As we gear up for our latest futuristic feature here at Distilled, Tom Anthony, Paddy Moogan and Will Critchlow take the reins of this week’s DistilledLive video. Tune in below to hear some of our predictions for the digital trends of 2014.
You can read the full transcript for the video below.
Over to you, dear reader
Have you noticed any notable shifts between online and offline behaviour? What do you expect to see from some of the leading brands within our industry? We’d love to hear your comments below.
Will: Hi everyone. I'm Will Critchlow, and I'm joined today by Paddy Moogan and Tom Anthony. We're going to be talking a little bit about some of the trends that we think we're going to see over the coming year around online marketing.
Paddy, you had some particular thoughts about this.
Paddy: Yeah. I feel that there's going to be a big trend towards syncing of offline and online information, particularly anything that can be related to advertising.
Paddy: For example, Facebook with their platform at the moment, they're moving towards in the U.S. syncing activity by people offline, such as taking a car for a test drive, signing up for some sort of free trial in a store, taking that data and using it to retarget people online.
Paddy: And that's quite new at the moment in the
Paddy: But you can see that kind of thing becoming more and more common because our on and offline are becoming closer together, and whenever there's opportunity for more ad spend from advertisers, people are going to develop the technologies that run that stuff.
Paddy: So Facebook are currently getting data from offline sources, bringing it online, crunching it together with all their other data, and showing you more relevant . . .
Will: Which is similar, I guess, to the trend we see in the Universal Analytics, which is . . .
Will: ...partly designed to do the same thing . . .
Paddy: Yeah, exactly.
Will: ...from your own data sources.
Paddy: I think that's going to become more automatic. Like Universal Analytics at the moment is very much manual. You have to bring in your own data . . .
Paddy: ..send it back, all that kind of stuff. The more that Google, Facebook, those kinds of companies can make it easier and automate it, advertising is going to become easier. It's going to really take off from there I think.
Will: That makes sense. Where are they going to get this data from?
Tom: I actually think that there's going to be like a merging of those two phenomena, the people doing it manually bringing their own data, but mixing it with the data that they're getting from be it Facebook or Google+. You start to get weird trends of people saying like, "Okay, for our customers, we know this about their online behavior and offline behavior."
That's all going to be merged together with the Universal Analytics so you know how one user is behaving online and offline. Then, merging that into the trends they see on the through the line data that they're getting from Facebook . . .
Will: Demographic information, for example.
Tom: Exactly. So I think then you can start to target. Currently, if you do Facebook advertising, you're targeting based on that demographic data, just the online data. We're talking about that we're going to see this trend of them starting to target people from the offline and through the line data. I think that people are going to be segmenting their users by their personal through the line data and applying that to their advertising for the through the line.
Paddy: What also happens there is people are very rarely properly offline.
Paddy: You know, you walk around with your phone in your pocket. You're probably logged into Facebook. You're probably logged into Google account.
Paddy: If you've got an Android phone, they've got GPS data. Apple have got iPhone data.
Paddy: So you're never actually 100 percent offline.
Will: I was thinking a similar thing after Google bought Nest. Everybody was talking about the Internet of things.
Will: But both terms were a little bit ambiguous. What's not a thing? Were our computers or phones not things?
Will: And the Internet thing, everybody's connected more and more all the time. It's actually quite scary, I think, how many people opt in - I have - to the Google Maps location history data.
Tom: I opted out. They're watching you right now.
Will: You're one of few people. It's amazing when you go and login to your history and you see that actually Google knows everywhere you've been, and you've told them it's okay to use that data.
Will: And you did that because it gave you a better map.
Tom: That's scary, yeah. And that's going to be applied to the advertising stuff as we were talking about beforehand with the adverts that are aware of your presence.
Will: Again, and you get the specific stuff . . .
Will: ...so they know you are right there. But even if you've opted out of this kind of thing, they still get to use the aggregated data.
Will: That's where they get traffic data from so they know how busy the roads are. Next step, I think, has got to be knowing how busy a given shop is, how many people have gone to the mall. You know, they can predict all that.
Tom: And that all fits together with the acquisition early last year or the previous year of Behavio, the company that Google bought, that basically did predicting your next actions based on your history. Normally, Monday to Friday, you're getting up at this time, you're traveling to this location, and you're going to here. They start to predict where you're going to go.
We're already seeing some of that trend with Google now where they're sort of giving you results you never asked for. You layer that stuff onto that aggregated data, and soon it's like, "Okay, well we predict that this person's going to be here because of their patterns, and we know on aggregate that that means we can also extrapolate that they're going to be doing this, and we can tune the advertising to that."
Paddy: Yeah, especially with more interactive billboards becoming . . .
Paddy: ..ever popular, especially with big cities like London, New York, where they've got all these massive billboards. They're not going to stay static forever. They're going to hook into API's, hook into Google, hook into Facebook, and potentially change the adverts based on who's walking past.
Will: Which is probably the other big trend that we've been talking about a lot. More and more traditional advertising is looking like digital.
Will: It's bought digitally. It's rendered digitally. It's delivered digitally. Or it connects into these digital platforms.
Will: They know more about you. But we think that's going the other way as well. So we've been talking a lot about online media spends and how that can be used for brand building, where up until now a lot of digital media has really been quite direct response.
Will: I know, Paddy, you've been thinking a lot about this.
Paddy: Yeah, particularly some of the trend we've seen with link building and that becoming much harder. The bar's much higher to getting quality links these days. So we need to look at other ways to promote content. So paid promotion through Twitter, through Facebook, StumbleUpon, even YouTube video advertising . . .
Paddy: ...all that kind of stuff is going to become more and more important because it's another tool that we can use to get content and get the brands behind that content in front of their audience. We've seen it with Facebook. They're investing heavily in the video ad platform.
Paddy: They've got the audience. If they can get the technology right to target people and get the analytics right to make it easier for us as marketers to post on those platforms, we're going to spend more money there. We're going to attract a bigger audience. That kind of thing is going to become more important.
Paddy: It creates another way of getting in front of the right people.
Will: Yeah. We think that there's a big step change to happen on both sides, really...
Tom: I think the point is that there won't necessarily be both sides in the future. There will just be advertising online and offline.
Will: Yeah, absolutely.
Tom: It's all going to be one thing, isn't it?
Will: Yeah. But what I...
Tom: At the moment, there is still.
Will: We're going to at the moment, the platforms aren't quite there.
Will: So we don't think YouTube's offering is quite right. We don't think Facebook have completely nailed this.
Will: We think we're going to get better tools from those guys to do the advertising in the first place, but also to close the loop and measure the effect of it. Then, there's a quid pro quo, I guess, of as marketers we haven't quite nailed this either. We haven't...
Will: ... completely got the model for what does this somewhat noncommercial but brand building content that can be supported by ad spend, what does that look like. We haven't completely nailed that either, have we?
Paddy: And that's a big challenge, because if we're going to clients asking for budget to do advertising for a piece of content, the first they're going to ask is, "Well, how do we know if it's successful?"
Will: How are we going to measure that?
Paddy: It's not their direct sales. You know, very rarely is content designed for a direct sale.
Paddy: So we need to think about how we're going to come at that challenge as well. That's going to be really hard. But it's in the advertiser's interests to help us with that, to close the loop, conversion tracking to, like with Twitter, lead generation, all that kind of stuff.
Will: Yeah, and brand measurement as well.
Paddy: Yeah, exactly.
Will: That whole area's probably a topic for another day. I think we're going to wrap up there. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again soon.