Amid mounting concerns surrounding brand safety, transparency in advertising, and the responsible use of consumer data, marketers are rethinking the field’s larger strategic framework. Nine in ten CMOs at large US brands overhauled their digital strategy in 2017, according to a Teads survey. Amid this strategic pivot, Facebook and Google have been at the forefront of the debate over how to effectively combat ad fraud, protect the brand safety, promote transparency, and ensure the appropriate use of user data.
Among the most encouraging outcomes of this discussion have been improved ad solutions designed to optimize campaign effectiveness and equip brands with the tools needed to acquire and retain quality customers.
Evaluating Campaign Effectiveness
Since taking the helm at the world’s fastest growing performance marketing company in 2014, I’ve witnessed a sea change in how the industry evaluates campaign effectiveness. Today, an effective campaign is not one that reaches an extremely high volume of users, out of which only a small subset will actually convert. Instead, an effective campaign targets high-quality users who are genuinely interested in your business – high-intent users who are ready to perform meaningful actions.
For advertisers to mount successful campaigns, they need the ability to accurately identify their audiences; present targeted audiences with the right messages, be it content or creative; and lead them to the ideal proposition. Publishers, meanwhile, must deliver engaging content, thus attracting real user traffic at high-volume and in a scalable manner.
That’s the fundamental reality driving the strategic changes being implemented in marketing departments worldwide. Google’s universal app campaigns (UAC) is an instructive case study.
Metrics Drive Targetting
In touting UAC’s value proposition, Google has some impressive metrics at its disposal. UAC has driven 140 percent more conversions per dollar than Google’s standard app campaigns, and the company reported in August that it had delivered app developers more than 6 billion installs, compared to 2 billion in 2016. Google’s algorithms are able to distinguish high-quality users from others, enabling brands to optimize ad placements and reach users with the strongest conversion potential. UAC’s brand safety filters – not yet labeled, mature audience, tragedy and conflict, and sensitive social issues – bring an added layer of brand safety.
Meanwhile, amid the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations, Facebook has moved to take full responsibility for its users’ privacy, with executives displaying a deep understanding of the potency of data and external technology. Moving forward, Facebook should remain committed to its promises to secure the privacy of its users’ data. Such a promise lies at the heart of Facebook’s existence – which is precisely why we are likely to see the implementation of robust and meaningful safeguards.
All stakeholders – marketers included – have a vested interest in the restoration of user trust. As an executive with a fifteen-year track record in the marketing industry, I firmly believe that user value should be the North Star of the advertising ecosystem. Millions of redundant eyeballs on content won’t deliver businesses the quality leads and converts they seek. That outmoded approach spawned significant shortcomings in brand safety, culminating in the great strategic pivot of 2017. Facebook and Google’s recent moves, then, will go a long way toward reorienting the ad industry and better serving businesses’ bottom lines – putting the behemoths on a path to regaining the industry’s trust.