trunk for a long time.” (SB) There has not been a lot of investment to develop beautiful creative. But this is very costly. Creative investment has historically been in traditional media (Broadcast TV, Newsprint ect.)Creativity had leveled off, but there is a new uptick. Experimentation is now prevalent and demanded.

With the advent of increased bandwidth and customer engagement there are a lot of new options for developing new content coming this year. It is an exciting time. We now have the option of pushing Long form dynamic video into the former real-estate held by traditional banner advertising.
Recession? What recession?

CB: Digital is holding its ground. Because it is budget friendly, trackable, targeted and accountable.

AK: There is an overall increase in digital spending (clients have shifted dollars from other media). Clients want to do more with less.

SB: Automotive, Retail and Financial verticals have all been heavily impacted. But Digital is well suited to deliver because it is measurable, accountable and efficient. There are huge opportunities. “Innovation germinates in dark times.”

Be sure you employ a “retargeting” strategy. Your clients should leverage their existing customer base (These are customers who already do business with them). “Marketing 101 at its finest” (SB). This is one of the most important and efficient ways to drive sales and engagement. “But from an operational perspective, retargeting is not an easy  or simple process.”

(AK) Opportunities have increased as far as formats and players in the market. Consumer usage is at an all time high. More impressions are available. But the recession has had an affect on the marketplace. There is uncertainty among the clients.

The good news:
• More and more clients are looking to move traditional ad dollars into the digital media options. Particularly from television. One screen to another.
• Prices are dropping. Premium inventory is much more affordable to smaller businesses.
The bad news:
• Many firms are faced with building more efficient campaigns to keep costs in line with ROI. This means less vendors (co-opt) working on fewer clients. You need to be efficient for the work you have.
• Larger premium publishers are starting to regroup their inventory.
Relationship value as a partner and a strong history as a performer are keys in retaining your clients through tough times. Be nimble, creative and effective. Prove your worth against the clients ROI (Value sells).

Social Media
The final part of the discussion centered on how to approach the animal known as “Social Media”.
“The pass along effect”
• Opens opportunity for deeper discussion between your clients and their customers.
• Opens new palettes of creative for your team. New creative options.
• The ability to leverage the connections that people have to your brand and each other and circle it back.
• Allows you to engage your base earlier in the buying cycle.
• Use viral pass along tools (2 way engagement) to encourage longer and deeper interaction.
• Foster a sense of community around your brand. Use your “Brand Width”.
• You are starting to see a trickle of paid placement into sites like Facebook and Twitter. This will become more prevalent daily.

This was a very entertaining session. All of the panelists did a great job and provided excellent and topical information. One thing is clear. There is a ton of opportunity to gain client share during these tough times. Just be efficient, effective, measurable and accountable.

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