Report: The State Of CTV Advertising 2021

Since the pandemic, viewership from linear to digital-first ways like connected TV (CTV) has continued to grow. This shift has given marketers a fresh perspective on CTV through the lens of digital, as evidenced by a new report from Innovid and Digiday. According to their findings, 64 percent of marketers and agency executives said that the top benefit they’re hoping to gain by adopting CTV is a stronger connection between digital and TV advertising.

With CTV ad spend projected to reach $11.31 billion this year and $18.29 billion by 2024, Innovid set out to understand where marketers stand in their CTV journey including how they measure success, their top challenges and how CTV fits into their omnichannel strategy.

A majority of respondents only recently began investing in CTV. Innovid’s research shows that 41 percent started allocating budget to CTV one to three years ago and 24 percent only started doing so less than a year ago. Meanwhile, another 24 percent are still figuring out how to leverage CTV.

CTV advertising is especially appealing as of late because marketers can incorporate it into their omnichannel strategy. For example, 83 percent of respondents told Innovid they run CTV ads alongside social media. Other existing channels they’re running CTV ads alongside include display advertising (78 percent), mobile video (77 percent), desktop video (67 percent) and linear TV (54 percent).

Respondents said that CTV investment has boosted brand awareness (59 percent) and brand engagement (50 percent) though just 26 percent can credit CTV for higher conversion rates.

Thirty-nine percent said CTV investment has increased return on ad spend (ROAS); 51 percent either don’t know if ROAS was impacted or have seen no change in ROAS.

As Innovid notes, changing consumption habits have shown some brands that CTV can turn TV advertising into a down-funnel, direct-to-consumer and direct response tactic. That’s been the experience for Allergan Aesthetics. The company purchased ad programmatically on Hulu and Pluto TV for its brands Botox, CoolSculpting and Juvaderm.

Its “New Year, Do You” sweepstakes campaigns for Juvaderm and Botox encouraged consumers to scan quick response (QR) codes with their phones for a chance to win $10,000 in products. The result: more than 6.5 million impressions, about 2,000 QR scans and an average video completion rate of 96.74 percent for Juvaderm, and 3.4 million impressions, 60 QR scans and an average VCR of 93.62 percent for Botox.

Currently, the top three key performance indicators (KPIs) that CTV marketers value most are conversions/revenue, reach and brand awareness.

“When marketers incorporate CTV as an extension of their linear efforts, incremental reach could be their core KPI. But if a marketer uses CTV as an entire substitute for linear in a television buy, examining the cost effectiveness of the household reach across an entire campaign would be useful,” said Jessica Hogue, general manager, measurement and analytics, at Innovid.

Some of the challenges marketers have faced in implementing CTV ads include inconsistent measurement (57 percent), targeting the right audiences (53 percent) and inventory fragmentation (41 percent). To better measure CTV ad performance, 68 percent said they’ve partnered with an advertising technology company while 27 percent have hired in-house experts.

Given each device creates its own identifiers, CTV marketers are struggling to analyze the data needed for effective audience targeting. In response to this, over half of respondents are relying on audience targeting tactics and first-party data.

Though device identifiers such as IP addresses can create specific IDs encompassing a household’s different streaming devices, single-source data sets that translate across providers are critical.

As per Innovid, a few ways to enhance CTV measurement include establishing industry-wide metrics and avoiding ad tech providers that have different interpretations of audience reach. 

Next, marketers should experiment with measuring different performance goals such as incremental reach, household reach or message frequency then use the ensuing data to inform future strategies. Lastly, Innovid suggests taking advantage of adjusting campaigns mid-flight in order to increase return on investment (ROI).

Even as CTV investment increases, marketers still consider linear an important part of the marketing mix. Fifty-four percent of respondents said linear TV will comprise 1 percent to 24 percent of their mix this year and 22 percent say it’ll account for 25 percent to 49 percent of their mix.

Some marketers have even upped their linear spend—23 percent have increased it from 1 percent to 24 percent in the past year while 16 percent increased it from 25 percent to 49 percent.

1Password Hires Raj Sarkar As First Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, 1Password appoints Raj Sarkar as its first chief marketing officer, Expresso Fitness hires Nancy Dussault Smith as chief marketing officer, Mitchell & Whale taps Igor Bubic as chief marketing officer, Ceros announces two new leaders and more.

Raj Sarkar Is Named 1Password’s First Chief Marketing Officer

1Password has hired Raj Sarkar as its first-ever CMO, reports Forbes.

Sarkar isn’t new to the company, having served as a board advisor for the past year.

Prior to 1Password, Sarkar was head of marketing at Atlassian then moved on to become CMO and vice president of Palo Alto Networks’ Prisma Cloud.

Expresso Fitness Taps Nancy Dussault Smith As Chief Marketing Officer

According to a press release, Nancy Dussault Smith is Expresso Fitness’ new CMO.

A founding member of Chief, Smith previously held marketing leadership roles at iRobot, Hydrow and Jibo.

Mitchell & Whale Appoints Igor Bubic As Chief Marketing Officer

Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers has named Igor Bubic CMO.

Bubic joins Mitchell & Whale from Gore Mutual Insurance, where he served as head of brand and purpose.

Ceros Announces Two New Leadership Appointments

Ceros has hired Jamie Gier as CMO and Tom Hewitt as VP, business development and partnerships.

Gier, a founding member of CMO Huddles, joins from DreamBox Learning where she was SVP of marketing.

Hewitt was previously an enterprise sales executive at Arbo.

Damon Motorcycles Hires Doug Penman As Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President

Damon Motorcycles has tapped Doug Penman as its new CMO and VP.

Penman is the founder and chief executive officer of Nukotoys and was a founding partner of The Guild.

Wells Fargo Chief Marketing Officer Michael Lacorazza Exits  

Amid a wider restructuring at Wells Fargo that includes the retirement of the CMO role, CMO Michael Lacorazza is stepping down, reports Business Insider.

Rather than a centralized marketing team, each division at Wells Fargo will have its own marketing leads, according to Business Insider.

Lacorazza was with Wells Fargo for nine years. Prior to Wells Fargo, he held a variety of marketing leadership roles at companies including TD Ameritrade and Marriott International.

Lunchclub Taps Chelsea Cain Maclin As Its First Chief Marketing Officer

Lunchclub has appointed former Bumble vice president of marketing, Chelsea Cain Maclin, as its first-ever CMO.

Previously, Cain Maclin served as director of marketing for TenantBase and manager of the publisher development team at rewardStyle, respectively.

Mack Weldon Hires Talia Handler As Its First-Ever Chief Marketing Officer

Talia Handler has joined Mack Weldon as the brand’s first CMO, according to Retail Dive.

The appointment marks Handler’s first CMO role. 

Prior to Mack Weldon, Handler held leadership roles at Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy and has worked with companies such as TikTok, Adidas and JPMorgan Chase.

77 Percent Of People Want Control Over Their Data

The race to scale first-party data is on. According to Invisibly’s latest research, that will be no small task as 77 percent of respondents want control of who can access their personal data.

Using its Realtime Research tool, Invisibly polled 1,320 people in late April and found that 71 percent of respondents are aware that companies routinely profit off selling their data, but 79 percent of people of all ages don’t approve of it.

When asked if they’d consider earning money via selling their own data, 46 percent of respondents said yes while the remainder weren’t interested.

That sentiment was consistent across all age groups. However, respondents aged under 18 and respondents aged 18-24 were the most likely to agree that they, not companies, should be earning money from their data, at 53 percent for each cohort.

TikTok-loving Gen Z may feel more comfortable sharing information online in general, but Invisibly’s data show that they, too, want to play gatekeeper to their data.

The response varied slightly across generations. Those who want to control who can access their personal information include 75 percent of respondents under 18, 73 percent of those aged 18-24, 85 percent of those aged 41-54 and 80 percent of people aged over 55.

Some consumers are still unaware that companies are selling their personal data — that’s the case for 29 percent of respondents from the survey.

Invisibly reports that male respondents expressed greater awareness about companies profiting off their data (82 percent) compared to female respondents (65 percent).

Marketers may be close to leveraging the potential of first-party data, but new research from MightyHive shows that fewer than one in 20 marketers believe that they have tapped into more than 80 percent of their first-party data potential. 

MightyHive also found that the majority of marketers have only utilized between 21 percent and 40 percent of their first-party data potential.

As for how much confidence they have in their first-party data delivering a strong return on investment (ROI), 56 percent said they’re “somewhat confident,” according to MightyHive.

Wines, Racing, And The Historic Partnership With Churchill Downs With Jackson Family Wines’ Bill O’Connor

Bill O’Connor is the Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at Jackson Family Wines. Based in Sonoma County, the heart of California’s wine country, the business is one of few family-owned and operated wineries of its kind. Founded in 1983, with a focus on artisanal and old wines with a distinct character and quality, their portfolio includes wines like Kendall-Jackson, La Crema, Freemark Abbey, Murphy Goode, Stonestreet, among many others.

On the show, Bill and I talk about the historic partnership between Jackson Family Wines and the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, and what Bill believes makes for an effective partnership.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What it’s like at a family-owned winery
  • How to effectively handle partnerships
  • The importance of refining your customer’s experience

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] Bill’s dream job
  • [03:30] The historic partnership with Churchill Downs
  • [04:36] Jackson Family Wines’ tie to racing
  • [11:50] Their wide variety of wine offerings
  • [14:02] How Bill thinks about partnerships
  • [16:06] Refining the customer experience 
  • [20:30] Bill’s advice for navigating new relationships
  • [23:15] A defining experience that made Bill who he is today 
  • [26:54] Bill’s advice for his younger self
  • [29:36] Bill’s recent impactful purchase
  • [31:05] The brands, companies, and causes Bill follows
  • [33:03] What Bill says is today’s biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned: 

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

What We’re Reading—Week Of May 24th

A look at the marketing and advertising insights we’re sharing internally for the week of May 24th, 2021.

Programmatic Under A Lens, With ANA CEO Bob Liodice


In an effort to make the programmatic supply chain more transparent, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has commissioned a new study to identify where brands are wasting their money and make suggestions on efficiency in the market.

Why it matters: In its definition of programmatic, ANA’s study will include major walled gardens, which need more accountability when it comes to brand safety according to ANA chief executive officer Bob Liodice. The study’s goal, he notes, is to both serve large ad buyers such as Dunkin Brands and Diageo, but also the countless less-resourced advertisers in its member base.

Here’s How Brand And Performance Marketing Intersect


Logically, performance marketing makes sense, as meeting goals and metrics are critical for proving ROI and fighting for larger marketing budgets. But it’s brand awareness that’ll keep consumers coming back again and again, as a recent Financial Times survey suggests. According to their findings, 83 percent of business leaders believe that brands consistently contribute to a company’s bottom line.

Why it matters: According to Ryan Stoner, principal and head of strategy at Dendro, utilizing a traditional mix of long-term branding and short-term performance includes creating a brand blueprint with these six key elements: purpose, values, character, behavior, experience and principles.

3 Strategies To Reduce Bias In Leadership Assessments

Harvard Business Review

Survey-style questionnaires are a common tool to measure leadership potential and inform decisions about bonuses and promotions, yet survey data still reflects common biases. These surveys measure perceived leader effectiveness rather than actual leadership behaviors. 

Why it matters: Three ways to reduce bias in surveys are to have people rate an ideal leader before rating their actual leader; requiring raters to give specific, qualitative examples for each rated behavior; and adding dialogue boxes and warnings before and after the evaluation.

Staff Livestreams Will Usher In The Era Of The Anti-Influencer

Retail Week

Richard Willis, Aptos regional vice president, solution consulting EMEA and APAC argues that store associate-led livestreams will lead the next wave of influencer marketing video strategies because associates possess authenticity, “one thing influencers will never have.”

Why it matters: Companies like Italian fashion retailer Motivi and Molbak’s Garden + Home center in Woodinville, Washington, Willis notes, produce regular livestreams featuring store associates who are personable and knowledgeable. These associates could be the new influencers as they become trusted shopping partners and build meaningful connections with consumers via live shoppable videos and integrated chat.

5 Ways To Drive Brand Loyalty And Customer Lifetime Value

Advertising Age

For brands to maximize their ‘Discovery Commerce’ opportunity—a term Facebook has dubbed that describes the serendipitous experience of a product finding you instead of you searching for a product—Aubrie Richey, vice president of media for TechStyle Fashion Group, suggests testing different creative, running ads from influencers’ own handles and optimizing for lifetime value.

Why it matters: In a recent Facebook-commissioned survey, 84 percent of shoppers said that they discover new brands and products online.

Twitter’s Batch Of New Product Updates Aims To Attract Creators, Publishers And Advertisers

This week in social media news, Twitter’s latest product offerings aim to attract advertisers and creators, Snapchat announces new public profiles for brands and the latest version of its AR-powered Spectacles, Facebook shares an overview of its ad policy, Pinterest details the evolution of its search system and more.

Twitter Launches Variety Of New Features For Advertisers And Consumers

In recent months, Twitter has debuted several new product updates to keep up with the likes of Snapchat, Facebook and LinkedIn. Among them include new preroll and sponsorship opportunities for Amplify, its video ad product, updates to its app installation and website click programs and consumer-facing features like ‘Tip Jar’ and ‘Spaces.’

Why it matters: As per Digiday, Twitter’s investments — which caused its research and development costs to increase 28 percent last year — are paying off as Q1 revenues surpassed $1 billion, a 29 percent increase year-over-year. Equally important, the changes are contributing to its brand refresh as well as attracting interest from publishers and advertisers alike.

The details: On the advertising side, Twitter just recently caught up to speed with competitors when it launched fleets and carousel ads last November.

Like other major platforms, it’s also expanding opportunities for creators to monetize their content. For example, giving users the chance to sell exclusive access to content through ‘Super Follows,’ allowing users to build complementary businesses with their audience through ‘Revue’ and offering the ability to accept direct donations through ‘Tip Jar.’

In addition, Digiday notes that according to, Twitter accounts for a single-digit percentage of referral traffic to publishers. This has inspired attention from publishers like USA Today, a beta tester of Twitter’s ‘Spaces.’ The publisher, reports Digiday, is using ‘Spaces’ as a way to put its reporters in front of users. Recently, USA Today hosted a ‘Spaces’ event with the reporters who covered the Derek Chauvin trial. Next, it’s eyeing how to use Twitter’s ‘Tip Jar’ feature to grow digital subscribers.

Snapchat Announces New Brand Profiles And AR-Powered Spectacles

During its second annual Partner Summit, Snapchat announced several new product updates, including public profiles for businesses and the next generation of its augmented reality-powered Spectacles.

Why it matters: As Snap chief executive Evan Spiegel noted during the summit, Snapchat’s latest features come as the platform now boasts 500 million monthly active users. Its new business profiles will give brands the ability to create an organic presence and share shoppable products, while the new AR glasses will enable creators and developers rapid testing and iteration of Lenses in real-time.

The details: First up, Snap’s new public profiles for businesses means brands will have a place for their content in one discoverable place, which users can subscribe to. Key features of a public Snap brand profile include: the ability to publish stories, AR Lenses and a highlight reel of public snaps plus the option to have a native store via Shopify.

As for its new lightweight Spectacles, Snap says they’re not for sale but that they’re going to change the way creators and publishers make Lenses as they’re fully integrated with its desktop app, Lens Studio.

According to Snap:

”Powered by our new Snap Spatial Engine that leverages six degrees of freedom and hand, marker, and surface tracking, Spectacles realistically overlay creators’ imaginations on the world in a new way.”

Spectacles feature two RGB cameras, four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers and a touchpad to create a multi-sensorial experience. So far, a group of seven creators worldwide have been able to try Snap’s new AR-enabled glasses.

Facebook Shares Overview Of Its Ad Review Process

In a new company blog post, Facebook vice president of business integrity, Jeff King, shared details around what constitutes an ad, how its ad review system works and how Facebook is evolving its ad systems.

Why it matters: Last summer, brands cut their Facebook ad spending amid criticisms over its content moderation policies. Nevertheless, in Q1 2021, Facebook brought in $24.5 billion in ad revenue, a 46 percent increase YoY.

The details: First, Facebook is clarifying which policies apply to ads. As King notes, Facebook requires brands follow both its ad policies and its community standards. In addition, ads that run on Instagram must also follow the community guidelines, while Marketplace listings are subject to its commerce policies.

As for how its ad review system works, Facebook relies mostly on automated technology to apply its policies, but in some cases says it manually reviews ads. The ad review shouldn’t take longer than 24 hours, but anyone who’s ever run ads on the platform knows that isn’t alway the case.

To process re-review requests for ads that were rejected, Facebook relies heavily on human reviewers but is, “continuously assessing ways to increase automation.”

Facebook says that ads about social issues, elections or politics have “an increased level of authenticity and transparency.” This means people can see demographic data about who saw an ad and where it ran for up to seven years after the ad stopped running via Facebook’s ad library.

Pinterest Now Sees More Than 5 Billion Searches Every Month

Pinterest’s senior vice president of products, Naveen Gavini, recently took to the Pinterest Engineering blog to explain how the platform’s search system has evolved to become more visual and yield more accurate results.

Why it matters: According to Gavini, there are now more than 5 billion searches on Pinterest every month. That growth comes as the platform continues to enhance its creator and ecommerce tools. 

For example, last summer it launched the ability to shop within Lens and the ability to try on lipstick via a new feature called AR Try on. More recently, Pinterest launched ‘Idea Pins,’ which evolved out of its tests with Story Pins that launched in beta last fall.

The details: Pinterest’s first search engine was called Guided Search, which would start with a generic search like ‘BBQ’ and lead to more actionable things like ‘vegan DIY BBQ,’ according to Gavini.

It was in 2015 when Pinterest started its work in object recognition within Pins. Later, it applied the technology to camera search to find recommendations for items on and offline.

Eventually, Pinterest combined text and visual search, training its systems to emulate the ways its users are categorizing images.

Pinterest says that it’s using machine learning for numerous updates including improvements to Related Pins, which have become the most common ways people refine their search.

Snapchat Reflects On Social, Environmental Efforts In 2021 ‘CitizenSnap’ Report

Snapchat has published its latest ‘CitizenSnap’ report, a 102-page update on the progress it’s made on social, environmental and governance (ESG) matters. Highlights include a three-part approach to reducing its carbon footprint and the expansion of its living wage program to international offices.

Why it matters: Snap’s ESG priorities are divided into four categories including society, planet, people and governance. As per Snap:

“Our ESG work reports into a Vice President-level company executive, and it receives regular visibility and oversight from senior leaders across the company, including the CEO. We are also incorporating ESG updates into semi-annual Board committee meetings and annually into full Board meetings.”

The details: Starting with society, Snapchat says it doubled down on its commitment to ethical product design and user privacy. It also helped users navigate the pandemic, reaching more than 197 million people with in-app tools aimed at educating people on COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

Helping its community’s emotional wellbeing, Snapchat also launched a feature called ‘Here For You’ to provide mental health tips. This work extended to its diversity efforts too, as Snap says at least 53 percent of Snap Originals featured leads or hosts who are BIPOC or LGBTQ+.

In regard to sustainability, Snap launched a three-part climate strategy, the first element of which includes Snap purchasing enough offsets to become carbon neutral going back to its founding in 2011. Part two involves mitigating climate change; Snap says it adopted science-based emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. And for the third element, Snap says it’s committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity for its facilities globally.

Among Snap’s key culture initiatives include the roll-out of new diversity, equity and inclusion accountability mechanisms which apply to its employee performance measurement process. 

Snap also expanded the availability of therapy sessions, added child and family care resources and extended parental leave to 16 weeks globally for birthing and non-birthing parents.

Lastly, some of the work Snap did around governance includes increasing representation of women on its board to 50 percent; expanding its certification program for key non-financial metrics such as daily active users; and revamping its code of conduct to focus more broadly on ethical decision making principles.

Read Snap’s full report here.

You’re A CMO. Now What? Seasoned Marketing Leaders Lend Advice

Historically, nearly one-third to half of new chief marketing officers appointed annually are first-timers. Since the pandemic and the emergence of social media as a storytelling platform, that number is rapidly growing. And with CMOs under pressure to meet high revenue targets with insufficient resources, the role has increasingly become complicated for novices and veterans alike.

Korn Ferry has published a guide, ‘You’re A CMO. Now What?’ to help incoming executives being appointed to the CMO role for the first time. In it, seasoned marketing leaders share their tips on succeeding in the C-suite, the advice they wish they’d gotten about being a CMO and more. The following are excerpts from Korn Ferry’s conversations.

Korn Ferry: What was the largest adjustment you had to make after becoming a CMO for the first time?

Greg Revelle, senior executive vice president, chief marketing officer at Kohl’s:

For me, it was understanding how the CEO and board of directors viewed success. You have to switch your mindset to think about marketing from their perspective. Marketing is geared toward sales growth, while boards and CEOs, and CFOs for that matter, want sales and efficiency. Being able to drive sales while giving money back to the organization is how CMOs get credibility in the C-suite.

Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally Financial:

I’d say it was realizing that it is not only OK to have an —it is expected. In fact, being one-dimensional and limiting your opinion to marketing makes you a target in the C-suite, whereas adding a critical voice to the room creates value.

Jim Berra, CMO at Royal Caribbean International:

It’s not about being a subject-matter expert anymore. It’s about being able to connect marketing to the larger organizational imperative. You are building agendas and priorities for the entire organization, so I’d say just as important as having an opinion outside of marketing is soliciting the input of other leaders about marketing.

Marisa Thalberg, EVP, chief brand and marketing officer at Lowe’s:

I agree. CMOs have to be a champion of the function in the C-suite but also recognize that they are showing up as part of the management of the whole company. You have to know when to speak with a functional hat and when to speak with an enterprise hat.

Barbara Goose, former CMO at John Hancock:

It’s important to understand that as CMO, it isn’t just about growth but what kind of growth. Not every company or division has the same growth mandate. Some may not even want growth, just greater profitability. Not being aligned on what the organization wants can lead to problems.

KF: What advice do you wish you’d gotten about being a CMO?

Revelle: I wish someone had told me that what gets you into a CMO role isn’t what will make you successful as a CMO.

Brimmer: Don’t be overprotective about the brand. CMOs can get into adversarial relationships with other business leaders by thinking theirs is the only voice that matters when it comes to the brand. The reality is that the more committed people are to the brand, the easier it makes things for the CMO. When everyone has ownership, there is more pride across the organization.

Berra: My advice to CMOs is to figure out how to turn marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator.

Thalberg: As a new CMO, you first need to be a student of the company, the organization, and, of course, continually the industry. At the same time, a big part of the role is to be a teacher to your team, but just as importantly to your peers and your board, so they can be brought along on the “whys” behind marketing, not just the “whats.”

Goose: You need to break down for other C-suite leaders what the customer journey looks like—whom you reached, why they acted on a particular message, and how that influenced their decision. I find that capturing our work in video is the best way to help other C-suite leaders digest and see through to the analytics.

KF: What are some unique challenges that first-time CMOs face today that you perhaps didn’t face?

Berra: The level of accountability, which was already increasing, totally accelerated with COVID. CEOs and boards want to see how marketing activities are driving new customers, sales and margins. CMOs today are under intense pressure to prove out what they are doing. You can’t overinvest in customer feedback; things are changing so fast you need immediate feedback loops.

Revelle: Customers are much more engaged with social issues and they demand transparency, so CMOs are constantly going to be questioned about their brand’s stance on a host of issues. Understanding these complex issues from a variety of perspectives, and responding appropriately, is critically important. You have to work with all of your stakeholders and ultimately have to make the right decision for your organization.

Goose: Marketers have to reinvent connections and engage consumers in ways they never have before. It’s a constant process of testing, learning, and optimizing, with the expectation that results will get better over time. There’s no such thing as a yearly plan or a set-it-and-forget-it mentality anymore.

Brimmer: That’s a major challenge because people are incredibly fatigued. With budget cuts and layoffs, marketing departments are spread incredibly thin.

Thalberg: Particularly in times of business crisis, the marketing budget can be a prime target for cutbacks. As a leader, it’s important to be able to bring advocacy for what the function needs with as much concrete modeling as possible regarding what the impact to the business will be with and without the proper funding. When investments aren’t optimal, it takes a combination of creativity to work with what you have, as well as transparency about trade-offs.

Read Korn Ferry’s full conversation with the panel of CMOs here.

What We’re Reading—Week Of May 17th

A look at the marketing and advertising insights we’re sharing for the week of May 17th, 2021.

The Different Ways Influencers Are Monetizing Content


According to eMarketer’s latest report, the number of monetization options available to influencers are quickly growing, some which bring the future of brand sponsorships into question. For example, a new startup called Pietra helps influencers, regardless of following size, launch their own direct-to-consumer merch and product lines.

Why it matters: In 2021, 67.9 percent of US marketers will use influencer marketing for paid or unpaid campaigns, reports eMarketer. As creators increasingly become brands in their own right, marketers must treat them as publishers and focus on finding relevant audiences and building relationships.

Inside Gucci And Roblox’s New Virtual World

Vogue Business

On May 17, Gucci launched Gucci Garden, a virtual two-week art installation, on Roblox. The immersive experience features multiple themed rooms that pay homage to Gucci campaigns. After entering a virtual lobby, users’ avatars can view, try on and buy digital Gucci items.

Why it matters: This year, Roblox creators and developers are set to earn $500 million. The metaverse and gaming platform and those like it have provided luxury brands like Gucci a new avenue to reach younger generations. In addition to Roblox, Gucci has appeared on Zepeto, Tennis Clash, The Sims, Genies, Pokémon Go and Animal Crossing.

Walgreens Helping Brands Engage Customers

Progressive Grocer

Walgreens is launching new ways for brands to leverage first-party data to drive return on investment. The first new offering includes the addition of over-the-top and connected TV inventory now accessible via wagDSP,  a proprietary programmatic buying technology that integrates Walgreens customer and transaction data with creative tools and real-time optimization. The second is the first-to-market partnership with OpenAP and OpenID integration enabling brands to reach audiences via Walgreens first-party data as part of their TV buys.

Why it matters: These solutions mark an expansion of Walgreens Advertising Group, the full-service media platform the company launched last December. Through it, brands are offered a first-party data set powered by over 100 million monthly loyalty members, access to Walgreens Programmatic Demand Side Platform and more.

Monetization And The Influencer Marketing Landscape: What You Need To Know

The Drum

Social media platforms recently introduced Creator monetization options like Instagram’s ‘Live badges,’ Facebook’s ‘Stars,’ Clubhouse’s ‘Payments’ and Twitch’s ‘Bits.’

Why it matters: Though these incentives attract top creators and high-quality content, the downside is that some of them are only available to creators with a certain audience size. For example, Facebook requires creators to have 600,000 total minutes viewed from any combination of video uploads to access monetization features.

How Has TikTok Become The Number Two Platform For Influencer Marketing?

Talking Influence

As per Linqia’s latest survey, 68 percent of marketers plan on using TikTok for influencer marketing this year, an increase from 16 percent in early 2020. In comparison, just 36 percent of respondents said they plan to use Reels, Instagram’s TikTok clone, this year for influencer marketing.

Why it matters: How TikTok managed to become the number two platform for influencer marketing lies in its Gen Z audience’s preference for unscripted content. Having well-engaged early adopters will allow TikTok to grow much in the same way YouTube has over the years. A decade ago, the platform was a place for pranks on friends and has since evolved into a hub for content on house hunting and pregnancy journeys. In short, TikTok will similarly develop alongside its audience.

Report: Mobile App Installs Up 31 Percent YoY In Q1

Mobile app installs were up by 31 percent year-over-year (YoY) in Q1, according to Adjust’s annual ‘Mobile App Trends’ report. The figure is a testament to the app economy’s uninterrupted ascent since the start of the pandemic — in 2020, app installs surged 50 percent YoY across all verticals, reports Adjust.

In its latest study, Adjust shares mobile growth trends in the gaming, ecommerce and fintech verticals including insights about installs, sessions, time spent in-app, and retention and reattribution rates globally.

Starting with fintech apps, Adjust found that installs grew 51 percent from 2019 to 2020 and are up again by 12 percent in Q1 YoY. Investing and stock-related app searches in particular surged 115 percent YoY, while crypto app downloads saw a 81 percent growth YoY.

Fintech sessions surged too, growing 85 percent YoY; they’re already up 35 percent in 2021, according to Adjust. Fintech sessions grew steadily with the largest weeks at early October (22 percent above average) and late November (24 percent above average).

Compared to gaming and ecommerce apps, Adjust notes that fintech apps had the highest number of returning users: 18 percent on day seven and 12 percent on day 30.

Gaming app installs overall increased by 51 percent in 2020 YoY— 26 percent for non-hyper casual games and 43 percent for hyper casual games. For the latter, the last week of March and first week of April was the best performing period, namely 51 percent above the yearly average. For hyper casual games, growth was strong at the beginning of 2020 though it decreased throughout March then stayed steady for the rest of the year.

In 2020, sessions for non-hyper casual games increased by 27 percent YoY, with sessions for 2021 currently down 9 percent below last year. Sessions for hyper casual games grew by 36 percent YoY, with current sessions down 21 percent so far.

As Adjust notes, last year casual gaming and sports gaming posted the highest session lengths at 21.19 and 22.77 minutes each. Hyper casual sat at 18.78. Overall, users spent 42 percent more time on casual games than on hyper casual.

Upon analyzing Q4 2020, the best performing quarter of the year, games retained best on day one at nearly 30 percent, followed by hyper casual at 27 percent. As per Adjust, hyper casual games must acquire the maximum revenue per user in the first two days of download as retention rates dip heavily after that — just 7.5 percent of users return by day seven and 1.75 percent return by day 30.

Ecommerce installs only grew 6 percent in 2020, but sessions saw a 44 percent surge, showing how deeply engaged users became. Still, 2021 is looking strong so far with Q1 at 11 percent above the yearly average, reports Adjust.

Ecommerce apps retained well, with 13 percent on day seven and 8 percent on day 30. Their reattribution rates hit their peak in Q3 last year at 1.22.

Getting into paid versus organic installs, Adjust’s findings reveal the highest overall share of paid installs took place in Q1 and Q3 of 2020, during which time there were 0.45 paid installs for every organic.

Hyper casual had the highest ratio of paid installs to organic installs, hitting 3.17 by Q4, while shopping saw its largest share of paid installs in Q1, at 0.85. Fintech, on the other hand, had a low share of paid installs — 0.1 to 0.13 for payment and 0.8 to 0.2 for banking, respectively.

At a median of $1.88 per install, Q4 was the most expensive quarter to acquire users. Hyper casual came in at $0.27 per install, gaming at $2.52 and ecommerce at $1.56. Adjust’s data show fintech had its priciest quarter in Q1 at $1.57 versus $0.53 in Q2.

These findings are based on a mix of Adjust’s top 2,000 apps and its complete dataset of all the apps it tracks.

Gary Goodman’s Creative Picks: An Apple A Day

I don’t know about you, but I have a few mobile games that help me pass the in-betweens and keep me sane throughout the week. Every one of these games has some form of online advertising and lately, they’ve gotten better at bringing me the types of ads I want to see: ads that I actually don’t mind seeing over and over again. So who’s making these types of ads? Well, in this particular case, the company I’m referring to is Apple, which could clearly create a Master Class on this very topic. So what can we learn from the brand you either love (or love to hate) when it comes to reaching your audience in a world where repeat viewings are unavoidable?  Read on and hopefully, I’ll answer that along the way.

Apple AirPods Pro – “Jump”

First up is a spot for Apple’s AirPods Pro that I’ve probably seen twenty times at this point and I never get sick of it.  It follows in the footsteps of their previous ads that take us on a fantastical journey through an urban landscape. This time our protagonist is someone you’ve probably never heard of: Japanese double-dutch champion Kengo Sugino.

Why it matters: Apple always sets a high bar for their product films, whether it’s jaw-dropping CG for their phones, clever visual techniques like the Spike Jonze/FKA Twigs for the Homepod—or just finding that fresh and interesting human nugget like what we all spend hours devouring in our social feeds every day. 

In this instance, someone on their team found a gem to build a campaign around with double-dutch champion Kengo Sugino. Who even knew there was a world championship for what most think of as a simple kid’s game? The result is so good it’s almost impossible not to smile when you see Kengo jumping like he has springs in his feet. He is so compelling to watch because it seems so effortless; part dance, part acrobatics and full badass. One of the things that really struck me after seeing this so many times is that the short-form cuts (:06-:10) are equally effective. Kengo bounces into the frame and we just feel his complete mastery and joy for that one brief moment. It lands every single time.

The details: Directed by the extremely impressive Sam Brown, this is one more win in his catalog of great spots. Sam also directed a film I covered previously entitled “The Wheel” for Volkswagen, as well as the launch spot for iPods Pro. And if you haven’t seen his insane piece for Virgin Media, check this out: This is Virgin Fibre – YouTube.

Apple Watch Series 6 – An ECG Right Here, Right Now”

Clearly the Apple marketing machine never sleeps. Just as the AirPods film was dropping, this tasty little 30-second spot landed for the new Apple Watch. 

Why it matters: Centered around the new electrocardiogram feature, this spot takes a very niche and specific subject matter and brings it to life in a fresh, innovative way. The device is very simple: using the head turn as a clever mechanism to propel us into the multitude of scenarios that one may find themselves in where they could also want to get an instant ECG. Yup, the new Apple Watch can do it. Not sure if this was intentional, but my guess is that the head-turning device is mimicking the way an ECG measures the electrical signals in your heart.  Personally, I’m fortunate to not need that feature at this point in my life, but that’s beside the point, I am completely drawn in by this beautiful and simple piece of filmmaking, acting, music composition and editorial that it makes me once again generate positive vibes for Apple. The actor is completely on point, almost right out of a Wes Anderson movie: stylish, worldly and completely captivating.  

The details: Directed by Spanish/English filmmaker, Ian Pons Jewell, this is one of a three-part series that he put together for Apple. Ian has been doing amazing work for Xbox, Oculus, Squarespace and Apple among many others. Borrowing a line from his production company bio, “whether working in the realms of drama or comedy, his films carry a surreal originality that is compelling to watch.” Couldn’t have said it better.

Apple – “Introducing the iPad Pro”

To wrap it up, I thought I’d finish with Apple’s latest bombastic live-action/VFX dose of technology pumped right into our collective bloodstream. Thanks to my old friend, Matthew Encina (formerly ECD at Blind) for sending this one my way!

Why it matters:  I LOVE this spot. It pulls out all the stops and combines almost every trick in the book. Beautiful CG of the internal components, stunning macro photography, clever VFX and in-camera transitions, spot-on lifestyle vignettes that humanize the product and bring it into our world, and finally Marvel-level sound design that propels it past 10 and all the way to 11! Oh yeah, and as a bonus…there’s even a little humor just to make sure they checked every box.

On top of that, they’ve centered the story around a “lift-off” thematic that makes you feel the power of the product and more importantly the power it’s going to give to YOU as part of the creative community to make the most epic things imaginable. And who wouldn’t want that?

The details: I haven’t been able to track down any of the production details yet on this one. What I will say here is that the importance of this spot and the potential of this product is that the iPad Pro is finally ready to be considered as a full-fledged laptop replacement. What’s clear in this video is that the users are running very high-end creative software like Davinci, Logic and Final Cut. With the power of the new M1 chip and that incredible display, I’d say Apple is making quite the case for the future of the iPad.