From the data gathered, three key themes emerged: agency-focused technology; consumer-facing technology; and the challenges faced by agencies in responding to rapid technological change.
Firstly, for agencies data was a recurring theme within 60% of those surveyed. More specifically regarding the increase in the prevalence of data and how to maximise the availability of it to target consumers. Sources of data are currently fragmented, so developments in technology to aggregate these and maximise their potential will be significant over the next 12 months.
Real time bidding (RTB) technology is also a key focus for media agencies, enabling increased efficiency in the buying process. The key benefit is when it is combined with data targeting – this gives incredible control over audience reach; ‘you can actually buy specific people when they are behaving in a certain way’ notes Steve Hobbs, Director of Media Operations, Aegis.
Data-driven media targeting, bought through an RTB model, is arguably seen as the ultimate goal for all media – traditional and online.
Secondly, from the consumer perspective, there is a huge disparity between the time consumers spend on mobile and the advertising money spent on mobile. The industry has replicated the online display model for mobile, but this does not yet nurture the level of personalisation consumers expect.
The advent of web-enabled products, such as connected TVs, presents new opportunities for advertisers to teach consumers how to use these emerging technologies, and provides more innovative ways for consumers to interact with new media (e.g. mobile wallets creating new advertising opportunities for e-commerce in outdoor environments).
The social landscape is changing rapidly, and people can now easily connect to other friends and people with similar interests. Brands and agencies are still searching for the best way to monetise these social relationships, however 20% of business owners are still doubtful of the potential for a return on their social media marketing spend .
‘I think social media faces a significant challenge. They’ve connected brands with people, people with people, people with interests – but this has happened now; how to monetise these relationships in future is a question no-one has fully answered yet.’ Jim Gyngell, Co-Head of Digital, Arena.
Finally, there are so many new technologies – both for the consumer and within agencies. This challenges agencies to be adaptable and agile. Technological changes won’t just affect digital functions. Entire agencies need to be primed for them. Acquiring the tools to adapt to these changes is not actually about technology; it is about people’s mindsets. For any agency to capitalise on technological development, attitudinal learning will be just as, if not more, important than technical learning.
‘The question…is what can you do with uncertainty – and the only thing you can do with uncertainty is manage it and be in it.’ Bridget Angear and Craig Mawdsley, Heads of Planning, AMV.
1 Mashable, May 2012, http://www.mashable.com/2012/05/23/social-marketing-infographic