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What agencies need to know about navigating a digital future now

Growth in these challenging times isn’t easy to come by, and more so in an agency landscape that’s fast-changing and rife with competition in digital marketing from consulting and tech-services firms, on top of their usual agency peers.

On the other hand, the shift to digital also presents opportunity. For agencies, more and more revenue is coming from digital . Magna Global’s latest Advertising Revenue Forecast echoes this sentiment, predicting that by 2020, half of the world’s ad sales will be digital.

In the world of marketing, agencies need to realise that the only constant appears to be change, at least for the foreseeable future. ‘Live’ is the pace of advertising in the future. Agencies must be ready to respond in real-time to support brands with maximum engagement. Here are what they need to know to be able to effectively navigate a digital future.

1. Video at the core
To start off, video will form the cornerstone of not just the big-money blockbuster campaigns, but everyday campaigns of the future. Agencies who have the agility and nimbleness to create live, effective and engaging video content fast, as well as in multiple formats (from GIFs to Vines) to accommodate the numerous channels available, will have an advantage. A BrightRoll agency survey highlighted that 72 per cent of ad agencies regarded online video advertising to be as effective, if not more effective, than television. Agencies should consider building up in-house production and hiring the right talent, as more so than ever, agencies are expected to respond in real-time to support brands for maximum engagement.

2. Evolve TV strategy
That said, it is important to remember that TV is still a highly effective medium in emerging markets like Indonesia and the Philippines, though increasingly complemented by the mobile internet. Euromonitor noted that both television and internet advertising is projected to account for almost 60 percent of total global advertising revenue in 2016, with the former dominating in developing countries and boosted by events such as the recent Olympic Games in Brazil. The social conversation around #Rio2016 Games is evident of this as fans around the world turned to Twitter to cheer for thrilling victories and share in the live experience. Over 187 Million Tweets were sent about the Games and in total, this led to 75 billion impressions (views on and off Twitter) of Tweets about the Rio 2016 Olympic Games .

Given that the percentage of the population using the internet in 2016 was forecast to reach 41 per cent by end 2016, it makes sense for agencies to maximise results by leveraging on social media as part of a two-pronged approach, turning social TV viewers into brand advocates that drive results.

3. Messaging impacts viewability, shareability
Where advertising is concerned, agencies should also be considering alternative strategies in the face of increasing consumer adoption of ad-blockers. Instead of in-your-face advertising tactics, agencies can consider going with subtle messaging and creative content that highlights brand values instead. Quality advertising woven into engaging stories that connect emotionally with your target audience are fundamentally shareable by nature. Unruly ranks the most viral ad posts every year, and found that the most-shared ads in 2015 were the ones that made us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Twitter users often start conversations by showing their friends what they find on Twitter. According to Galaxy Research, 65 per cent of Australian Twitter users have shown their friends something from Twitter in the past week. While 85 per cent of Indian Twitter users have done the same. Before sharing can take place however, agencies need to ensure that videos are easily discovered. For example, 41 per cent of users believe that Twitter is a great place to discover videos .

4. Reaching Audience
Agencies know that it’s critical that brand advertising and messaging reaches the right audience, but methods may differ. Keyword targeting, interest targeting and audience mapping, are some ways that agencies should consider to ensure that the audience profiles targeted are as accurate as possible.

In addition, agencies need to keep in mind that despite the proliferation of digital today, every generation has varying degrees of digital exposure, which should be taken into consideration for enhancing the customer experience, as well as for creating integrated campaigns. For example, campaigns that are skewed towards the youth would have largely different targeting parameters as compared to campaigns for the silver generation.

5. Planning for the Moment
Brands plan for milestone moments like product launches, but individuals post about personal moments everyday. From their morning commute, what they’re reading, to what happened on the latest episode of Asia’s Next Top Model. In these moments, the brand’s audience are tuned-in and engaged as a collective, making them extremely powerful as a mechanism to deliver the most relevant messages to a receptive audience. Agencies that adopt an always-on approach and are able to participate in the individual moments meaningfully can capture a 3x greater share of voice versus brands that only focus on major calendar events .

6. Measuring impact
At the end of the day, the award-winning campaigns are the ones that have delivered impact. The question is how do you measure ROI beyond increasing the number of followers and impressions gained by a brand’s social media account? How can agencies ensure effective ROI from surfacing the right content and brand messaging to the right set of eyeballs at the right time and place? Social data analytics may have the answer to this.

To start, agencies can look into campaign conversation volume across platforms, not just the number of posts from the brand, but the engagement from consumers that could lead to conversion. For video campaigns, for example, agencies can look to viewability standards. Twitter for example, enforces 100 per cent viewability for their promoted video product .

7. Keep the learning spirit
At the end of the day, agencies should never be complacent; the digital landscape is a fickle one, and what works today might not deliver the results needed next week. Agencies need to be continuously learning, and to stay on the bleeding edge, to be able to effectively advise your clients on whether the latest and greatest is merely a fad, or something that’s here to stay. One way for agencies to do so can be through platforms such as Twitter Flight School, which can serve as a go-to resource for agencies to stay on top of the latest innovations in digital marketing.

Simon Brockman

Simon Brockman is Head Of Agency Development, APAC & MENA, at Twitter. In his current role, Simon oversees Twitter relationships with major agencies and non-agencies marketers to develop high-impact marketing campaigns for their clients at a strategic level. Prior to joining Twitter, Simon served as the Regional Business Director in APAC for media agency, PHD Singapore, where he was responsible for transitioning and up-scaling the strategic capabilities of the Google team. Simultaneously, he led the new business opportunities for Singapore and Regional hub for the company. Before that, Simon spent close to a decade with integrated communications agency, OMD United Kingdom and OMD Australia, working with clients such as Visa, Hasbro and Reckitt Benckiser. He also played a part in developing a communications planning team for Telstra and strategically focused on training and improving their skills. Simon is based in Singapore, married and owns two cats. He is actively involved in the SPCA and a supporter of the Pink Dot movement.
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