More articles by Richard L. Tso
Tech for Technophobes I: Even You Can Embrace Ad Tech
EDITOR’S NOTE: As science and technology play an increasingly important role in brand marketing, those who fear technology run the risk of falling behind. Recognizing this dilemma, a growing number of entrepreneurs are developing products and platforms designed to simplify many of the required processes, enabling those who aren’t technically inclined to stay in the game. In this two-part article, we look at what we consider to be among the best recent examples of that trend.
Unlike other professions, advertising is an industry that is constantly in flux – especially with the rise and popularity of new RTB buying and social technologies changing the entire media landscape. The marketing and advertising industries were amongst the hardest hit during the recent economic downturn, but opportunities have been increasing rapidly within the last several years due to constant innovation within the marketplace. The volatile market has forced advertisers to start doing things a little differently, and that has opened up new opportunities for startup ad tech companies and people with breakthrough ideas.
Marketers are quickly being replaced with data scientists and automated technologies as emerging ad tech continues to dominate the way brands capture, view and optimize campaign metrics and assess post-flight performance. Gone are the days of manually crunching data across several spreadsheets to optimize this traditionally tedious process because now, there is an app for that.
One company called Socialbakers is taking the pain out of social media monitoring and reporting for brands, providing a web-based multi-platform dashboard to easily measure, compare and maximize social media performance. Similar to competitors such as SimplyMeasured, Visible, Radian6/Salesforce, Lithium, and Sysmos Heartbeat, Socialbakers gives brand marketers the ability to measure social metrics like fan growth, engagement rates, social interactions and industry benchmarks, and even help identify key influencers in the space.
What sets Socialbakers apart is its proprietary video social reporting platform, which turns a brand’s data analytics into a YouTube video presentation complete with explanatory CG graphics and narration.
“Socialbakers’ offers a clean, easy-to-use platform for marketers and social media managers of all levels to pull data, produce reports and run analytics across all major social networking platforms,” said the company’s CEO, Jan Rezab. “Socialbakers’ analytics not only measure the performance of company profiles, but also offer competitive and industry benchmarking, which is quite unique in social media analytics. Socialbakers streamlines insights from all the top social channels, to ensure that just about anyone can effortlessly make the most of their social marketing and CRM efforts.
“Measuring the true impact of social media advertising is still in early stages, but it’s an area of focus for the industry,” Rezab continued. “Socialbakers’ robust platform and state of the art social media insights will soon offer the ability to measure the impact of social media ads, and help brands see which target audiences are being reached by their competition and identify key demographics. With the new tool, brands will be able to get a much more detailed understanding of the audience they’re paying to reach, in terms of what they like and want. This means that the audience will interact with the brand on a greater scale and will be more likely to buy the product.”
Another ad tech company to watch is Shiny Ads, based in Toronto, Canada. Shiny Ads provides an end-to-end programmatic guaranteed advertising platform for digital publishers to sell more premium inventory for increased revenues and profits. By automating the process for advertisers of all sizes, Shiny Ads allows the direct sales team to focus on more complex ad buys and close more deals. The initial application of this platform is the Shiny Ads Self-Serve product that will allow small advertisers to easily purchase ads on BusinessInsider.com and then manage their campaigns in real-time.
“At Business Insider, we want to be able to offer a variety of advertising solutions to fit many different advertising goals. We think Shiny Ads is a great way for small advertisers to get started advertising to our high-quality audience,” said Bridget Williams, SVP Business and Audience Development at Business Insider. “The Shiny Ads solution was easy to implement, the support team was great, and our direct sales team can now concentrate their efforts on more complex ad sales.”
Digital publishers use the Shiny Ads’ self-serve advertising platform to process direct ad buys from smaller premium ad buys to gain net-new revenue at a healthy profit margin.
“Our programmatic guaranteed platform automates the process of selling premium inventory to advertisers of all sizes,” said Roy Pereira, Founder and CEO of Shiny Ads. “Because this process has been done manually to date, there was a good opportunity to use technology to make it more efficient. Technology can and should to a lot of the grunt work so that people can do their jobs better and focus on the higher-value work.
Loving the alien
The key to keeping up with the times is embracing these new technologies. Just because you don’t instinctually gravitate towards picking up the latest tech gadget or social media app, doesn’t mean you can’t easily make the transition to learn how to use new tools that will further your business. Ultimately, these types of new platforms will simply accelerate the development of more immersive and engaging forms of advertising.
“The future of advertising tech will be driven by platforms which will combine easy-to-use ad management systems and real-time performance and market analytics,” said Rezab. “Ideally, these platforms will perform well across a wide variety of countries and regional markets, so global brands can work via a single, unified interface to engage with followers in their local markets and around the world.”
“Think back to the 1980s when ATMs first started being used,” added Pereira. “Tellers were apprehensive about this technology too, but we see today that ATMs prove a valuable service by automating standard banking transactions while the unique transactions or ones that need human interaction are handled by the tellers. A similar transition is happening to the ad tech market today, first with remnant inventory and now with premium. Standard transactions are being automated so that the ad sales team can focus on higher-end or custom transactions. However, the developers of these ad technologies need to understand the existing process to provide solutions that are easy to use. The ad sales teams should not have to adapt to the technology; that is backwards. These technologies should make them more productive so they can focus on what matters.”
The problem is there is no research, experiments, evidence, theories or proof that everything that is being counted predicts buying behavior. The little reearch we’ve seen says it doesn’t.
Lots of data about things that don’t work.
The ability for businesses to quickly and easily manage small to mid range ad campaigns directly is huge benefit that will reduce costs, improve quality & accuracy and ultimately make online advertising easily within reach of small business owners. High end/volume ad buys that require human interaction will also benefit, as sales reps will have more time to focus on big accounts and (hopefully) the surplus of time will result in superior customer care and quality. Soon, automated SAAS products like Shiny Ads will become the defacto gold standard in online advertising. It certainly has my attention – Kudos! – Mark
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