Specialization and Integration in Advertising and Marketing

Is our world of advertising and marketing headed towards super specialization? Or, in a weird, wonderful, roundabout way, are we headed towards a more collaborative, integrated environment?

Advertising was an art form. A creative beauty. Then, somewhere along the way, it evolved into both a n art and science. With accountability, with data, with technology and its immense enabling power, today advertising per se does not exist apparently. Today it is engagement, today it is conversation, it is dialog. And it is fast becoming a collective of specializations. Skill sets are no longer broad spectrum, they are now highly honed areas of zoomed in qualities and knowledge.

Cesar Hidalgo, a physicist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Why Information Grows, coins the word “personbyte” to describe the amount of knowledge that one person can reasonably know. The personbyte isn’t getting any smaller but — relative to the knowledge that needs to be mustered to produce a modern scientific paper, or a computer, or a car — the personbyte looks ever more inadequate.

In our context, this 'personbyte' is becoming highly demanding, and thus asking for head spaces that are guardians of specifics rather than wide spectrum. You cannot be an expert in SEO and SEM at the same time. You cannot really write great copy and also edit film. You cannot be the one who translates data into insight and then photoshop it into a beautiful instagram. Or can you?

Here, team work is becoming important. This seems to be the only way to break free from the limits of 'personbyte' in our world. Thus, within an agency environment, integration and working together is becoming key. One person cannot hold all the necessary know-how in her head, so she must work together with others. One agency, in theory, has the same constraints. Thus it is becoming important, and imperative for a specialized creative agency to work with a highly skilled data agency. A media planning agency with a highly tech driven buying agency that say, specializes, in Real Time Bidding.

And were increasingly seeing this model succeed with large groups of agencies who have multiple specializations within their umbrella shade, going in together and offering 1+1=11 solutions. Offering integrated thinking and integrated doing. Like the old world of through-the-line. But this time a bit different. The sum of the parts being greater than the whole. Gestalt.

Today's pitch teams in the agency world are huge. At least in the planning and prep stage. Several specialist skills now input where usually a creative team would 'crack the pitch deck' in the early days. This is a natural step in the evolution process of our world of consumer engagement, because there are so many channels, so many voices, so many ways to connect, that one needs so many guides to bring it all together. And large agency groups are going in, armed with better insights, better data to back up their claims, better creative (born out of better inputs) and result driven marketing solutions that can be analyzed, measured and revised as needed. All by specialists. All working together.

5 Factors of Display Ad Viewability

There is a lot of debate around display ad viewability. Many of the ads that brands pay for never really appear on the display screen. Advertisers are ken to shift towards paying for viewable instead of served impressions and thanks to advancements in technology and better standards in tracking we are now able to measure which digital ads are actually viewed.

The industry standard of a viewed ad is simple: A display ad is considered viewable when 50% of an ad’s pixels are in view on the screen for a minimum as defined by the of one second, Media Rating Council. Out of this we get what is called a 'Viewability Rate' … Percentage of ads determined viewable out of the total number of ads measured.

Here are five key factors to consider regarding ad viewability:

1. Page position is key. The most viewed ads are right above the fold – not on top of page.

This goes against what most marketers believe. Age old wisdom (actually, how old is age old in the interweb?) suggests that the horizontal banner on top of the page is the win-win. Well, not according to studies from Google. Ads that appear just about above the fold are the winners. 

2. Ad size does matter! Google reminds us that the most viewable ad sizes are vertical units. Not a surprise, since they stay on screen longer as users move around a page. The highest scoring ad size is the 120x240 format placed just around above the fold. Other good sizes are the 240x400, the 160x600 and the 120x600 (width first in all size references). All of them score above 50%.

3. Above the fold does NOT guarantee viewability. Surprised? While average viewability rates are better when ads are above the fold, but page position isn’t always the best indicator of viewability. Not all above-the-fold impressions are viewable, while many below-the-fold impressions are. Around 68% of above the fold ads are viewed. And around 40% of ads below the fold are viewed. 

4. Viewability rates vary with industry or content verticals. While it ranges across content verticals, or industries, content that holds a user’s attention has the highest viewability. So this takes us back to the importance of both content and context. 

Online reference and communities fare the best while internet and telecom and hobbies and leisure driven verticals are at the bottom of the chart. Here again, it is important to remember pull vs push content and context. If I am looking for something and you are showing me an ad in that context with relevant content, you score higher. 

5. The publisher is important. A small number of publishers are serving most of the non-viewable impressions; 56.1% of all impressions are not seen, but the average publisher viewability is 50.2%. When planning your media distribution, it's probably best to ask for the publishers viewability standards and their average rates.

Note: All intelligence in this article is from Google data.