As a veteran of the advertising and media worlds, I’ve been on this ride long enough to know you must anticipate the future before it gets to you.
The stone age of digital advertising was not long ago.
Ten years ago, less than half of all Americans had broadband connection, and 36% had no Internet connection at home. Yahoo was the top portal site, bringing in 128 million unique visitors each month. Facebook, still new to the market, was competing with MySpace, with neither securing ad revenue to write home about.
It was a simple time, in comparison to today. But it didn’t feel like it back then. In fact, the AdAge Digital Marketing & Media Fact Pack for 2007 began with this sentence: It’s becoming critical to stay atop the digital media and marketing space, but the pace of technological change is making it increasingly difficult.
Despite how crazed it seemed, the process of advertising was much slower paced in 2007. An advertiser, almost always using an advertising agency as their intermediary, had time to follow a linear process to analyze their target audience, develop a media plan, negotiate the media rates, secure the placements and then develop the creative for the campaign. In general, each step was completed before the next step began.
Although the process seemed scientific, advertising a decade ago was comparable to throwing darts. A lot of money was spent with little tracking ability. Despite the desire to test everything to discover the most efficient path to optimal reach and frequency, campaign results came in at a snail’s pace, if at all. And ROI was rarely attributable to specific campaigns or channels.
Now advertisers spending $1 are asked to get $2 in return.
Technological capabilities have grown exponentially over the past decade, with the number of advertising impressions scaling just as fast. Despite continuous advancements, advertising technology is always catching up. And advertising knowhow is further behind.
Programmatic advertising at Digital Media Solutions, LLC (DMS) has been a significant part of this evolution and represented a significant paradigm shift. By enabling more refined targeting there is less wasted media spend, and the messaging can be more relevant. Advertising has become more efficient, but it’s still about today versus the anticipation of tomorrow.
Technology now enables us to instantly measure the impact of dollars spent. Campaign performance can be sliced, diced and analyzed to assess success and optimize for enhanced results. Consequentially, shifts in responsibility and expectations for ROI have adjusted.
The future of advertising is as big and deep as the Caspian Sea.
Although advertisers are asked to deliver a strong, positive ROI, and though many are delivering just that, most marketers are not taking full advantage of today’s advertising ecosystem. They’re fishing where the fish were last spotted instead of predicting where they’ll be next.
Third-party data, generally considered inferior to first-party data, is over utilized. The result is usually wobbly targeting windows and inferior performance. Meanwhile, publishers, media distributors and agencies are producing new products and targeting opportunities all the time. And, most advertisers really don’t know what the future holds.
To achieve favorable outcomes, I believe we need to centralize marketing data with all marketers doubling as technologists and skilled in data literacy and analysis. And we must remain focused on the marketing and business objectives, with everyone innovating faster paths to success.
What’s the goal? To hunt with knowledge.
If I’m ever on Naked & Afraid, I want to know where the food is from the start. It’s the same for advertising. I’m not interested in competing on an even playing field. Instead, I do everything I can to put myself in the position to win… to get to the food faster than the competition. That’s why at DMS we have built a marketing and technology culture focused on identifying and exploiting intent-rich moments across channels. In the micro-moments when consumer decisions are made, we’re there, repeatedly and with scale.
The advertising of the future is no longer just about achieving an ROI. It’s about maximizing yield… making eight with four instead of nine with six. It’s about using relevant and contextual yield and attribution data to predict the future and make smart decisions.
It’s about more than “a dude in a room.”
At DMS, we’ve developed a new, more advanced channel marketing automation platform. Our core proprietary platform, DMS Engage, is a central repository for an advertiser’s campaign data ― one place to look at the entire DNA of a user and campaign.
DMS Engage builds out highly actionable proprietary segments, lookalikes and entirely new audiences. It then goes a step further, testing thousands of variables to create micro-segments, detecting signals to organize micro-moments and capitalizing on their future intersections.
We are deploying autonomous, cross-device, omni-channel marketing journeys with complicated workflows designed to drive conversions and increase engagement. Using DMS Engage, we deliver signal-based custom journeys with predictive analytics, full-circle reporting and machine learning to determine the most efficient models, draw conclusions and adjust performance in real time. DMS Engage prevents the repetition of mediocrity and instead creates a system of continued improvement.
It’s about maximizing yield.
The future of advertising incorporates omni-channel measurement with performance transparency to understand the yield from each individual touched. While ROI will always remain a focus, the most successful advertisers are already moving away from measuring averages.
At DMS, we are increasingly shifting our overall media buying to an autonomous event and reaping the rewards of highly optimized, computer-based campaign management. We are measuring at the individual level and scaling the efforts that achieve the greatest yield. By removing subjectivity and letting the statistics influence the decisions, we are amplifying our success – and our clients’ successes – in real time.
This post is part of a series of posts, written by members of the DMS team, about the future of advertising.
Click here to read: The Future of Advertising: ROI-Focused Accountability Will Be the Foundation of Brand/Agency Trust by Joe Marinucci, CEO of DMS
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