The Changing Ad Tech Landscape

Last year saw significant increase in the dollars spent on digital  versus traditional media advertising and this has prompted marketers to spend more money online. 2014 has also been an exciting year for mobile advertising as more and more agencies are trying to create a niche for themselves through evolving standards, benchmarks, and best practices. And, as the line between mobile and the desktop continues to blur, we will  likely see more dollars being spent in the mobile ad space as mobile  content continues to be consumed in an app-centric environment.

Customer Content Consumption Continues to Evolve

As a result of this shift from classic to online media, the role of the consumer has changed from that of a a spectator to active participant putting customers in control. To add complexity,  customers are shifting between devices to experience the best digital experience available. Thus, programmatic buying is the new norm as it delivers messages to end users with relevant impressions one-at-a-time thereby providing the desired brand experience. However, advertisers need far more insights on how ad tech companies go about spending the ad money and delivering value, even as concerns are raised on how digital data is being used to target customers.

Convergence will define success for ad campaigns

In a nutshell, the online ad spend will only continue to increase, but as competition grows, ad agencies and advertisers will put greater emphasis on hyper-segmentation to micro-target the right audience. In this scenario,  the key to successful campigns will be linked to content personalization. To achieve this,  digital channels, technology, and the growing amount of data needs to convulge to provide insights to better target ads. Hence, the goal for all agencies is to use technology and industry knowledge to identify the right data to provide the ideal ROI for advertisers.

Thus, the fact to be remembered is that data is not an end in itself  but a channel  to push the right message using the right media channel at the right time to ensure successful campaigns. The major challenge in this regard,  is for traditional media companies to be prepared to adapt to the changing ways in which data is being consumed by end users. Not many media companies are ready for this change though they have sufficient inventory value. What is needed is for these organizations to add value to the inventory rather than depend on the site master-head data to generate ad revenue. At the same time, for organizations ready for the change, their legacy infrastructure might become an obstacle.

To summarize,  in the complex world of  ad technology,  more clarity is evolving as time goes by. and as the world changes to a new order for accessing content anywhere, anytime, and on any device, the need now is for an always-on marketing strategy rather than those defined by start and end dates. To ensure success in this new order, advertisers need to have the right mix of channels, technology, and data to ensure a far greater success from ad money spend.

What Apple has already Achieved and What Microsoft and Google are Trying!!!

Over the last five years or so, a lot has happened in the IT industry that has disrupted the very way we use hardware and software, and to an extent it has given us alternate ways to consume information. Every year, analyst firms and IT service providers look for technologies or trends that will drive the next wave of change (or disruption). This year too, things are no different–with some overlapping trends in the numerous predictions and insights that are coming our way.

Overall, two areas stand out in having a profound impact on the way technology will be strategized and applied to consumers and the enterprise. First comes Mobility, and then comes the Disruptive Cloud. The interesting point to note is that, both these forces are mutually reinforcing the other as they evolve. All the leading IT solution and service providers today, have increased their focus on the mobility segment– which includes the mobile, notebook and everything in between. The Cloud, on the other hand, has enabled the realization of the unthinkable–to enable processing of data on devices, no matter what operating system or hardware it is running on. So anybody would agree with me when I say that the Cloud now controls the digital lives of people and extends anywhere from computing to communicating.

If the recent product and service launches are to be analyzed, the signals are clear that the primary goal of IT solution providers is to create a powerful ecosystem from both the developer and consumer perspectives. The release of the windows 8 is a perfect example in this regard,  as it is in line with the strategy being adopted by the big players in the IT domain. In a nutshell, Windows 8 is the older version in a new bottle with some features taken to the visual back-end and up come those Apps! Apps that have evolved with new usability features and behavior. Though they require a multichannel integration and interaction, the end product is so advanced that the experience can be customized to where a person is located and what they are doing. This is the same strategy being followed by Google, though not in very obvious terms, with Apps being designed for mobile and bigger devices. However, even though both the strategies might be the same in a way, the business sense is entirely different. Both Microsoft and Google are at the two ends of the OS dominance. One rules the desktop space while the other is at the mobile and both want more. For Microsoft it is about leveraging their desktop OS superiority to the not so successful mobile space while for Google there seems to be a simpler challenge – develop more for mobile and then leverage the same for larger devices. But hey, why are we not taking Apple into consideration here? Because, looks like they ‘bit the fruit’ first and did not feel anything! This strategy worked out perfectly for Apple with their scalable OS that works great on all devices. Though mobile and cloud came later, they were ready to embrace the change and leverage it to their strengths, even though they metaphorically, ‘arrived late to the party’! If you watched the WWDC2013 keynote, all this would make perfect sense as Apple lays out the plan for the next 10 years.

The fight on the other hand for Microsoft and Google is not about reaching first or about dominance but it is about who reaches the other end first. And what will help them achieve this – mobility and cloud.

Either way, ‘biting the fruit like Apple’ second causes lesser pain, doesn’t it?

PwC’s 2013 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook

Some Major Insights:

>      E&M businesses will increasingly engage with a new and more diverse global customer base, with different needs and expectations.

>      Vast consumption choices is creating confusion in the minds of the consumer and this extends to the legitimacy of the content they access.

>      As media consumption fragments across devices, consumers increasingly want personalised experiences.

>      Advertising spending is continuing to migrate to new digital platforms globally digital media will account for 37% of advertising revenues by 2017, up from 26% in 2012.

>      Rising expectation of ubiquitous access to premium and library content drives companies to focus on licensing and/or acquiring content.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers Press Release, 2013


Richard K Miller & Associates releases “2013 US Entertainment, Media & Advertising Market Research Handbook – 13th Edition”

Media and advertising market data are scattered through a myriad of sources. This handbook compiles top-line data into a single easy-to-use reference. Segments covered include filmed entertainment, home entertainment, live performances, local advertising, magazines, mobile media, news media, newspapers, outdoor advertising, place-based video advertising, radio, recorded music, television, the Internet, video games, and more.

The 2013 Entertainment, Media & Advertising Market Research Handbook has been expanded and includes Consumer Use of the Internet & Mobile Web, previously published as a separate annual reference handbook by RKMA. With this content, the handbook provides valuable insight into the rapidly changing fields of online and mobile marketing.


Second-screen to Define Social TV Consumers Behavior

According to Gartner, Second-screen devices combined with customized content, interactive apps and loyalty programs will fuel the behavior of social TV consumers over the next 24 months.

Gartner believes that social TV activities can enhance the value of the TV experience for consumers and offer opportunities to add new users, drive engagement and open up new advertising opportunities through existing social networks. Connected TVs will give access to a much wider range of content via the Internet, offering the possibility of worldwide video sharing, which will also extend the social TV experience beyond local friends and into a truly global arena. In this case it will be the addition of a second screen that will drive the social experience.

Source: Gartner Press Release, 2013

EBay takes aim at Amazon with new seller fees faces a new challenge from Internet rival eBay for the hearts and minds of online merchants.
EBay said Tuesday it’s overhauling its seller fees to make them less expensive and easier to understand. Starting next month, eBay will do away with its complex, tiered pricing and introduce flat-rate fees based on the types of products sold. EBay also said it will stop charging listing fees for most sellers.

The move comes as sellers on Amazon’s marketplace criticize the world’s largest Internet retailer for raising fees and holding up payments. Amazon sellers filed a class-action lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, accusing the company of holding their money for more than 90 days in violation of its own terms.

Source: The Seattle Times

EA: Games provides must adapt for connected TV rewards

Games providers face a number of challenges in addressing the connected TV market but there are huge opportunities if they approach the market in the rights way, according to Richard Hilleman, chief creative officer at games provider Electronic Arts (EA).

The key is for games providers to respect the time and money available to this consumer segment, and to develop games features that appeal to the market, said Hilleman, giving the opening keynote at the TV Connect event in London. He said EA will build games that have cross-platform appeal, with the ability for devices such as tablets and TVs to interact.

Games can be delivered to connected TVs via apps, browsers and streaming. Streaming delivery is currently the primary route to market for connected TV games, said Hilleman. He said the use of HTML5 would also help transform the gaming experience on TVs. However, gaming companies would have to make the software stack on connected TVs work to its maximum capability to deliver a compelling experience.

Source: Digital TV, March 19, 2013

Forrester says U.S. Online Retail Sales To Rise To $370bn By 2017 (10% CAGR) As Ecommerce Motors On With Help From Tablets & Phones

  • Forrester is projecting online retail sales will reach $370 billion by 2017, up from $231 billion in 2013 — a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years.
  • In the U.S. Forrester notes that online retail will continue to outpace the growth of physical retail stores — something the category has done since its inception, so no change there.
  • The analyst notes two “notable changes” have helped prop up ecommerce growth in recent years: firstly the rise of smartphones and tablets, which it says are boosting the amount of time consumers spend online and generating more buying opportunities.
  • Forrester notes that traditional retailers have invested heavily in their web divisions — including by offering hybrid online/offline capabilities such as in-store pickup for online purchases — which it says is also helping to grow ecommerce.