Commentary

Madtech To Rule In 2017, When Multitouch Attribution Will Finally Take Hold

2017 is finally here, and we continue to look for what’s next. In RTBlog’s final week of predictions, we asked a few more people how the industry will take shape this year. Here are a few thoughts from executives at Bombora and SourceKnowledge.

Madtech wins -- and ad tech is fine with that:

In the ‘madtech’ (the confluence of marketing, advertising and technology) struggle, ad tech never had a chance. Nor should it. Advertising is a subset of marketing, while marketing increasingly encompasses everything from product development to customer service. The few ad-tech companies with even semi-attractive business results will be acquired, not just by tech companies expanding their marketing footprint (e.g. Oracle, Adobe, IBM, Salesforce, etc.) but by anyone from publishers like Hearst, to private equity firms looking to participate in the holy grail of selling a full marketing stack.

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‘Campaigns’ officially come to an end, especially in B2B:

Advertising is often the biggest line item in a CMO’s budget, and 2017 will be the year that CMOs wake up to the strategic use of media and move to ‘always-on’ advertising, especially for company and account-level targeting in B2B, otherwise known as account-based marketing, or ABM. Just as retargeting is an extension of CRM, media will be an ‘always-on’ touchpoint, more like email. How is this possible? Because of advances in audience targeting that link first-, second-, and third-party data at a very specific level to deliver campaigns. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) adds to the power of  Internet oligarchs:

AI is brain-dead without data. And the data that feeds it is primarily in the hands of the very few—what I call the ‘Internet oligarchs’ (Google, Facebook, and a handful of others). Those parties without access to unique data that has the potential scale, diversity, and quality to feed business decisioning, will rapidly decline. Attempting to compete with the oligarchy will be even more futile.

--Marc Johnson, CMO and General Manager, Bombora, an aggregator of B2B intent data  

Micro-conversions as key performance indicator: Instead of simply tracking conversions, marketers will optimize towards micro-conversions that serve as important milestones on the path to purchase. These indicators will be critical for predictive audience modeling and contextual retargeting.

Multitouch attribution takes over: As brands continue to demand greater accountability from their advertising partners and return on their ad spend, they’ll move away from last-click attribution to a multi-touch model. This move will enable them to see the impact of every paid event within a customer's path to purchase, as well as combat click fraud, which dominated the news in 2016.

Creative, meet data: Data has become intrinsically integrated with advertising operations, but that optimization is only half the equation. Creatives will start looking at performance data when concepting and crafting advertising creative. Data will inform everything from theme and stylistic choices, to scripting and copy in 2017.

All in on omnichannel: Brands will continue to push an omnichannel strategy, but the lack of a scalable and effective solution to attribute digital advertising’s role in brick-and-mortar sales will remain a major hurdle. As demand continues to increase, online/offline attribution and analytics will become a key feature of demand-side platforms in 2017.

Influencer marketing falls flat: Marketers will continue to struggle when attributing return on investment to influencer campaigns in 2017. Lacking proper tracking tools and relying heavily on perceived value, brands will move away from influencers and toward more scalable and predictable channels.

--Patrick Hopf, president and co-founder, SourceKnowledge, a provider of performance advertising services

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