What next for the media industry? 2018 revealed (part 2)

15 Dec 2017 
What next for the media industry? 2018 revealed (part 2)

Illustration by Natasha Searston

In the second of two specials, our experts review what has been a striking year for media and advertising - and offer their predictions for the coming year

Read part one here.

Walled gardens will begin to crumble

Sacha Berlik, managing director EMEA, The Trade Desk

One of the biggest barriers to transparency is the walled gardens. Until they open up there’s never going to be true transparency in digital advertising. And the problem is, as long as walled gardens exist, other players will feel like it’s okay for them to do it as well.

Companies operating inside a walled garden believe their closed-door approach gives them more control over pricing and data. But, in reality, demand for their inventory would actually be much higher if they opened up to other platforms - particularly as advertisers demand greater transparency. And this will ultimately drive the price up too, allowing them to reap the rewards.

These players will realise this soon and, while 2018 might not see a total collapse, it won’t be long before the walls begin to crumble.

The rise of the Management consultancies

Catherine Becker, CEO, VCCP Media

One key area of change in the media and agency environment is the encroachment of management consultancies on our media and creative space. But equally, we are encroaching on theirs. With digital now becoming not just a marketing skill but also intrinsically linked into product development, IT and distribution for most of our clients, and media upskilling in data and attribution, the boundaries are blurring and we are delivering much of what they are striving to do.

Moreover, there is a challenge about how autonomous management consultants can be. They are involved in so many other areas of the client’s business from auditing to wider business strategy, so having separate experts for marketing & communications is vital to maintaining the best output for the client.

Our clients still want the detailed expertise of a team that has both grown up in the media and communications environment and all sit together and learn from each other. One of our big advantages is our relationships with media owners and our understanding of the unique idiosyncrasies of each marketing specialism and capability. This, coupled with the independence from the wider auditing and strategic offering means our business advice is more valuable and unbiased.

2018 is all about collaboration

Jon Mew, CEO, IAB UK

It’s been nearly one year since I became CEO of the IAB, and what a year it’s been! Digital advertising reached a tipping point - it became the majority of adspend in the UK, but conversely, it made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Reflecting on this paradox, we came to a realisation that we can’t keep doing the same thing we’ve done for 20 years; it’s now important that we do things better, not just bigger. As a result, the IAB evolved its positioning and is committed to building a sustainable future for digital advertising.

The best way to ensure a prosperous future is to make it work for everyone. Collaboration is key to this and I expect to see this trend continue in 2018. The IAB UK Gold Standard launched in October with all 24 of our board members committing to raise standards of digital advertising by reducing ad fraud, increasing brand safety and creating a better user experience. The Gold Standard is now open for all our members to join, and criteria for compliance will be announced in January.

The future of advertising is still digital. While there will inevitably be more challenges and questions that surface - like GDPR and Brexit - I’m certain we’ll come out the other side strong by working together.

Trust us

Sue Todd, CEO, Magnetic

The last year for magazine media has been defined by the two Ts - trust and transformation. Living in an era of ‘Fake News’, the topic of what constitutes the truth and our responsibility as an industry to build trust has rarely strayed far from our lips.

With this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer revealing its most worrying findings for a decade - we investigated the ‘brand rub effect’ between advertiser and media brand in our ‘A Matter of Trust’ study with MediaCom.

Magazine brands score highly on the key measures of relevance, reliability, ethics, meaning and experience. In a time of uncertainty, appearing in an environment trusted by audiences is invaluable to brands.

Trust will be high on the agenda and context will play an increasingly important role in media campaigns."

‘A Matter of Trust’ found it’s the magazine brand, not the platform, that impacts perceptions of trust - as the brand is what consumers associate with expertise - which is exciting for magazines as we see the industry enter a period of transformation.

At our Spotlight event we showcased the innovative opportunities available to brands - for example, the creative and editorial teams at Office and Grazia combined to create a striking, eight-page newspaper, which was placed within the centrefold of Grazia, leading to a uplift of 200% in sales of the featured footwear.

2017 was a year in which magazine brands demonstrated the unique and powerful qualities of magazine media - which is crucial considering the worrying trend towards short-termism in marketing strategy that we identified in a joint report with Enders.

Magazines are evolving and 2017 has shown they still have a crucial role to play in the modern media mix.

Going forward into 2018, we will continue to see trust high on the agenda and context will play an increasingly important role in media campaigns. Context is powerful - and we are committed to working with the industry to solve the context crisis.

A return to quality

Vanessa Clifford, CEO, Newsworks

From Marc Pritchard’s landmark speech about the “murky” media supply chain, swiftly followed by The Times’ revelations about ad placement on YouTube, to growing evidence of Russia’s use of Facebook to influence the US electorate - it’s fair to say that 2017 was the year that the highly questionable grabbed headlines.

In our industry there is a creeping realisation that cheap is, well...cheap. That quality environments and engaged eye balls have been undervalued by advertisers lured by the promise of scoring quick, easily measurable results.

The paramount importance of context has come to the fore. Not only the fundamental requirement that ads aren’t placed alongside toxic content, but growing awareness of how a relevant and verified environment can boost advertising’s effectiveness.

2018 will be about continuing to call out ad fraud, as well as readdressing the balance between short-term returns and long-term brand building. As Manning Gottlieb OMD’s Clare Peters said at Newsworks and Magnetic’s joint event last month, both have a place on plans: “It's about connecting the two things together, rather than one versus the other".

On a broader level and in the context of the questionable and the fake, newsbrands’ probing, investigative and professional journalism will remain as important to our society as ever - more so in my view, as the line between fact and fiction becomes increasingly fluid. 

2018 will be time to perfect brand voice

Oliver Deane, director of commercial digital, Global

In 2017, we’ve seen demand for digital audio increase rapidly. The Autumn MIDAS survey shows that in the UK today, 22.5 million people or 44% of the adult population, listen to digital audio every week.

Whether that’s listening while commuting, exercising or shopping, digital audio is one of the easiest ways to consume content on the go. As voice activated devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home grow in popularity, listening hours at home are also increasing.

Research from Radiocentre predicted that by late 2018, 40% of UK households will have an Amazon Echo. At the moment, voice activated devices are another way for people listen to audio content. In fact, 71% of Echo users say that owning the device means they listen more.

Our relationship with brands is set to change as screenless browsing becomes more popular. In the future, a significant amount of time spent online will be done without a screen – according to Gartner, 30% of web browsing will be voice activated by 2020. As the technology improves, the most successful brands will be the ones that have an instantly recognisable and memorable voice and sonic identity.

This presents a huge opportunity for brands to establish themselves in the audio space. Traditionally, brands have spent a lot of time perfecting their visual branding, but far less time perfecting their brand voice.

In 2018, we expect to see brands use new technology and experiment with their digital audio marketing. We also expect the number of people listening to increase further so brands looking to engage audiences through digital audio need to find their voice. After all, if your brand is mute, how will it exist in a screenless future?

Some predictions, some ardent hopes...

Lindsey Clay, CEO of Thinkbox

There will be fewer manels at ad industry events, but still too many.

There will be a swing back from the short-termism that has been decimating advertising effectiveness.

More marketers will be heroes of the boardroom thanks to the hard evidence of advertising’s impact on the bottom line.

TV will create 71% of all advertising-generated profit between 2018 and 2020.

Facebook will claim it can now reach the deceased and foetal.

All TV will continue to be whitelisted and held to the highest standards.

People will speak to the Blockchain piece. A lot. And I’ll want to throttle them.

Addressable advertising will gather pace and become more widely available across TV as its data-rich future unfolds.

Lumping all online ad revenue, from email to search, into one giant numberwang will stop as it is meaningless.

The Big TV Festival will celebrate the renewed spirit of collaboration in TV and its wonderfully bright future.

I’ll do a predictions piece plugging a brilliant event in 2019.

Workplace culture will be key

Abby Carvosso, gorup MD of advertising, Bauer Media

When looking ahead in 2018, it’s clear that AR, AI and voice activation are still going to attract a lot of attention. However, there still will be a huge focus from clients and trade bodies on transparency and accountability within digital advertising, which is most certainly an opportunity for premium content owners.

I also believe workplace culture will be at the centre of many business developments in 2018. The people within a company are the single biggest factor for success as a business. We need to ensure that we are creating workplace cultures that enable our people to learn new skills, adapt to the speed of change and develop their careers in this new media landscape.

Our people will always be my biggest inspiration and if we allow them to be bold and curious then 2018 will be a brilliant year.

Consumer attitudes and behaviours are changing

Julia Ayling, head of research and insights, Mindshare UK

Many of the technologies that we have been exploring over the last few years in our trends reports are starting to hit home for consumers in 2018. Those once mysterious terms like AI and chat bots and IoT are now becoming more recognisable for people, especially if you happen to be urban, younger and a bit more technology confident than the average consumer. These innovations will be creating plenty of opportunities for the media industry to test and explore over the next year.

Whilst some of the emerging tech trends we have been exploring did split consumer opinion, two themes were more consistently welcomed, indicating potential new areas for industry focus in 2018. Image recognition was one of these.

AI and algorithms will influence increasingly divergent decision areas"

Developments in areas such as visual search, code scanning and facial recognition means that people will be increasingly turning to images for quicker and easier interactions in the future. These will be used to address a huge range of consumer needs - from searching, through to identification and purchase.

A second area that people found exciting was the way in which technology can put fun and inspiration back into every day decision making and the exploration of new ideas. We will start to see AI and algorithms influencing increasing divergent decision areas, shoppable media creating new buying opportunities, and a range of innovations around digital assistants, smart screens, and AR helping people to imagine and visualise better.

Consumer attitudes and behaviours are changing. Although not really on their agenda just yet, with the introduction of GDPR, people will be re-evaluating their approach to data in 2018. Meanwhile with automation and self-service becoming more widespread in everyday life, people will also be thinking more consciously about its promise of greater convenience versus the loss of human interaction.

Mobile and out-of-home cement their marriage

Stephen Whyte, CEO, Posterscope

Out-of-home’s reach combined with data, technology and new physical infrastructure will usher in a new era of efficiency and effectiveness for advertisers in 2018. We’ll see 50% of the medium’s revenue come from digital OOH, and, more importantly, digital alone will be able to reach 50% of the population.

This more frictionless connection across digital OOH products will see an increasing application of dynamic content and ad-serving to optimise creative delivery; messaging that reflects more closely what audiences are thinking, feeling and doing at specific moments, in specific places. We’ll also start to see the full delivery of automated booking across the industry, albeit at varied pace.

Media owners will introduce an incredible line-up of new offerings which will support more convergence with other digital media, principally mobile, resulting in better media campaigns and better experiences for consumers, and the obvious symbiotic relationship between mobile and OOH will become more of a reality.

Accessibility of mobile location data, greater collaboration with location-based mobile media owners, and the ability of OOH planning systems to seamlessly ingest and process this data, will enable more holistic, integrated and effective activation across both channels.

Momentum is returning to TV advertising

Stacy Daft, GM, enterprise business development, Videology

We believe that the outlook for television is bright, particularly as global advertisers lead a re-examination of the effectiveness of digital advertising, and take the Silicon Valley giants to task over issues such as ads running next to inappropriate content, and an inability to independently audit.

Momentum is returning to TV advertising. With issues of fraud and brand safety dogging parts of internet advertising, advertisers are asking serious questions about where they invest, what works and what they can trust. 2018 could be TV’s year.

Given the impact of video consumption and fragmentation on platforms and devices, media companies need to get involved and figure out how to simplify the process of selling their audiences at scale, as this disruption is a catalyst for change that opens new opportunities to compete using addressability.

We’re going to start seeing increased collaboration and a cohesive approach around audience-based and addressable TV, not only among operators but across the whole industry.

A pivotal moment

Alex Altman, President, global client operations and MD client solutions London, Wavemaker

Looked at broadly, I believe 2018 will be “the year of media”. The next 12 to 24 months will be as important a time in defining the role of media agencies as those moments 20 or so years ago when we saw the separation of creative and media take place.
 
Every client is now asking for help in three broad areas: customer journey mapping, using data for best effect and platform specific content strategies. Taken as a set, these three questions are at the heart of all successful client marketing strategies, and the modern media agency will be able to knit them together to form a coherent and sustainable strategy for growth.
 
Having an empirically based perspective on how customers choose between a brand and its competitors and being able to develop, distribute and optimise investment plans against defined KPIs is the key to unlocking competitive advantage.

As we head into 2018, this pivotal moment is taking place as we are now able to link insight and ideas to business metrics - and as this happens so the influence of media will increase within client organisations.

Loyalty is no longer guaranteed

Karen Stacey, CEO, Digital Cinema Media

At a time when brands are faced with challenges around attention, safety and viewability, cinema’s offering has never been more powerful, with people actually paying to pay attention. Rather than blocking ads or fast forwarding through them, cinemagoers are always looking forward.

As brands continue to operate in competitive landscapes, an onus on transparency will continue to transform the advertising industry into a more open and consumer-centric market. Consumers are becoming more empowered to influence brand reputations - loyalty is no longer guaranteed, so it’s essential for brands to stand out by creating emotional connections.

AV channels excel in building brand love and our latest Building Box Office Brands research study proves that using cinema alongside TV is the most influential AV combination for brand building metrics. While there’s no “one-size fits all” answer, what’s clear is that brands should better understand how to make their media mix more effective to drive long-term growth and brand success.

Ruthlessly efficient technology

Carl Erik Kjærsgaard, co-founder and CEO at Blackwood Seven

2017 kicked off with Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's global chief brand officer, calling for the marketing industry to come together and tackle media transparency, drive growth and create an efficient media supply chain. In 2018, I expect to see the industry collaborating to address these issues - in part to assuage the concerns of marketers, but also for the simple reason of driving greater efficiency within its own businesses.

When it comes to the business of media there are so many moving parts, so much decision-making to do and so little time to do it in. A media plan, for example, requires roughly 5,000 decisions to be made. In such instances it is a given that potential efficiencies will be missed by human decision making. However, with technology, we can take over this heavy lifting and create that efficient supply chain Pritchard spoke of back in January.

Alongside this, technology enables us to understand the synergies between different media and their impact on sales and bookings, ensuring marketers will also benefit from greater predictability over ROI, as opposed to focusing purely on clicks and views.

Of course, in using technology and algorithms, there will still be a need for a human, creative touch. But ultimately, if we want to keep up with consumers and meet the demands of our clients, we have to reap the rewards of the unbiased and ruthlessly efficient nature of technology.

Event: The Year Ahead 2018

The Year Ahead is our very popular afternoon invite-only networking event for senior professionals from across the media industry, which sees panellists give their views on key media issues from the year, and their predictions for the year ahead.

Tess Alps is back to join Ray Snoddy and Torin Douglas, with Lindsay Pattison joining the panel this year. They'll share their thoughts on 2017 and a few predictions for 2018, in answer to questions posed by you.

Details here

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23 May 2018 

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