I wanted to find a course that blended economics with computer science when I went to University. Lecturers actually laughed at the concept. I didn’t think it was so strange; economics is the social science of man. If I put the price of that coat up by %100 and call it luxury – will I sell more or less? Surely the power of computing could be used in that sort of decision. Being unable to magically create courses I picked computing over economics.
.. And I ended up in marketing. Digital marketing went from being a hobby, to a cottage industry to being bigger than TV. In the early days we were earning beer money through affiliate deals, promoting on early search engines and chatting on Usenet (social media before the Hipsters made it cool) and would never have guessed how big it would become.
Why does this interest you? Digital marketing is still growing. It’s not just taking money off old marketing but it’s adding new money. Digital agencies buy and employ plenty of tech – including startups. Digital agencies strike the ad deals that help startup platforms and publishers grow.
We’re all becoming publishers. When we share on a social media platform we’re publishing. When we blog we’re a publisher. Agencies are becoming publishers as we reach out to audiences on behalf of brands. Publishers are becoming agencies as they seek to promote authors and their books.
Let’s start with digital TV. TVs are digital. In effect, we’ll soon get our programs “over the internet”. It’s a battle ground. DG recently sold off the assets that grew their company to a close competitor in order to focus on digital. AOL spend $400m plus on Adap.tv. Microsoft’s taken a big gamble with the digital TV integration on the Xbox One.I said we’re all becoming publishers – but perhaps we’ll all becoming broadcasters. It’s just as easy to film and publish a video today as it is for a blog post. For some people; it’s easier.Can you imagine the impact of the first celeb or sportsman who took to the field wearing a pair of Google Glasses? Imagine the rules that would need to be written to protect current TV licensing models.
Let’s not forget the first screen either. Just to be clear; mobile is the first screen. The large TV screen may control the living room and the desktop device is used at work but it’s your mobile you take with you. Expect plenty of growth and M&A in the mobile space for years to come.
One key aspect of the growth of mobile is the importance of speed. You probably heard the news yesterday that Ballmer would step down as the CEO of Microsoft. I bet you found that out from your phone or from someone who found out from their phone.In response, marketing agencies are watching real life news and trends very quickly. The point here is that to be a real-time publisher you need to join in with real-time conversations or topics of interest (this is not storytelling). The challenge isn’t just being aware of what’s happening but working out what to do with it it.For example, if there’s been a crash somewhere there are dozens of travel brands who might want to stop search campaigns. If there’s been a funny video that’s sprung out of reddit and to the wider web then a brand has just a few hours to create viral candidate content that’s relevant to that.
Buzzfeed is an example of a site that works well with that newsroom approach. If you’ve got the content it’s fairly easy to use this as a platform to join the conversation. If you pay Buzzfeed to help promote the content then, in this instance, it’s become “native content.” In other words – ads are disruptive and annoying, but if you can fit “different quality” in to a platform in a slightly more organic way then you can call it native content. Depending on your goals you may well get much better results this way too.There’s an important line about ethics and disclosure in native content, though. It’s still an ad. Small bloggers, in particular, need to be careful they’re not lulled into accepting money for “native content”, failing to disclosure it correctly only then to find themselves in trouble from the OFT and others.
Aol bought Adap.tv for $405m thismonth. That’s big money. How do you make money from video? Sure, platforms like YouTube put ads beside video content but how do video producers make money? Companies like ebuzzing, Be On and Unruly earn money by helping seed videos and publishers earn from them by sharing those videos (either as ads or suitably disclosed native content). Meanwhile companies like Coull are offering tech to put affiliate layers over videos (yours or others) so that you earn money if the clickthrough on that overlay results in someone buying something.
Put all this together and you get a rise in content marketing; with the platforms and tech to support it. Content marketing is – funnily enough – about marketing content. The goal of the content might be to attract fans (social), sales (retail) or even links and other signals search engines look at (seo).It’s a wide discipline but I like this video from Weber Shandwick’sMediaco.
Here’s a big one.In the past ad buyers would do big deals with people who owned advertising space. Deals would be struck over cocktail lunches. Ads would be matched to demograhics or discounts. It wasn’t very technical. I hated it.The combination of programmatic and real-time bidding is changing this. Now, in many cases, an ad buyer can be alerted to the fact that someone with a high chance of booking a business class trip to New York is about to look at a quality webpage. It doesn’t matter what the content of the page is or even who the publisher is – could be a small blog or a newspaper, but it’s a trusted site – what matters is that the viewer of the ad, the audience, is right. Sounds hard? It all happens in micro-seconds before a page loads. There’s a bid process and the winner, usually who bids the most, gets their ad served.Recently, News Corp announced that they’d back out of the complex ecosystem of ad exchanges and run their own. There’s still elements of this bidding process but the giant publisher is looking to cut out the middle men.The diagram above looks complex but it just describes the /mobile/ technologies and buyers in place in the RTB space. Imagine what desktop looks like.
Big Data. This under pins a lot of what’s been mentioned in this presentation but it’s worth being aware that the phrase “big data” is thrown around a lot. A lot of so-called big data isn’t big (and the engineers in the room will agree with me when I say that sometimes it’s barely data too). It’s true that chomping more and more data is important, doing it quickly and well is important. The key message here is that marketing tech is into buying and dealing with data. RTB and programmatic buying needs data.You don’t need to be a big company to deal with big data. Some of the most promising start-ups I’ve seen this year work in big data.
This presentation is about the growth of marketing technology. That doesn’t mean it’s all about the marketing agencies. There are other players moving in too. Amazon, at the bottom, is doing an increasingly good job straddling across many categories; it’s both a content provider, a platform and a service.
The conclusion? The trends in digital marketing tech are all pointing in one direction – towards the audience. Digital marketing and publishing now share an increasingly common evolution; engaging with people in order to achieve a result.
Trends in Marketing Technology | Turing Festival 2013