Running annually, IAB UK Digital Upfronts 2017 brought together marketing professionals and leading digital media companies to highlight their latest digital offerings and showcase new tools designed to make marketing budgets work more effectively. I was lucky enough to attend on behalf of OMD EMEA and attended sessions by Facebook, Oath, JCDecaux, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. Now in 669 words (roughly), I am going to summarise a number of the thought-provoking and debated subjects including data and technology-driven innovations, premium video discovery, and voice.
Trusted scale, trusted content, trusted data and premium distribution
Off the back of the recent brand safety saga, all publishers reiterated their commitment to brand safety and evolving their solutions to build consumer trust.
Facebook highlighted consumer concerns over credibility online. Where it is not possible to truly touch and feel products they urged brands to think about ways to offer a fast, frictionless shopping experience and ‘tokens of credibility’ e.g. ‘If our product is not delivered within XYZ mins, it will be on us’.
Google’s DoubleClick announced the launch of their new tool, designed to help avoid overlap, wastage, and overexposure in advertising. They claim it can revolutionise inventory sourcing, allowing advertisers, for the first time, to overlay audience data onto direct publisher buys, resulting in a far stronger storytelling.
With outdoor being transformed into a digital, data and technology powered medium, and moving towards programmatic trading, JCDecaux has launched their ‘BranDO’ charter for Digital Out-of-Home which would bring a ‘gold standard’ to the industry. BranDo consists of six elements: viewability, measurement, accountability, transparency, brand safety, and automation. The company demoed their new IAB-approved SmartBRICS platform which allows brands to build campaigns and view targets in real-time.
Building your brand through video within brand-safe, premium content
Oath and Twitter focussed on the importance of building brand love by producing data-driven content being distributed within premium content – increasingly delivered in a video format.
Oath emphasised the high quality original content they provide through brands such as HuffPost, TechCrunch, MSN, Xbox, whilst Twitter announced the launch of a new, half-hour, weekly show ‘PopBuzz’ streamed live from their London studios.
Amazon: Where new ideas are constantly shipping
It was the inaugural upfront for Amazon, hosted in their brand new London HQ in the Principal Place building.
The tech giant continues to deliver not only boxes but also experiences to their customers. Amazon significantly invest in their video offering by rolling out Amazon Prime to 200 countries – the service that resonates well with the modern-day ‘de-bundling’ consumer, keen to pay only for what they want to watch, not a bundle. Next step is to carry on extending Prime into many content genres from automotive and family to sports.
Voice is another huge focus for Amazon. They continue to expand Alexa’s skills, as well the wider family of voice devices with the launch of the Echo Plus and Echo Show. Voice is predicted to be the next large industry disruption after the mobile, with more and more people using it in their everyday lives, and an increasing number of brands integrating voice in their products and services: from cars to fridges. It is estimated that by 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen (Gartner) so it’s critical for brands to establish their own voice and audio brand guidelines to be heard in the future.
Overall, technology and data are integral in delivering more relevant experiences to customers. However, marketers need to start with the question of what customer need they can help solve; not with what they can do with new video formats, voice and VR, simply because others are jumping on the bandwagon. These technologies present interesting opportunities for brands to connect with customers in the right moments but should be considered as part of an overall consumer-centric connections planning approach.
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