Digital Advertising Alliance Introduces CCPA Tools For Publishers, Brands, Agencies

As the “Judgement Day” of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) approaches, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) rolls-out new tools for publishers, brands, agencies and adtech in the digital advertising supply chain.

The tools from the DAA, an independent not-for-profit organization for digital advertising privacy practices, will introduce CCPA opt-out instruments, which will provide users with cross-industry control over the ways in which their personal information is being shared and sold. 

“The digital advertising ecosystem is incredibly complicated and interconnected, so we need tools that work both for individual companies and across the supply chain,” said Michael Signorelli, Partner Venable LLP and counsel to the DAA, in a press release. “Today we’re outlining the roadmap for our approach, so companies can begin taking the internal steps necessary to adapt their systems for rapid implementation with well understood and deployed technologies. Over the next few weeks, we will quickly roll out the tools, guidelines, and technological specifications needed for full adoption.”

CCPA Opt-Out Tools will be available in English and Spanish via desktop browsers, mobile web browsers and a mobile app, according to the release by DAA. The tools will include the following elements:

  • A text link and new green icon for publishers to display on their web and app-based digital properties. 
  • The text link and icon, which will take users to a publisher-hosted notice that will provide user information and control. 
  • An option to opt-out of the sale of customer personal information by any or all of the participating companies in the new DAA tools, including third parties collecting and selling personal information through the publisher’s site or app. 

It is important to note that the DAA’s tools are mainly consumer-centric and are built to provide the ability for consumers to opt-out of the sale of personal information by third-party businesses. It is publishers’ job to find their own technical instruments to meet their requirements under the DAA’s guidelines and the CCPA law, the DAA stated in the press release.

“These tools create a simple and recognizable mechanism for consumers to express their opt-out rights under the CCPA for the sale of data collected not only on any individual site, but also across sites served by third parties in the digital ecosystem that participate in the DAA tool. The tools also provide a timely implementation path for companies based on existing technologies and proven models,” said Lou Mastria, executive director of the DAA.

J.C. Penney’s AR-Enabled Campaign Lets Brides-To-Be Virtually Try On Rings

J.C. Penney is launching an augmented reality-enabled mobile ad campaign that lets brides-to-be virtually try on engagement rings to promote the retailer’s “Modern Bride” collection. The campaign is in partnership with Verizon Media, the phone company’s advertising and content unit, and will run through the end of the year.

When consumers click on ads that appear on HuffPost Life, Yahoo Sports and other Verizon Media properties, they’ll activate the AR ring try-on feature. Brides-to-be can also discover their wedding personality through ad formats that deliver a quiz about their lifestyle and fashion preferences. The experience then directs them to the J.C. Penney site featuring engagement rings that match their tastes.

The campaign also includes an ad sponsorship on HuffPost Life’s “The Look of Love” section to highlight J.C. Penney’s “Modern Bride” collection.

According to data from J.C. Penney, nearly one-fifth of wedding proposals occur in December. Aligning an interactive campaign with the holiday season could put J.C. Penney ahead of other competitors in the wedding jewelry space, which has seen more brands transition to direct-to-consumer models lately in order to fit millennials’ shopping behavior. 
The 117-year-old retailer has been struggling to turn things around amid declining sales and foot traffic. It hasn’t reported a quarterly sales gain since the 2017 holiday season and reported a decrease in annual sales of 6.6 percent last year.

The Data Anomaly Effect: Finding Errors and Opportunities In Data Haystacks

Originally published at AW360.

Anyone who has ever forgotten where they left their car at an airport car park or tried to search for a particular face in the crowd at a football stadium understands the meaning of the phrase “looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Yet these people do have one significant advantage; they know what they are looking for. The owner of the lost car knows the color, make and registration number of their vehicle, while the person looking for a face in a crowd can look out for clothing color, approximate height, or their likely companions. Even the proverbial needle seeker knows the difference between a sharp metal object and a piece of dry grass. Imagine how much harder these tasks would be if the individual didn’t have any information about what they were searching for.

The same principle applies to marketing data analytics. Analysts spend huge amounts of time trawling through data to identify patterns and trends, even when they have a good idea of what they are seeking and are expecting to find. If they don’t know what they are looking for, effective manual analysis of today’s vast and complex data sets becomes almost impossible, with vital threats or opportunities easily missed.

Fortunately, automated data discovery technology now exists to take over the tedious task of manual data analysis and identify hidden trends. Powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced statistics, these technologies can manage and analyze data from multiple cross-channel campaigns. They can employ specialized techniques such as anomaly detection to intelligently augment analytics with precise insights that would otherwise have remained invisible.

The anomaly detection capabilities of augmented analytics have widespread benefits for marketers, particularly in identifying expensive errors and valuable opportunities.

Identifying costly errors and hidden threats 

A blunder that costs millions might sound like the stuff of nightmares but it is entirely possible, as Google’s “Night of the yellow ads” aptly demonstrates. A small mistake by a programmatic training team led to a large sum of money being wasted on plain yellow display ads across the US and Australia. Although the mishap was rectified quickly–within 45 minutes–Google was estimated to be out of pocket by $10 million. Luckily, Google identified the error quickly, most likely by having some sort of anomaly detection technology in place, but for smaller businesses, it would have been catastrophic.

Having technology like augmented analytics with data discovery and anomaly detection in place today can make the difference for marketers, by enhancing the reaction speed to critical business events. These technologies spot errors or unusual patterns in data that may look completely normal to the untrained eye. Mistakes of this magnitude are rare but if it can happen to Google it can happen to anyone. Technology that identifies errors and anomalies of any size can prevent businesses from wasting money and increase marketing efficiency.

Proactively uncovering new opportunities

In addition to identifying and mitigating risks, augmented analytics and anomaly detection can positively help marketers uncover and optimize opportunities. Marketers don’t necessarily make the best use of their budgets, wasting around a quarter on ineffective channels and strategies, but this can be improved by finding the right insights and optimization potential.    

Augmented analytics and anomaly detection present marketers with meaningful updates on significant developments within their data that would otherwise go unnoticed. For instance, they may discover a particular creative is resonating unexpectedly well with a specific audience segment, or that a certain type of ad is generating greater response in one environment than in another. Blind spots that occur in manual analytics because of time limitations – or human assumptions and experiences – are avoided, allowing marketers a complete understanding of what is driving or hindering success.

Based on pre-defined campaign goals and KPIs, augmented analytics not only identifies opportunities but also makes spend recommendations that allow marketers to optimize these opportunities. Machine learning algorithms calculate how to meet desired goals, such as revenue or conversions in the most efficient way, delivering recommendations to optimize marketing spend within and across all marketing channels. This precise insight enables marketers to maximize in-the-moment impact and align campaign strategy with audience preferences and requirements.

Much like looking for a lost vehicle in long-stay parking, or a single face in a packed stand, finding anomalies in marketing data is time-consuming and tedious. And, when analysts don’t even know what they’re looking for it becomes unfeasible. Through automated data discovery and anomaly detection, marketers can benefit from insights they never knew existed, finding invisible insights in the data haystack that allow them to avoid costly errors and optimize opportunities.

What’s Working Right Now In AR Marketing

Back in March, eMarketer estimated that in 2019, as many as 68.7 million US customers will use augmented reality (AR) at least once a month. And this year, many brands seized the opportunity to enhance their user experiences with the advanced tech.

The world saw a myriad of innovative augmented reality campaigns: from Net-A-Porter’s AR pop-up window shop to the recent Disney and YouTube AR make-up experience for the roll-out of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and the latest Panera Bread AR ad unit for mobile that allows customers to rotate a menu item and share on social media. Another big plus—the tech is maturing quickly, and all the major tech giants–Apple, Facebook and Google– invested heavily in AR in 2019. 

Despite all this, there are still a lot of uncertainties around AR and its future in marketing. To help marketers understand the ways in which audiences consume immersive experiences, Rene Amador, CEO at AR tech company ARwall, breaks these experiences down into three modes.

The first mode, he explains, is “futurist,” where “AR is a novel illusion” and the target audience is those who seek futurist types of experiences. Avid consumers of media and technology are most interested in how well the experience explores or displays its futuristic and entertainment potential. Snapchat filters and Spark AR are a perfect example of futurist modes of  AR. 

The second mode is “realist,” which is likely how the majority of AR content is currently consumed for education or training. Here the goal is to provide informative content. Success, in this case, is typically defined by information recall, which is appropriate in the enterprise, industrial or educational setting.

The third mode is “escapist,” which is similar to what we expect from cinema. You lose yourself in the action on the screen and begin to identify with the story and its characters as if they were your reality. In these experiences, the content itself becomes far more vital, and a successful escapist campaign requires executing a technical and artistic experience that delivers story, fidelity and performance.

According to Amador, “futurist” mode is the safest choice in marketing right now.

He also predicts that AR tech will soon become flexible enough to be “objective-agnostic.”

“[This] means it [will be] able to lift the overall awareness of a campaign and support the full spectrum of business goals a marketer might have: whether that’s a product launch, recruitment drive or customer service. AR has been a tough nut to crack for marketers because it can feel disconnected from the rest of the campaign, but if you consider that it’s flexible enough to fit nearly any need, you can see that it’s just an immersive and interactive way to build experiences of any kind,” he said. 

Other analysts agree that AR marketing will keep rapidly expanding into consumer retail experiences. Earlier this year, Hanna Karki, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores, and take control of the fulfillment and return process for cross-channel execution. At the same time, consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers. As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”  

The main appeal of AR lies in increasingly convenient applications that customers can access on their mobile devices, which gives companies the advantage of creating immersive experiences that are highly visual. In addition, brands can put a fresh spin on products or services through gamification and other engaging tactics to increase familiarity and drive loyalty. 

If the predictions are right, by the end of 2022, the number of mobile AR users will reach 3.5 billion globally, which will give brands access to an extremely broad audience and will help them generate a high volume of qualified leads.

“For the brand, the richness of the experience opens up opportunities for opt-in capture of email, phone numbers and social media profiles. Those are solid meat-and-potatoes marketing milestones, and I think more and more marketers will realize AR can drive those traditional goals more effectively,” Amador said. 

Paid Search Becomes Mobile-First Experience

More than 70 percent of all paid search impressions and clicks were on mobile devices in Q3, according to a study from Kenshoo. The report found that paid search overall has grown over the last five quarters, with a seven percent year-over-year spend increase in Q3. 

The signs have been pointing to a future where mobile is the most popular channel for paid search, and it’s finally reached a threshold. Q2 marked the first quarter where mobile search reached 50 percent paid search spending. In Q3, over half (54 percent) of paid search ad spending was on mobile devices–up four percent from the prior quarter.

The rise demonstrates continued long-term growth for the last five quarters. Paid search remains the most consistent channel in digital marketing as brands have realized that keeping this channel “always-on” is a necessity, not just a best practice. Paid search impressions were up 29 percent YOY and paid search clicks rose 15 percent YOY, both growing faster than total spend. These findings reflect the fact that marketers were able to generate higher impressions and clicks without the need to increase spending. 

Meanwhile, paid search quarter-over-quarter (QOQ) gains only saw a two percent increase in spend, three percent in clicks and five percent more impressions than Q2. While click-through-rate (CTR) was down 10 percent YOY, the drop in ad engagement was offset by marketers paying less for their clicks as the average cost-per-click (CPC) in Q3 decreased seven percent from the year before.

Social advertising spend grew 32 percent YOY, driven by Instagram, video and product ads. Impressions grew roughly the same rate as spend while clicks on social were up 26 percent over the previous quarter. Dynamic product ads made up 37 percent of the Q3 total for social advertising. 

Social’s average cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) saw a four percent decline QOQ and three percent decline YOY. This suggests that the channel’s pricing remains stable, allowing marketers to increase spending while maintaining efficiency for their investment.

Findings are based on data taken from over 3,000 advertiser and agency accounts across 40 industry verticals and over 150 countries. 

US Digital Ad Revenues Increase, Growth Projected For AR And CTV

US digital advertising revenues reached $58 billion—a 17 percent increase year-over-year—during the first six months of 2019, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) “Internet Advertising Revenue Report.” Though the growth makes it the highest spend in history for the first half of the year, digital is beginning to show signs of maturing.

The data shows an uptick in revenues across the board. Internet ad revenues in the US increased seven percent from $28 billion in the first quarter of 2019 to $30 billion in the second quarter. Mobile ad revenues, which make up 70 percent of total internet ad revenues, totaled $40 billion in the second quarter of 2019 compared to $31 billion in the first quarter. Audio adspend is also rising with the emergence of smart speakers, up 30 percent YOY to a total of $1.2 billion for the first half of 2019.

Smartphone ownership and social media is nearing saturation, pushing the industry to focus on new channels for growth such as connected television (CTV), augmented reality (AR) and 5G.

The report notes that marketers must evolve their strategies alongside technological advancements, particularly immersive media. Respondents cite AR ads as having the ability to foster an emotional connection, leading to increased brand recall, positive brand associations and sometimes, increased brand awareness. Connected device usage is also gaining traction, broadening marketers’ opportunity for contextual targeting. However, as marketers foster one-to-one marketing and develop personalized ads, they should remain transparent with consumers about data value exchange. 

Advertisers still rely on Nielsen to measure households for linear television but seek a congruent measurement across linear television and digital video. Despite the fragmentation of cross-channel measurement, marketers are investing more in over-the-top (OTT) content and CTV as viewers are shifting their behavior towards CTV.

The report also notes that the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will stifle innovation and force brands to redirect resources that comply with these privacy regulations.

Report findings are based on a quantitative web survey commissioned by the IAB and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Virtual Reality Marketing In The Time Of Oculus Quest

In 2015 through 2017, virtual reality (VR) campaigns were a hot trend that brands were experimenting with, but VR in marketing quickly stalled. A lower than expected adoption rate of VR hardware among consumers is largely thought to have been the culprit. This year, things started looking up for VR in marketing, as the technology has become more convenient and affordable given the introduction of the Oculus Quest headset in May. The big question for marketers to consider is whether VR is now here to stay and if so, how can it be used to drive engagement and reevaluate communication models with the customer. 

“What you saw happening with VR is happening with every new technology. The [term] ‘hype cycle’ perfectly illustrates how evolving tech develops over time,” explains Nils Wollny, co-founder and CEO at holoride, an in-car VR experience start-up. “There is usually a big hype around new technology, so everyone is jumping on it, and then this gap of disappointment comes, where everyone says, ‘Ok, the expectations are not fulfilled by this great new technology.’ And then [the tech] reaches the Plateau of Productivity and becomes a part of our general life. This is exactly what happened to VR, but it’s not an unusual development for any new tech. Every new technology has to go through this [process].” 

As recent as last year, analysts were skeptical about the VR tech utilization among consumers. In the report, “Virtual And Augmented Reality Users 2019” eMarketer researchers anticipated that this year, only 42.9 million people would use VR and 68.7 million would use AR at least once per month, prediciting that VR would slow down as AR picks up. Another survey from Perkins Coie showed that 41 percent of respondents felt that the most tangible obstacle blocking mass virtual reality adoption was user experience issues, such as uncomfortable hardware or technical glitches. 

The VR/AR experts’ predictions for 2019, however, were more optimistic. In January, Ricardo Justus, CEO, Arvore Immersive Experiences told AList his expectations for VR in 2019 were “steady growth of the home-use space, amazing new location-based experiences and new and surprising device announcements.” 

Today, brands from diverse sectors are indeed tapping into the technology in more creative ways.

Google recently partnered with the Château de Versailles and now takes VR users on a private tour of the French royal residence. Fashion companies have incorporated VR influencers into their marketing initiatives with Chanel, Prada, Vans and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty currently leading the pack of established companies that drive brand awareness with VR characters. Balmain even created a whole “Virtual Army” on influencers. 

In the world of auto, Porsche debuted virtual reality technology and Land Rover, wowed the crowds with the new Defender VR experience at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. 

Wollny points out that VR marketing has an important place in gaming and entertainment. Earlier this year, DreamWorks collaborated with Walmart to promote How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and allowed the fans to dive into the movie world right at select Walmart parking lots during the promotion of the film. Additionally, Universal Studios partnered with Ford on a campaign that started on October 14 at Universal CityWalk Hollywood, where people were able to jump into a Ford Explorer for a Bride of Frankenstein-inspired experience. 

It is quite possible that brands that master VR in the coming years will be the most successful at harnessing the medium’s creative potential. These brands need to remember, though, that while a fully immersive experience that shuts out the physical world makes a great tool to deliver a company’s message, a successful VR marketing campaign, first of all, caters to the customer’s desire for personalization and delivers a truly exceptional experience that consumers can’t find elsewhere. 

So, what is the future of VR marketing? According to experts, we’ll soon see the Plateau of Productivity of VR in action, meaning the technology will be more relevant in customers’ daily lives.

“We can already see that with devices, like Oculus Quest, which is an affordable, stand-alone virtual reality device, VR will have greater impact on the daily life of customers in the coming months, bringing new opportunities to marketing. There is also a big opportunity for brands to build stories for interactive experiences that don’t feel like a commercial or campaign but [offer] infinite worlds to build on and provide new experiences. We’ll also see things like product placement but in a smarter way than product placement in a movie, for example, because a product or a brand can be a part of the story people interact with, which feels more natural than simply placing something somewhere and have it captured by a camera,” Wollny said.

Brands Report Need For Additional Data Skills, Budget In Martech Strategies

Globally, 68 percent of brands have an increased need for data skills when it comes to utilizing marketing technology (martech), according to WARC’s “Martech: 2020 and Beyond” report. Published in association with BDO, the report assesses martech’s growth over the last year, addresses how agencies are balancing data with creativity and where respondents plan to focus budgets next year.

Since 2018, martech investment has seen year-on-year growth of 22 percent with a current estimated market size of $121.5 billion globally. In addition, the combined UK and North American market of martech is now worth $65.9 billion.

According to respondent feedback, a lack of expertise on the brand side is a key driver to outsourcing martech functions to agencies. Whether in terms of upskilling internally or hiring discipline specialists, brands are exploring ways to increase skills. Opinions on which skills should be the focus differ among businesses.

For brands and agencies alike, there’s a need to use data to guide creative strategy, but each side has different priorities. Forty-nine percent of brands cited creativity as one of the most important skills for hiring into the marketing function whereas 21 percent considered strategy and data a top priority. Comparatively, only 25 percent of agency respondents chose creativity as an important factor, ultimately citing data literacy as their top priority. 

The majority of respondents have found a use for martech tools in established disciplines. Over three quarters of brands use martech to assist them with email and social media, and nearly two-thirds of brands use martech for analytics, content and CRM. Still, 76 percent of respondents feel the need to add more martech tools to their belt while only 24 percent of global marketers believe they have all the martech tools they need.

In addition, brands are focusing on customer experiences over specific media, resulting in the growth of experience optimization and tracking in the martech industry. Over half of the respondents noted that customer experience optimization is a high priority for their organization. Despite this, less than 50 percent of brands are using martech to track customers between channels. 

Half of global respondents agreed that budget constraints are the main barrier to martech investment, up from 36 percent last year. Forty-three percent of marketers globally, however, expect their martech budgets to increase over the next 12 months. On average, North American and UK brands are spending 26 percent of their budgets on martech compared to 23 percent last year.

Report findings are based on an annual survey of more than 750 brands and agencies in North America, UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

US Consumers Want More Control Over Personal Data, Don’t Understand How It’s Being Used

Nearly half of US consumers feel they have little to no control of their personal data, according to Deloitte’s “US Consumer Data Privacy” study. Marketers are having to perform a balancing act between personalizing offers and experiences based on consumers’ past buying behaviors and preferences while not creeping them out. From 2016 to 2018, the volume of breached records in the US rose twelve-fold, and as a result, about half of all US states are developing data privacy legislation—including the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), set to be effective January 1, 2020. Now more than ever, it’s important that marketers focus strategies on building consumer trust. 

Collecting data from consumers has served the industry three purposes: to learn more about consumers’ habits, communicate in personal ways and deepen relationships with frequent buyers. Retail executives in Deloitte’s survey state that the top uses of consumer data are efficiencies in operations (53 percent), improving product selection (52 percent) and enhancing in-store services and experiences (49 percent).

Despite how beneficial these efforts are for consumers, consumers still have their doubts as 47 percent admit they have little to no control of their personal data and one in three has been exposed to a data breach. Eighty-six percent believe they should be able to opt-out of the sale of their data. 

The good news: 71 percent of consumers are willing to share personal data if they receive special discounts or better pricing. What’s more, 73 percent of consumers said they’re more likely to be open or neutral about sharing personal data when satisfied with privacy policies, compared to 57 percent who are unsatisfied or unaware.

Consumers don’t have a clear sense of what information marketers collect and how they use it. More than two-thirds of consumers think they use the data for target marketing. Fifty-five percent of consumers believe advertisers sell data to outside buyers or share it with third parties. 

Retailers still face challenges internally over data storage. Nearly two-thirds of respondents say their organization has more than 50 information systems that store consumer data. Half of them indicate that inadequate data management is hindering their ability to implement consumer privacy programs. Lack of funding was the top reason cited.

For understanding consumers’ view of personal data and privacy, Deloitte surveyed US 2,000 individuals, conducted online using an independent research panel from April-May 2019. 

For understanding the executives’ view on the matter, Deloitte surveyed 201 retail industry C-level executives, senior management and senior directors in various retail organizations from US-based companies between April and May 2019.

Consumers Have Profound Concerns About Data Privacy And Marketers Should Care

Social media and online usage may level off or decline over the next three years, according to an international study conducted by The American Marketing Association (AMA) New York—”The Future of Marketing Report, 2019: Techlash is Here.”

Despite the rise of social media usage in China, both Chinese and American consumers have profound concerns about hacking and loss of privacy, what AMA says has led to “techlash.” The study examines marketing trends in the US and China as well as media use evolution, consumer perceptions of forthcoming marketing innovations and data privacy.

Marketers have plans to embrace the future of tech as six in 10 American firms and three-fourths of Chinese marketers surveyed said they’ll increase their use of methods such as employee influencers, ad personalization, micro-influencers, the Internet of Things (IoT), smart speakers, omnichannel marketing, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). 

The US and China have divided opinions about these new elements. Americans expressed support for methods that can be voluntarily used (VR, omnichannel and artificial intelligence assistants) while 60 percent or more of Chinese favor all the innovations except micro-influencers. Both groups have anxiety over privacy, identity theft, hackers and bots and worry that new technology will detract the human touch from shopping. 

Still, both marketers and consumers surveyed expect online marketing and omnichannel commerce to dominate the landscape a decade from now. The other most frequent expectation among consumers in China and the US is that shopping and purchasing will remain a mix of digital and brick-and-mortar.

Despite consumer anxiety surrounding privacy and new ad technologies, the study notes that marketers aren’t taking these concerns seriously enough. 

To prevent “techlash from worsening, companies must amplify brand trust and also have a plan to remedy challenges posed by the escalating economic nationalism is China and the US. Responding to consumer concerns also means offering them full transparency regarding their data and emphasizing choice regarding technology while specifying which ones they can choose to use.

The AMA conducted the online survey with over 500 consumers and 500 marketers in the US in January 2019, and in China in March 2019.