Privacy Concerns, Zero-Click Content and Artificial Intelligence: 5 Key Takeaways from Ad World
We’re covering the top 5 key takeaways from Ad World’s most recent online conference. Ad World is the world’s largest online advertising event that happens and the 2023 Spring Conference commenced last month and boy did it deliver (as usual, shoutout to Ad World speakers and event coordinators). With 25,000+ virtual attendees the conference covered nine advertising and marketing tracks that the Liberty Interactive Marketing team was exuberant to dive in on, they included:
- The Future of Advertising,
- Media Buying,
- Content Marketing,
- AI in Advertising,
- Ad Creatives,
- Conversion Optimization,
- Brand Building, and
- SMS & Email Marketing.
The keynote opener was done by marketing oracle Seth Godin, who inspired participants to aspire to do their best work and businesses to produce best-in class products.
1. Cookies and Privacy Concerns Gateway to First-Party Data
As cookies disappear and privacy concerns grow, there is going to be a larger prominence on programmatic media and the development of first-party data to be less reliant on and reach audiences outside of the walled gardens like Facebook and Google.
Due to the decrease in cookie data and attribution tied to activities on the internet, people’s movements and activity in the real world is going to become more important to understanding peoples interests and habits, and mobile targeting is going to grow even more important for brick and mortar as well as e-commerce companies.
2. The Rise of Zero-Click Content Changes Attribution
The rise of zero-click data is driven by both walled garden algorithms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google) and users’ increasingly sophisticated behavior. Social platforms discourage users from clicking out of the platform by penalizing posts with links, or so it is rumored to be, but, shocking stats reveal posts without links receive up to 6 times more reach. This trend is known as ‘zero-click content’.
Google has been moving towards zero-click content for the last decade with featured snippets, which display an answer to a user’s query at the top of the search results page without requiring the user to click on any links. This is an example of zero-click content because the user can find the information they need without leaving the search results page.
Users’ behavior follows trend. You may have noticed the old “headline click bait” from a company or brand you follow, and the first user comment is typically giving away the answer to the article to ‘save the click’ (or rather not have to click). For instance, I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like, “The one thing you should never keep in your kitchen” you’ll likely be able to find that answer in the first comment of that post saving you the click or having to read the article altogether.
What does this mean for advertisers? No one has yet determined the optimal strategy for dealing with the lack of attribution for zero-click content but practitioners, for years, including ourselves, have always encouraged our clients to focus on what money is coming and what money is going out. For instance, we use MER, marketing efficiency ratio to determine the overall gross revenue and how that compares to overall advertising spend. But, with the lack of attribution for zero-click content, it is more important than ever to be present in the niche communities that your customers interact with and talk about your type of product or service. This could be forum sites like reddit, podcasts and influencer/creator audiences so that you are continuing to build brand visibility and meet your audiences where they are.
3. Artificial Intelligence Boom
Two main areas of conversation came out of the topic on everyone’s mind, AI. The first was the concern of AI replacing humans in marketing and advertising. The belief is that AI will not replace humans, but humans using AI will prevail. Teams with critical thinkers and great strategic minds who are learning how to use AI for better productivity and automation will be eons ahead of those who aren’t. The increase in productivity with regard to content creation, in all forms, from video ad creation to SEO is profound. AI works when it is informed on the highest level and can sky rocket team productivity and efficiency, redefining how marketing and advertising team roles and work product. Overall, an important distinction to note is that AI, in any industry, including advertising, is a tool and not a replacement for human expertise. And while AI can help automate certain tasks and increase productivity, it cannot replace the creativity, critical thinking, and strategic insights that humans bring to the table. AI is a tool that can enhance human capabilities, but it is not a substitute for them.
The second area of conversation focused on the use and impact of AI in advertising platform algorithms and ads management. As a digital ads agency, we are, in fact, starting to see AI optimize campaigns pretty well in both Google and Meta. New campaign types like Performance Max and Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns provide little control over audience targeting and are reliant on the algorithms to deliver and optimize ads to drive advertiser objectives. So it become our job to further inform the algorithms with quality audiences, creative and report on performance and insights to further educate our clients.
As AI becomes more prevalent in ad tech and walled garden platforms like Meta, Google, and TikTok, brands must adopt more strategic advertising approaches beyond channel metrics for validation.
4. Metaverse and NFTs Are Not Dead, Surprising Data
While consumer adoption still seems to be the biggest hurdle for the metaverse and web3.0, the facts don’t lie on the path forward. With the metaverse economy having the potential to grow to $5 trillion by 2030 (currently $120 million). Genz’ers are all in and I can’t imagine how Alpha generation will adopt it even further:
- 65% of Genz’ers saying they’ve developed new relationships in digital immersive relationships,
- 52% of GenZ say they feel more like themselves in games,
- 56% say their avatar is them and
- 40% say that virtual possessions are just as important as real ones.
5. Omni-channel Approach Helps Brand Keep Up With Evolving Consumer Behavior
Longer sales cycles are happening and consumer behaviors are changing. One study by copyposse shows that 53% of customers bought after 60 days of interacting with an average of 34 touchpoints. And marketers using 3+ channels saw a 247% increase in purchaser growth (e.g. Instagram, SMS, email). So how do today’s marketers and advertisers adapt to stand out, engage authentically, and build lasting relationships with customers? In Meta’s annual creative forecast report, Meta Foresight, 5 Behaviors have emerged that advertisers can leverage to build connections from touchpoint 1:
- Empower the crowd – involves pushing beyond the basic 2-way communication to get input and participation from your customers on what they want to hear or care most about. This works best when there is a topic that your brand is curious about knowing more and then using your audience as the experts. It creates greater connections and build involvement.
- Elevate unheard stories – use your owned and managed online presence to bring visibility to unheard stories that align with your brand. For instance, Aguila Cerveza brought focus to the women’s Colombian soccer team by live streaming games on their channels.
- Shop the moment – take advantage of trends, culture, movement or entertainment moments such as a live stream runway talent show for your luxury womens apparel brand or a shoppable dance challenge.
- Solve it IRL – create utility for audiences
- Unlock the you-verse – this behavior leverages the power of immersive experience using VR and AR
These behaviors demonstrate that it is even more important to understand your customer’s motivations and barriers to buying. This includes an understanding of your customers real life pain points, what brings them joy, how and where they are being influence socially and culturally.
If you have any questions on the above, feel free to comment below or reach out to us.