I recently had the opportunity to attend my favorite conference, the iMedia Agency Summit. In my opinion, iMedia has really dialed in on the perfect conference setup…great content, a focused track for agency folks (we get distracted easily), and quality time with vendor partners that I don’t see often enough.
This year the focus of the summit was a topic I’ve been thinking and talking about (much to the chagrin of my coworkers) a lot lately…”Mad Men + Math Men.” It was about leveraging all of the data we are now collecting to make us smarter marketers, and I have to say, it is an exciting time to be in digital media.
There are three major points that caught my attention:
1. Technology is finally evolving to the point that it is useful for digital media management.
As an industry, we’ve relied heavily on cookie-based information for targeting. One speaker said “cookie-based targeting is like visiting a car dealership, and then having the salesman approach you on the golf course.” Companies are not only getting smarter about the information they collect on consumers, but how they collect that information and then how it is applied to media strategy.
There is also significant improvement in multi-channel data aggregation and visualization. One speaker referencing a client he was working with said “give me the data to do something different than I did yesterday, and we’ll sneak up on perfection.” We are still a ways off, but the tools are being developed right now that might not get us to perfection, but at the very least will make our media work harder.
2. Consumers are becoming much more particular about advertising (shocker, I know).
In 1996, the industry average click-through rate on display ads was 2%! This year the industry average is 0.08%. Granted, clickable content in 1996 was much more novel, but the truth remains that the digital landscape is much more cluttered today and consumers are much less tolerant and significantly less responsive to poorly executed ads.
The advent of more sophisticated targeting and richer user experiences within the ad combined with an understanding that frequency capping is a MUST will help us as responsible advertisers to provide value to our consumers rather than just beating them over the head with dancing baby gifs and smash the cockroach games.
3. With all this technology, advertising is still very emotional.
Probably the most interesting presentation was by Dan Hill of Sensory Logic. He is an expert in Facial Coding and what was interesting is how applicable his skillset is to advertising.
His main point was that even with all this information, advertising still has to create an emotional connection because at the most basic level, we still make decisions emotionally…the oldest portion of our brain is the emotional part, the youngest (in terms of evolution) is the rational part.
Dan Hill and his team at Sensory Logic conduct emotional response studies that provide insight into not only what consumers notice in an ad but also what they feel when they see certain elements. Their ability to accomplish this is based, in large part, in their acute understanding of involuntary microexpressions that people are performing without ever knowing it…Dan Hill is one person you would never want to lie to.
All-in-all, as with each iMedia Summit, I came away exhausted from the long days and inundation of information, but also energized about the direction of our industry and the opportunity that is right in front of us. Here’s to the next 10 years and the coming ability to track your every move through a chip implanted in your head…KIDDING!