CES 2016: Connected consumer journey

This year at the CES, most of talks were around drones, wearable, VR headsets and TV. All said the CES was an evolution than revolution.
One common thread that mattered across the event was the use of data and how best to utilise these for marketers. Most importantly use these for driving a valuable brand experiences.

Wearable:- Considering the valuable data that can be generated through these, Fitbit announced its Blaze wearable, Fossil is getting into the wearable and connected device market by announcing 100+ new products/ launches. Around the health and fitness were Huawei’s Honor Band Z1 which helps track fitness, perform tasks like counting yours sleeping hours, record of how one sleeps etc.
All these mean that brand have an opportunity to target users in new ways. Fitness, sleep, eating habits all generate valuable data that can be used to market relevant one- on- one advertising and content. Exploring partnership opportunities is a way to go and ensure delivery of products that are complimentary to health and fitness.

Cars and IoT:– Cars will be an important platform with many hi tech cars getting released. VW had the concept cars- e- Golf Touch that lets you know what’s in your fridge. BMW had a similar technology which lets you control things like lighting, heating and appliances by staying in the car.
Toyota had a similar announcement with a foray into AI that will enable cars to communicate without human interactions. For a marketer this means that like any other media, brands can tailor ads and provide experiences. Finding a nearby store, delivering a in the moment message. Voice search will become important and brand need to understand how consumers are likely to use voice search and refine brand experiences to improve conveniences within voice search.

Connected Home:– A wealth of new smart, connected household devices were on display at the CES. Samsung had a family bridge and Whirlpool’s new Smart washers and Dryer lets to integrate Amazon Dash functionality to enable easy restocking.
Home is now being identified s a new battleground and data collected through these will be very valuable. But the journey doesn’t look easy as this is a very competitive Google and its Nest program is in direct competition with Amazon and its Alexa platform. The biggest announcement was obviously the announcement of Netflix, which is adding 130 countries to its list. It’s a huge step in the Internet TV services.
Treasures of advertising and content opportunities exist for brands. A smart fridge can send direct reminders to your phone if it senses that the food has been spoiled, food is over etc. Added to this when you connect everything in the house imagine the data and opportunity to deliver one- to-one messages across the ecosystem based on the IoT data.
Combining the data created at home and the automotive will only increase and make this space more competition.

VR and AR, the darling of CES:– For marketers the opportunity that exist through gaming and utility apps and creative advertising is ony getting bigger. What interesting is that both AR and VR have now become cheaper and more accessible.
Oculus- owned by Facebook announces that consumers will be able to order the Rift handset at less than $600. Gramin has a similar AR display which lets cyclists mount in their sunglass providing performance endurance information and directions. Hyundai developed a similar app called the Virtual Guide, which enables the users to use the phones to perform basic maintenance.
VR shopping experience is going to redefine path to purchase by creating more intuitive online shopping experiences and reduce length of shopping.
Brands should look to explore integrating VR and AR into their experiences and marketing strategy to create more realistic and engaging experiences to help improve the consideration phase of customers.
Creating immersive experiences on the go is what marketers can leverage by crating VR content and advertising.

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Programmatic: The state of it

With 2015 coming to a close, one key buzzword in the digital space has been “programmatic buying”. I would like to take this opportunity to give my thoughts.

A recent Ad Exchanger survey showed that there has been some evolution from one of two players to more adopters across various industries.

The main industries seen investing in programmatic have been Retail, Financial services, Media and CPG.

Based on the survey, there have been both a cautious and bullish opinion on marketers adopting programmatic. This is expected to change as we see the overall market maturing with expanded pool and type of inventory. This would eventually lead to a more increase in investments on programmatic.

There three main areas of programmatic that will see an increase. These are.

Desktop display, which still dominates and is the most mature of the programmatic channel.

Programmatic video remains popular, however the challenge remains in getting premium inventory. YouTube still remains the most popular destination for most marketers.

Programmatic mobile, which is growing & expected to grow with industry maturity and ad unit prices remaining low.

All said and keeping a high hope for the year ahead, the main challenge still remains with the key issue of “ transparency”

This is not a surprise considering agency-trading desks and kickback concerns. Added to this the complexity of having layers and layers in the value chain.

As a result we are seeing many agencies having direct involvement by investing in technology or engaging in more oversight into agency and partner management.

Agencies continue to point fingers at “ inventory quality” as the biggest problem. This obviously leads to a lot of trust issue between the agency and the clients on roles, responsibilities and expectations.

The key benefit still remains the low CPM, which is very visible in the CPG industry who view programmatic as a mechanism to drive cost saving and reduce non-working media dollars. This is complete contrast to ROI driven clients who go to the extent of matching impression purchase price to the expected ROI.

Another interesting trend developing off late is the use of multiple DSPs- Turn, Double click Bid Manager, MediaMath etc.- to execute full scope of the programmatic media efforts. This does provide its own challenges in terms of data overlap, poor frequency management- this trend is likely to increase as marketers try to maximise reach and use channel specific DSPs.

The Next big wave?

The next big thing to look out for is programmatic TV, though in infancy the excitement among the buyers are increasing- granular targeting, flexibility and measurement in the television media space.

On thing is for sure, programmatic will be an interesting space to watch out for. Programmatic media has moved from “ tip of the iceberg” to mainstream.