Human touch needed if web ads are to have right impact…

Building blocks: of ad placement

At the root of the problem of the online display market being blighted by poorly positioned ads that fail to serve their purpose through their placement in front of irrelevant audiences ( is the over-reliance on automated technologies, which shift inventory without taking into account the appropriateness of each ad placement for the brand in question or preventing errors in blocklists.

Of course, these technologies represent significant advances in algorithmic placement of advertising but it would be unwise to all rush in one direction, forgetting the value of human judgement.

Advertising requires art as well as science. For it to protect a brand’s reputation, it still requires human judgement to ensure that they make the right impact on the consumer and prevent some mistakes. This is not something that can be achieved simply by the product of algorithm, but delivered through a considered approach with a human.

Placing ads shouldn’t be like the Wild West – you should be able to choose the streets you roam, and it’s probably best to get around with someone from the neighbourhood who knows where to best put your billboards and on which doors to knock.

Spyro Korsanos, CEO, Mediasyndicator


…And greater use of online technology

While brands have legitimate concerns regarding the amount of control they have over their online campaigns, technological innovations in display marketing are making significant steps to solve the problems that have long plagued the industry.

Single solution advertising platforms, which encompass planning, buying, optimisation and analytics, can provide the necessary transparency that the industry craves. In particular, platforms that incorporate programmatic buying for inventory offer users better control over where their ads are placed by allowing them to access, review and edit the list of domains they wish to bid for.

This ensures their ads are placed on the highest quality inventory with the most relevant audiences. To reach these target audiences, programmatic buying facilitates bidding on a contextually relevant basis – where the content on the domain is scanned for appropriateness before bids are made on the ad space. This extra level of brand protection is now provided as a standard out-of-the-box feature by many demand-side platforms and is working to avoid the negative brand associations that are a result of misplaced ads online.

While programmatic buying will go a long way to remedy the issues we currently face, we must remember that it can only be successful if efforts are made from both brands and media agencies to understand how to effectively use the technology. Once this has been established we will firmly be on the path towards the gold standard of modern marketing.

Gustav Mellentin, CEO, Adform


Social communities should be used to encourage sales

Sephora: online community

A lack of trust is not why digital natives are giving f-commerce the thumbs down (, it’s because it is failing to provide the right environment for social commerce.

Digital is engrained into the lives of 16- to 24-year-olds and the demographic is primed for ecommerce. However, many marketers fail to recognise the true potential of social and are approaching Facebook as just another broadcast channel.

The true power of community is enabling deeper engagement and advocacy that, in turn, will lead to higher sales and a greater degree of customer satisfaction.

Going a step further, brands would do well to build their own social hubs instead of outsourcing this engagement to walled-garden social networks. Cosmetics brand Sephora has created a community that encourages its customers to discuss their passion.

Members of the Sephora BeautyTalk community spend on average two-and-a-half times more than the customers who aren’t members. And the most active community users – superfans – spend ten times more.

This is clear evidence of the ROI that social communities can deliver. However, social is best used as a tool to encourage sales rather than a direct sales channel.

Bruno Teuber, SVP & GM EMEA, Lithium Technologies


Big data is all about tales of the unexpected

To analyse and act solely on the “data that is relevant and supports what you already know about your customers” ( contradicts the fundamental principles of business analytics.

Analysing big data provides brands with the chance to discover the unexpected, deliver new insights and explain what this insight could mean for the business’s bottom line.

Some of the big data in question may hold valuable information about products, services and sales channel performance, not just customers. All of this insight is extremely valuable to the marketer looking for a competitive edge and market knowledge.

Despite the article discussing traditional transactional and “new” social media data as the main sources of big data, there are many more sources. These include GPS, machine-generated data, behaviour tracking web tools and user reviews.

The opportunity for marketers to take advantage of big data lies in creating a strategy that identifies their key business challenges, seeks out and crystallises insight from big data sources and capitalises on this new but crucial insights that can allow companies to stay ahead of the game.

Dr Charles Randall, solutions marketing manager, SAS Marketing


How to build on London 2012’s feelgood factor

After a slow start, the good weather and Team GB’s gold rush eventually translated into better-than-expected trading for retailers during the Olympics. This was a much-needed boost for the high street, and the Paralympics may again improve conditions for savvy retailers who engage customers correctly this summer.

One of the main issues for the Olympic and Paralympic organisers is legacy, and the high street should ask how can retailers build on the positive lasting effects of the summer of sport in the long term?

Marketers should be taking full advantage of the spike in consumer activity around the Olympics and Paralympics. One example would be using data provided by customers who have opted-in to use Wi-Fi hotspots across London during the Games. This information can be used to help identify consumers’ shopping habits and preferences.

By delivering targeted, dynamic marketing campaigns this summer, brands have a genuine chance to increase long-term engagement. Marketers with the foresight to use this summer’s events to develop a lasting connection with customers will ensure their spot on the marketing podium in 2013.

Simon Robinson, senior director marketing and alliances EMEA, Responsys