Digital Media Strategy – The Past, Present & Future

digital media strategy - past present future

Digital Media Strategy – The Past

Back in mid 2000’s, digital media strategy was just an excel crunching and data munching job. It was nothing more than a cost optimised ms-excel plan. Almost all the plans followed the same construct, lots of rich media innovations, roadblocks & tonnes of banner impressions.

Back then, even the clients had little expectations from the media planners. The term ‘Media Strategy’ was considered to be an oxymoron. Marketing folks were extremely selective while discussing their overall marketing strategy, leave alone the business strategy.

While the term performance marketing was existing, but then very few planners could show how the cross channel funnel works.

All the above points left a lot room for human bias and made the entire planning process highly dependent on the whims and fancy of media planning teams.

But guess what, times have changed.

Digital Media Strategy – The Present

With the rise of search, data analytics, biddable media, RTBs and programmatic buying platforms, complexion of media plans has changed.

Growth of RTB Programmatic in new age Digital Media Strategy
Growth of RTB Programmatic in new age Digital Media Strategy

The growth & adoption of programmatic is enormous in the western markets like the US (see above graph). More than four-fifths of agencies and brands already purchase display ads programmatically. And even greater proportion of publishers are pursuing programmatic channels as part of their sales strategies.

 

CMO queries on digital media strategy

Even the metrics for media planning have seen quite a lot of transformation. Today, most of the CMOs are more than interested in knowing how their digital activities are performing?

Discussions around basic web analytics (page views, bounce rates, etc.) have given way to more complex marketing analytics metrics.

The new marketing metrics include customer life time value (LTV), brand uplift, share of voice, engagement rates, conversion attribution etc.

With the rise of smart devices, cross device strategies became extremely crucial for all CMOs. As a result, marketing teams have understood the need of having a scientific, data driven wireframe for their digital media strategy.

These wireframes have clearly defined goals, metrics and attribution methodologies to create a comprehensive digital media approach.

The conversations in the marketing corridors are changing everyday. Digital agencies & digitalmedia planning teams have to learn to talk in the same language.

Digital Media Strategy – The Future

So what is the new language of digital media planning?

The answer is DATA!

In future, marketing teams would be more than eager to bring their digital media partner into a strategic roadmap discussion. Are media planning agencies ready to to drop their archaic hit and trial planning methods and focus on new age analytical approach?

As a digital media planner, one has to look into different data sources at all stages of strategy planning. These data points would cut across marketing and sales, online and offline, consumer and partners etc. Any sustainable digital media strategy must connect all these dots together.

Digital media planning would no longer be restricted to a few selected channels like display, social and search. On one side, number of channels are increasing and on the other side, the lines are continuously blurring between digital and media strategy.

Is your digital media planner ready for the future?

4 Mobile Marketing Strategies that would actually work in 2017

mobile marketing strategy 2016

Year 2015, was perhaps the most important year in the mobile marketing industry, an year when mobile devices officially ended the 2 decade long dominance by desktops.

People around the globe settled down to a new “mobile way of life”.

Mobile is primary digital device for all demography segments
Source: BCG Center

Data from BCG study calling out loud and clear, that mobile devices are the primary digital device of all age and demography segments.

Over 53% of tier 1,2 & 3 use mobile as their primary device.

Google also acknowledged this fact in one of their PR releases pertaining to mobile vs desktop searches. Google’s search chief Amit Singhal said for the first time, more Google searches were completed on mobile devices than desktop computers.

All of this point us (the advertisers and marketers) in one single direction. We can, no longer continue to ignore mobile as a key channel in the marketing mix. However, there are several challenges (especially for the small & medium advertisers) when it comes to using Mobile effectively as a marketing channel.

Here are few mobile marketing tactics which are most logical and almost hygiene to make your digital marketing work in 2016.

#1 Mobile Marketing is most Social than ever before

Mobile vs Social Media in 2016
Source: WARC Asial Survey, 2015

77% of the marketers (also identified as one of the 2016 digital marketing trend in my previous blog post) said that mobile is used most frequently with paid social media marketing.

This data is also in sync with the the below numbers shared by Facebook Audience Insights, which says 122 Mn out of 132 Mn people access Facebook through  Mobile.

Facebook India Audience Data 2015-16
Facebook India Audience Data 2015-16

Clearly, this shows that your social strategy should go through a “Mobile First” prism in 2016. What that means really is when you design your social content or when you create your paid social marketing plan, do skew it more towards mobile audience.

#2 Mobile Marketing is more about native content and less about advertising

Mobile Content vs Mobile Advertising - Trends 2016
Source: WARC-MMA Survey Report, 2015

The current trend might be in favour (almost tilted) of paid social advertising as the key mobile tactic, but this will change soon and the trend is already visible. According to the WARC-MMA survey, mobile display advertising would lose its share by 2020 to Mobile Content (or native advertising).

Also Read : Reasons Why Mobile Native Advertising Beats Desktop Native Advertising 

Apple has already allowed ad blocker apps to run on its safari browser.  Though iPhone’s overall market share is limited, but this would still cause significance dent in the overall mobile display pie.

#3 Give your website a “Mobile First” makeover

Regardless of the type or stage of the brand, having a unique mobile first experience is something which would become a de-facto standard from here-on.

More so after the Mobilegedden update by Google.

In order to take better decision on your mobile first approach, also read “Mobile Web vs Mobile App

Responsive website might be thing of the past for many digital first brands in 2016 as they continue to chase and build deeper consumer experience using Mobile First Strategies.

#4 In-App would grow but Mobile Searches would remain the key performing channel

With the growing popularity of mobile apps, to which a lot of digital pundits would say it offers a superior user experience than conventional websites, start-ups tilted (almost shifted) their product and business models towards the app at the expense of desktop and mobile websites.

To add to this, many investors regarded the number of app downloads as one of the indicators of a start-up’s performance. Entrepreneurs and marketing heads rushed to blindly maximise their app downloads. Since then, tonnes of app marketing companies opened shop in Bangalore and Mumbai.

Soon, however, it was evident that they didn’t necessarily result in high growth.

Now, as apps lose their novelty and vanity both, and as smartphone users uninstall apps to clear up memory (uninstall rates are as high as 90% in some cases), these companies are revisiting their mobile web strategies.

The winner? Google, which retains its dominance of online ad spending.

Hence, digital brands should get a sharp focus on getting their mobile keywords strategy in 2016. Yes, there is a difference of “intent & location relevance” in the audience search list.

Facebook Fan Acquisition has become irrelevant In Social Media?

stop worrying for facebook likes

The above presentation would come as a slap on the face to many “Social Media Gurus” (especially here in India). The beautiful part about this presentation is that all the points mentioned in this presentation are sheer common sense and does not comply with any ” marketing strategy template”.

I would like to quote a very famous statement made by Rene Descartes,

“Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.”

Since the days of orkut (and now Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many more), marketers have forced themselves to believe that ‘the money is where the audience is‘. By the way, that is not entirely incorrect. However, the very idea of a brand engaging with the audience is highly over rated & misnomered (BTW, did I say anything bad about the digital or social media agencies yet? Hell no! 🙂 )

How many times, as social media marketers, we genuinely think about the sales or business objectives of the company ahead our present marketing objectives? Often the approach used by the agencies is based on a common template which created for all the clients. This leaves little room for debate around how should the business objective be linked to the social media strategy.

It is becoming increasingly programmatic and how,

Step 1: A marketing manager creates a social media brief.

Step 2: He gives it to the agency.

Step 3: Who (the social media agency) comes up with a plan.

Step 4. Agency waits for an approval.

Step 5. The agency executes the campaign.

Step 6. The final report (with weekly, monthly likes, followers, retweets) is shared.

Step 7. Invoice reaches the client’s desk.

Step 8. Mission accomplished.

Sorry for being so dramatic. No offence to any digital or interactive agency. I think there are quite a lot of media companies with some fascinating talent who are trying their best to do great work in the space.

Also read: The Good, Bad & Hilarious world of Social Media

But lets come back to the main point.

Do brands really need to get over obsessed about the term engagement? I know most of you may not agree with me on this point, but it is practically impossible for audience to engage with so many brands. Facebook defines engagement rate as the percentage of people who saw a post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it.

But is that engagement worth spending your precious time, money & resources?

In his article “5 Tips for a Better Facebook Brand Strategy in 2015“, Peter  Stringer-Vice President, Digital Media at Boston Celtics wrote about the Facebook’s definition of audience engagement:

But the first two of those (metrics) are basically worthless. Post likes are meaningless. OK, not completely, as a post’s likes do impact its organic reach, but realistically, a like is a one-second long, one-click engagement. How valuable is that? Do you remember the last post you liked on any platform?

facebook-engagement-is-not-the-only-metric

One of the biggest misunderstandings about Facebook likes is the assumption that once a person “likes” your page, they are going to keep coming back for more. A “like” on a page doesn’t guarantee that they will ever come back to that page and participate or even read any updates. According to an AdAge article , only one percent of fans on the biggest brand pages actually engage with the brand at all

Top reasons why people unsubscribe from facebook pages

Most of facebook likes are just casual observers or lurkers. This leads to a one-sided conversation led by the brand, or frankly no conversation at all. One of the major reasons.

The whole idea of increasing the number of likes and treating it as a mantra for social engagement success is absolutely B*ST. I am saying this because unfortunately this is how most of the social media professionals are talking these days. Needless to say, when so many people say the same thing, clients (most of them) believe it to be true. But is it really true?

According to a research published by a Denmark firm, Komfo:

Engagement is not the only social media marketing KPI, reach & fan penetration is another critical element in this puzzle. According their findings, smaller communities perform better (see below) on Facebook both when it comes to fan reach and engagement.

Facebook community page engagement metrics
Facebook community page engagement metrics

You can read their complete findings here.

No wonder, social platforms, notably Facebook, are starting to shift away from the airy talk of “brand engagement” and instead offer more nuts-and-bolts ad offerings. Engagement.

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PS: opinion expressed in this post are strictly personal.

Mobile first approach is now a must for brands

mobile marketing strategy 2016
There has been a constant debate around the role of mobile in the present digital ecosystem.
While on one side, few digital & social media enthusiast are completely tilting their opinion towards use of mobile applications and rich media, another section is extremely bullish towards mobile video & its capabilities in taking the brand message to the end consumer.

In the meantime, Mobile has already crossed the stage where it was just a part of those endless client-agency brief meetings. Today it has the power to justify the status of “Next big mass medium” by virtue of the sheer numbers it possess.

Mobile internet adoption is growing at a faster rate than the adoption of radio, internet and television. By 2015, nearly two-thirds of all “online” advertising will be served up by a mobile device.

According to latest comScore reports, out of 234 million mobile user base of Age 13+ in the United States, 22% accesses videos on mobile & over 11% watches TV on their mobile device.

Almost 22% of those with HHI $50K+ accesses the video content through their mobile. These figures may look small compared to overall size of the market but from a digital consumption point of view, these are definitely huge & still going strong exponentially.

While mobile is a great complement for conventional brand marketing, mobile display & rich media are greater for direct response & engagement. Perhaps the answer lies in the way any advertiser would be using mobile videos in their digital media mix.

Conventionally, most of the digital agencies are recommending standard run of the mill pre-rolls to all their clients, just to keep their client’s investments safe & to give better ROI for the brand. On one side it may be growing the mobile video category, but it is shrinking the rest of the mobile by limiting the possibilities & typecasting the medium in the eye of the marketeer.

Lets find out how various marketeers are using Mobile currently as a part of their overall marketing efforts.

Mobile Media Marketing Tactics used by Brands & Marketers

Marketers are focusing on mobile as another messaging channel, and mostly ignoring its potential as a medium through which to build deeper customer relationships. The beauty of  mobile is not just taking the brand message & delivering it to a wider targeted audience, but it is actually adding another layer of engagement with the customer before, during & after the point of purchase.

Mobile media intelligene, if effectively used, can peel off deep complex layers of human behavior when exposed to certain communication. Today, Mobile as a device allows a user to touch & engage with a brand message in a certain space & time. The information, if used for segmentation of brand audience can help create rich audience experience over time.

Jason Spero from Google talks about the mobile revolution in the usage of devices that has happened over time. He explains the importance of mobile and how to use mobile to connect with your already engaged consumers.

The global marketers surveyed by Marketing Charts do see the potential for mobile as a relationship-building channel, even if they haven’t yet fully embraced it in such a way. 55% cited mobile’s accessibility and always-on nature as a critical benefit, and about half feel that mobile will play a role in influencing customer interactions through its ability to provide more relevant and personalised experiences. This further proves that what’s holding marketers back are immature irrational & inexplicable strategies and a lack of talent to produce the right content.