U.S. Hispanics - 8 Things All Marketers Should Know

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American demographics have shifted in the last 15 years, with growth in the U.S. population being led by Hispanics Millennials. By sheer size and upward mobility, Hispanics are influencing the American mainstream through pop culture, music, fashion, sports and politics. That influence is only just starting to translate into media and marketing attention, with Multiculturalism declared the new mainstream.

quote#1.pngTo help better understand the emerging Hispanic mainstream, here are the top 8 takeaways on marketing to US Hispanics from AHAA’s 2015 Conference in Miami April 27-29th. 
1.    Millennials are Multicultural. Millennials are the marketing ‘flavor of the month,’ but many forget that this population is also the most diverse generation in American history, with 43 percent of them (Pew Research Center, 2014) identifying as non-White. Of those, 21 percent identify as Hispanic, in the words of Peter Hall, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Heineken Americas, Millennials=Multicultural. 

2.    Authenticity is essential. If you want to reach this Multicultural Millennial, adding a cultural symbol or a Spanish word on an ad is no longer effective. Hispanic Millennials seek authentic and transparent interactions with brands.  They are comfortable with advertising being a part of their media experience, but are critical of intrusive or insincere messaging.  Hispanic Millennials aren’t bound by one language or culture.  Therefore, the challenge for marketers is to reach them in an authentic way, as well as speak to their multi-faceted identities as consumers. 
3.    Language is not as important as culture.  Hispanic culture is becoming part of and transforming the mainstream.  While Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the US, language is not as relevant as culture!  According to Pew, Millennials and younger generations are increasingly bilingual. They do not choose one language over the other, but fluidly transition between two or more in their daily lives. Highly successful and creative campaigns by Target, Heineken, and Comcast that were shared at the conference all demonstrated how cultural connections trumped language.

4.    Hispanics contribute to growth in the population and economy. A collaborative study by IAB and BabyCenter in 2015 shows that 23 percent of all U.S. births are to Hispanic Millennial women, and the average age of a first time mom in the US is 25.8 years old.  They are drivers of US population growth, by virtue of being Millennials themselves but also by influencing the lives, language and culture of the next generation.  

5.    Hispanic moms decide on family spending. In addition to contributing to this unprecedented growth in native Hispanic population, according to Nielsen (Latina Power Shift, 2013), Latinas outpace their male counterparts in educational achievement, decision making on household spending, and cultural adaptability— maintaining both Hispanic and American cultures and languages.

quote#3revised.png6.    Hispanics have spending power—yet are under-represented in marketing budgets.
 “While 84 percent of Marketers believe Multicultural marketing is ‘critical to my business,’ almost 40 percent said they don’t know the financial value of Multicultural groups to their companies.” - 1+1=3, Dieste, 2014
 Nielsen predicts that by the end of this year, Hispanics will have $1.5 trillion in buying power. Hispanic women, 86 percent of whom say they are primary financial decision makers of their households, spend more time and budget online buying products for their families, including food, beverages, health, and beauty products.
7.    Hispanics are Mobile and Digital power players. Studies by Nielsen, Specific Media, and Pew all point to greater percentages of smartphone use and multiple screen engagement in the Hispanic population.  Smartphone ownership is higher for Hispanics (77%) than non-Hispanic whites (70%).  Millennials lead with 81 percent penetration.
They spend more time than non-Hispanics streaming music, watching videos, reading, and shopping via their mobile devices.  Add to that their greater receptivity to advertisers and brands, and marketers and agencies are presented with a prime opportunity.
8.    Audio as a medium to reach Hispanics.  In fact, major audio platforms like Pandora and iHeart Media (both keynote presenters at AHAA’s conference) recognize the importance of creating content and advertising that is relevant to their consumers—with 17 million Hispanics on Pandora, 3 of the top genre stations are Latin.  The genre is in fact #2 in terms user time spent. iHeart Media shared similar audience data, pointing out that most of what we consider English language stations are dominated by Hispanic listeners.

Marketers need to take risks

Industry research and demographic data is in agreement on an emerging Hispanic majority that will define the mainstream— the age of the Multicultural Millennial.  So how do marketers and agencies grow their business and leverage this audience?

Marketers understand that whether it’s an aversion to risk or resistance to change, ‘playing the short game’ is not going to bring the industry forward or foster innovation that feeds growth and impact.  The data above is a start to understanding and marketing to Hispanics.  They are the most technologically driven, mobile, and socially present population, changing the profile of our consumer landscape.  An important step forward for marketers and advertisers is to create content that speaks to them, in a respectful and authentic way.

IAB’s Multicultural Council aims to inform the digital industry on the value of advertising to Multicultural audiences, and to promote the advantages that digital provides in reaching them—through education, events, and content.  Join IAB on May 27th in NYC, for the Multicultural Creative Town Hall, where members and partners will showcase their best creative work, sharing insights on strategy and audiences. 

And don’t forget to submit your best to the IAB MIXX Awards. The IAB MIXX Awards recognizes and celebrates the year’s best interactive advertising. Winning work ultimately serves to educate the marketplace about what works and why in digital, as well as inspire the industry by pointing to future trends. You can read more about the IAB MIXX Awards at



U.S. Hispanic Millennial Moms Maximize Mobile

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In February 2015, IAB and BabyCenter published 2015 State of Modern Motherhood: Mobile and Media in the Lives of Moms, a look at U.S. millennial moms and the central role that mobile plays in the things they buy and the media they watch. We decided to dive back into the data for another look, this time specifically at Hispanic millennial moms, to compare how their use of mobile and media stacks up against the average millennial mom. Unless otherwise noted, references to “moms” throughout this post refer specifically to U.S. moms in the millennial generation, aged 18-32 years old.

The Hispanic population is one of the most important demographic groups in the United States today. Among moms this is particularly true: 23 percent of all U.S. births are to Hispanic women. So any marketer looking to reach moms needs to understand Hispanic moms, and tailor their message accordingly, or they risk missing almost one in four of their target audience.

The Digital Toolbox is Key for Hispanic Moms
The data clearly indicate just how important digital media are for Hispanic moms looking for parenting related advice or insights. Seventy-one percent of Latina millennial moms whose primary language spoken at home is Spanish (going forward, we’ll call these moms “Spanish-preferred,” and we’ll call Hispanic moms whose primary language spoken at home is English, “English-preferred”) seek expert advice on parenting websites weekly or more often, as compared to 60% of moms in that demo who prefer English, and only 49% of  moms in general. This holds true for an array of other digital media.  Among Spanish-preferred Hispanic moms, 60% turn to mom blogs, 52% turn to other parents on parenting social media, and 45% look to parenting or baby apps, all much higher than the average mom. While the digital world is important for all moms in the coveted millennial age group, it is particularly so for those who are Hispanic.

Even more than PC/laptop-based digital, mobile is the key medium for Latina moms. As the table below shows, PC ownership drops for Hispanic moms relative to moms in general, and indeed, the Spanish-preferred segment is almost equally likely to own a tablet as a laptop/PC. Moreover, 36 percent of Latina moms rely on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) as their sole internet connection—more than 2.1 times the rate of moms overall. Clearly, even more so than for the average millennial mom, Latina moms are already leading mobile-first, and sometimes even mobile-only, lives.

Hispanic Mom Media Time Goes Very Mobile
As a mobile-first demographic, it’s unsurprising that Hispanic moms spend even more media time on their mobiles than the average mom does. While millennial moms estimate they spend about 2.8 hours daily online via smartphone or tablet, English-preferred Latina moms in that generation spend 3.2 hours, and those who prefer Spanish spend 4 hours online that way. In fact, the latter group spends 37% of their media time with mobile.

Spanish-preferred Hispanic moms make heavy use of both TV and mobile media, reporting about 11 hours of total daily media time, as compared to 8.9 hours for moms overall.

Of course, the only way a busy mom could possibly spend that much time with media is through significant multitasking, and Hispanic moms are true experts at that. About 53 percent of this demo always or often use their smartphones while also watching TV, comparable with moms overall. One area where Hispanic moms are distinctive is in watching online video while watching TV. While 33% of moms overall watch online video on their phones while watching TV, the number jumps to 42% with Latinas.

But Hispanic Moms Present Untapped Mobile Shopping Opportunity
While they have definitely embraced mobile media, Hispanic millennial moms do surprisingly little mobile shopping. For example, 51% of moms overall say they use their mobiles in-store to help them search for better prices, as compared to 42% of English-preferred Hispanic moms, and only 39% of those who prefer Spanish.

Similarly, although 62% of moms overall look for and download mobile coupons, only 31% of the Hispanic segment does, and while 44% of U.S. moms search for and read product reviews, and 40% of English-preferred Latina moms do so, and only 27% of those that prefer Spanish use this mobile capability.

We think this is a big untapped opportunity for marketers to influence Latina moms’ shopping habits via mobile. This adoption gap would quickly close if Hispanic millennial moms were more aware of such services and capabilities, and if they were more widely available in Spanish. Marketers should not overlook the opportunity to make this demographic more mobile-shopping savvy.

Digital Advertising is a Great Way To Attract Hispanic Moms’ Attentions
In the “2015 State of Modern Motherhood” report, IAB and BabyCenter observed that millennial moms were much more likely than Gen X moms to say they frequently notice digital and mobile ads. That’s even more true of Hispanic millennial moms. Fifty-six percent of them say they frequently notice digital (laptop/PC, smartphone, or tablet) ads, as compared to 44% of millennial moms overall. And over half (52%) of Hispanic moms frequently notice mobile ads, as compared to only 37% of all moms. That is on par with the percentage of Hispanic moms who said they notice TV ads (50%). Clearly, for marketers reaching this important segment of U.S. moms, mobile is a key media channel.

About the Authors


Joe Laszlo

Joe Laszlo is Senior Director, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, at the IAB.


Julie Michaelson 12-14 2.jpg

Julie Michaelson

Julie Michaelson, Head of Global Sales at BabyCenter.


Brand marketers have long understood the power of audio messaging to connect with audiences. Whether delivered in a music, news, sports or political talk environment, the use of audio ads is experiencing a renaissance as advertisers take advantage of digital offerings that provide listeners with greater choice, control and customization of their experience. The result is a highly personal and exclusive advertising experience that creates a natural opportunity for brand alignment. 

Such an alignment makes digital audio a powerful tool for just about any marketer looking to reach virtually any type of audience. Here are 5 reasons that digital audio should be a part of every marketer’s media mix: 

1.  Digital Audio is exclusive. 
The digital audio market represents an environment with generally fewer advertising interruptions, while providing similar deep targeting capabilities as other digital ad units. Exclusively available within an audio content experience, digital audio ads are often native and “above the fold”, and given their nature, often have a very high share of voice. 

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2.  Digital Audio is becoming a “mobile-first” experience for many. 
The speed with which connected mobile devices have proliferated over the last few years is having a profound impact on consumer consumption of audio content. In fact, streaming radio comes out as a top activity for smartphones users, according to 2014 research by comScore and Millennial Media. 

Digital audio’s mobile ascendency began by adding new listening contexts. Enabled by “earbuds”, consumers were freed to listen during an array of activities traditionally void of audio companionship. The growth trajectory has increased as historical audio contexts like in-office and at-home have been disrupted by simple-to-use and more personalized experiences delivered through a broad variety of devices. 

Most recently, digital audio has gained traction as an in-vehicle choice, and as consumers turn to newer models at all pricing tiers they are finding connected technology a key differentiator in the car-purchase process. Simply put, in-car access leads to significant behavior change. 

audio quote4.png
3.  Digital Audio is cool, because the consumer is now in control. 
Just about everyone seems to have chatted about Serial around the water cooler these past few months. Even well known musician and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto told IAB’s 2014 MIXX audience all about what the power of sound has meant to him as an individual, and as a musician. 

As a consumer, audio has always provided a broad range of content offerings that cater to whatever mood you might be in. Today’s digital audio offerings build on that value proposition by offering listeners the freedom to select what to hear and when they want to listen, to match their moods. 

Maybe you’re into the latest podcasts on relationships, your favorite baseball team, or the latest episodic craze. Maybe you’re jammin’ to that fresh new indie-pop station you found over the weekend, or you’re feeling introspective listening to the remastered Dark Side of The Moon in its entirety. 

With mobile poised to become the device-of-choice for accessing audio content, such content becomes an extension of your mood and builds a background to your day. Underwriting such essential components to consumers’ lives can create impressive lifts in awareness, sales, and changes to long-held preferences. 

4.  Digital Audio is growing like crazy.  
As audio consumption shifts from AM/FM radios to smartphones and connected devices, the demand for digital audio is growing rapidly. Edison Research and Triton Digital’s Infinite Dial 2015 study showed that 143 Million Americans listened to online radio and streamed audio content in the past month, including 61% of all 25-54 year-olds. Digital audio has not only arrived; it has become a mainstream media.

5. Digital Audio compliments any media plan. 
For marketers, digital audio provides a necessary, unique, highly measurable and highly accountable component of the media mix.

Mobile audio also has a distinct advantage over other media because it can easily be consumed while on the go. “Ultramobile” activities such as driving, walking, exercising and working don’t allow for visual advertising engagement. 

In fact, Nielsen estimates that 79% of audio consumption takes place while people are engaged in activities where visual media cannot reach them. Such opportunities now create scale with millennials on their own, or in combination with legacy audio choices for broader demographics.

The IAB, along with members of the Digital Audio Committee, have pursued a goal of educating marketers and agencies about digital audio advertising opportunities, and discussing best practices and guidelines for reducing operational costs while driving sector growth. With the release of today’s IAB Digital Audio Buyer’s Guide, we aim to dive further into these points and answer questions that creatives, planners and buyers have about investment in digital audio advertising. 

Happy reading!



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In May of 2014 the IAB published a position paper on the role and evolution of our major creative specifications, VPAID for video, MRAID for mobile rich media, and SafeFrame for friendly iFrames on the web. We observed that the worlds of each of these individual standards, which were created to facilitate distinct kinds of digital ads, were fast converging. As a result, technology vendors and ad designers increasingly found themselves seeking ways to combine their capabilities.
Today, IAB has solved one aspect of this industry challenge by releasing a final version 1.0 of the Video Addendum to MRAID. This new ad specification facilitates creating mobile video interstitial ads that incorporate MRAID-style rich interactivity and also benefit from VPAID’s standardized methods for counting video plays, partial and complete views, and other core metrics.

This is an important step toward helping video ads propagate throughout the mobile internet. MRAID has become a true industry standard for mobile rich media, and now we have standardized a way to run video ads in mobile interstitial rich media placements.

This project presented a number of interesting challenges, as a “container” that runs MRAID ads (that is, the software within a mobile app) plays a somewhat different role than a video player that runs digital video ads. Simply figuring out how to start playing an ad in this hybrid scenario—how the ad should signal that it needs both MRAID and VPAID support, and how the container should respond—took significant time and effort. But we’ve devised a good and practical solution, while keeping implementation as simple as possible. I don’t have space here to acknowledge the many people from rich media companies and video companies alike who tremendously helped make this specification a reality, but they have my sincere thanks for their time and expertise (and their bosses have my thanks, too).

The next step is for vendors that offer MRAID-compliant containers - the mobile rich media community - to evaluate this specification and determine whether and when to build its capabilities into the next version of their products. I expect it will take a little time for addendum-compliant containers to become widespread, but given the importance of mobile video, I’m sure that we’ll see strong adoption. I’m happy that we’ve achieved today’s milestone, and with my fellow IAB Mobile Center and Tech Lab staff, look forward to continuing to extend MRAID’s capabilities and usefulness in the always-changing mobile world.

About the Author


Joe Laszlo

Joe Laszlo is Senior Director, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, at the IAB.


The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has long been the place to learn about the future of mobile technology. But this was the year the advertising and media industries really made their mark. Everywhere you went, people were talking about mobile advertising and marketing, and how they related to the technology at hand. It was thrilling to see our industry finally claim a foothold at this fabulous conference I’ve been attending for so long, and IAB was excited to be a part of it.

For the first time at the MWC, IAB, along with partners Facebook and Nasdaq, held an all-day summit on mobile advertising. The conference brought together some incredible thought leaders to debate the future of mobile advertising and the issues driving (or preventing) its growth, from measurement to wearables, from “walled gardens” to better creative. Today, mobile devices help connect us to everything we do—I refer to them as the remote controls to our lives—so the time was right to bring these discussions to the MWC.

Among the biggest topics we wrestled with was finding a workable definition of mobile. When we talk about reaching people on mobile, what are we really talking about? Is mobile just the technology, or does the word represent more than that? 

Keynote speaker David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R, challenged marketers to think about mobile as a mindset, not just a series of devices. “The mistake is to think that you’re making stuff for the screen,” he said, “when what matters is what’s happening in the life of the person using that screen.” When Y&R asked consumers in a survey what mobile meant to them, the answer was “freedom,” he said. People want to be able to access their content anywhere across any number of screens. 

“If you think first about people, if you think first about humanity, it changes the way you look at technology,” Sable said

Whether it’s mobile or interactive or print, the fundamentals of advertising remain the same, other speakers noted. You need to evoke emotions, you need to find the right time to reach the right people, you need to be mindful of the user’s privacy and interests. Bridging top-notch advertising with technology and media isn’t easy, but Gerry D’Angelo, European Media Director of Mondelez International, was just one of our speakers who gave great examples of mobile creative that is truly moving hearts and minds.  

Of course, technological factors still need to be reckoned with. Measurement continues to be a problem in the mobile space. We don’t have traditional measurement tools like they do in TV or interactive. But as several of our speakers pointed out, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways of measuring mobile. There are good solutions today, you just have to be a little more open-minded about what you measure. And the lack of traditional measurement options is certainly not an excuse to overlook mobile all together. 

We had a great conversation about the challenges presented by so-called “walled gardens.” The problem is real, but surmountable if approached creatively, our panelists agreed. Despite the way mobile operating systems are thought of, your approach doesn’t have to be black or white, app or Web, Android or iOS. All these things are ultimately interconnected, and working across them requires some brave holistic thinking. 

Adam Kostyál, SVP and head of European Listing Services at Nasdaq, and Nicola Mendelsohn, VP of EMEA at Facebook, opened the day with a discussion on cutting through the noise and understanding the true state of mobile right now. Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc., talked about the power of mobile and radio. Lindsay Pattison, Global CEO of Maxus, had a conversation with Sarah Personette, head of global business marketing at Facebook, about how to put people first. And those are just a few examples of the fabulous talks we had all day. 

As the prime driver of mobile initiatives within IAB, the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence is dedicated to making IAB the world’s smartest, most authoritative voice on mobile advertising. This program illustrates how the marketing and media ecosystem has fully embraced the power of mobile technology to reach and engage consumers, and that IAB and its members are committed to creating platforms for education in the U.S. and abroad to help them achieve that goal. 
Up next is our Mobile Marketplace, a top-level gathering of buyers and sellers from across the industry where we will debate and deconstruct the state of mobile marketing. Taking place on Monday, March 30th in NYC, the annual event will once again offer insightful discussions, unparalleled networking, deep-dive workshops and interactive town-hall discussions. Whether or not you were able to join us in Barcelona, this next event will provide a great opportunity to further your understanding and involvement with the future of mobile. I look forward to seeing and connecting with you there. 

About the Author


Anna Bager

Anna Bager is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile and Video Centers at IAB, and was named one of the Top 20 Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising by Business Insider. You can tweet her at @AnnaBager


Adopting Encryption: The Need for HTTPS

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It’s time to talk about security. 

In fact, last year was the time to talk about security. From The New York Times to Google, the call went out for websites to encrypt communications with their users, protecting the integrity and privacy of information exchanged in both directions. Even the U.S. government heard this call, and is working to require HTTPS delivery of all publicly accessible Federal websites and web services.

This year, the advertising industry needs to finish catching up. Many ad systems are already supporting HTTPS - a survey of our membership late last year showed nearly 80% of member ad delivery systems supported HTTPS. That’s a good start, but doesn’t reflect the interconnectedness of the industry. A publisher moving to HTTPS delivery needs every tag on page, whether included directly or indirectly, to support HTTPS. That means that in addition to their ad server, the agency ad server, beacons from any data partners, scripts from verification and brand safety tools, and any other system required by the supply chain also needs to support HTTPS.

Let’s break that down a bit more - once a website decides to support HTTPS, they need to make sure that their primary ad server supports encryption. That ad server will sometimes need to include tags from brand safety, audience and viewability measurement, and other tools - all of which also need to support encryption. The publisher’s ad server will often direct to one of several agency ad servers, each of which will also need to serve over HTTPS. Each agency ad server also may include a variety of beacons or tags, depending on how the deal was set up, all of which similarly need to have encrypted versions available. That’s a lot of dependencies - and when one fails to support HTTPS, the website visitor’s experience is impacted, initiating a costly search for the failure point by the publisher.

While the need to support HTTPS delivery will only continue to grow, getting there isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. As those who have already adopted know, there’s management overhead with acquiring certificates and making sure these don’t expire, increased resource requirements on servers to handle the encryption, and other costs. Carnegie Mellon has a great paper on some of the more esoteric impacts of adopting HTTPS. It’s therefore important that you communicate your experiences developing support for encrypted delivery with those who haven’t.

A core function of HTTPS is to prove the origin of a resource delivered from a server to the web browser. Each server delivering encrypted content has to acquire a certificate that’s signed by a trusted authority and issued to their specific domain. This results in a larger set of consistent identifiers for servers, which has beneficial implications in the fight against malware - it’s more expensive for malware peddlers to set up shop on an HTTPS server, and easier to identify the same peddler across occurrences.

Adopting encryption on public-facing servers is an important step in protecting the privacy and security of the public. It also sets the stage for broader support of server-to-server encryption, securing our business communications from eavesdropping when they’re routed over the public internet. Here at the IAB, we feel that broad support for HTTPS on public servers is a best practice for the industry, and that encrypted communications and strong origin identifiers are of growing importance as we tackle issues of fraud, malware, and piracy as a part of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).  

About the Author


Brendan Riordan-Butterworth

Brendan Riordan-Butterworth is the Director of Technical Standards at IAB.


IAB Releases Mobile Programmatic Playbook

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We’re at an inflection point where programmatic advertising is becoming more sophisticated with the buy and sell side applying their power to a broader, more diverse set of opportunities. The benefits of programmatic across the digital spectrum are clear. With mobile an increasingly important part of the consumer’s daily life, reaching on the go consumers via this 24/7 channel is a top priority for marketers, just as learning how to fully monetize their mobile applications and mobile websites is a key goal for publishers. 

Given the growth of mobile advertising over the past year it’s clear that programmatic can be a major contributor to almost all aspects of mobile campaign success due to the combination of decision making intelligence and speed across the programmatic value chain. Brand marketers are leveraging programmatic channels to achieve the massive scale they need for their awareness campaigns, and advertisers now have access to numerous rich media, video and native mobile ad formats which excel at capturing the consumer’s attention.

There are many positive trends emerging among buyers and sellers. Both parties value native, rich media and video ad formats all of which provide better experiences to the consumer. However, in the mobile ecosystem where cookies are less prevalent, a key point to note is that programmatic buying requires greater transparency in terms of mobile data signals to enable publishers to more effectively optimize their yield and brands to achieve greater ROI. 

As the co-chair of the IAB’s Mobile Programmatic Buying Working group I am incredibly excited for us to officially release the IAB Mobile Programmatic Playbook today. This playbook is the first IAB programmatic document that covers all aspects that are unique to the mobile programmatic environment so that publishers, third parties, advertisers, agencies and marketers have a guide to learning more about the current state and evolution of the mobile programmatic market when planning their strategies. 

In addition, as further evidence that mobile programmatic is making waves, it will be one of the main subjects discussed at the IAB Mobile Marketplace conference on March 30th in New York.

About the Author

Rob Kramer

Rob Kramer is General Manager of Mobile at OpenX


How Marketers Can Make Data and Technology Work Better Together

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After more than a decade of heavy investing in new technologies, marketers now find themselves at an interesting tipping point. Over time, in trying to keep up with the industry’s frenetic pace of digital innovation and achieve competitive advantage, they’ve piled on a dizzying array of tools and platforms. They’re literally swimming in technologies - a complicated ecosystem of toolsets, vendors and channels.
The complexity involved in managing this multi-channel, multi-device matrix has been ratcheted up to an untenable, nearly dysfunctional level. A new study by Winterberry Group and the IAB, Marketing Data Technology: Cutting Through the Complexity, confirms what I hear from marketers almost every day. Enterprise marketers are grappling with as many as 30 or more distinct toolsets for analytics, ad-serving, attribution, retargeting, search, mobile and email marketing, CRM, social media, content management and more. But these data-thirsty technologies don’t talk to each other. They lack interoperability, saddling marketers with the difficult and thorny challenge of how to connect them - and how to fuel them with a high-volume, high-velocity stream of up-to-the-minute, cross-channel data, which is necessary for optimizing their tech investments.   
No wonder so many companies are not yet ready to provide the relevant, seamless experiences that smartphone-toting consumers desire.
Brands have been addressing the technology stack dilemma via a single-sourcing strategy or by shopping for independent, best-in-breed toolsets. The Winterberry survey (which Signal sponsored) set out to poll marketers about their preferences in the long-running debate of suite vs. independent and, not surprisingly, found an industry split straight down the middle. 
Respondents, however, were decidedly undivided on the question of interoperability. More than 60 percent of marketers said better integration of existing tools would help them derive greater value from data.
“There’s a massive gap for integration,” a brand marketer told Winterberry researchers. “Frankly we’re just trying to wrangle all our digital data into one place. The amount of data we have is massive, it’s ridiculous,” said another. “It’s a hot mess,” lamented a media agency executive, describing the tangle of tools, silos and processes the agency’s clients are dealing with.
Integration matters deeply to marketers who want to make better use of their data and technology. Cross-channel initiatives such as measurement, engagement and targeting are top-of-mind for marketers, the survey found, yet fewer than half of marketers are currently able to leverage their data technology for these key efforts. The holy grail of understanding the customer journey across devices and channels remains stubbornly out of reach.
Building Your Cross-Channel House Requires a Strong Foundation
The stark truth is: No matter what road you go down in terms of your marketing stack, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Even a fully-integrated suite may not remain that way for long, with such a fast pace of supplier consolidation and the constant emergence of new tools. 
Which direction you decide to go - that is, whether you choose a platform suite or multiple “point” solutions - is not really the core issue. Your success will rest on the quality of the cross-channel foundation you lay to support your journey, in the form of good data. That means creating a common conduit of customer data, of the highest quality, in one place, so that your technology investments - of all types - can work together with the speed, flexibility and scale you need to make the marketing decisions that affect your bottom line.
Marketers report that their current mandate is making their data actionable. That clearly highlights a significant, glaring gap: there can be no meaningful cross-channel action without connected data. The way to bridge that chasm? A data strategy and a long-term roadmap.
Walking the Cross-Channel Walk
Winterberry found that within the typical marketing organization, five internal departments or functions - including digital, analytics, media buying, loyalty, and direct marketing - utilize separate tools, all of which are data-dependent. However, the barriers to making first-party data actionable are not created solely by the technology challenges inherent to a complex and evolving marketing stack. Issues that go beyond technology, including organizational silos, skillset issues, outdated policies, and governance also have to be dealt with.
There are three significant areas where you should put your focus in order to find your cross-channel footing:
  1. Create a data strategy. You need a holistic, data-oriented strategy, with a top-down approach, in order to get past the cross-channel starting line. Catalog the most relevant types of data you have, relative to your marketing goals. Also, map out how your existing technological investments can be leveraged across desktop, mobile, CRM, email and other offline channels. Finally, let the bigger picture of how customers interact with your brand across touchpoints help establish your strategy.
  2. Prioritize integration. When you make your technology investments, always keep integration top-of-mind - rather than just features and functionality. All of your teams should be trained to make integration a priority. And when buying new solutions, you should select vendors that understand your company’s data strategy and provide a clear path to making their technologies connect to the rest of your ecosystem, including legacy systems.
  3. Banish silos. Align your strategy and marketing operations around the customer journey, with departments working in lockstep to deliver a consistent experience. With your eye on the cross-channel prize, all of your team members should have the right skill sets to launch and manage cross-channel initiatives. The necessary expertise can be gathered in-house or through agency, vendor, or other third-party partnerships.
Create Your Own Cross-Channel Roadmap
Marketers know the future is cross-channel and their journey is just beginning.  Their visions of engaging customers on a one-to-one basis are tempered by the reality of the legitimate obstacles in their way: fragmented data, lack of integration, the difficulties of identifying consumers across channels, and people and process silos. There’s a clear gap between where marketers are today and where they know they need to be in order to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time and in the right context. Marketers didn’t create the issues contributing to this cross-channel maturity gap. But they must lay the foundation for solving them without skipping any steps along the data-driven path. 
The opportunities that today’s technologies have created are unmatched in the history of marketing. Each brand has to follow its own path in order to best take advantage of those opportunities. A single view of the customer across channels and touchpoints - which is only possible by centralizing and integrating data - is now table stakes for cross-channel marketing. What remains to be seen is how marketers will address the range of challenges they face in order to find their footing on the cross-channel journey.

About the Author


Mike Sands

Mike Sands is the CEO of Signal


Unleashing Mobile Native's Potential in 2015

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Gartner’s recent predictions for the growth of mobile commerce over the next 24 months should come as no surprise - mobile commerce revenue is expected to more than double over the next two years ultimately accounting for 1 out of every 2 dollars spent in digital commerce.  

As consumer spending habits shift sharply to mobile, so too are advertising budgets with the rapid growth in mobile advertising today reminiscent of the same trajectory we witnessed in display advertising after the RTB protocol was introduced seven years ago. Put simply: mobile (and mobile native) advertising represents an opportunity that is about to fast eclipse that of display.

The challenge for those seeking to capitalize on the perfect storm of powerful data-based insights for targeting mobile consumers and rapidly accelerating spend on mobile will be to develop marketing strategies that unlock the full potential of mobile consumer engagement. This opportunity has highlighted the clear and immediate need for uniform industry standards to help unlock the full potential of mobile and mobile native advertising—for both the advertiser as well as for the publishers and application developers.  

The lack of standardization is probably the number one reason that buyers and sellers are unable to connect effectively when it comes to mobile native advertising and this creates a huge amount of friction. 

The second reason is the inefficiency with direct ad buying in mobile. Advertisers can go directly to an app developer and buy inventory on a single app or across a family of apps, but this is time intensive. In order to reach the scale advertisers now demand for their campaign objectives, they would need to make dozens, if not hundreds of deals with separate publishers and app developers located around the world. This is simply not a viable option for large scale consumer campaigns. And to makes matter worse for direct advertisers, many large and successful app developers don’t operate large sales teams (or sales teams at all!) making it nearly impossible for advertisers to secure inventory directly on many successful apps. 

Thirdly, relying on mobile ad networks - while streamlining the process for the advertiser - has led to crippling and unintended consequences for publishers and app developers. With each ad network integration the app developer is required to insert a unique ad network code - a Software Development Kit (SDK). As more and more SDKs are inserted, rendering quality of the app is negatively impacted.  In speaking with many app developers I have heard time and again that the integration of these SDKs has been identified as the #1 cause for application crashes, consequentially proving a poor user experience which drives down usage, stickiness, and ultimately depresses potential monetization.  

The good news for both buyers and sellers is that the industry has been focused on addressing these issues and just completed an 8-month review process to develop a  common, programmatic language to drive efficiency in mobile native advertising. This extension to the OpenRTB offers advertisers a better way to access millions of applications and will help establish integration processes that will complement the user experience. 

The IAB’s publication of this standards-track specification signals a game-changing advancement for the advertising industry with benefits seen across the entire ecosystem, including:

  1. A new and better revenue stream for app developers. Currently, app developers make the majority of their revenue through paid downloads. By standardizing the mobile native transaction process, a previously unavailable revenue stream will be delivered to the market fueled by allowing developers to make money from engaging and lucrative native ads appearing within their apps.  
  2. Increased supply of premium mobile native inventory. With the new potential for revenue, more app developers will enter the market and existing app developers will now make their inventory available more easily to advertisers. The core “network” effects of advertising technology - more sellers attracting more buyers - will be further unleashed. 
  3. Acceleration of scale within mobile native. By standardizing mobile native advertising, brand advertisers and agencies will now have access to larger amount of inventory making it easier for them to achieve their campaign objectives. 
  4. Improved user experience. By standardizing the process and removing the need for multiple SDK integrations, mobile apps will render more quickly and will be less likely to crash, thus delivering an optimal user experience.

The adoption of a standard means of buying and selling mobile native ad placements is a win for publishers and developers seeking greater avenues for monetization, and will create better, more varied ad experiences for mobile users. Enabling brands with deeper opportunities to reach and engage key audiences will be crucial in mobile advertising’s continued growth. 

About the Authors


Neal Richter

Neal Richter is the Chief Scientist of Rubicon Project and co-chair of OpenRTB


Brendan Riordan-Butterworth

Brendan Riordan-Butterworth is the Director of Technical Standards at IAB.

The International Breakfast Session, which was started a few years ago, has now become a key discussion during the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. Taking place on the closing day of the conference in Phoenix, Arizona, the session gathered over 50 digital advertising leaders from 11 countries to discuss the pressing issues facing the industry and how we can work better together to advance our common interests. 

Two very lively conversations were the focus of the morning, in addition to the newly released research in partnership with BabyCenter and the IAB multinational research: The first was an open International Town Hall on mobile integration, and the second was a chat on Viewability

“Everything is mobile,” explains Guy Phillipson, CEO, IAB UK, “and we are clearly in a period of global mobile exponential growth.” Although the UK now sees mobile dominates digital time, many other countries are not far behind, from a shift in consumer behavior to one in digital ad spending. As such, it is not surprising that global media owners are considering cross screen strategies to be vital even though monetization remains a key challenge. 

The challenges publishers are faced with are not necessarily country specific. Issues such as access to subscription data, tracking consumers on mobile devices, targeting and frequency capping are real problems in many markets. Certainly, regions like Southeast Asia face additional hurdles compared to Europe as the diversity from country to country is remarkable and although mobile is at the heart of what IAB Singapore has to offer, lobbying for standards and setting policy is primordial.

It also came to light in this discussion that as IABs around the world address mobile integration, it does not always make sense to have mobile broached separately from the rest of the digital landscape. The same is true with digital video, which is becoming increasingly important, as is the need for content and advertising to be constructed in a different ways (ie shorter). It was also interesting to hear how even the definition of mobile isn’t always as clear-cut as one would expect. IAB Canada, Vice President, Operations, Julie Ford, suggested separating smartphones from everything else maybe a better approach.
As Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, points out, maybe we are seeing a return of interruptive advertising because of mobile. Where it used to be one of the worse kinds of advertising, cluttering the screen, the remarkable success of mobile is that it puts ads in the middle of the content. Native or in-stream advertising in mobile can in essence be compared to television ads or even magazine ads.  

There was a solid agreement from everyone present on the need to better understand the multi-screen evolution, what meets consumers’ needs and what works for advertisers. And clearly the need for research in terms of screen sizes and their impact as that is an important part of creating effective advertising. From IAB Canada’s html5 webinar series to the work IAB is doing this year on establishing new responsive standards, it is evident that the key is to get agencies and advertisers on board by understanding the impact of mobile advertising and not just looking at mobile from a technology standpoint.

The chat on Viewability was equally vibrant. 

Lou Paskalis, SVP, Enterprise Media Executive, Bank of America, and Julian Zilberbrand, EVP, Activation Standards, Insights & Technology, ZenithOptimedia, were joined by Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics, and Measurement, IAB, and actively engaged everyone in the breakfast on what planning and trading on a viewable metrics means and how we as a global industry are not ready for this yet, until the issue measurement has been tackled. 

Again, not limited to the U.S. market, there are fraudulent actors in the digital advertising ecosphere and it is completely understandabl
e that advertisers do not want to be paying to send a message out to consumers that is never seen. As Julian pointed out, that would just be a waste. What it comes down to is the opportunity to have consumers receive the message and for it to be viewed. Sherrill underlined that Viewability is important for everyone’s KPIs, and it is more than planning and buying media, it is knowing the value so that you can build models based on more than air.

From all corners of the world, there is a lot of noise out there about Viewability but until there is clarity and agreement on measurement, we are functionally in a period where the focus needs to be on tracking. Conducting business on viewable impressions does not make sense today. Most publishers don’t have systems in place to manage Viewablity and as Julian pointed out so well, this is the year they need to push technology partners for a solution. And tying in to our earlier conversation about mobile, Lou pointed out that not only does the counting process need to be addressed overall but given that mobile is at the center of what so many are doing now, mobile Viewability aught to be fast-tracked. 

If you would like to get engaged with the IAB Global Network, be sure to save the date for the next significant event, IAB Global Summit, to be held in New York on September 30 and October 1, 2015. In the meantime, you can learn more at www.iab.net/global and browse the full IAB Global Network Facebook photo album here.

About the Author


Alexandra Salomon

Alexandra Salomon is the Senior Director, International at the Interactive Advertising Bureau


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