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The best of MarketingTech in 2018 – and what 2019 has in store for digital marketing

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2018 has certainly been an interesting year both for the digital marketing industry and those at the front line. The exciting part – or terrifying, depending on where you stand – is that it is only going to get bigger, with WARC estimating in September that martech spend was at $100 billion globally.

Here, we take a look at the most popular stories featured on MarketingTech over the past 12 months – as well as talking with industry leaders on what they expect to look out for in 2019.

“The Cambridge Analytica data set pales into insignificance to that which profile advertising display networks have”

The Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal at the start of this year – the repercussions of which are still being felt – caused many marketing professionals and companies to take an inward look at their own practices.

Writing for this publication in March, Mitch Vidler, head of marketing technology and digital analysis at Jaywing, aimed to put a slightly different slant on all the head-shaking going on in the industry at the time. The concept of data pooling – building data around that person and making connections between their, well, connections – was an area Vidler focused on, exploring the distinctions between illegal and immoral data gathering.

“[Data pooling] uses the same methodology that Cambridge Analytica employed, only with less sensitive subjects and would be more robust mathematicamlly as it is more deterministic (actual data) than probabilistic (guessing based on similar data),” Vidler wrote. “The Cambridge Analytica data set of tens of millions pales into insignificance in terms of access and to that which profile advertising display networks have.

“So should we be angry at a double standard, common in advertising practice? No. Cambridge Analytica crossed a line,” added Vidler. “They took advantage of freely available data, circumvented terms of use and employed questionable mathematical techniques to sell insight which morally shouldn’t have been sold.

“It is common for content providers and marketers to interrupt individuals across channels with commercial messaging; this is how content can be consumed for free. However, marketers also have the responsibility to make these messages as interesting for a consumer as possible while keeping consumer data safe.”

“The most interesting quality about AI technology is that the benefits are virtually limitless”

If 2017 was where the trapdoor opened, 2018 saw the flood arrive. Everyone is talking about AI in marketing – and with good reason. Get the right data, filter out the bad stuff, and analyse the heck out of the good stuff. Yet opinion is divided on the best way of going forward. How can we keep the human aspect? Do we need to? What will this mean for our jobs?

Writing in May, Sam Madden, UK director at Wiraya, noted both can fit equally. “Consumers are ready to jump on what they may find unnatural or fake communication that reads like a robot, however they also demand personalised marketing that comes to them in the channel and style they would like.

“So the issue lies in artificial intelligence versus the human touch, right? Incorrect,” added Madden. “It does not have to be one or the other. Using artificial intelligence allows businesses to combine both the benefits of scale and automate with human insights to create personalised, tailored messaging that still has a real human feel.”

Meanwhile, in September, Carl White, co-founder and CSO at Nano Interactive, warned of the dangers a human-less AI initiative could bring. “While the benefits of context are clear, it’s only when a contextual approach is merged with an understanding of intent that user engagement rates really start to skyrocket,” he argued.

In one of the most widely read articles on MarketingTech in 2018, Manish Dudharejia, president and co-founder of E2M Solutions, went through a step by step guide on how to implement artificial intelligence in marketing projects, from curation, to personalisation, to real-time engagement.

“By owning both the web’s most powerful marketing tool and the world’s #1 messaging channel, Facebook can have its pie and eat it too”

To say Facebook didn’t have a great year PR-wise last year – as already explained above – would almost certainly be an early contender for the understatement of 2019. And when WhatsApp launched its Business API in August as its first clear revenue-generating offering, many in the industry looked at Facebook and might have put two and two together.

But if they did, argued Smooch.io’s Dan Levy, in a piece titled ‘The $70bn WhatsApp business story nobody’s talking about’, they may well have come up with five. “They’re probably right about the money, but wrong about where it’s most likely to come from,” Levy explained.

Or would they? The key factor is, of course, WhatsApp’s end to end encryption. Some media outlets had reported of Facebook’s alleged desire to weaken that encryption – and that it forced the hand of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum to leave the company in April. But Levy noted a different nuance.

“When it announced the Business API on its blog, WhatsApp also revealed that businesses will be able to add click-to-message buttons to Facebook ads that prompt users to initiate conversations on WhatsApp,” Levy wrote. “When that happens, users will implicitly opt in to receiving messages from the business, who will have access to the user’s phone number and be able to respond with whatever offer they like, as long as they do it within the 24-hour window.

“One of the major knocks on business messaging is that it can be difficult for consumers to discover that they can reach a business through their favourite chat app,” added Levy. “Facebook advertising solves the discovery problem.”

“Imagine if marketers stopped thinking about interrupting consumers and instead became part of the value add of a consumer lifecycle?”

In October, Brian Solis, principal analyst of Altimeter Group, alongside Traackr, published an updated report on the concept of ‘Influence 2.0’. Speaking to MarketingTech in a wide-ranging interview, Solis discussed the trends of influencer marketing, the ingredients which made a successful campaign, and key CMO strategies.

“Any time you talk to a marketer or a consumer, you don’t necessarily get the idea that influencer marketing was the prized possession in the portfolio,” said Solis. “We quickly learned it was underappreciated – also underfunded and misunderstood – but it was also a victim of its own manifestation as not being a much more strategic tool.

“The great vision of what influencer marketing was, how it was perceived, funded and executed was very tactical,” Solis added. “You have this cart and horse challenge where you’re not going to gain greater sponsorship from the CMO or the chief digital officer unless you can justify its impact on the business objectives.

“Marketing in general, beyond influencer marketing, has to do that, and it has to show that it can play a role in driving business growth and business objectives.”

2018’s major mergers and acquisitions

June – AT&T acquired AppNexus for undisclosed but rumoured $1.6 billion figure
September – Deloitte acquired AI platform provider Magnetic Media
September – Adobe acquired Marketo for $4.75 billion
October – Twilio acquired SendGrid for $2 billion
November – SAP acquired Qualtrics in $8 billion deal (editor’s note: link leads to sister site CloudTech)

What does 2019 have in store?

Solis believes – or at least hopes – 2019 will see ‘stronger metrics that connect the dots between influence growth.’ “I hope that we’re going to see an increasing trend of strategy and less tactical approaches,” he said. “We’ve got to beat the drum louder and louder, because marketers don’t know what they don’t know.”

The concept of making the right choices as technology converges and gets stronger is apparent elsewhere. “One of the biggest changes we will see is how ad creative will increasingly catch up with ad tech,” said Oliver Whitten, COO at Adform. “As an industry we have reached a point where we have the potential to do a lot of great targeting, but still end up delivering the same generic banner to all users.

“The barriers to creativity are mostly human,” added Whitten. “The tech is already there and largely ready; what’s needed is a willingness from creative and media professionals to take advantage of the efficiency and storytelling potential of new technologies.”

For Wayne St. Amand, CMO of Visual IQ, a Nielsen company, the aim of the game for 2019 for marketers is to never stand still. “To keep pace with consumers, marketers must continually test new marketing channels and tactics to supplement and evolve their acquisition strategies. But they also need to prove the impact of these investments on sales, revenue and other key business metrics,” said St. Amand.

“In the year ahead, marketers will look to better understand the incremental lift their test campaigns have on online and in-store sales,” St. Amand added. “With a clearer understanding of how campaign exposure impacts sales, trip frequency, spending rate, purchase amount and other consumer purchase behaviours, marketers will not only be able to optimise their future media plans, but also justify their spending on new and innovative campaigns to senior level management.”

As appears to be the case with cloud, many companies and brands in 2019 will be looking at what Amazon is doing in order to potentially differentiate. Yet expect much more from the retail giant in this area. “It’s clear that Amazon’s advertising offering will be a significant growth area throughout 2019,” said Wesley MacLaggan, SVP marketing at Marin Software. “The reality is that many people start their purchase journey on Amazon, making it an essential platform to assign digital ad spend.

“It’s clear that many digital advertisers now view Amazon advertising as a growth opportunity for their business, operating much further down the funnel than Google or Facebook,” added MacLaggan. “Amazon also offers a huge advantage for first movers, when you consider how competitive it’s become to reach your audience on Google and Facebook.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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10 questions with… Anna Watkins, UK managing director of Verizon Media

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In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are put to Verizon Media's UK managing director Anna Watkins.

What was your first ever job?
It would have been washing my dad's car to earn my £1 pocket money each week. Smart man.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
Relatable.

Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
@POTUS is truly mind-boggling.

what is the highlight of your career (so far?)
Working with such a creative, inspiring and intelligent bunch of people every step of the way.

What piece of tech can you not live without?
It's baffling that I was born in London yet still seem to use Citymapper every day.

Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Adam Ant and Count Dracula (aged 7). I'm not quite sure what that says about me.

In advertising, what needs to change soon?
We need a truly diverse workforce.

If you could change anything about a social media platform you use, which one and what would you choose to do?
It’s more a question of changing myself – I need to flex my creative muscles if I’m ever to make more than one friend on Tumblr…

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Scarface / Sign of the Times / War and Peace – delusions of grandeur, mine and theirs.

Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
The big awards bashes – it's like going to a series of weddings where you know half the guests.

The Drum's 10 Questions With… runs each week with previous entries available to view here.

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Mobile carriers end data sharing with location aggregators; should marketers worry?

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The collection and use of real-time mobile-location data has emerged as a critical piece of the larger data-privacy debate. A recent run of negative stories have conveyed the impression that location data usage by marketers is tantamount to spying on consumers.

We’re also starting to see lawsuits, like one recently filed by the Los Angeles City Attorney against the Weather Company, for allegedly misleading consumers about how their location data would be used. More suits will likely follow.

Carriers cut off data sharing. The negative coverage and exposure of some high-profile abuses have motivated major U.S. mobile carriers to cut off location data sharing with third party “location aggregators.” The latest to do so is AT&T, following a story by Motherboard that indicated carrier data was getting into the hands of unauthorized third parties — bounty hunters, in this case — and being used for legally dubious purposes.

As a practical matter, these moves are unlikely to significantly impact use of location data by advertisers on major platforms or in the programmatic ecosystem. AT&T owns AppNexus; Verizon owns Verizon Media Group (the rebranded Oath). Location data will probably still be available to advertisers on these platforms — they’re not “third parties.” (We’ve asked Verizon for clarification on this point and will update the story if they respond.)

Calls for more regulation or legislation. Location data are so valuable and widely available that abuses are inevitable. Some of these increasingly frequent reports are adding momentum to calls for federal data privacy legislation. The carriers’ decision to cut off location aggregators is at least partly an effort to preempt investigations and potentially forestall regulation.

Some location data companies embrace the proposition of clear regulatory or legislative guidelines, however.

For example, PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall recently told me in email: “I think that the California Consumer Privacy Act and hopefully a similar federal law (as a state-by-state patchwork of different laws would be good for no one) will not only give consumers protection and confidence, but will finally give the digital data and location data ecosystem a well-thought out set of rules and guidelines to adhere to. This will bring stability and predictability to the industry, and help weed out some of the “wild west” players that have had no interest in investing for the long term good of the ecosystem.”

Most location-data companies also say they adhere to ethical data-collection practices and are scrupulous about being “good actors” in the ecosystem. Some are vocal about the responsible and/or socially beneficial use of location technology. And some organizations (e.g., NAI) are seeking to enforce transparent and ethical data collection standards. Foursquare told me in email that their apps and partners seek opt-in consent for use of location data.

Why you should care. Location data is available from a wide range of sources in the market, including app developers and the programmatic bid stream. The loss of carrier location is not a significant blow to the ecosystem.

However it is reflective of a trend toward the tightening of access to location information more generally. While it remains to be seen whether federal privacy legislation passes in 2019 (multiple bills have been proposed), California’s Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect January 1, 2020. Other states may enact similar or more strict laws, which would lend further impetus to comprehensive federal legislation.

The post Mobile carriers end data sharing with location aggregators; should marketers worry? appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Catalina adds first attribution tracking service

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Best known as a provider of retail marketing intelligence based around loyalty cards and in-store printed coupons, Catalina this week released its first attribution service.

Called Catalina Multi-touch AttributR, it traces a path from digital advertising — in various channels on various devices — to a purchase made in a store with a loyalty card. The company is able to track purchases down to the UPC bar code level.

At the level of the Diet Coke flavor. Coca-Cola, for instance, can now track how a web site ad shown on a computer affects the purchase of a Diet Coke, as well as whether the flavor chosen is Twisted Mango versus Ginger Lime. Additionally, the attribution service can report if it’s the first time this consumer bought Twisted Mango.

Previously, Catalina measured how its printed in-store coupons affected buyer behavior, but it didn’t track the impact of ads. The new attribution solution is the company’s first effort to link digital ads to buyer behavior, and it plans to add addressable TV ads to the system.

Catalina tags the digital ad with its own attribution pixel, which is called when the ad is shown and provides data on the specific campaign deployments.

But the connection between the ads shown, the various devices used by a single individual, and the in-store purchases are actually made by consumer data firm Experian on Catalina’s behalf, through such persistent identifiers as phone numbers or email addresses.

“Not in the business of knowing who you are.” In the new attribution service, the retailer sends the loyalty card ID to Experian, which matches it with the digital cross-device profile of a given individual and with the ads shown to the user on those devices. Experiam then returns a report to Catalina that uses an anonymized ID.

Catalina CMO Marta Cyhan told me the company deals only with anonymized IDs because “we’re not in the business of knowing who you are,” although Experian does have PII.

The data is updated daily to a self-service dashboard for brands (see below) and, since Experian tracks profiles, the attribution can also include the effect of ads on repeat purchases, new buyers of a product category and other consumer behaviors.

Difference from NCS. Catalina, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, is also known as a partner in Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS), which employs data from the in-store coupons and loyalty cards. But, Cyhan said, Catalina’s new attribution measures individuals across multiple channels deterministically, since the actual people are known through the Experian matching, while NCS is focused on measuring single channels through probabilistic modeled data.

Additionally, she said, Catalina’s new solution is updated daily, includes buyer behavior changes and provides granularity down to the UPC level, while NCS provides post-campaign reports on overall sales lifts.

Why you should care. Catalina’s shopper data is used widely by marketers, and this first attribution service will help brands determine the impact of their paid media spend.

Additionally, Catalina is providing a very fine level of granularity, down to the individual product bar code, with a very high level of certainty. This approach could provide the kind of accurate, return-on-spending results that major consumer brands have clamored for.

The post Catalina adds first attribution tracking service appeared first on Marketing Land.

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