The potential and power of creativity is part of being human, at least for advertising and media executives. The industry takes on this concept, runs with it, and shares it with others to a high degree at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, which kicks off in the South of France in about a week.
While investments this year by many agency and technology companies may seem a bit more subdued, compared with past years, innovations and advancements, as well as shared thoughts bounced from mind to mind are anything but ordinary.
Goodway Group CEO Jay Friedman said the latest shiny object -- the biggest one the industry has seen in years -- will give advertisers human insight into visions not seen before.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily (S&PMD) caught up with Friedman before his trip to Cannes to talk about generative artificial intelligence (GAI), retail media, connected television (CTV) and video, and first-party data and a cookieless future.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily: Where do you see the industry heading with GAI?
Friedman: Generative AI is probably the shiniest object -- not only in the room, but the shiniest meaningful object we have had for years.
Web3 was shiny, but it lacked substance. There’s a huge gap between pontificating about it and putting it to work.
S&PMD: How are you advising clients?
Friedman: We are advising our clients to have multiple data sources to combine such as inventory, sales forecast, app use, historical data and media data. In the past, it may not have been required to connect all these different data sources to one system, but there is the need now.
With integrated data, we can start to ask questions like ‘the last time we had a more than 10% spike in app use, did we see inventory challenges and, if so, where?’ That’s a very different world than most marketers live in today.
I think generative AI will provides answers in ways that people can understand better.
S&PMD: What are your thoughts about GAI, content and search?
Friedman: Image-based and video-based generative AI will become important. There are a lot of copyright issues that need to be worked out. GAI will help marketers discover variations of human ideas that help to move the needle better.
For the foreseeable future, GAI will give humans the insight into what will make other humans want to buy a product and support it. But there are so many shades and variation of the message, and AI can help do that.
S&PMD: What are your thoughts on Retail Media?
Friedman: Marketers will need to move to a more holistic type of search. Generative AI is wrapped completely in consumer search. The paid-search industry is completely traditional and pay-per-click centric. Google is 90% of their world, and Bing is an afterthought. Consumer searches on Amazon, Yelp, YouTube and TikTok are all over the place.
The challenge becomes getting marketers supporting shopper media practices, who want to own search on Kroger and Walmart, to collaborate with traditional marketers in the traditional paid-search practice, who want to own search campaigns on Google and Bing.
They will need to learn how to collaborate in a different way. Brands will demand that of their agencies. We are working on it.
S&PMD: Do you expect to hear talk about CTV and search at Cannes?
Friedman: What’s interesting is that whenever we find that media works well across channels, we act surprised. We know search works with CTV. The fact that marketers and agencies have not been coordinating media around the consumer as opposed to the channel -- that’s a mistake.
I think Roku is doing some innovated things with shoppable ads that will help with retail media. CTV and search belong together as much as display and search or podcasts and search.
CPGs on the retail media side received a gift of measurement as deterministic measurement is eliminated by the removal of cookies. That’s a gift that the best CPGs and durable manufactures are using to their advantage.
There are CPGs and brands that may sell products across 40 or 50 retailers, and managing all is not possible. Cross-shopping happens. A major beverage manufacturer might buy an ad on Target, but the sale happens on Walmart. A measurement that identifies the ‘total market impact’ is needed. I just want to know that ads are working something, and whose consumers are providing the greatest return.
The major DSPs such as Google, Meta and Criteo will need to provide some way for CPGs to unify buys.
S&PMD: Cookie deprecation, can you provide an update on what you see?
Friedman: More than 40% of the market is unaddressable due to cookie deprecation. Cookies today are more a signal for directional understanding rather than direct measurement. The best marketers already integrate into media mix modeling, as well as incrementality testing.
The challenge, helping convey the results to the executive team of a brand. The data in the reports is not easy to understand if you’re not an expert. The experts will need technical knowledge and storytelling techniques to be able to pick out the important information and share it.