The Future of Digital Marketing: Highlights From the 2017 DataXu Summit

Since the 1950s, no media platform had dominated our lives quite like television. Today, it’s a whole new story. The past decade’s explosion in mobile devices, streaming services and other revolutionary technologies has rapidly redefined how the world consumes media.

To explore this the latest trends in this new digital landscape, Associate Digital Campaign Manager Sarah Marcyan and Supervisor, Integrated Media Cory Oslin attended DataXu’s annual summit in Chicago, where new strategies aimed at putting the right ads in front of the right audience, and where content is being consumed was discussed.

Modern notebook computer with future technology media symbols

Connected TV

People are watching as much—or more—television content as ever. But they (we) are watching less television live and through traditional channels such as through a cable provider. This is because technology allows us to find our favorite programming through various websites and streaming options, including connected TV. Connected TV is a technology that emerged earlier this decade and has begun to hit its stride with the rise of Chromecast, Roku and Smart TVs.

What is connected TV? Cory defines it as “a television set or set-top box with internet connectivity and features that can receive video programming through an open IP method outside of traditional cable transport.” In layman’s terms, this means a TV set that gets video content through the internet and not from cable or antennae.

Cory sees a huge amount of potential in connected TV — so much so that we’ve already been utilizing it as an advertising medium for our clients. “It functions as an awareness campaign much like normal television, but the interesting thing is that we have the ability to overlay data. When you want to talk about extending the reach of your television campaign, connected TV is something that you have to talk about.”

This application of data to the targeting adds a precision to connected TV advertisements that doesn’t exist on cable.

Cross-Device Targeting

Just two years ago, digital campaigns were built and optimized individually; you had separate campaigns for desktop and mobile. Last year, targeting became more “device agnostic.” This means that, within a single campaign, ads were served between desktop and mobile devices, depending on where they performed best.

This type of targeting was based on cookie data, which had some limitations. Since mobile devices don’t use cookie tracking, it was impossible to tie devices to a single user.

Today, technology has gotten even better. We now can tie multiple devices to individual users, even within the same household or identify specific users on a shared device (such as the household laptop.) This attribution allows for advertising to this target across devices.

Sarah explains how marketers have finally managed to accomplish this association. “Any login info that you use on both devices can be used to associate the devices. At DataXu’s conference, we specifically talked about banking apps. No one is going to be logging into your bank account except for you.” So, if you log into your account on your mobile device, and later on your laptop (or tablet, etc.), algorithms connect the devices to one profile/user ID.

The user ID information is then applied to ad placement. Cory further elaborates, “What it’s doing is it knows what types of ads it’s serving to you on mobile, and if you then log in on your desktop, now it can hit you on desktop. It knows with a high amount of certainty that it’s you because of your user ID. If no one logs in, it can use probabilistic data (like your browsing habits) to estimate an association.”

Cross-device targeting creates huge opportunities for expanding our understanding of the customer journey and our ability to strategically target ads along it.

Early Adopters

With all the potential in connected TV and cross-device targeting, re:group’s integrated nature is a big reason we’ve been able to embrace this technology so quickly.

“Being a smaller agency with an integrated media department helps because, at a larger agency, there might be a fight for budget. At the conference, we learned that agencies were shifting to integrated media teams because it felt like a constant battle between traditional and digital. We’re already there. We have more control,” says Sarah.

Another huge contributor, says Cory, is that “we’re not afraid to try new things.”

As the media team prepares for 2018, Sarah and Cory took a stab at what might be covered during next year’s summit: programmatic native advertising.

Will their prediction end up on the money? You’ll have to check in next year to find out!

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