In the age of ad-blockers, a case for ‘thumb-stopping’ creatives

GroupM global chief digital officer Rob Norman on how advertising needs to evolve in the digital age


GroupM global chief digital officer Rob Norman. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
GroupM global chief digital officer Rob Norman. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

The publisher has the responsibility to provide an authentic opportunity to see. The advertiser must offer a relevant proposition. The creative must be sufficiently arresting. And the media must provide the right environment, fit for the target.”

These were the requisites listed by GroupM global chief digital officer Rob Norman for digital advertising to deliver, overcoming the ad-blocking challenge.

He was addressing delegates at the International Advertising Association (IAA) Cabana on 21 June, during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016.

In this context, does the ecosystem demand a different working relationship between the stakeholders? It does in some cases, Norman said, adding that evolved relationships are already in place to cater to current demands. He also made a case for jointly briefing all stakeholders.

“Only by briefing together can there be a harmonious implementation of the plan, defining a fit-for-purpose media placement,” he said.

Publishers need to build content of sufficient value that could help them transition from an advertising-led model to a subscription model, Norman said. He emphasized the need to create ad units and design user experience while respecting data access constraints and privacy concerns of users.

“We need to create advertising assets that are ‘thumb-stopping’ creative,” noted Norman.

“The key factor to the value of video is whether anyone is watching it,” said the speaker, adding that re-engineering video for platforms was very important.

Countering the notion that video consumption on mobile was ubiquitous, Norman pointed out the lag in adoption of 4G in many parts of the world, including India. He explained that the only app that works on 2G is Facebook, because it was built for purpose, after a reduction of features that could hamper speed. Even on 3G, there are issues like buffering, Norman contended, adding that 4G had only been launched in parts of India. In a bundled offer for the iPhone5, only 20% of buyers used 4G, with the rest are using it as a Wifi device, besides using it for voice and text messages, he added.

“To assume that the world has moved from a broadcast model to mobile video would be completely incorrect,” said Norman, submitting that if video was a solution, it would need to factor in various considerations.

Norman noted that 90% of investments by his company since 2007 had been in data-driven businesses.

On the client end, Norman mooted the idea of defining key performance indicators at an enterprise level, across the portfolio. Underlining the need for looking at sources of data closely, he urged more dependence on first-party data rather than third-party data. Companies that are not digitally native will have to move up fast, Norman said.

There is “nothing worse than having data but not having a mechanism to reward yourself from it”, he said.

CampaignIndia.in

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