We recently read about the Google Ads strategy of Glossier, and to say we were blown away would an understatement. Here's our take on Glossier's ad strategy, and what you can learn from it for your business.
The Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing have caused video game spending in the United States to reach new heights. Revenues hit a record $11.6bn between April and June 2020 – an increase of 30% when compared to the same time period last year.
Overall, global gaming revenues are set to hit $160bn this year, overtaking books, music or movies. It is no wonder that Anzu’s in-game advertising revolution has such a captive audience among brands. Companies are approaching in-game advertising at greater scale to take advantage of the fact that gaming is now displacing other traditional forms of entertainment.
The only sticking point in this ultimate adventure between brands and gamers has been the verifying of ads. Brands require ongoing reassurance that ads served are measurable, seen, brand safe and not affected by fraud. These challenges have sucked up advertising dollars in every new digital technology launched programmatically, with global ad fraud costing $23bn across the global digital advertising ecosystem. We have seen that in another relatively new advertising playground, OTT spending (home viewing also seeing an uptick during social distancing) – marketers will lose $4bn in 2020 due to fraud across programmatically bought ad-supported streaming platforms.
When Cheq launched the world’s first ad verification solution for gaming with Anzu, we brought our cybersecurity credentials to protect ad spend in a revolutionary way. Anzu and Cheq sought to remove the legacy minimal expectations that existed in digital ad verification, providing a cybersecurity-based approach to fighting online ad challenges.
Up until now, old school ad verification techniques or ‘adtech‘ techniques were used across the industry, but, more recently, a cybersecurity approach has been taken. This approach has been used to protect ad spend across gaming, display, mobile, OTT and click fraud. The legacy ‘ad verification’ approach is making way for a more dynamic (and more honest) ‘cybersecurity’ approach. This has created a sophisticated way to ensure brand safety, viewability and anti-fraud detection. In the world of mobile apps (gaming apps account for 33% of installs), attribution and install fraud has created a constant need for cybersecurity prevention. For app install fraud, bot attacks continue to dominate. Currently, about 62% of fraudulent app installs are a result of bot attacks. Install hijacking – particularly for gaming apps – and click flooding are on the rise.
Differences between old school and next generation ad verification
The first difference between ad verification and ‘ad security‘ lies in the filtration approach. Ad verification typically relies on IP blacklisting to filter out bad traffic. Now, while this methodology can be effective to some degree, it is problematic in the sense that these IP lists age quickly. Within the time it takes to drink a coffee, bad guys can change all IP addresses, so they keep earning money. Such lists also tend to miss a great deal of invalid traffic. Even worse, many of these lists – procured from third-party IP vendors – are unvetted, resulting in over-blocking of real users who very often, unintentionally, appear on these blocklists.
Nevertheless, this can be verified by cybersecurity-based protocols (even if your IP or user agent says one thing, the truth is often different). Another difference is the scope of the ‘inspection‘. Ad verification typically takes the sampling approach, by which it would only inspect a small portion of the traffic and make assumptions based on what is found. The ad security approach analyzes every single impression and is deterministic rather than probabilistic. Finally, the cybersecurity approach also brings transparency. Genuine cybersecurity players provide advertisers with detailed reasoning behind every decision and access to log-level data (user agent, IP addresses and time stamps). Tackling these challenges brings almost instant results for conversions.
Since taking this approach, we have been able to show the results of campaigns for big brands in a transparent way.
Gaming v display: ad verification
The above approach has been the underpinning for the incredible results seen so far in the world of in-game advertising verification. In our first major pilot, Anzu and Cheq delivered the first ever ad verification solution in gaming for a multinational consumer brand. We found a 23% increase in viewability of ads for in-game advertising, compared with traditional digital advertising.
On average, Cheq found that during the campaign (for the same multinational consumer brand, on both display and in-game advertising), 80.2% of game players achieved a level of viewability in which they saw 95% of ads for at least two seconds. This is compared with only 65% viewability for at least two seconds when the same brand served banner ads using traditional online display advertising channels.
The brand ads were served seamlessly throughout 20 games across genres, including racing, simulation and adventure games, from Jurassic Park VR to Final Kick and Hajwala (Drift).
Since then, on a weekly basis, new pilots are announced by Anzu as more brands come to the table, with partnerships with Ubisoft (PC racing game Trackmania); with Vodafone ads (Unfinished Pixel’s Super Soccer Blast, averaging 1.5 hours of playtime per gamer per day); and with Vivid Games (on its premium titles Real Boxing 2 and Gravity Rider Zero, for both iOS and Android).
Through this approach, any advertiser that serves dynamic in-game ads programmatically to reach gamers playing top titles can now utilize real-time in-game verifiable tracking and measurement of ad performance. They receive metrics including whether ads were viewed head-on or from a hard-to-view angle, and where ads were obscured by any surrounding objects.
Blended in-game advertising is rapidly attracting brands and dynamic and exciting new campaigns. Advances in cybersecurity-based ad verification have arrived to meet this challenge.
The article was originally published on the Anzu blog.
Jonathan Marciano is the director of communications at Cheq, partner of Anzu.io.
In days gone by (ie pre-pandemic lockdown) the office ‘water cooler moment’ was often used as an indication of what was hot in the world of popular culture, media and marketing. Whether it was chatter about the latest episode of Love Island or shared recommendations on the best new places to eat out, must-see films or must-have products, this form of word of mouth has always been a powerful tool for measuring the success of advertising campaigns or tracking the latest trends.
If the modern-day equivalent of the water cooler moment – the first few minutes of chat at the start of team Zoom calls – is to be believed, then there are few things getting colleagues and clients more excited right now than podcasts. And it’s not just rising comedy stars and little-known musicians dominating the world of podcasting as it was in the early days – more and more household brands, from Sephora to Vodafone, are starting to launch their own podcasts, seeking new ways to create deeper engagement with customers.
It’s hardly surprising that brands are keen to capitalise on the growing popularity of podcasts when you look at the statistics. There are currently more than 850,000 active podcasts available to listen to, and 6.5 million or 12% of adults in the UK listen to podcasts every week (Podnews). That’s an awful lot of ears potentially open to receiving information and messaging about your product or service, if you can get the content just right.
It’s not just podcasts that are having a boom moment as a result of the pandemic – commercial radio saw listening times increase significantly in the UK during the first few months of lockdown, with 38% of listeners tuning in for an extra hour and 45 minutes each day in April (Radiocentre) as people adjusted to life working from home.
The marketing industry was quick to identify and react to these changes in audience behaviours, helping clients to create a range of audio content from Spotify and radio ads, to fully branded podcast series as we all began to tune in to the benefits of audio in our new ways of living. Then, of course, there were the practical benefits of creating and producing audio content during lockdown – in most cases, a process much more easily managed remotely than for video content.
We spoke to several Mission agencies about how they have been working with clients to produce creative audio content during lockdown and where they think the future lies for this area of marketing as we start to return to previous routines.
Jim Gillingham, production editor at Speed Communications:
In a world where video content has been largely reduced to people shooting themselves on mobile phones (sometimes well, sometimes very, very badly) or screen recording Zoom calls (shudder), then audio has unsurprisingly become a very attractive option. For audiophiles, the joy of listening to content rather than watching it is hardly a revelation, but when no one is commuting any more, when domestic lives are full of bored children, video conferences and a lot of worry, would there be any appetite for podcasts or other forms of audio content?
The answer is, of course, yes. And then some. In the months of lockdown, we’ve produced three podcast series for three different clients at Speed, with more scheduled for the coming months. All are recorded remotely via some very nifty software and all of them produced, edited and distributed from my dining room. The USB mic I grabbed hastily when packing up my office desk all those months ago has been used almost every day, whether it be to record various voice-overs and introductions or to brief podcast guests ahead of recordings.
While video will definitely become a force again once the current situation is over, I can’t see audio slipping back to its previous role of video’s nerdier, less successful sibling. The intense connection that audio creates between the listener and the content is a marketeer’s dream with one important caveat: your marketing shouldn’t sound like marketing. But that’s a different conversation: I’m sure there’s a podcast on the subject.
Over the past few months, Think BDW has created a product – Think VC (or Virtual Consultant) – in response to members of the public currently having to visit show homes unaccompanied, and therefore not having a sales person with them extolling the virtues of the house/apartment they are looking at.
It works by us recording the sales messages and embedding these in a tag that’s readable by any phone with a NFC (near field communication) chip. The tag is located behind a prominent vinyl sticker within relevant rooms or spaces in the show home, with the message ‘scan here’.
The visitor then holds their phone to the sticker and an Alexa-type voice then talks about the room in question, pointing out features and benefits. It could talk about the views, the flexibility of the space, the appliances, the specification or finishes, any technology featured… anything the client thinks is pertinent.
While this is a product born out of practical necessity during the current pandemic, there are so many ways that audio can enhance the home buyer’s experience and the seller’s marketing activity, and I’m certain we will continue to see many more innovations in this space in the future.
As an industry, it’s our job to predict, adapt to and create new trends in consumer habits and demands, and the rise in consumption of audio content during lockdown has presented marketeers and our clients with the opportunity to explore new ways of communicating with customers that may not have otherwise been considered. With shorter production times and lower content creation costs generally than video, along with the ability to tell compelling stories in bite-size formats and on the go, we may well be tuning in to the beginnings of an audio revolution in marketing.
Coronavirus forced many companies around the world to rethink how they work, from communications to operations. In response to global lockdowns, travel bans, school closures and social distancing, many businesses turned to digital tools to ensure there was as little interruption as possible.
Companies that had been resistant have now been forced into allowing their workforce to work from home so that operations can continue without disruption.
The only problem is that some businesses lacked the structure to implement new technology without some disruption. However, after months of working from home, companies have now seen the benefits.
Benefits of remote working for employers
By using project management tools such as Monday and Slack, it is easier to keep communications, files and project information in one place, eliminating endless email trails and continuous progress reporting.
Increase in productivity
The average worker starts at 8:32am and ends work at 5:38pm
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most productive days of the week
Telephone calls went up by 230%
CRM activity rose by 176%
Email is up 57% and chat rose by 9%
The assumption is that remote workers are less productive, but the data obtained by Businesswire would suggest that is not the case.
Improvements to employee health and wellness
Working from home has indirectly created a robust work-life balance for employees through reduced commuting, having the opportunity to customise their surroundings and create their own schedule, and improved telecommunication.
The most important thing is that boundaries and expectations are set to ensure that both the employee and management are comfortable with the new way of working.
Talent pool expansion
Now that employees can work from home, businesses are no longer limited to hiring people locally. This increases the likelihood of finding someone with the exact skills and experience to fit the position. Hiring from different countries, areas and cultures creates a more diverse and well-rounded workforce.
Benefits of remote working for employees
Flexible working hours
Although working 9-5 is the typical working pattern, it isn’t necessarily sensible as everybody has their own differing schedules based on personal needs, energy levels and childcare. Remote work allows employees to be productive in the hours that work for them by planning the right amount of task time around their basic needs.
Commuting every day can have an adverse effect on an employee, from stress-related health issues to performance at work and the impact on their personal relationships. Long hours of commuting, especially when driving, are associated with musculoskeletal disorders, lateness and high blood pressure. According to a TUC study in 2019, the average commute time to work was 59 minutes. This is around 221 hours a year, getting to and from work – a loss of valuable time that can be spent with family and friends.
Accommodates employees with special needs
Remote working for employees with a physical disability can improve their lives and make completing tasks more manageable. Their own home is better equipped to help them succeed while working, and they’re also able to provide themselves with adequate self-care.
What are the world’s largest companies doing?
In July, Google announced that its employees would be working from home until at least July 2021. The decision was made by the chief executive officer of parent company Alphabet Inc, Sundar Pichai, following discussions with an internal group of executives.
As of August, Facebook gave its employees the option to work remotely up until July 2021. In addition to the extended remote leave, Facebook gave its employees an additional $1,000 for home office equipment.
However, in Facebook’s announcement it made employees aware that they would need to tell their bosses should they move to a new location. Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that those who move to lower-cost cities ”may have their compensation adjusted based on their location”.
In May, Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey announced that his staff could work from home ”forever” if they wish, following the success of its work-from-home measures. However, the company did add that should any employees wish to return to the office when it reopens, they were welcome to do so.
In a statement, Twitter said: ”The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.”
Initially, the idea of working from home wasn’t ideal; however, it has now become the new norm, which has been embraced by companies globally.
Businesses have put their reservations about remote working aside to follow national health guidelines. And it would seem that Covid-19 is now responsible for a revolution in the way businesses operate and will continues to operate even after Covid-19 no longer exists.
If there was ever an example of a business successfully implementing remote working, then look no further than Avenue Digital.
Kyle Welch is the marketing manager at Avenue Digital.
Luxury is about much more than the physical product. The real appeal of a premium product exists primarily in subverting consumers’ expectations.
What is luxury? Your mind immediately springs to ‘minted’ and ‘upmarket’ products which usually come with a tidy price tag.
The standout example from a technology perspective is Devialet speakers. And in particular, the ultimate of high-end sound, the Devialet Phantom. Check it out. One small speaker? That’ll be two and a half grand please.
When I say check it out, that’s exactly what I mean. Not visiting their website but going into one of their very small stores, shutting the door and then getting your ears blown off in the most pleasant way possible. If there was a speaker that takes you into Warp Factor 10 Scotty, then it’s this bad boy.
How should it be marketed? Well, they’re already onto something with the website talking of ‘unreasonable sound’ and surrendering to ‘indecent power’. Sounds like puffery? It ain’t.
You’ll always remember your first time, and my first Devialet encounter was in New York in an outdoor photography exhibition by gritty New York shooters; each of whom had a shipping container with one end ripped off and the shots mounted on corrugated iron walls inside. Clever Devialet took one of these containers, sound insulated it, then proceeded to blow every unsuspecting wanderer’s ears off. And this is my point. If luxury is “something that gives you a lot of pleasure but cannot be done often”, then that’s an experience I’ll never forget. And I’ve lusted after Devialet ever since.
Luxury marketing wasn’t like that before. It would have been in a rarefied and cosseted ‘luxury’ environment, but this was a gritty container in a parking lot and that made it all the more, well, luxurious - because it surprised you. You’re not expecting it, so you remember it so much more. There’s a lesson here - sneak up where your audience is least expecting you.
Don’t sell specifics
The other note to this example is there’s no hint of how they actually technically deliver such an ‘unreasonable’ sound. It reminds me of when I used to work on Dell and we said “look at Apple; they don’t sell spec.” The rest is history and we don’t need another Apple case history here. But what I find myself doing (right now in fact) is following the subtle clues or ‘crumbs’ that Devialet leave dotted around their site.
A couple of things like 4,500 watts (WTF?) and the fact there’s 160 patents out on their technology. There’s a mention of ADH but no further explanation as mere mortals would not be able to fathom what the Devialet crew in their Paris “atelier” concoct. There’s another clue – not a shop or a workshop, but an ‘atelier’. A nice luxury cue but not said in a ‘haute couture’ way. So, you end up trying to find out how the ultimate sound is achieved by following the crumbs and clues but end up without real tangible answers except to just hit the BUY NOW button. There’s another lesson there I feel.
The other example I’d refer to, along similar lines, would be Tesla. Again, this is nothing to do with an ad or a website really, or even the car. It was the experience. And this started way before I climbed into the car. Rejecting ‘dealerships’ (tired old places with middle aged car salesman peddling metal and rubber), Tesla chose small hyper-cool locations for their “galleries’; funnily enough again in a funky cool art district in downtown New York, a million miles from other car ‘dealerships’ in form, shape, size and creed. Very cool twentysomethings greeted you in racing one-piece outfits, and one invited me and my son for a spin. We boarded the Tesla Model X Performance, the fastest SUV on the planet with a 0-60 of 2.6 seconds.
Forget SUV, that’s about the same as a McLaren for Pete’s sake. We saw a button that said ‘Ludicrous mode’ and my co-pilot (not salesman) teased me to press it. If you’ve never experienced G-force in a car then get saving up. Apparently, Tesla do a roaring trade with fighter pilots wanting the same thrills on land.
The commonality between Devialet and Tesla? Both turn convention on its head and use language the opposite of ‘refined’. And unlike those fancy shops down Bond Street, they both invite participation and play. Both say “Book a demo” as the call to action as they know it’s the experience that’ll get you truly hooked, not any campaign.
Thanks to the pandemic, the world of work is changing – and it looks very different depending on where you’re based. In The Drum’s new series, Today’s Office, we ask individuals from adland to share what these new normal routines look like. This week, James Cowie, group creative director at Deutsch NY, shares how he stays positive in Manhattan with a little help from Spiderman.
I spend most of my days as James Cowie, group creative director at Deutsch New York. But often, and with little notice, I become Doctor Doom, or the Green Goblin, or the wicked Prince John.
I’ve gotten good at being a bad guy. I have a well-practiced vaudevillian routine. I bounce around my bedroom, laughing maniacally and threatening to foil the plans of Spiderman, or Robin Hood, or whoever else my four-year-old son is inhabiting at the time. Usually, this is all to the great amusement of his eighteen-month-old brother, who’s been typecast as the sidekick.
There are four of us living in our two-bedroom apartment, and we live on top of each other. As Australians living in NYC, we have become each other’s entire galaxies. When the boys are awake, it’s very loud: a hurricane of raucous laughter or raging tantrums, depending on the mood.
With practice, my sons have become more reasonable at allowing me to transform back into myself before the next Zoom call, or client meeting, or writing deadline. The door shuts as the meeting starts, I stop being a villain and my bedroom becomes a home-office once more. Occasionally, the door suddenly bursts open and Spiderman attacks everyone on Zoom. But there’s little to be done about that.
This is not a complaint about working from home with two kids in a slightly too small Upper East Side apartment. It’s really not. It’s just my version of reality in 2020: happy chaos, and a mostly functioning, never-ending juggle, where the lines between being a parent to young boys and being a creative director are scribbled over with a half-chewed crayon.
After the initial, brutal adjustment of trying to make things work, I quickly came to see that my domestic chaos is, in fact, a blessing. Even when you’re at the epicenter of a terrifying global pandemic, it’s hard to remain depressed when there’s a wriggling, giggling toddler in the same room.
It helps, of course, that I work with fabulous, empathetic people, and that we were a very close-knit team already. The way we solve creative problems together is a little different now than how it used to be, but no less effective. Equally, the sense of collective purpose that’s always been at the heart the agency is still there. Deutsch still feels like Deutsch, even if it is a weirder version of itself, composed of a collection of far-flung laptops in badly lit bedrooms.
Frankly, the writer in me prefers working remotely, but perhaps not enough to make up for the abject nightmare of tackling international film productions via Zoom. But hey, at least I manage to eat dinner with my family every night – a first for my advertising career. That’s no small thing.
As for my apartment, it’s new. I moved to the one that was directly above my old apartment just a few weeks ago. It has one extra bathroom and a washer and dryer. My wife and I tossed around the idea of moving to the suburbs (like everyone else in New York City, it seems) but, in the end, I guess we love Manhattan. No matter how loud and crowded it is, both inside my apartment and out.