Tag Archives: xaxis

‘Advertising at a Crossroads’ as AI the new Focus for Marketers

Arshan Saha Xaxis APAC President
By Arshan Saha, President APAC, Xaxis

There’s been a lot of scepticism recently about where advertising is headed. Online advertising has seen massive growth over the past decade thanks to its flexibility, transparency and measurability—not to mention the ROI. But with this growth comes a new challenge: more than before, marketers must fight to break through the clutter and connect with their target audiences. The rise of obtrusive and irrelevant ads on the web has led to a concurrent surge in ad-blocking software as consumers become frustrated with or indifferent to the content bombarding them. In response, some of advertising’s biggest spenders have started to shift their focus back to real-world tactics such as experiential marketing. This leaves advertising at a tricky crossroads, and got me thinking: Will digital advertising always remain an important instrument in a company’s marketing toolbox? And as an advertising company, how can and should we push advertising to adapt if we believe it to be the way forward?

Xaxis wholeheartedly believes that digital advertising needs to deliver tangible results to continue to be relevant, and as such has repositioned to focus its entire offering on client outcomes. The best way to do this was to understand the client’s advertising goal that ties as closely as possible to the true business outcomes they are trying to drive. So what do marketers need to think about and do differently to truly engage consumers and drive measurable business results?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has completely changed what we can achieve in advertising, from media buying and planning, how to achieve set targets, and the metrics used to understand success. As my colleague Sara Robertson, VP of Product Engineering for Xaxis once said: “AI is like a spreadsheet on steroids”. The potential of AI lies in its ability to see the bigger picture. We’ve made AI and machine learning an integral part of our offerings, used to find and define audiences, refine our creative messaging, generate audience personas, and develop bidding strategies, all of which can transform a digital advertising strategy to drive remarkably improved results for clients.

And while it is true that consumers hate interruption, it’s never a bad thing when advertisers are forced to adapt by creating content that consumers enjoy. One example is a creative new type of ad that has emerged in China to play in breaks of TV dramas online. These ads utilize the TV shows’ original content and narrative arcs, and feature the same actors in their on-screen costumes, making the ad almost indistinguishable from the original content to hold the audience’s attention and pique their interest. This type of advertising is expected to surpass 2 billion yuan (US$311 million) in sales revenue this year, up from 800 million yuan in 2016.

Advertising with influencers also holds increasing importance in the marketing mix as a way for brands to create trust and credibility with consumers. Over the last few years, influencer marketing has skyrocketed to the point that it has become a category of its own. The premise for this is that consumers trust people they already follow rather than an obvious advertiser. Brands are therefore working to get attention from consumers by channelling their message through people with extensive and trusting networks, commissioning influencers to co-create ‘native’ content that advertisers can then amplify. All of this shows that content needs to mimic what consumers already enjoy in order to engage, but advertising itself won’t disappear.

At the end of the day, approaches such as experiential marketing can be a highly valuable way for many companies to increase brand exposure and customer loyalty. But they shouldn’t necessarily replace advertising altogether. Marketers need to look at the bigger picture and focus on reaching business objectives by quantifying success with real metrics and conversions—regardless of the marketing tactics they choose to convey their messages. That means connecting with your customers authentically and holistically, wherever they happen to be – though as we know, people are spending more time online now than ever.

For Xaxis, repositioning our offering to focus on client outcomes was the most logical move. To align with a client’s true marketing and business objectives—and deliver results to hit those objectives and maximize ROI—should be the goal of any marketing tactic. What really sets digital advertising apart is its ability to do exactly that, with more transparency, efficiency and measurability than any other approach. For this reason, we don’t see it dying out anytime soon.

Lack of data in creativity leading cause of wasted digital ad spend

Data is a hot topic right now, with the upcoming impact of GDPR top of mind for marketers in the region right now, but according to the latest white paper from IAB Singapore, poor data application in the creative process is leading to a significant wastage in digital ad spend.

As the region’s digital ad spend grows, consumer data has become a massive by-product for brands, but lack of training in digital and data related skills is a key barrier to campaign success.

Research by Adobe Digital Insights reveals that gaps exist in the applications of data-led creativity in digital campaigns for Asia Pacific. 65% of 18 to 34-year-olds prefer ads based on their interests, with a third of the same demographic believing advertisers can do better in personalisation.

IAB_LinkedIn

Much of this can be attributed to brands appointing multiple agencies that end up working in silos focusing on distinct and individual KPIs. The lack of digital collaboration ultimately results in wasted advertising dollars.

“The challenge in tailoring digital campaigns lies in recognising where data originates and how they influence creative briefs to develop highly relevant and engaging content. Especially in Southeast Asia, where programmatic is only beginning to take off, brands must be quick to pick up on key learnings, ensuring advertising budget drives toward achieving business bottom lines,” said Miranda Dimopoulos, CEO & Ambassador to SEA, IAB Singapore.

To encourage a data-driven approach, it is imperative on brands to leverage a Creative Communications Process framework across the entire campaign development process.

“As data-driven marketing becomes the new normal, it is important to advocate data-inspired creativity among marketers, agencies and brand owners. Using the Creative Communications Process framework, digital campaigns can be readily optimised with insights from the data signals around us, to develop engaging and impactful creative platforms and campaign ideas,” said Deepika Nikhilender, Senior Vice President, Xaxis Asia Pacific.

Creativity Inspired by Data accounts for current industry needs, with contribution by senior representatives from BBH, Twitter, Digimind, Xaxis, Wavemaker and Unruly.

To get a copy of the Creativity Inspired by Data white paper, click here.

The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem Part VI: Agency Trading Desks

In the latest in our series on programmatic we take a look at Agency Trading Desks (ATDs), the independent units within media agencies that specialise in programmatic buying. In Asia we often hear ATDs referred to as Internal Ad Networks, or just as “the Programmatic team”.

Agency Trading Desks have been set up by the large agency groups to support their clients who want to buy programmatically.

Examples include Xaxis, Accuen and Vivaki. See the Holding Company, Agency and Trading desk mapping below to understand how it all fits together.

Map of Agencies and Trading Desks [PDF]

Download here.

Agency Trading Desks usually offer a transparent and data driven approach to media buying, certainly compared to standard digital media, and can deliver impressive ROIs for smart marketers. ATDs use Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to buy their media, and utilise a combination of Real Time Buying (RTB) and direct publisher deals to get the best results. Targeting is delivered via a Data Management Platform (DMP).

We know. Too many acronyms.

In summary, programmatic is a much smarter way of buying media and SHOULD get you better results.

But it can be confusing. Agency Trading Desks do a great job of simplifying this complex world.

In addition to being the future of media, programmatic is also a major revenue growth engine for agencies, who have seen profits reduced over the past 20 years by (sometimes over zealous) client procurement teams.

Establishing ATDs as a specialist unit enables agencies to charge fees for the additional services provided, including technology, data, and bespoke media. This is good or bad for the client depending on who you listen to.

What is for certain is that programmatic is moving at high speed and Agency Trading Desks are still evolving. Some ATDs will disappear and become part of the agency, while others will remain as specialist technology units.

In Asia, programmatic is just getting started and we still haven’t seen a full roll out of ATDs beyond regional level in Singapore. Watch this space.

We should also note that there are a bunch of other trading desks operating independently across Asia outside the big agency groups including Performance Asia and CTRL/SHIFT alongside many more.

The New Digital Advertising Ecosystem

Digital is evolving, but the new data-driven real time advertising ecosystem can be confusing.

In an attempt to bring some much needed transparency to ad exchanges and display, Ad Exchanger have a great series of posts dealing with some common questions.

Let us know if there are any other issues you think need a simple explanation, and we can help with answers.