Walmart’s Vizio Acquisition and Navigating the ACR Data Evolution

In a landmark move, Walmart recently unveiled its agreement to acquire Vizio Holding Corp, the smart TV and software manufacturer, for $2.3 billion. This pivotal step aims to bolster the growth of Walmart Connect through Vizio’s SmartCast Operating System, signaling Walmart’s intent to deepen its engagement within the digital advertising and advanced TV ecosystem. Leveraging Vizio’s extensive reach, advanced capabilities, and valuable data Walmart will significantly enhance its advertising platform.

What Vizio’s Acquisition Means For the Advertising Landscape

This move highlights the growing importance of advanced TV platforms in the digital advertising ecosystem. As Walmart integrates Vizio’s capabilities with Walmart Connect, we can anticipate enhanced advertising solutions that leverage advanced TV’s direct engagement with consumers. This integration promises to deliver more personalized and effective advertising experiences, benefiting advertisers and consumers alike.  

However, it also prompts a larger discussion about the historical and widespread use of Vizio’s valuable Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) data. ACR technology, which allows smart TVs to identify and analyze content viewers are watching, has become a cornerstone technology for targeted advertising and content recommendations. Vizio, via its Inscape entity, has played a central role in the ACR data ecosystem as one of the primary providers of this crucial technology (alongside Samba and others).

The ubiquity of this ACR data in the market is noteworthy; virtually every Demand-Side Platform (DSP) has easy access to its data and inventory. This accessibility enables advertisers to fine-tune their campaigns with precision, reaching the right audience at the right time. However, Walmart’s recent acquisition of Vizio may prompt changes to the accessibility of ACR data for the broader digital advertising industry. 

There is a conceivable scenario where Walmart could restrict access to Vizio’s ACR data, opting to bring the valuable asset in-house. Such a move would not only reshape the competitive landscape of ACR data providers but would also pose challenges for advertisers who have relied on this data for targeted advertising—all ahead of third-party cookie deprecation, no less. 

Furthermore, Vizio’s scale has helped power existing measurement solutions in market. These entities rely on ACR data to provide advertisers with insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns, and any restriction on access could necessitate a reevaluation of their methodologies.

For digital advertisers, the evolving dynamics underscore the need for agility and adaptability. The potential exclusivity of Vizio’s ACR data under Walmart could prompt a shift in strategy, with a heightened emphasis on partnerships with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Advertisers must stay ahead of these changes, exploring diverse data sources ,technologies, and partners to maintain the effectiveness of their campaigns. 

Samsung: A Beacon in the Evolving ACR Landscape

While Walmart may call “lights out” on Vizio data for the rest of the industry, Samsung Ads shines brightly as a powerful alternative. As the largest TV manufacturer by market share, coupled with its ACR data, Samsung Ads stands out as a viable and potent source. Consider for instance that Samsung has more than 60 million opted-in smart TV viewers across 45 million households in the U.S.—this reach is a clear differentiator that keeps Samsung as a top provider for advanced tv and data solutions.

As walled gardens continue to grow and the industry shifts, it’s critical that advertisers work with partners that empower them with access to the inventory and data they need to reach audiences across all their favorite platforms and devices. As a Samsung partner, Digilant can continue to provide agencies access to premium ACR data and premium advanced TV inventory, enabling targeting and measurement, even in light of tremendous industry change.

Navigating the Future with Strategic Partnerships 

This acquisition marks a significant pivot in the digital advertising landscape. It solidifies the strategic positioning of advanced TV in advertising while also presenting potential ramifications for ACR data. For digital advertisers, this development demands a proactive approach, seeking innovative solutions and partnerships to navigate the shifting terrain. As the landscape evolves, the ability to adapt and leverage new opportunities will be paramount to sustained success.

Digilant Announces Relationship with Microsoft, Expanding Digital Media Access for Advertisers

BOSTON, MARCH 05, 2024–(Business Wire)–Today, Digilant, the digital media partner of choice for mid-market advertisers, announced its collaboration with Microsoft, adding its DSP, Invest, and its deal curation platform, Curate, to its tech stack. This approach offers Digilant’s clients greater access to premium advertising inventory and advanced audience targeting solutions.

“Our clients are a diverse group of advertisers that need to maximize their buying power to stay competitive and have an opportunity to become the next big thing. By working with Microsoft, Digilant reiterates its commitment to enabling advertisers with access to technology and media in a cookieless world,” said Raquel Rosenthal, CEO at Digilant. “We are thrilled to harness Microsoft Invest and Microsoft Curate’s capabilities to meet the dynamic needs of our clients and stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital advertising landscape.”

Microsoft’s premium inventory and first-party data make it a preferred choice to deliver seamless and highly relevant omnichannel experiences in a cookieless world. Digilant’s clients will have access to Microsoft’s robust portfolio of owned and operated publications and platforms—MSN, Microsoft Start, Microsoft 365, Outlook, Microsoft Casual Games, Xbox, and LinkedIn—and more than 1500 premium publishers. Moreover, Microsoft’s exclusive access to connected TV inventory on Netflix will enable Digilant to reach audiences on one of the world’s most popular entertainment services.

Sarah Harms, Senior Director of Sales at Microsoft, commented on the collaboration: “We are pleased to unite with Digilant, bringing together our distinct strengths to support small and mid-market agencies. This collaboration is all about empowering diverse organizations with access to the world’s largest and most premium advertising marketplace.”

The Real AI Superpower: Moving from Look-Back Analytics to Look-Forward Predictive Marketing

The marketing industry has spilled a tremendous amount of ink discussing the ways in which artificial intelligence and machine learning are and will continue to change how marketers work, from brand strategy and creative ideation to media execution and attribution and measurement. 

But that’s missing the forest for the trees. The real shift that’s underway is far more fundamental to not just what marketers do, but how they think. In the coming years, the industry is going to pivot from being one built on “look-back” analytics to one driven by “look-forward” predictive marketing. 

That’s easy to say, but harder to fully comprehend. To grasp how artificial intelligence will change our industry (and our world), we first need to consider how human intelligence works. 

 

The Questions Marketers Ask Today

Human brains are amazing at predicting the future based on the past. Today, that’s how marketers are spending their time. Our industry has spent vast time and resources developing studies, thinking frameworks, and methodologies designed to figure out the most likely business outcomes based on past experiences (i.e., data). Marketers are using these approaches to answer key questions like:

  • How can we get people to know and desire our brand? 
  • How can we ensure that people can find our products in stores and online?
  • What is the right price for our product?
  • How much should we invest in this effort or campaign?
  • Who should our brand target with its ads? 
  • What message will convince people to purchase our product?
  • What is the right media mix to reach the audiences that matter? 

In relatively short order, marketers aren’t going to have to spend their time and brain power on such questions—because AI will do it for them. 

 

Why AI Is Better Equipped to Answer Those Questions 

With the latest technology developments in AI, we are now reaching a point where the above predictions can be handled by artificial brains called neural networks — with similar or superior accuracy. We’re at a tipping point and about to witness a drastic change in both the marketing industry and our everyday lives. 

Why? 

Our brains are slow and get tired easily, but computers don’t.

The revolution in which machines shattered past manual work requirements due to their ability to move mountains has now come to thinking. As we harness machine thinking power, our teams will evolve and restructure around AI to optimize our businesses. The rhythm of work, once based on human thinking, will completely change. The slow iterative marketing cycle that gives teams time to gather information, analyze past results, make decisions, and implement next steps will give way to an always-on environment of micro-optimizations. Marketers will pilot important variables, spend minimal time to analyze the past, and instead focus their energy on predicting the future.

Our input and output are limited, but computers’ are not.

Humans can only read, listen to, or watch a limited amount of information as input for our thought processes. Then we have to output what we think in concepts and languages that others can understand. Ultimately, the amount of useful thinking we produce is very limited. Machines, on the other hand, can ingest, process, and implement relevant output at incredible superhuman scale and speed. 

Our memory is limited, but computer memory is not.

Humans during their very short lifespans can remember only a small amount of information and events, and without a lot of details. Because of our relatively shallow thought processes, we use conceptual shortcuts to guesstimate outcomes, whereas machines can refine the same prediction by processing very large amounts of data and computing a multitude of scenarios. 

Manpower is expensive, but computers are not.

Humans eat, sleep, get sick, and take vacations. Sometimes they even decide suddenly to spend unproductive time with their spouses and kids — or just go surfing!  We’re expensive and not always available. That’s why we should be applying the cost of human work to areas where smart automation is not an option today, such as jobs that require long strides of coherence versus short “heavy lifting” tasks. The majority of what is perceived today as high-value work — research, strategy, creativity, media planning, ad operations, reporting and analytics — will become heavily automated and quickly a commodity. Marketers will instead spend their human power on understanding, in great detail, the needs of their businesses in order to help them apply, maintain, and optimize automation in a way that avoids its danger and drives responsible and sustainable business growth.

 

The Questions Marketers Will Ask Tomorrow

That brings us back to the questions that absorb a marketer’s time. Today, we’re focused on questions that require us to look back in time. Tomorrow, we’ll be applying our human predictive intelligence to new questions that will allow us to predict the future, like:

  • What should we automate or improve first with artificial intelligence? 
  • What should we evolve (business models, teams, structures) to embrace this power?
  • How can we build and refine our predictive models? 
  • How do we source and leverage qualitative, affordable, and relevant data? 
  • How do we do all of this in a smart, secure, responsible, and sustainable way?

 

What’s Holding Back This Transition from Look-Back to Look-Forward Marketing? 

This transition from look-back analytics to look-forward predictive marketing? Like winter, it’s coming. But how quickly we get there will depend on a few needed elements falling into place. 

First, let’s talk about money! Every transformation comes at a price, and jumping into the “AI-powered marketing era” is no exception. It takes training, talent, and software. For a smooth, successful transition, it is paramount to draft a realistic roadmap that prioritizes AI for operational efficiency. Doing so, you can quickly save — and loudly communicate to your organization — the amount of money you need to (re)inject in more ambitious transformative projects. It’s a great way to bring your CFO along for the ride: Test fast and small, allow imperfections on non-critical parts of the business, and learn what works.

Then, let’s remember that AI can’t learn to help you with a task if you’re not clear about what you want. That means we need to be putting effort toward training AI to think and act like a marketer. To date, very few companies in our industry have made the investment and taken the time to systematically and thoroughly solidify and document their ideal processes in a way that can be learned by a machine. 

Likewise, given the near-unlimited capacity of AI to process information and identify patterns, access to reliable data has become more crucial than ever. The art and science of sourcing great (and affordable) data and organizing it in a way that can be leveraged by AI to gain competitive advantage will be at the forefront of our industry evolution.

Over time, our industry is going to see dramatic shifts in the type of data that fuels it. AI’s ability to extrapolate the information it is fed means we’re going to become far less dependent on the personal, deterministic data of individuals. (That’s great news on the privacy front.) Meanwhile, new types of non-marketing data are going to become relevant to predicting marketing outcomes and building plans—data sets like weather, traffic patterns, local context, event schedules, and more. AI’s ability to connect dots among seemingly unconnected elements will broaden the range of what kind of data is useful for marketers. Finally, when and where we need to increase the amount of data we need, its granularity, or even close the gap on data we don’t have, we will leverage “synthetic data,” a new breed created for machines by machines to accurately match real data.

 

Digilant’s Role in the AI-Driven Future of Marketing 

AI capabilities continue to grow among the Metas, Apples, Microsofts, and Googles of the world. But to truly bring the marketing industry into a transparent, sustainable, beneficial AI-driven future, we need independent players, like ISPD and Digilant, to develop neutral and honest AI models that seamlessly integrate and leverage the power of our industry giants but without any bias toward specific media or publishers. It’s imperative that we ensure that data, creativity, and media directly serve clients’ best interests, brands and agencies alike. 

As a part of ISPD, Digilant’s AI-driven marketing solutions include: 

  • Advanced qualitative research tools that leverage large language models (LLMs) to impersonate specific consumer personas and deep dive in their lives, behaviors, interest, and purchase decisions.
  • A groundbreaking marketing intelligence platform that accurately replicates your category consumers with synthetic data to understand how your past actions contributed to your results and to inform your future decisions with forecasts.
  • A new generation of brand health tracking that measures awareness, intent, and purchase at each category entry point through machine learning instead of lengthy cumbersome studies.

We’re committed to building the future of AI-driven marketing by serving as an independent, agnostic player that drives your business growth in an increasingly complex ecosystem of platforms, walled gardens, ad tech, and media. We’re excited to unlock a new path forward for marketers — one where our immense human capabilities are leveraged to their full potential, for the betterment of our brands, ourselves, and our world.

Understanding the Cookieless Future and Its Implications for Advertisers

We’re excited to announce our new video series, “Countdown to the Cookieless Future,” aiming to demystify the impending shift in digital advertising due to the depreciation of third-party cookies in Chrome and outline proactive steps for advertisers.

As we embark on this journey, it’s crucial to recognize the foundational role third-party cookies have played in digital advertising and the reasons behind their phased removal. Our first episode,  “Understanding the Deprecation of Cookies and Its Implications for Advertisers,” sets the stage as Digilant’s Director of Marketing, Victoria de Leon, sits down with Digilant’s own Kyle Malone, Director of Solutions Engineering, and Otniel Calderon, Manager of Solutions Engineering, to discuss what these changes mean for advertisers and how they can adapt.

For anyone looking for a primer to better understand and navigate the post-cookie landscape, hit play on the video or check out the full recap below.

 

The Dawn of a New Era in Digital Advertising

To set the stage for the removal of third-party cookies, Victoria de Leon covered the basics with a simple, but important question:

What is a basic understanding of third-party cookies?

Otniel Calderon elaborates on the essence of cookies, likening them to digital footprints that map a user’s journey across the internet. This tracking capability has been instrumental in enabling advertisers to deliver personalized experiences, measure campaign effectiveness, and optimize strategies in real-time. He underscores the critical junction the industry faces, propelled by technological advancements and heightened legal scrutiny, signaling a pivotal moment for evolution.


Third-party cookies have acted as a cornerstone for targeted advertising, leading de Leon to ask:

Why is Google removing third-party cookies from Chrome?

Kyle Malone points to the growing global demand for privacy and data protection as the catalyst for change. With regulations like GDPR and CCPA setting new standards, the digital landscape is shifting towards a more privacy-conscious framework. Calderon adds that transparency has become a non-negotiable expectation among consumers, driving platforms like Google to reimagine data collection and usage practices. This transition, they argue, reflects a broader industry movement towards ethical data use, prioritizing user consent and control.


Short on time? Download and stream this episode’s content on Spotify.

Background: A Brief History of the Cookie Depreciation

The conversation takes a step back to review the timeline of Google’s announcement and the industry’s journey towards acceptance and preparation for a cookieless future, as de Leon asks:

What is Google’s Timeline for the removal of Third-Party Cookies?

Reflecting on the initial announcement in early 2020, the panelists discuss the industry’s mixed reactions, ranging from skepticism to proactive adaptation. The slow progression towards cookie deprecation, marked by delays and uncertainty, served as a grace period for many. However, in January 2024, Google began phasing out cookies, starting with 1% of users, making the reality of a cookieless future undeniable.


de Leon then challenged the panelist to underscore the urgency of Google’s changes by asking:

When will we see third-party cookies completely disappear?

Malone offers insights into the timeline, noting Google’s tentative deadline but also acknowledging the fluidity of these estimates. The uncertainty underscores the need for continuous adaptation and preparedness. He advocates for a proactive approach, emphasizing the importance of staying ahead through ongoing testing and learning.


Navigating the Transition: Strategies and Considerations

Knowing that the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome is underway, the conversation transitioned to actionable insights and strategies for advertisers to adapt and thrive de Leon asks:

Now that we have arrived and Google has started this process of removing third-party cookies, what should advertisers do to embrace cookie-free solutions?

Calderon highlights the urgency of adopting new strategies, citing the example of companies like Apple, which has already moved away from cookies, demonstrating significant impacts on the advertising ecosystem. The key, he suggests, is in experimentation and flexibility. Advertisers need to explore alternative data sources, such as first-party data and contextual targeting, to maintain relevance and effectiveness in their campaigns. This transition period offers a unique opportunity for innovation, pushing advertisers to develop more sophisticated and privacy-compliant methods of engaging with their audiences.


To offer solace for those who haven’t made steps toward cookie-free advertising, de Leon prompted the panelists to offer tangible tactics and solutions with the question:

How does the industry prepare for this massive change if they haven’t already?

Malone and Calderon offer a comprehensive roadmap for advertisers, stressing the significance of first-party data, collaboration with technology partners, and the exploration of new advertising channels. They encourage a holistic view of audience engagement, moving beyond cookies to embrace a future built on transparency, consent, and mutual value exchange between brands and consumers.


The Future is Bright: Looking Forward with Optimism

The episode concludes with a message of resilience and opportunity, encouraging advertisers to focus on the future with a strategic and open-minded approach. The panelists reflect on the transformative potential of the cookieless future, envisioning a digital advertising landscape that is not only more privacy-compliant but also more innovative and effective. They underscore the importance of embracing change, testing new approaches, and remaining adaptable as the key to thriving in the evolving digital ecosystem. Watch the full video for a comprehensive exploration of the topics discussed.

Looking for more tips and solutions as we face the depreciation of third-party cookies? Check out us for the next installment in our series, where we dive into the nuances of first and zero-party data strategies. 

Maximizing Impact: Strategic Marketing for Mother’s and Father’s Day

As Mother’s and Father’s Day draw near, the advertising world buzzes with activity, aiming to tap into the sentimental value of these occasions. With individuals seeking to express their appreciation through thoughtful gifts, advertisers are presented with a golden opportunity to engage with their target audience. This surge in consumer spending behavior is a call for brands to refine and tailor their advertising strategies to meet the ever-evolving market demands effectively. 

To help, this blog offers insights into consumer behaviors, strategic digital tactics, and the creative messaging that resonates, ensuring advertisers can craft Mother’s and Father’s Day campaigns that not only engage but also convert.

Interested in our full roundup of trends and strategic recommendations ahead of Mother’s and Father’s Day? Download Digilant’s snapshot for advertisers here.

Market Snapshot: Key Figures Shaping Mother’s and Father’s Day Purchases

Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand the broader landscape of Mother’s and Father’s Day shopping. The evolving consumer preferences, combined with the surge in spending, highlight the need for advertisers to be agile and informed. Crafting strategies that are both data-driven and empathetic towards the sentiments of these holidays can significantly enhance the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Ramping Up for a Record-Breaking Year

The significance of Mother’s and Father’s Day in the retail calendar cannot be overstated. 2023 was a record-breaking year as consumers spent an average of $274.02 on a person’s gift, totaling a staggering $35.7 billion. Father’s Day wasn’t far behind, with an average spend of $196.23 per person, amounting to $22.9 billion. 

Shift in Preference Toward Personalized and Unique Gifts

Consumer preferences are evolving, with a noticeable shift towards personalized and unique gifts. For Mother’s Day, 31% of consumers planned to gift an experience, and 46% showed interest in subscription services, indicating a desire for more meaningful and enduring gifts. The top three gift categories for Mother’s Day were greeting cards, flowers, and special outings, while for Father’s Day, they were greeting cards, clothing, and special outings, highlighting the diversity in gift preferences.

Consumers Opt for Multi-Channel Shopping

Shopping habits reveal a multi-channel approach, with 34% of consumers shopping online and an equal percentage visiting department stores. Specialty stores and local or small businesses also play a significant role, demonstrating the importance of a robust presence across various channels to capture consumer interest.

The Majority of Consumers Shop Last-Minute

Procrastination in gift shopping presents a unique opportunity for advertisers. Nearly one-third of consumers shop for gifts two days before the holiday, so being top of mind through targeted advertising becomes crucial. This trend underscores the need for timely and persuasive messaging to sway decision-makers in a rush.

3 Digital Strategies to Win Mother’s and Father’s Day

1. Leverage Retail Media Networks (RMN)

Retail Media Networks offer a treasure trove of first-party data that can be instrumental in targeting Mother’s and Father’s Day shoppers. The benefits of leveraging RMNs include access to deterministic data, resilience against the deprecation of cookies, and the ability to reach consumers at various points in their online journey. Advertisers can use this data to craft messages that resonate with consumers looking for the perfect gift, ensuring that their products are front and center during the decision-making process. The measurable nature of RMNs and their accessibility for non-endemic brands mean that even companies not traditionally associated with these holidays can effectively engage potential customers.

2. Harness the Power of Robust Audience and Contextual Solutions

Understanding the audience is key to engaging Mother’s and Father’s Day shoppers effectively. By utilizing a mix of audience data (behavioral, purchase history, first-party, and location-based), advertisers can segment their campaigns to target those most likely to be in the market for gifts. Contextual targeting further refines this approach, aligning ad placements with content related to Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts, such as articles about flowers, high-tech gadgets, or wellness trips. This strategy ensures that ads are not only seen by the right people but also in the right context, enhancing relevance and the likelihood of engagement.

3. Emerging Channels & Formats

To stand out in the crowded digital space, employing innovative channels and creative formats is crucial. Advanced TV, digital audio platforms (including podcasts and streaming music), in-game advertising, and digital out-of-home mediums offer fresh avenues to capture the attention of those shopping for Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. Additionally, dynamic creative formats, such as social CTV ads and dynamic product feeds, allow for personalized messaging that can update in real-time based on inventory data, ensuring ads remain relevant and engaging. These strategies enable advertisers to reach consumers in unexpected yet highly engaging ways, making their message more memorable.

Interested in more strategic recommendations ahead of the holidays? Download Digilant’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day snapshot for advertisers here.

Tying it all Together for a Successful Season 

The intricacies of Mother’s and Father’s Day marketing demand a nuanced approach, blending data-driven insights with creative flair. By understanding key consumer trends and leveraging the right digital strategies, advertisers can create impactful campaigns that resonate with their audience. Whether through the precise targeting capabilities of Retail Media Networks, the relevance of audience and contextual data, or the novelty of emerging channels and formats, the opportunities to connect with Mother’s and Father’s Day shoppers are vast. 

For those seeking to elevate their marketing game, the Digilant team provides tailored solutions that harness these strategies for maximum effect. Reach out today to discover how we can help you capture the hearts and minds of consumers during these special occasions.

Ensuring Brand Safety in Political Digital Advertising

Throughout our three-part series to help political digital advertisers prepare for the election, we’ve explored various strategies and platforms to effectively engage with voters online. In the final installment, we’ll dive into a critical aspect (arguably, the most critical) of digital advertising: brand safety. In a landscape where credibility and integrity are paramount, it’s essential to understand the tools and techniques available to safeguard your campaign’s brand online.

Navigating Challenges in Political Digital Advertising

According to a study conducted by Integral Ad Science, approximately 73% of consumers express unfavorable sentiments toward brands associated with misinformation. Moreover, 71% of individuals encounter misleading digital content while browsing the web. These statistics underscore the critical importance of brand safety and integrity in political advertising. However, digital political campaigns face numerous challenges and risks that can compromise brand safety. These challenges include:

  • Ad Fraud: The prevalence of ad fraud poses a significant threat to digital campaigns, potentially leading to wasted ad spend and damage to brand reputation.
  • Inappropriate Content: Ads appearing alongside inappropriate or sensitive content can tarnish a campaign’s image and alienate voters.
  • Misinformation: The spread of misinformation and fake news on digital platforms can undermine trust in political messages and erode brand credibility.

In the political arena, the consequences of brand safety breaches can be particularly severe. A single instance of ad misplacement or association with inappropriate content can erode voter trust, damage campaign credibility, and undermine the effectiveness of messaging. Therefore, political advertisers must adopt proactive measures to mitigate risks and uphold brand integrity in the digital sphere.

Download our eBook, “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024,” for a comprehensive overview of the 2024 voter landscape and key channels advertisers can use to better reach voters.

4 Brand Safety Tools and Techniques for Political Advertisers 

For political advertisers, technologies that validate content, evaluate editorial credibility, vet authors, or verify media content before completing an ad buy on a website or web page are indispensable tools. Whether promoting a product or a politician, instilling and upholding trust is crucial to campaign success.

To mitigate these risks and maintain brand integrity online, political advertisers can leverage a range of tools and techniques:

1. Enlist Brand Safety Partners

Collaborate with brand safety partners and third-party verification services to monitor ad placements and ensure compliance with brand safety standards. These partners offer real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities to identify and address potential brand safety issues.

2. Utilize Blocklists and Allowlists

Implement blocklists to exclude specific websites, channels, or content categories that may be deemed unsafe or inappropriate for your campaign. Conversely, allowlists can be used to whitelist trusted publishers and environments where your ads are displayed.

3. Negatively Target Unsafe Keywords

Utilize negative keyword targeting to prevent your ads from appearing alongside content containing specific keywords or phrases that are deemed unsafe or irrelevant to your campaign. By proactively excluding these keywords, you can minimize the risk of ad misplacement and protect your brand’s reputation.

4. Consider Premium Ad Buys

Opt for premium ad placements on reputable and trustworthy publishers’ websites. While premium ad buys may come at a higher cost, they offer greater assurance of brand safety and quality placements, reducing the risk of ad fraud and inappropriate content adjacency.

Charting the Course Ahead: Implementing Brand Safety Measures in Political Digital Advertising

In conclusion, brand safety is a critical consideration for political advertisers operating in the digital space. By leveraging the tools and techniques outlined above, advertisers can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, safeguarding their campaign’s integrity and credibility.

As we conclude our series, we encourage readers to revisit our first blog post, The Shift to Screens: Capturing Voter Attention in a Digital World for a comprehensive overview of engaging today’s voters online. For further insights and strategies, we invite you to download our ebook, “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024,” to learn more about how we can continue to innovate and adapt as we navigate the digital terrain of political advertising.

Beyond Traditional Media: Innovative Channels to Engage 2024 Voters

In part one of our series helping political advertisers navigate the 2024 election season, “Capturing Voter Attention in a Digital World,” we unpacked the transition from traditional to digital platforms, highlighting how political campaigns are evolving to meet voters in the digital realm. This digital shift is crucial as media consumption habits rapidly change, demanding political advertisers to adapt and engage with voters where they spend their time: online. Our initial discussion laid the groundwork for understanding this shift, paving the way for a deeper exploration into the alternative digital channels that are reshaping political engagement.

Digital channels and platforms are pivotal in modern political advertising, offering unique advantages that can amplify a campaign’s reach and impact. Continue reading as we explore how four of these channels serve as vital tools for connecting with the electorate.

Download our eBook, “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024,” for a comprehensive overview of the 2024 voter landscape and key channels advertisers can use to better reach voters.

The Future of Engagement: 4 Digital Channels Redefining Political Advertising

Advanced TV: The Connection to Cord-Cutters

With 53% of U.S. TV households having “cut the cord,” the opportunity to reach voters through streaming services becomes increasingly valuable. Advanced TV’s data-driven approach allows for segmentation based on diverse factors, making it possible to deliver relevant and engaging messages directly to the intended audience. This targeted capability ensures that political messages resonate more deeply, leveraging viewer data to tailor content that aligns with individual preferences and interests.

Digital Out of Home (DOOH): Visibility Meets Versatility

Digital Out of Home (DOOH) combines the impact of traditional billboards with the agility of digital technology, offering dynamic advertising in strategic locations. This medium not only captures the attention of 83% of consumers but also allows for real-time updates and targeted messaging, making it exceptionally suited for localized and timely campaign messages. DOOH’s ability to reach voters in public spaces, from bustling city centers to busy transit hubs, underscores its importance in a comprehensive digital strategy, providing a bridge between the digital and physical worlds where engagement can be both broad and highly focused.

Social Media: The Interactive Frontier of Political Discourse

The landscape of social media in political advertising has witnessed transformative changes, particularly in how ads are permitted and regulated on these platforms. Recognizing the immense potential of social media to reach voters, platforms such as Meta and X (formerly Twitter) have revisited and revised their policies on political advertisements. This shift comes with a renewed focus on brand safety measures, ensuring that political campaigns can leverage these platforms’ extensive networks while adhering to stringent guidelines designed to maintain a safe and trustworthy environment for users.

With platforms like Meta hosting 127.2 million monthly active users on Instagram and 243.5 million on Facebook in the U.S., the reach and targeting capabilities of social media are unparalleled. This channel allows for real-time communication, fostering a dialogue that can transform passive viewers into active participants in the political process. The interactive nature of social media, combined with its extensive reach, makes it an essential tool for political campaigns aiming to engage with a diverse and dynamic electorate.

The Power of Digital Audio: Connecting Through Sound

Digital Audio has woven itself into the fabric of daily life, with Americans spending an average of 88 minutes per day engaged with music streaming services. This channel offers a unique blend of intimacy and personalization, providing a direct line to voters’ ears. The personal connection forged through audio consumption enhances the impact of political messages, allowing campaigns to seamlessly integrate their narratives into content that voters are passionate about. Whether through podcasts that offer contextually relevant ad placements or music streaming platforms that offer targeted advertising, digital audio stands out for its ability to engage listeners in a deeply personal space.

The Digital Path Forward for Political Advertisers

It’s clear: the future of consumer consumption is digital; therefore, the future of voter engagement lies in leveraging the unique strengths of digital platforms. From the precision targeting of advanced TV to the immersive experience of digital audio, the dynamic reach of DOOH, and the vast networks of social media, the opportunities for connecting with voters are both diverse and powerful. By understanding and utilizing these channels, political campaigns can craft nuanced, impactful strategies that meet voters where they are: online.

If you haven’t already, download a copy of our full guide “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024.” And, stay tuned for our next blog post will delve into an equally critical aspect of digital political advertising: brand safety. As campaigns navigate the digital landscape, ensuring that their messages are conveyed in environments that align with their values and uphold the integrity of their messaging is paramount.

Embracing Disruptive Tech: Insights for Marketers from CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings together professionals from various industries to gain insights into the rapidly evolving world of consumer electronics. As these technologies revolutionize consumer behavior, marketers and advertisers must adapt in step. During the conference, industry leaders shared their strategies for leveraging disruptive technologies to enhance customer journeys and create top-tier advertising experiences.

Wesley Farris, VP of Platform Partnerships at Digilant, attended the conference and recently sat down with us to provide his key takeaways from the event. Let’s dive in. 

 

The Demand for Supply-Side Transparency and Premium Curation

Throughout the conference, there was an emphasis on the growing need to refine the sell-side process of digital advertising. As key industry players prioritize ways to make media buying more direct, transparent, and higher quality, there’s a call to eliminate the number of parties involved in media buys. This is shaking out in a few different scenarios. 

First, to eliminate some of the hoops media buyers currently jump through, supply-side platforms (SSPs) are prioritizing the integration of buy-side technologies. 

For leading SSPs such as FreeWheel and Magnite, one of their focuses is on supply path optimization (SPO). SPO creates a more efficient process of media buying, reducing complicated paths to supply and providing advertisers with more transparency in their ad placements and overall spend. 

Additionally, many SSPs are actively seeking more ways to leverage top-tier data companies and first party publisher data (that the SSPs have access to) that enable enhanced targeting and measurement capabilities. OpenX, for instance, has layered Oracle data in its platform, providing media buyers with high-quality data alongside a direct path to transparent inventory.

How SPO Benefits Advertisers 

A key focus on transparency and optimization always nets a better experience for both brands and consumers. These shifts specifically provide advertisers with the following benefits and improvements in the ad-buying experience.

  • Transparency in Ad Placements: Enhanced ad transparency helps advertisers understand how their spend is utilized and further evaluate the quality of their ad placement. Transparency is crucial to avoiding ad fraud and ensuring that ads are not placed on inappropriate or irrelevant sites.
  • Access to Premium Inventory: With a deeper focus on curation, advertisers can gain access to premium ad inventory that might not be available through other channels. This allows for more strategic ad placements in high-quality environments.
  •  Improved Ad Performance and ROI: Supply-side optimization and data integrations use algorithms and analytics to place ads more effectively, ensuring that they reach the right audience at the right time. This increases the likelihood of user engagement and conversion, leading to better returns on investment (ROI).

Data-driven customer experiences sit center stage as advertisers work to create both privacy-compliant and targeted experiences for shoppers. The new changes and partnerships outlined above pave the way for advertisers to have more control over data and its implementation to create optimal media buys. 

 

Connected TV (CTV) Takes Center Stage in a Cookieless Landscape

CTV (Connected TV) has been a major focus in the industry for several years, particularly as many consumers have shifted from cable subscriptions to streaming services. However, a key aspect of CTV’s appeal, especially highlighted during CES, lies in its inherently cookieless environment. This becomes increasingly relevant in light of Google’s phasing out of third-party cookies.

CTV users are authenticated when logging into either their device or a streaming platform. This authentication opens up several opportunities for advertisers, including access to enhanced targeting capabilities, the use of first-party data within various platforms and devices, and improved measurement solutions. Throughout the conference, we gathered three especially notable CTV developments that can help give advertisers the upper hand as they explore this cookie-free medium.

 

Rise of FAST channels

Free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) represents a significant segment of authenticated viewership. Platforms such as Pluto and Tubi are gaining traction due to their broad audience reach and robust measurement capabilities. Considering the high penetration of smart TVs in U.S. households, 77% to be exact, advertisers shouldn’t ignore the power and reach available through FAST channels.

Digital audio advertising via smart TVs

Recent insights from CES indicate a substantial proportion of consumers using smart TVs exclusively for audio streaming. This trend highlights the growing interconnectedness of the digital ecosystem across different devices and platforms. For advertisers without video assets, digital audio advertising presents a compelling way to reach CTV users.

The shift of live sports to digital platforms

Live sports are progressively moving away from traditional cable to digital platforms. While broadcast TV was previously the golden channel for advertising during sports events, changing consumer habits are altering this landscape. Amazon Prime, for example, is now the exclusive broadcaster of Thursday Night Football, bringing football fans to their platform in order to tune in. Advertisers need to adapt to these changes by preparing for digital ad placements to effectively target and engage sports fans.

 

Embracing Digital Advertising’s Evolving Landscape

Insights from CES emphasize the need for advertisers’ adaptability in the dynamic digital landscape. A focus on supply curation, transparency, data-driven strategies, and the rise of CTV all underscore the importance of harnessing new technologies and platforms to create optimal campaign impact and stay ahead.

7 Essential Metrics for Brand Health Tracking

While brand health and market value are differing concepts, their connection is undeniable. Studies show that businesses with robust brand health are likely to outperform their competitors in revenue growth by 60%. In our ever-changing business landscape, a healthy brand is vital for enduring success.

So, how do you gauge the health of your brand? As mentioned in our blog post, Brand Health Tracking: Measure How Your Brand Stacks Up in the Market, brand health doesn’t have a universal definition or a one-size-fits-all measurement strategy. It’s about identifying factors that shape consumer perceptions of your products, services, and overall reputation.

7 Key Indicators to Track for Optimal Brand Health

Let’s dive into seven essential metrics that offer a starting point for evaluating your brand’s health in the marketplace.

1.Share of Voice (SOV)

Share of voice is a good first step to give advertisers a pulse on their brand’s presence and impact. It measures the percentage of content space or advertising that your brand occupies in the market overall. Simply put a brand’s organic digital footprint. 

However, SOV isn’t solely a calculation of whether your voice is present in the market, it showcases if your voice is heard by consumers. As consumers are bombarded with digital noise, brands with a higher SOV are more likely to capture coveted consumer attention. Research indicates that brands with a dominant share of voice have a 23% higher likelihood of being recommended by consumers. 

2. Category Funnel

The Category Funnel serves as a comprehensive tool for understanding a brand’s strengths and weaknesses at various stages of the customer’s buying journey. This journey typically encompasses several key stages: Awareness, Consideration, Preference, Purchase, and Loyalty.

By analyzing performance at each stage, brands can identify specific areas for improvement, whether it’s enhancing brand awareness, improving product positioning, or bolstering customer loyalty programs. This comprehensive approach to tracking the customer’s journey offers actionable insights, enabling brands to fine-tune their strategies and ultimately influence consumer decision-making more effectively.

3. Category Entry Points (CEPs)

Category Entry Points are the reasons, triggers, moments, or occasions when a potential customer considers buying a product in your category. These are the moments when someone is most receptive to your brand. Aligning marketing strategies and efforts with CEPs ensures your brand is top-of-mind when consumers are ready to make a purchase. 

4. Competitive Market Position

No brand lives in isolation, which makes it essential to look externally at how other brands are performing in the market—and  how you stack up. Analyzing competitor strategies, strengths, and weaknesses with propel ideas that help differentiate your brand, strengthen your agility in response to market dynamics, and foster brand resilience. When analyzing the competitor landscape, it is essential to identify both direct and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors

These are companies that offer similar products and services. For example, a direct competitor of JetBlue would be other popular airlines in the United States such as American, United, and Alaska Airlines. 

Indirect competitors 

Companies that address the same customer needs but with different offerings are indirect competitors. In our example, indirect competitors of JetBlue would be Amtrak or Carnival Cruises. 

5. Market Penetration & Strategic Opportunities

Deepening market penetration and recognizing strategic opportunities are pivotal for brands aiming to maximize their impact within their sector. Keeping a close eye on broad market trends and competitor movements is crucial for anticipating shifts in consumer behavior, enabling brands to adapt and innovate proactively. 

Consider the ongoing emphasis on sustainability, a trend that cuts across all industries. Brands that successfully integrate eco-friendly practices and effectively communicate their commitment to sustainability are more likely to resonate with environmentally conscious consumers. 

By conducting routine market analyses, brands can stay ahead of the curve, positioning themselves to make strategic decisions that align with evolving consumer preferences. This approach not only enhances the brand’s relevance but also uncovers potential avenues for growth and increased market presence, ensuring they fully exploit the opportunities within their marketplace.

6. Brand Strength Assessment

Brand strength encompasses the positive attributes, unique selling points, and competitive advantages that define your brand in the eyes of customers. It is a vital metric to gauge how well your brand is positioned in the competitive market.

One simple, yet effective approach for this assessment is a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This analysis draws insights from customer surveys, feedback analysis, and social media sentiment to provide honest and actionable data for brands. With these insights, brands can identify and amplify their strengths while addressing weaknesses, a fundamental practice for building a resilient brand capable of withstanding the tests of time.

7. Seasonality and Year over Year (YoY) Analysis

In various industries, businesses often witness fluctuating levels of customer engagement and demand throughout the calendar year. These fluctuations are crucial for understanding market dynamics. Utilizing SOV in YoY comparisons is a strategic approach to precisely identify these trends. This analytical method helps businesses pinpoint when customer engagement reaches its peak and when it declines, offering valuable insights for performance assessment.

For example, a retailer may use YoY comparisons to discern heightened customer interest during holiday seasons, reflected in increased SOV during these months. Similarly, a tourism-related business might notice a surge in engagement during summer and a decline in winter, highlighting key periods for targeted marketing efforts. These insights are vital for crafting marketing strategies that resonate with seasonal trends.

By understanding the rhythm of these fluctuations, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies more effectively. Aligning promotional activities with peak engagement periods ensures optimal resource utilization, enhancing the impact of marketing efforts. Conversely, identifying slower periods allows for strategic planning and resource conservation, maintaining a steady presence in the market. This nuanced approach, informed by YoY SOV analysis, is critical for businesses aiming to stay competitive and responsive to market dynamics, ultimately driving growth and success in their respective sectors.

Putting It All Together: The Road to a Healthier Brand

Maintaining brand health is a dynamic and multifaceted endeavor. From monitoring Share of Voice and Share of Search to understanding Category Entry Points, staying vigilant about competitors, and adapting to market trends, each aspect contributes to the overall vitality of your brand. By regularly assessing and fine-tuning these elements, your brand not only survives but thrives in the competitive landscape, forging lasting connections with consumers and ensuring long-term success. 

The Shift to Screens: Capturing Voter Attention in a Digital World

In an era where digital transformation dictates where and how we consume content, the political advertising landscape needs a significant shift. Despite projections indicating a surge in political ad spend, with estimates ranging between $10 billion and $12 billion, a significant portion remains anchored in traditional channels. A startling 75% of these budgets, or between $7.5 to $9 billion, are still being spent on traditional broadcast and cable TV ad buys. This strategy persists even as media consumption habits have significantly evolved. At this point, more than 53% of U.S. TV households have cut the cord on cable or never had a cable subscription to begin with, with that number only projected to continue to rise.

The demographic landscape of media consumption underscores the necessity of rethinking how and where to allocate advertising budgets to effectively connect with voters. With the 2024 elections around the corner, we’re helping advertisers navigate this evolving landscape. Over this blog post series, we’ll outline the pertinent shifts in voter behavior toward digital channels, identify better budget allocations to make an impact in 2024 and offer practical tips to remain brand-safe through it all. Up first, let’s dive into those drastic shifts toward digital channels.

Download our eBook, “Beyond Linear TV: A Political Advertiser’s Guide to Reaching Voters in 2024,” for a comprehensive overview of the 2024 voter landscape and key channels advertisers can use to better reach voters.

The Digital Habits of  Voters in 2024

As mentioned, the shift towards digital channels is unmistakable. In 2023, the average U.S. consumer spent 268 minutes with traditional channels compared to 466 minutes with digital channels. While media consumption varies from generation to generation, it is clear that people across the board are allocating significant portions of their day to digital channels like:

  • Advanced TV: 83.5 minutes per day across all demographics
  • Music streaming: 88 minutes per day across all demographics
  • Social media: 139.5 minutes per day across all demographics

As these channels become a larger part of daily media consumption, they present a unique opportunity for engaging with voters across various demographics.  Here’s a closer look at where voters are spending their time online.

Advanced TV: A New Leader in Screen Time

In a historic shift, 2024 marks the year advanced TV consumption (2 hours 53 minutes daily) edges past traditional TV viewing (2 hours 48 minutes daily) for the first time. This pivotal change underscores the importance of Advanced TV in the modern voter’s daily routine, highlighting the platform’s dominance in home entertainment and its potential for targeted political messaging.

Mobile: The Digital Gateway

Mobile devices have become the central hub for digital consumption, accounting for over half of all digital media interactions. By 2024, Americans are projected to spend 279 minutes daily on non-voice mobile activities, emphasizing the necessity for mobile-optimized political content to effectively reach and engage voters.

Digital Audio: The Sound of Influence

Digital audio emerges as a significant component of digital media, with individuals dedicating 1 hour 45 minutes to the medium in 2024, making up 20% of all digital consumption. Its impact is particularly pronounced among the 18-35 age group, where 50% report consuming podcasts weekly—nearly matching TV viewership at 54%. This trend points to digital audio’s compelling role in connecting with younger voters, offering a dynamic channel for political discourse.

Social Media: The Cross-Generational Connector

While the landscape of political advertising on social platforms varies. (more on that in our next blog post), their influence in driving digital media adoption is undeniable. Social media usage spans generations, with 58% of those 65+ using Facebook, 67% of those 50-64, 65% of those 30-49 engaging with Instagram, and 65% of the 18-29 demographic active on Snapchat. TikTok, in particular, showcases remarkable growth among younger users, averaging 53.8 minutes of engagement per day, the highest among social apps, followed by X (formerly Twitter) at 34.1 minutes. This widespread adoption across demographics underscores social media’s critical role in shaping political narratives and engaging with the electorate.

Embracing a Digital-First Strategy

As the landscape of political advertising undergoes these significant changes, the urgency for adopting a digital strategy becomes paramount. Understanding and adapting to the digital habits of 2024’s voters ensures that political messages are not just seen but felt in an increasingly crowded digital space.

Discover more insights and strategies for the 2024 elections by downloading our comprehensive guide today. Grab your copy here. Stay tuned for the next part of our series, where we’ll delve deeper into tangible tactics political advertisers can employ across these channels to ensure political messages resonate in the digital age.

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