Ad Industry Interest Spikes In 'Digital Strategy,' 'Customer Journey' -- Reflects New Normal

At a time when many marketers are trying to come to grips with the physical dislocation of consumers from their brands in the real world, interest is spiking among both brands and agencies in accessing content about “digital strategy.

“This showcases adapting to the new normal,” Michael McLaren, CEO of the B2B Group at Merkle, in analyzing the most significant findings in a unique tracking index of the content being consumed by the top 500 advertisers and the leading ad agencies.

The index, developed by Bombora for MediaPost, shows “spikes” in interests by a variety of ad industry relevant topics.

You can interact with various tabs in the index below to get your own picture, but Merkle’s McLaren says the overall picture is that, “Brands have been increasingly searching for detail on “Buyer Journey,”which has been growing since March.



“We believe this is driven by the need to find new pathways to the consumer,” he says.

Other key subjects resonating with the ad industry include:

  • Ad Viewability has jumped dramatically in the last three weeks for brands – which is reflecting marketers concerns about ensuring their marketing messages are being received by their audiences in a confusing sea of digital content online.

  • There’s been some interesting behavior around ad blocking interest right now. Brands searching for ad blocking jumped around mid-April, fell, and then made another significant jump last week. I’m assuming that most of this interest is around blacklisting terms, rather than consumers’ use of ad blockers. Brands have been careful to prevent their ads from showing up next to COVID-19 related content.

    • We don’t believe that the wholesale blocking of terms related to “covid19” or the “pandemic” isn’t necessarily the right move. Doing so can risk pretty much blocking you from reaching your entire audience, since the virus dominates all content right now. 

  • Brands’ interest in ABM took a steep decline in late Feb, and has since plateaued. This may be because brands are unsure of how to target accounts without relying on IP addresses tied to businesses, events, and OOH.

    • Similarly, account-based sales development fell off precipitately around the same time, likely owing to similar reasons.

  • Addressable TV advertising saw a big surge in interest in the beginning of March, dropped off precipitately, and slowly gained a bit of interest in recent weeks. This could be due to reports around ad fraudsters targeting connected TV, just as people were beginning to stream more content due to stay at home orders.

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