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Importance of measurement

Measurement is a pillar of effective marketing. Without understanding how to collect complete data, where it comes from and why it is important, marketers cannot make intelligent decisions. Why is it important? Measurement of data is fundamental to any successful marketing campaign, as today’s customer journey is highly fragmented across channels and devices. With proper measurement, marketers can track each touchpoint in a user's journey – even if that person uses multiple devices and interacts with various channels. Understanding this relationship is more important than ever in today’s digital world. What is measurement? In the ‘classical’ definition, measurement is ‘values made meaningful by quantifying into specific units. Measurements act as labels which made those value more useful in terms of details. (Source: www.business dictionary.com/definition/measurement.html) In simpler terms, measurement is the action of counting everything that matters. Measurement can be defined as the assignment of a number to an action or event, which can be compared with other actions or events. For example, most often these will apply to KPIs (key performance indicators) or events of value. These can include sales, leads, revenue, or any other action the end user may take. How we categorize measurement is important because it allows us to compare measurements. Advertisers are constantly trying to optimize their investment, website, and everything about their online and offline experiences. In addition, measurement underlies everything that marketers evaluate, including attribution. Intelligent business decisions Accurate and complete data can only be collected through good measurement practices. Bad data leads to poor or misguided decisions. Organizations that tie marketing metrics directly to business objectives are 3x more likely to hit their goals. (Source: Google/IPSOS Connect, March 2016, Digital Devices Bridge the Physical World.) Three key principles of good measurement are: 1. Choosing the right KPIs Many advertisers are still using outdated KPIs to measure their marketing activity. Essentially, they’re using bad data. As an example, for many businesses the days of looking only at lead forms is long gone. Why? Because users may not always fill out forms on mobile devices. So, the number of lead forms is no longer an accurate way to measure things. In a similar way, the practice of advertisers still looking at clicks as their main metric is not as reliable. Advertisers need to focus on other metrics that drive business results; impressions and viewability for example.   2. Understanding the customer journey With more than half of all web traffic now coming from smartphones and tablets, the user journey is becoming more and more complex. In fact, data shows that 75% of online adults begin an activity on one device but continue or finish it on another. As user behavior evolves, advertisers must adapt their approach to measuring and analyzing it. Source: 1 Google/IPSOS Connect, March 2016, Digital Devices Bridge the Physical World, n=2013 US online respondents 18+ 3. Measure the correct KPI for users along the customer journey With digital advertising, clients face increasing pressure to differentiate their advertising based on the individual user. Measurement is the backbone of this concept. 0

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Google Marketing Platform made easy

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the wonderful world that is Google Marketing Platform? Have you been told numerous stories about the software and its capabilities, but you still don’t have a clear idea of what it is and if it’s the right move for your business? Not to worry, you are most certainly not alone. Welcome to the Google Marketing Platform Beginners Club! My name is Bobbie, and I am the GMP Account Executive at iProspect. As the newest member of the GMP team (and founder of the Beginners Club), I understand how daunting it can be researching the various platforms and the information overload that soon follows. As Google Marketing Platform Partners, it is our responsibility to simplify this information into a language that everyone can understand, so you can fully appreciate what a powerful technology it is and the endless, constantly evolving tools it can provide for your business. The three platforms that we specifically specialise in at iProspect are Display and Video 360, Campaign Manager and Search Ads 360. Together they make an incredible ecosystem that allows a business complete control and autonomy across their online advertising and search campaigns. To get you started, below are simple explanations of what each platform is, what it does and just a small number of the incredible benefits each one can deliver: Display and Video 360 (DV360) DV360 allows an advertiser or business to bid in an automated online auction for advertising space in real time, as it becomes available on a publisher’s website. The platform permits the user to format their advertising campaign with specific guidelines and brilliant control. When advertising space then becomes available, the system follows these unique guidelines as an indicator as to whether it is worthwhile bidding for the space in the online auction. Just some of the features available in DV360 when setting up a campaign include: ·         Precise audience targeting ·         Detailed budget and spend allocation ·         Controlled placement and location of ads ·         Sophisticated brand safety filters ·         Real-time reporting that gives you an invaluable insight into how your campaign is performing Simply put, you can choose what advertisement is shown, to which demographic, at what time and where that will be! Search Ads 360 (SA360) A search engine management solution, SA360 provides the user with the ability to optimise, report and manage numerous search campaigns across multiple engine accounts, all from one interface. Agencies and marketers no longer have to review and make edits on each separate engine. SA360 allows for bulk uploads of new campaigns, ability to copy and paste campaigns between engines with the click of a button, and bulk edits all within one platform. Below are just some of the SA360 features that allow a user to save time, act quicker and achieve better optimisation: ·         Bid strategies that automatically adjust by predicting the best bid for a keyword to achieve your unique business goals ·         Gather valuable search insight with Floodlight tags ·         Measure every aspect of your campaign performance with powerful reporting tools Campaign Manager (CM) This is the platform that we find our clients know little or nothing about, but for the right business, is arguably the most powerful of them all. I personally like to refer to Campaign Manager as the cogs that run in the background, working hard to provide the other platforms with as much intelligence and data as possible. Of course, SA360 and DV360 work perfectly fine as standalone platforms, but for a best in class solution, CM is what we would highly recommend. So, what can CM do? ·         Creation of floodlight tags – these are pieces of code generated in CM, that a user then places on specific pages of their website. The tags fire when a user visits a page, recording a conversion and providing vital data about how users interact with your site and their journey to conversion. Floodlight tags also allow you to create audience lists by capturing a user’s cookie ID. These lists can then be pulled through to DV360 and used for re-marketing campaigns ·         Placement tags/ad tags –  a user uploads their creatives to CM and assigns them to a placement, creating a placement tag. These tags allow CM to serve the creatives directly to publisher’s website as and when requested ·         Reporting and attribution – the reporting and attribution tools available in CM provide marketers and in-depth insight into a user’s journey and how effective their campaigns are performing. As SA360 and DV360 can be fully integrated with CM, you can track your search and display activity in this one central platform Want to know more? The above only scratches the surface of the Google Marketing Platform capabilities, but gives you a top-level breakdown of each platform and what they can do for your business. If you would like to discuss anything that you have read here today, please contact the iProspect team at GMP@iProspect.com who would be happy to help. 0

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Brand Safety in Display and Video 360

Managing verification (brand safety and fraud) effectively is a key challenge for all marketers, and one that shouldn’t be swept aside or thought of lightly. It can take a lot of time, energy and money to build a brand and so it may seem unfair that one particularly unfortunate ad placement can be devastating to those efforts. And yet, this is the state of play and highlights why we need to be diligent and resourceful to tackle this challenge head on. Thankfully, Display and Video 360 is here to help you with best-in-class brand safety features and integrations. The ability to bid on the open exchange is one of the key benefits of buying programmatically - allowing for true scale which is accessible to all. Of course, this scale brings challenges of its own, as the number of domains available is huge and ever increasing, and there’s no guarantee that all inventory is safe.  Whitelisting Perhaps the most robust route to tackling both brand safety and fraud is whitelisting, which is essentially positive targeting. Here, you provide the platform with a list of domains that you have determined to be brand safe. When determining this list, there are a few things to consider for each domain: 1.       Is the content of the site limited to a particular age group (or, is the site ‘safe for work’?) 2.       Does the site contain, or is the site likely to contain, content that may not be appropriate, or could show my ads against controversial topics/products? 3.       Is the site created for genuine content creation and use? (Not for monetisation of fraudulent clicks/impressions) You can take this further than brand safety, and consider the relevance to your site, the alignment with your own brand and/or product, or simply consider a site that is part of your user journey. Once created, your ads will only show on these sites giving you control and confidence. While indeed powerful, this is no silver bullet and there are a few key considerations. First, the majority teams unfortunately don’t have the time to put together a list of any real volume to allow for that scale or to keep it updated as new inventory becomes available. This is where we can help – we have multiple whitelists that our teams at Dentsu Aegis have put together which you can leverage and utilise. Second, even a list with real volume is going to limit reach versus the open exchange. There’s a balance to be had here between the two, and it’s a sliding scale which needs to be considered by each advertiser based on their goals and needs at that point in time. Blacklisting Naturally, we follow whitelisting with blacklisting, or, negative targeting. We can blacklist URLs for sites we know are not safe and do not conform to the three questions we asked ourselves above. While less robust than whitelisting as the platform may still buy ad space on new inventory and unsafe sites that you are unaware of, it doesn’t have as much impact on limiting reach. Plus, you are able to negatively blacklist against keywords which look at the content of the site and/or page. You may want to exclude ad space on pages which use profanity, mature language, controversial or fake news, or perhaps simply controversial terms or topics. We recognise that creating these lists take time so once again, we at Dentsu Aegis have blacklists (both domains and keywords) that you are able to leverage in the platform. Native Filters in DV360 While whitelists are great at ensuring you are displaying on a brand-safe site, there is still an element of risk associated with the content. Display and Video 360 uses Digital Content Labels to exclude content based on a suitability rating (similar to Movie Ratings – ‘Mature Content’, ‘PG’). You can then apply Sensitive Category Filters which allow you to exclude content that has been identified as discussing the likes of: Gambling, Drugs, Weapons, Travel Accidents and Politics. These two filters add real nuance to your approach, allowing you to show content on great inventory which may occasionally have unsuitable content as sometimes a blacklist/whitelist only approach may be, too black and white… Third Party Integrations If you want to apply a little more nuance to your brand safety feature set, we recommend utilising one of the third party verification tools that is integrated with DV360. These enable you to block High Risk sensitive category content but allow for Moderate Risk where you wish. For example, this may block sites promoting gambling, but not automatically veto ad space because there is a mention of a term related to gambling on the page. Sweeping Approach The in-platform tools do a great job at protecting your brand, but there is always more that can be done in what is undoubtedly an ever-evolving process. If you are using a whitelist, it is important to ensure you update with new URLs or apps that come into play which are brand safe so you do not miss out on what could be premium inventory. Where you are not using a whitelist, use the Verification tool in DCM to blacklist URLs that the platform thinks are of a high risk, or in a sensitive category you would like to exclude. These features are to be used in conjunction, not one alone provides both a robustness and nuance. At iProspect, we can provide you with Brand Safety recommendations, audits and recurring check support. 0

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Content strategy during COVID-19

During these challenging times, it’s important to understand what type of content you should be creating. It’s likely you had a content strategy and were working to a content plan, but now is the time to revisit that approach and be cognizant of what will land in the coming weeks and months. To tackle this conundrum head on, we’ve devised five key considerations for your content team and strategy. Consideration #1 Refer back to your current strategy and draw up an adapted approach that considers the wider circumstances. There are a number of ways to go about plotting what content you should be creating: Your customers – what questions is your customer service team receiving? What are people asking of you as a brand on social? Search listening – what is the current keyword demand for COVID-19 relating to your brand? If you’re a beauty brand, what home tutorials can you provide them? If you’re a bank, how can you assure your customers their money will be safe in these times?   Your brand – what do you stand for? What topics do you have the remit to talk about and how can that be applied to everyday customer queries and issues? Social listening – what are customers saying on social, and how can you create content around that to mitigate fears or concerns? Media interest – what is the media talking about? This seems to change on a weekly basis at the moment, but keeping an eye on the news agenda will help you understand what consumers are reading about It’s important to note that people’s interest in digital content has increased significantly since COVID-19. Consumers have more time and in the evenings are turning to the web for news, inspiration and humour. Consideration #2 This is perhaps the biggest consideration: things keep changing. By that, I mean people’s attitudes, behaviours and journeys to purchase are changing all of the time. The content you created or had planned to create three months ago is probably not something customers want right now, but don’t fear; it’s content they’ll want again one day, so it isn’t wasted. The search intent around products will change week to week, potentially day to day. If you look at something like travel insurance, terms relating to that broad topic usually mean people are looking to take it out for an upcoming holiday, but now the intent of that topic and terms related to that product have changed massively; it’s all about “Am I covered?” The intent of people’s searches now takes on a new meaning but mostly people are trying to find answers to complex questions, for which, in some cases, there aren’t any answers at all. However, as a brand you have the right and responsibility to provide customers with content that is useful, offers a solution and addresses a fear or concern. The temptation is to pull back on creating content but, right now, your customers need you more than ever. The relationship you’ve created over years, decades and potentially centuries is always something to think about to ensure you’re still holding a relationship with your customers during these uncertain times. To summarise, the world is changing and the situation is changing rapidly. We need to be able to understand what people want week to week, day to day, hour to hour, and offer them content that satisfies that need. Consideration #3 This seems obvious but a consideration that is crucial right now: your content needs to be found. This splits out into two parts: Website architecture Your website and owned properties need clear navigation to useful content Your site must be quick. People have short attention spans at the best of times and what people are demanding right now is answers fast, so you must improve the speed of your site Your content needs to be able to be indexed by Google so it can be listed and customers can find it The structure of your page is a hugely important. Think about questions like “How to get Vitamin D in my diet?” or “How to work out at home”. These both trigger a featured snippet in Google, so if you’re a fitness or food brand you can provide genuinely helpful responses to this. However, if the structure of your page hasn’t been set up correctly you’ll never be featured in position zero Positive PR It’s likely that your PR activity is paused, cancelled or postponed, and is now only about crisis management, which is understandable. However, people are looking for positive stories. You’ve only got to put the term “positive stories” into Google Trends to see that people want them right now. In addition to this, journalists want positive, non-Coronavirus stories:   The media is crying out for content. Remember, most journalists need to be able to produce a new article every 45 minutes, so it’s likely that they’ll run out of COVID-19 stories eventually. What they want is motivating, surprising, useful and positive content for their audiences. There is a captive audience out there right now, and PR shouldn’t stop because of COVID-19. If you want your content to be seen by a wider audience, then PR is the best way to do this. We’re currently working with brands to plan small reactive campaigns that help customers but are also of interest to journalists. Consideration #4 Google has been quite open about its algorithm and guideline changes over the past couple of years. First we had E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) then there was YMYL (Your Money Your Life) and most recently we had BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) and actually during COVID-19 all of them take on an even heavier importance. It's now that people are looking for a layer of expertise beyond fluffy content. This presents brands with an opportunity to offer customers expert advice, perhaps in the form of employees who have decades of experience in a sector. For example, do you have a beauty consultant who can offer expertise on skincare at home? Do you have a mortgage advisor who has been at your bank for 30 years? If so, can they give their expert opinion? If you’re creating this content, ensure that readers know who the author is. This builds trust between the brand and the reader, and is widely encouraged by Google. Google’s approach to YMYL is that every page you create should impact a customer’s Money or Life. So, think about that in relation to COVID-19. Give your customers content that delivers tips on how to improve their life right now (and for the future) but also make sure you’re giving them solutions for intricate financial decisions. Lastly, BERT is a deep learning algorithm that understands the nuances and context of words in a sentence, to better match queries with search results. Make sure your content is structurally sound and can be processed by BERT so that it can be visible in Google. Consideration #5 The last consideration for every piece of content, whether it’s on your website, social or in email, is whether it is purposeful or profiteering? If you have an inkling that the content you’re creating doesn’t provide people with purpose or a point (the point could be handy DIY tips or how do your eyebrows at home), then tweak it so it does. Now is not the time to be taking advantage of people’s vulnerability and most customers will see through it. Your content should deliver significance and not be overly commercial. You can absolutely provide customers with products that solve problems and solutions, but don’t piggyback on COVID-19 for the sake of it. Lastly, it’s important to not go ‘dark’ and turn the lights off on your marketing activity. If anything, now is the time to make sure you’re connecting with customers. There is an obvious temptation to avoid the topic or in some cases withdraw any content at all, but it’s been proven that brands that don’t cut budgets during periods of uncertainty are best placed to prosper when the upturn returns. Numerous studies have proven this over many years. 0

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TikTok's Uncertain Fate Paves Way for Instagram Reels, As Triller Climbs To No. 1 In App Store

With the future and fate of TikTok remaining unclear, Instagram Reels and Triller are taking center stage in the short-form category.

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Google just became Amazon's biggest competitor

Google is reinvigorating their marketplace product Buy on Google (formerly called Shopping Actions) by removing commission fees and giving control of the brand experience back to the hands of merchants. These updates represent a direct effort to compete with Amazon and evolve Google’s online shopping experience at a time when people are shopping online more than ever due to COVID-19 closing down physical stores and altering consumer habits.   The announcement made last week highlighted several major changes. Google showcased new payment service platform partnerships with PayPal and Shopify and also expanded data feed integrations within Merchant Center. Google also passed back responsibility to brands for managing customer support, shipping, and returns. Finally, Google has even created a solution which builds feeds directly from Google’s own database.   Buy on Google will disrupt small and large retailers.  A streamlined checkout process has several highlights that are covered in a bit more detail below. 0% commission fees: This is a major change which will encourage all retailers to rethink their Buy on Google strategy.  A comparison that highlights the magnitude of this change:  Previous commission rates on Shopping Actions for apparel product categories was 12%! Updated merchant and financial requirements: The requirements to sell on Shopping Actions are now gone and Google is pulling out all the stops to remove excuses for brands to not onboard. Marketers no longer need a US bank account after linking to GMC with an approved payment service platform account (PayPal and Shopify, to start with). Barriers of entry have been removed: Google has relinquished complete control of payment transactions, managing customer support, as well as returns & shipping. Returning ownership of important brand-owned processes back to the retailer shows that Google is confident in brands meeting customer expectations for purchases made on Google Shopping. Product feed integrations: Google Merchant Center is supporting non-Google product feed uploads, by their greatest ecommerce and marketplace competitor - Amazon. Focus on supporting small businesses: Consumers will soon be able to filter and view products sold by small business merchants specifically.   What was missing in the announcement Google has been slowly rolling out new features and updates over the past several months around other organic and unpaid feed-powered listings. Retailers activating on the Buy on Google program can also opt-in at the same time to these free Google products listings called Surfaces Across Google. The same product feed powers both programs so merchants not only have commissions removed for Google’s marketplace but their catalog will now serve across multiple shopping experiences without paid media.  We predict that in the near future to see Buy on Google checkout options begin to show on organic search results, such as on the Knowledge Graph - a previously paid ad listing placement. While this experience is what we expect next, the details still follow suit on aggregating paid and free product listings to their specific ad placements across Google properties. Shopping Actions:  A solution in search of a problem...until now The Google marketplace (Shopping Actions) has struggled to burst through the bubble of mass adoption by merchants with spending the last seven years expanding and rebranding the program. The removal of commission fees is a unique value proposition and explicit advantage against marketplace rivals like Walmart and Amazon, but also a deep benefit for small businesses that started digital ecommerce on eBay and Etsy. The payment system partnerships have made up for years of minimal merchant integrations. To compensate and attempt to counter Amazon’s two million+ small businesses already selling on that marketplace, Google chose to integrate the Amazon catalog into Google Merchant Center. This has never happened in the history of Google and is unprecedented. What Google now has is a data set of product information far more robust than their own catalog. Shopify has a small business customer base of one million (and growing) on the platform which now brings a larger assortment of products, and new small businesses that have minimal reason to not now sell on Google marketplace. What does this mean for your business? Brands who have refused to launch on marketplaces like Amazon now have minimal hesitation to begin selling on Google. Nike has refused to sell on Amazon for some time due to not being able to own the customer experience. Brands should focus on evaluating their media plan and product feed strategy. This would entail identifying product lines, seasonality SKUs, and less profitable products to be specifically assigned as eligible to serve in a marketplace, organic/unpaid listings or paid campaigns. This granular setup is especially important due to limited reporting features and forecasting features within the Google Merchant Center--feature gaps which will hopefully be addressed by Google in the future. Google is placing a strategic bet on small businesses to lean into their marketplace by removing commission fees and reducing barriers to entry. These changes were driven by Google’s Bill Ready, a former PayPal executive, executive leader at Braintree & Venmo, and supporter of small business commerce for over a decade. When it comes to steering a ship such as Google marketplace in a new direction, his vision shows the understanding of how small businesses are driving the future of marketplace commerce. However, even if the primary focus of these changes appears to be small businesses, if large brands don’t take the time to review their current Google Shopping approach and leverage these new features, they will be the ones missing out on a major commerce opportunity during this coming holiday season. 0

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A Cookieless World Conclusion

As 87% of people now believe data privacy is a right, not a privilege,[1]we, as marketers, should do better to address their growing concerns around how their information is collected and used. It is not only a matter of legal compliance, but also a matter of trust.  In that context, although the recent evolution in the cookies landscape has triggered legitimate concerns around the potential consequences on advertising efficiency and on market dynamics, we should all welcome any change promoting user privacy as a collective, meaningful progress.  Of course, these changes come with their own set of challenges and uncertainties, and the industry will probably have to make do with less - but better - data.  As we have seen in this report:  The leading web browsers are moving away from third-party cookies, creating a fresh paradigm for the digital marketing industry. In 2023, we consider using third-party cookies for advertising purposes should be a relic of the past. Apple is going even further, requiring apps to explicitly obtain consent to keep tracking users.[2] Some digital marketing activities are impacted, such as data management, audience activation, and performance measurement.  Marketers must reconsider how they manage data. This means questioning their current value exchange, improving communications around data privacy, and revisiting their technology needs.  To keep engaging consumers, marketers should investigate the possibilities offered by contextual targeting and cookieless audience targeting alternatives such as persistent IDs.  To measure future performance, marketers will have to combine multiple techniques, from in-platform attribution to incrementality measurement to media mix modelling. A solid testing roadmap will be more important than ever.  There is no silver bullet for this evolution, instead, each brand must develop its unique combination of responses. It is fine if your organisation has not figured out the best option yet. You are not running behind as there is still time to adapt – but you should not wait any longer to plan your transition to a new model.  We expect discussions around privacy and identity to stay at the forefront of the debate even after we have pivoted to the cookieless world.  This is why at dentsu we constantly monitor the martech landscape and are committed to working alongside our clients and partners to imagine and implement solutions that work for all. As a global leader in search marketing, we have implemented advanced cookieless strategies for the world’s largest brands for the last 10+ years. We are using this know-how to help our clients not only thrive in a world free of third-party cookies but do so with speed.  Digital advertising has always been one of the most dynamic and exciting marketing spaces - and we are confident the best is yet to come.    [1] Microsoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020  [2] Apple Developer, App Store, User Privacy and Data Use, as accessed on May 4, 2020    0