Premium advertising in 2018 is about driving tangible results beyond the impression. Brands are demanding more out of every media dollar because simple editorial adjacency is not delivering. A tiny banner ad at the bottom of a mobile screen just won’t do it. Consumers want to be engaged and are fed up with interruptive formats. One does not have to look further than the rise of ad blockers to understand consumers’ frustrations.
Meanwhile, mobile has disrupted the advertising landscape, causing consumer habits to change drastically. In 2017, people spent over three hours daily on their smartphones, 87% of which was spent in-app. In 2018, people are predicted to consume 48% more digital media than television, which has enormous implications for how brands reach and communicate with their customers. While editorial adjacency still appeals emotionally to advertisers, there are now more cost-effective ways to reach consumers. eMarketer reports people spent over seven times more minutes with mobile media than they did with print media in 2017, yet advertisers only allocated twice as much of their ad spend to mobile advertising, compared to print, over the same time period.
What are the biggest challenges facing marketers then? For a third year running, the task of measuring and proving ROI has topped that list, according to a recent Millward Brown study. The same sentiment was echoed recently by Julie Lee, managing director of Wavemaker. “We tie the majority of our media campaigns back to a business outcome, whether it’s a CPG sale off of a shelf, or it’s a user sign up, or it’s adding a new loyal member to a fan base. We do track all of our media weight against that activity.”
So what are the lessons learnt for 2018?
It’s all about the app
Premium advertising in 2018 starts with reaching a scalable and engaged audience. The top 10 mobile apps reach in excess of 70% of American millennials (75 million people), not to mention hundreds of millions more baby boomers, and members of Generation X and Z. Most people in these demographics use these apps daily, dwarfing the reach of top-rated broadcast comedy and drama properties, which draw close to 20 million viewers each. Television viewing among the coveted 18-24 demographic has decreased by 40% since 2011.
Apps provide advertisers a safe and secure environment to reach their customers. Additionally, they provide a huge volume of brand-safe inventory without user-generated content. However, not all apps are created equal. Media that was once popular in the Y2K era is no longer popular today. People spend three times more on gaming apps than they do on sports and news apps.
And games are the most popular app category on Google Play and iTunes. Time spent with media is only one factor to consider when allocating media dollars. Reaching people in the right mood can increase the effectiveness of brand messaging by over 40%, according to a recent study, and people reported feeling more relaxed, focused, and happy in game apps than in social apps. Additionally, people reported feeling depressed, inadequate or jealous while spending time on social media.
Placements that perform
Digital advertising is capable of delivering high-impact awareness and performance at the same time. Consider that in 2017, the average 30-second video drove a 77% completion rate, a 0.54% click-through rate, and was 73% viewable. Conversely, performance video placements like value exchange (ie those said to be ‘rewarded’ or ‘incentivized’), drove a 91% video completion rate, a 2-8% post-view engagement rate, and were favored by viewers three times more than non-skippable pre-roll ads.
In addition, value exchange ads allow brands to sponsor in-app experiences that are self-initiated. Mobile game developers perfected these placements, and they have now found their way to all genres of apps, including news and information, entertainment, dating, utility, and more. Goliaths like Google, Facebook, and Amazon now offer their own versions of value exchange ad units. Since mobile puts consumers in control of the content they consume and in virtually everything else they do, shouldn’t it also put consumers in control of how they interact with brands?
Premium advertising in 2018 is all about performance and delivering brand messaging in-app, in-game, and with opt-in placements. How ads are sourced and purchased is as important to their performance as the creative content. Whether it’s programmatic, publisher direct, or a private exchange, advertisers must weigh their options and consider the pros and cons of each inventory source.
Today, over 90% of the top 100 advertisers are using private marketplaces to transact directly with publishers at a set price, and 67% of them are investing more, according to the World Federation of Advertisers. For mobile web display ads, approximately 15% of mobile impressions purchased programmatically are fraudulent compared with only 6% for direct deals. And while the quality of programmatically available placements is improving, many of the more immersive and engaging units such as shoppable video, rich media and value exchange are limited or unavailable through programmatic channels. Understanding performance expectations from each channel will help advertisers balance inventory quality with scale to maximize the effectiveness of each media plan.
Adam Cohen-Aslatei, Vice President Marketing, Jun Group.