The Missing Metrics
…..in a survey of CEOs, close to three out of four agreed with the following statement: marketers “are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate.
This worrying fact comes from a good McKinsey piece which actually makes the argument that we are at the dawn of a golden age in marketing. The piece is well worth reading and its premise that science and storytelling can be combined to great effect is compelling.
But we also think it points out a major issue for marketing – Missing Metrics.
In many of our conversations with brands the substance of digital metrics is questioned. Clicks, visits and impressions – polluted by worries over viewability and bots – aren’t seen as valid. Especially at board level, where they obsess over customers, revenues and profits.
Clearly reliable attribution is the holy grail but one missing metric is around brand effect – the data points that have driven traditional marketing for generations. Shouldn’t we adopt that in mobile? It is possible to pretest mobile creative for brand metrics and to optimize programmatic around brand metrics. Why aren’t we doing this more?
The second Missing Metric is around how advertising can and does annoy people. See that same ad again and again? Video ads that autoplay with the sound up? Pops ups and interstials – where the X to close is so small it’s almost impossible not to end up clicking through? And the relentless retargeting, stalking you around the web?
If brands could measure just how many people were annoyed by these clumsy tactics, would they still do them? There is a macro metric around annoying people – the rise in adblocking. Perhaps we should all just imagine there is such a micro metric too and recognize that pissing people off probably isn’t a good idea.
The best answer to adblocking is to make advertising better. As we no longer have to treat people as strangers, we can now use data to really understand which ads are relevant to people. And therefore less likely to annoy. And more likely to be effective.
Traditional & Digital
On a similar tip we see that smart brands know that a mix of old and new media makes sense. Which is why we favour aligning around brand metrics. Whilst the agency world isn’t that well organized to deliver this type of support, these clients are able to orchestrate different people to deliver the best of both worlds.
It’s worth remembering that GAFA are pretty big on traditional media too. Facebook have a UK ad campaign live at the moment – developed inhouse. And Google spent £45m (almost as much as Ford) in 2013 – making it the UKs 31st biggest advertiser and Amazon outspent Vauxhall coming in at number 40.
They know – like we do – that what’s important is marketing that’s right for the digital age, rather than digital marketing.
(You can get a better idea of how Google approach marketing in this interview with their marketing supremo)
New data on the readership of the UKs newspapers shows the migration to mobile – with print now the smallest proportion for many titles. Key exception being Murdochs titles, which have a tiny digital readership.
Murdoch has a subscription model but everyone else relies on ad revenue. And the industry seems to have decided that a reader holding their smartphone is worth considerably less than a reader with newsprint on their fingers.
So we can imagine the economics here, as the cpm for mobile is likely to be a fraction of that for print. But conversions are so much lower on mobile, I hear you cry. No-one knows much about the conversions on print but brands know a full page in a tabloid gets the attention of the reader.
If we can’t find a way to better capture the value of the mobile users attention, the future for these newspapers doesn’t look that healthy.
The other part of the news landscape seems to be doing better. Vice and Buzzfeed are setting the agenda and Upworthy are seen as the fastest growing media economy of all time. Now you could debate whether you should lump all these brands in the same news bucket, but many do – and the old school print legacy people are increasingly adopting behaviours from these newcomers.
This piece lauding Buzzfeed as the most important news organisation in the world is worth reading. And so is this Guardian piece on Upworthy. This article looking at the secret sauce driving viral content at these sites is worth a look too.
But ultimately it comes down to monetization and whether the only option for the old players is to learn the new tricks of native and viral video.
We still think that good old fashioned advertising can work on mobile and the news sites can prosper through delivering the attention of their readers through compelling creative. That’s why we have partnered with ResponsiveAds to launch their platform in Europe – rich, engaging messaging that works across devices and reduces the time and cost of production. If you want to make your advertising work harder get in touch
Whilst Apple don’t talk about their progress with Pay, Chase Manhattan say they have provisioned over 1 million wallets – so momentum is good. And their data suggests Pay customers are more active. There is more activity in the market with PayPal making an interesting acquisition and Google announcing their new payments service, snappily called Android Pay. Maybe the Google marketing people didn’t get involved in that one.
Of course activity around finance attracts the interest of crooks too and it seems they are targeting Apple stores as they take Apple Pay and sell things that are easily sold on. It’s not actually a weakness in the tech but rather the banks system for onboarding new customers. But the headlines are all focused on Pay and this inevitablty adds to the friction around growing mobile payments.
GAFA & Product
In the run up to Mobile World, Congress we gained some good insight into GAFA with interviews with key people at Facebook and Google.
Chris Cox is the Chief Product Officer at Facebook and this video of an interview with him is worth the 50 minutes
He talks for the first time about Facebook’ ambition to have publishers upload their content directly onto Facebook (probably similar in concept if not in execution to Snapchats Discover?). But he admits publishers are proving reticent. No surprise there then. He also talks about their focus on video. Again, well worth watching.
As is this interview with Sundar Pichai of Google – Larry Pages go to guy for product. With a lot of responsibility (essentially everything other than YouTube and adsales) he covers a lot of topics. The key insights are the likely dismantling of Google+ – with popular elements like Hangouts and Photos standing more alone – and their plans for monetizing Play store with search ads.
And he carefully answers a question about the Google search in ioS – saying it’s a long term deal and ..
I think how search manifests in iOS will work out just fine. We have a long term search partnership and are working together with them, and we’ll have to see.
As we mentioned last week the competition between Facebook and Google for ad spend is heating up. A UK commentator thinks Facebook new product ads are going to hurt Google and we are told Walmart have pulled out of Google Shoping ads. A very interesting space to watch.
70k people schlepped to Barcelona this week for the Mobile World Congress. We resisted the temptation and just missed a few good parties and a lot of walking.
As well as lots of new devices – which all look just the same – from everyone apart than Apple, the ad agencies and vendors were the main attraction with lots of meeting rooms booked. And the odd party.
The head of probably the biggest player in mobile adbuying wrote a good summary of the key themes of the event from a marketing viewpoint.
And Mark Zuckerberg gave a talk on Internet.org – the drive to get more people from emerging markets online. People from MNOs joined him and he pushed them to provide the free data to hook people into – eventually – paying for it.
A good look at BAT – the Chinese GAFA – and how they are getting into mobile.
And a look at how Brushers game Alibaba - faking sales and reviews to improve their ranking.
A number of mobile operators are cooperating to push the mobile as key to the digital identity of users. Given that people keep their phone numbers and the way SMS is increasingly used to confirm sign ups, this makes good sense. And puts the MNO right back in the game with first party data.
Finally …it’s worth revisiting the McKinsey report we mentioned earlier. They ask 5 questions to see if you are prepared for this golden age of marketing. How do you score?
- Are we taking advantage of the science of data and research to uncover new insights, or are we working off yesterday’s facts, assertions, and heuristics?
- Do we fully exploit the power of marketing to enhance the substance—that is, the products, services, and experiences—we offer our customers, or are we just selling hard with a “me-too” mind-set?
- Do we have a clear brand story that echoes through cyberspace, or do we feel that we aren’t quite capturing hearts and minds?
- Have we created simplifiers within our organization, or have complex matrices become a logjam?
- Are we faster or slower to market than our competition?
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