Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why are the traditional distinctions between brand and performance campaigns breaking down?

The NDA Predictions Hub, in association with Xandr, is dedicated to insight and inspiration from some of our industry’s leading figures to help you make sense of how digital marketing and media will develop in 2022.

The predictions of our experts though may leave readers wondering exactly how they can shape their own marketing strategies to fit the trends identified. So as part our Predictions Hub, Xandr’s own experts will be stepping in to help with the answers.

Quite simply, how we understand what success looks like is changing. While many will mourn the demise of the third-party cookie, for example, there will be many more who believe it is finally a chance for digital advertising to get its house in order. Because the simple fact is a lot of what the industry has relied on as its yardsticks for success are no longer fit for purpose. 

There are many reasons for this. One is that marketers have tended to look at their activities in silos – TV, out of home, radio, print, then digital, mobile, social… As the number of platforms multiplies, so does the range of metrics and the number of ways to define success. 

But we don’t live in a splintered, platform-by-platform world. As consumers we take our influences from all sorts of places. And so marketers need to stop thinking so much about how many interactions there are on a single channel, and begin instead to define what that channel’s contribution means to the whole customer journey. 

Then there is the lack of clarity – and sometimes, let’s face it, honesty – in the digital ad space. Regarding the aforementioned cookies, digital advertising has suffered from metrics that artificially inflate numbers – views that ‘count’ but that couldn’t possibly be said to count towards a sale, for example. Or simply poor quality ads with retargeting being a prime example of the surprisingly blunt instrument advertising on a supposedly targeted medium has become. 

By moving the focus onto first and zero-party data, brands will have to pay much more attention to how the sum of their activities contributes to the whole of the customer journey rather than atomised parts of it. This leads us much deeper into brand territory.  Marketers will be looking more to brand work to do heavy lifting in bringing customers to the point where they are willing to share that essential data. 

For its part, the ad industry will be looking to evolve attribution models that cover both offline and online and aren’t reliant on those third party cookies to make sure there’s a rigour in the way marketing budgets are planned across the journey. Identity solutions look set to play a significant part, helping marketers track how consumers are behaving across media and giving a much greater insight into how those interactions translate into sales.

From social media to the metaverse, mobile to connected TV, the landscape brands can play in is ever more complex – but its potential is hugely exciting. Building a holistic understanding of the consumer’s place within it is going to be a challenging but long-overdue and rewarding recalibration.

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