Mobile App Fraud Increases YoY As Marketers Pour Ad Dollars Into The Platform

Mobile app fraud continues to rise as advertisers pour billions of ad spend into the platform. Marketing measurement provider DoubleVerify found that from 2017 to 2018, fraud has been rampant in the form of sophisticated invalid traffic impressions and applications.

DoubleVerify identifies and screens common types of mobile app fraud that includes background ad activity, hidden ads, app misrepresentation aka spoofing and measurement manipulation.

All those scans revealed that fraudsters have kept themselves incredibly busy over the last few years. DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab found that the total number of fraudulent apps has increased by 159 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to figures made available to AList.

Mobile app sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) impressions have doubled year-on-year since 2017, DoubleVerify added.

Just over half—57 percent—of fraudulent mobile apps are categorized as “Games” and “Tools & Utilities,” the company found, adding that its fraud tool detected 1.6x more fraudulent apps in 2018 than in the previous year.

“With ad spend increasingly concentrated in mobile – and particularly mobile app, fraudsters are redoubling their efforts to take advantage,” said Roy Rosenfeld, head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab in a prepared statement. “It’s critical that brands understand these risks, in order to allocate spend accordingly and install appropriate safeguards for their digital investments.”

BuzzfeedNews released the findings of a similar mobile app fraud investigation on Thursday, in which several popular Android apps use invasive permissions and dubious code to commit ad fraud. Apps that ranged from children’s reading programs to flashlights and remote controls were found to commit ad fraud while collecting huge amounts of user data.

According to a 2017 report by Singular, 63 percent of marketers don’t use any mobile fraud prevention techniques at all, becoming easy prey for even the most easily preventable attacks.

US marketers will spend an estimated $87 billion on mobile advertising in 2019, according to eMarker, which will account for more than two-thirds of overall US digital ad spend. Outpacing TV for the first time in 2018, mobile ad spend is expected to reach $201 billion in spend globally by 2021.

That being said, it’s no wonder that marketers and fraudsters alike have honed in on mobile. A recent report by Scalarr suggests that marketers will lose nearly $13 billion to mobile app install fraud in 2019. This estimated loss is a significant increase from $7.3 billion in 2018.

In November, the IAB Technology Laboratory released app-ads.txt, a mobile extension of its fraud prevention tool, for beta testing and commentary. Earlier in 2018, The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) added a requirement that all publishers implement the ads.txt standard if they want to become TAG Certified Against Ad Fraud.

Breaker Seeks Artists, Audiences To Partake In Blockchain Entertainment

Blockchain entertainment company Breaker has spent the last several years building a platform “by artists for artists” and is ready to seek an audience. Formerly SingularDTV, the company rebranded in January and is currently in beta with a library of 210 films, 46 music albums and new content being uploaded on a daily basis.

Attracting talent and distributors hasn’t posed a problem thanks to the platform’s transparency and real-time payments. Traditionally, artists would upload their works on a platform and wait patiently for their royalties. On Breaker, artists are paid immediately each time a purchase is made, using blockchain.

The marketing team helped gain exposure for Breaker by attending tentpole events like Cannes Film Festival and hosting blockchain entertainment panels at SXSW. In addition, the company has taken festival marketing a step further by creating one of their own.

The inaugural Screenbreaker festival, held in partnership with Screen International, will commence in NYC April 26-27, followed by Los Angeles and Hong Kong later this year.

Thus far, Breaker has penned deals with independent film distributors FilmRise (My Friend Dahmer), Oscilloscope Laboratories (Combat Obscura), Dread via Epic Pictures Releasing (Book of Monsters), Vertical Entertainment (Gotti) and Comedy Dynamics (Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape). The company is also in the process of negotiating deals with A24 (Hereditary) and others.

“Since our launch on Jan 31, we have had over 6,000 downloads which we consider a win given that we are in beta [and] only have a desktop app,” Breaker’s senior vice president of marketing Kerry Fitzmaurice told AList, adding that a decentralized app will launch by year’s end.

As Breaker comes out of beta, the marketing team will continue to identify its audience beyond the creators and distributors themselves.

“As a brand, we’re designed to actually appeal to both [creators and consumers],” Fitzmaurice commented. “Since we are in beta, our approach to consumer engagement is to test and learn.”

Fitzmaurice places a high emphasis on transparency and Breaker promises never to sell data to third parties. That being said, the marketing team doesn’t have the luxury of boycotting data-hungry sites like Facebook just yet.

“Since we are a new brand in an overcrowded space we need to tell our story where there are people to listen,” said Fitzmaurice. “So, we are leveraging the ad units and suite of tools offered by Facebook and Google so that we can find and reach our people. We are also looking into expanding our relationship with more like-minded brands like [open source browser] Brave.

“Obviously, we will move the bulk of our media spend to mobile and increase spend,” added Fitzmaurice. “While we are in beta, we are being thoughtful about our spend because we want to test and learn what is work, what messages are resonating, who our audience is and what they want.”

Blockchain entertainment may become the way of the future, but that doesn’t make marketing Breaker any easier. Innovative or not, Breaker found that consumers are more interested in the content itself.

“Through market research, we know that entertainment consumers don’t necessarily care about the ability to use crypto [currency] or that our backend is built on blockchain,” said Fitzmaurice, noting that 40 percent of users have paid using cryptocurrency. “We hope our secondary message of championing artists with transparent real-time accounting, sharing key data and protecting IP resonates with artists—but our number one message is that we have rich independent content on the platform that you won’t necessarily find easily anywhere else.”

That’s not to say that consumers aren’t being entertained by the idea of blockchain. Breaker released a documentary called Trust Machine: the Story of Blockchain that is designed to educate and inspire. The film was directed by documentary filmmaker Alex Web (Downloaded, Deep Web) and narrated by actress and activist Rosario Dawson (Daredevil).

“I think that our documentary is resonating because people are curious about blockchain and this film helps our audience understand why our proposition matters,” Fitzmaurice observed. “The entertainment industry was not designed with the artist in mind. Trust Machine is our tool to educate people across film, entertainment and even test how we go to market. The film has been extremely well received, which tells us there is a tremendous thirst for information on blockchain technology.”

The global blockchain technology market is expected to reach $7.59 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research, Inc. The technology is being explored for a myriad of uses from non-profit organizations and banking to fighting programmatic advertising fraud.

Puma AR App Hypes LQD Cell Sneakers With Camera Effects, Games

Puma is promoting its new LQD Cell Open Air sneaker in augmented reality (AR) with a mobile app that scans the shoe and unlocks games as well as photo and video effects.

Limited-edition LQD Cell (pronounced “liquid cell”) sneakers launched April 4 with a silhouette covered in QR codes.

Consumers can download a special mobile app and scan the shoe inside a Puma store to unlock AR effects, such as one that makes the shoe appear to be on fire or see a 3D exploded model to see what’s inside.

Contrary to what one would expect of a shoe covered in QR codes, the AR app recognizes the shoe through machine learning instead of scanning the codes themselves.

Users can also scan the silhouette to unlock “LQDASH,” an augmented reality running game. The game challenges a user’s agility for the chance to win a pair of LQD Cell shoes. Owning the shoes is not required to play.

Additional AR filters will be released this year, such as turning the shoes invisible, or a camera filter made to look like a surveillance feed will arrive alongside future shoe releases.

Puma’s AR app does not host an ecommerce feature, requiring consumers to seek out the real shoes elsewhere.

The global athletic footwear market size is expected to reach $95.14 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. Limited-edition kicks tap into consumer’s fear of missing out (FOMO) but also make it more difficult to experience them before it’s too late.

Marketers are making this process easier by using mobile augmented reality apps and other emerging tech to reach consumers who thrive on sneaker culture.

“The sneaker aficionado space right now is interesting and exciting,” Allison Giorgio, Puma’s vice president of brand marketing told AList in a 2018 interview. “We’re trying to figure out how do we move at the speed of culture that signals trends, innovate faster and release products quicker. Our mission is to be the fastest sport’s brand in the world, and we take that to heart from a development and marketing side.”

Puma is using a mix of emerging technology and influencer marketing to capture a young, digitally-savvy demographic. The brand’s partnership with singer and actress Selena Gomez resulted in more than 7.5 million interaction, helping Puma become one of the top-mentioned brands on Instagram in 2018.

In December, Adidas launched a Snapchat lens that allowed users to virtually try on its Ultraboost 19 running shoe before its release date.

Through its SNKRS Stash app, Nike uses exclusive geo-located experiences to offer digital “shock drops” where users can purchase the shoes in Berlin, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Nike used the app to allow virtual try-ons of its Momofuku sneakers before they dropped in 2017.

ANA, IAB Form ‘Privacy for America’ Coalition, Propose National Data Laws

Privacy for America is a new coalition founded by trade organizations 4A’s, ANA, IAB and NAI intended to create strict privacy protections for US consumers. The coalition seeks national law that protects consumers, creates a new division of the FTC and strictly punishes companies that breach or misuse personal data.

In the coming weeks, the coalition will meet with members of Congress, the FTC, Department of Commerce, the White House and others to present a national law based on Privacy for America’s paradigm.

If Privacy for America has its way, a new national law would make personal data less vulnerable to breach or misuse. Should it approved through government channels, the coalition’s paradigm would set forth clear, enforceable and nationwide consumer privacy protections for the first time in the US.

“Americans must not be forced to choose between protecting their privacy and enjoying the many benefits they have all come to expect from the advertising-supported Internet, mobile and other media,” said Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA in a statement.

“And they deserve to expect and have the same tough privacy protections no matter where they live in the US.”

The proposed paradigm would impose significant restrictions on data use for advertising. For example, it would ban certain types of data from being collected and used for advertising, limit the purposes for which advertising data may be used and allowing consumers to identify their preferences regarding what advertising they do or do not wish to receive.

Strong data security protection would be required and enforced to guard against data breaches. Privacy for America wants to create a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Data Protection Bureau that would strengthen the FTC’s ability to oversee consumer privacy and enforcement.

“Companies should adhere to well-defined policies that distinguish between legal data practices that benefit consumers, and illegal ones that make their personal information vulnerable,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB.

“Companies that don’t follow the protections should be held accountable with strict penalties. Supply chain safety should be as mandatory in the digital media and advertising industry as it is in the auto or food industry.”

The paradigm also includes the prohibition of specific data practices including discrimination and sharing with third parties without enforceable contracts.

“The Privacy for America coalition’s approach will ensure responsible data practices and accountability, particularly throughout the advertising industry, which will restore consumer trust in the ecosystem,” said Leigh Freund, president and CEO of NAI.

Privacy for America is being advised by data privacy experts including Stuart Ingis, co-Chair of Venable LLP’s eCommerce, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Group and Jessica Rich, former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

In a poll commissioned by Privacy for America, 92 percent of registered voters said it was important for Congress to pass new legislation to protect consumer data and 65 percent of voters said that new legislation is very important. When asked how such privacy laws should be passed, 63 percent believed the most effective route would be through the federal government, compared to 17 percent that said individual states would pass their own.

Branded AR/VR Success Greatly Hindered By Discoverability

Immersive augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) content can deepen consumers’ connections with brands but discoverability, ease of use and successful execution remain a challenge, says Magid.

According to Magid’s new “Immersive Tech Ancillary Content Study,” not all AR/VR experiences are treated the same. Consumers turn to VR for emotional experiences, for example, while AR is better suited to everyday integration.

Magid conducted six, two-hour focus groups—three in NYC and three in LA. Participants consisted of a mix of men and women between the ages of 18-45, and half of each group owned a VR device. All participants had downloaded or used an AR app on their phone in the previous six months and were open to future experiences.

Each of the groups was shown a number of branded VR and AR content that was considered ancillary—that is, designed to enhance one’s view of an existing product. Experiences included

Oxygen’s Forensic Detective: Inside the Crime Scene AR, Coco VR, the Jurassic World Alive AR game, Rampage: AR Unleashed, The Walking Dead: Our World and more.

Magid found that even AR/VR tech-savvy consumers were often confused as to how they should interact with an experience. In addition, discovery remains a problem for brands—many consumers, including existing fans, were unaware of that such experiences were available. That being said, those who are less familiar with the source material are less likely to be made aware of the content at all.

An exception to this, Magid pointed out, is ancillary content that generates organic buzz such as the Resident Evil 7 demo. Unless a brand’s AR/VR content is similarly buzz-worthy, the technology is less than ideal as a gateway—especially since consumers have to be intrigued enough to download an app or put on a headset.

Debby Ruth, vice president of global media and entertainment at Magid told AList that the success of a branded AR/VR experience depends on how well it aligns with a marketer’s goal.

“Early on, I think I lot of brands [used AR/VR] because it was very new and innovative and they got a lot a press coverage,” said Ruth. “Now that the shine has worn off, you have to be very deliberate, just like any other marketing tactic. Some of the best [AR/VR] executions are integrated into experiential marketing. You’re there where people are. There are a lot of alcohol brands that want to send a mood and take you to Scotland or show you why their brand is more special.”

The study found that consumers tend to have an emotional connection with VR, since it serves as an escape from the world around them. Disney/Pixar’s Coco VR was praised by Magid for its ability to draw users into the film’s unique world while offering a unique perspective.

When asked to associate emotions/descriptive words with VR content, respondents chose “immersive,” “exciting,” “realistic,” “curious,” “relaxing,” “escape” and “fantasy.”

AR content, on the other hand, overlays an experience over a user’s real environment and therefore does not offer an escape. For this reason, the medium was viewed as less of an entertainment tool by respondents. Descriptive words chosen to describe AR content were noticeably less emotional. They included “practical,” “interactive,” “analytical,” “curious,” “excited,” “frustrating” and “lifelike.”

To avoid frustrating consumers, Magid said an AR experience should allow consumers to interact with or enhance their reality in new ways and feel rewarded and/or benefited in some way.

Ruth advises brands to consider what a consumer will get out of an AR/VR experience.

“If it’s something that’s just clever and cute, then consumers [won’t be interested],” she said. “If it’s something that’s either fun or engaging by nature or useful, then that is something completely different.”

Oxygen’s Forensic Detective: Inside the Crime Scene AR experience was an example of this principle. The app puts users in the role of a crime scene investigator, who must move around his/her environment in search of clues. Consumers are motivated to complete the task by finding the criminal.

When Oxygen’s AR experience was launched, it was during a significant time of rebranding for the network, Ruth observed.

“That experience did a good job of meeting that goal of making Oxygen aligned with true crime.”

As AR content becomes more commonplace, Magid warns against a half-baked integration.

“If the source material is especially rich, the ancillary idea can be great,” said Magid, “but the execution can bring down the perception of the brand.”

In conclusion, AR/VR has the ability to engage existing fans and become a gateway for new ones. However, immersive tech requires you to “market the marketing.”

Lab Cave Introduces Mediator Tool For App Publishers

Mobile growth company Lab Cave (Tap Knights, Dream Hospital) launched a Mediation tool for app developers that offers impartial, side-by-side advertising networks mediation. Offered as a Software as a Service (SaaS), the Mediation tool allows developers to configure, optimize and analyze ad performance alongside user behavior.

Lab Cave debuted the tool during Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC), showing its features alongside the mobile growth company’s App Store Optimization (ASO) services and products.

Newzoo estimates that 2.4 billion people will play mobile games in 2019 and in a recent study found that half of mobile game users feel positive about advertisements.

Global app installs are on the rise as consumers discover and explore new content. According to SensorTower, first-time installs exceeded 105.3 million in 2018. This growth offers marketers—and developers—a vast array of real estate on which to posts their ads, from banners to rewarded ads and playable demos.

For developers that want to fill ad space within their apps, however, comparing ad networks and CPM pricing can be a challenge. According to a December 2018 survey by DeltaDNA, 59 percent of free-to-play (F2P) mobile game developers source ads from between two and five sources.

Advertising mediators allow an app developer to compare ad performance between ad sources and choose the network that pays the highest CPM. The majority of mediators are often associated with a proprietary advertising network, and therefore, those networks are given priority.

“This generates a conflict of interest because by delivering their own advertiser campaigns, the impressions that they chose are not always going to be the ones that pay you, as a developer, better,” Pedro Miranda, product owner at Lab Cave told AList. “This happens because the mediator is interested in positioning itself in a better place than the rest of the networks to ultimately make its service profitable. This causes a lack of transparency, not enough control over the ads that are currently displayed in the app and an increased cost of opportunity.”

Lab Cave’s new Mediator tool is not associated with and therefore does not prioritize any one ad network over others. This impartiality gives developers the freedom to choose which option is best for maximizing app revenue and effectively managing in-app inventory.

“As developers, we know what you need to monetize your traffic in a straightforward, unbiased way,” said Esteban Vargas, mediation development team lead at Lab Cave. “We feel your pain because we have been there. We are currently managing 300 of our own apps through our mediation and we have already addressed and solved issues that you may currently be facing with other mediators.”

The Mediator tool also offers a single, generic implementation to all networks, eliminating the need to access and learn each one individually. The developer can then choose a single advertising network or use a mediation service to achieve the best pricing for a specific country. In addition, the time and effort normally required to implement different Software Development Kits (SDKs) for each advertising network is saved.

When speaking to fellow app developers, Lab Cave likens using Mediator to how you might plan a trip. You can take a risk by choosing one brand over the others or use a comparison tool to get the best price. A mediator works in much the same way, except that developers get the best ads that pay the most.

Mediator users have the option to customize their waterfall graphs and prioritize networks. In addition to ad statistics, the new tool offers insights into developer and user behavior. Additional analysis tools are in development and will be released in the near future.

“It is not enough to just generate income through advertising, it is also very important to optimize and maximize the profitability of said source of income,” added Miranda. “For this reason, we don’t just offer metrics related to advertising performance, we also offer other metrics that lead the developer to make decisions that improve the revenue generated on their application.”

One example, Miranda stated, is the ability to see how many users are using the app and what percentage of them has seen an ad. Developers can modify and optimize the flow and placement of ads based on this data. The mediator tool also lets developers see if a competitor’s ad is being shown and if so, block it.

“All of this, together with a deep understanding of users’ needs, inspired us to create our Mediation tool,” said Miranda.

SuperData: Mobile AR Will Fetch $3.4B In 2019, Opportunity Looms For Brands

Branded mobile AR apps should offer utility and delight if they are to reach consumers in this $3.4 billion industry, says SuperData. Led by social media and retail, the mobile AR industry is poised to increase its revenue by more than double in the next two years.

SuperData, a Nielsen Company, and Friends with Holograms partnered to create a whitepaper called “What Brands Need to Know About Mobile AR.” The report covers augmented reality users, revenue predictions and trends that today’s brands should be aware of.

Mobile AR already has access to over a billion smartphone users and will generate $3.4 billion by the end of 2019, SuperData predicts. This figure is expected to reach $9.6 billion by 2020.

At 84 percent, social media apps are the most popular type of AR apps used by US consumers as December 2018. Online shopping apps come in second with 41 percent, followed by AR games like Pokémon GO.

Whitepaper co-author Stephanie Llamas is the vice president of research and strategy, as well as head of VR/AR at SuperData. She told AList that social media apps are the most popular among mobile AR users, largely because the implementation meets consumers where they already are.

When launching a branded AR app or activation, it’s important to not only meet consumers in this way but to offer them the opportunity to have a unique, emotional response.

“It’s not using [AR] for the sake of using it, but using it in a meaningful, emotional way,” Llamas said. “It’s about really understanding how you can access an audience easily. If an application isn’t something that consumers would download already like a retail app, you want to be really thoughtful about how you introduce your brand through AR to customers.”

The whitepaper identifies two main requirements of a successful AR brand strategy—utility and delight. While “delight” seems pretty straight-forward, the “utility” part may not be. Llamas explains:

“You don’t want to have a cumbersome app that people are going to have to download for a consumer packaged good (CPG) or something like that,” she said, adding, “You don’t want to ask for productivity on part of the consumer, [but] you want to access them through what they already do.”

Three in five mobile AR users are millennials, SuperData found, with users 18-35 skewing female. The average age of adult mobile AR users is 13 years younger than non-users (33 versus 46 years old), the report states, attributing this fact to the popularity of social media apps. On average, the mobile AR audience spends about a half hour using AR apps and capabilities and accesses them at least twice a week.

“[Mobile AR] is something that is definitely on the horizon,” said Llamas. “Not paying attention to this trend means that other competitors are going to get to consumers first through AR.”

Interested in mobile AR? Don’t procrastinate, Llamas added.

“Understand that the penetration is growing quickly. This isn’t like VR where it’s going to be much slower growth to general consumption. Everybody has this capability in their smartphone already so when a more interesting concept comes out, brands have more opportunities to seize creative new ways to access consumers.”

 

Marketing Innovation Is Being Driven By Just A Few Global CMOs

The top 17 percent of global marketing leaders are driving innovation by adopting an agile, “living business” mindset, Accenture reports.

Way Beyond Marketing: The Rise of The Hyper-Relevant CMO explores the role CMOs play in driving a brand’s growth agenda. A survey of chief marketing officers and CEOs was conducted between March and May 2018 and was limited to companies with at least $500 million in annual revenues. Respondents included 935 chief marketing officers and 564 CEOs across 17 industry groups in 12 countries—Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Accenture found that innovation and “transformation change” is being pioneered by a small group of CMOs among participating brands. These leaders are prioritizing changing customer needs by investing in better integration and collaboration.

This, Accenture asserts, will allow a brand to achieve a “living business” mindset. The company defines living businesses as those that unlock sustained growth by continuously adapting to evolving customer needs to achieve hyper-relevance.

“CMOs need to lead an effective, joined-up customer experience at all touch points, at pace and at scale, to drive growth,” said Mhairi McEwan, managing director and marketing practice lead for customer insight and growth at Accenture in the report.

The pioneering minority CMO group prioritizes transparency, innovation and hold their brand to higher standards—that is, standing for something bigger than a product or service. These CMOs look for disruption outside the usual channels, Accenture observed. For example, 56 percent of what Accenture refers to as “Pioneer CMOs” buy more through multichannel experiences than the conventional single channel, compared to other CMOs in the study at 33 percent.

In addition, they are 17 percent more likely than other CMOs to expand beyond traditional agency partners and 18 percent more likely to be “engaged with the possibilities of digital platforms.”

Two-out-of-three CEOs surveyed by Accenture were not confident in their CMO’s abilities. That being said, Accenture gives advice to CMOs on how to make their mark.

“In essence, there are four key actions they must take,” said McEwan, “using advanced customer insight and analytics to shape the future, building the marketing and sales capabilities of their people and organization, leveraging partnerships to create innovative new products, services and solutions and delivering cost-effective technological activation of personalized and scalable marketing programs.”

If that all sounds daunting, it’s important to note that the top 17 percent of CMOs in Accenture’s study are more likely to rely on professionals with the skillsets they desire. For example, 87 percent of “Pioneer CMOs” said they would rely on immersive experience designers, compared to 65 percent of others in the study. Other roles they would turn to include growth hackers, chief storytellers, marketing monitors, customer experience curators, futurologists, reality checkers, trust leaders, cause matchmakers, AI designers and consumer psychologists.

Ericsson’s Helena Norrman: “Trust Is Becoming A More Valuable Currency”

Helena Norrman is the chief marketing officer at Ericsson, she’s been with the brand for 12 years and started with the company in communications and media relations. AList caught up with Norrman at MWC 2019 to speak with her about Ericsson’s core message this year and how she manages customers trust and being a publicly visible marketer, as a member of Ericsson’s C-suite. For what it’s worth, Norrman will be departing the company in June to become a partner at Kekst CNC and managing director at communications consultancy JKL. 

What is Ericsson’s core message is in 2019?

2019 is all about 5G becoming a reality.

Because, last year it really wasn’t a reality, yet.

The first commercial network was in October in the U.S., and that’s still the only commercial network that carries traffic that there is in the world, but 2019 will be the year when it actually when the commercial networks start, then, of course, it will pick up over quite some time.

What are some consumer applications?

If you look at how will this roll out, the very first use case is not so sexy, but it’s a very good one and it is the whole cost of delivering data. It’s a more efficient system. Which means the cost of delivering data [to consumers] goes up, which means that in densely populated areas where people consume a lot of data it will be more economic for operators to build 5G than 4G. It doesn’t necessarily change the applications [in the beginning], but it changes the economics.

As a chief marketing officer, how do you concentrate on the bigger picture? How do you avoid micromanaging?

First of all, you can’t control everything, I mean we work in 180 countries and our technology touches everything and everyone. So, that sheer volume means that it is impossible to control everything and that’s actually a really good starting point.

I don’t have that [issue with] control, I don’t have that in me. The important thing is to decide what you need, maybe not the control, but the commonality, what you need to do together and what you need to do to build a brand. It’s more about identifying what those things are and push[ing]. Because if you go out in the fringes there are an endless amount of things that are happening and lots of small activities in different countries with different customers, different use cases, and that’s good, that’s great, as long as you stick to some sort of fundamental principles.

In what areas of martech are you investing?

We’re doing a facelift on digital marketing, but it’s from quite the basic level, so we are nowhere near anything fancy. We’re doing the basic we’re doing the uplift on the CRM, marketing monetization, on the website and on mobile.

What do you think young CMOs should be most concerned about?

I think that they should just be most concerned about the trust element.

Customer trust?

Yes. It’s easy to lose in this world that we are going into. It’s becoming a more and more valuable currency. I think that you have to, there are lots of examples of how brands have betrayed customer trust and I think that is very dangerous. I think that you can have problems, I think that you have to be transparent, I think you have to accept responsibility for what you are responsible for and that is difficult.

It’s seemingly become normalized that you hear about a breach a year later. 

In companies, there is this tendency if possible, “maybe we don’t have to tell.” Where we’re trying very much to work the other way around. We’re trying to start from assuming transparency and sometimes for reasons of customer confidentiality, we can’t. Because maybe it’s not our thing to talk about, it’s someone else’s thing to talk about. But when it comes to us, and what’s within our control, our assumption is we should be transparent.

What about the accountability of chief marketing officers? Especially as we see some companies doing away with the position altogether in favor of chief revenue officer, etc… 

It’s the trust in the brand—not the logo or the type and how many times you can flash it but what it stands for. I think that is the key. I don’t think that a chief revenue officer- that’s sales and sales is great, but it’s not the same thing. If you don’t have the trust in the eyes of your customer, the trust in the eyes of your stakeholders then you don’t create foundations for making the sales. Many companies do recognize that and many companies do work with a mixed marketing/communications/brand/public affairs/community relations- doesn’t matter which words you use. It all comes back to: how do you create the trustworthiness of the brand so customers will want to engage with you?

Can you talk about being a public presence as CMO?

First of all, we all try to represent the company and we all try to be visible. That’s also important from the transparency point of view: that the company has faces, and we are people that represent it. Our kind of business is very much thought leadership and insights, and to be able to show and discuss where the industry is going. It’s very important to our customers. Because that’s how they make these big investment decisions and partners that we stay with for a long time. We want to make sure that they’re moving in the right direction and that means that to be out there and talk about the industry, to talk about insights, to talk about the development that’s something that we do jointly in the leadership team, because it’s important that our customers see that we do that. Then we have our different flavors.

Comcast Leans Into Subsidiary Ad Offerings As Cord-Cutting Pressure Intensifies

Comcast Corp. is putting all those recent business acquisitions to good use by ramping up its ad offerings. Two Monday announcements were made just as TV Upfront season begins and streaming platforms continually threaten ad revenue.

European satellite broadcaster Sky was acquired by Comcast for $40 billion last fall. Now, amid of the biggest TV ad-selling season of the year, Sky has teamed up with fellow Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal to offer marketers a new toolset called AdSmart.

Adsmart is a merging of Sky’s advertising tools and NBCUniversal’s Audience Studio targeting solution. Both Sky and NBCUniversal advertisers can optimize linear spend against consumer segments that include 50 million households across the US and UK. Once the desired audience is chosen, advertisers can target them through the delivery of long-form content, digital ads and contextual alignment such as timing an ad with a relevant scene on a TV show.

“The world is getting smaller, and the opportunity for international marketers to make an impact with consumers is getting bigger,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal in a prepared statement. “The industry has demanded a global premium video offering, and now, one will finally exist.”

Meanwhile, TV advertising platform NCC Media—owned by Comcast, Cox Communication and Charter Communications—launched new digital buying capabilities. The “all-screen” advertising solution enables the launch of coordinated campaigns to the same audiences watching TV and browsing online.

NCC’s new offerings apply to all TV inventory including linear, VOD and addressable, as well as all digital formats including video, display, social, audio, out-of-home and mobile.

“Digital advertising is an important component of our clients’ marketing mix,” said Nicolle Pangis, CEO of NCC Media in a press release. “Today’s launch supports our strategy of expanding the efficient platform NCC built for the TV world to handle more of our clients’ media comprehensively. The new capabilities bring increased precision to brand marketing while greatly simplifying the way advertisers manage and monitor consumer narratives across the entire consumer journey.”

Comcast’s video ad tech company FreeWheel made its first upfront pitch to advertisers on March 13, touting new attribution features and the launch of FreeWheel Media and the first DSP integration for its new product suite with Adobe.

It comes to show that even giants like Comcast aren’t immune to the growing threat of OTT ad spend. EMarketer predicted that OTT video service users in the US would reach 203 million in 2019, compared to 297 million TV viewers. The market research firm just increased its ad revenue predictions for Hulu, saying it would surpass $2 billion between 2019 and 2020.