Amid the trend forecasts of the growing popularity of wearing onesies as a fashion statement, the increasing number of teetotaling Millennials, and fretting over three dot anxiety, executives from Starcom MediaVest (SMG) are predicting the emerging mobile, social, viewing and overall advertising trends that will shape 2015.
"Power brokers have gone around and talked about many of the technical issues for the past 15 years, but now, much of what I have been saying is finally happening," says Tracey Scheppach, EVP, Precision Video, SMG.
Last year, selfies at the Oscars and Super Bowl tweets provided brands with "lightning in the bottle" opportunities, but in 2015, the new social tentpole is the everyday. "It's going to be hard for one brand to 'own' conversations during these [major] events," says Kevin Lange, SVP, social media at SMG, because there are more social platforms than ever before and increased competition for user attention from brands, publishers and individuals.
Instead, smaller brands should choose to focus their efforts on less competitive events with equal relevance to their audiences. Larger brands that have invested in real-time social media strategies may find economies of scale by extending that process across more events, in addition to Oscars and the Super Bowl.
"Some brands may see more upside by playing a meaningful role in real-time conversation around the programming that matters to their audiences during the other 363 days per year," says Lange. "For example, through SMG and Twitter’s Social TV Lab, we found that increasing spend for a broadcast campaign by just 4.6% to include Twitter resulted in a 50% ROI increase."
Indeed, a new formula for success has emerged across all media: pace and purpose. "Marketers must move at the pace of people and lead with purpose that helps their brands thrive," says Lange. "Social media has revolutionized the pace at which brands’ audiences consume content. They expect it immediately in real-time. But they also demand relevancy."
There is a continued push for vendors and publishers to adapt to the real-time needs of advertisers. "Clients' marketing budgets and needs are no longer approved once a year," says Jackie Kulesza, VP, media director, Starcom. "Clients desire the ability to utilize data in real-time -- and increased flexibility is needed by clients to support their strategies across all channels."
At the same time, second-by-second set-top data will give rise to precision TV. "Innovation is totally heating up TV," says Scheppach. "No longer are people talking about technologies not being widely deployed, but now we are talking about specific data and delivery."
Some 100 million set-top boxes in 60 million households are providing stats on second-by-second viewing data, leading to significantly more accountable and precise TV plans and the data needed to combine all investment into a robust attribution model. "We need to better understand how consumers are seeing, interacting with and ultimately acting upon our content," says Kulesza. "We will continue to push our ability to utilize unique and relevant data sources throughout the entire planning and investment process."
As viewers continue to increase their ownership and viewership of smart TVs and connected TV devices, this space will become a greater opportunity space for advertisers. "We have the measurement ability to bring greater granularity to video investment -- we need to push for the most accountable metrics in all video investment," says Kulesza.
Still, this evolution brings some significant challenges. "As people with a digital background begin to focus on TV, they tend to apply the same logic they used in display to TV," says Scheppach. "Some of that logic is welcomed; some is not. "
Another issue for advertisers centers around exclusivity partnerships. Advertisers may be able to micro-target an ad to reach 40 million ESPN viewers, but they can only do so via DirectTV, since it has an exclusive with ESPN. This scenario plays out across all cable operators who have locked up specific networks and content providers, collectively shrinking the available pool of opportunities. In the coming months, SMG says some providers such as Cox and Charter are attempting to build a fairer marketplace, and hopefully, technology will enable advertisers to have more options.
What's not going to happen soon is real-time bidding in traditional and broadcast channels. "It destroys the fundamental economics of TV and plays by different supply and demand forces," says Scheppach. "There's too much of a strong legacy with upfronts and how we buy ads that I don't think we will see changes anytime soon. The financial underwriting of making great shows is too strong."