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Death of the Cookie: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The cookie isn’t quite dead…yet.  But its future is in question and advertisers need to understand the implications of cookie blocking from the likes of Apple, Google and Mozilla.  TripleLift recently had a great panel discussion (43:08) that talks about programmatic in a post-cookie world; we highly recommend you watch.

 

The Bad & the Ugly.

When Firefox and Safari implemented their ETP and ITP, respectively, conversion attribution tanked and put a lot of questions in to the minds of advertisers whether their passive advertising tactics were truly working.

If Google implements similar cookie blocking on their Chrome browser, we could assume that what would look like 70% of traffic is gone and unattributed to any campaign KPIs.  Attribution vendors who rely on third party data will be hurt to show value among channels.  And speaking of Google (and Facebook or Amazon for that matter), targeting of the user will still be allowed on their own platforms, of course, thus giving these walled gardens more power (read: increased revenue) than they already have.  Some may be fine with an all-Google executed media plan, while others choose the flexibility and affordably of diversifying technology and inventory.  When we see these entities own the complete ad supply chain from impression bid to attribution, who do you think wins more?

As the cookie disappears, leveraging third party data to build audiences becomes increasingly difficult, or eliminated, to scale your addressable market.  Using simple demographic or in-market attributes, for example, to build audiences will no longer exist.

Retargeting’s effectiveness declines dramatically since most advertisers use the cookie ID of website visitors to redeliver advertising to the brand-aware/engaged users—hopefully with enticing offers to come back to act.  With one-day attribution expiration (Safari), the reality of an advertiser to prove a user converting from a display ad are minimal.  This will force marketers to push budget into other lower funnel tactics such as Paid Search or Facebook.  We all agree these channels do power last-click conversions where the consumers’ intent is to “act now!” However, we know the positive impact passive tactics—contextual, Connected TV, retargeting, etc.—have on campaigns’ holistic performance.  When the demand generation drops, so does the lead generation.

Advertisers will need to rely on publishers to provide their first party data to link demographic/behavioral attributes to the advertiser’s ideal audience (~18:00 in the video).  If available third party data declines in the open marketplace, thus affecting the ad revenues of the publishers forcing subscription models, access to content will be at a premium affecting journalism as a whole.  Get ready for more subscriptions—and not, that does not necessarily mean the ads will go away.   We already see it now among popular, and even local, publications.

New York Time, Wall Street Journal & Hartford Business Journal Mobile Screenshots

 

The Good.

As Joella Duncan (Director of Media Strategy, Equifax) puts so bluntly in the video above, it’s time for media companies and agencies alike to pivot and modify their business models.  Yes.  We need to do better as an industry and be better stewards of consumers’ data—we can all appreciate this considering what Facebook has personally put us all through.

Let me be clear, the inevitable death of the cookie will not implode the programmatic advertising industry.  Instead it will shed a positive light on media companies who do more to serve their clients, bringing new ideas to the table and know when to move things around in-flight, than those who simply “place media.”

This technology already exists for advertisers to use, either directly or through their media partner.  LiveRamp is well known for their Identity Link product that matches first-party data across the many devices used to consume web content.  This “people-based advertising” technology and concept will be at the forefront of what will become an increased reliance on advertisers’ first party data.

Data onboarding via LiveRamp allows media partners to pass data between device IDs allowing for a better ad experience, controlling the frequency between devices, and more importantly, allows advertisers to measure performance attribution of ads on devices that do not fall into last-click or last-view models.

Enter Connected TV as an emerging technology that continues to quickly grow, both in users and ad revenue.  The value TV has on a media plan is measurable because of device ID tracking and the ‘person-based’ advertising methodology noted earlier.  Attributing form fills and e-commerce revenue back to TV is now easier than ever to prove the effectiveness of TV.

As an industry, we need to put more emphasis on cross-device attribution as it becomes more prominent in our pivot to the post-cookie world.  Moreover, it makes more business sense to comprehend the impact an ad view on one device has on the conversion on another device.

While noted earlier in the “bad” section, having a deeper relationship with publishers is also very much a good thing, especially as contextual advertising makes a rebound in the digital media world.  Whether partnerships with contextually-focused ad exchanges, like TripleLift, directly with publishers via Private Marketplace Deals (PMPs), or through custom-built contextual targets via Grapeshot, context is king as we move toward a post-cookie world.

 

Final Thoughts

The reality is the cookie was never a personalized identifier of a user, but unfortunately, regulations like GDPR vilified the cookie as this thing that held user data.  And thus, here we are on the cusp of our programmatic ecosystem that will fundamentally change if Chrome blocks the third-party cookie.  The ecosystem that mediate.ly lives is one that thrives on partnerships—with our clients and with the tech companies we work with.  These partnerships allow our teams to stay ahead of ever-changing programmatic advertising trends ensuring our clients’ businesses make an impact in their industries.

 

If your brand or agency is considering a new programmatic advertising partner, we would love to help you.  Just email us at hello@mediate.ly, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.

 

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Three Digital Advertising Trends for 2019

1)  Advertising Spend

Programmatic advertising is no longer an up and coming trend for advertisers to jump on the bandwagon to compete with their competitors. The inherent technology behind programmatic has been developed and refined and is now an essential, viable channel that you must have when developing your clients’ 2019 media plans.  Programmatic advertising must be part of your overall omni-channel strategy targeting your consumer base, meeting and exceeding marketing objectives.

For the first time since the inception of this technology, Programmatic advertising spend will surpass $84 billion in 2019. This amount translates to a 19% growth year-over-year. Advertisers globally continue to pour their budgets and efforts into this effective strategy to realize future gains as the monumental growth for this realm will account for 65% of advertising dollars spent when considering all channel offerings.

As an independent trading desk, our focus is helping our clients take advantage of this overwhelming shifting trend into programmatic advertising. We deploy and optimize all channels for a holistic omni-channel campaign approach to drive optimal business outcomes.

 

2)  Artificial Intelligence

Programmatic advertising inherently leverages AI technology driving efficiencies streamlining automated bidding based on identified consumer behaviors.  Currently, there are inefficient human interactions that are required for thorough data analyses to inform optimization decisions. With Artificial Intelligence rapidly gaining traction, we see these inefficient steps becoming obsolete providing the critical information each advertiser needs to become more involved with other optimization tasks enhancing campaign performance.

Machine learning provides the ability to rotate best performing creative assets into the optimized flight. This will free up ample time for the strategist to focus their time on more productive tasks at hand.  Dynamic creative optimization further augments the programmatic value proposition of delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time and place.

As with any form of automation, the human touch remains necessary since anything left untouched can go rogue and off objective.  At mediate.ly, we pride ourselves on our all hands-on-deck mentality where each client receives white-glove service.  It is this that defines our “why” as an organization: to be a better partner for our clients, anticipating what’s driving better campaign results.  In tandem with various automated processes, this human effort allows multiple points of contact from campaign beginning to end. Our fish-tank style of collaborative thinking allows mediate.ly to stay ahead of the curve, bringing new ideas to the planning table.

 

3)  GDPR

Enacted in late May of 2018, GDPR’s purpose was to restrict and privatize consumer data points and was also created to expand user individual privacy rights from advertising practices. When the regulations were deployed, advertisers were forced to scale back spending to comply with the law.

Marketers were afraid to overstep, hoping to avoid incurring financial penalties drawn from the regulating committee. Now that the smoke has cleared, and we have a better understanding of the regulations, advertising spend has begun to pick up significantly. Lastly, due to the fair advertising practices being established, Programmatic advertising will now take the centerfold in leading the overall growth of digital marketing’s current state.  Keep an eye out for an increasing dependence on first party data and textual targeting as more data privacy regulations come to market and the instability of the cookie’s future is in question.

 

If your brand is considering a new programmatic advertising partner, we would love to help you.  Just email us at hello@mediate.ly, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.

 

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Questions to Ask Your Programmatic Advertising Partner

At just over a decade old, programmatic advertising is everywhere around us. It is no surprise this channel quickly became the way buyers deploy their digital advertising. With almost 85% of the US digital display ad market bought via programmatic platforms and processes in 2019—a stat expected to creep up to 88% by 2021—the decision isn’t whether it’s a ‘yes or no’ to use it, instead it’s a matter of who is going to deploy your programmatic efforts.

US Programmatic Digital DIsplay Ad Spend, April 2019, by eMarketer

 

Here are 6 evaluation questions we felt new programmatic buyers should be asking potential partners in 2019.

1) How long have you or your company been working with programmatic advertising?

As with the “social media guru” boom of the mid 2000’s, we’re seeing the same influx of programmatic advertising gurus today. We can thank the low cost of entry to execute. With these “gurus” trying to sell you their consulting services and media management, check resumes and ask whether they have been sell-side, buy-side, in an agency setting or client side, hands-to-keyboard, or simply just sold it. I am all for those fast learners; companies must start somewhere but be sure to trust the people you’re giving your media budget to those that have done it before. Look for those partners who are tracking attribution differently and who offer a level of service you’re not getting from other media companies.

 

2) What metrics do you evaluate success at each stage of the marketing funnel?

While programmatic has become the method to deploy display advertising, it naturally is a demand generation tactic more so than lead generation. We see it differently. Most times when it comes to the success or failure of a campaign—yes, even within a display campaign—the number of leads generated reigns supreme.  This is especially true for those who don’t budget millions to build brand equity.  Decreasing website traffic costs and cost-per-action/conversion are some mid and low funnel metrics, respectively, that should be an area of focus in this space.  Be wary of those who approach programmatic advertising the same way they would a traditional digital media buy.

 

3) How do you measure leads and attribution?

Your programmatic advertising partner should be just that: a partner.  Forget the order takers, instead work with those pushing the envelope getting tracking tags set up properly ensuring accurate campaign measurement. Last view and last click attribution are the methods to measure conversions in digital advertising, keep an eye out for the increasing authority of cross-device attribution.  With data and ad serving tracked back to the more desirable device ID over browser cookie—especially with news of increased privacy constraints—marketers are able to prove ROI credit to mobile or OTT device impressions driving conversions on laptops.

 

4) How do you address Brand Safety?

Brand Safety is the cornerstone of every kick off meeting before campaign deployment. Your programmatic partner should already have these built-in campaign settings; however, brand safety must also be dictated by…the brand! Brand safety is a collaborative discussion and implemented by the collective team. Your partner should bring to the planning table a variety of brand safety tactics such as domain, IP or publisher blacklisting. For more complex brand safety deployment, page-level blacklisting via Grapeshot, is proven to help with event specific brand safety situations as well.  You should never go to market with a blank slate.

grapeshot logo

5) What new tactics are you capable of deploying?

Programmatic advertising is ever evolving as each month passes. Some organizations bring together disparate platforms providing value through their own proprietary processes, while others will partner with technologies that bring most of these disparate systems together. The former provides scale of inventory and data, while the latter offers speed to market and cleaner reporting. In 2019, Connected TV, streaming radio and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) should be on your media plans for discussion.

 

6) How often do you optimize your data segments?

Specifically referring to third party data (3PD), the data attributes that makeup the audience exposed to your addressable market changes over time. This is especially true if your campaign is longer than three months. The 3PD segments you target should change with other unknown data attributes identified through your partner’s DSP or DMP.  As the advertiser, you may share the known attributes of your target audience—household income, age, in-market data—that your partner can apply to a variety of flights.  However, these unknown segments—often the psychographic data (i.e. spa mavens, big spenders, etc.) are those that are not as obvious, but could have value.  These could be cycled in and out throughout the campaign duration to keep the audience data fresh.

These are just six of the top questions we came up with to help folks ask of their prospective programmatic advertising partner in 2019.  What other questions would you ask?

 

If your brand is considering a new programmatic advertising partner, we would love to help you.  Just email us at hello@mediate.ly, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.

 

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Google’s 4 Smarter Bidding Strategies are all about Conversions

With more than 70% of advertisers opting for automated bidding over manual bidding, Google is unveiling new smart bidding strategies by placing more emphasis on improving the automated bidding algorithm. In the coming months, these enhancements will give advertisers more options and control over their paid search bidding strategies.

 1.  Campaign-level conversion settings. Currently, marketers are only limited to setting conversion goals at the account level. This new feature will allow advertisers to set conversion goals at the campaign level. Having this flexibility means that advertisers will be able to set up, analyze and optimize conversions based on specific individual campaign goals and calls-to-action. This will also provide even more control over budget, spend caps and bid adjustments based on conversion-based smart bidding strategies.

2.  Seasonality adjustments. With a lot of buzz around customer journey, Google now makes it easier for brands to promote their products and services to consumers when they need it the most.  Advertisers will have the capability to schedule these seasonal bid adjustments as they set up their campaigns. Using seasonality adjustments as a bid strategy could make a big difference in sales and revenue for a lot of brands. The ability to schedule or automate these specific seasonal adjustments around promotional events or peak seasons takes the work out of manual adjustments for most advertisers.

3.  Maximize conversion value. After rolling out maximize conversions a few years ago, Google is making additional adjustments in the coming months by adding maximize conversion value.  Marketers will have the ability to optimize campaigns for the most conversion value within a specific budget. Until now, bidding strategies have been focused on efficiency.

4.  Conversion value rules. This new smart bidding feature will provide advertisers the flexibility to assign value to their calls-to-action or conversion goals. This can also be based on different conversion values such as location, device and audience type. With this rule, advertisers can customize conversion values so they align more closely with their business goals.

 

How we use automated bidding

Automation is quickly becoming the way of the future and by utilizing smart bidding we reap the benefits of better performance while saving time on manually adjusting bids.  But before you automate, you should test the waters. At mediate.ly, part of our optimization strategy for under-performing tactics is to test the waters before making any major shifts. Looking at information such as keyword performance, quality score, competition, impression share are all ways to glean insight before jumping into any automated bid strategy.  Testing is an easy way to gather data to make an informed decision prior to making any major adjustments to the campaign. Using automated bid strategies allows our team to gather useful insights that we can then use to improve the campaign, inform expansion or optimize on other channels.

Google said these smart bidding strategies will roll out in the next few weeks for Paid Search and Display, and in the coming months for other channels.

Prior to implementing these smart bidding strategies, you may need to adjust your current campaign bid settings or structure to accommodate these strategies.

 

If your brand is not taking advantage of the latest trends in paid search, we would love to help.  Send us an email at hello@mediate.ly, call 561.868.9080 or contact us.

 

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Google Announced Discovery Campaigns at Marketing Live 2019

Last week Google hosted Marketing Live 2019, a big focus during the 2 day event was on creative. Google introduced a series of new features and tools in ad innovation. These new features include Discovery ads, app deep linking and the new Google shopping experience.

Here at mediate.ly we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to increase campaign performance and become more efficient in providing our clients the best possible ROI. We research data trends that will allow us to switch gears quickly with the least amount of disruption to overall campaign performance.

One of the new announcements last week at Google Marketing Live 2019 can do just that. Discovery ads have the ability to be effective across YouTube, Gmail and Discover (the Google feed). The new audience expansion tool and smart bidding technology makes Discovery ads a new feature all Paid Search marketers will want to try.

 

Discovery ads

Today’s consumers have more interactions and touchpoints before settling and committing to that final purchase. Google is using these learnings providing consumers with the best possible experience during this journey using machine learning to serve consumers the right ad with the right content at the right time. By using a simple performance flow to reach consumers, YouTube, Gmail and Discover, Google is creating an experience that solely relies on the user journey without challenging the intent of that journey. Discovery ads are natively integrated within the user journey or what Google is calling “experience” but look and feel natural to the user. They are built with target audiences and not keywords.

These few design principles will drive the success of discovery ads:

  • The ads should be visually consistent and should feel like it’s a part of the product that the user is researching.
  • All discovery ads should be high quality. Google’s review process will ensure assets match the standard of quality that will fit with the user journey and experience.
  • The ad should be relevant and focus on adding value. If an ad is not relevant and doesn’t provide value to the user then it just becomes noise.
  • Offering control over their ads, Google provides customization on headline, description and imagery. Customization that will make the relevance factor much stronger.

Discovery Ad Image

Source: Google

 

Once marketers follow these guiding principles, Google will find your target audience in a myriad of content across YouTube, Gmail and Discover.

With Discovery ads, Google is relying heavily on machine learning to power the best possible experience and outcome for consumers and advertisers alike. By using audience expansion and the power of smart bidding, Google will fine tune your campaign performance. This will drive more consumers that will most likely convert, which will provide more leads and better results at the lowest cost.

Google is giving marketers the creativity tools to achieve their business goals. And the exciting news for advertisers is that Google pairs your brand in the user journey showcasing their message in the most natural way. It moves advertising out of the realm of just being an ad and becomes part of the overall user experience.

 

Gallery ads

Google also unveiled their new Gallery ads which lets you show off more content in just one ad. The ads can be used to improve brand awareness or to showcase a new product line. Similar to Facebook Carousel ads, Gallery ads let you feature between four to eight photos, three different headlines and a 70 character description that is currently only available for mobile devices. This ad format takes up much more real estate and is only available on the top ad position in Google search results.  Its also competes alongside other text ads in the same auction. Google claims, on average, ad groups with one or more gallery ads have up to 25% more interactions.

Gallery Ad Image

Source: Google

 

Both Discovery campaigns and Gallery Ads will help Google shift to a better interactive visual format and will roll out globally later this year.

If your brand is not taking advantage of the latest trends in paid search, we would love to help.  Send us an email at hello@mediate.ly, call 561.868.9080 or contact us.

 

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Enhancements Announced at Facebook’s F8 Conference

Here are 3 that will impact your social marketing

On April 30th, Facebook held F8, their annual conference to announce their latest product changes and launches.

With privacy as a top concern, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed the company’s shift to focus on connecting people and communities within protected spaces. Will the newest product enhancements benefit consumers, and marketers alike? While the mediate.ly team consistently uses Facebook and Instagram for our clients’ campaigns, over the past year we’ve seen CPMs rise, and targeting capabilities decrease.  So, some new opportunities for marketers to forge meaningful connections on their platforms are coming just in time!  Here are three highlights on the changes, and how they can impact your approach to social advertising:

1)  New Design Makes Stories More Prominent. If you haven’t already shifted a portion of your creative to video, now is the time.  In Facebook’s new design, the Stories feed is larger and impossible to skip over. In 2018, Facebook Stories had more than 150 Million daily users – this will only go up with the new design. We recommend Facebook Story Ads as a place to get your ad seen. See screenshot below.

Source: Facebook

Plus, with the new interactive features on Instagram’s Story Ads, your videos can take your brand message to a new level across these platforms. Polling is an awesome feature for Story Ads! Did you know that a quarter of all Instagram ads are single videos? Facebook is now fully in the ad stories game, get your brand in there too!

2)  Facebook is declaring Groups are the heart of the platform. The new design features a prominent Groups tab with a personalized groups activity feed.  Facebook’s investment in Groups will enable users to develop communities and share within those circles – a way to connect, but with more privacy and control. As a marketer, cultivating meaningful groups to listen and contribute will help build your brand. For example, University Alumni groups are a great way to communicate campus news and build a development pipeline. With the new design, news and activities from the group will be front and center.  Later this summer, Facebook will roll out a new events tab “so you can see what’s happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.”

3)  Messenger will support lead development. Facebook is completely re-building Messenger from the ground up with the promise that it will be lighter and faster – to be rolled out later this year. In addition to the revamped build, there will be some new solutions making it easier for businesses to cultivate leads and drive in-store traffic. There will be a lead gen template for Messenger within Ads Manager and the ability for consumers to book appointments within the Messenger app.  See screenshots below.  Mediate.ly will keep an eye on the releases and test as soon as we can.

Source: Facebook

If your brand is not on taking advantage of the best features of these social platforms, we would love to help you.  Just email us at hello@mediate.ly, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.

 

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