Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.
What Are You Waiting For? CTV is not going away, so why aren’t you investing more of your ad dollars in this space? With linear viewership and spending levels dropping virtually every year, the epitaphs for TV advertising have been widely reported in the trades. What is lost in this chicken-little hysteria is that video advertising is thriving - thanks to CTV. Television isn’t in decline, it’s just in transition from traditional to digital distribution channels. The same way that TV elbowed its way into the radio-dominant entertainment world of the 1950’s, streaming has arrived and is here to stay. Let’s not forget that when television made its debuted and soon dominated, radio still had a role - albeit a backseat role. Similarly, traditional TV isn’t being replaced by CTV, just improved upon and augmented. Seismic Shifts The CTV marketplace in the ’22-’23 upfront saw massive growth with a 35% increase in spending, which translated to over $6.4B dollars. Coupled with the time spent metrics where TV viewing and digital video viewing times are nearly identical, it clearly shows the continued growth and consumer adoption of CTV. In fact, 2/3’s of the digital video dollars committed this upfront were spent against streaming services. eMarketer projects that total US CTV spend this year (upfront and scatter) will reach $19B this year. The upfront haul this year was more than the total, full year CTV haul from three years ago. In fact, Disney says 40% of it’s upfront spending went to its streaming platforms and Peacock doubled their upfront revenue to $1B this year. Objective Look As with anything in this business, when you peel back the shiny veneer & Wall Street numbers, there are some challenges & shortfalls. CTV Benefits- Audience Targeting- More accurate & planful allocation of budgets to specific, high value audience targets Original Programming- Upscale, original programming Better Measurement Than Linear- Data allows for more focused view of who your ad reaches More Video Eyeballs- Pool of additional impressions helping to offset linear declines But They Have Issues Too... Uniformity & Measurement - Too many walled gardens prevent the ease of buying across streaming vendors and the sharing of data between them Frequency Capping – Again, the lack of shared data and the sheer number of vendors running CTV makes it difficult to set frequency caps Getting Crowded While streaming has been around for years, the last 3 years have seen an explosion of providers enter the fray. And they have been significant players, many of which are from traditional linear vendors looking to stem the tide of broadcast erosion and to add revenue streams. Peacock, Discovery+ and Paramount have all established viable streaming offerings in short order. It’s clear that the networks recognized the consumer shifts and had no choice but to embrace CTV or risk irrelevancy. Over the next 12 months, there will be even more competition and more choices. Several major players will roll out their own CTV services. Disney+, Netflix and to a lesser degree, HBOMax are three heavyweights poised to add more choices to the genre. The existing footprints of Disney and Netflix alone are enormous and will increase the pool of available impressions significantly. These two behemoths have 110MM and 180MM monthly users respectively - incredible scale at launch. These two will both improves and complicate the CTV space. And HBOMax is set to be combined with Discovery+ to launch a more robust offering with differing tiers. On the one hand, we will have more options to invest in and more competition to help mitigate costs. But the lack of standardization is a challenge. The nomenclature each vendor uses are unique to them. There is little-to no coordination between CTV partners. So there is no uniform way for brands to track a single data set across multiple partners because none of them are speaking the same language. What Does This Mean For Clients In spite of the headwinds facing CTV, the positives outweigh the shortcomings. Streaming is here to stay and it’s a valuable compliment to our media plans. It allows us to augment the losses on the linear side of the aisle with quality, targeted video impressions. Test and learn…and then test some more. Experiment and try multiple vendors to determine which ones fit your marketing objectives the best. These are fertile times to add more targeted tactics to your upper funnel media plans. Additionally, we expect Disney+ and Netflix to offer more unique, creative messaging opportunities. They have never accepted advertising before, so with a clean slate, it would behoove them to come to market with non-traditional ad formats. In a sea of streaming sameness, the hope is that they embrace the idea of truly partnering with brands to help us bring our marketing campaigns to life in new and exciting ways. Conclusions The industry’s collective focus has swung decisively toward the challenge posed by audience fragmentation. The decline of cookies and other identifiers is one big reason for this shift. Another is a shift in consumer behavior that has fractured media impressions across a growing number of applications and mediums. As the world rights itself after a pandemic that threw so many media consumption patterns upside down, the streaming world will begin to settle into a new normal. One where it is part of everyday life in a way it wasn’t before the pandemic. It has earned a seat at the table alongside the more established media tactics as a quality medium that can buttress media plans beset by the loss of affordable, quality, linear activity.
The upcoming Google chrome changes have been a buzzing topic in the programmatic advertising industry for almost over two years now, pushing brands and vendors to build alternative solutions to audience behavior tracking and targeting. Many businesses have been successful in finding ways to target without using cookies. Samantha Weiss, VP of Data Strategy and Programmatic, recently sat down with Venture Beat to talk about how our client, Stop & Stop, has been using Artificial Intelligence to target audiences. “AMP began testing cookie-less solutions in the back half of 2021 to prepare for the eventual deprecation of third-party cookies. We believed it was critical to test new targeting while we had long standing targeting and measurement capabilities to benchmark against. We knew it would be incredibly important to hit the ground running, rather than begin testing once third party-cookies were no longer available. Google’s recent announcement delaying the removal of third party-cookies to the back half of 2024 anchors our position on preparing for the cookie less world. We are excited for the additional time as capabilities & betas continue to be introduced and opened. We will use the extension to focus not on what we are losing with the deprecation of cookies, but rather how we create optimized and efficient media plans with the targeting that is available. One partner we have seen great success with is Dstillery. We partnered with Dstillery in Q4 of 2021 to test their ID free Custom AI Solution. We saw strong results in our e-commerce campaigns, outperforming cookie-based audiences by 72%. With Google’s first extension, we have iterated on the models and data utilized for the ID Free segments. With the added time, we are excited to continue to optimize the segments and move these audiences from testing budgets to always on targeting capabilities.” - Samantha Weiss (VP, Data Strategy & Programmatic) Read the full Venture Beat article here.
Summary of Changes Starting on June 30th, 2022, Google will begin their sunset of Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) in favor of their dynamic offering, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). Existing ETAs in advertiser’s accounts will continue to serve, but will no longer be editable and new ad units won’t be allowed to be created. Google continues to roll out changes to their platform with a big focus on automation, and this update is no different. Google cites 15% of search queries every day are new searches never seen before. The response to this consumer behavior is to leverage machine learning; to reach searchers with the most relevant ad at the right moment. Challenges Advertisers Will Face As with any update Google makes, the biggest thing us as advertisers need to keep in mind is how it affects us and our clients. Listed below are a few things I believe need to be kept in mind as we approach June 30th: Lack of Control: As a standard with changes related to automation, the largest impact seen from the sunset of ETAs is the lack of control offered by their RSA counterparts. While advertisers still have control over the headline and description line inputs, the order in which these appear are left to Google to decide (there are options to pin headlines and description lines to certain slots, but this is recommended to be done in moderation). This can be detrimental to multiple advertisers, such as ones who have proven having a price point in their ads improves performance. With this change, the price point is harder to guarantee to show. Lack of Transparent Reporting: Reporting for RSAs still leaves a lot to be desired. Google does offer suggestions on how to improve your ad strength and even offers you ideas (although in my experience, the ideas offered are relatively weak). However, the big piece of the puzzle that’s missing is the lack of insight into what combinations of headlines and description lines perform the best. This can often make copywriting feel a bit like a shot in the dark, where we generate headlines and description lines we think work well but ultimately can’t prove out their efficiency. Example of some of the ideas Google offers to improve ad strength Difficulty With A/B Testing: Finally, the ease of ad copy A/B tests will ultimately take a hit. With ETAs, ad copy tests were arguably the easiest and quickest tests to set up. We take two ads, tweak an input, and then compare the results after reaching statistical significance. With RSAs, this is still possible, but a bit more cumbersome. A/B testing RSAs will require all inputs to be pinned (more on this later), which can lead to poor ad strength labels from Google. We know ad strength is a factor in Quality Score, so testing like this could ultimately lead to detrimental performance. Potential Workarounds Google leaving in the ability to pin headlines and description lines to certain slots is ultimately a lifeline to folks who still want control of placement in their ads. A few things that can be done to back some control with RSAs: Pinning All Headlines and Description Lines: Utilize all headlines and description lines, but pin each input to a specific slot. Imagine an ad with all 15 headlines and 4 description lines being utilized; we pin 5 to each headline slot and 2 to each description slot. What we’re left with is essentially a hybrid between an ETA and an RSA. Pinning 3 Headlines and 2 Description Lines: Create an RSA with exactly 3 headlines and 2 description lines, pinning each input to a unique slot. This is essentially an ETA with extra steps. However, both workarounds have their drawbacks. Keep in mind that a few factors that go into ad strength are the number of headlines and description lines used, and the number of pinned headlines used. So while the above scenarios might be effective in keeping some element of control when generating ad copy, it might not be worth the hit to Quality Score potentially seen. What’s Next? From Smart Shopping in 2018 to the phrase/BMM match type change in 2021 to the ETA sunset in 2022, Google has shown that they’re marching forward towards an advertising landscape that fully embraces automation. I don’t think this is an inherently bad thing; as Google mentions, we live in an ever-evolving digital landscape that’s very difficult to keep up with. Automation simply makes different facets of our industry easier to manage. It’s difficult to speculate what the next big thing on the docket is for automation, but my gut feeling is telling me that extensions could be the next feature to be impacted. We already have automated extensions, which I almost universally disable, but I envision a world where manual inputs for extensions are sunset. The ETA sunset has shown that Google believes ad copy to be an area where automation is important, so why not embrace it with ad extensions? Dynamic extensions settings are already hidden within the Google Ads UI; could they become mandatory to opt into in the future? In the short term, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google completely does away with pins in RSAs, or at least limits the number of pins allowed per RSA. Ultimately, the ability to pin headlines and description lines makes the RSA change a sort of moot point, as us advertisers have the ability to make a static ad unit. Automation isn’t an inherently bad thing. It may be frustrating as an advertiser to lose a grip over things we’re accustomed to having full control over, but ultimately these changes are made to make our jobs easier and to make our ads more relevant to our audience.
Podcasts are a rapidly growing platform but still feel like a new frontier for advertisers. AMP Media Director Shoshana Przybylinski discussed her podcast ad-buying experience in Marketing Brew’s recent piece, ‘The host-read ad is still king, but podcast advertisers are experimenting with programmatic ads.’ “Shoshana Przybylinski, media director at AMP Agency, says she still buys a lot of podcast ads directly—with no tech involved—depending on the client. ‘It really depends…If [the client is] local, we’ll typically buy through a network or programmatically, just because we can’t waste any media dollars on something that’s going to run nationally,” Przybylinski said. “So that’s definitely when we would lean more towards the network buying. But sometimes you do want that host connection, and that’s when you would go to the show directly’.” Get up-to-date on the great podcast push by reading the full story here.
Despite a difficult year, we made it through 2020 with the help of playful distractions like memes, dance crazes, and viral challenges. Oftentimes, brands want to tap into these cultural phenomenons in order to humanize their voice on social media. Marketers frequently question, 'How does a trend become a viral success?' and, 'Who creates these trends?'. Let's take a look at the various key players that come together to create these trends and learn how your brand can capitalize on them and join the conversation. The Innovator If we think of social media challenges holistically, the template is always the same: innovators create the idea, influencers make it popular, and the rest of the social community joins the trend. By definition, an innovator is ‘a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products’ In every viral equation, there needs to be an innovator to help spark an idea/challenge. The innovator is often a forgotten piece of the puzzle when it comes to viral trends. For example, Renegade creator Jalaiah Hermon had the most prominent dance on the internet in 2020, but most users didn't even know who she was. Unfortunately, content creators are often not given credit for their original ideas and are seemingly left in the dust. However, that isn't always the case; skateboarder Nathan Apodaca quickly rose to fame when his Ocean Spray video went viral, and others recreated the video with their own flare. The Influencer Spark Influencers help set the standard of "cool" within the digital world and help push the innovators' ideas in front of fans. TikTok influencer Charli D'Amelio was named ‘C.E.O.’ of the different dances similar to the dance craze Renegade, which she popularized. If the concept is unique and interesting, other influencers and celebs will begin to jump onto the new craze. Once a trend becomes popular, users recreate the template with small differences while always keeping the overall idea the same. During the pandemic, the ‘Don't Rush Challenge' became very popular amongst all different audiences - make-up artists, celebrities, students, and more. Less than a month later, the ‘Wipe it Down Challenge’ went viral; both of these concepts had the exact same template with small variations. Brands and Trends Being authentic on social media will encourage consumers to follow, engage, and ultimately purchase products, assuming that's the end goal. Consumers align their personal values to those of brands. Once brand values are established, a fundamental building block for brands is to showcase their personality through their content – tapping into cultural trends is a great way to humanize themselves. From a brand perspective, capitalizing on viral trends shouldn't be a hard selling point but instead, a chance to connect with your audience and showcase your brand's personality. In the summer of 2020, Twitter began to flag misleading messages about COVID-19 and the 2020 Election with 'This claim is disputed' warnings. After the Election, the disputed claim Tweet type evolved into a popular trend on the platform. Brands like Oreo, Burger King, and Maruchan saw an opportunity to participate in the pop culture conversation and added humor to the political trend. Viral memes are also a great way to highlight the brands' wit and humor. Just For Men participated in the ‘How it Started vs. How it's Going,’ and it showcased the brand's growth, wittiness, and personality. A brand can even use pop culture to sell a product when it feels native to the platform. For example, Invisalign used a soundbite from a popular viral video to help promote its product. All things considered, this doesn't mean that every viral trend is an opportunity for a brand to enter the conversation. Sometimes jumping into a conversation that isn't authentic to your brand will feel forced by consumers; for example, in 2014, DiGiorno accidentally used the hashtag ‘#WhyIStayed,’ which was about domestic violence. Prior to your brand joining a viral trend, consider the following questions: 1) Will this feel authentic to the brand's audience? 2) Can this help support the brand's values and develop the brand's personality? 3) What value will this content add to the social media space for your brand? 4) Is this the appropriate social channel for the brand? 5) Is this something you should test into first before diving in? And lastly, remember to have fun and tag the innovator to give them credit for their work!
In partnership with our sister company Adlucent, a performance digital agency, AMP Agency is excited to share we have been named media agency for Sunbrella®, a performance fabric company whose products are used by consumers, designers and architects. Adlucent will support the media program by providing performance marketing services powered by their purpose-built platform. Check out what AMP, Sunbrella and Adlucent had to say about the new partnership below: “We’re extremely pleased to be working with Sunbrella, which is already valued by home designers and top specialty retailers as a maker of high-quality, outdoor and indoor-use fabrics,” said Michael Mish, AMP’s SVP, General Manager. “Sunbrella has a great opportunity to become a consumer lifestyle brand, particularly as consumers relook and rethink their indoor and outdoor living spaces. Our mission is to not only reach retailers and design professionals but end-consumers as well, so they proactively seek out Sunbrella fabrics for all of their decorating projects. We’ll be using a variety of paid channels, including display and paid search, across a number of B2B and B2C segments, to help Sunbrella grow.” “As a company that prides itself on innovation and performance, we look forward to building on our strong foundation by leveraging AMP and Adlucent’s data-driven capabilities to connect with consumers in new and more effective ways,” said Steve Pawl, Sunbrella’s chief marketing officer. “We look forward to the creativity and idea generation that are sparked by new partnerships.” “We are honored to support Sunbrella’s media strategy, in partnership with AMP, to accelerate sales with existing and future customers using our custom science-based performance marketing approach.'' said Adlucent Chief Executive Officer Ashwani Dhar. Check out the full release and other coverage about the new partnership here: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/358135/sunbrella-opens-new-relationship-with-amp-agency.html https://www.lbbonline.com/news/amp-agency-named-media-agency-of-record-for-sunbrella https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amp-agency-named-media-agency-194100218.html
Perfect Isn’t Worth It: Hot Takes from the 2020 Media Innovation Day Think about your favorite brand – and if you can’t pick just one, don’t fret. You can focus on your top three, or five, or whatever number will get you through this exercise. Got a few in mind? Great. Now ask yourself: what makes the brands you’re thinking of so wonderful? Is it the quality of the products they sell? The tone of voice they take on? Or maybe, just maybe, is it the fact that they connect with you on some level that you can’t quite put your finger on, but know is there? If that’s the case, then you probably love your favorite brands because they feel real to you – and that makes total sense. Because as people, we tend to favor brands that feel honest, authentic and human. Despite this affinity, there aren’t as many brands that have this real, human element to them as there should be. That’s because brands have long equated success with perfection, holding themselves to a standard that, in actuality, puts them at the risk of seeming fake. So, as we wondered where we as marketers should draw the line between achieving success and losing humanity, we decided to gain further insight into the matter. That’s why we sat down at this year’s Media Innovation Day and listened to a series of industry experts share their thoughts on the topic of “Being More Human” in the land of brands. Now, we’re going to break down some of our key takeaways. Let’s Get Personal It’s always nice when things have a personal touch to them, isn’t it ? Well, according to Bertrand “Coca” Cocallemen, Teads’ Global Creative Director, this rings true for brands, too. When brands can create personal experiences for consumers across all touchpoints, it’s highly beneficial for the brand as a whole. For example, during his Media Innovation Day presentation, Coca recalled a rich media unit Teads created for a Dior perfume launch. What started as a 60-second video transformed into an interactive in-content unit that allowed the model, Jennifer Lawrence, to maintain eye contact with users as they scrolled through the page. This use of eye contact proved to be eye-catching for consumers and successful for Dior. Not only does the use of eye contact in an ad increase ad recall and lead to better overall metrics, but it can help brands become more personal and recognizable when paired with clear branding. Since simple optimizations such as this can make advertisements feel more personal and engaging, we as digital marketers can weave tactics with a human touch into the work we create for our clients in order to help them find success and build a world of better brands. Trust Us During his discussion on The New Media Experience, Brian Stelter, Chief Media Correspondent at CNN, honed in on the responsibility brands have to build trust with their consumer base. According to Stelter, gaining a trustworthy reputation for CNN was built on honest journalism. For us as marketers, it comes down to creating content that our clients’ consumers can connect with. Since a show of simple humanity can go a long way on making an impact with viewers or consumers, we want to help our client base find moments where they can have these trust-building interactions with consumers. Don’t Worry: Everybody Makes Mistakes One final key takeaway from the 2020 Media Innovation Day pertains to quite possibly the most human thing there is: making mistakes. Everybody does it – even brands. And according to Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA, what matters most isn’t whether a brand messes up or not, but how they reach out to consumers after a mistake is made. When brands reach out to consumers and own their mistakes in a way that stays true to their brand mission statement, they add value to their brand in a way that is honest and human. For PUMA specifically, Petrick explained that their company mantra is to be “Forever Faster” – always a step ahead, acknowledging that they aren’t perfect and turning any mistakes they make along the way into learning experiences that can improve and grow their brand. While the “Forever Faster” mantra is specific to PUMA, the thought of maintaining transparency with consumers is something any brand can get behind. By weaving humility into our clients’ brand platforms and practices, we can help them all feel more human and relatable. So Let’s Get Real With all of this in mind, we now ask ourselves: what’s next in the media industry? For us, it’s finding ways to take this human approach to marketing and use it to drive engagement and connections. Stacy Mienro, Head of Twitter Arthouse said it best: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” Since the rules of branding are what put the pressures of perfection in place, our job is to help our brands impart a bit more humanity into everything they create and how it shows up in the world. Sometimes, that might be achieved by adding a personal touch to ads wherever possible. Other times, it could entail capitalizing on moments where we can build trust with consumers. And once in a while, it may simply require us owning up to our mistakes should they ever be made. Hey – we’re only human, after all. Authors Thays Tejeda Kristen Forbes Nikki D'Amato Marianne Lukes
You may know Sascha Lock, our VP of Media who sits in the AMP Boston office. But did you know he recently had an article titled “My Quantified, Connected Self” featured on Little Black Book Online? In his article, Sascha describes the world we’re living in as a “privacy paradox” where brands and tech companies struggle to find the right balance between personalizing user experiences and respecting people’s data privacy. “One of this industry’s biggest desires is for clients to share their transactional data, as granularly as possible, with the enviable goal to measure activity X’s impact on metric Y,” Sascha explains. “And in most cases, they aim to demonstrate things like incremental lifts in sales, foot traffic, engagement, clicks, etc. - let’s say as a result of paid media activity - so they can refine and optimise for the future.” Want to continue reading? Check out the full story here: https://lbbonline.com/news/my-quantified-connected-self/
Our own Doug Grumet, SVP of Media & Analytics, was recently interviewed for eMarketer’s latest report on Digital Ad Spending by Industry by Ross Benes. The report analyzes digital ad spending from three countries and details fascinating findings, like that US digital ad spending will reach $129.34 billion in 2019, up 19.1% from last year. Doug spoke with Ross in depth about the shifting media landscape of the largest industries and how AMP Agency is adapting with the trends to drive greater efficiency and a stronger customer experience. In the report, Doug shares, “Our retail and CPG clients are very active in mobile. The rationale there is around bridging the offline and online worlds. Can I leverage mobile as a retailer or as a CPG brand to either push brick-and-mortar or pull people into the ecommerce funnel?” Check out the full report from eMarketer here: https://www.emarketer.com/content/digital-ad-spending-by-industry-2019
Over the past several years, we’ve operated in a golden age of data. Between first-, second- and third-party sources, marketers have leveraged this information about their consumers as a powerful marketing tool. But the data well is about to start drying up. Our VP of Strategy, Greer Pearce, and our VP of Media, Kazi Ahmed, talk about the data drought and the three things brands can do right now to ready themselves for it. Check it out on MediaPost: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/331299/data-drought-coming-prepare-with-effective-use-of.html