What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for next 12-24 months?
Native advertising and content marketing are the fastest growing sectors in digital, expected to surpass $4 billion this year, up 34% from 2014. The issue however is clickbait, both for consumers and marketers. Companies like Outbrain and Taboola have built their business models on tricking users to click by misleading them with sensationalized headlines or racy images that are unrelated to the actual content being promoted. This poses both a great challenge and a great opportunity for us. It’s a challenge because brands and consumers have gotten used to clicking and getting clicks on content, often aimlessly without an end in mind. It’s an opportunity because this aimless clicking doesn’t result in brand loyalty and engagement, so we can make a real difference here with our platform which is all built on actual engagement and trust.
What are some unmet needs in marketing technology landscape?
Delivering and measuring real engagement with promoted content. Nearly all native and content marketing platforms focus on driving clicks which ultimately leads to clickbait business models that don’t serve the consumer or the marketer. The opportunity however is enormous as more than $100 billion in ad spend is moving from display and other traditional forms of advertising to content promotion. A demographic sector to pay attention to is the millennials. They are growing in their spending power yet are ever more skeptical as to what they spend their money on. They want access to real credible content to make decisions, not just brand messaging. Unfortunately marketers are not equipped with tools they can easily use to drive real engagement and influence purchase decisions.
What keeps your clients up at night?
Do clicks really matter in a world where I need people to actually spend time with my content to make an impact? How do I show ROI instead of traffic that’s for the most part useless?
What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?
Snapchat as people don’t want their social past to haunt their future! Another interesting thing about Snapchat is that while it’s putting a $750,000 minimum on ad buys on its platform, what they’ve gotten right is that when viewing an ad on Snapchat, you actually have to actively hold down a button to see the content on the screen before it disappears, as opposed to just having the window open idly. This indirectly supports the whole premise of what we’re measuring our success on — people actually spending a certain amount of time engaging with content.
What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about?
The purchase funnel. Consumers are much more dynamic now than ever before and it’s a mistake to assume the traditional awareness, consideration, purchase occurs linearly. Instead, it’s about every engagement with the consumer and the impact of that engagement.
2015 will be all about:
Undoubtedly it will be the year of content marketing and native advertising going mainstream and commanding major ad dollars. I believe the adoption rate will sharply exceed expectations and it will come at the expense of the failed display advertising industry. Every brand will realize people don’t pay attention to ads but they care about content especially when it’s good quality and authentic content. And we can’t forget the millennials. According to Deloitte, they are expected to spend $62 million on media in 2015.