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Advertisers will stop giving digital a free pass

They will become more forceful in asking online platforms what they are getting for their money

Gulf News


It will no longer be enough to say digital is the fastest growing advertising medium. Advertisers and brand owners are now insisting agencies and online platforms show they are getting a bang for their buck.

This could well be one of the trends in the global advertising and media space in 2018, according to predictions made by Kantar Millward Brown (KBM), the US-based market research firm.

Advertisers could even “start to question” digital’s role digital plays within the entire media ecosystem. And media agencies, publisher and research partners will have to be ready with an answer.

If these forecasts do prove to be the case, it says much about the sheen coming off anything associated with digital. The spread of fake news on all sorts of digital platforms and the easy way that someone, somewhere can manipulate online users’ behaviour for their data needs are forcing advertisers’ to reassess how they spend.

“Marketers are now keenly focused on ensuring they understand the impact of their investment, particularly given that digital now accounts for more than 30 per cent of global share of investment,” said Pablo Gomez, Media and Digital Director at Kantar Millward Brown. “It’s up to industry players to answer the $100 million dilemma: how could that money be invested better — and not cut — so that it achieves the desired impact?”

It will also mean changes in the way marketers judge whether they got value for their money.

How brands tell their story will also change. They are using more of video and chances are that voice could be the next thing to keep an ear out for.

“As connected devices look to gain mass acceptance among consumers, the advent of voice control could supercharge adoption, provided manufacturers can bridge the divide between devices,” the consultancy notes. Be it Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assiatant, there’s always going to be a smart device awaiting your command.

The emphasis will be on telling a “story” - “Marketers will stop approaching the world from a perspective of ad campaigns and instead find new and inspirational ways to tell their brand story with content,” KMB forecasts.

And in keeping with that trend, more brands will start to use film to communicate their messages in an “entertaining way”.

“The challenge with non-traditional forms of advertising is how to prove effectiveness; whether the objective is to make people more aware, change perceptions, or take action,” said Jane Ostler, Managing Director, Media and Digital at Kantar Millward Brown. “The impact and return on investment can be compared directly with other brand and behavioural metrics, but brands must be clear about their objectives and consider how to measure effectiveness early in the process.”

This is the tenth year that Kantar Millward Brown is releasing its Media and Digital Predictions. These provide marketers with a guide to the challenges and opportunities of the next 12 months, helping them shape their media and digital marketing strategies.

Forget big data, it’s the turn of A.I.

Artificial intelligence will make their way into brand campaigns to understand customers better. “The last decade of digital marketing has been ruled by the companies with the most compelling algorithms,” is one prediction by Kantar Millward Brown for the year ahead. “While that’ll certainly continue to be true in 2018, we’re starting to get our first glimpse of functional artificial intelligence being applied to marketing challenges in new and interesting ways.”

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms — essentially your Netflixes and Hulus and others — will “enable brands to target customers where they’re increasingly watching video and will usher in new TV and cross-platform media measurement opportunities”.“Taking measurement over-the-top is arguably the only viable path toward the grand finale — an ideal world of perfect information gathered across all screens and touchpoints, delivered in real-time,” said Corey Jeffery, Senior Vice-President, Media & Digital Product Leadership at KMB.