As we head into what is set to be a seminal year for the digital industry, NDA has been talking to leaders across the market to hear their thoughts on what 2020 holds.
Alexis Faulkner is head of Fast UK at Mindshare. We caught up with her to find out what she’s looking forward to in 2020.
What has been the most important development of 2019 in the digital industry and your professional highlight of the last decade?
The biggest development this year have been around measurement. After GDPR hit in 2018, we saw Google remove log level data that most digital attribution tools were based on. Then this year we’ve seen Apple introduce IPT2.1 that reduced third-party cookie windows to 24 hours.
We saw an immediate drop in the ability to track conversions, especially in media that relies on impression to conversion tracking. As an industry we’ve discussed the future of tracking for a long time but these changes are beginning to have real impact. Google’s response in search has been to move SA360 (the main platform used for cross search platforms) to its predicted conversions metric — accounting for those it predicts lost due to cookie loss.
As this degradation of the ability to track continues we’ll need new methodologies and industry joint initiates like TTD unified ID haven’t got up to speed yet.
My professional highlight on the last decade has been working on the launch of disclosed programmatic media models. Trust issues, and worries about disclosure in agencies models have often got in the way of some excellent innovation and technology progression, so the move to launch disclosed trading desks has moved to tackle this.
These models come with their own issues, of explaining the layers that were previously unseen, but they also force all parties to discuss what actually impact media deliverables. This changing business model isn’t without challenges — we still see managed services drive move innovation in the market as they invest margins into platform development, like Xaxis’s co-pilot which is a bespoke algorithmic solution.
The mix of media options available to client however allows much more informed marketing decisions and has been a real journey of discovery.
What are you most excited about in digital in 2020?
Two things I’m really excited about next year are digitalisation of TV and the recognition of quality metrics in media. On the TV side of things we’ve seen merging companies over the last few years like Finecast, and Sky AdSmart allow much more granular targeting of audiences but now we’re beginning to be able to join the data sets we have to target in digital to those in these TV landscape.
Whilst this doesn’t yet truly unify marketing it does mean for the first time we’re a much more joined up media plan.
Secondly I believe this year we will have a move to balance the media narrative on audience vs quality. As media became programmatic we moved to a world where audience goals were the main deliverable, but in this change we didn’t consider the quality of the media we worked on and when done poorly this moves into lower quality media environments.
Viewability targets have gone some ways highlighting this, but research we’ve been doing has clearly shown it’s not just about viewability but time on page. For example an ad that is 100% on page for 5 seconds drives lower brand uplift than an ad 80% on page for 30 seconds.
As we understand more what actually impacts audiences we can swing the focus on the outcome our advertisers want and not get distracted by the proxies that we can measure but don’t always guide us to the best methodologies.
Why should advertisers be excited about digital in 2020?
Digital in 2020 is an exciting place — we’ve moving on from the ‘how’ of what we do into more interesting conversation on what will really drive business outcomes for advertisers.
We can now model client profitability into our optimisation models and connect different media formats in ways that have never previously been possible. There are huge opportunities for those who want to partner in this space and a real appetite to build out test and learn strategies that drive continuous improvement.
You are allowed one Christmas Wish for the digital industry. What is that wish?
If you’re going to wish for things you need to wish big, so I’d like two things – a universal measurement solution that goes cross walled gardens and unified the media landscape, and for us all to move on from the trust issues that have arisen between all players in the media space to uniting on our common challenges and driving our really innovative space forward.