Photo: Shareen Pathak (Digiday) & Kris McDermott (Resolution Media)
Digiday hosted its annual Media Buying Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana last week where media buyers from agencies of all sizes spent several days deliberating the current state of the industry and mingling with publishers and tech partners. Here are the three key trends discussed at the event:
1. AI & Machine Learning: “37% of agencies are already incorporating AI and similar technologies into their buying process.”- Digiday+ Research
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) bring strong media-decisioning capabilities, along with content alignment, optimizations, and reporting automation for both agencies and brands. AI can aid in audience development, but people must ensure the quality and composition of the audiences developed. In the same vein, machine learning capabilities provide brands with an advantage for data-driven attribution modeling and tracking, but agencies need to continue providing context around the platforms and depth to the learnings. While AI & ML can also help automate reporting, humans still need to cultivate insights.
In the coming year we’ll likely see AI & ML employed to help reduce waste, with frequency optimizers and dynamic creative optimization tools being added to a media buying team’s arsenal. This will free up team members’ bandwidth, so they can spend more time developing innovative approaches for their clients. Although AI will continue to be a growing force, it will not replace us anytime soon (phew).
Amazon was the belle of the ball, as the powerhouse is challenging the current advertising duopoly (Facebook & Google). Through Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) and Amazon Media Group (AMG) advertisers can drive both awareness and sales, and Amazon also has a natural language integration with Alexa. For this reason, many agencies have been establishing their own dedicated solutions to provide support for all of Amazon’s offerings.
While a solid Amazon strategy is a key to eCommerce success, Kris McDermott on Resolution’s CommerceConnect team, recommends that brands shouldn’t only focus on Amazon. She reinforced the importance of figuring out the top business priorities for clients and designing a holistic approach including the likes of Target, Walmart, and Kroger, as it’s not only about scale but about who can provide the right data and opportunities for each individual advertiser.
3. Voice Tech: “There were over 33 million voice-first devices in circulation at the end of 2017; 30% of browsing sessions will be done without screens by 2020.” – VoiceLabs
Agencies are adding voice technology services to their scope and looking for new ways to provide value for their clients, as consumers’ lives become more entrenched with the likes of Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Watson. Voice assistants will be more responsible for making buying decisions and choosing brands from the “virtual shelf,” so brands need to establish their presence and ensure their products are not only available, but showcased in the best possible way. For years, the voice of a brand was relegated to the page or the screen, but now a brand’s presence needs to be consistent across voice-enabled properties as well.
Voice-driven experiences represent the next frontier for content marketing, opening up a new wave of demand for skills, as agencies work to grasp the potential utility of the technology for their clients. For now, we’ll keep our eyes (and ears) focused on what the future holds for brands and consumers alike. Maybe Alexa has something to say about it…