By Lou Mastria
Photo: “Keeping Up with the Multi-Device User – Enhanced Transparency and Control Beyond the Desktop” Keynote Panel at DAA Summit 2015 (Left to Right): Joan FitzGerald, Senior Vice President, Television and Cross Media Service, comScore; John Montgomery, Chief Operating Officer, GroupM Connect; Vivek Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, Ziff Davis; and Nick Nyhan, Chief Executive Officer, WPP Data Alliance. The panel was introduced by Nancy Hill, president and chief executive officer, 4A’s (not pictured).
The Big Idea: As technology evolves and consumers are engaged across multiple platforms, the DAA’s self-regulatory program can adapt to provide transparency and control for devices beyond the desktop.
Amid ever-changing technology, the Digital Advertising Alliance continues to evolve and transform while providing a privacy benchmark for clients, noted Nancy Hill, president and CEO of 4A’s, one of six founding members of DAA, who introduced a keynote panel at the DAA Summit 2015 “Evolution” on June 2.
Moderator John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Connect, opened the panel by recalling the inception of the DAA Icon program, which took place years ago at the very location of the Summit, Ogilvy Events on New York City’s West Side.
“How does the consumer fit into this new multiplatform usage?” asked Joan FitzGerald, senior vice president of television and cross media services at comScore. ComScore’s data comparing platform use by age shows that while millennials are mostly using mobile devices and older adults tend to use desktop devices, the largest segment among all ages is multiplatform usage.
Comscore’s research shows 60 percent of Millennials watch videos and television programming on smartphones every month, and that all consumers increasingly are engaging in this mobile lifestyle most often for convenience, choice, and -- for millennials in particular -- decreased price.
Figure 1, comScore: Multi-platform is the largest segment of platform usage across all age groups, suggesting that consumers are embracing a more convenient lifestyle relying on multiple platforms in daily activities.
“Consumers have fully embraced the choice and convenience of the digital multi-platform world” FitzGerald said. These choices, she noted, make life easier for consumers. Easily measured data on multiplatform usage makes for faster and more focused results for the ad tech community, which will ultimately lead to a better customer experience – one based on transparency and control.
“The measurability of digital platforms has created this ecosystem of choice and convenience for consumers, and they have certainly embraced it,” FitzGerald said.
Data Exchange Brings Relevance – and Consumer Engagement
On the importance of data and its implications on digital and video publishing decisions, Vivek Shah, CEO of Ziff Davis, said, “Data is absolutely critical to how we operate, from a content and advertising perspective.” Content-wise, Shah said data helps provide context and tailoring to the consumer experience, which leads to increased customer engagement and repeat visits.
“The promise of data is relevance for the consumer, from both content and advertising perspectives,” Shah said. From an advertising perspective, Shah stated that when people welcome advertising, the results are more usage, viewership and a reduction of waste. “Data fuels advertising, and advertising fuels free content and online experiences, a big benefit for the consumer,” Shah said.
“We don’t need to know everything about consumers: we need to know the right data to make informed decisions,” said Nick Nyhan, CEO of WPP Data Alliance, noting the importance of horizontal data and its efficient use.
Consumers and (More) Connected Devices
Montgomery cited a 2011 article where Cisco predicted that by 2020 there will be approximately 7 devices and connections per person. He reflected on the implications and usage of this connectivity.
“Consumers will only make decisions that feel good,” Nyhan said. Discussing the exchange of data between consumer and industry, Nyhan noted that consumers give data in order to get back a useful product.
“These technologies have changed our world,” said FitzGerald on the rise in data-driven products. “We will have more of that in the future, because of connectivity and data-driven investments.”
“How has the precise targeting, increased measurement, and fragmentation affected your business, and where are you going?” Montgomery asked.
“There is an interesting dichotomy in the market place,” answered Shah. “There is a data-driven model of advertising, yet some of the classic tools of measurement that advertisers are used to are absent. We as an industry have to figure out at the consumer level where they [the consumer] can express choice on all forms of advertising. How we allow consumers to express choice is something we have to think through.”
DAA Enables Transparency and Choice – and More
“The [DAA] Icon has become a symbol of privacy and trust,” Montgomery said. “People recognize the [DAA] Icon, it gives the consumer a sense of transparency, that data is being collected and measured.”
Speaking of the Icon, “To me it’s like pulling back the curtain and seeing what’s going on behind the scenes.” Nyhan said, who commented on a recent grill ad he saw online, questioning, “Why are you showing ads for grills when you know I have one because I bought propane for it last week, show me ads for grill covers.” Nyhan cautioned, “We have a long way to go to make smarter ads.”
Shah commented on the new challenges that cross-device channels bring. There are issues of attribution and reach frequency, as well as difficulties in determining user profiles. FitzGerald also noted these new challenges, stating, “Advertisers are concerned with wearing out their ads.” Multiplatform usage introduces new problems with where and how often consumers are seeing ads, she said. “How advertisers understand this in a multiplatform environment is a difficult measurement.”
The panel spotlighted where consumer behavior is heading – and how self-regulation needs to keep pace with change. As recent M&A activity may indicate, video – and mobile video – is rising fast in usage, particularly among younger audiences as well as the general population. The marketplace is evolving – and DAA is keeping pace: not only does our Mobile Guidance enforcement take effect on September 1, but also DAA will post ad marker specifications for the DAA Icon for in-stream and in-page video ads later this year.