There’s no denying the uncertainty that came with 2017, yet we’ve seen tremendous resilience, motivation, and progress within the digital advertising industry. Digital ad-spend continues to rise, there’s a growing collective focus on the mechanisms, technology, and regulations challenged with cleaning up the industry, and we’re witnessing significant investment and advancement in transformative technology.
Weve had a pretty good year, too. To add to our extensive list of award nominations and wins (across categories like Best Use of Data and Most Innovative Campaign), we soared up the IPA Media Owner leadership board, placing third for the best overall experience with a supplier. At just 1% off the top score of 78%, it’s the highest score in Weve’s history.
As we get back into gear for another successful year, some of Team Weve tell us their predictions for 2018.
THE YEAR OF THE TELCO
Timothea Horwell: Marketing & Research Manager
Each year in digital advertising, there are trends that seep into our conversations, conferences and content. We’ve been heralding the Year of Mobile for what seems like the last decade, most recently focusing on the connectivity our devices provide. Over recent years, we’ve seen a number of acquisitions in the ad tech space from telcos like Verizon, Altice, and, of course, Telefonica, and it makes sense: their networks underpin the digital ecosystem by powering mobile’s ubiquitous connectivity and providing unrivalled insight at both an aggregated and individual level (a more comprehensive view than information extracted from search or social media activity alone).
As the fragmented, opaque, and largely unverified world of data collection comes under scrutiny post-GDPR, the value of telco-verification becomes clear at a time where brands are pulling ads from social due to ASA criticism of ‘self-reported’ age verification as inadequate. And in a landscape where we’re increasingly seeking an end-to-end and verified view of consumers and their real-world behaviours, 2018 will be the year that the value of deterministic telco data is actualised: through the billions of network events seen on their networks each day, whether online or offline, passive or active, telcos will become an integral part of the planning, delivery, and measurement of campaigns.
In 2018, verification, transparency, consent, and a clear data-value exchange will be absolutely imperative for all players in the supply-chain, with the telco well placed to connect us to the future.
Harry Clarke: Creativity and Innovations Manager
I can’t wait for AI to take my job so that I can actually start doing my job. It might sounds stupid, but bear with me. AI isn’t going to replace us overnight, it’s going to augment us, and I hope this year is when we will really see the start of this.
We all have those repetitive tasks at work: some simple, like copying and paste one data set into another, some a little more complicated, like re-format a spreadsheet so the client can easily read it. Creative is no different.
There are those repetitive tasks like resizing an image or text, or moving a logo from the top to the bottom while keeping everything else aligned, or replacing that stock image with one that has a dog in it: small, but hugely time consuming, these tasks are where AI will start to make its biggest impact (the best example so far is Adobe Sensei).
These are the aspects of my job I can’t wait for AI to take, because once they remove the repetitive, boring tasks, I’ll be able to focus more time on the aspects of the job in which I can really make a difference. 2018 is when we will really start to realise and embrace this.
And beyond that, AI could bring about the true democratisation of creativity, allowing anyone to edit, produce and deliver with nothing but an idea. The machine will be your graphic designer: you, the creative oversight. This can only benefit the industry – as people spend more time thinking about the creative in the digital space, we won’t just have to leave it to the dedicated creative powerhouses.
Don’t get me wrong though, creatives will always have a place. There’s a difference between an idea and the idea.
Alex Cochrane: Agency Partner
Advertising, at its heart, is about influencing behaviour to drive action. What digital does so well is its ability to measure the actions taken from advertising, from brand sentiment to lead generation through to purchase.
But while the insight derived from attribution is key, it is only as accurate as the data you power campaigns with in the first place. If you cannot be fully certain of who you are targeting, how can you be certain who took action as a result of the campaign: what your customers look like? Our verified insight into our our O2 customers helps brands better know their own, and I expect to see this become a core part of attribution models in 2018.
This is where we at Weve are able to really distinguish ourselves from the crowd, linking offline and online behaviour to a verified individual. Our ability to link a sales lead, a person in store, or a Sainsbury’s purchase to an actual person, rather than just a device ID, gives us unparalleled insight into verified online and offline behaviour. With this information, we can provide genuine data-led insight that can be utilised for media planning or further campaign targeting: decreasing waste and increasing performance.
Warren Mills: Client Partner
It can’t be ignored that we’re watching more online video content: we’re now watching a billion hours each day, and it’s reported that video will account for over 80% of all consumer internet traffic within four years. With UK mobile smartphone penetration at 71%, we can expect viewers to be reaching more for their phone to watch content. Throughout 2017 we saw countless brands create amazing video experiences for their viewers: video is a powerful way to tell a story, and technological advances in formats, AR, VR and interactive video are helping us shape and bring the story to life for consumers.
What I’m really excited about for this year is how we can increasingly combine the power of video technology with real world telco data, allowing advertisers and brands to tell compelling stories that resonate with the right audience at the right time. It’s an exciting time for mobile video, and as a telco we can see the data usage exploding across our network: as we prepare for the launch of 5G, it’s only going to move faster.
GREATER DATA INTEGRATION
John Finlayson: Head of Brand and Business Development
For brands in particular, we’re seeing an evolution in the way they use and present data insights, and I expect to see greater integration of brands’ data sets this year. In some industries like the automotive sector, customer relationship management hasn’t been as efficient as it could be. Weve’s 2017 Automotive Research showed that 54% of car owners said they were likely to buy their next car from the same brand they currently own, but only 36% did. But certain brands’ moves towards an increasingly online approach will allow them to exert more control over the customer relationship data that dealerships have owned to date, and manage the after-sales process more effectively, allowing them to better retain customers and keep them in the loyalty loop.