Why Advertisers Need to Start Paying More Attention to TikTok

Exposure to targeted advertising is the norm on the social media platforms that kids, teenagers, and young adults use every day. Popular platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter structure their user experience around personalization. Customized content is fed to the individual with every use — and advertisements are no exception in thanks to programmatic. But one app in particular is getting significant attention as it is beginning to explore programmatic advertising implementation. TikTok is a social media app built on curated content – even more so than those previously mentioned – so it only seems fitting that their advertising should begin to do the same. Currently, TikTok only offers direct IO buys to advertisers, but is working on a biddable advertising options, projected to launch this summer. With more advanced targeting methods available, this sparks a great opportunity for advertisers to utilize an extremely popular platform and reach new audiences. 

So, What Exactly is TikTok? 
TikTok, a social platform, was created in August 2018 when the Chinese company, ByteDance, bought Musical.ly and transferred its user accounts to TikTok. Prior to the app transfer, the platform was extremely popular and with the implementation of celebrity endorsements and paid partnerships, it has continued to grow – now being one of the most downloaded apps. Currently, the app is projected to have over 500 million monthly active users, mostly in the United States, China and other Asian countries.
TikTok users upload short form (under 15 seconds) videos to their profiles with added music or visual effects. Users can then track the popularity of their videos, similar to other platforms, with likes and comments, interact with other users and explore other users, trends or hashtags. The videos can be uploaded with hashtags to follow trends – anything from a running joke to a dance or lip-sync challenge, allowing users to hone in on their creativity and make widespread trends their own. 
These videos are shareable in nature, which is why TikTok videos are already filling our other social media feeds, making them universally known. Gen Z, it’s most popular demographic, has embraced this app as a place to explore humor and create light-hearted content. The app is a refreshing break from the mainstream social media platforms; apps such as Instagram and Facebook are centered around gaining social status rather than creating content that is actually new and unique, resulting in content that inevitably begins to look the same. TikTok completely strays from the social norm as it allows young people to feel comfortable creating offbeat content they truly find entertaining. 

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?
The addition of biddable advertising to a platform like TikTok offers great opportunities for marketers. It has been over five year, since Vine launched in 2013 after being acquired by Twitter, that a new social media platform has gained such traction and been able to break through the mundanity of what people are accustomed to scrolling through. 
TikTok doesn’t currently have a widely available ad solution, so implementing programmatic will make a strong impact where users aren’t used to seeing advertisements. The app will use in-feed video ads, brand takeover ads and banner ads that will inspire users to participate in brand-designed video challenges. The app will also offer branded lenses that a user may select to use in their own videos.
TikTok is distinguishable as a place where a young demographic can be reached in an environment where they are comfortable. The app is an outlet for carefree humor. Advertisers can create native content in a way that is natural and non-invasive through matching the app’s original, unique energy. Implementing TikTok into your advertising plan will also allow brands to reach a multinational audience, as the app is also widely used in other countries. The advertising expansion of TikTok is a distinguished way to reach new demographics naturally in an environment that is new and fresh.
Interested in learning more about incorporating social media advertising into your media plan? Reach out to learn how we can help here

Women’s Sports Fans: Understanding A Surging Audience

A new approach to understanding, reaching, and resonating with sports fans is overdue. Across the world, a new consumer segment of sports fans is surging: women’s sports fans. It should come as no surprise that people are catching on to the entertaining and exciting world that is women’s sports – take the US Women’s Soccer team’s huge 13-0 win over Thailand in the first round of the 2019 World Cup. Even though fans are now tuning into more and more women’s sports, simply put, many brands and advertisers have yet to adjust to the unprecedented pace of change that our culture has placed on sports.
With nearly two-thirds of the population saying they have interest in at least one women’s sport, what do marketers need to know about this growing audience? This infographic dives into women’s sports fans, profiling the attributes they share, and key recommendations for marketers looking to reach them.

The lifestyle of Women’s Sports Fans
People that enjoy watching female athletes compete at the highest level have similar attributes when it comes to the manner in which they live their life. Overall they are interested in the following:

  • Green or Eco-friendly living
  • Actively helping and donating to Charitable organizations
  • Health & Wellness

The work life of Women’s Sports Fans
Overall, women’s sports fans are established in their careers, working administrative or management jobs in a variety of industries. The most common jobs for fans of female sports to have are:

  • Administration
  • General Management
  • Product Development
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology

The interests of Women’s Sports Fans
Obviously these sports fans aren’t going to spend their entire day watching sports, so what do they also enjoy doing? These sports fans have diverse interests including:

  • Handicraft/DIY
  • Photography
  • Food & Wine
  • Home Reco

Recommendations for Marketers
With major sporting events like the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the French Open and growing interest in professional sports leagues like the WNBA, advertisers and marketers have a great opportunity to hone in on these audiences, understand who they are and their interests. These sports fans are complex individuals with unique interests, but advertisers can use this to their advantage. Using multi-device programmatic advertising, advertisers can reach fans first-and-foremost while they’re watching the game, but also through an omni-channel experience. After analyzing these audiences, our team has come up with a few ways to target and interact with these passionate women’s sports fans:

  • Utilize Cross-Device Display: Nearly 93% of women’s sports watchers say they reach for another device while they tune in to watch TV, most popularly their phone. If these fans aren’t using their phone to message their friends, they are using social media (54%), checking emails (48%) or searching for products to buy (36%). All of these actions offer great opportunities for marketers – if it isn’t in the budget to pay for a TV spot, if you’re aware of a game or tournament going on, you can target these fans via mobile of desktop.
  • Incorporate App Ownership: As previously stated, because people watching these games are also invested in their phone, there is a great opportunity to target based on app ownership data. Knowing the interests of these audiences, you can target them based on downloaded apps beyond sports – but photography, DIY, food & wine and their other many interests to further drive interactions.

Interested in learning more about targeting this growing women’s sports fan audience – or other specific audiences that your brand is looking to reach? Learn how you can leverage programmatic in your brand’s marketing plan with Digilant. Reach out to us for more information here.

This infographic is based on the findings of a study conducted by Digilant. To conduct this study, Digilant combined Consumer Persona, a proprietary insight, and predictive modeling technology, with third-party consumer data to uncover the unique attributes shared by women’s sports fans. Data was collected in June 2019.

Changing their Game: Digitally Native Brands are Utilizing Offline Marketing

Brands born on the internet are starting to head out into the sunlight. Digital native companies like Glossier, Casper, and Outdoor Voices, are clamoring for more exposure in undiscovered places. They’re gaining traction and entering new phases of growth. As they transform industries, they transform how and why people shop. And this isn’t just happening on social media: it’s happening in real life, across traditional marketing platforms. From direct mail to TV ads to brick and mortar storefronts, those ‘online only’ sites are beginning to hit backspace on their claims. The digitally native brands you know and love are now becoming omnichannel sellers — and the success they’re finding is making them top competitors online and offline.
What is a Digitally Native Brand?
These digital brands are all the rave across Facebook, Instagram, and everything in between. They’re revolutionizing old industries, (think health, home, and beauty,) clad in sleek, consumer-focused brand identities that beg for attention. They’re the foundation of the D2C, or direct-to-consumer, landscape where transactions are made digitally between buyers and businesses. Retailers have been replaced by websites where ease is a top priority. Consumers know what to expect and businesses are able to gather useful information about these target audiences for future usage. Stock overhead is limited, first-party data is accessed, hyper-targeted marketing and programmatic becomes possible; D2C, put plainly, has completely changed the face of buying behavior. These brands are disruptors that charge ahead with data and confidence in hand. And as more entrepreneurs with small business enter the digital space, (who can blame them – the benefits at hand are promising,) more original D2C brands are searching elsewhere for exposure. For many, that exposure exists beyond the realm of HTML codes and Shopify. It’s outside – where face to face interactions thrive and brand stories come to life.

What’s Next for D2C? Why Traditional Marketing?
Allbirds, Harry’s, Bombas; think of a successful D2C brand and these are just a few that come to mind. They are digitally oriented companies with boatloads of data that can be used across platforms. But can these platforms be offline? And if so, how? Where? Because more D2C brands are being forged, more D2C natives are finding it difficult to become discoverable across search engines. Which is why television and retail – yes, the industries these brands sought to challenge in the first place – are having a resurgence. It’s a goodbye to saturation and a promising hello to traditional marketing. So dust off your TVs and take a walk downtown, because those brands you’ve been seeing online just might be making a physical stop near you sometime soon:

  • Why Television?: TV is still the most popular entertainment medium in the US. Even though phones and laptops are slowly becoming our best friends, that TV in the corner of your room is worth something to other consumers and marketers across industries. Unlike YouTube, the option to skip ads isn’t possible, (unless you choose to switch back and forth between channels) and the lengthiness of videos is compelling. Instead of delivering information quickly on the spot, a TV ad makes it possible to craft a campaign beyond the product itself. A story can be told outside of an image or a 15-30 second spot with the power of sight and sound. And if something is deemed relatable, entertaining, or emotional, a consumer will listen and remember the brand’s message. TV ads also provide clarity while defining reputability. It’s a medium traditionally reserved for big name brands with history and large consumer followings. So if a D2C brand makes it on TV, they’re automatically viewed as leaders in their industries. Online, that’s been difficult to establish. But with TV, (for the time being,) it’s a different story.
  • And Retail?: The empty storefronts downtown are being taken over by event spaces and pop-up shops. Digitally native brands are dominating the web, but consumers are still living day-to-day in the physical space. They like to shop, learn more, explore new brands, get immersed by the companies they trust. To meet targets, (new and old) and show off products, D2C companies are pursuing retail. Physical spaces are becoming showrooms for websites where events can be held and products can be purchased in-real-time. Shipping fees are gone and questions are answered on the spot. It’s another way to meet and teach others, all while establishing a positive brand identity. And if consumers don’t buy right then and there in store, maybe their positive experience will incentivize them to buy online. It’s a touchpoint that is growing in popularity; giving a more enhanced view of brands and their unique personalities.

TV advertising and pop-up shops are only the beginning. The data points these brands have earned online can be used in these outlets to create more transformative experiences. By doing so, D2C brands can expect higher conversions and greater profits just by stepping outside. Because it’s no longer just about being digital — it’s about using what was obtained from digital to make even greater impact offline.

A Programmatic Marketer’s Guide to Navigating Chrome’s Blocking of 3rd Party Cookies

At Google’s I/O event earlier this month, it was announced that multiple privacy updates will be rolling out to Chrome users over the course of 2019. The following is a guide about what is being updated to better prepare marketers, media planners, and advertisers for what lies ahead in the digital advertising space.
What’s Being Blocked and Why?
To protect privacy and give consumers the power to choose how and why they are being marketed to online, Google Chrome is updating the following processes:

  • Third-Party Cookie Collection: A major part of this new privacy initiative is the blocking of third-party cookies on the Chrome browser. Before delving more into this policy, let’s look back at what cookies are and what purpose they serve.

First-party cookies are generated when a consumer visits a website for the first time. They store the basic settings and preferences of a user, including their log-in information and shopping cart items. The site remembers this information, thereby improving the consumer’s experience with the site over time. Third party cookies, on the other hand, are the strings of code hosted by an advertiser’s server that record a consumer’s journey across the web. It is this data that advertisers use to display highly-targeted ads to users across digital platforms.
As mentioned in Google’s announcement, the third-party collection process on Chrome is being revamped. The browser will make it simpler for users to block or clear their third-party cookies that have amassed over time without disrupting their first-party cookies. To make this possible, Chrome is requiring websites to formally mark their data as first-party or third-party. Consumers will then be able to see what data is being used to target the ads they see and they’ll be able to keep or remove whatever third-party cookies they prefer.

  • Fingerprinting: Browser fingerprinting is completed when the information used to display a page correctly, (think language preference, IP address, operating system, etc.) is manipulated to uniquely identify a user on the web. Under Google’s new policies, fingerprinting is restrained and will be blocked by default – unlike cookie blocking, which will be opt-in by users.

How Does This Affect Advertisers?
This move – along with the many web-based changes that are being made in GDPR’s shadow – means less data for agencies and advertisers to work with. Third-party data was once used to target ads to consumers at every stage of the shopping journey. If a consumer chooses to remove third-party cookies on Chrome, this no longer becomes a direct possibility. As a result, walled gardens such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, (where first-party data thrives,) gain more control over the advertising process. Campaign optimization also becomes difficult and highly relevant ads are unable to be served in straightforward ways, making it difficult for marketers to determine if targeted ads are leading to sales. When it comes to digital advertising, brands need to find new ways to reach people in the right places, all while following the rules. Thankfully, there are workarounds to Google’s policies that are transparent, promising, and programmatically focused.
What are the Potential Workarounds?
With third-party cookies lacking, advertisers, agencies, ad-tech companies – any industry touching data – will need to quickly adapt to new digital advertising spaces. Thankfully, multiple solutions exist that abide by the new policies erupting in this era of transparency. Instead of resorting to mass messages that are unpersonalized and less targeted, consider the following options:

  • Re-Engineer Your Cookies: If consumers are opting-out of tracking, think about re-engineering your site’s third-party cookies so they can operate in first-party environments. By doing so, opting-out isn’t an option and your operations will not be so easily blocked.
  • Find Alternate Identifiers: Transparency is on the rise and cookies are losing traction. That being said, ad tech is working quickly to find alternate IDs that can be used to track how, when, and why people peruse the web. Google is advising advertisers to look into the power of email addresses and log-in information. These identifiers are going to become crucial for those hoping to serve targeted ads in the future. And it is always an option to move operations to marketing channels that do not rely on cookie data, such as mobile apps, OTT, social platforms, and so on.
  • Target Content: If third-party data is blocked, retargeting becomes tricky. Opposed to focusing entirely on the individual, think about how your brand can serve ads on different sites in contextual ways. Go above and beyond the person seeing the ad by knowing what the user is consuming and where they are consuming it. Focus on the keywords, topics, locations, and different channels that are relevant to your creative assets and offerings. By doing so, the chances of reaching your target consumer increase significantly.

Google Chrome has more than 60% global market share, which means that these changes should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, it is not yet known how or when Chrome will promote the third-party cookie blocking process. The results will vary greatly depending on where the opt-out button will be found. Perhaps it’ll be a big alert button in the corner of the screen, or maybe a small button under a long settings tab. The possibilities are endless and are not so clear-cut. This is a signal to prepare for programmatic advertising without the use of third-party cookies. And at Digilant, we anticipate these changes and can help your brand navigate these new regulations in profitable, transparent ways. Interested in learning how we can help you through the changes? Reach out to us here.

Creating a Personalized Ad Experience with ACR

Automatic content recognition, or ACR, is a technology that identifies consumed audio and video content on digital devices. Though most commonly associated with smart TVs, ACR can be perused on any platform connected to the internet. It isn’t available everywhere, however, and only becomes accessible if a user opts-in to data collection and has their device turned on. More people are trading in their old television sets for smart TVs – they’ll be in 75% of American homes by 2022 – which explains why the acronym has quickly become a marketing essential. Just as the Shazam app can help a user identify a song played in a store, an ACR enabled television can identify what a user is watching on a second-by-second basis to help brands strengthen their marketing efforts. Read on to learn more about ACR and how implementing it can benefit your brand and target consumers:

What is ACR and How Does it Work?
ACR is a software that listens and absorbs to identify content. In seconds, it can determine what a user is watching and if they are using a tablet, smart TV, or mobile device. It can also label the content as linear, OOT, DVR, or VOD, and is expected to become a $5 billion business by 2021. This intelligent, highly profitable data process operates in four steps:

  • Step One – Unboxing and Consent: Automatic content recognition is launched when an individual turns on a wifi powered device for the first time. Users will be faced with the option to opt-in to audio/video data collection during this initial set-up phase. They can go back and edit their decision in the future, of course, but it is often difficult to do so. Many devices will even require being set-up again in order to revert this decision.
  • Step Two – Fragment Analyzation: If a user opts-in to data collection, a device provider is able to analyze small fragments of images or sounds from the content being consumed over time. This capability is embedded in millions of internet devices and gives marketers the ability to understand what kind of programs and advertisements a user gravitates towards.
  • Step Three – Content Matching: These tiny samples are then processed by ACR software and uploaded to the cloud. The content is cross-referenced and matched to existing fragments, audio, or video-based, to allow advertisers to determine what piece of content, (think a TV show, a music video, or an advertisement,) is being viewed by a user. This process generates data about a viewer’s history and becomes identifiable to marketers via a device’s IP address.
  • Step Four – Personalized Targeting: The content has been matched and the information has been shared with select advertisers. From there, marketers can link devices together to learn more about target consumers and where their interests lie. With this information, brands are able to launch individualized, cross-device marketing campaigns that increase ad visibility and consumer interest.

How Does ACR Benefit Advertisers?
ACR works hand in hand with brands by giving them a cohesive glimpse into the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. With a user’s consent, advertisers are able to understand what people are watching in-real-time and how, when, and where their ads are being consumed. Having this information about viewing habits makes it simpler for companies to target the right ads to the right people in a personalized way. And by having an attached IP address, brands are able to retarget cross-functionally to encourage more viewers, (including those who weren’t paying attention to the ad,) to gain interest in the marketed product or service. ACR also allows brands to reach those who prefer to watch tv without ads. By knowing what content these individuals are consuming, marketers gain valuable insight as to where their interests lie and where they can be advertised to best. No matter the platform, this technology is what gives advertisers the highly anticipated ability to tailor highly customized messages to households and individuals nationwide.

How Does ACR Benefit Consumers?
Those that consent to audio and video tracking are also eligible for rewards. By opting-in, users are giving advertisers permission to deliver personalized ads to them across all approved devices. This gets rid of the unrelatable advertisements a consumer may be exposed to when watching television or scrolling through social media accounts. It makes their digital experience a unique one that caters to their hobbies and interests. It eliminates that ‘constantly being advertised to’ feeling and makes marketing feel like a normalized, seamless experience.

ACR has the power to revolutionize marketing as we know it and it will only continue to grow in popularity as more than half of US adults now own a streaming enabled television. To learn more about Digilant’s TV and video media buying capabilities, (especially when it comes to programmatic and addressable TV,) contact us here!

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