The first big speaker was Scott Galloway. He tackled the Four (Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple) positions in various markets. According to him, Amazon is the best company to surpass the other three. Regarding web marketing, Amazon will probably go for Google and Facebook’s revenues, and break up their duopoly. Who would have thought a few years ago that Google could lose its marketing control? However, 55% of product searches start on Amazon, and more than 75% of vocal searches are made through Alexa. Plus, Alexa is directly connected to Amazon accounts, and more than 58% of American households are Prime subscribers:
The question is not whether advertisers should advertise on Amazon anymore, but how and how much.
The conference also welcomed Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook. Her talk took place just a few days after the company announced its new algorithm. The impact for advertisers will probably be a rise of CPM, but targeting tactics should stay the same, since the advertising platform already fosters ads generating a better engagement.
This year, Facebook’s challenge will be to guarantee a more secure environment for its advertisers. Some issues need to be addressed, such as fake news, which is amplified by a polarized American society since Donald Trump’s election. Advertisers have a right to ask for a better understanding of what will appear in user newsfeeds.
Finally, a content evolution is to be expected on the platform. Video exposure is growing, particularly on mobile and in Stories. Also, keep an eye on Messenger and WhatsApp, which should both add new features for Facebook this year.
Brad Bender, VP Product Management at Google also addressed future innovations in his talk. Identity solutions will be linked to cookies less and less, in part because users spend more time in-app, and advertisers need a better cross-device perspective. Also, solutions have to take user privacy more into account. For instance, the GDPR goes as far as to make advertisers ask for user approvals before they collect their info for certain markets.
Just like Facebook, Google is overwhelmed with fake news, but fraud is an even bigger problem. In his talk, Brian Andersen from LUMA addressed the fraud Business Insider had to face this year. Networks would tell DSP they were selling their inventory, but impressions were not really going through BI:
BDM and Google adopting the ads.txt solution will help solve this problem. Essentially, this is an audit measure allowing DSP to make sure that networks are authorized to sell website inventories. In short, even if we deal with the fraud and inventory quality, the war is not over just yet.
As for brands, we note a tendency to internalize, even if agencies still have a role to play. Over the past years, we already expected agencies to do more consulting. Adviso is a precursor in this regard, since we have been encouraging our clients to take control of their digital solutions for years. An evolution of marketing strategies is happening. Brands distributed in retail need to address their clients directly, and can’t depend on a distribution chain anymore. Customer experience with big businesses have to be personalized.
Brian Andersen (aforementioned) and Michael Katz from mParticle talked about a new acronym, CDP, which stands for Customer Data Platform. It’s a new platform based on personalized user experiences with a brand. According to Mr. Andersen, here is how this platform differs from DMP:
The comparison above differs slightly from what Mr. Katz explained. This one presents a complementary solution to DMP, whereas Katz’s solution will replace DMP and more. This type of platform would become a primary solution for advertisers, with artificial intelligence being increasingly more and more integrated in marketing initiatives.
Programmatic acquisitions will be more specialized for buyers and editors. The arrival of new digital tools will help solve different problematics (fake websites, fake news, privacy), but the digital world will keep being more and more complex, with Amazon changing the game and the introduction of new platforms such as CDP. This new layer of complexity will probably create new roles for brands, and brand agencies will keep evolving toward consulting. For everybody to make the right decisions, information will need to be shared more often and more clearly within the digital ecosystem. We can expect a year of information transparency!