Ad Optimization and Cutting Through the Noise in a Crowded Media Year
Ad and media executives came together last week for the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM) at the start of what will be a noisy 12 months for reaching consumers. Paramount’s President and CEO Bob Bakish best described 2024 during his session, saying, “ it’s going to be a wild year.”
Factors including the U.S. election, the Paris Olympics, third-party cookie deprecation, and the peak convergence of consumer consumption across all screens, will result in a year in which advertisers need to cut through the sheer volume of content to ensure they achieve meaningful outcomes.
Key topics of discussion at the ALM from January 28-30 2024, were the evolution of streaming, opportunities in AI, responsible media, retail media and the seamless integration of online and offline shopping experiences. Signal loss was also a strong focus with the IAB’s new chair John Halley issuing a call to action on third-party cookie deprecation telling the audience, “the identity problem is not Google’s to solve, it’s yours.”
Discussing privacy and consumer targeting during the CMO Perspective Panel on the opening day of the ALM, Unilever’s Esi Eggleston Bracey explained that they only use data they have consent for, fully in compliance with privacy regulations. She expanded, that because it’s about consent, “you have to make it worthwhile,” recommending there be a value exchange. That discussion, which also included the chief marketers from Best Buy and Liberty Mutual, made it clear that CMOs have become the great adapters. Liberty Mutual’s Jenna Lebel said CMOs today “are supposed to be good at it all. Digital transformation is happening so quickly, it’s impossible to be the only expert on the team.”
Never has the ad space felt more complex or a media plan been more challenging to fill in. As consumers, every time we view content on a device, we are experiencing the full marketing funnel. At the retail media sessions led by LiveRamp, we heard that consumers can come in and out of the funnel at any point in time, and that this behavior is not linear. From dentsu’s Brian Monahan, the advice was to integrate retail media with the rest of media, while LiveRamp’s Kevin Dunn signaled a move from a world of ‘opt-out’ to one of ‘opt-in’ to create a personalized consumer journey.
The metrics that advertisers should keep uppermost of mind to ensure campaign success was highlighted by Comscore’s Chief Executive Officer Jon Carpenter during a debate of measurement CEOs on day two of the ALM, a panel which included Nielsen’s Karthik Rao, iSpot’s Sean Muller and VideoAmp’s Peter Liguori.
During the panel discussion, called The Great Measurement Debate 2.0, Jon Carpenter explained that advertisers need to reach the right audience with the right frequency where he or she is at, regardless of platform or device. He remarked that only if they have accurately set that baseline at the top, ahead of time, will their marketing plan and budget be fully optimized.
GRPs and broad demos have long been the proxy for audiences, but it's not optimal in a world where you need cross platform solutions at scale. Audiences consume content and audiences buy the goods and services that are being advertised to them - GRPs don't. That is why at Comscore we've invested so heavily in our data assets across digital platforms and traditional TV platforms.
Moderator and IAB CEO David Cohen also asked the measurement providers to share what’s on their product roadmap ahead for 2024. Comscore continues to prioritize the integration of its cross-platform solutions across the ecosystem.
Unlike other measurement players, we didn't start with a 30k foot view - audiences are inherently local and increasingly digital - Comscore is also both. Our holistic view of audiences starts at the household level, builds to all 42k zip codes, ladders to all 200+ markets and rolls up to a national view. With Comscore, you can advertise nationally and optimize locally, with our national scale and local precision.
Like all measurement providers, Comscore is also looking at how it can leverage generative and predictive AI to solve for its clients and to improve its processes. But we are just entering the AI years. We were reminded during the futurist panel at the ALM that the phone we carry today in our back pockets has more processing power than the computer that put the first astronaut on the moon 50 years ago.
This small smartphone, which sparked a major change in consumer behavior, is how I would compare the opportunities and challenges we will face from AI. It will play out over a number of years and in ways we cannot predict right now. All of us might need to start thinking more like futurists like Ford’s Jen Brace who told the ALM they are always questioning how they can expand their thinking. I hope we’ll retain the curiosity and creativity of a futurist in how we solve the challenges we face in media and measurement as 2024 progresses. I feel a sense of urgency around the way we must operate and innovate in order to add value for our clients and partners.
If we didn’t have an opportunity to connect at the IAB ALM, reach out to me at this link to open the conversation.