, 21 May 2015

Gone are the days of Page “likes” as a focal point for Facebook. It’s all about building a marketing and commerce platform. This according to Facebook SMB director Jon Czaja whom we invited to BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL to characterize Facebook’s stance on local (video below).

All eyes are on Facebook when it comes to localized marketing. This was pronounced in the company’s recent revelation that 40 million SMBs now have active Pages (2 million advertise). And BIA/Kelsey’s own survey data indicate that social is the most prevalent marketing channel.

The biggest drivers for this according to Czaja are reach and targeting. More than 1 billion people use Facebook daily, the vast majority via mobile.  As for targeting, it’s more accurate on Facebook than most other digital media he asserted. This involves lots of granular audience profiling.

“We’re talking about real people and not cookies,” he said, adding that businesses can enhance targeting by “bringing their own data onto Facebook” for retargeting. FB can also target look-alike audiences with similar characteristics to a brand’s existing customers or target audience.

The full session video is below.


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, 20 May 2015

Omnichannel advertising is NOT the same thing as a bunch of point solutions across different media. Yet, it’s often mistaken as such. True omnichannel advertising consists of highly coordinated campaigns across multiple media and platforms, and is designed to deliver a consistent message and experience.

This was one of the first points in today’s workshop on Omnichannel advertising at ad:tech San Francisco, led by Sean Shoffstall, VP Innovation & Strategy, Teradata Interactive.

True omnichannel advertising, therefore, requires the advertiser to have an empirical understanding of the customer, and where he or she is exposed to a given campaign. And — wouldn’t you know it — this understanding requires a huge amount of data. Oh yes, and it helps if the data is real-time (or close to it).

Bottom line: Omnichannel advertising is the ultimate in CUSTOMER-focused analysis. It is NOT about media performance. It’s about customer experience. One can readily see how this requires many systems to tie together at the back-end, in order to assemble an accurate picture of the experience of the individual customer.  Very few brands or national advertisers, let alone SMBs are equipped to do this today.

And… to come full circle, this also explains why a company like Teradata is focusing on the digital advertising industry.

This is one of more and more examples of how Big Data will be leveraged by businesses of all sizes, including SMBs — usually through agencies or other intermediaries. (In fact, I’ll be moderating a panel at BIA/Kelsey SMB in September on this subject.)


Sidebar: Teradata Interactive started life as Ozone Online, a San Francisco digital ad agency that was purchased a year ago by Teradata. Teradata — the huge data storage hardware, data warehousing and analytics provider. So among other things, Teradata is now operating an innovative digital ad agency.

In fact, you can see the entire arc of the IT industry just in the history of the Teradata company. It started as the data division of NCR, the old “big iron” cash register and mainframe company. It was spun out of NCR in 2007 as a standalone data warehousing and analytics company. And with the acquisition of Ozone Online in 2014, it has become a Big Data online services provider. The whole evolutionary path of IT — in a single company.

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, 20 May 2015



What is “programmatic” advertising? It depends on whom you ask.

In an interview with BIA/Kelsey Managing Director Rick Ducey, John McIntyre, Founder & CEO, Sightly said: “Programmatic buying, in its most simple form, is the automated real-time bidding and purchasing of digital advertising inventory.”

During a programmatic advertising session here at ad:tech San Francisco, panelists gave their own definitions:

“Programmatic is an evolution of media automation”

“Programmatic means relevance: the right message in front of the right audience at the right time”

“Programmatic means control over ad placement, based on [your company's] unique goals and customer information”


Going deeper, here are some of the key points made by panelists:

– Agencies are a bit behind the curve in moving to programmatic [not surprising, considering it often costs them media commission dollars]. But advertisers can start buying programmatically using a DSP [Demand Side Platform].

– Programmatic is a TOOL; it isn’t a solution. It requires a robust understanding of customer segments, customer interaction points with the business, and messaging — in fact, using programmatic advertising successfully requires an even deeper understanding of these things.

–Although “viewability” may be a key metric in evaluating programmatic advertising, it’s a necessary, but not sufficient condition for a successful impact on the consumer. It’s about action, not impressions.

– Programmatic will become a primary sales channel for ALL digital media — although this may take several years. Advertisers will be buying all their media (particularly digital media) this way: algorithmically, and real-time.

So — is there poetry in programmatic for the SMB advertiser? Yes — although as with other leading edge technologies, SMBs are a few years behind nationals and brands in adopting this tool set.

But it should be clear to companies that provide advertising and marketing services to SMBs that they’ll need to master programmatic advertising (and the robust data/analytic platform upon which it rests) on behalf of their SMB customers. Sooner rather than later.

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, 19 May 2015

This post is the latest in a weekly series of excerpts from BIA/Kelsey’s recent report on the Local On-Demand Economy (LODE). The series will lead up to BIA/Kelsey NOW, a conference on LODE that will take place June 12 in San Francisco.

What’s next for the Local On-Demand Economy (LODE)? Though it’s been the recipient of lots of investment and media attention (including our own coverage), much of that has focused on where it is now, and where it’s been. But what about where it’s going?

As LODE engenders an ecosystem of supporting functions, there will be entry points for business opportunities. That includes everything from app development to back-end systems that run LODE products. And there’s a big opening for existing local media companies as we covered last week.

As far as supporting functions, we discussed a few of them on last week’s LODE roundtable, including the logistical systems that will help achieve LODE’s primary end: to algorithmically connect buyer and seller. There are lots of pieces to that value chain such as scheduling, payments, CRM, etc.

Similarly, our recent white paper covered some of these potentially opportune areas that are adjacent to LODE. An excerpt of the relevant passage is below, and stay tuned for lots more on this topic.

Local On-Demand Economy: The Future
As LODE expands, its capabilities and fusions with adjacent areas of technology will grow. It will support and be supported by many parts of a growing ecosystem. Areas we’ll examine here tie directly to monetary dynamics: demand pricing, mobile payments and growth through APIs.

Demand Pricing
After LODE grows in usage, vertical expansion and solid footing (phase I), its second phase will be to optimize pricing for maximum revenue. It will begin to do this by ingesting and processing large samples of consumer behavioral and spending patterns. The age of big data meets LODE.

The idea is that all of the signals emanating from the mobile device and processed through apps can be the building blocks for dynamic pricing. This goes back to Brendan Benzing’s quote in an earlier section that LODE’s demand aggregation is a play towards yield management.

For example, knowing how far away someone is to a business — and several other variables — enables predictive modeling about their probability of transacting. This isn’t necessarily new but takes on new flavors if worked into an equation that defines their price sensitivity or elasticity.

From there, the potential is to offer different pricing to existing customers, repeat customers, faraway customers, nearby customers, customers with green eyes and a love of craft beer, etc. This gets us closer to mobile’s promise of more effectively driving offline commerce.

The idea is to segment consumers by willingness to pay for something — a function of location-oriented factors like weather, behavior, time, product category, etc. This makes it a juiced up version of the airline model that maximizes revenue with demand-driven variable pricing.

It’s especially relevant within the context of perishable inventory (empty movie theaters, restaurants, etc.). This is of course nothing new, and gets to the yield management endgame of the daily deals craze of 2010. But in volume and depth of data, LODE will better enable it.

Of course the LODE poster child has already planted this stake. Uber’s “surge pricing” is dictated by demand levels in certain neighborhoods. It not only maximizes revenue during high-demand moments, but it compels supply (drivers) to log in and move towards “surging” neighborhoods.

We’ll see some version of surge pricing become a core tenet of existing LODE apps/services, and those still to be developed. This is most ripe in areas with volatile demand, price inelasticity and temporal relevance. Urban or event parking, for example, is an area where dynamic pricing could develop.

Mobile Payments
BIA/Kelsey has a cautiously optimistic view of mobile payments. There are consumer acclimation and retail implementation challenges. And network effect is required to gain scale and compatibility on each side of this equation. It’s a classic local “chicken & egg” challenge.

But this mostly applies to offline retail (POS) payments. Since using Apple Pay all over town, BIA/Kelsey has realized the lower barrier play where mobile payments’ near-term opportunities lie: in-app payments. This doesn’t have the same compatibility hurdles (hardware) as a physical POS.


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, 19 May 2015

Content and intelligence drive results in social media marketing according to SOCi founder and CEO Afif Khoury. He presented findings during a segment on social media at BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL (video below). This takes form in an actionable six-step process.

Social media continues to come in proximity with localized marketing, shown most recently by Facebook’s announcement that 40 million SMBs now have active Pages. And BIA/Kelsey’s own survey data indicate that social is the most prevalent marketing channel.

But the opportunity is greater among national advertisers that are increasingly localizing campaigns. National entities are generally more adoptive than SMBs when it comes to emerging media like social. And their size makes branding (conducive to social media) critical.

The why has largely been made evident, per the above and lots of evidence in the marketplace for social’s collision with local. The remaining question is how, and that’s where we’re seeing lots of experimentation and standards development from companies like SOCi.

“Most national brands seem to think they can capture a national audience with a single page,” said Khoury. “What they’re leaving behind is the hundreds of local pages that are getting reviews, getting comments, getting activity, but there’s nobody there.”

The session clip is embedded below and stay tuned for much more conference video and highlights.

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