Programmatic Media Buying 101: What is the Difference Between AI, Machine Learning & Programmatic?

The world of digital advertising and programmatic advertising has developed its own language in the last couple of years, full of terms that are commonly heard and used everywhere but mean something very specific when attached to the word advertising. Most recently it’s almost impossible to read an article or even talk about media buying without bringing up the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning. The terms AI and machine learning are often used interchangeably but they are different. What is the difference between the two and what should they mean to us or me as a marketer or CMO?

AI for Programmatic Buying

Artificial intelligence is the concept of reproducing human intelligence in machines so they can execute on activities that normally would require a human brain to be involved in, such as making data-based decisions.  By using AI-powered systems brands and advertisers case save money and time by completing tasks faster than us mere humans and make less mistakes.  When you apply this to the programmatic media buying industry, you bring efficiency to the media buying process, freeing people who’s job it is buy media from the more tedious and allowing them to focus on the strategic and creative elements of their jobs.

The reason digital media executives keep talking about AI technologies is that they allow us to have algorithms that analyze a user’s behavior, allowing for real time programmatic campaign optimizations towards consumers who are more likely to convert. Advertisers then have the ability to gather all this rich audience data to then use it to be more accurate with their media buys and overall targeting tactics – ultimately spending less money and time and bringing in a higher ROI.

Will Machine Learning Replace Media Buyers?

The words Machine Learning can conjure up images of old sci-fi movies in which someone develops an intelligent robot that then dominates its creator or destroys a large city… leading to many questions about how this technology could affect the digital media industry.
Machine learning is a type of Artificial Intelligence that provides computers or robots with the ability to learn things by being programmed specifically to take certain actions, improving their knowledge over time, much in the same way our brains do.
Computers using machine learning focus on imitating our own decision-making logic by training a machine to use data to learn more about how to perform a task.

Imagine you ride your bike to work every day. Over time, after trying different ways to get to work, you will learn which route is faster or maybe which road or path is better according to the day of the week or based on the weather outside. This is exactly how machine learning works. You feed the computer or algorithm with large amounts of data so it will analyze information from the past and learn from it to apply the learnings to any new data it receives in the future.

When applied to programmatic advertising, machine learning algorithms can analyze large volumes of data from difference sources and draw conclusions from it. It means you can almost replicate the brain of an experienced media buyer in a machine or algorithm so it becomes capable of  predicting, planning and optimizing media. Almost…. but not yet, though the machines can certainly make programmatic advertising more efficient, faster and easier to implement, there remain many factors which need human brains to input link the machine learning to an overall media buying strategy.

So How are AI and Machine Learning Connected to Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is the automated process of buying and selling ad inventory through an exchange, connecting advertisers to publishers rather than having to make individual deals with each publisher. This process uses artificial intelligence technologies to improve efficiency and make better decisions for the advertisers with their budgets.
There is a lot of investment being made in marketing and ad buying technologies to leverage AI.  Companies like Xaxis, are betting heavy on AI for improving their future Programmatic Buying Platforms.  Fo right now marketers are using AI to stitch massive amounts of their data together, but it still hasn’t replaced human analysis.  For media agencies, Artificial Intelligence is still more a buzzword or a catchphrase to get peoples attention.

David Lee, programmatic lead at ad agency The Richards Group, said that he regularly gets pitches for AI-enabled products but the AI part of the products usually “doesn’t seem to affect performance outside of being a buzzword.”

You need Machine Learning to feed AI but you don’t need AI for Machine Learning. What that means is that machine learning is the technique — using algorithms to process data, learn from insights and make predictions for future programmatic campaigns which then trains the AI.
Both Machine Learning and AI are here to stay.  If you are a marketer or a media buyer, get familiar with these terms as they will continue to occupy the press and blogs like ours.  But for now they are not taking over for humans, that’s still in the sci-fi section of the video library.

In 2018, Mobile Video Spend Will Dominate Programmatic Media Buys

In 2017, programmatic digital display ad spending reached $32.56 billion and is projected to continue to grow rapidly throughout 2018 and hit $45 billion in spend by 2019. With this rise in programmatic ad spend, there also comes a shift in where advertisers are buying ad space. Another shift in programmatic ad buying is the rapid rise in mobile placements over desktop. The move to mobile is not surprising considering that on average, people in the United States are spending over 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. Media Buyers are set to capitalize on this shift, in 2018, programmatic investment on mobile will reach $30 billion, over 3x the amount spent on desktop. This is in large part due to the popularity of mobile video consumption and mobile-friendly sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat.

In 2018, Programmatic investment on mobile will reach $30 billion, over 3x the amount spent on desktop -eMarketer

This year, it is projected that mobile video ad spending will surpass non-mobile ad spend. This is due to the rise in popularity of consumers watching video online. It is projected that this year people will spend on average 36 minutes watching video on their phone or tablet compared to 18.5 minutes on non-mobile devices. Around the world, people will watch 25% more video on phone and tablets whereas computer and laptop video consumption is expected to decline. Smart TV streaming continues to rise, but not quickly enough to make up for the mass decline in non-mobile platform viewing. Mobile video ad spending alone is expected to reach $18 billion, a 49% growth. With more consumers watching videos on their phone, media plans are also being adjusted to include larger budgets for mobile video ads and creative.

Mobile Video Ad Boom Driven by Social Platforms

The move towards mobile video consumption is largely due to mobile-friendly apps like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat. Over 500 million hours of YouTube video are watched everyday. 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a Facebook video will watch for at least 10 seconds, and 45% will watch for 30 seconds (Facebook, 2016).  These stats clearly explain why Google as well as Facebook have the largest share in mobile advertising. Advertising agencies put aside a portion of their media budget for Facebook ads and although these agencies don’t necessarily plan to use this money for mobile, it is where the audience is going, as most of Facebook’s audience is through mobile. Views for branded video content on Facebook has increased 258% in 2017 making it a great media buy for advertisers. With 10 million videos watched on Snapchat everyday, the company is estimated to experience the fastest mobile ad revenue growth between 2016-2019. As more companies make their websites mobile friendly, the shift to mobile advertising will continue to grow, leaving desktop ads behind.  

By 2019, $45.72 billion will flow via biddable media, more than four out of five US digital display ad dollars. Mobile ad spending will be credited for more than $30 billion of this amount. The era of mobile programmatic advertising is just beginning as advertisers and brands spend more time and budget optimizing their campaigns for mobile.

Read about the other nine trends that we are predicting will be the key to success for programmatic buying teams in 2018 here.

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed on native advertising and more than 30 other topics.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

2018 Trends: Generation Z vs Millennials, What Programmatic Media Buyers Need to Know?

In the last five years, digital media buyers and brand marketers have been hyper-focused on finding and targeting millennials, forgetting about an extremely influential and profitable demographic, Generation Z. Generation Z defines the group of people born between 1996 and the mid 2000s. They have different purchasing habits and need to be targeted differently than millennials. Most importantly, their influence on the market is tremendous and if brands don’t adapt to fit their needs, they have a great possibility of getting left behind.

Instagram Stories blow past Snapchat with 200 million daily active users as Generation Z becomes more valuable to most organizations than millennials -Statista


Generation Z has very clear and unique preferences that advertisers need to understand. Influencer marketing is very successful with Gen Z. Rather than looking at informational sites, they are likely to head to YouTube and watch a trusted influencer’s video for their information. Although many of them grew up with technology in their hand, this isn’t where they do their shopping. Millennials are much more likely to shop online than Generation Z who prefer shopping in person. Although millennials and Gen Z share short attention spans and the ability to toggle between multiple pages, Gen Z takes this to an extreme level. People in Gen Z have an average attention span of 8 seconds and usually switch between at at least 5 different screens. Advertisers had already seen a decline in television advertising success but now with an even shorter attention span, Generation Z is not the audience to target with TV spots. Gen Z wants real content that makes them feel like they know the brand and the person behind the content. Most importantly, this age demographic wants their independence. They are not interested in loyalty programs but rather want to interact with the advertiser on their terms. Brands that understand the unique preferences of this age demographic and can build media plans, creative and overall programmatic marketing campaigns that have better results.
 

Snapchat vs. Instagram

Brands that are looking to buy programmatic media that targets a younger demographic need to stay up to date with Gen Z likes and dislikes. Especially when it comes to social media advertising. Snapchat, one of the biggest social media platforms with 150 million daily users is starting to fall behind in market share as they realize their competitors are resonating with Gen Z more effectively. Although Facebook, who also owns Instagram, added the “stories” feature and have been accused of copying Snapchat, they already have more active daily users than Snapchat. Instagram started with a larger install base, at over 800 million active users, and have been able to successfully copy what Gen Z users love about Snapchat and adapt it in their own app. This leaves Snapchat to figure out how best to target Gen Z so the users come back to their app and don’t leave them behind in the likes of Facebook and Twitter.  
 

In Summary

What do we need to know about Generation Z?

  1. Trust influencers over direct brand advertising and would prefer to see a YouTube video from someone they follow vs. a TV spot from a brand they might like.
  2. Prefer to do their shopping at a brick and mortar store rather than online.
  3. Have a super short attention span, and are often toggling between 5 screens.
  4. Are super independent and don’t want to be defined by a brand, so advertisers that want to succeed with them need to celebrate the individual rather than trying to group them into categories or audiences.

Read about the other nine trends that we are predicting will be the key to success for programmatic buying teams in 2018 here.

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed on native advertising and more than 30 other topics.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

In 2018 Native Becomes the Leading Ad Format for Programmatic Media Buying Platforms

Native advertising was established to make ads appear more natural on a web page. Rather than making it overtly obvious that the ad is not part of the original page, native advertising uses the page’s design and layout to design the ad so that it appears as just a part of the webpage.  Programmatic native advertising takes this to the next level by targeting a person based on specific data parameters, with the goal of providing the right message to the user in the context of the page/ and or platform that they are on. This provides relevant and helpful information to the user at the right time.

Increase demand for more native experiences will drive programmatic native spend, reaching $24 million by years end, compared to 13.24 billion in 2016 – eMarketer

In 2018 native digital display ads will make up more than half of all digital display ad spending in the United States. This stems from both publisher and advertiser demands. Publishers are pursuing higher value and more mobile friendly content while advertisers are interested in more engaging, less intrusive ads.  This is a trend that programmatic media buyers need to pay attention to as it will be front and center in 2018 media plans. With the advances of machine learning and AI native advertising will become even smarter and which will likely increase the already enticing engagement metrics. Also, it is easier for publishers to guarantee a viewable and fraud free experience providing brands with a more reassuring level of transparency.

Native Gained Popularity Through Social Media Platforms

Native advertising has gained traction through social media platforms, the trend having started with Facebook. In 2017, 84.2% of native display ads appeared on social platforms, which resulted in a $18.59 billion spend. Because most people consume social media on their phones, the focus native advertising development is equally been mobile heavy.  In 2017, $19.5 billion was spent on native mobile display which encompasses 88.3% of all native advertising, and the share is only growing. However, the social platform trend is slowly shifting as other publishers outside the social platform walled gardens are incorporating in-feed ads and videos allowing media buyers to scale their native programmatic ad buys, especially for those brands who are seeking higher rates of engagement. In the coming months, it is projected that more non-social publishers will quickly move to accommodate native programmatic ad buying.

As non-social sites incorporate programmatic native ads, social platforms continue to incorporate these ads to accommodate demand from both publishers and advertisers for this advertising format, and we predict that the trend will be that in 2018 native programmatic advertising will continue to take share away from display ads. The numbers back up this trend. It is estimated that the total ad spend will reach $24 billion which will make up more than 50% of all display ad spending in the United States.

Read about the other nine trends that we are predicting will be the key to success for programmatic buying teams in 2018 here.

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed on native advertising and more than 30 other topics.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

2018 Programmatic Media Buying Trends: Video Takes 1st Place in Growth Opportunity

In 2017, advertisers spent more on video ads than banner ads for the first time. In the first half of 2017, advertisers spent $921 million on video ads which topped the $903 million spent on banner ads. This is in large part due to how many people are watching videos online. In a recent report, Cisco suggests that by 2019, 80% of all consumer traffic will be video. On mobile devices, 70% of the advertising traffic will be video ads. This yields a 14-times growth within the next five years. Advertisers and programmatic media buyers have a great opportunity to embrace this change, to make content that resonates with consumers and include video in more of their media plans.

Video display ads are expected to be the second leading highest spend platform in 2018 and in 2019 (source: eMarketer).

It isn’t just the growth in video consumption that is propelling a large spend on this ad format, there are also great opportunities for return on investment. Amazon, who owns one of the larger DSPs in the programmatic space, says that including a video ad increases the propensity to buy by up to 35%. Although video ads naturally cost more to produce, they are more engaging for consumers thus making them more effective. Advertisers need to ensure that they are still creating quality content, rather than a 15 second pre-roll TV ad.

Video is Winning the Attention Battle with Consumers


Consumers are now pre-programmed to ignore banner ads, so media buys need to make sure that this doesn’t happen with video advertising as well. Consumers are already watching videos, so if videos ads are interesting, they will remain hooked. As of now, video ads have the highest click-through rates of all digital ad formats at 1.84% which in large part is due to video trends yielding more brand engagement as opposed to direct-response, “buy this product” ads. Advertisers benefit because video ads offer live and very granular insights instead of static panel insights offered by other ad formats. There are many advantages for both consumers and advertisers that this ad format will continue to offer, as long as advertisers do not abuse it.

A Shift Towards a Video-First Strategy

The opportunity for revenue in video for publishers and advertisers is equally appealing and both are embracing video advertising as a dominant format.  Consumers have grown accustomed to the pre-roll and post-roll ads that appear when watching a video. But mid-roll, outstream and social in-feed ads are on the rise, now accounting for more than half of video spend ($478 million). Advertisers will need to proceed with caution with this ad format. Consumers do not like having their content disrupted and if this platform is abused, more people will start to use ad-blockers, thus making the ads irrelevant.
If advertisers and marketers stick to making quality, non-intrusive, creative video ads, consumers will begin to adapt pre, mid or post-roll ads as a ‘native’ format and part of their online video watching. This will allow programmatic media buyers to continue to see success with their video campaigns by both engaging consumers with brands and creating an overall return on investment.

Read about the other nine trends that we are predicting will be the key to success for programmatic buying teams in 2018 here.

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed and get going.  Need more information, you can also reach out to us here.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: How the Industry is Solving Domain Spoofing and Ad Fraud with Ads.txt & Private Marketplace

In 2018 the ad tech industry, and especially the top DSPs, are going to focus on improving inventory quality for programmatic media, as seen in our top ten trends you need to know about programmatic this year.

Download the full infographic here

What Does Inventory Quality Mean?

Over the past few years, the quantity of fraudulent ads has decreased greatly as the ability to monitor and prevent ad fraud has improved. However, there was still a significant room for improvement. Much of the development that has been made is for desktops ads. As the digital ad buying process continues to become more transparent and ad inventory quality improves, focus now needs to be centered on mobile and video ads. Video ads are extremely enticing to ad fraudsters due to high CPMs. The importance of eliminating fraud and enhancing the quality of ad inventory benefits both buyers and publishers.

On the buyer’s side, there are two major reason to ensure quality ad inventory: brand safety and media waste. If a buyer purchases fraudulent ad space and their brand is presented in a negative environment, it can greatly affect their brand image. In regard to media waste, if an ad is bought and only viewed by bots, instead of human eyes, the media spend is wasted on false impressions. Purchasing quality ad inventory ensures that an ad shows up on the site it is supposed to be published on and that human eyes are viewing it.

Publishers are primarily concerned with ensuring a quality customer experience. Customer experiences are deterred through malware or annoying ads. If the ad exchange is not properly screened, malware can arrive on a publisher’s site. If the consumer clicks on the ad, it will infect their browser, creating a very negative customer experience. Customers do not like when ads refresh, flash or are otherwise annoying. Publishers need to ensure that this is not occurring with their advertisements.

Publishers and buyers need to work together to become a trusted source of quality inventory which involves the following:

  1. Publishers sharing information with one another about negative buying experiences.
  2. DSPs need to educate their advertisers, that buying ad space from many different sources opens up the door for ad fraud.
  3. Create realistic standards for viewability. It is unrealistic to set 100% viewability goals.

Solutions for Fraud and Domain Spoofing

Private Marketplace Deals

Ad space was traditionally bought through open marketplaces. This is a process in which multiple media owners offer up their ad inventory to multiple buyers. All of the buyers compete to have their ad space placed on a page and the highest bidder wins.
Private marketplaces are auctions that are only open to select advertisers through an invitation-only format. Some of these entail only one publisher offering up ad space, others have a few. Before the auction, buyers and sellers negotiate a deal. Each deal is given a unique ID and advertisers bid on that deal only – inventory that does not meet the deal will not be bid on. This marketplace structure requires more work however, it is much more transparent. Buyers will know where their ad is being placed such as the URL of the website their ad will be shown on. The marketplace ensures a more transparent ad buying process and ensures that buyers ads show up exactly where they want them to, reaching the right audience in the right place.  

DSPs Are Implementing Ads.txt

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has released the latest mechanism that boosts inventory quality and makes the ad buying process less risky. In September, IAB released the authorized digital sellers or ads.txt. This is a simple, flexible method for publishers and distributors to clearly state which companies are authorized to use their digital inventory.

Companies drop a text file on their website that lists the different companies authorized to sell inventory on their site. This will enable buyers to see which programmatic firms have authorization to sell ad space on specific websites, ensuring validity in their purchase. The upkeep for this process is also simple. Someone will have to monitor additions to an ads.txt list to stay up to date with authorized sellers.

If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed and get going.  Need more information you can also reach out to us here.

10 Programmatic Media Buying Trends for 2018 That You Need to Know About

As we kick off 2018, it’s important as marketers, media buyers or media planners to be confident that we are making the right choices, spending valuable dollars in the right places and overall making the returns for those dollars that everyone is expecting.  How do we know for sure we made the right decisions?  We read, we discuss and we read some more on what’s next and how we can outsmart others by being ahead of the trends or implementing the newest ad technology before anyone realized they even needed it.

Our team at Digilant has spent a good amount of time doing the research for you.  We narrowed it down to 10 big trends we know will affect programmatic media buyers this year.  In 2018 you will be hearing a lot of talk about in-housing, ads.txt, OTT, DOOH, native, transparency, attribution and how digital media buying will be going fully programmatic in the next couple of years. We will cover all these topics and more over the next couple of weeks but in the meantime we offer you 10 things you need to know about programmatic for 2018.

Download the full infographic here or read it below. 
If you haven’t already, there is no time like 2018 to get on the programmatic bandwagon.  If you need to get started Digilant University has all the information you need to get up to speed and get going.  Need more information you can also reach out to us here.

Digital Advertising Lookback for 2017

What Happened in 2017?

Although your newsfeeds and inboxes have likely been inundated over the past few weeks with content and messages reflecting on the events from this past year, the digital marketing world really never pauses or slow downs. Since last January, global digital ad spend has increased 15%, surpassing TV ad spend for the first time ever. According to Statista, 2017 marked the first year in which mobile traffic composed more than half of all web traffic. It’s clear that the way that people consume content, interact with brands, and navigate the buyer’s journey is changing. Before you finish ramping up your marketing for the new year and embark on new digital ventures, we wanted to outline these major developments from 2017 to help you keep up with advancements being made today and anticipate transitions that advertisers will need to make tomorrow as we move into 2018.

Amazon Now Has Its Own DSP

Through the consolidation of many DSPs last year, we were left with one major surprise: Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP) exceeded Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) as the most used DSP. Despite remaining fairly below the radar, Amazon’s DSP is quickly gaining popularity because of its low agency fees, self-service option and unique commerce and purchase data. When ad buyers were asked for their preferred DSP, 23% answered Amazon. This tops the next choice, AppNexus, which falls at 19%. As the number of DSPs not owned by walled gardens, telcos, enterprise clouds or media companies decreases, differentiation becomes the key challenge.

Innovations in Transparency Hold Advertisers & Publishers More Accountable

Facebook updated their transparency policy to require political and retail-focused advertisers to reveal all ads they are running publicly in their feed. In October, Facebook announced, “Starting next month, people will be able to click ‘View Ads’ on a Page and view ads a Page is running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — whether or not the person viewing is in the intended target audience for the ad.” All ads must be associated with a page during the ad creation. This is a huge shift towards leveling the playing field for advertisers as they will be able to view all other ads that are running on these networks and gain competitive insights to optimize their funnels. In the past, advertisers could run dark posts, which permitted advertisers to run as many ads as they wanted without ever appearing on the brand’s own feed. This means that your competition could run multiple target specific tailored ads and you would never see them. With Facebook’s new policy, regardless of demographics, advertisers will be able to see the ads that their competition are running.

Although this initiative stemmed from a need for greater democratic transparency, Facebook’s new initiative is helpful for all parties in the digital advertising sphere and they’re not the only ones advocating for more honest advertising practices. The IAB has taken major strides to keep publishers accountable for any counterfeit inventory served to advertisers through their ads.txt project. The Ads.txt buying method confirms that each webpage uploads a file to its root domain detailing which SSP (Sell Side Platform – a tool that manages the programmatic advertising on a publisher’s site) offers its inventory, its Placement ID and its relationship with that SSP. The publishers publicly indicate who is actually authorized to market their advertising space eliminating inventory fraud. In 2018 we’ll begin to see many DSPs offer only inventory tagged with an ads.txt ID to their brand partners.

Retail eCommerce Flourishes as Online & Offline Experiences Blend

2017 was an extremely busy year for retail eCommerce with a 4.9% increase in U.S. sales and a number of mergers and acquisitions. Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion and Walmart acquired a number of eCommerce brands like Bonobos and Moosejaw. Despite the closure of many physical retail spaces, brands with brick and mortar stores are leveraging the data they’re gathering online to improve the offline customer experience, even implementing AI and AR to better understand and communicate with the customers. Conversely, strictly eCommerce brands like Casper mattresses and Harry’s shaving are partnering with traditional retailers like Target to bring online products to consumers more accustomed to offline shopping.

Cord Cutting Becomes More Popular & Advertisers Work to Gain Viewability

TVs, gaming devices, smart set-top boxes, desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones that all stream Amazon Video, Youtube TV, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO can be blamed for the slow death of cable TV. According to eMarketer, 22.2 million Americans, an 33% increase from 2016, have officially cut the cord and no longer pay for traditional cable, satellite or telco services. It’s forecasted that by 2021, 30% of adults won’t have traditional pay TV.

As online companies observed the increase in the number of streamers and the profitability this area brings, they were quick to jump onboard. In August, Facebook launched its new video service, “Watch.” This platform offers both live and pre-recorded videos that Facebook users can upload content to, similar to YouTube. However, they also partnered with Major League Baseball, the NBA, Nasa, Time Inc., National Geographic and NASA who pay to add their content to the viewing options. Facebook is not the only newcomer as Snapchat, Disney, Philo and countless TV networks created both paid and unpaid streaming platforms.

With this change in viewing preference, advertisers are finding new ways to reach these viewers. Many of the streaming platforms require users to watch a 15-60 second spot before their content plays. An advantage to this is that these ads are 100% viewable – there is no way to skip the ad. If advertisers are able to create clear, creative video that captures the attention of the viewer and seems more like an additional piece of content, this new shift will increase lift and be a great addition to many brand’s media mix.

Artificial Intelligence Knocks on Everyone’s Front Door

In 2017, artificial intelligence (AI) branched out from the areas where we were used to seeing it, like inside of our cars, smartphones and aircrafts, and is quickly integrating itself into our homes. Over the holiday season, Amazon said they sold “millions” of their Alexa products, including the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Connect, Echo Spot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Echo Look, and Amazon Fire TV stick. Google also saw success with their line of home products.

Luckily for these search and retail giants, consumers’ attitudes towards AI has shifted from fear that the technology would take their jobs to appreciation. 75% of Americans now believe that AI is here to help humans and that those who don’t embrace its benefits will be without a job in the future. As it becomes increasingly present in our lives and continues to collect rich voice data, in-home AI devices will soon lend just as much of a hand to digital advertisers as it does consumers. As 2018 moves forward, advertisers will begin to map out the uncharted territory that lies within the data accumulated from these devices.

Apple Says Goodbye to the Home Button

Apple decided to make their newest phone’s screen as large as possible and to make space for more phone, they eliminated the home button. A once standard feature on every iPhone, adjusting to the new process to unlock the smartphone via facial recognition will take time. Chief Design Officer, Jonathan Ive, spoke to the change and some of the initial opposition it faced in a recent interview with Time. Ive said that “[he] actually think[s] the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure.”

The world’s most valuable brand and owner of approximately 15% of the global smartphone market share believes that its 2013 purchase of Israeli 3D sensing company, PrimeSense, powering this technology will continue to position Apple as a mobile leader. Providing greater security and ease for users when accessing their phones, the disappearance of the home button fulfills Steve Jobs wish to create a more simplified login. The iPhone X is Apple’s most personalized phone to date prompting users to say that it feels almost like the phone is magical, and projections to sell 265 million iPhones in 2018 support this sentiment.
Videos and Visuals Dominate

Four of the fastest growing social media platforms are Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr and the common denominator within all of these platforms is visual content. People are no longer satisfied with solely written content and in order to stay engaged, especially for consumers in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, they are actively changing the way they view content. The average person gets distracted in about 8 seconds, so incorporating popular features such as photos, infographics, memes, illustrations and videos is essential. With 81% of people skimming the content they read online and image-related posts receiving a 650% higher engagement, it’s clear that captivating visual and video content is only going to become more important in 2018.

$10 Billion Spent on Data

According to a study from the IAB Data Center of Excellence and the Data & Marketing Association, US companies spent $10.05 billion on third-party audience data and $10.13 billion on solutions to support its activation in 2017. The $10.05 billion breaks down into $3.5 billion spent on email addresses, names, street addresses and other personally identifiable information, $2.9 billion on transactional data and $2 billion on digital identifiers. In regard to solution support, $4.3 billion was spent on supporting data integration, processing and hygiene, $4.2 billion spent on hosting and management solutions and $1.63 billion spent on analytics, modeling and segmentation solutions.

Snapchat Improves its Ad Tracking

Snapchat has had a very eventful year with many successes and challenges. Despite its devaluation after its IPO in March, the social platform has been very resilient. Snapchat boasts about 178 million daily users that spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the app and if you look at users under the age of 25 (about 60% of all users), this jumps to around 42 minutes of Snapchatting a day, making it more frequently used than its competitor. For brands looking to reach these users, there are a variety of ways to leverage the platform to promote their offerings, such as filters, geotags, and in-app ads that viewers see between viewing friends’ and publishers’ stories.

What’s most promising about Snapchat is its users’ disposition towards ads, with 50% receptive to or neutral to the ads they’re served. Brands are hoping to see positive results from their Snapchat campaigns and are also excited that they can now track them much more effectively. The recent release of the “Snap Pixel” allows advertisers to add a pixel to their ads and track campaign metrics and data analytics in real time. For the past three years since Snapchat began using advertising, it’s been making it easier for brands to automate campaigns, bid on ad space and measure the performance. With these advances and the platform’s sustained engagement of young millennials and Generation Z consumers, Snapchat is maintaining its position as a major player in digital advertising.

Summary

With an overwhelming amount of new players and shifting paradigms that have arisen in the digital ecosystem throughout 2017, there’s a lot to keep track of and a lot of opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of in 2018.  Having a strong digital partner to manage your brand’s digital ad buying is crucial and Digilant is ready to step in to help.  Reach out to us here to learn more about our digital media buying solutions and services and how to maximize your brand’s digital advertising potential in 2018.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Amazon Invests in Ad Tech with its DSP AAP (Amazon Advertising Platform)

Interested in learning about Amazon’s DSP capabilities and how it can add value to your media plan? Reach out to us here and learn about Digilant’s unique partnership with Amazon’s AAP (proprietary ad platform).

Amazon is now everywhere, seemingly moving into every industry and recently making great strides in ad tech with its growing DSP business, opening up self-service programmatic ad products, and offering training programs to make direct connections with ad buyers. Its Transparent Ad Marketplace is the most popular server-to-server wrapper in the ad industry.

According to eMarketer‘s latest report, Amazon’s advertising revenues will total $1.65 billion in 2017 —far below that of Google or Facebook, but above brands like Twitter and Snapchat.
By investing in it’s demand-side platform (DSP), which is now one of the largest in the US, Amazon has a larger share of the US digital display ad market. With 3.0% of net US digital display ad revenues, Amazon takes 4th place for display ad buying in 2017 and is keeping it’s eyes on 3rd place. By offering Headline search ads, Amazon can compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars.  Amazon is the most popular site for customers to search for consumer products online and by offering headline search ads, they are now dipping into Google’s search engine market share.

Amazon is Changing Digital Advertising as we Know it!

The one thing marketers hate is spending media budget to buy ads and then having to prove that they are converting with attribution methods.  Amazon is promising its programmatic ad buyers that if you buy ads on their DSP platform, you’ll know that they work and they will show you data to prove it. Because marketers not only want to be able to place ads in the right place and at right time, but they also want the right relevance.  Amazon offers measurement metrics from impressions and clicks to deeper data on sales information, full shopping journeys and things like a customer’s worth over a lifetime, giving media buyers what they need to prove their ads are contributing to conversions.  Amazon has a gigantic pool of real-time data, not just likes and habits, but actual purchases – what people are buying and how they are doing it -, you will know what ads work in actually driving people to make purchases — and then be best positioned to target those ads.

Their timing couldn’t be better, as Amazon’s DSP is growing in popularity, ad buyers are cutting back the number of DSPs they use. Media buyers and CMOs are choosing to use less DSPs and self-service platforms are on the rise in the ad tech industry, specifically for brands who are bringing all of their digital media buying in-house, with the goal to trim fees and have more control over their overall go-to-market strategy.  Amazon has greatly benefited from the programmatic in-housing trend. It offers agencies and brands a programmatic self-service model, and its DSP fees are among the lowest in the market.

If you want to know more about Amazon’s DSP capabilities and how it can add value to your media plan, or ask questions about Amazon’s AAP (proprietary ad platform) Digilant can help.  Reach out to us here.

2017 Holiday Shopping Insights & Stats for Marketers and Media Buyers – Infographic

The results are in from America’s biggest shopping weekend of the year and the numbers are bigger than ever!  According to Adobe, who predicted that Americans would spend $5 Billion this year on Black Friday, they actually surpassed that number in online retail sales reaching $5.03 Billion – up 16,9% over last year.  This comes after the record $2.87 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving.  Adobe analyses 80 percent of online transactions for the 100 largest web retailers in the country to come up with these stats.

Mobile Traffic Dominates Black Friday

This year, according to Salesforce 60% of traffic to retail sites came from a mobile phone device. This tells us that consumers are not just browsing on phones, as 42% of Black Friday orders were placed from a mobile phone. 2017 represents a huge shift to mobile and the first Black Friday where computers accounted for less than half – 49% – of all orders.

According to Adobe’s Revenue tracking index, on Black Friday, 54.3% of retail website visits and 36.9% of revenue came from mobile, with conversion rates for tablets up 13% year over year, and smartphones up 16.5% year over year.
With consistent mobile retail traffic and revenue since the beginning of the month, it’s time for all marketers to consider running mobile only programmatic campaigns. Because consumers have access to reviews, ratings, and suggestions at the tap of a button,mobile-driven micro-moments are grabbing the huge majority of consumer attention.  It’s important to get in front of that consumer at the right time with the right ad, on their device of choice, and create a fluid and intuitive buying experiences – all the way from the awareness stage to the point of purchase.

Mobile is also transforming the in-store experience for customers. In-store shoppers search for information online while in-store. For the most part, they’re using search engines but consumers also head to the retailer’s own site or app. This presents a powerful opportunity for retailers to connect with shoppers, whether by sending them a special coupon or thanking them for coming into the store —mostly using the opportunity to  prevent them from turning to the competition.

 

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