In many ways, 2015 is the year we have been anticipating. Newer concepts that have grabbed our attention and our piloting budgets will become standard operating procedure. Metrics that measure more meaningful aspects of our performance will become more standard. From where my team sits, we see several critical shifts.
Pronounced Shift Toward a Cross-Device Landscape
There is no longer a linear purchase path. The new reality is a path to purchase full of zigs and zags. Attention is spread across multiple devices, each of which present unique opportunities and challenges, depending upon how well you understand consumer behavior.
In 2015, mobile, deterministic cross-device data, and various probabilistic techniques will bridge the gap left by the retreating cookie, and marketers will have the benefit of accessing location, time, content, and device ID when targeting their campaigns. Marketers will feel increasingly comfortable marketing across devices.
Mobile data also presents new creative targeting capabilities that the cookie doesn’t have, including geo- or hyper-local targeting based on an event trigger. Consider the example of a sporting event, addressed via day parting or a scenario in which a marketer combines multiple data sources to execute at a new level of precision. They may for example, layer in POLK data to deliver an ad to the nearest dealership within a vehicle’s high-interest area; and model new audience segments. We will see more of this aggressive data approach in 2015, as marketers unlock the cross-screen arsenal.
Of course, in this new reality, marketers must assess the overwhelming amount of data created by the mobile consumer and use what matters. As the year marches on, we will gain a clearer picture of how all the different marketing channels are contributing to successful KPIs, enabling smarter budgeting decisions and higher performance.
Viewability Leads the Pack in Metrics
It’s on. The click has finally met its match, as new metrics such as engagement rate, ad time spent in view, and others become more readily available.
In 2015, campaign-quality metric measurement such as viewability/fraud/on-target delivery will become industry standard. Advertisers and agencies will no longer accept plans that don’t optimize toward or take into account these now-essential campaign metrics. The industry as a whole will align around this standard, and based on the buzz in 2014, it’s already started.
Viewability is really about having an effect on the viewer by driving better engagement and conversion rates. We predict that viewability adoption will create a rising tide across the industry. As publishers create cleaner sites and put a larger percentage of their ads in view, CPMs will rise. In fact, CTRs will likely increase as well, showing that viewability may supplant the click as the dominant metric.
Widespread Programmatic Adoption that Influences Team Structures
Programmatic media spend will hit $9.8 billion in the U.S. this year, according to Magna Global<http://news.magnaglobal.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1578>, proof that major brands and agencies are finally embracing the new landscape and infrastructure.
Over the course of a couple years, programmatic is no longer a new concept. Yet time and time again, we see that many organizations have isolated their programmatic team, confining them to a silo where they can’t interact with other departments and disciplines, not even the marketing team. It’s been perceived as a stand-alone specialty rather than the integral piece it has become.
For brands to succeed in programmatic, they need to pull their programmatic team into larger campaign planning conversations, using those insights and expertise to plot the entire digital and sometimes traditional strategies. To do that, they need to get their programmatic experts off the proverbial island. This year, they will.
As brands trend towards tighter control of their programmatic spend, their agency partners will focus on the more high-level and intensive creative executions, such as takeovers, sponsorships roadblocks and other kinds of high-impact ads. Programmatic will be the meat and potatoes of the digital plan, and the agency can showcase its expertise on the creative side and on the other pieces of media spending that will complete the plan, especially with the agency-level resources, teams and knowledge at hand. In-house programmatic teams certainly will not completely replace agencies. It’s simply a matter of having the ability to make decisions in-house. This is about making the entire company smarter on an emerging marketing practice and technology. The programmatic experts just need to be part of the larger conversations.
As newer concepts take hold and become reality, and metrics that matter make their way into our collective mindset—2015 promises to be year that makes the industry as a whole, a lot more innovative and stronger for marketers.