ISSUE 28 FEB 2018
| NEWS | VIEWS | ANALYSIS
BEYOND BOOKINGS How Hostelworld expanded the remit of its app
SOCIALLY AWKWARD Social mediaâ€™s growing pains
OPEN FOR BUSINESS? Searching for transparency in digital advertising
YouAppi CEO Moshe Vaknin on using AI to attract loyal app users
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BRAND STRATEGY Hostelworld’s Breffni Horgan on how the company has made its app more than just a booking platform
ADS.TXT EXPLAINED Tyrone Stewart reveals all about the IAB project to combat ad fraud
Hello and welcome to the latest print edition of Mobile Marketing. Like the rest of the global mobile marketing industry, we’ll be out in force at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month; we can’t wait to see what surprises the show has in store. But while the future of mobile is always fascinating, the here and now is just as interesting, and in this issue, we pick up on some of the most pressing topics. In our Brand Strategy piece on p5, Hostelworld’s Breffni Horgan explains the efforts the company has made to make its app so much more than just a booking platform. Apps also feature in our cover interview (p16), in which YouAppi CEO and founder Moshe Vaknin looks at the art of app user acquisition and retention. On p6, Tyrone Stewart looks at the ads.txt initiative designed to combat ad fraud, while on p20, Tim Maytom looks at another hot advertising topic – transparency. Then, on p10, we look at the issues the social giants have faced over the past 12 months. Enjoy the issue, and if you’re in Barcelona for MWC, enjoy the show! David Murphy, Editorial Director
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MACHINE LEARNING 101
THE NEW OTT ECOSYSTEM
Code Computerlove’s Matt Lacey on how to automate the art of personalisation
SpotX’s Leon Siotis on the rise and rise of OTT video services
THE YEAR OF THE TELCO
Weve’s Martin Weller explains why telcos are in a great position to engage with consumers in a meaningful way
Sizmek’s Andrew Morsey on advertising in the age of AI
LET’S GET PERSONAL
Tealium’s David Morris on the need for more personalisation in advertising and marketing
The challenges facing social networks today
SAP Digital Interconnect’s Rohit Tripathi on the art of multichannel messaging in an always-on world
Moshe Vaknin explains YouAppi’s approach to app user acquisition and retention
Digital Element’s Andy Ashley on the benefits of IP geolocation
FINDING LOYAL APP USERS AT SCALE
SCALING UP ACROSS SCREENS
SIMPLIFYING GLOBAL IOT CONNECTIVITY SAP Digital Interconnect’s Russ Green on the complexity of the IoT connectivity space
DATA – THE NEW OIL Research Now SSI’s Liam Corcoran on the value of data
50 THE TRANSPARENCY PARADOX
Tim Maytom looks at the move towards greater transparency in digital advertising
BEATING THE APPOCALYPSE TUNE’s Chris O’Shea on the art of engaging with customers post-app install
Editorial director: David Murphy – firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7976 927062 Managing director: John Owen – email@example.com +44 (0)7769 674824 Commercial director: James McGowan – firstname.lastname@example.org News and social editor: Tim Maytom – email@example.com Reporter: Tyrone Stewart – firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing Executive: Trish Pencarska – email@example.com Design: Konstruct Studios Ltd – firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Breffni Horgan, Chris O’Shea Print: Henry Stone Printers – email@example.com Mobile Marketing is published by Dot Media Ltd., 57–61 Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6HA www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com
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27 cities. 150 events. 6000 brand marketers. Countless connections. In 2018, join brands and marketing professionals around the world at the most talked-about events in the digital industry.
By Breffni Horgan, director of product at Hostelworld Group.
s the world’s leading hostel booking platform, and with a core audience between the ages of 18 and 35, staying ahead of technological innovation has always been part of our DNA. We launched the first Hostelworld iPhone app eight years ago, in January 2010, back when few were considering developing apps for travel, and we haven’t looked back since.
From a mobile perspective, 2013 was a pivotal year for us. While we had invested in mobile products previously, we hadn’t gone for best-of-breed, instead opting for solutions that would help us build a single product to support both Android and iOS. But we came to a point that year where the cracks were starting to show, and it became harder to build products that performed and felt like a native experience. And as newer devices and larger screens became the norm, our mobile website couldn’t keep up.
DIGITAL NATIVES I’ve been lucky to have worked with inspirational and supportive leaders at Hostelworld. They could see that falling behind the curve from a mobile perspective would be detrimental to the future of our business. Our customers are digital natives; they’ve grown up with access to mobile devices, and offering a best-in-class experience was mandatory for them. So, we hired a fully native iOS team and a native Android team, and began rebuilding the Hostelworld apps from the ground up. At the same time, we resourced our web development team to focus on rebuilding Hostelworld.com to be responsive. Our initial app products were developed with a seamless booking flow in mind, and we now had access to wonderful native capability; from using the camera to scan a customer’s credit card for faster checkout to authenticating their Hostelworld account using their fingerprint. The next step for us was to turn our attention to engagement and retention. We needed to ensure that if our customers gave us precious screen real estate on their phones, we would be deserving of it. To start the process, we thought about the in-trip experience in more detail and felt perfectly positioned to help enhance the customer’s travel experience. We knew where they were going, lots about the hostel they were staying at, and what a hosteller would seek out in terms of authentic experiences. To ensure we were building something people would use, we held many customer interviews. Here’s what we launched:
MyTrips was created to give customers another reason to use to the app before, during and after their trip by showing the local weather and providing them with a recommended list of the best places to see and eat based on travellers just like them. It was the first move to give our customers a reason to use the app for more than just booking a room.
Hostel Noticeboard enables our hostels to promote local events and activities taking place on a virtual noticeboard. Hostels are unique, authentic places to stay, so what better way to #MeetTheWorld than by attending events run by the hostel itself? On the Hostel Noticeboard you can find a wide variety of events – from pizza-making classes to pillow fight competitions. Customers receive time-based push notifications of the events relevant to where and when they are staying.
Hostel Chat Tapping into the insight that people often stay in hostels to meet other people, and with over 60 per cent of our audience travelling solo, we knew there was an opportunity for the app to truly bring people together. Hostel Chat enables travellers who are staying in the same hostel to connect with each other through the app, chat in real time and make plans.
Speak The World Hostel travellers are an open-minded, spontaneous and energetic bunch who want to immerse themselves in unknown cultures, not just observe them. So we launched Speak The World, an in-app, real-time translation feature that translates up to 43 different languages, enabling travellers to speak to someone they perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have. Speak The World has proved to be incredibly popular. In the first two weeks following launch, it sparked over 2m conversations! As a result of our focus and investment, our mobile business has gone from strength to strength, with over 50 per cent of transactions coming from a mobile device in H1 2017. The year ahead will see us continue to innovate and differentiate our products, both mobile and beyond. New and emerging technology brings with it endless opportunity, and we are well positioned to use it to build compelling products for our customers and deliver mobile moments that matter.
ADS.TXT EXPLAINED The ads.txt initiative is designed to increase transparency and reduce ad fraud. Tyrone Stewart explains all.
ransparency, ad fraud and brand safety have become key issues in the digital ad industry – wherever your interests lie in the supply chain.
“The digital advertising market is vast, fragmented, opaque, and lacks clear standards of conduct and effectiveness,” says Danny Spears, programmatic director at Guardian News & Media. “The supply chain is often complicated and unclear – meaning that proper analysis on return on investment and the funding of a healthy digital ecosystem is obscured. This is damaging for advertisers, content creators, users/customers and ultimately the internet as a whole, as money is diverted away from those who make the content and advertisers lose faith in digital advertising.” To help resolve these issues, last May the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) launched an initiative called ads.txt, designed to clean up the programmatic advertising supply chain. But what exactly is ads.txt?
The standard is a text file, approved by the IAB, which helps publishers prevent unauthorised sales of their inventory by listing all the companies that they do allow to sell it. “You could think of the online advertising ecosystem in the same way as any other supply chain. You want to have transparency, so you don’t have a ‘horse meat scandal’ – you don’t want to find out that what was in your dinner wasn’t actually beef like you thought,” says Dee Frew, ad tech manager at IAB UK. “A degree of transparency actually helps everybody in that supply chain feel a bit more confident about the fact that what the seller is claiming they’re selling is actually what the buyer thinks they’re buying, and that no one in the large chain of intermediaries has tampered with it. “Ads.txt is a nice additional hygiene factor that publishers can implement. It’s a way of verifying that the people that claim they have
the right to sell your inventory actually do have those rights. The publisher can state upfront, ‘These are my trusted partners.’ There’s no obligation to use ads.txt; it just makes life a little bit easier for everybody if they can.”
NICK JOHNSON TURNER BROADCASTING SYSTEM
WITH DIGITAL ADVERTISING TODAY FRAUGHT WITH BRAND SAFETY ISSUES, EFFORTS LIKE ADS.TXT ARE VITAL STEPS TO BOLSTERING THE TRUST AD BUYERS HAVE OF THE MARKETPLACE.
Since its introduction, ads.txt has – slowly but surely – reached widespread implementation. According to a recent report from Pixalate, a global intelligence platform and fraud protection provider, adoption of ads.txt increased 1,924 per cent between September and December 2017. The number of unique sites found to be implementing the standard back in September was as low as 3,523 – despite being launched five months prior. As of December 2017, the number of sites implementing an ads.txt file had increased to 71,288. “IAB Tech Lab is thrilled to see implementation of ads.text across over 100,000 domains, and to see other encouraging signs of adoption, including validation and analytics tools,” says Dennis Buchheim, general manager of the IAB Tech Lab. “Uptake has been strongest in the US, but other markets are also adopting ads.txt.” The report also found that, as of December 2017, 55.9 per cent of the top 1,000 sites that support programmatic advertising have introduced ads.txt, while 45.2 per cent of the top 5,000 have implemented the standard. “Ads.txt, and similar initiatives, needs to be truly embraced by the entire industry for it to work,” says Nick Johnson, SVP of digital ad sales strategy at Turner Broadcasting System. “We are only as strong as our weakest link, and it only takes one or two bad apples to expose the overall marketplace. The good news is that many publishers have adopted the standard now. And we’ve heard very positive feedback from our agencies and partners. This is working. It is imperative that the industry continues to stay up to date with ads.txt implementation, as we look to completely stamp out nefarious entities and practices.”
TRUST AND RELATIONSHIPS But why do we need the initiative? “Despite our amazing advancements in data and technology, the ad business is still predicated on trust and relationships,” says Johnson. “With digital advertising today fraught with
brand safety issues, efforts like ads.txt are vital steps to bolstering the trust ad buyers have of the marketplace. “It’s also important for premium publishers, which have been particularly affected by the misrepresentation (or ‘spoofing’) of inventory, to be able to realise the full value of their content.” The purpose of the initiative, in its most basic terms, is to ensure a more transparent digital advertising industry and in turn reduce ad fraud. The standard helps to identify fraudsters within the programmatic ecosystem and even goes a way to exposing those larger entities that provide advertisers with low-quality sites and falsified traffic. “Consider buying a fancy watch from an authorised reseller versus a guy on a street corner,” says John Clyman, VP of engineering for marketplace quality and security at Rubicon Project. “Knowing that you’re buying from an authorised reseller gives you confidence that you’re getting what you’ve paid for, not a cheap imitation. Ads.txt declarations make clear to the world who is authorised to sell the inventory on a given website. “One of the key benefits of ads.txt is that it puts the power back in the hands of the seller. “For publishers, it offers an easy way to broadcast information so that exchanges and buyers can weed out the counterfeits. For exchanges, it helps keep bad actors out of the marketplace so that buyers and sellers can transact with confidence.”
SIMPLE TO IMPLEMENT The ads.txt initiative is actually rather simple to implement and understand, even for those not directly involved in the process. It involves publishers creating a text file that lists all the companies that they allow to sell their inventory. This file is then placed on the publishers’ web servers. Additionally, programmatic advertising exchanges also create a list to confirm which publishers’ inventory they are authorised to sell. “We like ads.txt because it puts publishers in the driver’s seat and lets them tell all buyers where they can safely find their inventory without the aid of a third party,” says Katie Buzby, senior manager of product line management at AppNexus.
“While most transactions are safe, having a single, industry-wide source of truth makes it a lot harder for bad actors to fool advertisers with fake impressions and cheat publishers out of money that should be theirs. “Ads.txt is a file that the publisher places transparently on its domain. Within the file, each approved partner is listed with its tech platform (AppNexus, Google, Rubicon, etc.), account detail and the relationship. DSPs and SSPs will regularly crawl these files to discover the approved inventory sources.” With both publishers and programmatic platforms placing lists on their servers, buyers are able to compare the two lists and confirm the validity of any inventory they purchase. “Transparency allows all parties to understand what’s happening in the supply chain, and gives buyers and sellers better visibility to manage programmatic activity more effectively,” says Jess Barrett, global head of programmatic at the Financial Times (FT). “The widespread implementation of ads.txt should help eliminate unauthorised resellers and fake websites posing as legitimate publishers. As a result, buyers will spend more on working media and sellers will get the revenue that is rightfully theirs.”
NEW SCAMS Despite many within the industry both implementing and singing the praises of ads.txt, it still isn’t a complete solution to the issues the industry faces with transparency and ad fraud. “Ironically, ads.txt has launched new fraud/ scams, whereby unauthorised third-party sellers attempt to get added to publishers’ ads.txt files,” says the FT’s Barrett. “This is a good opportunity for publishers to re-evaluate the partners they work with. The success of ads.txt will depend on whether or not the majority of the industry adopts it.” Guardian News & Media’s Spears points out that fraudsters will still find a way to cheat the system. “We should recognise that ads. txt is an intelligent technical answer for fraud in its current form, but also that those intent on gaming the system for their own benefit will continue to create ways to do so,” he says. “This solution doesn’t address issues such as whether there are better regulation
and transparency measures that could have positive implications for the digital ad market as a whole.” To help address the issues that ads.txt does not take care of, the IAB Tech Lab recommends looking towards also implementing upcoming technology such as OpenRTB 3.0 and ads.cert. “The industry should be aware that there is no silver bullet with which to solve fraud,” says the IAB Tech Lab’s Buchheim. “In addition to implementing ads.txt, companies should be looking at upcoming technology such as OpenRTB 3.0 and ads.cert to sign bid requests and provide authentication in the supply chain. The Trustworthy Accountability Group’s anti-fraud certification and use of anti-fraud vendors may also be part of a company’s strategy against fraud, as could other emerging offerings.”
IN-APP AUTHORISATION As Buchheim mentions, ads.txt is not a complete solution to solving ad fraud, and one place the solution has yet to arrive is mobile in-app. This is because it simply isn’t as easy to create a solution for the app ecosystem. “In-app is tricky because of the multiple different SDKs (software development kits) out there,” says IAB UK’s Frew. “It’s not going to be called ads.txt. It’s going to have to be something that is unique and tailored to the app environment, but it will hopefully perform the same function.” However, Gil Klein, managing director at Mobfox, believes an in-app solution is unlikely to be too far away. “While there is no solution like ads.txt for apps just yet, like most new technologies in the ad tech industry, it will eventually transition from web to mobile,” he says.
JESS BARRETT FINANCIAL TIMES
IRONICALLY, ADS.TXT HAS LAUNCHED NEW FRAUD/SCAMS, WHEREBY UNAUTHORISED THIRD-PARTY SELLERS ATTEMPT TO GET ADDED TO PUBLISHERS’ ADS.TXT FILES.
“The way I expect ads.txt will be implemented in-app is for app developers to place the ads.txt file inside the app store (whether iOS or Android) in a dedicated section. This will help clean up the ecosystem, allowing demand partners to scan the app store for the ads.txt file to ensure buyers are truly receiving what they’ve purchased.” Which, at the end of the day, is what ads.txt is all about.
SOCIAL ANXIETY The last 12 months or so have been interesting for the biggest social platforms, with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all facing a variety of challenges and controversies relating to everything from Russia to mental health, from advertising to fake news. Tyrone Stewart reports
he big social media platforms will all be hoping for a far more positive year in 2018, following what can only be described as a nightmare within the world of internet socialising. Russia had Facebook and Twitter on the ropes, and even managed to drag Google into the mix, by taking advantage of the platforms to influence both the US presidential election and the Brexit vote in the UK. Meanwhile, Snapchat failed to really get off the ground financially following its initial public offering (IPO) and saw its stock slump.
FROM RUSSIA WITH BOTS The biggest controversy of the year within the social spectrum – and one that continues to rage on – is the way in which Russia managed to use Facebook, Twitter and Google to influence both the US presidential election and the UK’s Brexit referendum, despite all three companies insisting that their platforms had not been exploited. The three tech giants quickly changed their tunes, however, when Facebook revealed in September 2017 that it had identified 470 phony accounts and pages that had run political ads between June 2015 and May 2017. These ads were found to have reached approximately 126m Americans, despite Facebook initially stating they had only reached around 10m. Interestingly, none of the ads directly referenced the presidential election, instead addressing divisive topics such as race, LGBTQ issues, immigration and gun rights. The discovery of the ads prompted Google and Twitter to launch investigations into their own platforms. These revealed that Facebook wasn’t alone in being used by Russia – well, mainly Russia’s propaganda machine, the Internet Research Agency, anyway – in attempting to sway voters on major political decisions in other countries. These findings led to the three tech companies being forced to answer questions from US lawmakers in congressional hearings. The trio were asked why it took them so long to discover that Russia had been using their platforms to influence the presidential election. The three admitted their mistakes, and promised they were doing everything in their power to fix them. The hearings also saw the House Intelligence Committee release a whole load of Facebook and Instagram ads, and Twitter handles, linked to Russia-registered accounts. These accounts
were found to be impersonating news organisations, political parties, and groups focused on social and political issues. Meanwhile, the ads and posts from these accounts targeted anybody and everybody – including those on the far left and far right, Christians, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, Black Lives Matter activists, gun owners, people with differing views on immigration, and more. “Russia exploited real vulnerabilities that exist across online platforms, and we must identify, expose and defend ourselves against similar covert influence operations in the future,” said Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intel Committee, during the hearing. “The companies here today must play a central role as we seek to better protect legitimate political expression, while preventing cyberspace from being misused by our adversaries.” The internet giants have since had similar runins with the UK government over the revelation that Russia also exploited their platforms in order to influence the Brexit vote – although Twitter has claimed that only 1 per cent of the fake accounts surrounding the EU referendum originated in Russia. In the midst of all this disapproval from the US and UK governments, both Twitter and Facebook have made changes to the way
political ads are managed, and have promised to be more transparent. Among the changes made by Twitter was the introduction of a transparency centre where everyone is able to see who is advertising on the microblogging platform. Here, Twitter users can see all the ads currently running on the platform, how long each of the ads has been running, any creative associated with the ads and which ads are targeted at a specific kind of user. In addition, it enables users to report inappropriate ads and give negative feedback.
FACE OFF Russia hasn’t been the only problem facing Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform in the past year. Facebook has also been heavily criticised for its failures in stopping the spread of fake news – which does have some overlap with the Russian fake accounts and bots – as well as its failures in protecting its users from abuse and hate speech. The issues surrounding Russia, fake news and abuse led to Zuckerberg setting himself the ‘personal challenge’ of this year addressing these failings and fixing the monster he has created.
To take it a step further, Twitter now requires all political ads to be identified as such and has also put stricter rules in place for who can serve these ads. These political ads have their own special section within the transparency centre.
The Facebook founder has a tough task ahead of him, though he and his platform have already started addressing the rise of fake news with the overhaul of the social network’s core feature: the news feed.
Facebook followed suit with the announcement that it would introduce a ‘View Ads’ button on pages this year, ahead of the US mid-term elections in November. This button will show the active ads each page has running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Under the changes, Facebook has begun prioritising content from family members and friends over that of brands and publishers. On top of that, the internet behemoth has been asking users to let it know which news outlets they deem to be ‘trustworthy’, and has decided to push more local stories to users.
The social network has also, like Twitter, put more controls in place for who can run political ads – now requiring advertisers to go through a verification process.
This update, as you might expect, hasn’t gone down particularly well with publishers, with Rupert Murdoch among those speaking out
FEBRUARY 2018 YUVAL BEN-ITZHAK SOCIALBAKERS
TWITTER HAS BEEN THROUGH THE MILL RECENTLY WHEN IT COMES TO CHANGES TO ITS EXECUTIVE TEAM, HATE SPEECH ON THE PLATFORM AND THE INFLUENCE RUSSIAN BOTS ON THE PLATFORM MAY HAVE HAD ON THE US ELECTION. against the changes. And even those outside of the publishing industry have questioned whether the changes will actually be successful in eradicating fake news and misinformation. “Facebook came up against unprecedented challenges in 2017 with the rise of fake news and Russian ads,” says Theo Watt, senior copywriter at Social Chain. “Despite this, Facebook’s user growth continues to dwarf Twitter and Snapchat, and Mark Zuckerberg will be expecting similar results when crunching Q4 2017’s numbers. You have to ask yourself whether anyone, with the exception of Google, can hurt Facebook in 2018? “The platform’s latest move to relegate publishers in the news feed should come
as no surprise – the news industry needs Facebook more than Facebook needs it, especially when regulating this space is nigh on impossible. Instead, the Silicon Valley behemoth will be putting its efforts into creating a long-form video platform (Watch) to rival YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with several AI home devices to strengthen its value to brands in the brave new world of voice search.” Elsewhere, Facebook has in the past year put in place more moderators to review content, as it tries to tackle the other problems it has, like abuse, hate speech, cyberbullying, revenge porn and extremism. These issues have also seen the social network turn to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect potentially unsavoury content before the need for its users to report it. Examples of the use of AI by Facebook include using the technology to detect when copies of revenge porn have been shared across its platforms, and to detect individuals who are showing patterns of suicidal thoughts. Despite Facebook’s efforts to rid its platforms of cyberbullying and help those facing mental health issues, respective reports from the Royal Society for Public Health and anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label found that Facebook’s image-sharing platform, Instagram, is the social platform that is both the worst for mental health and has the highest incidence of cyberbullying of young people. So, its supposed best efforts don’t seem to be good enough.
BEGINNING TO SNAP
Before jumping back to Twitter – which, outside of Russia’s use of its platform, hasn’t had the worst year ever – it’s only right to take a look back at Snapchat’s last 12 or so months,
which have arguably been the worst of the lot. No Russian involvement here, more a case of Facebook and Instagram copying its features. The first few months of 2017 went pretty well for Snapchat. But ever since March, when it went public, more-or-less everything has been heading on a downwards trajectory. Despite seeing its daily active user numbers soar, the company has struggled to convert these numbers into revenue, running up losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars in each quarter since its IPO, while seeing its stock price tumble. In a bid to try and address these financial woes, Snap has begun rolling out a major overhaul to its app. This change sees a ‘Friends’ page appear to the left of the app’s camera, showing friends’ stories and Bitmojis as well as chats with them. Meanwhile, to the right, there is a redesigned ‘Discover’ section, with stories from publishers, creators and the Snap community. Snap hopes this redesign will enable it to retain its current users and bring in new ones, while also helping to differentiate it from Instagram, making its platform more appealing to advertisers. “Snapchat’s announcement at the end of last year that it has redesigned the app for greater personalisation and relevance was definitely a step in the right direction, if it wants to size up to Instagram,” says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO at Socialbakers. “In order to keep growing its user base, Snapchat needs to make sure it maintains the quality and relevance of its content. When the quality drops, users take their attention elsewhere, and Snapchat has that challenge right now.
“This redesign, if it delivers on its promise to serve quality content in a targeted way, could be just what Snapchat needs to increase eyeball time on the app. It could also be a great opportunity for marketers to reach and engage their audiences with well-targeted promoted content.”
Adding to Snapchat’s woes has been the performance of many of its major features, as leaked data obtained by The Daily Beast recently revealed. The data from April to September 2017 showed that users were as much as 64 per cent more likely to send a Snap directly to a friend than to post to stories, while only 20 per cent of users visited the Discover section daily. Furthermore, the data revealed that just 11 per cent of users accessed the Snap Map feature – which was heavily criticised upon launch earlier in 2017 – each day.
The tough period for Snap was rounded off with the company making a number of layoffs from its content, engineering and partnership divisions in January. “If you talk to anyone in the social media sphere, they’ll either tell you that Snapchat is dead or that Generation Z is its last great hope,” says Social Chain’s Watt. “And while the latter may be true in some instances, it’s still but a speck on the landscape compared to Instagram. Curiosity around Snapchat’s new redesign may drive a few extra users in 2018, but early reviews will worry CEO Evan Spiegel and investors.”
TWIT FOR TAT Twitter’s problems probably haven’t been quite as bad as the other major social platforms but, along with the Russia issues, it has still had plenty of problems with hate speech and abuse.
YouTube might not be considered a social network by any traditional measure, but it has joined Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat in having a tumultuous 2017, and as one of Google’s largest advertising channels, it’s also become a lightning rod for concerns over brand safety, abuse and more, writes Tim Maytom. YouTube began 2017 in a fairly strong position. To most people, the video-sharing platform was synonymous with cute cats, poorly executed pranks and teenage ‘influencers’ talking direct to the camera from their bedrooms. Alongside mobile search, it formed one of Google’s key revenue sources, and as 2017 kicked off, it was focused on broadening its appeal, introducing new features like mobile live-streaming and a lighter version of its app for emerging markets. But this tranquillity was not to last. In early February 2017, The Times published a damning front-page article demonstrating that ads for a number of household brands had appeared next to videos of extremist content. Screencaps showed Mercedes-Benz ads next to videos praising Islamic State, and campaigns for Argos and Sony next to antiSemitic hate speech. The next few weeks were disastrous for YouTube. Brands and ad networks suspended their ad spend, not just across YouTube but across Google’s entire ecosystem, as faith
Over the course of 2017, the microblogging platform introduced tools and made several product changes in an attempt to limit the abuse and hate speech that have long been rife on the platform. These updates included new safety settings, updated policies and the use of more technology to detect potentially inappropriate tweets. “Twitter has been through the mill recently when it comes to changes to its executive team, hate speech on the platform and the influence Russian bots on the platform may have had on the US election,” says Socialbakers’ Ben-Itzhak. “While it has taken some necessary steps to toughen up on hate speech and cyberbullying, it is going to be crucial for Twitter to maintain its authenticity as the platform where everyone has a voice, while also making sure that it is not used as a platform for spreading hatred.”
in programmatic buying sank. While Google claimed that incidents of advertising appearing next to extremist content were rare and isolated, tough questions were raised about how, if at all, the firm could regulate a platform where 400 hours of video were uploaded every minute. By the end of March, the brand safety crisis was estimated to have cost Google over $750m (£525m) in lost revenues, as five of the top 20 US advertisers, representing around 7.5 per cent of total US ad spend, decided to freeze their business with Google. Representatives from the company faced questions from lawmakers in both the US and the UK over how extremist content had been allowed to proliferate on its platform, and why it was allowed to be monetised. In the wake of the crisis, Google has joined other internet firms in establishing firm plans to deal with extremism on its platforms. YouTube has pledged to bring the total number of people reviewing content to 10,000 over the course of this year, with the safety team also helping to train machine learning technology that YouTube already has in place. The aim is to eliminate extreme or abusive content before it is even published, and reports published by the firm suggest that as many as 83 per cent of extremist videos were automatically caught by its machine learning tech before receiving a single human
On a more positive note for Twitter, 2017 saw the introduction of the increased 280-character limit, with the added tweet room making its platform even more appealing to marketers. “Twitter is definitely on the right path to regaining commitment from marketers,” says Ben-Itzhak. “But it needs to continue proving it is still a worthwhile investment by innovating and adding new features such as the interestbased notifications, new topic modules in the Explore tab and the recent 280-character tweet trial. “But why stop at 280? 560 characters would add even more context to Twitter’s algorithms to better understand the audience, improve targeting quality and help marketers personalise their message. Changes like this
flag. Tougher stances are also being taken on videos that don’t infringe YouTube’s policies but do contain “inflammatory religious or supremacist content”. However, the fight back against extremist content was only the start of YouTube’s problems with brand safety. Over the course of 2017, more problems emerged, demonstrating how unwieldy the platform had become for both marketers and Google itself. In October, following a tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, YouTube was criticised when videos peddling debunked conspiracy theories around the event rose to the top of search results, and the firm had to tweak its search engine algorithm in response. In November, several reports revealed the strange and bizarre videos that were being served to children on the YouTube Kids platform, many of which exploited YouTube’s algorithms to generate views. Then, just a few weeks later, another report revealed that YouTube had hosted content designed to appeal to sexual predators, and even served ads next to it. All of these events were followed by the inevitable departure of a number of advertisers, and assurances by Google and YouTube that it was doing everything it could to prevent such content from being posted on the platform. But the truth is that many of these problems emerged from problems inherent to YouTube’s scale and design.
will ultimately reassure marketers that the platform can appeal to their audiences and offer ROI.”
A SOCIAL FUTURE Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we can expect Instagram to become the social location of choice for brands, especially with the introduction of post scheduling, according to Ben-Itzhak. At Facebook, brands and publishers will have to get smarter with the content they are posting, and increase their social ad spend, if they want to guarantee reaching the platform’s audience. Meanwhile, Snapchat will need to make improvements to its viewability metrics and work to create true programmatic access to marketers and advertisers as, according to Ben-Itzhak, “this will be a barrier to their success in 2018”.
Any platform for user-generated content as big as YouTube (or any other social network) is going to have to rely on algorithms to police behaviour, and those algorithms can be fooled, exploited or made to backfire. The flip side of the brand safety concerns can be seen in one of YouTube’s missteps from earlier in 2017. The platform’s ‘Restricted Mode’ is designed to filter out “more mature content” and is designed for institutions like schools that want their students to be able to use YouTube as a resource without being able to access explicit content. However, in mid-March, it emerged that Restricted Mode was also blocking out videos on LGBTQ topics that contained no explicit material, including videos on mental health concerns for LGBTQ youth and even music videos. YouTube claims to have fixed the problem now, but several LGBTQ figures criticised Google for how long it took to remedy the issue, as well as its half-hearted apology for the initial mistake. “Why was this sort of thing not tested?” asked Rose Ellen Dix, an LGBTQ YouTuber, speaking at Advertising Week Europe. “The Restricted Mode has been around for several years, so how did the engineers who built it not realise that it was affecting videos this way? They need to test it more thoroughly before they roll these sorts of changes out. They need to realise that if they’re
making changes to the algorithms that govern these things, and they do make big changes, it has a huge impact on people who are making videos and those that are looking for them.” Whether its being too strict or too permissive, YouTube has struggled for over a year with managing its own operations and balancing its obligations to both users and advertisers. As the servant of two masters, it is increasingly pulled in different directions. When prominent YouTuber Logan Paul attracted criticism for showing a dead body on his channel, YouTube responded by tightening the requirements for monetisation. However, in response, many smaller content producers have begun discussing moving to different platforms where they can be more assured of views and advertising revenues. Even months later, advertisers who were part of the initial brand safety controversy remain dissatisfied, with the Financial Times reporting that several had received refunds of just a “couple of dollars” through an automated system designed to credit the accounts of advertisers who had served campaigns next to users that YouTube later terminated for violating ad policies. YouTube’s approach to brand safety is increasingly resembling a high-wire act, and advertisers are beginning to tire of operating without a safety net.
FINDING LOYAL APP USERS AT SCALE Mobile Marketing discusses the fine art of acquiring and re-engaging loyal mobile app users with Moshe Vaknin, founder and CEO of YouAppi.
ith more than 2.2m apps in the Apple App Store and 2.8m in the Google Play Store as of March 2017 (source: Statista), and estimates suggesting that as many as 3,000 more apps are released every single day, it’s becoming harder than ever for app publishers of all colours – from brands to eCommerce companies to games developers – to get their apps seen and downloaded. For many of these publishers, the first recourse is advertising – and rightly so. The ‘build it and they will come’ mentality is of little help where mobile apps are concerned. To stand out from the sea of other apps competing for users’ attention and home screen space, you have to make some noise. The problem with the reliance on advertising, however, is that many app marketers think that noise is all that matters. If they make more noise than the competition, by spending more money and serving ads more frequently, the downloads will surely follow, or so the theory goes. This idea is in fact perpetuated by the numbers. Often, an advertiser who throws a
lot of money at advertising their mobile app will reap the benefits in terms of healthy app download numbers. But look beyond this snapshot and the cracks begin to appear. Because in truth, the scattergun approach to mobile app marketing merely results in large numbers or irrelevant downloads, where the app may be used once or twice or never again, and the app publisher never sees any revenues as a return on the investment they have made in acquiring that user.
GROWTH MARKETING PLATFORM YouAppi’s approach is different. The company offers a fully managed, 360 growth marketing platform for mobile brands, designed to dramatically increase acquisition and retention of high-value customers. The company is not interested in delivering a download for the sake of a download, but rather, in acquiring loyal users, who are likely to return frequently to the app, and to have a high lifetime value. It delivers on marketers’ distinct KPIs across five pillars, covering the tech (machine learning), the ad format (brand video and rewarded video), and the desired outcome (user acquisition or re-engagement).
into YouAppi’s user-centric approach are Spotify, iHeartRadio, Rovio, SGN, Draft Kings, Etermax, Miniclip, Jump Ramp Games, Huuuge, Glu, Poshmark, StubHub, Realtor. com, HomeAdvisor, Tokopedia, Go-Jek, Lazada and many more global brands. And over the last five years, it has delivered over 300m app installs.
RE-ENGAGEMENT While it seems logical that the YouAppi approach and platform would deliver better results for advertisers, Vaknin is not naive enough to think that once they have downloaded an app, users can be left to their own devices. Even the most loyal customer needs a nudge now and again, so alongside user acquisition, re-engagement is a key part of the YouAppi platform.
“Big advertisers spend a lot of money to acquire new users for their apps, but they need to acquire valuable users, so they use our 360 platform to identify users who match their existing valuable customers and reach out to them,” explains YouAppi co-founder and CEO, Moshe Vaknin. “We partner with big publishers of all types of apps – content, music-sharing, games etc. – and through these partnerships we have built up 2bn user profiles. Then when an advertiser is looking to acquire new users for their app, we can map these profiles and build user categories based on their relationships with different groups. “Over time, we gain a good understanding of which types of user are most likely to respond well to ads for different types of apps, whether it’s shopping, mapping, education or whatever. Then when we advertise these apps to them, we log their responses to increase our understanding of what types of app appeal to them.” Those 2bn user profiles span 4,200 apps and mobile sites in over 200 countries and territories. For each user, the AI and machine learning-driven platform analyses 66 unique
data parameters, including behaviour and interests, demographic information and location. All of which adds up to over 250TB of data analysed every day, in real time, to target the right user with the right app. What this does in practice is to take a large chunk of the guesswork out of mobile app user acquisition. So if a company wants to work with YouAppi to attract new users for its eCommerce fashion app, for example, it can tell the advertiser with a high degree of confidence that it would expect to attract between, say, 50,000 and 100,000 new high-quality consumers per month for that app. “We run the initial campaign for 48 hours and then, as the responses come in, the platform optimises the campaign using AI and machine learning, focusing on the best-performing segments at the expense of the others,” says Vaknin. “Then we can scale that out to find more of these users and lookalike users to maintain the same level of new user acquisition over time.” It’s an approach that has gone well with advertisers. Among the companies buying
“Research shows that 60 per cent of app users stop using an app after they have opened it five times, so a re-engagement strategy and mechanism are vital,” says Vaknin. “Our technology can help clients identify the point where the user stopped engaging with the app and approach them with the right message to bring them back to the same point in the app to use it again. We use a creative optimisation engine to help each client reach each user in the most relevant way, and it works. Overall, 30 per cent of our clients’ users who are targeted through a re-engagement campaign come back to the same point in the app and become revenue-generating customers again. “The KPIs are different for each client. For car makers, for example, they may want to bring users back to the app to sign up for a test drive for a new model at their local dealer. Whatever the KPI, however, the important thing is to target the user with the right message that has the greatest chance of bringing them back to the app.” As we all increasingly look to our mobile phones, and the apps we have on them, to help us manage our lives, the competition for brands to get on users’ devices is only likely to increase. Seen in this light, YouAppi’s approach seems to make sense for everyone in the ecosystem, including the brands that want to get their apps seen and downloaded by the right people, and the users themselves. After all, don’t we all prefer to be targeted with things we have shown an interest in, rather than being bombarded with noisy, irrelevant spam?
With more than 2.2m apps in the Apple App Store and 2.8m in the Google Play Store as of March 2017 (source: Statista), and estimates suggesting as many as 3,000 more apps are released every single day, it’s becoming harder than ever for app publishers of all colours – from brands to eCommerce companies to games developers – to get their apps seen and downloaded.
them,” explains YouAppi Co-founder and CEO, Moshe Vaknin. “We partner with big publishers of all types of apps – content, music-sharing, games etc. – and through these partnerships we have built up 2bn user profiles. Then when an advertiser is looking to acquire new users for their app, we can map these profiles and build user categories based on their relationships with different groups.
For many of these publishers, the first recourse is advertising – and rightly so. The ‘build it and they will come’ mentality is of little help where mobile apps are concerned. To stand out from the sea of other apps competing for users’ attention and homescreen space, you have to make some noise.
“Over time, we gain a good understanding for which types of user are most likely to respond well to ads for different types of apps, whether it’s shopping, mapping, education or whatever. Then User Acquisition Re-Engagement when we advertise these apps to them, we log their responses to increase our understanding of what types of app appeal to them.”
ThoseBrand 2bnVideo user profiles span 4,200 Social apps The problem with the reliance on advertising, and mobile sites in over 200 countries and however, is that many app marketers think that territories. For each user, the AI and machine noise is all that matters. If they make more Rewarded Video learning-driven platform analyses 66 unique noise than the competition, by spending more data parameters, including behaviour and money and serving ads more frequently, the interests, demographic information and downloads will surely follow, is how the theory location. All of which adds up to over 250TB of goes. This idea is perpetuated, in fact, by the data analysed every day, in real-time to target numbers. Often, an advertiser who throws a the right user with the right app. lot of money at advertising their mobile app will reap the benefits in terms of healthy app What this does in practice is to take a large download numbers. But look beyond this chunk of the guesswork out of mobile app snapshot and the cracks begin to appear. user acquisition. So if a company wants to Because in truth, the scattergun User approachAcquisition to work with YouAppi to attract new users for its mobile app marketing merely results in large Drive the highest quality users with our proprietary machine learning and A.I. eCommerce fashion app, for example, it can tell numbers or irrelevant downloads, where the technology, which delivers the right app to the right person at the right time. the advertiser with a high degree of confidence app may be used once or twice or never again, that it would expect to attract between and the app publisher never sees any revenues say, 50,000 and 100,000 new high quality as a return on the investment they have made Re-Engagement consumers per month for that app. in acquiring that user.
Improve retention, lift in-app conversion rates by 2x and see up to a 12x increase with your ROAS with users. GROWTH MARKETING PLATFORM “Weby runre-engaging the initial campaign foryour 48 hours and YouAppi’s approach is different. The company then as the responses come in, the platform offers a fully-managed, 360 growthBrand marketing Video optimises the campaign using AI and machine platform for mobile brands, designed to learning, focusing on the best-performing Produce results for brand dramatically increase acquisition and retention the desired segments at the expense of theadvertising others,” says by leveraging our Vaknin. proprietary with of high-value customers. The company is not “Then weperformance can scale that outdata to find morean extensive amount of user interested in delivering a download profiles for the sakefor mobile of these users and lookalike users to maintain the video. of a download, but rather, in acquiring loyal users, same level of new user acquisition over time.” who are likely to return frequently to the app, and to Rewarded Video have a high lifetime value. It delivers on marketers’ It’s an approach that has gone well with distinct KPIs across five pillars, covering the tech Among companies buyingexchange between users and app Maximize user advertisers. engagement by the providing a value (machine learning); the ad format (brand video and in to YouAppi’s user-centric approach are developers across a variety of app categories including gaming, shopping, travel, rewarded video); and the desired outcome (user Spotify, iHeart Radio, Rovio, SGN, Draft lifestyle and utilities. acquisition or re-engagement). Kings, etermax, Miniclip, JumpRamp, Huuuuge, Glu, Poshmark, StubHub, Realtor. Social “Big advertisers spend a lot of money to com, Home Advisor, Tokopedia, GoJek, acquire new users for their apps, but they need Lazada and many more global brands. And Leverage YouAppi's performance data and skilled team to run all of your growth to acquire valuable users, so they use our 360 over the last five years, it has delivered over marketing campaigns, platform to identify users who match their 300m appincluding installs. media. existing valuable customers and social reach out to
THE TRANSPARENCY PARADOX Transparency is the word on everyoneâ€™s lips, but with so many different agendas operating within the industry, is it possible for everyone to work towards the same target? Tim Maytom reports.
t’s hard to deny that the entire digital advertising industry is currently in a state of flux. After years of successful growth and innovation, powered by unprecedented insight into audiences and pinpoint targeting, the cracks are beginning to show. Some of the largest platforms for advertising are built upon barely regulated user-generated content, leading to huge concerns over brand safety. Fraud continues to be a major issue, with ad tech firms struggling to keep pace with bad actors seeking to exploit the vast advertising infrastructure. Perhaps most crucially, there is growing tension among the various players involved in the programmatic industry, with both brands and publishers worried that they are losing money through an inefficient supply chain that has far too many links. The drive for transparency seems to be the most obvious answer for this – an open, honest chain where
everyone’s contributions are accounted for, and charged at a fair rate. But with seemingly the entire industry calling for transparency, why does it seem so far from realisation? And is everyone driving towards the same goal?
THE TIME FOR ACTION
One only needs to look at the iconic martech Lumascape chart to get some sense of how tangled and labyrinthine the programmatic ecosystem has become. It was only a matter of time before questions about whether everyone was doing their part began to dominate the conversation.
Since the birth of the commercial internet, ad tech providers, ad networks, agencies and other stakeholders have inserted themselves between the publishers hosting content and the brands looking to advertise alongside it. Some of this was simply replicating the structures that have always existed in advertising; in other cases, there were new entities, offering increased efficiency or scale in the untested waters of the internet.
Those rumblings of dissatisfaction came to a head with Marc Pritchard’s speech at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting at the start of 2017. In a moment of frankness rarely seen in the industry, the chief brand officer for the world’s largest advertiser, P&G, said that the firm would no longer “waste time and money on a crappy media supply chain” and announced that “the days of giving digital a pass are over”.
With the rise of programmatic advertising, this supply chain grew even more complex, as data became a new currency, and new levels of scale, targeting and accuracy became possible.
Pritchard announced a series of guidelines and requirements that all of P&G’s advertising vendors would have to comply with, and called on other advertisers to hold their suppliers to
the same standards. In the weeks and months that followed, the transparency debate hit new heights. Representatives from every part of the industry seemed to have an opinion on whether Pritchard’s demands were a series of reasonable expectations in a system plagued with fraud, or a dominant company throwing its weight around to get a better deal. Whatever the answer, one thing was plainly evident: the transparency debate would no longer be denied.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Figures from industry research certainly back up the idea that we are facing some form of sea change when it comes to transparency. TMG’s blockchain-powered agency Truth interviewed 102 senior marketers at well-known brands to take the industry’s temperature in November 2017. It found that lack of consistent measurement and metrics, lack of agency transparency, and lack of visibility on third parties were the top concerns for advertisers. It also reported that 79 per cent strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement “We are concerned about the level of transparency in programmatic advertising”.
Speaking at an IAB event in 2017, P&G’s Marc Pritchard said that the firm would no longer “waste time and money on a crappy media supply chain” and announced that “the days of giving digital a pass are over”.
Those concerns are translating into shifting ad revenues. According to research by QueryClick, 22 per cent of UK brands have said they plan to decrease their programmatic advertising spend because of worries over costs or performance, and 41 per cent of advertisers say they have lost trust in programmatic advertising as a result of ad fraud. Of those who are planning to decrease their spending on digital ads in the next 12 months, 41 per cent cited lack of transparency over how much programmatic ads cost, and 39 per cent the lack of transparency over where ads will be placed. One of the crucial issues here is how closely ad fraud is linked to a lack of transparency. While ad tech firms and other programmatic stakeholders may feel they have a right to keep their processes private inside ‘black box’ solutions, the oblique nature of so much of the programmatic chain has allowed fraud to flourish to worrying levels, with only 40 per cent of marketers confident that more than half their online adverts in the past year were seen by people. “Despite it being on the rise, programmatic advertising is wide open to abuse,” says Chris Liversidge, founder and managing director of
CHRIS LIVERSIDGE QUERYCLICK
PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING IS WIDE OPEN TO ABUSE. RECENT STUDIES HAVE PUT THE COST OF DIGITAL ADVERTISING FRAUD AS HIGH AS $31BN (£22BN). THAT MAKES DIGITAL AD FRAUD MORE COSTLY THAN OFFLINE CRIMES SUCH AS COUNTERFEIT GOODS AND PAYMENT CARD FRAUD. QueryClick. “Recent studies have put the cost of digital advertising fraud as high as $31bn (£22bn). That makes digital ad fraud not just more costly than any form of cybercrime, but more costly than offline crimes such as counterfeit goods and payment card fraud.”
programmatic industry has evolved from its humble beginnings as a way to clear spare inventory to the primary way that digital advertising is sold, a focus on hidden fees has become a woefully outdated way of looking at a much more complex issue.
“Many CMOs are fed up with the fraud and lack of transparency in programmatic ad exchanges,” agrees David Kohl, president and CEO of TrustX. “Opaque trading practices, high fraud rates and a general lack of accountability have given programmatic advertising a bad name. We have reached a crisis point. It’s time for the industry to come together to restore value and efficiency to programmatic trading. We need to rebuild the fundamentals for which it was originally designed.”
That’s not to say that those on both the buyand sell-side aren’t right to be worried about non-disclosed fees. During the early days of programmatic the business was built around selling remnant inventory, and business models reflected that. Some large ad tech providers would build an entire business around high take rates with margins of up to 30 per cent, sustained by content providers and publishers who felt that their inventory was unlikely to sell anyway and who cared less about what ad tech providers did with it.
Everyone seems firm on the point that the current model for programmatic advertising is unsustainable, no matter how successful it is in the short term. The entire industry, from brands to consumers, is powered by trust in the value exchange, and when that trust is undermined, any solutions that don’t address the core issue are built on a foundation of sand. Transparency is one of the essential paths towards trust; after all, when you prove you have nothing to hide, then you can begin to work in good faith again. That means the question we need to address isn’t ‘Do we need transparency?’, it’s actually ‘What does transparency look like?’
THE HIDDEN COST OF DOING BUSINESS One of the key hurdles that the industry needs to get over to make any progress is a working definition of what transparency means, and what a transparent programmatic ad industry would look like. For many ‘old school’ marketers, the primary concern is non-disclosed or ‘hidden’ fees, but as the
As programmatic inventory becomes more focused on premium content, this kind of model simply doesn’t work anymore, and has led to the popularity of different programmatic selling types that can guarantee more engaged consumers and better levels of brand safety. However, some ad tech firms are still rooted in this older model.
only elements of the programmatic chain who are invested in keeping things the way they are.
THE FIGHT FOR DATA Data is the lifeblood of the programmatic world. It is what enables the ecosystem to operate in the first place, and it is what enables firms to squeeze the highest possible efficiency out of every single ad placement. The ability to access and leverage the right data is what separates the decent from the good, and the good from the great, so it’s only natural that firms that can offer this kind of service are eager to protect their methods. But this attitude is another leftover from the earlier days of programmatic. As publishers and brands gain a greater understanding of the power of data and the methods that steer the programmatic world, they are becoming less willing to hand over their information and their business to ‘black boxes’ without being offered an in-depth explanation of exactly how these vendors are adding value.
“For these companies to overhaul their entire business model is a huge undertaking, and one they aren’t likely to engage in with investments that require a high rate of return,” says René Plug, supervisory board member at Improve Digital and board member for IAB Europe. “They are addicted to high margins, which can only appear justifiable when buried deep within a ‘confusopoly’ of fee structures.”
Add in the looming spectre of GDPR and a renewed focus on the first-party data that brands can access, and its no surprise that an increasing number are looking to bring their programmatic efforts in-house. According to the Advertiser Perceptions DSP Report, which polled over 700 advertisers, 32 per cent plan on moving programmatic in-house. Infectious Media, which interviewed 200 marketers across the globe, found the number was even higher, with 86 per cent of marketers planning on taking at least some of their programmatic marketing in-house.
Getting these firms on board with the push for transparency is going to be a challenge, given that their entire business model seems to rely on a level of obfuscation. But they aren’t the
“Agencies will need to adopt a more flexible, hybrid approach that caters for advertisers’ specific requirements as well as their desire for greater control over their digital
advertising,” said Martin Kelly, CEO and cofounder of Infectious Media, in a statement accompanying the report. “This will be crucial if agencies are to build a more effective and sustainable working relationship with brands in the future.” ‘Sustainable’ is the key word here. The increase in in-house programmatic, and the subsequent brain-drain that the industry is likely to see as brands begin to compete for programmatic expertise, could prove highly damaging for the ad tech firms seeking to maintain their place in the ecosystem. In order to maintain their position, firms need to be willing to open up and work with brands and publishers in a more transparent way, which will not only lead to more efficiency, but greater trust too. “An optimal yield strategy can only be based on deep insight into inputs and outputs,” says Plug. “Your ad tech provider should facilitate that, and not only let you see, but encourage you to look under the hood. It should allow you to access information and perform complex analyses in real time. The most sophisticated of these systems will allow you to download all your data without restrictions. Data should be accessible easily, readily and in full. If any of these three points is missing, it weakens the real value of your data.”
IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY In the face of all these torn loyalties and counterproductive incentives, it’s hard to see how the industry can make any kind of progress, but all the discussion around transparency does seem to have prompted action. Organisations like the IAB have developed substantial plans and guidelines designed to improve transparency as well as tackle related issues like ad fraud and viewability. These guidelines move the industry towards the most important first step in the fight for transparency: a common working definition and goal. “In order for the programmatic trading system to continue to grow and provide added value to the industry and its stakeholders, we need to make sure that everyone has a clear image of how this ecosystem works,” says Daniel Secareanu, member of the board of directors at IAB Europe. “We can only do this by ensuring that the programmatic
trading currency and its supply chain are fully transparent to everyone involved in it.” The IAB isn’t the only one setting goals, however. Marc Pritchard, who gave the transparency debate its watershed moment at the start of 2017, took to the stage nine months later at Dmexco and told the audience that the industry was “60 per cent there” for meeting P&G’s strict new criteria for programmatic trading, and he expected them to reach 100 per cent by the end of the year. These criteria included establishing
an MRC-validated viewability standard, bringing in MRC-accredited third-party verification and introducing guaranteed brand safety assurances – all major steps for restoring trust and establishing industrywide standards that firms could be held accountable to. But even here, there’s conflict and contention. “Major platforms have opened themselves up for auditing by the Media Research Council, but the MRC standard is a minimum that advertisers think acceptable,” says Phil Smith,
As advertising has evolved and become more sophisticated, so the calls for greater transparency have grown director general at ISBA. “Many advertisers and agency networks think that the gold standard should be set at 100 per cent – and this is something that we have agreed with the IPA.” The rising tide of transparency does appear to be lifting all boats, but it’s still happening at different speeds for different areas, and the idea of a unified approach doesn’t appear to be any closer or more realistic. Initiatives like ads.txt and header bidding are helping to improve efficiency and stamp out fraud, but they are still suffering from uneven uptake.
For the industry to truly work towards transparency, it’s going to take significant economic incentives, more than just incremental boosts in efficiency and the threat of lost business somewhere down the line. Perhaps the clearest demonstration of this was P&G’s dramatic stand, but even as the world’s largest advertiser, it can only steer the conversation so far. Publishers, brands and ad tech firms that have already got on board with transparency need to be more vocal in their demand for a
fairer industry, even if it risks making some enemies among those still operating in the darkness of black box solutions. It isn’t just a question of happier relationships among the programmatic chain – it’s a question of the entire system remaining viable as it moves from helpful tool to dominant platform. And when it comes to the best approach for reaching transparency, perhaps David Kohl of TrustX says it best: “The more dramatically we can pull off the Band-Aid, the more effective it will be.”
Come on, keep up! In a world that moves as fast as mobile does, the challenge is always to keep up. At each Summit, you’ll have the chance to discuss your issues with companies that can help you tackle them. You’ll also hear from some of the sharpest brands using mobile today. There’s no better way to stay informed than by investing your time in the Mobile Marketing Summits.
What are you waiting for? Register your interest at:
SUMMITS 2018 MARCH
15th − MOBILE MARKETING SUMMIT CHICAGO 27th − MOBILE RETAIL SUMMIT LONDON 27th − PROGRAMMATIC FOR PUBLISHERS SUMMIT LONDON
3rd − TRAVEL & CONNECTED TOURISM SUMMIT LONDON 3rd − APP MARKETING SUMMIT LONDON 16th − PROGRAMMATIC FOR PUBLISHERS SUMMIT NEW YORK
5th − CONNECTED CONSUMER SUMMIT LONDON 26th − PROGRAMMATIC SUMMIT SAN FRANCISCO
10th − MOBILE RETAIL SUMMIT NEW YORK
20th − MOBILE MARKETING SUMMIT TORONTO 26th − PROGRAMMATIC SUMMIT LONDON
4th − MOBILE MARKETING SUMMIT LONDON
15th − APP MARKETING SUMMIT NEW YORK 23rd − PROGRAMMATIC LUNCH LONDON
7th − PROGRAMMATIC LUNCH NEW YORK
MACHINE LEARNING AND PERSONALISATION
Matt Lacey, performance director at Code Computerlove, takes the jargon out of machine learning and personalisation, and gives some actionable advice for how you can start improving your conversion rates immediately.
ersonalisation is one of those topics that gets talked about with a lot of enthusiasm as the ‘next big thing’, year after year. And yet, it hasn’t seen mass adoption yet. Econsultancy’s conversion optimisation research has identified this as a problem for the last three years, with marketers citing personalisation as the top method that they plan to use, but don’t get around to. And for those brands that are doing personalisation, it is invariably relatively basic, focusing on emails, homepage and maybe, if they are lucky, a landing page or two. So why are we not embracing personalisation? It could be down to a range of factors, be it not having a conversion strategy in place or a lack of available design and development resources. Invariably, however, the biggest factor is the need for a solid foundation of data. The growing trend of machine learning highlights this. The process feeds off data, but the problem in most cases is not whether the data is available, but that the data sets exist in silos. By connecting and enriching your data – linking up your returns and purchase data for instance, or ensuring your back-end data feeds into your analytics platform – you can really begin to personalise the customer experience. So what are the machine learning and personalisation techniques that you can use to up the ante?
DATA MINING Data mining, or opportunity mining, is the practice of using an algorithm to search for opportunities in the data. The algorithms are designed to ‘mine’ large data sets to find patterns of behaviour for you. These can either identify issues with your current campaigns
or find opportunities for future growth. So, for instance, the data may reveal that PPC traffic converts well at weekends and poorly during the week, so you may adapt your campaign spend based on that information. Or you may find that a campaign does not work well in a particular region, and adapt the messaging based on this information. Data mining is useful for identifying patterns, but it does not provide solutions, so it needs to be used in conjunction with experimentation and other conversion optimisation methods to really make the most of it. In which case, why bother? The main reason is time: analysis is time-consuming and therefore costly. Data mining automates this initial insight work and can help you to identify opportunities that might otherwise be hard to spot. And if you have a tool that incorporates data mining as part of the service, it’s even easier and quicker.
PREDICTIVE ALGORITHMS Predictive algorithms are what most people think of when they talk about personalisation. They are the algorithms that power recommendation engines along the lines of: ‘what others also bought’. Lots of commerce sites use these features, but not always in a sophisticated way. The predictive algorithms used by retailers like Amazon go several steps further than ‘other items you might like’. Amazon uses its predictive algorithms to predict how motivated a user is to buy, the user interest and the current sales volume of the individual products. It then provides product recommendations based on this behavioural and operational data, so that you and I will each receive a different set of search results for ‘green hat’. It is also why in your search results you may sometimes see a product with few or no reviews above items with hundreds of reviews. This personalisation tool accounts for 35 per cent of Amazon’s sales, and is obviously highly complex, requiring a vast amount of data maturity, but it shows that there are great opportunities if you have a strong data strategy.
SWITCH TO ‘BEST MATCH’ ALGORITHMS A term you might hear a lot from your conversion optimisation team is ‘multi-armed bandits’. Although it sounds like highway
robbery, this is a method used in A/B testing to automatically favour a variation as the experiment progresses. Say in a standard multivariate test you send 50 per cent of traffic to one version and 50 per cent to the control. Dependent on traffic volumes, you would usually allow the test to run for a period of time, say two weeks, then allocate the winner and direct all traffic to that variation. But if you are using a best match algorithm, it will automatically redirect more traffic to the winning test as soon as a leader becomes obvious This means that the test is more likely to reach statistical significance and you will capture value sooner. The New York Times is employing this technique with its online headlines right now. When a new article is uploaded to the site, it is input into the CMS with more than one headline. The headlines are split tested, and the winning variant is favoured as the experiment progresses, until all the traffic is focused on the winning headline. It’s a process that usually takes less than an hour. This type of algorithm is great for short-term promotions and campaigns, as you can see in the New York Times example, but it can also be used in long-term tests. For instance, say you have two versions of a homepage and one is much more popular. Over time, 95 per cent of traffic is directed to the winning homepage, but 5 per cent is reserved for the control. Then a seasonal event, such as Black Friday, happens. Now the page that was initially performing much worse might suddenly start performing better, at which point the algorithm would detect this and start directing more traffic to it so that, in an extreme example, over a short period of time the traffic might then switch, with 95 per cent directed to the page that was previously performing poorly. It would then automatically switch back once the seasonal event was over.
BY CONNECTING AND ENRICHING YOUR DATA, YOU CAN REALLY BEGIN TO PERSONALISE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.
DATA IS EVERYTHING The above examples can only be deployed with the right data strategy in place. Joining up your data sources is a key step to allow for this more advanced personalisation. We know this is easier said than done, but if you can enrich your data to allow patterns to be drawn, then you will be in a much better position than the majority of your competitors to create a relevant and engaging customer experience, and improve your site conversion.
FROM ‘THE YEAR OF THE MOBILE’ TO ‘THE YEAR OF THE TELCO’ Martin Weller, managing director of Weve, says that telcos are in pole position to enable brands to engage with consumers in a meaningful and GDPR-compliant way. can rival a telco’s end-to-end view, which traverses both the physical and digital world. But the value of the telco extends beyond the ability to know exactly who our customers are. As we enter 2018, consent, transparency and verification are becoming absolutely imperative for all players in the supply chain, and few are as well placed as the telco to tackle these issues and connect us to the future.
ach year in digital advertising, there are trends that seep into our conversations, conferences and content. Each year has been heralded as the Year of Mobile for the last decade, but mobile is no longer about the device itself – its true value lies in the ubiquitous connectivity that the device provides. Previously overlooked in the ad-tech space, it is the telcos that are enabling the digital ecosystem through their networks, powering mobile’s ubiquitous connectivity and providing unrivalled insight into consumers’ behaviour. Over recent years, we’ve seen a number of acquisitions in the ad tech space from telcos like Verizon, Altice, Singtel and Telefónica. And it makes sense – with the rise of peoplebased advertising, we’re increasingly seeking a comprehensive view of consumers and their real-world behaviours, and very few in market
SUCCESSFUL MODELS Countless businesses in this space have built successful models around third-party data segments, but it will be those businesses that have a direct relationship with the end consumer (e.g. publishers, social media giants and telcos) who will be in the strongest position to maintain consent post-GDPR. Telcos already providing a mobile marketing service to their base, such as O2, have been working within the confines of preobtained consent through a direct, first-party relationship with their customers. As part of O2, Weve sees billions of aggregated and anonymised data events every day on the network, both online and offline, passive and active. These network events combine to create the most comprehensive, end-to-end view of our customers in market, and this first-party, telco-derived data forms the basis of our market-leading audience intelligence, mobile-
led media, and market-leading measurement. We see our 23m strong audience over 100 times a day, up to 20 times that of other mobile players.
DATA COLLECTION For most, first-party data suppliers have long been considered the most favourable and robust data sources, due to the stringent PII data regulations they adhere to under the current Data Protection Act 1998. According to Weve’s research, two in three media agency representatives agree that supplier first-party data is the most accurate data in market. As the fragmented, opaque and largely unverified world of data collection comes under scrutiny due to GDPR, it’s clear that ignorance of a data’s source will no longer be an option once the definition of personal data expands and the list of those who are potentially liable broadens to include many more players in the digital supply chain. Weve’s research also shows that 69 per cent of agencies expect their buying behaviour to change post-GDPR, either somewhat (49 per cent) or significantly (20 per cent). The value of telco-verified data is becoming clearer among first-party suppliers, as brands
begin to pull ads from social due to ASA criticism that ‘self-reported’ age verification is inadequate. While the insight derived from increasingly complex attribution models is valuable, it’s only as accurate as the data you power campaigns with in the first place. Only with verified data can you have verified attribution, and this is where telcos really distinguish themselves from the crowd, linking offline and online behaviour to a verified individual. Weve’s 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, real-world 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 for the advertiser, and improving the experience for the consumer. This extends to location technology too: according to a recent study by the LBMA, 65 per cent of marketers have concerns over the reliability of location data (understandably so, as it’s estimated that over 80 per cent is inaccurate). Our telco infrastructure of cell
towers creates an opportunity for Weve – working with Telefonica-owned Statiq – to answer this challenge as the only partner in the UK market able to verify location against a robust, deterministic truth set – at scale. In this way, verification scores are aggregated for each publisher, resulting in the creation of an ‘accuracy index’ for each vendor. This powerful ranking system effectively filters out bad actors and erroneous location data, giving marketers the ability to choose from the best location sources and confidently include them in media plans both for targeting and measurement.
new behavioural datasets is a game-changer, enabling outdoor owners and specialists to identify the aggregated and anonymised audiences at individual site level by hour of the day and day of the week. Planners are also able to analyse multiple locations, and view commuting patterns and transport types, demographic variances and more, to understand how different sites could work together and support media planning decisions across channels. This provides a greater accountability of the media, improved planning and better targeting for brands, on a par with other digital channels.
Adding this unique verification capability lends further credence to Weve owning the most comprehensive location suite in market: across cell, wi-fi, bank-verified home location and GPS. While there is much contention around the validity of the latter in market, Weve’s location verification technology filters out inaccurate and fraudulent signals and partners – reducing waste and fraud once again, while increasing ROI for clients and renewing confidence.
In a landscape where we’re increasingly seeking an end-to-end view of consumers and their real-world behaviours, 2018 will be the year that the value of telco data is actualised. Through the billions of events seen on their networks each day, telcos will become an integral part of the planning, delivery and measurement of campaigns. And as consumer attitudes change postGDPR, telcos will become increasingly aware of the data-value exchange. Now they must take this huge amount of data and connectivity and turn it into something genuinely useful.
BEHAVIOURAL DATASETS The value of telco-verified data extends into other media too. The introduction of these
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MASTERING MULTICHANNEL MOBILE ENGAGEMENT Y
David Murphy talks intelligent interconnectivity with Rohit Tripathi, general manager and head of products at SAP Digital Interconnect. 34
ou don’t need to look very far around you to see the extent to which the modern consumer lives their life on their mobile phone. It’s no surprise: the capabilities of today’s smartphones are such that they are akin to a digital Swiss Army knife. But if you analyse what people are actually doing on their phones, the vast majority of their time is spent in some form of messaging or communications app, from SMS or OTT services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, to email. And while these channels were traditionally built around peer-to-peer communications, they are now emerging as significant channels for brands to engage with consumers. Rohit Tripathi, general manager and head of products at SAP Digital Interconnect, formerly SAP Mobile Services, believes this has significant implications for enterprise businesses.
“Look at Kraft,” he says. “They are in the business of making and distributing food, cheese, dairy products, so are they a data company? Until a few years ago you might have said not, but now they are sitting on millions of online subscribers tapping into their recipe databases.”
“Every business in the digital economy needs to start looking at itself as a data company,” he says. “They need to get smart about how they use customer data and build value-added capabilities on top of that.”
Part and parcel of this challenge is the need to tailor communications so that they are appropriate for each channel. For example, most people would be happy to receive large amounts of information on an email to help them research a high-value purchase such as a car. “People see SMS as a more pristine channel that is meant for more urgent situations, and
And he’s not just talking about companies that have traditionally been in the data business.
So there’s an opportunity for companies sitting on hordes of customer data to use that to engage with them, but there’s a problem too. The explosion of digital communication channels means that if you focus on any one or two, you miss out on all the others. “The challenge is to engage with customers and prospects in whatever channels they prefer to use,” says Tripathi. “Gone are the days where a business could mandate whatever channel suits them best for customer engagement.”
SAP DIGITAL INTERCONNECT
CLIENT FOCUS: INFOWAYS Infoways plays a vital role in helping schools, enterprises and emergency services in Australia keep in constant contact with their stakeholders, whether that’s parents, employees or first responders at the scene of an accident. The company provides its clients with a seamless communications environment for sending and receiving intelligent notifications from any location, and via multiple channels, at any time.
that’s reflected in how we respond to an SMS compared to an email,” says Tripathi. “More than 90 per cent of us open an SMS, compared to 10 per cent for email, and once opened, 97 per cent react to the content of the SMS, compared to 3–4 per cent for email.” This trick of hitting people with the right message at the right time in the right channel at scale, anywhere in the world, while staying on the right side of local data privacy regulations, is a good one if you know how to do it, but many businesses don’t. Tripathi argues that this is where SAP Digital Interconnect’s background and experience come to the fore. “Our heritage is in providing the connections between mobile operators, more than 1,000 carriers in 220 countries,” he explains. “To do that, we had to have the best technology and the best knowledge about local privacy regulations. Nine years ago, we evolved this model towards the enterprise space, enabling them to use our intelligent notification network and decision engines to reach their customers in a timely, relevant, meaningful manner, via whatever channel or channels the customer wishes to engage in at different times of the day or points in the purchase process. We do this by providing simple, configurable developer tools for each of these messaging channels, enabling our clients to go to work in them in a consistent, programmatic way.” The move proved a popular one, with over 500 enterprise companies now on board with SAP Digital Interconnect. The use cases are many and varied, and not all concerned with sales. While airlines, hotels and retailers use it to promote special offers in real time to their opted-in customer base, delivery companies use the platform to keep customers informed of when their parcel will arrive. Banks use it to
inform customers that a payment they made has been received, or that their balance is getting low. Two-factor authentication using SMS or other messaging channels is another key use case. In a survey conducted by SAP Digital Interconnect, more than 50 per cent of respondents said they considered conventional user name and password security schemes to be inadequate, and more than two thirds said they had forgotten the answer to a secret question required to validate their identity or access a secured account. And in a world where messaging apps are becoming more than just messaging apps, enabling consumers to book flights and hotels, or buy physical products direct from the app, often via a chatbot interface, more research shows that they like this kind of interaction. According to Ovum, more than 70 per cent of consumers plan to use SMS as much as, or more than, they currently do. And from the business perspective, 83 per cent of enterprises surveyed said that they would consider using chatbots, chat apps or IP messaging to engage with customers. Ultimately, Tripathi believes, the winners in this brave new, always-on, always-connected world will be the companies that make the investments needed to leverage its potential. “The technology is important, crucial in fact,” he says. “But there’s more to it than that. I think if you spoke to our enterprise clients, they would tell you that our local knowledge around compliance and regulatory requirements, and the advice we can offer here, is just as important. With GDPR coming into force in a couple of months, many companies will find out the hard way that the lowest price is not always the best decision. There’s a fine line between delighting the customer and annoying them; it’s one we’re helping our enterprise clients stay on the right side of.”
For years, it has relied on SAP Intelligent Notification 365 mobile service to do so. It’s a cloud-based offering, which means that Infoways can get new customers up and running quickly, without waiting for hardware deployment, or for operators to configure new infrastructure. Once connected, they can communicate through a secure, carrier-grade infrastructure that interconnects with more than 1,000 operator networks in more than 220 countries and territories. Applications range from the mundane to the extraordinary. If a child is absent from school, the parents are automatically notified via SMS. The police, ambulance and air departments in Queensland use it to request support, and send out workforce scheduling notifications and operational updates. When a cyclone ravaged the northeast coast of Australia, SAP Intelligent Notification 365 kept on working when other communications platforms fell over, handling a huge spike in messages, from 50,000 a day to more than 550,000, without a hitch. After working with SAP Digital Interconnect, Infoways tripled its client base within three months, and Infoways director Brent Welch says the company is delighted with the platform. “SAP Digital Interconnect is always adding features and services that make our offering better for our customers,” he says. “SAP Intelligent Notification 365 ensures we can provide our customers with the superior communications services they expect.”
SCALING UP ACROSS SCREENS
Andy Ashley, international marketing director at Digital Element, considers the value of IP geolocation in a multiscreen world
t’s often said that today’s consumers spend their lives glued to their phones. In fact, this is only partly true. The smartphone is only one of many devices through which we live out our lives online, as we flit constantly between our phone, tablet, PC and connected TV, not to mention the myriad other devices which are becoming connected. This multiscreen world presents fantastic opportunities for brands to engage with consumers on the go, but challenges too, particularly when the majority of mobile users tend to access the mobile internet with their device’s inbuilt geolocation tools switched off. In fact, the typical mobile or tablet user is 80 per cent more likely to be on a wi-fi network,
due to speed, convenience or cost, with only around 20 per cent using a cellular connection. This means that the vast majority of mobile traffic is not easily targeted, which is where IP geotargeting comes in. IP geotargeting can target virtually 100 per cent of mobile traffic, including 80 per cent of mobile wi-fi traffic at a city/postcode and wi-fi level, with the remaining 20 per cent of mobile (3G/4G/LTE) connection traffic location-targetable at a country level – and all without any requirement to opt users in.
MEANINGFUL MESSAGES The ability to target mobile users with IP geotargeting across devices enables brands to send more meaningful messages: more
direct, sales-focused messages to users on mobile phones, who are typically looking to achieve a goal right now, and softer, more brand-focused messages to tablet users who are still at the research stage of the purchase journey. And while location is at the core of IP geotargeting, it’s far from the only game in town. Brands using Digital Element’s NetAcuity Pulse mobile data-derived data service can append as many as 30 other data points, including ISP, mobile carrier, advanced proxy detection, connection type and speed to refine the targeting and enable them to deliver more personalised, contextually relevant messages to mobile users.
Fine-tuning geotargeting parameters too far, using GPS coordinates, for example, allows targeting to within a few feet, but this approach quite dramatically reduces the number of consumers it is possible to reach. With IP geotargeting, however, brands can maintain scale, targeting thousands of users, with contextually relevant, meaningful messages, right down to postcode or city block level. So what you lose in absolute ‘down-to-a-few-feet’ localisation, you more than make up for in the number of people you are able to reach.
ADVANCED INFRASTRUCTURE ANALYSIS As a lot of commercial radio stations like to say, other IP geolocation data providers are available.
But I would urge marketers to look closely at the source of this data if you want your campaigns to fly. Determining the correct location of an IP address and surfacing other useful IP intelligence data, such as connection speed or mobile carrier, requires advanced infrastructure analysis. It’s a far cry from simply scraping internet registries or repackaging publicly available free data that is infrequently, if ever, updated, has patchy global coverage, and is inherently inaccurate. At its most granular level, NetAcuity can accurately locate a user down to the city/ postcode sector level and identify wi-fi connection location without becoming personally identifiable. It is also the only IP solution in the world that has been accredited by the Media Rating Council.
Coverage is global, and accuracy is rated at 99.99 per cent at a country level, with the data that powers the platform refreshed weekly. It can also determine how a user connects, enabling the identification of data that companies need to target mobile users. This is achieved by combining IP routing infrastructure analysis with anonymous location insight gleaned from a network of global commercial partners. Yes, there are challenges in targeting consumers on the go across the various devices they use. But for most use cases, IP geotargeting can take the pain out of the process, enabling brands to target mobile users at scale, with highly relevant messages to move them down the purchase funnel. What’s not to like?
THE NEW OTT ECOSYSTEM Leon Siotis, managing director, UK and Southern Europe at SpotX, looks at the development of OTT video services in Europe.
here has been a habitual shift in the way audiences watch video content on different devices. New technology has enabled viewers to adopt new methods of TV consumption and changed the way they interact with their favourite video content. The development of over-the-top (OTT) services – where TV content is delivered through an internet connection – has seen increasing audiences thanks to the consumerfriendly flexibility OTT video offers. According to BARB, the number of people watching recorded TV or video on demand (VoD) on TV has doubled from 9 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent today. Viewers can watch content after the initial broadcast time and across multiple devices, which has given rise to a new TV ecosystem. Major broadcasters are recognising the opportunities of offering their premium content to viewers in a more flexible way, funded through advertising that harnesses data to allow better targeting. STV, the leading broadcaster in Scotland, is embracing the new ecosystem. The STV Player enables viewers to watch their favourite TV
programmes, such as World Cup football or The X Factor, live and on ‘catch-up’, free of charge within STV’s licence areas on their mobiles, as well as on laptops, tablets or their TV set, with the content delivered over the internet. The broadcaster has extended its programmatic infrastructure to facilitate programmatic video advertising and was the first in the UK to introduce dynamic ad insertion (DAI) to live channels in 2014, with Yospace. Since then STV has developed a cutting-edge data strategy, allowing its TV programmes to be monetised programmatically.
BRAND-SAFE ENVIRONMENT Many major global advertisers see enormous value in the cross-screen, brand-safe environment afforded by advertising in OTT environments. Adoption of OTT varies across Europe and is dependent on several key variables, which include OTT penetration in the market, consumer awareness, broadband speed and the availability of free-to-air TV. The adoption of OTT is, at present, an urban phenomenon across Europe, with the opportunity for development in rural areas.
In Germany, where TV content remains hugely popular, there are a wealth of options for subscription-based VoD services, with good competition among providers driving the uptake of OTT. As audiences are becoming more aware of how they can watch content through mobile, set-top boxes, streaming devices, games consoles and smart TVs, advertising investment will increase. In Spain, broadband penetration is also excellent, creating optimism about the future of OTT in the region. Audiences are well informed and the strong demand from advertisers and their agencies outpaces the available supply of mobile video inventory. As the production of local broadcast content in Spain increases and it becomes available on OTT platforms, the Spanish market will see the new ecosystem develop. Like Spain, the success of OTT in France is dependent on more local content being produced. According to eMarketer, half of France’s internet users access streaming video services at least once a month. Most of these consumers access free OTT video services
STV is a great example of a broadcaster that is embracing the new OTT ecosystem, for the benefit of its viewers
following patterns identified in the US and UK. France also benefits from advanced video measurement, which was introduced into the market by Médiamétrie in 2016 and provides more standardised analysis across digital and TV. There is a predominance of IPTV viewing, which could pose a barrier to OTT growth, but awareness among consumers is high and advertisers are keen to deploy data-driven programmatic advertising. In Italy, there is a strong culture of freeto-air live broadcast TV, which has limited consumer adoption of OTT viewing. Smart TV and broadband penetration is low, especially outside urban areas, and broadband speeds are also low, so broadcasters are less motivated to harness the new OTT ecosystem. However, demand from advertisers remains strong and rapid growth is expected. According to SNL Kagan, the UK has one of the highest levels of broadband penetration in Europe: 91 per cent of UK households have fixed broadband connections, of which 91 per cent are over 4Mbps (Akamai, State Of The Internet: Q4 2016) and, like the US, the UK market has strong
device penetration. There is also widespread audience awareness of OTT options, with a growing culture for watching TV across multiple devices, such as mobiles or tablets, and through catch-up or streaming services. Hit shows such as ITV’s Love Island are streamed live by many viewers watching on tablets and mobile phones. As a result, broadcasters in the UK believe that OTT should be a top priority for them over the next three years, supported by the UK’s well-established programmatic video advertising ecosystem. There is a clear opportunity for European broadcasters looking for incremental revenue from OTT. As audiences continue to watch TV but shift their viewing habits to incorporate mobile viewing, as well as more connected television, PC, live-streamed and ‘catch-up’, the demand from advertisers to reach these audiences more efficiently and effectively will only increase. Awareness of these options among consumers across Europe is generally high, and it is now in the hands of the broadcasters to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the new ecosystem.
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ADVERTISING ASSURANCE IN THE AGE OF AI As a fragmented customer journey increasingly challenges brands, Sizmek’s Andrew Morsy explains why 86 per cent of senior marketers intend to optimise marketing and accurately deliver personalised marketing messages in 2018.
t’s the holy grail of marketing: to fully understand your customers’ preferences and shopping habits then communicate with them at the perfect moment. When and where they will be ready to respond to your call to action or click ‘add to basket’ is something that is so often guessed at or left to chance. The multitude of devices consumers use only compounds the issue, with an offline and online customer journey that is now global, sporadic, fragmented and difficult for any individual marketer to predict. A side effect of all this is the amount of data at our disposal. Now, after years of collecting it, purchasing it, updating it, or wondering if we have enough, we find ourselves with oceans of it. And brands, no matter how giant they might be, lack the human capacity or brain power to organise and utilise all this information.
AI-POWERED ADVERTISING Fortunately, savvy marketers struggling to find consumers at the perfect point on their journey regardless of the smartphone, tablet or desktop they’re using, can turn this challenge into an opportunity. With AIpowered advertising they can use technology to analyse masses of data before delivering the right creative at the perfect moment to inspire action – and all at speed and scale. As much as a ‘nice-to-have’ AI-powered advertising might sound, it is no longer a myth. And it should definitely not be considered an optional extra. The marketers and brands that implement AI and more predictive methods of advertising will prevail in the coming years. Those businesses that ignore the trend towards machine learning, especially when it comes to serving ads and converting customers, will fail.
This is something we discovered at Sizmek when we commissioned a Forrester Consulting study in 2017, which included the views of CMOs and other senior marketers responsible for more than $1bn a year in ad spend. The research showed us that 79 per cent of respondents plan to increase the use of artificial intelligence in their marketing in future. In addition, 86 per cent plan to optimise marketing across the entire customer journey in the next 12 months. It became clear to us that marketers are preparing for a world in which AI is powering their decisions, providing unparalleled levels of insights, and reaching their target consumers wherever they might be on whatever device they might be using – all in real time. There is a good reason why so many senior marketers are making this a priority throughout 2018: because it works. While the amount of
data we have access to becomes too vast for any individual to make sense of it, AI can do the heavy lifting, delivering ads with incredible speed, unprecedented intuition and impressive accuracy to the people who matter. But it’s not only the ‘who?’ and ‘where?’ that can be optimised to achieve results. Whereas before marketers and brands might have sacrificed creative quality in order to ensure their ads were seen by the right consumer on the right website, we can now also ensure we deliver the right message, product or promotion using dynamic creative optimisation (DCO). DCO enables AI to pick the product, promotion or visual from a suite of options that is most likely to be successful based on a consumer’s preferences, dropping it into the right ads at the right time for the right user. And, of course, what’s good for advertisers is also what’s good for consumers. As prospective customers, none of us want to be blasted with irrelevant advertising. As has always been the case with effective, impactful marketing, personalisation and relevance to the audience
are key. Show a consumer a product they have no interest in and they’ll ignore it. But show them a product that does interest them or that resonates and you substantially increase your chances of converting.
EMBRACE THE DATA As our research has highlighted, it’s time for brands and advertisers to embrace the data available to them. It’s time to implement the technology that will allow them to reach the right customer at the perfect moment, delivering the precise creative that will inspire action. No more guessing, no more wasting advertising on people who are not interested in your products and services, and no more questioning how you can reach consumers across multiple devices. Just advertising that is intuitive and personal, and which leads to a greater return on investment. Andrew Morsy is MD UK at Sizmek, the world’s largest independent buy-side advertising platform. To discover more or arrange a meeting or demo with one of the team, go to sizmek.com
THE MARKETERS AND BRANDS THAT IMPLEMENT AI AND MORE PREDICTIVE METHODS OF ADVERTISING WILL PREVAIL IN THE COMING YEARS. THOSE BUSINESSES THAT IGNORE THE TREND TOWARDS MACHINE LEARNING, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO SERVING ADS AND CONVERTING CUSTOMERS, WILL FAIL.
LET’S GET PERSONAL David Morris, solutions consulting director EMEA at Tealium, says that cookies still have their crunch, but tag management gives you a bigger piece of the pie.
cookie-based tracking should be incorporated into a wider strategy to measure and engage with real-world audience interactions. With this in mind, cookie-based tracking is now just one of many ways in which Tealium enables customers to collect, enrich and act on data.
IT’S TIME TO GET MOBILE Using cookies on traditional channels like desktop can and will continue to be useful, just ask one of the 1,000 vendors with integrations into Tealium IQ, our tag management system. However, when it comes to mobile – particularly in-app – cookies shouldn’t be the sole method for gathering and analysing data. As mobile continues to infiltrate every aspect of our lives, marketers should stop thinking of it as just another device to track. In this app-driven world, mobiles are increasingly used to wake us up; to help us zone out during the commute; to control the lighting, temperature and security of our homes; to order any product or service we
need; to take notes during a presentation; and to board a flight. Laws have even been created in response to changing consumer behaviour on mobile, making it illegal to use devices while driving. Let’s face it, consumers are completely hooked on their mobiles – in fact, it’s estimated that the average UK adult spent almost two hours a day on their smartphone in 2017. The very personal nature of mobile presents a strong opportunity for marketers to identify the individual, not just specific devicebased activity. By labelling mobile as a separate channel, marketers are significantly constraining the opportunity it affords – mapping the customer journey to build the desired 360-degree consumer view. Think about it: how far away from you is your mobile right now? Are you by any chance reading this article on your mobile, or is it close by as you read this on a PC or in print? Because mobiles are so physically close to us
at all times, they offer a direct reference point to our location, in turn providing greater insight into what we’re doing. For example, whether we’re drinking coffee, shopping, travelling or attending a sporting event, our mobile is almost guaranteed to be our handy sidekick. With this behaviour typical to the majority of consumers across the globe, it is far from surprising that key players in the data collection sector are leveraging mobile to provide location-based insights. These include personal assistant capabilities between location and calendar, location-contextual searching, fitness apps, payment apps, and the all-important social media check-ins.
CONTEXT-BASED INTEREST VS LOCATION-BASED DATA The third-party cookie has traditionally been used to follow an internet user across websites to surmise their interest based on an overview of sites they visit. This creates an assumed understanding of context-based interest. By contrast, location-based data acquired via mobile offers the same context, but without having to wait for an active digital and active interaction. In short, the context moves from a pixel to a person.
Instead of grouping together clicks, we can create a holistic image of customer journeys, ultimately providing additional insight into the consumer. Our ‘always on’ nature with mobile offers access to data points such as time and location, providing context and distance from points of interest. For example, knowing the location of a user while mapping the surrounding businesses gives rise to contextual data such as: • • •
The fact that the person is spending time in a location where a car showroom exists Repeated visits to a particular location – demonstrating habit Visits to a rare location – highlighting niche and highly targeted audiences.
So what’s next – turn off all cookie-based tracking and only leverage mobile location data? Definitely not. Cookies still have an important role to play in measuring consumer browsing behaviours and personalising the experience on desktop computers, which is particularly handy for anonymous visitors. The trick is to stop using cookies as the sole or primary method of tracking customer behaviour. Mobile, with its location-based context and personal connection to the individual, should be a priority, while cookiebased tracking should support the desktop part of a journey. Here are some key actions to take when using mobile first to track customers. First, ensure that activity on mobile is tracked accurately. Second, educate peers and management about wider opportunities to track and leverage location-based behaviour using mobile. Finally, transition marketing strategies to mobile first. When planning the next campaign or programme, think: how will this work on mobile? And how can we leverage mobile to expand our knowledge of customers’ activities using location? If our ultimate objective is to place the customer at the heart of all communications, we need to get personal. The best way to do this is to gain enough insight to fully understand customers’ spending and recreational habits using location-based context. With this in mind, your top marketing priority in 2018 should be to mobilise mobile across all campaigns. So, what are you waiting for? The answer’s in your hand.
WE ARE PROUD OF OUR HERITAGE IN TAG MANAGEMENT AND RECOGNISE THAT TAG- OR COOKIE-BASED TRACKING SHOULD BE INCORPORATED INTO A WIDER STRATEGY TO MEASURE AND ENGAGE WITH REALWORLD AUDIENCE INTERACTIONS.
Data services with location context will be a key dataset to buy in 2018, rather than traditional third-party cookies.
Brands rather than data suppliers will become the owners of this location interest data for a user, as they will be gathering it under the greater controls of the GDPR.
This will shift the balance in terms of how advertising and publishing companies trade, with a need for greater transparency on costs.
To request a demonstration of Tealium’s mobile solutions please visit: www.tealium.com/demo
SIMPLIFYING GLOBAL loT CONNECTIVITY David Murphy discusses the complexity of the IoT connectivity space with Russ Green, GM technology and interconnect products at SAP Digital Interconnect. The devices in question are as wide and varied as the use cases for the IoT. We’re probably all familiar with the concept of the connected car or the connected fridge, but there are many other examples, all of which will benefit from becoming connected.
t’s no exaggeration to say that the Internet of Things has the potential to revolutionise our daily lives over the next few years. Depending whose estimates you trust, there are forecast to be anything between 10bn and 30bn connected devices by 2020.
At one end of the spectrum are things like selfmonitoring litter bins, which tell the council when they need emptying to avoid overflowing rubbish and the inefficiency of sending a crew to empty a bin that is less than half full; or a parcel drop-off box that transmits a signal back to the delivery company to let it know that it has parcels ready for collection and delivery. These are low-touch, only requiring small amounts of data to update their status a few times a day. At the other end of the spectrum are more data-intensive examples. Sophisticated items of equipment used in the construction trade, such as heavy-duty drills, are self-monitoring to tell the manufacturer or equipment owner
(i.e. the construction company) how many holes they have drilled, so that an (expensive) maintenance team can be sent to site to carry out routine maintenance only when the appropriate threshold has been reached. This, along with predictive maintenance, helps keep equipment and assets functioning, reducing costly breakdowns and repairs, and the losses and delays that inevitably ensue. Apps can also be used to monitor equipment location to deter theft or misuse. These use cases are enabling the companies making this type of kit to develop new business models in which, instead of charging by the day or the week, they can charge by outcome – when a given number of holes have been drilled, for example.
THE CONNECTIVITY LAYER The IoT industry is built on four layers. From the top down, there is an analytics layer that receives feedback from a device to understand how it is being used, where it Is being used or
when something has gone wrong. Below that is a data management layer to process this data. Below that, a device management layer to control the devices. And at the bottom, underpinning everything, a connectivity layer, arguably the most important, and the most volatile, with standards still in a state of flux and evolution. SAP Digital Interconnect, formerly SAP Mobile Services, is attempting to remove the uncertainty from this connectivity layer, drawing on its vast experience and a secure and reliable messaging network, and working with more than 1,000 operators around the world, many of whom are now looking to become players in the IoT connectivity space. “Enterprises can’t ignore the IoT space, but they face a number of challenges when they seek to enter it,” says Russ Green, GM technology and interconnect products at SAP Digital Interconnect. “First, are they able to scale their IoT solution, to be able to deal with hundreds, thousands or millions of devices if need be, while keeping control of costs? Second, are they ready for the complexity that comes with IoT and managing these different connections and operator relationships? And third, are they able to integrate the connectivity and other capabilities they need to access into their back-end systems through RESTful APIs, so they are not spending half their working day on the phone to the mobile operator, troubleshooting problems?” These are the issues that SAP Digital Interconnect aims to address through its platform and product, SAP IoT Connect 365, which will be fully GDPR-compliant. The company has been helping enterprises deal with mobile operator fragmentation for the past 10 years, providing connections between the world’s mobile networks to enable enterprises to operate globally, without worrying about this complexity, fragmentation and interoperability, and with one eye on the data and privacy regulations in different parts of the world to keep them on the right side of the law.
NAVIGATING THE IOT SPACE For most of that time, the focus has been on messaging, initially SMS, more recently on the myriad messaging channels available to
enterprises and consumers, from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger, WeChat et al. Now, with most of these same mobile operators clamouring for IoT business and the data tariffs that come with it, the company is helping its enterprise customers – more than 500 at last count – to navigate what can be something of a minefield. It’s doing so via an IT transport layer that moves data from sensors and devices to a cloud platform, effectively aggregating the world’s mobile networks to create one huge, virtual network for enterprises to tap into. “The IoT space is complex in terms of the number of components involved, and as enterprises try to get to grips with it and the value it can bring, they are finding that they need skills and expertise that are a long way away from their core business,” says Green. “Take the company making the construction equipment: for their IoT vision to become a reality, they now need to understand what it means to work with mobile operators, to understand what technologies they use and how to integrate with them, and then to think about coverage and cost. We know from our own research that enterprises are hugely concerned about these issues. For example, 85 per cent of respondents to a survey we conducted said that they were concerned about the security of connected devices and the data that is generated in IoT ecosystems. We see our role as to take these headaches away from them.”
AN AGNOSTIC APPROACH As a simple example, Green cites an enterprise that needs a cellular IoT contract to remotely monitor equipment in the UK, so it strikes a deal with one of the UK carriers. What happens, he asks, if they have equipment in parts of the country where that carrier has a poor signal or no signal at all? “There are many solutions available, not just from the mobile operators, but from other companies that have stepped into the space, such as Sigfox and the LoRa Alliance,” says Green. “We take an agnostic approach, which sees us work with the best provider wherever the enterprise needs a solution. So in that previous example, we might use one carrier where they are strong and another where they are not. We try to shield the enterprises from all this complexity, so they don’t have to worry about who is providing the back-end radio
access network. We can only do this because of the relationships we have established with more than 1,000 mobile operators across the globe over the past decade. “We also run a transparent business model, with no minimum commitment. Our clients pay for what they use, sharing one plan across all devices. The operators might be more interested in the more data-intensive use cases, but to us, it makes no difference.” This approach also avoids the issue of lock-in with any one provider. “Once you have chosen an operator and something changes, maybe it becomes too expensive, or the operator does not have the next version of the technology you need, once you are locked in to that contract, it’s extremely difficult to get out of it,” says Green. “This is a big issue in a space that is still evolving, where the enterprise interface into IoT is not standardised, and where operators, to be frank, are not terribly user-friendly in terms of working with enterprises on programming interfaces and integrations with back-end systems. We take care of this.” SAP Digital Interconnect provides its clients with a neutral SIM card for each device. This is provisioned over the air to best suit the customer’s needs, the device’s location and usage, and mobile operator environments. It can also be changed at any time over the air, so the customer can enable the connection to test the device, disable it while the device ships, then re-enable it when it arrives on site. It can also, for example, stop a device from roaming when it shouldn’t be, and prevent the use of the SIM were someone to move it from its intended device to an unauthorised one, such as to their iPad to stream Netflix movies. “All of this is available through a RESTful API, programmable through a back-end system, a mobile app, any environment you like. So it means we can integrate with any back-end system,” says Green. “And if you can do things through an API, it means you reduce almost to zero the operational cost of humans in the picture.” In a space as fast-moving as the IoT industry, Green makes a compelling case for working with a partner that can take the complexity out of it.
Liam Corcoran, VP ad and audience measurement EMEA at Research Now SSI, considers the value of data in the advertising cycle.
DATA — THE NEW OIL
he media landscape has witnessed dramatic change over the last few years, a trend that isn’t slowing down. Big traditional advertisers have cut spend in the face of digital disruption and are demanding greater transparency. Media agencies are reporting slower revenue growth and are under significant pressure to demonstrate better return on investment for their clients.
Marketers are facing the dilemma of where to spend their budgets and whether they should be shifting spend from traditional channels, such as TV, to video on demand (VOD), as consumer behaviour changes. To justify this move, marketers need to be able to accurately report on which channels are most effective and providing the best ROI. The industry needs more real-time insight and new nonlegacy approaches.
Uncertainty over how to address the exponential growth of digital advertising has also added new complexity to developing marketing strategies: Where should I buy? Who should I buy from? How do I know that my campaigns are reaching the right people, that they are being seen, that they are being placed next to the right content and are delivering ROI?
LEVERAGING DATA TO DRIVE BETTER BUSINESS RESULTS
Most businesses recognise that in order to achieve greater ROI on marketing investments, they have to get smarter about how they use their data. As companies continue to invest billions in technology to collect and house proprietary data, they need a way to tap into and leverage this investment. They need
to be able to make well-informed, strategic decisions, which strengthen their overall ROI, by tracking consumer behaviour, integrating it alongside their existing data, and being able to understand ‘why’ customers behaved in the way that they did, by talking to them directly. Data can influence multiple points along the advertising cycle, from strategy and targeting to performance and optimisation.
USING DATA TO UNDERSTAND AUDIENCE BEHAVIOUR There is some thinking in the market that there is more data online than we can possibly imagine. However, the true value of data is not the volume of information that a business has, but how that information is used. Data can inform advertising strategy, but the challenge is that, despite having a wealth
of primary data, many marketers only have part of the picture. By partnering with data companies such as Research Now SSI, it is possible to get a 360-degree view of the intended target audience. Marketers can enhance the data they already have by matching it against extensive panel data and leveraging the deep profiling that has already been done for them. Research Now SSI has over 11m panellists, in more than 40 countries, with an average of over 350 attributes on each panellist providing deeper, multifaceted insights from the ideal target audience. It is possible to take this a step further, going beyond first-party (e.g. CRM) data and primary research data by appending third-party data, such as transactional or retail sales data, where the combination of data from all three sources can achieve a single customer view. Research Now SSI, for example, can offer social data
appends as well as those from other third-party sources, such as Experian and Acxiom.
to justify a shift in spend to online, this insight is critical to help demonstrate the improved ROI.
USING DATA FOR ADVERTISING MEASUREMENT
DRIVING BETTER MARKETING DECISIONS
The next step in the cycle is to validate, optimise and measure the advertising, ultimately to inform the complete marketing strategy. Understanding how advertising is performing, whether single channel or across a mix of channels, is key to optimising advertising spend and demonstrating ROI. Combining the ability to measure online and offline exposures with traditional surveys provides data that helps brands to measure vital KPIs, including brand uplift and intent to purchase, across its intended target audiences. It is important for marketers to think about campaigns holistically and to understand which channel or mix of channels are most effective, in order to begin attributing spend to each. For marketers who are looking
Data has been described as the new oil; it will help drive the economy of tomorrow and the most effective marketers will be those who know how best to leverage data to inform their strategy. The recent merger of Research Now and SSI provides marketing professionals with access to better and more scalable premium data, providing greater reach and scale globally. By enhancing first-party data with primary research data and third-party data, businesses will be able to make better marketing decisions. Ultimately, when data is optimised it is possible to have a 360-degree view of how customers and non-customers are interacting with a brand and how campaigns are performing, from reach and awareness to impact and ROI.
THE TRUE VALUE OF DATA IS NOT THE VOLUME OF INFORMATION THAT A BUSINESS HAS, BUT HOW THAT INFORMATION IS USED.
BEATING THE APPOCALYPSE Chris O’Shea, EMEA marketing manager at TUNE, considers the art of connecting with your customer after app install.
eak App. App-plateau. Appocalypse. Call it what you like, the days of relying on mobile app installs as your primary measure of success are over. Why? Research from TUNE shows that between 5 and 8 per cent of installs you buy are outright fraud. Amazingly, the majority of real users, some 80 per cent, have no motivation to use your app and they churn just as fast as they download. As most newly acquired users churn in the first couple of months, mobile marketers are turning to re-engagement. Now the challenge lies in measuring the complete lifetime value (LTV) of a user who is being re-engaged multiple times by many campaigns. Add in retention and you have a situation where brands are struggling to connect with their most valuable users. At the end of the day, all good marketers want to know who their best customers are, because they want to keep them, reward them and build their loyalty. By measuring the LTV of users, mobile marketers can pinpoint their best users and create offers and promotions which reward them and boost retention.
Also, with many established brands, the 80/20 rule kicks in, where you see 80 per cent of revenue coming from 20 per cent of users: so knowing your most profitable customers means you can reward them and retain them. Plus, ultimately, the success of an app depends on LTV. So, the real question is this: how do you turn all those new app users into valuable customers? This is where setting up your app for success and folding it in to your customer lifecycle strategy is key. At the end of the day, your app customer is your best customer. Examining deep funnel analytics and retention or app onboarding are key when it comes to converting new app users to valued customers. App onboarding requires a product tutorial, CRM push and paid advertising. The goal is to build engagement until the magic moment where customers ‘can’t live without’ your app takes place. Furthermore, brands can learn a lot from mobile gaming companies who have been the trailblazers of mobile player acquisition and engagement for years. They measure the customer journey with pinpoint accuracy all along
the way. The goal is to configure the game in a way that leads the players to micro-transactions (e.g. coins to level up). In a similar manner, brands should be focused on creating affinity for their app through configurations that maximise loyalty.
TUNE recommends some useful steps: •
Combine your app store optimisation with your paid campaigns for a lower effective cost per install. On average, every paid install drives an additional 1.5 organic installs by increasing app store visibility.
A/B test push notifications, messaging, features and navigation flow to determine the best offers, messaging and user experience based on segments you’ve created.
Add deep links to push notifications and in-app messages to deliver users to specific locations in your app and trigger automated actions like applying a discount at checkout.
Developing customer loyalty and increasing LTV with your app means going way beyond the install. Plus, these recommended steps will take you a long way to fulfilling your app goals – especially now in a post-Appocalyptic age!
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Published on Feb 23, 2018