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The ‘Future of Media’ event: Four trends to watch out for

The ‘Future of Media’ event: Four trends to watch out for

Confidence in advertising is bouncing back. After the trials and tribulations of the last 18 months, the lessons learnt have made the industry more resilient, flexible, and creative.

 However, there was a cautiousness to this optimism at the recent Mediatel ‘Future of Media’ event. Despite increased ad budgets, those who controlled the purse strings needed to see cold hard data to justify their spend.

 The event explored industry leaders’ perspectives on how the current trends and challenges in the media landscape are shaping its future. Here are our top takeaways from the discussions.

 Greater transparency needed

There is a growing demand from ad buyers for cross-media measurement to bring together disparate data sets. With data-driven decision making now a mainstay of the industry, ad buyers need access to a comprehensive view of outcomes – to both justify their spend and deliver impactful campaigns to consumers.

 Discussing the difficulties of creating a cross-media measurement system, Dan Mogridge, Media Manager at Vodafone explained that campaign data needs to be examined from a more holistic point of view. He shared: “We are reaching a tipping point of old ‘solutions’ which didn’t complete the full picture, and CFOs that are asking questions and need a single source of truth to understand.”

 Showing the ‘true value’ of advertising is vital to help media teams give C-suite and investors the solid proof they expect and unlock further media investment.

Attention please – measuring engagement

Advertising operates in an attention economy, where consumers’ time and interest are valuable commodities. According to Mike Follet, Managing Director at Lumen Research, measuring this attention means advertisers need to collect behavioural, human data – the difference between what people can see and what they are actually engaging with.

Karen Nelson-Field, Founder and CEO of Amplified Intelligence, and Chrissie Hanson, Global Chief Strategy Officer at OMD, also asserted that being able to track attention represents the most promising ROI metric ‘in years’. They shared insights which showed 20% of impressions paid for generated 0% attention, highlighting how critical it is to determine what truly captures consumers’ interest. In doing so, companies will be able to cut down on a significant proportion of wasted ad spend.

 As the focus on attention metrics rises, it will be important to consider how they differ across platforms, alongside ensuring that the measurement solutions companies opt for are privacy-safe, GDPR compliant, and not malware-based.

Getting back out there with out-of-home advertising

As the world opens back up, out-of-home (OOH) advertising has greater potential than ever. With more of the public out socialising, shopping, and commuting, the battle to grab their attention is on – but OOH is also being asked to prove its worth as media budgets face high levels of scrutiny.

Curtis Weir, OOH Group Director at Publicis Media, asserted that OOH is both one of the oldest advertising mediums and the one with the brightest future. This stems from its ability to connect the digital with the physical – a characteristic that will only become more important as cities become ‘smart’.

OOH’s embrace of digital technologies also gives it an agility it lacked in the past, one which advertisers can now combine with programmatic trading. Although there has been a buzz around programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH), Matthew Dearden, CEO of Alight Media claimed that advertisers need more incentive to leverage it in their media mix. Programmatic DOOH is less likely to follow digital display’s footsteps regarding Real Time Bidding (RTB), instead leaning toward programmatic guaranteed. To justify media investment, ad buyers will require transparency around value and where spend goes.

Create a consumer-centric brand experience

 Digital advertising plays a huge part in building connections between brands and target audiences, capturing their attention through the channels they engage with. For the retail sector in particular, brand experiences will take on new forms, with customers wanting a more immersive shopping experience both online and offline. Kate Ivory, Agency Partner and Head of Strategy, OMD EMEA, mentioned that cultivating this ‘wow factor’ for customers will be a key trend going forward. As with DOOH advertising, merging digital and traditional benefits will become more prevalent among retailers. For example, Selfridges recently announced new in-store garden centres, with the expectation that customers will purchase in-store but have their products delivered to their homes. Shoppers therefore gain the in-person experience of physical retail as well as the convenience of online purchases.

 Furthermore, both Ivory and Chapplow touched on how important sustainability is becoming to customers. As the waste associated with trends such as ‘fast fashion’ looms larger in the public consciousness, retailers will be expected to do more to reduce their environmental impact. Brands can look to investing in better recycling, promoting more transparency in the supply chain, or creating ‘recommerce’ schemes. Not only will this support a brand’s green initiatives, but when this sustainable messaging is incorporated within ad campaigns, it can also capture the attention of eco-conscious customers.

 The future of media will be shaped by audience expectations – and advertisers are looking for the means to identify emerging behaviours across channels, plan effective campaigns, and monitor their outcomes. By concentrating on attention-based metrics and transparent measurement solutions, the media industry will enable advertisers to justify spend and unlock further investment.

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