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

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

Did the April showers bring May flowers for the advertising industry? As we begin to close the book on spring and prepare for the dog days of Summer, we’re taking a look at what’s blossoming up in the world of advertising. This month, we’re talking about updates to Google’s AdSense, how advertisers are leveraging image recognition to target ads, customer service chat bots, and more. These are the 5 Things Every Advertiser Must Know for May 2017.

1. Facebook Tackles Illegal Streaming Devices

With unauthorized streaming devices plaguing today’s digital entertainment industry, Facebook is stepping up to do its part to make it more difficult to find these illegal devices. The social media network told marketing news source The Drum that it is making moves to enforce a new ban on advertising illegal streaming devices through the Facebook ad network. Initially they plan to manually search the ad inventory to manually remove ads that do not comply with its new standards, but as with most everything else in tech, the process will soon be automated. Facebook will also extend their efforts to include banning the sale of these types of illegal streaming products on its commerce marketplace – a move that is sure to appease broadcasters and content creators – many of whom spend way more money advertising on your wall than these small-time cooks selling illegal tech. As always, it looks like Facebook is going to protect the interests of their largest advertisers…helping to stop criminal tech from entering the market is just a side benefit.

2. Google AdSense Gets Granular

Imagine you run a popular blog and are making money with Google AdSense. Most of your pages are full of hilarious puppy videos, cat antics, and the occasional cooking demos. But, from time to time, you also get fired up on other topics – resulting in a profanity-laden post that is pro-abortion and Planned Parenthood (you’re a complex person). Up until mid-May, if an advertiser on Google’s network had an issue with something you published on your site (where their ad was delivered) – for example, Hobby Lobby doesn’t want their ad running next to your fiery pro-Abortion manifesto – Google would simply pull all the advertiser’s ads from your entire site, without giving you any idea what the problem was or how to resolve the issue. In an effort to provide more transparency and control to publishers (and acknowledge that you are more than silly dogs videos and Walking Dead memes), Google announced an update to its AdSense platform that will give you (the site owner) the opportunity to address violations on a more granular level, and offer more information about addressing content violations. Now, instead of Google completely doing away with that particular advertiser’s ads on your entire site, they can turn ads off on specific pages. This page-level action will ensure that advertisers can get their ads pulled immediately from offending pages (which will lower the chance of them appearing alongside offensive content), and the ads can still be displayed throughout the site on compliant pages (cute sloth videos and 5-minute craft ideas). It’s a win-win situation – for sensitive advertisers, and the multi-faceted content creators.

3. Brands Enlist Bots

Here’s a couple tidbits of information you might find interesting for this next story. Did you know Facebook’s Messenger platform now hosts more than 100,000 active bots each month? And, more than 2 billion messages between users and businesses are exchanged each month? Put that together and you see the market-force trends that are proving instant messaging to be a go-to communication channel between brands and users. Getting quick answer and issue resolution with a few clicks is what consumers want, and businesses are leveraging tech to reach their customers in real-time – wherever they happen to be. An investment by brands into the world of chat bots means they’re getting a powerful and cost-effective tool for handling basic information requests like managing business bookings, direct purchases, order updates, shipping notifications, and product detail answers… freeing up skilled support agents for more complex and customized solutions. If you want to see the potential of these little A.I. talky-bots, look no further than cosmetics chain Sephora. They recently launched click-to-messenger ads on Facebook and saw an 11% uptick in makeup booking sessions – driving more bodies into their physical stores, and presumably, more money into the register. It’s probably a safe bet to say, messenger bots are becoming a critical channel for brands to effectively connect with their customers. Skype led the way with their bot framework, followed by Facebook – and more social platforms are jumping on the wagon, the latest being Instagram.

4. The Power of Influencers

Influencers (A.K.A. celebrities) have always been critical assets for brands – that’s not particularly new… but what’s really changing the game is that these social media influencers are also bringing a creative point-of-view that has attracted millions of followers. Brands want to tap into that trusted line of communication to consumers – using a messenger and delivery format they already love. All those little viral videos, demos, how-to’s, instructional videos, and oth er memes floating around YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, did not appear by accident. Popular social media personalities showing how to rock that cat eye mascara, or turn heads with that cute little black dress, or get the most out of your skinny detox tea are probably less spontaneous than you might think. For the time being, brands are saving some production budget by bypassing the creative ad agencies and making a beeline to creative social media influencers who have used their creative skills to amass huge followings online. They’ve got RFPs and briefs in hand, and are chomping at the bit to discuss plans for collaboration on ad campaigns… often without an agency serving as the middleman. Does this mean influencers will start replacing ad agencies as creative content developers for brands? Digiday says the signs seem to be pointing in that direction, but it’s more likely that influencer advertising is just another channel in the media planning ecosystem. Brands might be saving some money by going straight to the creative source, but it’s only a matter of time before the influencers start to see the revenue potential they are bringing to the development table… and the price adjusts accordingly.

5. Images Recognition: A Key Player in Ad Targeting

Just when you started getting used to keyword-based ad targeting as the king of targeted ad placement, technology steps in to shake things up. It looks like image recognition targeting is making a play for king-of-the-hill in the advertising industry. Social listening for keywords has long been the method advertisers used to get their ads in front of the right audience (think Google email ads), but one that has often been plagued by ambiguity given the varying context in which words are used. Just because the word Adirondack appeared in my email, or on a Google search term, doesn’t mean I want to plan a trip to Upstate New York. With social media constantly shifting towards a greater focus on images, GIFs, selfies, and snapshots, advertisers are diving into a new and improved way of targeting potential consumers using image recognition technology. Yup, you heard that right. Advertisers can look at the photos you post, share, like, and are tagged in to better target your ad experience. One of the companies behind this tech is Cluep. They have already been teaming up with brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, and others to help leverage public images people post on social media for targeted advertising strategies. Imagine you post a photo of running in the local 5K race… and then up pops an ad for new Nike running shoes. Or, you’re at a summer BBQ with friends and you’re tagged in a photo sipping a Diet Coke… next thing you know, you’re seeing ads asking if you’ve tried the new Coke Zero. To some, this may come across invasive, but for others (those of us who have found peace with the fact that ads are everywhere) this new tech may be the key to getting served with relevant ads. When it comes to it, do we hate ads, or do we hate irrelevant ads?