What’s the Point of Advertising?

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During industry events like Advertising Week, it’s impossible to forget that advertising, and advertising technology, is a billion-dollar industry. But sometimes during all the hype it’s important to step back and think – what’s the point of all this?

Marketers’ goals revolve around generating profitable revenue for their business. To succeed, they have to generate awareness, consideration and intent to purchase, converting that intent into visits to a store or website, and finally a purchase.

When you think about it, it’s no easy task.

First, you’ve got to capture the attention, and better yet the imagination, of your target audience. In the era of peak stuff consumers are increasingly looking to brands which reflect their personal values. But creating meaning and making a brand ‘stand’ for something can be tougher than it sounds. Many traditional brands – Gillette, Nike, Pepsi to name a few – have found themselves in hot water following politically-charged advertising campaigns, while trying to engage with their customers.

Once you’ve built that desire up, you’ve got to get people to switch-off Netflix and make it into store or (more easily) visit the website to browse. But for many brands, particularly the more established, the bricks and mortar store experience remains a vital part of the purchase funnel, not to mention a significant cost outlay which needs to deliver a return.

And you’ve still got to get that purchase over the line.

To achieve all the above, brands and their agencies work out detailed strategies, looking at how to engage their customers and nurture them through the entire purchase funnel. Each campaign is designed to generate a specific outcome for its brand.

And to deliver this huge spectrum of brand goals, from awareness all the way through to purchase and loyalty, the ad tech industry optimizes to clicks.

How can so many diverse objectives and outcomes be achieved through the same tactic? The answer is they can’t, or at least they can’t be achieved to the standard brands require to compete in today’s market.

We need a shift in mind-set. Rather than having a marketing goal, optimizing towards a media metric and then measuring the marketing outcome via a brand study, we should run campaigns that cut out that middle metric, and optimize directly to the marketing outcome.

Artificial intelligence has revolutionized how data can be processed, allowing each point to be looked at individually, but also as part of a wider trend. This allows brands to identify how consumers engage, interact and feel about their brands, identifying the triggers that move someone from intent to a purchase. And the same technology can harness this information and use it to improve outcomes, making each campaign’s optimization unique to the brand, campaign and audience it is reaching.

At LoopMe, when a leading retailer came to us with the challenge to drive measurable brand metrics, we utilised AI, analytics and attribution to deliver a 39% uplift in purchase intent. AI technology is going to make the difference between advertising delivering the CMO’s goals or just delivering.

Yes, it’s more difficult. To shift the needle your technology needs to be able to measure and handle the subtleties in the data that make an increase in consideration different from a shift in intent. It also has to be able to learn from that data and apply the learnings in real-time. It’s possible, it’s more effective, and it’s already being used by brands worldwide.

Customers are demanding more from their brands, and we should demand more of advertising.

To learn more about LoopMe, visit https://loopme.com/

Pete O'Mara-Kane

GM International at LoopMe

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