With #SeeHer, Meredith Corp. Looks To Data For Equality And Accountability

The integration and utilization of data is a key discussion throughout the marketing community, mainly with the aim of resonating with consumers. But that data can also be used to affect social change at scale.

With the aims of using that data and technology for good, The Association of National Advertiser’s #SeeHer initiative has created the Gender Equality Measure, or GEM, that will call-out unconscious bias in ads and media.

While 75 companies representing $50 billion in marketing spend have signed on to support #SeeHer, the Meredith Corporation is having their brands reviewed by the methodology to become GEM certified and plans to “put its vast resources and brand power behind the #SeeHer movement” and will “promote the partnership across all platforms.”

Meredith Corporation expects this partnership to kick off in December and to expand in scope in 2019. For a media company whose reach extends to 100 million consumers, this will put pressure on the media industry at large to follow suit in being more conscious of representation.

“Women influence or make 85 percent of all purchase decisions. As a company that connects and engages with 110 million American women, coming alongside #SeeHer is the right thing to do socially and for the bottom line,” said Alysia Borsa, chief marketing and data officer, Meredith Corporation in a press release.

#SeeHer launched in 2016 with the goal of improving representation of women throughout media by 2020.

This is not the first time data is being utilized to understand gender representation in media and advertising. Actor Geena Davis, who is a member of the advisory board for #SeeHer, has long championed the cause under her organization The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Last year, research compiled from the Institute’s Inclusion Quotient tool had revealed that twice as many men as women appeared in TV ads, enjoyed four times as much screen time, and had three times as much dialogue—a significant gap in gender representation.

Jägermeister Reveals Halloween Fortunes With AR Tarot Cards

Jägermeister is using augmented reality to celebrate Halloween this year with virtual tarot cards on Snapchat. “Divine the Darke” invites users to unlock AR tarot cards and flip them over to reveal their “cocktail fate.”

Special Jägermeister Snapcodes have been placed in bars and stores this holiday that when scanned, temporarily unlock a tarot card experience. An augmented reality tarot deck will be displayed inside the user’s camera with themes like “The Stag,” “The Ritual,” “The Hunter” and “The Mirror.”

Flipping the card over reveals a glimpse into the future in the style of an alcoholic fortune cookie with statements like, “Trust in your instinct and follow your gut.” Each card also recommends a method for consuming Jägermeister, such as a chilled shot or in a cocktail.

Each AR experience is unlocked for one hour before the code can be scanned again. Doing so allows users to view new cards, fortunes and drink suggestions.

Halloween is one of the biggest holidays for Jägermeister, which reports a 34 percent sales lift during this period. Last year in the UK, the hunter-themed drink launched a Saxon horror-story themed campaign across its social channels. Characters called “The Cursed Four” were featured in a series of videos online and recreated in the form of limited-edition miniatures.

In the US last year, Jägermeister launched print-out origami masks that looked like a skull, bat or stag—the latter being a nod to its mascot.

This isn’t the first time alcoholic brands have employed augmented reality to engage consumers of legal drinking age. Earlier this year, Skybound Entertainment released a special Walking Dead wine featuring AR labels that animated when viewed inside an app. The practice of AR labels has increased in popularity for beer and wine brands, especially those viewed through an app like Treasury Wine Estate or Living Wine Labels.

Jägermeister, amid increased competition from other flavored shot brands, recently partnered with the NHL to become the hockey league’s official shot. The brand sold 1.66 million cases in the US last year, according to Impact Databank.

The State Of Advertising In 12 Charts

Without a doubt there have been some major recent shifts in advertising. This year, the industry has encountered growth in expenditure, an emphasis in the mobile medium and a focus on devoted customers.

Here is a look at 12 charts reflecting the current state of advertising.

Global Look At Advertising

At the start of 2018, WARC, a marketing intelligence service, predicted a global growth of 4.7 percent in advertising expenditure for the year—a total of $572 billion. The company concentrates on the spending of 96 markets. The rise is pushed by major events like the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup and the US mid-term elections.

WARC also attributes the global spending increase to the reduced dollar volatility in emerging marketing. Lower volatility means that a security’s (stock, bonds, money market) value does not fluctuate dramatically, and tends to be steadier.

It was estimated North America would see a five percent growth and Asia-Pacific a six percent increase in spending. On the opposite end, The Middle East and Africa will continue to decline its ad spend at -4.1 percent, however at a slower pace than past years.

Overall, it’s an increase in ad spend compared to 2017 when the global growth only rose three percent.

Zenith Media had a similar 2018 advertising expenditure forecast. They predicted a 4.6 percent growth reaching $579 billion. However compared to the nominal GDP, ad spending will not evolve as quickly.

The United States holds the number one spot for top ten advertising markets spending $197 million in 2017 and an estimated increase to $217 million by 2020. Between 2017 and 2020 it’s predicted it will stay quite stable.

The major switch will be Australia bumping France down to take eighth place, and Indonesia will oust Canada to take tenth.

Yet, when examining the various regional blocs, Eastern and Central Asia will have the largest forecast growth of 8.8 percent from 2017-2020. It’s a big turn considering it was the area most affected by the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Mobile Ad Takeover

Unsurprisingly, the medium with the biggest ad spend increase is internet advertising (desktop and mobile). By 2020, global advertising expenditure for mobile ads will increase to 29.3 percent.

Like any business, it’s typically all about revenue. The Nielsen Company estimates that total media revenues for 2017 decreased three percent from 2016, but digital ad revenue grew 21 percent. Mobile ad revenue rose 36 percent earning $49 billion in 2017.

Until this year, television was the leading advertising medium. The rapid growth of paid search is one of the culprits to its decline in popularity.

Print ads don’t have a bright future. The medium is losing its market share and continues to decline at an average rate of five percent and six percent a year.

In two years, its expected magazines will only have around a 3.8 percent market share.

Amazon Will Not Only Be The Ecommerce King

It seems like 2018 will be the year Google and Facebook’s share of the U.S. digital ad market will decline. It’ll be a first for these giants. According to eMarketer, the percentage of digital ad spending on these two companies will slowly dip even though their revenue is still growing.

The companies are just not keeping up with the digital ad environment and Amazon appears to be getting stronger with ad revenues expected to climb 63.5 percent exceeding two million dollars.

The report estimates Google’s share will decline to 37.2 percent from 38.6 percent in 2017, and Facebook’s will dip from 19.9 percent to 19.6 percent.

Ad Blocker Challenge

Many consumers will avoid ads at all costs and more internet users—about 30.1 percent—will block them in 2018, up from 27.5 percent last year. It means advertisers and publishers need to find creative ways to target their audience.

So what steps are they taking?

One method is publishers have set up a way to detect whether a visitor has an ad blocker enabled. Next, they deliver a message to those users to persuade them to either completely turn off their ad blocker or at least whitelist (a list of acceptable sites) that publisher.

You’ve probably seen these messages. They usually try to compromise with consumers to make them understand the ads are how publishers pay bills.

Research suggests most people simply go elsewhere when faced with the barriers. In 2016, PageFair—an anti-ad-blocking provider—reported that 74 percent of US ad blocking users polled leave websites when encountering an ad block wall.

Loyal Customers, Marketing Analytics, Seize Budget Lead

In a survey conducted by Gartner, it was discovered chief marketing officers are “playing it safe” by putting most of their budget (63 percent) on customer retention and growth instead of giving that money to acquiring new ones (27 percent).

It requires more capital to earn a new customer, but a company should still aim towards profitability.

This shift coincides with how the budget has been restructured.

Marketing analytics takes priority—out of 13 marketing capabilities—in marketing expense budgets. In 2017, 9.2 percent was allocated, resulting in a jump from its number four spot the year prior. The chart also reinforces the importance of web, 8.8 percent of the budget, and digital ads, 8.6 percent.

This turn comes as leaders must make the most out of existing programs and refocus on ROI by centering efforts on the right customers.

However, it’s not all about loyal customers and being stagnant when it comes to new ideas and risk-taking.

The survey discovered marketing innovation secured 10 percent of capital from the total marketing expense budget. Additionally, 23 percent of CMOs have a fixed annual innovation budget.

Companies don’t want to fall behind and usually innovation programs are handled by internal organization concerns.

Wayfair Broadens Strategy With Pop-Ups, Membership and Tech

Wayfair has expanded its marketing efforts with three new strategies—membership, physical retail and mixed reality. According to the direct-to-consumer furnishings brand, these activations are meant to deepen engagement with customers beyond its online presence.

Unveiled this week, MyWay is Wayfair’s answer to Amazon Prime—offering benefits to its subscribers and offering personalized shopping recommendations. For $29.99 per year, MyWay members receive free shipping that includes one-day delivery, 25 percent off in-home services like installation and hand-picked perks and promotions.

“With the introduction of MyWay, we are inviting customers to enjoy an elevated level of service and value while offering yet another reason to make Wayfair their go-to destination for everything home,” said Wayfair’s chief product and marketing officer Ed Macri in a press release.

Considering the fact that around 65 percent of Wayfair sales originate from existing customers, it’s a good idea to make them feel special.

A 2017 study conducted by Forrester Research found that 59 percent of US online adults who belong to customer loyalty programs say that getting special offers or treatment that isn’t available to other customers is important to them. Forrester also learned that loyalty members spend more on average than non-members.

While brick-and-mortar retailers look for ways to sell direct, digital native brands like Wayfair are launching physical locations.

For the first time, Wayfair is launching a physical showroom just in time for the holiday shopping season. Two pop-up retail locations, open from November 1 to January 2, will be installed—one in Massachusetts and the other in New Jersey.

Notably, it’s a good year for Wayfair to test its physical retail presence. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday retail sales in November and December will reach $721 billion in the US. Also, furniture and home furnishing store sales increased 1.5 YoY for the month of September.

In addition to attracting new customers and letting existing ones sample products first-hand, Wayfair is using the opportunity to show off its customer service and technology at these pop-up locations. A How-To station will offer custom furniture design and access to the brand’s website. Both customer service and home design experts will be present in the stores to answer questions, while walking guests through Wayfair’s e-design platform.

Speaking of design, Wayfair also has continued its AR strategy with a mixed reality app called Wayfair Spaces for Magic Leap One. The experience presents a selection of three-dimensional rooms that consumers can explore from a bird’s eye view. Users can then drag individual items outside of the 3D rooms, where they transform into life-size products that anchor to the floor in augmented reality. Product information, prices and reviews can then be displayed by interacting with virtual items.

Balancing CRM Tech With Human Engagement Remains A Challenge, Marketers Say

Automation may be the way of the CRM future, but marketers—and consumers—still value human interaction. Maintaining a balance between the two in a digital world is proving difficult, a new study found, as marketers struggle to use tools efficiently.

Scaling Human Interaction in Customer Experiences” is a study conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services and sponsored by live marketing experience provider ON24. A total of 282 readers of HBR completed a survey in November that explores the relationship between automated CRM and in-person customer service.

Maintaining a human element in a customer experience is highly valued by marketers, with 80 percent claiming that this approach gives their organization a distinct competitive edge. As brands invest in data and technology to keep up with consumer demands, however, 60 percent of marketers surveyed admitted that it’s difficult to replicate face-to-face experiences with customers by using digital technologies.

While 58 percent of respondents named CRM as one of the top three technology investments for their organizations, only 36 percent report significant returns. Similarly, social media monitoring and communication management topped the list in terms of investment but only 27 percent reported any significant ROI.

It’s not that technology ruins the customer experience, but you have to know what you’re going for, suggests Christine Jacobs Pribilski, vice president of worldwide marketing for IBM Cloud in the report.

“Often companies tend to buy point solutions or tools in the absence of an overall customer experience strategy,” said Pribilski. “That can potentially limit the impact on the ROI that a company sees.”

About half of respondents say their organizations are trying to create personalized experiences but are still struggling. The top reasons for this include siloed organizational structure, a lack of interoperability between technology systems and a lack of resources.

It’s not surprising that CRM technology providers have conducted many surveys like this one that illustrates a need for brands to seek help for reaching customers. When it comes to a desire for human interaction, however, the customers have spoken. A recent report by Invoca found that around half of consumers across generations would rather speak to a human being than an automated system, especially when it comes to making stressful purchase decisions.

Standard Media Index Makes Deal With Nielsen To Extend TV Data Offerings

Standard Media Index (SMI) has joined forces with Nielsen to provide additional insight into the national television market. The new business relationship will increase SMI’s network reach by nearly two-thirds, combining Nielsen’s TV ratings and occurrence data with SMI’s cost analysis.

James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index told AList that the two companies have been in talks for a few years now and that Nielsen’s data is simply “more accurate.”

“We’ve always believed that the ability to cooperate between our organizations holds great potential for major television networks, agencies and for brands,” said Fennessy in an interview. “It allows us to look at different kinds of TV in terms of syndication and it allows us to look at some of the new and emerging ad formats that Nielsen is uniquely qualified to pick up.”

SMI is able to provide accurate cost data around TV marketing because it sources the information from five out of the seven major media holding groups, as well as several independents. Beginning on October 23, SMI will have access to Nielsen AD Intel that measures occurrence level data, increasing the firm’s reach to 130 channels.

The data relationship between SMI and Nielsen is an answer to the current TV advertising market, Fennessy explained, where digital raises many questions.

“We see major networks building advanced data products,” he said. “Clearly what they’re looking to do is bring in datasets—ratings, advanced audiences, etc. Those models are being used to target brands and advertisers and to prove return on investment. That has always been quite difficult to do in national television.”

Advertising on national TV works, Fennessy observed, adding that the high cost is a trade-off for large engaged audiences, a safe brand environment and quality programming. Ironically, he said, digital networks like Amazon and Google have tapped out their own reach and are now using traditional TV to advertise.

“It talks to the power of the medium,” he said.

SMI’s data relationship with Neilsen is part of an ongoing effort to work on data partnerships and combine different datasets. Fennessy told AList that SMI will continue to improve TV measurement across digital and traditional channels and that the company will release a new syndication tool in early 2019.

Consumers Welcome AI But Still Want Emotional Support, Study Says

Implementing AI like chatbots has allowed brands to meet the impulsive needs of today’s young consumers. A new report by Invoca found that while these consumers find chatbots less frustrating than human interaction, a strong emotional quotient (EQ) is still needed, especially during stressful purchase decisions.

Emotions Win: What Customers Expect in the Age of AI” compiles responses from 1,000 US adults to examine the importance of EQ on customer experience.

Nearly all respondents (90 percent) named problem-solving as an important or very important characteristic of brand interactions. Having an even temper and empathy were also valued at 84 and 77 percent, respectively.

That being said, 80 percent of all respondents said that in-person human representatives provide the best EQ, compared to chatbots at 22 percent. Consumers under the age of 35 have stronger faith in the future of AI emotions, with a little more than half believing AI will gain EQ within the next five years.

Expectations that a brand should provide personal service increase with age, the study found, with 64 percent of Gen Z respondents believing this, compared to 86 percent of those aged 65+. Personal service doesn’t necessarily mean interacting with a human being, however. Around half of every age group preferred to interact with a machine over a person. In addition, only 43 percent of consumers under the age of 35 said they would find AI experiences less frustrating.

Women are more hesitant to hand their emotional decisions over to a machine, with 65 percent believing AI would make experiences less personal compared to 56 percent of men.

“While AI plays an important role in the customer journey, consumers don’t want AI to replace human interactions—they want human connection,” said Julia Stead, VP of marketing at Invoca in the report. “The future should involve a combination of automation, AI, and humans working together to deliver emotionally intelligent customer experiences.”

When asked about the EQ of specific industries, respondents named “travel” as the best in terms of efficient interaction and personalization, but lowest in terms of empathy and having an even temper. This may have a correlation between emotions and travel decisions. A little over half—53 percent—said that travel purchases are somewhat or extremely stressful.

Healthcare companies meet consumers’ emotional needs most of the time, respondents claim, especially during in-person interactions. In fact, all industries named in the study—healthcare, home services, finance, insurance, telecoms and travel—scored better with in-person than chat.

The study confirms what many brands already know—that Gen Z and millennials often prefer automated services to human interaction. Invoca points out that young consumers aren’t necessarily opposed to speaking on the phone, but may be unsatisfied with the experience when they do.

“There’s a huge opportunity for all brands to deliver not only the right information over the phone but also the appropriate level of empathy,” wrote Julia Seed, vice president of marketing at Invoca.

Advertising Week: Anheuser Busch InBev Shares Its Blockchain Experience

During Advertising Week New York, blockchain was one of many hot topics that attracted marketers to panels. One panel called “Blockchain and Advertising: How the Revolution Begins” featured Anheuser Busch InBev speaking about a recent campaign and its results.

Anheuser Busch InBev director of programmatic marketing, Laurel Van Tassel told the audience that the brand has taken a recent interest in blockchain, “dipping its toe” into the tech waters with a campaign that ran this summer.

Partnering with Kiip, a blockchain platform known for its rewarded ads inside mobile games, Van Tassel and her team launched a series of personalized ads that were triggered during key moments throughout a consumer’s time on mobile such as interacting with a particular kind of app.

Moment-based targeting, Van Tassel explained, can be broken out into different buckets.

When someone had a fitness moment, they were served an ad from Michelob Ultra. Bud Light ads were served to mobile users on social and sports, while Budweiser catered to both sports and food. Stella Artois targeted those exploring cultural content on their phones such as art, while Ritas was designed to tap into moments of music and activity on the weekend. Finally, Estrella Jalisco ads were timed with food and music activity.

The campaign resulted in 78 percent visibility—in terms of 50 percent of the ad visible—which exceeded all benchmarks. In addition, measurement was very close to existing DSPs like Adobe.

To gauge the success of the campaign, Anheuser Busch InBev compared measurement with other DSPs like Adobe. Blockchain also helped save ad dollars, as writing the ledger only cost two percent of the budget.

“I see blockchain as a place for more transparency,” said Van Tassel. “It might actually increase the  workload initially [as we’re figuring things out] but I think it will create a robust environment where everyone can see what’s going on in terms of media buys.”

Advertising Week: Adtech and Martech Are Coming Together At Last

Merging adtech and martech is a hot topic at Advertising Week New York 2018 as brands hope to eliminate silos and find a way to streamline the process. During a panel called “Adtech Meets Martech,” Nielsen, Microsoft and Outfront Media shared their hopes and concerns for an industry with plenty of data but not enough intercommunication.

CX begins at the first step of the customer journey, which is gained through adtech. Martech, on the other hand, covers retention through analytics and communication tools. The panel cited a statistic in which marketers use an average of 13 different systems to communicate with customers. Needless to say, marketers are looking for a way to consolidate data for better results.

The biggest hurdle marketers face in this task is siloed information, according to the Neilsen’s EVP Damian Garbaccio.

“We’re trying to say that it isn’t one or the other anymore,” said Garbaccio. “The silo is still an after effect of education in the organizations that use them—not coming together to use them properly. That takes time, but I do believe that’s coming together faster than it did say, two or three years ago.”

Chandra Stevens, Microsoft’s global director of cross-industry marketing solutions, added that silos occur because of a fear associated with the cost of bringing adtech and martech together. Doing so would solve a lot of personalization problems, however. Stevens added that with around 6,800 niche marketing technologies out there, her priority becomes scaling everything down to finding the right vendors for the right solutions. More companies, she noticed, are putting the consumer at the center of these efforts.

If adtech and martech do come together in harmony, the panelists imagined, marketers will be able to better understand customers on every step of the journey.

“A lot of folks in the media world have to bring their technologies up to par with where Google, Facebook and others are so we can start to compare media across a level playing field,” said Andy Sriubas, chief commercial officer of Outfront Media. “Then toolsets can be made that allow us to see across all those different value chains.”

As brand giants like Procter and Gamble demand more transparency, the need for adtech and martech convergence will become more urgent. If these two elements are brought together, everyone benefits, said Garbaccio. Today’s brands want to be more informed and are taking more services in-house to gain more control.

“Ultimately,” he said, “[bringing adtech and martech together] will lead to relevant advertising.”

It all comes down to customer experience and curating that will become easier when marketers are able to streamline their data resources.

“When the data sets allow us to bring the customer journey and the customer’s physical location journey, I think we’ll be able to bring a much bigger value chain down to a certain number of players and consolidation will help,” said Sriubas.