Have we lost sight of creativity in advertising?

 

As practitioners of a creative craft, what are we trying to accomplish?

As practitioners of a creative craft, what are we trying to accomplish?

Is the constant drumbeat from ad technology firms overshadowing the importance of creativity?

For those of us left in the advertising business, it seems that every message we receive has something to do with ad technology and its unlimited possibilities for making advertising more effective.

We, as agency creatives (if that is still even a relevant term), are overwhelmed with digital platforms. From programmatic media buying, to optimization, to first and third person data, it appears that ad technology has become the means to the end.

As practitioners of a creative craft, what are we trying to accomplish? Once, our primary job was to inform and entice people to purchase our client’s products and services. This usually required the talents of humans that could string together words, pictures, thoughts and emotions into a memorable experience executed across different mediums.

To accomplish this, a deep understanding of human psychology, communication and interaction was required, intertwined with a point of view. The message could be perceived as funny, clever, sarcastic, and informative, a hard sell, or any one of hundreds of different tones and styles of human communication.

Ad technology is nothing more than a delivery mechanism

Ad technology providers would lead you to believe that the message is secondary to the channel from which it is delivered.

With all the streaming bits and bytes of data swirling around our sensory receptors, it is no wonder that the “human” part of us has learned in a relatively short time to tune out internet advertising.

The reason for this is that the message has been compromised by the delivery mechanism.

The religion of ad technology practiced by the providers of ad networks, mobile apps, and behavioral retargeting wants us to believe that the scripture of analytics trumps creativity and with enough retargeting, our resistance will ebb and we will succumb to the purchase of a product we don’t want or need.

The reality is that we have already learned to block out such annoyances that appear on our screens as we read the opinion page of the New York Times or catch up the on final quarter of the game we slept through last night.

John Wanamaker in 1898 was correct that half of the money spent on advertising is wasted. The trouble is knowing which half. I’d make the case that this still holds true today, considering half of digital advertising cascading across the internet is never seen by a human being.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Do your customers suffer from “E-fluenza”?

The Precarious State of Advertising & Marketing

Why bother with branding?

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.
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Ad Technology: Programmatic Advertising

Many marketers have become proponents of programmatic advertising.

Many marketers have become proponents of programmatic advertising.

Welcome to the high-speed trading desk for automated digital advertising placement

Marketers spent more then $3.37 billion on programmatic advertising last year. eMarketer is estimating the programmatic advertising will top $9 billion by 2017. Research studies by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester indicated that only 23% of marketers said they used and understood programmatic advertising and that 26% indicated they understood the concept but needed to learn more about how to apply it to campaigns.

Kantar Media defines programmatic advertising as using technology to automate the buying and selling of digital advertising. “Programmatic” has different meanings to different people depending on which side — buyer or seller — of the transaction you are on.

The term is founded on an auction concept of buying and selling digital ad space inventory on ad exchanges and networks. Through this automated process, buyers bid for online ad impression through real-time auctions that occur in the time it takes for a webpage to load.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has identified 4 types of programmatic advertising transactions:

Automated guaranteed – refers to reserved inventory at a fixed price between one seller and one buyer. This can also be referred to as “Programmatic guaranteed.”

Unreserved fixed rate – unreserved inventory at a fixed price between one seller and one buyer. This is also known as “Preferred deals or Private access.”

Invitation-only auction – unreserved inventory available at auction prices between one seller and a few buyers. This is also referred to as “Private marketplace or Private auction.”

Open auction – unreserved inventory, available at auction prices between one seller and all buyers. This is referred to as “Real-Time Bidding (RTB) or Open exchange.”

These four types of transactions, based on two criteria, determine how the price is set and what type of inventory is transacted.

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The process of programmatic advertising

In its simplest form the process works like this: in the time it takes for an ad impression to load in a user’s web browser, information about the page it is on and the user viewing history is passed to an ad exchange, which auctions it off to the advertiser willing to pay the highest price. The winning bidder’s ad is then loaded into the web page.

Advertisers use demand side platforms (DSP) software to purchase advertising in an automated process. DSPs allow advertisers to purchase impressions across a wide range of publisher’s sites, but target specific users based on the geo-location and the users’ previous browsing behavior.

Publishers use supply side platforms (SSP) to connect their impression inventory to ad exchanges, DSPs, and ad networks all at once. This allows the publishers to offer their inventory to a large audience and achieve the highest rate possible for the ad impression.

If all of this reminds you of a stock exchange high-speed trading desk, you are correct, which is not surprising because most of these platforms are funded by venture capitalists, private equity firms, and publically traded advertising and media companies.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs)

People-to-people Marketing and “Small Data”

The challenges of “Big Data”

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Copyright: nmcandre / 123RF Stock Photo

Big brother and marketing ROI

Big brother is watching

Know where the line is between user privacy and data collection.

Digital ushered in the era of data collection.  For aviation marketers, digital offers big data and unlimited possibilities for ways to track advertising and marketing effectiveness. The “C” suite demanded accountability for marketing funds and data houses responded by monitoring and tracking click-throughs, websites visited, time on page, and time of day, basically offering a very specific connect-the-dots profile of our web usage. Cookies were placed on our machines without our permission and we naively accepted that corporations would do the right thing with our personal data. Big data houses claimed that did not track our names but tracked the IP addresses, as if there’s no correlation.

Unfortunately, it did not quite work out like we planned. Now we come to find out that data mining companies have been selling out web browsing habits to advertisers so they may offer up specific banner ads or offers based on our browsing profile, credit score, and brand preferences.

Web privacy groups lobbied for more transparency, and software providers responded with better and easier controls to track cookies that gathered our information. After all, it’s just one little pixel bobbing around in a sea of screens.

But now we’re discovering that the Federal Government also has an interest in our browsing habits, emails, phone calls, and everything else digital, and stores this content for connect-the-dots referencing. Should this surprise us? Of course not!

During all of the news coverage following this revelation the advertising community has been very quiet. In fact, it’s embarrassing that agency  holding companies, trade associations and digital advertising networks, have said almost nothing about data collection.

The advertising community probably has done more to promote behavioral targeting in the name of more effective advertising that any other group on the planet.

Which leads us to a very interesting internet privacy case of Harris vs. comScore’s  class action lawsuit. The suit centers on comScore’s practice of bundling its monitoring software into third party downloads such as free screen savers. The plaintiffs contend that comScore did not provide adequate notice that when the downloaded free third party software was installed, it also monitored the users’ email and browser habits and sent that information to comScore, which in turn sold it to advertisers.

You could look at this two ways; one being a fight for internet privacy, and the second  how comScore tried to monitor users’ internet habits and email without users’ consent.  Why is this a big deal? Because our personal data drives internet advertising. To put in a monetary context, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Internet Advertising revenues total $36.57 billion in 2012, a 15% increase over the previous year.

Now with mobile on the rise, geo-location tracking opens up even more real estate for internet privacy issues. Just think about the amount of information you are providing through apps and social networks every time you pick up your smart phone or tablet.

In conclusion, aviation marketers need to pay special attention to the privacy rights of their customers while balancing the perceived needs for more marketing ROI data.

Additional articles your may find of interest on this topic:

Determining Advertising Return On Investment (AROI) for Aviation Marketing

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Aviation Marketing: Measuring Digital Display Advertising ROI