The Next Big Ad Innovation: Stop Stealing My Time

by Lizzie Widhelm, Senior Vice President, Ad Product Sales & Strategy, Pandora

I think about time, all of the time. With a busy career, spouse and three young sons, I often feel like I have very little of it. So little, in fact, that I’m relentless about choosing who and what gets my attention.

Do I sound like anyone you know? The quest for time and attention is a hot topic in our households as well as every marketing meeting. Now more than ever, consumers are taking control of their time, so capturing it has become exceedingly difficult for brands. They want attention but it’s not surrendered easily.

The last decade has been a boom-town for content that does capture attention. Time spent on linear, appointment-based viewing and broadcast listening has been replaced with more personalized, choice-based content. Share of ear is moving away from broadcast radio to streaming music platforms; share of video viewing is moving away from TV to on-demand services; some would even say our social time is moving away from real life to social networks like Snapchat and Instagram.

We all have the ability to discover and personalize the content we consume. The only problem is the advertising experience has not kept pace. Many publishers still choose to create more inventory by increasing ads and the number of ways they’re served. The worst offenders place ads on top of entertainment content, training young generations to completely disregard and avoid.

The Solution: Earn Quality Time by Giving Back Control
I joke that my job at Pandora is to take something very special and not ruin it. Nearly 80 million listeners spend 24 hours a month tuned in to Pandora, enjoying their favorite music. That’s a level of time and attention almost unheard of in digital media. But music isn’t all they’re listening to. They also hear ads, which is the oxygen that keeps our service free and available anytime, anywhere.

Our challenge today is the same as when Pandora first started: how do we integrate ads without disrupting time and attention?

We’ve learned that consumers need to have a sense of control–or at least influence–over how brands interact with them. Unwanted interruptions and intrusive, bothersome ads are no longer acceptable. A recent Millward Brown study confirmed that users are nearly 4X more receptive to brand messages when they have control over the ad experience1.

But the truth is consumers don’t always feel like they have control, which is why ad blocking is such a hot topic in the industry right now. Recent eMarketer estimates show that a quarter of internet users (26%) have ad blockers enabled on their devices2. While this is concerning for the industry, the reasons are exactly what you’d expect. According to a recent Facebook survey, people use ad blockers to “stop annoying, disruptive ads” 3.

Publishers Must Respond With Better Offerings
The good news is that this movement to give users more control is already here. Publishers are offering better ad products, more sophisticated targeting and improved ad serving methods. Facebook recently improved the relevancy of their ads by offering users more tools to control the experience3. Similarly, Google announced changes to the way it collects data to result “in more personalized ads by connecting data across products and devices”4. Even news publications, like The Economist and Financial Times made headlines last year with guaranteed, time-based ad models.

When a user can authentically express intent towards a brand, engagement, attention and resonance follow naturally. This is the future of advertising.

We recently embraced this new future at Pandora by announcing new features on our ad-supported service. For the first time ever, listeners can unlock additional skips and replays by engaging with 15 seconds of video ads. This is the latest iteration in an ongoing effort to give both listeners and advertisers more control and flexibility. Advertisers not only get to support an enhanced listening experience, but they also connect with more deeply engaged listeners. With this approach, users will no longer feel the need to avoid advertising. In fact, it’ll be just the opposite.

At Pandora, we adhere to the philosophy that “what is good for the listener, is good for the advertiser.” I’m happy to see the industry adopt a similar mindset, responding with solutions that put more control in people’s hands, while creating a better user experience.

Yes, the struggle for time and attention is real, but smart solutions that capture attention for brands are equally as real–so long as an organization is willing to stop stealing time and start giving back control. I promise, it will only improve performance for your brands. As for gaining more time at home, I’m still accepting suggestions…

Sources:
1 Millward Brown, “AdReaction: Video Creative in a Digital World,” October 2015
2 eMarketer, US Ad Blocking Users and Penetration, June 2016
3 Facebook Newsroom, “A New Way to Control the Ads You See on Facebook, and an Update on Ad Blocking,” August 2016
4 AdWeek, “Google Wants to Give You Better Control Over the Personalized Ads You See,” July 2016


Join Lizzie Widhelm and other advertising innovators as they are inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement on November 15 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. Learn more and register here.


About the Author

Lizzie Widhelm, Senior Vice President, Ad Product Strategy, Pandora

 

Lizzie WidhelmLizzie Widhelm is a storyteller. She believes that good stories and good conversations make lives better. People want to build meaningful connections with other people. The desire for those connections extends to products and brands. For Widhelm, advertising is the ability to have those conversations, to tell those stories. Facilitating those conversations through music is a career-defining passion, combining the rhythm of great songs with the heartbeat of great advertising. The earliest stories of our time were told through music, and today a great and vast generation of consumers is changing the rules and its attention span.

Today, as the Senior Vice President of Ad Product Sales and Strategy for Pandora, the go-to music source for fans and artists, Widhelm brings ad products to life that enable marketers to tell their stories and build connections with consumers. She has been with Pandora since the company’s formative moments over a decade ago. Throughout her time at Pandora, she has built not only ad products, but also an industry-leading company with her focus, tenacity, and unparalleled passion for advertising.

As Pandora has grown, Widhelm has proven she can do anything and everything — sometimes all at once. She started at Pandora as the company’s very first salesperson, selling “digital audio”…a product that no one had ever heard of. After cracking accounts with some of the most prominent advertisers in the country, Widhelm became Pandora’s Vice President of West Coast Sales and Vice President of National Entertainment Sales, driving Pandora’s success with entertainment, film, and TV advertisers. Next, she was Vice President of Digital where she was responsible for Pandora’s digital advertising positioning and oversaw the advertising sales strategy team. Widhelm has continued to rise and has seen more success thanks to her unique understanding of Pandora’s listeners and how to translate listener insights into engaging products and campaigns for advertisers.

Prior to Pandora, she worked with startups such as Broadband Enterprises and game companies (iWin, Uproar, and Flipside) before and subsequent to their sale to Vivendi Universal. Widhelm received a bachelor’s of science in finance and accounting from the University of Arizona. Outside of work, she enjoys being a mother to three wild boys and a wife to her loving husband Ben.

Follow Widhelm on Twitter: @LizzieWidhelm.

e-Cigarette Advertising and Commercial Free Speech

In the words of former baseball player and philosopher Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” California Senator Barbara Boxer (D) has called upon the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to expedite its study of the e-cigarette industry examining whether their advertising is encouraging children and youth to take up vaping.

Years of experience with other disfavored products leads us to expect that – no matter the results of the study – someone in Congress will likely call for bans or restrictions on e-cigarette advertising. While they will claim to be trying to protect youth, the actual limitations will likely be much broader and ban much advertising aimed at adult and legal consumers.

To be clear, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) has no position on e-cigarettes or what the legal age to buy and use them should be.  However, AAF has a strong position on commercial free speech and opposes any effort to ban or restrict the advertising of any legal product or service to legal consumers.

Fortunately for the advertising industry, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with us and has affirmed that commercial speech is included under the free speech provisions of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Simply stated, the Court ruled that the government may only restrict truthful commercial speech if it can show that the restriction is “narrowly tailored” and directly advances a substantial government interest.

The right to ban a product does not give the government the right to ban the speech about the product. Besides, banning the speech will not work. The experience of other countries shows that banning advertising does not lead to a reduction in the consumption of the product.

By all means, the FTC and Congress have the right to study the advertising for these or any other products.  But they have the duty to respect and follow the Constitution, including the right of marketers to truthfully advertise legal products and services – no matter how unpopular they may be.

About the Author

Clark Rector, EVP of Government Affairs, AAF

Clark RectorAs executive vice president-government affairs, Clark Rector oversees and directs the lobbying efforts of the American Advertising Federation’s grassroots network of 40,000 advertising professionals in some 200 local advertising clubs and federations nationwide. Together, they have defeated ad tax proposals and other threats to advertising in Congress, nearly every state and numerous cities and counties. In his role as chief public policy advocate for the Federation, Rector meets with lawmakers and regulators to educate them about advertising and represent the industry’s position on important legislative and regulatory matters.  He has testified for the AAF before the U.S. Senate and Federal Trade Commission, as well as numerous state legislatures and city governments.

Prior to joining the AAF in 1988, Rector spent two years on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Congressman Tom Luken of Ohio. He also spent three years working in local television in Austin, Texas. Rector is a graduate of the University of Texas and received a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.

Ad Tax: Taxing What Generates Revenue

Some bad ideas never seem to die.  As reliable as Washington, DC cherry blossoms in the spring (but not nearly as welcome) are state lawmakers speculating about taxing advertising.  So far this year alone ad taxes have been discussed in Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia.  They have even been talked about in Tucson, Arizona.  At this point, none are close to being put in place, thanks at least in part to the vocal opposition of AAF members.

It is understandable that when states need revenue many lawmakers look for new taxes.  What is less understandable is why so many look to tax an activity that generates economic activity; that generates sales; and that helps generate tax revenue.  That is what advertising does.

In West Virginia advertising generates 21% of the state’s economic activity.  Advertising helps produce 15% of all jobs in Illinois.  Every $1 million spent on advertising in Oklahoma supports 73 jobs in the state.  That sounds like something that should be encouraged – not discouraged through taxation.

Some lawmakers learned that lesson the hard way.  The last state to tax advertising was Florida – way back in 1987.  As predicted by the industry, advertising dollars left the state.  While the tax was in effect national advertising purchases increased by 3% – except in Florida where they decreased by 12%.  One Orlando television station alone lost nearly a quarter million dollars in revenue.  It was such a big mistake the tax was repealed after only six months.

And yet, nearly every year since then at least one state, and usually more, has considered an ad tax.  Over the years ad tax proposals have appeared in well over half of the states.

To this point wiser heads have prevailed and all of the potential ad taxes have been rejected.  AAF grassroots members have done an outstanding job over the years communicating the lessons of Florida and the devastating impact an ad tax would have on the state’s economy, industry and consumers to their own lawmakers.

However, we know from long experience that as long states want or need more money to spend, someone is likely to suggest taxing advertising.  And when they do, AAF and our thousands of grassroots members nationwide will continue to educate lawmakers and shout our message that an ad tax is a bad tax.

About the Author

Clark Rector, EVP of Government Affairs, AAF

Clark RectorAs executive vice president-government affairs, Clark Rector oversees and directs the lobbying efforts of the American Advertising Federation’s grassroots network of 40,000 advertising professionals in some 200 local advertising clubs and federations nationwide. Together, they have defeated ad tax proposals and other threats to advertising in Congress, nearly every state and numerous cities and counties. In his role as chief public policy advocate for the Federation, Rector meets with lawmakers and regulators to educate them about advertising and represent the industry’s position on important legislative and regulatory matters.  He has testified for the AAF before the U.S. Senate and Federal Trade Commission, as well as numerous state legislatures and city governments.

Prior to joining the AAF in 1988, Rector spent two years on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Congressman Tom Luken of Ohio. He also spent three years working in local television in Austin, Texas. Rector is a graduate of the University of Texas and received a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.

FTC Takes Action on Native Advertising

In December, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission issued comprehensive guidelines on the affirmative disclosures needed when using Native Advertising. This includes illustrations of content that it considers to be advertising, as well as how to make “clear and prominent” disclosures that the content is advertising. (Native Advertising, A Guide for Business, FTC, December 2015, www.ftc.gov)

It is clear the FTC expects the ad industry to read, follow, and utilize the guidance. In fact, the Commission has just issued its first consent settlement since publishing its guidelines with Lord & Taylor for lack of transparency in its native advertising in a fashion magazine and on social media.

Lord and Taylor posted a photo of a dress from its Design Lab collection along with company edited caption on its Instagram account and ran an article about the dress collection online. However the Instagram post and article didn’t disclose they were paid advertisements. According to the FTC’s complaint Lord  & Taylor gifted its dress to 50 fashion influencers who were paid $1,000 to $4,000 to post on Instagram a photo of themselves wearing the dress. While they did mention Lord & Taylor’s Instagram account and the hashtag #DesignLab in the photo caption, they were not required to state that they had been compensated. The complaint states that the campaign reached 11.4 million users and resulted in 328,000 brand engagements. “Lord & Taylor needs to be straight with consumers in its online marketing campaigns,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “Consumers have the right to know when they’re looking at paid advertising.” (“Lord & Taylor Reaches Settlement with FTC Over Native Ad Disclosures,” by Nathalie Tadena, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2016, www.wsj.com)

Native Advertising, also known as sponsored content, has become one of the hottest marketing tactics with 75 percent of online publishers offering it to their advertisers. It is designed to look like the surrounding original or editorial content and therefore better attract consumer attention. However, as the FTC guidelines and the Lord & Taylor case show consumers often are misled into believing they are watching editorial content and not paid advertising. In response the Institute for Advertising Ethics Principle 3 urges: Advertisers should clearly distinguish advertising, public relations and corporate communications from news and editorial content and entertainment, both online and offline.

I believe there is a win-win solution in designing these ads so that the information is related to the website’s original content, including in its design, and also insuring that the consumer understands it is advertising. The FTC in its recent guidelines, states, “Terms likely to be understood include”: “Ad,” “Advertisement,” ” Paid Advertisement,” “Sponsored Advertising Content,” or some variation thereof.

To be successful with Native Advertising will require that advertisers and their agencies and publishers be ethical and follow the law. I like the way Jon Salm of MillwardBrown puts it: ” The key for advertisers will be to partner with the best publishers, and the key for publishers will be to follow the native golden rules – confidently identify native ad content, match the site’s editorial tone, and create content that resonates with the audience.” (“Getting Native Advertising Right,” by Jon Salm, January 2015, www.millwardbrown.com)

About the Author

Wally Snyder

Wally Snyder has devoted his entire professional career to working on advertising development, regulation and ethics. He served as a trial lawyer and as Assistant Director for Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission before joining the American Advertising Federation where he served as president and CEO, from 1992–2008. Currently, he serves as Executive Director for the Institute for Advertising Ethics. Wally was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame® in 2009.

 

 

Two Lessons From the Road: Never Get Comfortable and Always Look Up the Hill

I’ve worked for the same company for 14 years.  Crazy, right?  When you start early at such a dynamic company like PepsiCo, it’s hard to make a change.  But, it’s more than that.  Throughout those 14 years, I can honestly say I’ve transformed.  And I’ve had to because the company and industry have moved so fast.  It’s been exciting to run, or in my case, cycle, at that pace.  I’ve been an avid cyclist for many years, so I tend to appreciate high velocity.  I’m inspired daily by my colleagues, who are pushing the beverage category and consumer marketing to the next level.  This is why, 14 years later, it still feels just as exciting as it did in the beginning.

So, that got me thinking about the keys to create a culture within a company that inspires and encourages transformation.  What have I learned from my own career path at PepsiCo and my passion for being an ever-evolving employee?  It’s interesting — two lessons that immediately came to mind are also true in cycling; never get comfortable in the saddle and always look up the hill.

Never Get Comfortable

Think about it: Nearly 10 years ago, the idea of Twitter — using 140 characters to communicate in real-time — was not even on the radar.  Fast-forward to today and you can’t imagine life without it.  Actually, I just became more focused on my own social media, and as a non-digital native, I’ve really had to push myself to jump in and not be afraid.

In today’s environment of 24/7 connectivity and real-time communication across multiple platforms, we need to constantly transform the way we speak to our fans.  We’re not only finding innovative and unique ways to engage with them, but to give them one-of-a-kind experiences unlike anything they’ve seen before.  The truth is, we don’t have all the answers and not everything we do will be 100% perfect.  However, we’re taking risks, we’re learning and we’re evolving our marketing practices to make products and programs even better for the future.

Speaking of “future” … Whether it’s celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Back to the Future” with the limited-edition release of Pepsi Perfect like we did in October or tapping into moments that focus on the happiness that Aquafina brings your body after consumption with our “For Happy Bodies” campaign, we’re always looking for new ways to bring people closer to our products in organic ways.

Always Look Up the Hill

Consumers think and act differently today, which means we need to pay close attention.  For more than two decades we’ve transformed the products we offer, expanding beyond our iconic soft drink brands to give consumers choices for every lifestyle and occasion, including tea, water, sports drinks, ready-to-drink coffees and premium juices.  Why?  Because we’re listening to consumers’ needs and then creating products around those needs.  If we don’t, we’re not staying ahead of the game.

We’re also transforming by building teams of individuals with diverse backgrounds, skill sets and passion areas who are capable to make this ride; together, they experiment, they explore, they push the boundaries and facilitate change.  For example, our Creator group explores the edges of culture to co-create innovative experiences such as the Pepsi Art Dome at the recent Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in New Orleans.

There’s no telling what changes will happen next.  But as the saying goes, the only thing that is constant is change.  And that’s what makes it fun.  At PepsiCo North America Beverages, we’re all in for the ride.  And like our consumers, we’ll keep on transforming.


You can hear more from Seth Kaufman at AAF’s Digital Conference in Chicago, IL! Learn more and register here.


About the Author

Seth Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo North America Beverages

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo

Seth Kaufman is the Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo North America Beverages (NAB), where he leads the holistic business, brand and consumer agenda across the company’s beverage portfolio in North America. This includes popular and iconic brands such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Aquafina, Lipton iced teas, Sierra Mist and Starbucks ready-to-drink iced coffees. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement in 2015 and will deliver the opening keynote on February 16 at the Edge Effect: Media Meets Technology in Advertising conference in Chicago. Prior to his current role, Kaufman served as Senior Vice President of Pepsi and NAB’s Flavor Portfolio and before this, he was Vice President/General Manager of the North American Coffee Partnership, a joint venture between PepsiCo and Starbucks.

Kaufman received his Bachelor of Science in Television, Radio & Film Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and his MBA from The Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan. He is a Board of Trustee member for the Immune Deficiency Foundation, is an avid cyclist and lives in Northern NJ with his wife Faith and their daughters Emma, Noa and Samone.

Follow Kaufman on Twitter: @SethAKaufman.

Strengthen Consumer Engagement Through Ad Tech and Marketing Collaboration

In today’s always-connected, on-demand digital world, consumers can choose where and how they get their media, like never before. This creates a big challenge, as brands need a constant stream of content to address their audience’s needs. However, it also opens new opportunities for marketers to establish stronger personal relationships between brands and consumers.

Brands need to be prepared to engage with their target audience across a wide spectrum of media at any time, in any place. This can include a video or photo that pops up on a social channel, an article on a favorite news site, blog posts or podcasts on a company web page or a digital ad that appears while doing an online search.

Content for the masses has been replaced by content for the individual. With the ongoing fragmentation of media, brands are learning that highly personalized content is essential to drive customer engagement. The challenge is pulling in the right people and partners to make this happen.

Ad technology plays a valuable role in the development of personalized content. Having real-time information on how consumers are interacting with content, both the brand’s and the competition, allows marketers to continually strengthen their outreach. With this approach a brand can understand who a consumer is and what they want, often before that consumer even realizes they want or need the brand.

This onslaught of new technologies also creates new demands as advertising is becoming as much about science as art. Marketers are tasked with merging traditional and digital media formats, while measuring their results in new ways. New engagement metrics, such as gaze time, total interactions, interaction rates and cost/engaged visit require technical expertise that often isn’t available in-house or at a traditional ad agency.

ShocaseThe Need for Collaboration

One solution would be for technology companies to hire more creatives and ad agencies to develop more tech capabilities. The problem with this tactic is it dilutes the strengths of each type of business.

Instead of competing, collaboration makes more sense for these highly specialized but diverse companies. In a partnership, an agency and an ad tech company can combine their strengths to deliver a whole solution that is greater than the sum of its parts. And, when it comes to engaging with consumers, it goes well beyond advertising. Collaborating with experts in PR, video production, and social media, to name just a few areas, is also required to deliver consistency across platforms.

The more consistent the message across all media, the more effective a campaign will be. Brands that deliver consistency in their entertainment value, style and depth of knowledge create a strong level of trust with their audience that often leads to increased sales and other desired behaviors.

We are just at the beginning of this digital media era and new challenges and opportunities will continue to arise. Staying nimble will be a key to success. Partnerships allow brands to move faster and generate more opportunities to develop deep, engaging consumer experiences. In this digital era where brands are looking for any competitive advantage they can find, collaboration will be a key driver of innovation. It’s up to all those involved to find the right partners to drive change and develop best practices to stay at the bleeding edge of this digital revolution.

Ron Young is the founder and CEO of Shocase, a professional market network designed exclusively to connect the world of marketing. With Shocase, marketers can find partners and talent across all marketing disciplines, build teams and win business.


You can hear more about this topic from Ron Young at AAF’s Digital Conference in Chicago, IL! Learn more and register here.


About the Author

Ron Young, founder and CEO, Shocase

Ron Young, Founder & CEO, Shocase

Ron Young, Shocase

Ron Young is the founder and CEO of Shocase, the first professional social network designed specifically for marketers. He has a proven business track record with more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and marketing leader. Ron previously held prominent marketing roles at Levi’s, CVS and Electronic Arts, and was founder or CMO of three successful startups that achieved nine-figure exits. More… 

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo to Keynote AAF’s Digital Conference

Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo to Keynote AAF’s Digital Conference

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 9, 2015)—Today, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) announced that Seth Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo North America Beverages  will deliver the opening keynote for AAF’s Digital Conference, Edge Effect: Media Meets Technology in Advertising.

The conference will bring together Senior- to Executive-level marketing, advertising, advertising technology and media professionals from major brands, agencies and media companies to address important topics emerging out of the shift to advertising technology and its uses across industries. The powerful line-up of speakers, preceded by Kaufman, will explore topics, such as best practices and business models for brands onboarding new technologies for advertising in “Brands As the New VC’s,” what we can power and create with technology in advertising in “Truth, Lies & Advertising Technology,” what a tech-driven future looks like in a Fireside Chat and the role of video in the future of digital advertising with AOL. Through keynotes and exclusive one-on-one networking sessions with AOL, Pandora, Starcom MediaVest Group, Yahoo! and other industry pioneers, the conference will deliver an enriching and unique experience for attendees.

“Our industry is on the brink of a complete overhaul in the way we do business with consumers and each other,” said Kaufman. “This conference will provide an important look at how we need to navigate the intersection of traditional media and innovative technology to create an integrated, consumer-relevant, cross-platform media model to drive our businesses forward.”

Seth Kaufman is the Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo North America Beverages (NAB), where he leads the holistic business, brand and consumer agenda across the company’s beverage portfolio in North America. This includes popular and iconic brands such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Aquafina, Lipton iced teas, Sierra Mist and Starbucks ready-to-drink iced coffees. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement earlier this fall in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to his current role, Kaufman served as Senior Vice President of Pepsi and NAB’s Flavor Portfolio and before this, he was Vice President/General Manager of the North American Coffee Partnership, a joint venture between PepsiCo and Starbucks.

Edge Effect’s speaker line-up and supporting participants promises to provide attendees with the most powerful content and highly coveted networking opportunities. Session speakers include Jim Norton, SVP, Global Head of Media Sales, AOLStarcom MediaVest Group; Gui Borchert, Creative Director, 72andSunny; Heidi Browning, SVP, Strategic Solutions, Pandora, Ron Young, Founder & CEO, Shocase, Inc.; and Marcy Samet, EVP, Global Chief Growth Officer, MRM//McCann. Lunch round table discussions will provide premium ticket holders with the opportunity to engage in one-on-one conversations with influential brands, such as 72andSunny, CMO.com, Heat, MRM//McCann, Pandora, Shocase, Inc., and Zocalo Group.

Edge Effect: Media Meets Technology in Advertising will take place on February 16, 2016 in Chicago, IL. Tickets are now on sale with limited quantity, premium tickets and discounted rates available. Sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be found here.

To learn more about participating in this conference, please contact cungar@aaf.org.


 About the American Advertising Federation

The American Advertising Federation (AAF), the nation’s oldest national advertising trade association, and the only association representing all facets of the advertising industry, is headquartered in Washington, DC, and acts as the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” The AAF’s membership is comprised of nearly 100 blue chip corporate members comprising the nation’s leading advertisers, advertising agencies, and media companies; a national network of nearly 200 local clubs representing 40,000 advertising professionals; and more than 200 AAF college chapters with more than 5,000 student members. The AAF operates a host of programs and initiatives including the Advertising Hall of Fame, the American Advertising Awards, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism, and summer AdCamps for high school students. For more information on the full range of AAF programming, visit membership.aaf.org. For the latest news and updates, connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: Three Predictions for Retailers

Presented By:

Think with Google

Micro-moments are changing how we shop. As people increasingly turn to mobile devices, search, and YouTube to inform purchases, Matt Lawson, Google’s director of performance ads marketing, makes three predictions for retailers to take note of this coming holiday season.

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Shopping will happen in moments, not marathons, this holiday season. Rather than relying on daylong trips to the mall or camping out overnight during Black Friday, shoppers will be turning to their mobile phones in hundreds of micro-moments, every day, all season long.

In fact, 54% of all holiday shoppers say that they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day, like walking or commuting.1 These shorter mobile sessions that occur throughout the day are visible in the data: shoppers now spend 7% less time in each mobile session, yet smartphones’ share of online purchases has gone up 64% over the last year. The days of “look on mobile but buy on the laptop” are changing: 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones.2

Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: Three Predictions for Retailers

As we head into this year’s holiday shopping season, we’ve taken a closer look at how the rise of micro-moments and mobile video will affect retail trends. If you’re looking for holiday insights, here are three retail predictions for the 2015 shopping season, based on Google data and a survey from Ipsos MediaCT:

1. Mobile will make the prominence of big shopping days smaller

Holiday shopping is already well underway. Sixty-one percent of shoppers will start researching their purchases before Thanksgiving weekend, up 17% from last year.3 But while research starts early, the majority of actual buying will still take place later into the holiday season.4 Why? There’s no rush—every day is a shopping day.

Shopping-related searches on mobile have grown more than 120% year-over-year.

People used to plan holiday shopping marathons for days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But the days of setting an alarm clock to hit stores in the wee hours may be dwindling. Now shopping happens in micro-moments in between everything else.

Rather than seeing the most prominent search spikes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, last year we saw steady interest in “gifts and presents” all season.

Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: Three Predictions for Retailers

2. Mobile shopping will influence more purchases than ever

Shopping-related searches on mobile have grown more than 120% year-over-year.5 Consumers are using their smartphones in all parts of the shopping process―starting with inspiration, then on through research and purchase.

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More and more retailers are finding that their shoppers are using their phones for research before hitting a store. For instance, Target found that three-quarters of their customers start their experience on a mobile device. In fact, Casey Carl, chief strategy and innovation officer, considers mobile their new front door to the store.

And it’s not just before the store when shoppers turn to their phone. This year a whopping 82% of smartphone users will consult their phone while in a store.6 And people are searching 37% more inside department stores than they were last year.7

32% of shoppers say they plan to use online video more this year for holiday purchases.

All this activity is good news for retailers, if they’re prepared to meet omni-channel shoppers in these micro-moments. Take Macy’s for example. Its team has found that its omni-channel customers are 8X more valuable than those who shop in one channel only. To succeed with omni-channel shoppers, retailers have to enable shoppers to engage on all channels seamlessly, however, and whenever it suits them.

So when do I-want-to-buy moments happen? Google data shows that Sunday is the biggest day of the week for mobile shopping. Shopping searches on mobile are 18% higher on Sundays, on average, than during the rest of the week.8

Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: Three Predictions for Retailers

3. YouTube videos will be a popular gift guide and owner’s manual

There’s no shortage of micro-moments happening on YouTube, where consumers are turning to find shopping advice, inspiration, and product reviews. In fact, one in every four shoppers say online videos are their go-to source for gift ideas, and 32% of shoppers say they plan to use online video more this year for holiday purchases.9 Americans are spending nearly twice as much time watching fashion and apparel shopping videos this year than last.10

Related Story

Video Micro-Moments: What Do They Mean for Your Video Strategy?

Video consumption has gone from primetime to all-the-time.

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Unboxing videos have become a real phenomenon for people in those I-want-to-know, I-want-to-watch-what-I’m-into, or I-want-to-buy moments. In 2015 alone, Americans have watched 60 million hours of unboxing videos on YouTube, totaling 1.1 billion views.11

YouTube has become such a vital part of the purchase process that 64% of smartphone video viewers would prefer to watch a YouTube video when they have a question (rather than pick up a phone, read a user manual, etc.).12

As shopping decisions are made faster, and consumer expectations grow higher, retailers today have to keep a close watch on how customers find, research, and buy their products. Marketers who understand these new shopper patterns and focus on micro-moments of intent―on both mobile and video―will be more successful with customers this holiday season.

Sources:
1 Google / Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study 2015; Shoppers defined as people who intend to shop this holiday season with smartphones. n=778
2 Google Analytics data, September 2014 v. September 2015, United States
3-4 Google / Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study 2015. Base: Holiday shoppers n=2004
5 Google Global search data, November 2014–October 2015, as defined by searches that trigger Shopping ads.
6 Google / Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study 2015
7 Aggregated anonymized internal Google data from a sample of U.S. users that have turned on Location History. Queries were considered as being “from” a location if they occurred within one hour of a user visit to the department store. September 2015 vs. September 2014.
8 Google search data, Global, Q3 2015, mobile shopping searches as defined by clicks on Shopping ads.
9 Google / Ipsos MediaCT, Consumer Holiday Intentions Study 2015
10 YouTube data, September 2014 vs. September 2015, United States. Classification as a shopping video was based on public data such as headlines, titles, tags, etc., and may not represent all apparel shopping videos on YouTube.
11 YouTube data, January–October 2015, United States. Classification as a “haul” video was based on public data such as headlines, tags, etc., and may not account for every “haul” video available on YouTube.
12 Google / Ipsos Brand Building on Mobile Survey, February 2015. Base: 3,505 respondents age 18-54 video viewers across devices (TV, desktop, smartphone, tablet).

 

Is Prescription Drug Advertising Really Harmful?

In response to a recent article.

On October 21, many Americans celebrated “Back to the Future Day,” commemorating the day that film’s main character, Marty McFly (played by recent Advertising Hall of Fame inductee Michael J. Fox) arrived in the future.  Unfortunately the doctors of the American Medical Association appear to have misread the memo (could it have been the handwriting?) and recently voted to go back to the past by calling for an end to all prescription drug advertising.

In this case, the doctors have made the wrong prescription.  Far from being harmful, AAF believes that pharmaceutical advertising has provided a great benefit to consumers and public health.  By raising awareness of products available to treat many medical conditions, from lung cancer to COPD to, yes, erectile dysfunction, pharmaceutical advertising has resulted in countless patients making appointments with their doctors to learn more.  That can only be a good thing.

According to an AMA statement, “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when those drugs may not be appropriate.”  Good news.  There is an effective bulkhead that can prevent patients from receiving inappropriate or unnecessarily expensive medications.  That bulkhead is, of course, the doctors themselves who must prescribe the medications a patient receives. Doctors are the trusted advisor, in a position to explain what drugs or alternative treatments are the best way to treat to the patient’s condition.

Some physicians may bemoan having to tell a patient why a particular drug is not right for them.  But the fact is, many of those conversations would not take place at all without the advertising, and many of those patients would be left with untreated conditions.

Pharmaceuticals may be the most highly regulated and scrutinized category of advertising.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has powerful tools to censure any prescription drug advertiser that goes over the line in marketing a product.  As it happens, pharmaceutical companies often voluntarily work with the FDA prior to an advertisement’s release to insure that all claims are accurate and fair.  By including the required lists of side effects and potential harms, it is certainly true that no other category of advertising so completely presents the positive and negative attributes of the product.

Even if the doctors’ proposal was not unwise, it would still be unconstitutional.  Simply put, the free speech guarantees in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibit any bans on commercial speech, including pharmaceutical advertising.  That is not just the AAF’s opinion.  The Supreme Court has affirmed that commercial speech – as long as it is truthful and about a legal product or service – is protected speech.  There are no exceptions for speech about products that may be unpopular with some or speech that is inconvenient to others.

We hope that the doctors of the AMA will stop looking to the past and rethink their call to ban pharmaceutical advertising.  We invite them “Back to the Future” to embrace the positive attributes that prescription drug advertising has for their patients and public health.

About the Author

Clark Rector, EVP of Government Affairs, AAF

As executive vice president-government affairs, Clark Rector oversees and directs the lobbying efforts of the American Advertising Federation’s grassroots network of 40,000 advertising professionals in some 200 local advertising clubs and federations nationwide. Together, they have defeated ad tax proposals and other threats to advertising in Congress, nearly every state and numerous cities and counties. In his role as chief public policy advocate for the Federation, Rector meets with lawmakers and regulators to educate them about advertising and represent the industry’s position on important legislative and regulatory matters.  He has testified for the AAF before the U.S. Senate and Federal Trade Commission, as well as numerous state legislatures and city governments.

Prior to joining the AAF in 1988, Rector spent two years on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Congressman Tom Luken of Ohio. He also spent three years working in local television in Austin, Texas. Rector is a graduate of the University of Texas and received a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.