The Contrarian

Entropia highlights the 7 original sins of digital marketing

In a world where information-exchange has undergone evolution on the digital front, fundamentals of media, communication and marketing has also undergone a massive change. Brands today are expanding their digital budgets and investments on new emerging technology.

But, while the field of digital reaches maturity, a dark undercurrent continues. Over the past few months, there have been a slew of issues surrounding viewability and transparency from the post trusted of industry players.

To address this, Entropia, in its new white paper on digital hygiene called ?7 original sins of digital marketing?, discusses key issues that digital marketers must take note of to stay ahead in the new era.

Prashant Kumar, senior partner, Entropia said,?Digital media is already the largest in several markets around the world, and it?s scary to realize that many of the most basic issues continue to be debated. This white paper is an initiative to try lay down a baseline, which the ecosystem can reference, and build upon.?

Viewability : It is non-negotiable

Views matter, and if the attribution model, a set of rules, is data-driven and robust, marketers should be able to see the contribution of such views on the final sale. In simpler terms, viewability means passing IAB/ MRC standards, as well as being seen by real people, not bots, and not be seen next to clearly undesirable content, said the study.

The criticality of this issue is underlined by studies such as that by IAS (Integral Ad Sciences), which says that over 13% of all views, are bots, and of the rest, about half may not be viewable in the wider sense of the word.

Moreover, the other aspect of 100% viewability is the cost itself. Logically, there are high chances that the cheapest inventory in the market is undefined inventory. The shortest way to make high margins, is buying such inventory.

However, the moment you switch on the viewability filter, your cost rises. If you are using third party audit players, it will cost extra, and on paper can be a decent fraction.

Reach: Optimising it matters

Reach is one of the most important factor that marketers need to consider. According to Nielsen DAR, which uses Facebook base to calculate reach among different target audience, the average times people end up seeing an ad, if no reach consideration is used, is 15 times.

In most cases, if reach is not controlled the cost optimisation finds the same cheap-to-reach guys, and keeps hitting them with the ad again and again.

Common ad serving techniques may identify unique persons but not your brand?s unique target audience.

In such cases, while the cost per view may be low, cost per unique person reached would be extremely high. Again, there are costs involved in paying Nielsen or Comscore to control for this measure, however, saving on this cost, again creates an illusion of reach, but lowers impact dramatically, walking the brand into a tunnel of it own.

This combined with heavy-duty retargeting, can walk the brand into a bubble that can have serious consequences in the due run.

Data: Having a data wall is critical

In a marketplace where inventory is almost infinite and demand relatively limited, data is the new premium and information asymmetry is the biggest trading advantage. Therefore, having some ownership or exclusive access to the data that you have or generate in course of your marketing campaigns can be crucial.

Clearly, where such firewall doesn?t exist, the same data pool is used to target your ads, as well as your competitor ads, and hence the price may go up, as well as competitive advantage may be lost.

Neutrality: To be fair

It is important to realise that if the primary role of agencies is to make the complex information simple for clients, then there is a natural conflict of interest if agencies have a vested interest in a certain inventory pool. At the same time, it is difficult to fault media owners here beyond a point, as it is their job to sell their unsold wares, by aggressively engaging and eloquently pursuing their potential buyers, at the highest price possible.

If you own something, you are owned by it. Data is not automatically equal to accountability, complex is not always sophisticated, and technology is not always equal to transparency

Overall, it is important that clients incentivise and recognise agencies for the role; they are supposed to play, as well as understand the difference in roles between the media owners and agencies.

It is also important that client leaders team up with agency leaders to together engage media owners on how to, for instance, arrive at common standards and simplicity, so everyone can focus on building brand value.

Real time transparency: This is the basic

One of the great advantages of automated trading and distribution of messages in the digital world is being instant. Campaigns can be adaptive in terms of targeting, allocations and messaging.

This advantage, however, is clearly lost, if clients do not have access to their digital campaign performance in real time ? as they happen ? to a level of granularity that they have the patience for. It also is a lost opportunity for giving clients a clear and transparent picture of what they are getting for their money is worth.

Creativity: To scale it in digital is truly possible

While the classifieds industry is still arguably is the largest casualty, naturally creativity in digital, when spoken at scale, has its pedigree in classified ads. The power of insights and creativity again needs to become centerstage.

However, for some strange reason, certain quarters of the industry believe that digital creatives should be cheap. Now, there is no doubt that digital banners can be cheap for sure ? and the entire classifieds industry has mastered that art (with due respect, since that?s a huge business in itself), but digital ?creatives? that can touch, engage, excite and entice people, is a whole different ballgame, and needs reasonable levels of investment into creative resources.

Right platforms: Distribution matters

An important challenge of strategy in the digital age, is defining the roles of different digital platforms in the consumer journey, and hence using the right kind of content form as well as messaging for different platforms. To have a one size fit all approach negates the many possibilities that digital age has brought to marketing.

Robust attribution models that are algorithmic, can provide some validation and feedback into the effectiveness of these platforms in their due roles. Unfortunately, a vast majority of attribution models being used today are highly misleading (such as last click, U-shaped etc.).

It can be argued that a conceptual but neutral model in such cases could be more correct than an approach that?s too simplistic and favors specific platforms consistently, especially where the value-add is mostly ushering in people already walking into the store.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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