SQAD POD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – July 2017

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

We’re right in the thick of summer – the cicadas are chirping, the backyard barbecues are in full swing, and we’ve got advertising news for you hot and fresh off the grill. This month, we’re diving into the pool of native advertising, the growing power of podcasts, how a “brandless” brand is trying to shake things up, the Facebook and Google duopoly, and the rise of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence).

1. Native Ads Make a Steady Climb

The vast ocean-like world of advertising is constantly in motion, and with the latest waves of change pounding the shore, print and programmatic have taken a beating. When we start to look at year over year numbers, print ads have dropped 8 percent, and more than 5,000 fewer advertisers purchased programmatic. It’s not “breaking news” that print ads have been in decline (as general print readership has fallen and moved over to digital), but the dip in programmatic spend may be surprising for some – since it seemed to be shaping up to be the prophesied savior of the advertising world. So, what’s happening? It looks like advertisers have decided to take a more cautious approach to programmatic. Their hesitation seems to reflect a broader concern for brand safety, integrity, and control – since advertisers have very little control of where their programmatic ads will end up on the Internet. But all is not lost for advertisers, while programmatic is cooling down, native ads are picking up the slack. Based on recent numbers, native ad buyers spiked 74% over the past year and demand for native ads has more than tripled since 2015.

2. Advertisers Have Their Eyes (and Ears) on Podcasts

People are increasingly tuning into podcasts for their entertainment and information needs on every topic under the sun, from the latest breaking news in Washington, to the latest mobile phone tech trends, to the growing community of adult My Little Pony enthusiasts. There’s a podcast for everyone. Thanks to the increasing listenership, it’s no surprise that ad revenue on podcast streams are on the rise – the Interactive Advertising Bureau predicts ad revenue from podcasts to exceed $220 million this year, a notable increase of 85% over 2016. There is a strong and growing audience for podcasts – these are people who are self-selecting into very niche conversations – and brands are noticing the value of streaming their ads into the eardrums of engaged and targeted listeners.

3. Name Brands: The End of an Era?

For as long as we could remember, popular TV ads reassured us that Cheerios was the best to help lower our cholesterol and that Mr. Clean will come ‘save the day’ (donned in his fitted and immaculate white t-shirt) when you finally accept that your bathtub has formed a ring suitable for Beyoncé. Now, imagine a new generation of consumers (a.k.a millennials) who are not impressed with brands and their well-manicured image. These consumers are not necessarily driven by name recognition as much as price, social/environmental impact, and ease of access. Their growing apathy towards name brands may be changing the marketing landscape, forever. Business Insider is predicting these new consumer attitudes could take a heavy toll on TV networks, which have always relied heavily on the $70 billion TV ad market from recognizable brands. Now, just in time to monetize on the millennial brand apathy, a new start-up has entered the market, ironically called Brandless. They have come to shake up the consumer goods industry with items that focus on the product, value, and impact rather than the brand… and somehow ended up creating a brand out of the lack of brand. Who knows how disruptive this new company will be for traditional brands; or how long it will take for their millennial target audience to realize that a “brandless” brand is still a brand… pretending to be brand-less.

4. Rising Up Against the Duopoly

The inevitable has happened: Google and Facebook have reached what looks like a state of a duopoly, presiding over the digital advertising world like two warring kings who have devoured the surrounding old kingdoms until only two remain. Well, it may not be as Game of Thrones as it sounds, but with their unrivaled power in the marketplace, these two behemoths have left little room for a third player. This total dominance has left advertisers anxiously awaiting a third player to shift the balance of power and keep prices in check. The two online giants accounted for 77% of the $12 billion in ad growth spending in the U.S. last year and on a grand scale, managed close to half of total global spending. Ad executives are looking for viable third players that could shake up the status quo – Amazon, Snap, and Verizon are doing their best to join the battle… but will they prevail? Beyond these scrappy services, news publishers are also looking for an opportunity to swipe at the big boys through collective negotiation strategies, going so far as to ask Congress for a limited antitrust exemption. Things are getting serious when Congress has to get involved.

5. The A.I. Revolution

What we had once deemed sci-fi and the apocalyptic fever dreams of Elon Musk has now become part of the reality – from chat bots to voice assistants, artificial intelligence (A.I.) is quickly being interwoven into the fabric of our everyday lives. Content marketers are starting to bet big on A.I. and leverage this new technology to target their users. Three in ten marketers in a NewBase poll said they planned to prioritize AI, compared to the only 13% who had the same sentiments last year. Marketers are beginning to see A.I. technology as something that will significantly impact the industry in the coming year, and they’ve already started brainstorming ways to implement it into their strategies. For those of you who think A.I. is “not ready for primetime”, Karim Sanjabi, Executive Director at Crossmedia, said, “snubbing AI would be akin to an agency turning its back on social media 10 years ago.” Those are some strong words that only time can prove prophetic.