A few weeks ago, January 9th to be exact, marked 15 years since Steve Jobs first introduced the original iPhone to the world. It was first billed as three products in one: an iPod with a touch screen, a cell phone, and an internet device to connect to the web. Since then, it has become so much more. It’s an extension of our everyday lives. The iPhone not only changed how we communicate with each other but changed the face of media and advertising all together.
For reference, I was born in 1981 and grew up in an exciting time before the internet and before smartphones. Actually, I didn’t get a phone until I was out of high school, I was maybe 19 or 20 years old. So, I do have some perspective of pre and post internet/smartphone worlds. Having said that, let’s take a quick look at the landscape back when the iPhone was introduced. It was 2007 and the following companies didn’t exist: Instagram, Uber, TikTok, Twitch, Snap, Lyft, DoorDash, Tinder, Postmates, Venmo and Pinterest. Wow, some big changes in just 15 years.
When I think about the impact iPhone has had on media and advertising, I break that down into three categories. Let’s take a look:
- Digital and Mobile Advertising – Back in 2007, mobile advertising spending had an annual total of roughly $1.7 billion. Today mobile ad spending is north of 140 billion annually. Although mobile advertising is just one spoke in the digital advertising wheel, it now makes up about half of all the digital ad spend. That makes sense when you think about the recent growth in ad revenue for social platforms like Facebook & Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Google. The introduction of iPhone and smartphones have kept users connected to the web 24/7, 365. At the same token, allowing them to be targeted by digital and mobile advertisers whenever and wherever they go.
- Communication and Entertainment – Today we use our phones to stay in touch and get our news in real time. This has significantly changed the way our country reacts to everything from politics to the latest trends on social media. It has also changed the way we are targeted and advertised to. With native advertising, we get a seamless experience of receiving advertisements while we are consuming our favorite content and they blend right in, trying to make it the least intrusive experience as possible. More and more people are watching TV and using streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix when it comes to getting entertainment. Large cable companies are noticing consumers cutting the cord, especially the younger generations like Gen Z. They simply consume content and have different beliefs than generations before them. This lends a challenge to marketers and advertising professionals; how do they reach this new type of consumer in the future. Using smartphones and advertising via social and digital platforms will certainly be key but gaining knowledge about the consumer will be essential. That brings us to our next category, data!
- Consumer Data – I purposely saved this point for last because let’s face it, when it comes to the future of digital and mobile advertising, data is king. Data about consumers, their values, location, and behaviors will be what advertisers base the next few years of strategy, planning, and budgets on. Over the past 15 years we have carried around several versions of the iPhone or the smartphone of our choice. All the while giving companies and large social platforms all the data in the world about us. What we consume, what we purchase, where we shop, who we communicate with, our race, age, gender, income, search history, and you get the idea. Whether we like it or not, this little iPhone has been a tracking device for all of our most important, personal information. As much as I think there will be changes in the future, I believe consumer privacy concerns will be a constant. We have already noticed the “opt-in” messages on apps and social media platforms. This may have an impact on advertising but like everything else we will learn and adapt
In the next few years, I expect digital and mobile ad spending to continue to increase and the push for innovation and new tech will be the focus. One thing the Apple iPhone did over the past 15 years was create competition and it really took the mobile and tech industry to a new level.
Having an iPhone or a smartphone in our pocket means we have access to everything right at our fingertips. We connect, we search, we communicate, and we solve. I look at iPhone as the ultimate solution. Sky is the limit when it comes to advertising opportunities and smartphone capabilities over the next 15 years!
Social Media Specialist
In April 2021 Apple came out with an update that introduced ATT or App Tracking Transparency. The purpose of which was to return some control back to iPhone users, and give people a choice, to allow or not allow apps to track your activity across other companies’ websites. Apple’s company line is that they are doing this to improve privacy of the iPhone users and give them greater control over what apps were using to market products or services to them.
Built into the Apple operating system was a tracker called IDFA, (Identifier for Advertisers) which tracks your activity between applications. As more companies accessed that data, it became concerning to many about the access the apps had to this personal data.
As consumers became tired of seeing pop up Privacy Agreements at the bottom of the screens, forcing them to accept that the app used cookies to optimize your experience, Apple felt it should be at least a choice for the user and not a decision dictated to them. The ATT was initiated and delivered a choice to either let the App Track user’s activity or ask it not to track their activity. They even went as far as allowing users to go into the privacy settings and opt-out of tracking. This was good news for users, but bad news for advertisers trying to target their ads.
One example of the impact of this change was demonstrated when one store had been spending $27 in advertising on Facebook for every new customer they acquired. Since the elimination of activity tracking, they will be forced to spend $270 for every new customer added. What provides protections for consumers, drives the costs up for businesses to properly reach and add the same types of consumers, they reach before the change.
Apples new approach of ATT is important, when one considers the end to third party cookies in Chrome starts in January 2022. These actions on top of the governmental privacy regulations such as GDPR & CCPA, and as of November 2021 layered with Facebooks changes in ad targeting, will make for a more challenging ask of advertisers and agencies attempting to reach the correct potential consumers.
As part of the rebrand of Facebook with “Meta” the company is removing targeting options like health, race, ethnicity, political affiliations, religious or sexual orientation beginning January 19th, 2022. It will take effect on all three platforms they control, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. In 2018, it removed 5,000 ad-targeting classifications to keep advertisers from excluding certain users. This effort to prevent discrimination, prevent ad targeting abuse and attempt to improve privacy has substantially restricted legitimate ad targeting methods. While the reasons behind the changes may be admirable, this leaves Digital and Mobile advertisers scrambling to find new ways to segment their ad delivery and provide the right ads for the right products and services reaching the right people.
So How Will Advertisers and Agencies Find the Right Path to Potential Consumers?
Apple’s introduction of ATT will make ads substantially less relevant for consumers, except ads delivered through Apple’s own personalized ad system. Apple Search Ads has displaced Facebook as the best ad network for mobile marketers on iPhone and iPad. Apple is introducing a measurement solution called SKAdNetwork (SKAN), which makes performance data available at the campaign level. SKAN is considered “differential privacy” which is the approach of using statistical methods for marketing measurement which make it impossible to infer and individual user’s behavior.
What can Advertisers and Agencies Do to Persevere Through These Challenges?
- Deepen your understanding of your audience. Products that suffer most due to these identifier-based targeting methods are those with niche products. By building a broader appeal for your product or service, the more people that will be receptive to it and less targeted you must be in your ad segmentation.
- Get more creative. The focus to develop new, engaging, and attractive ads can help minimize efficiency loss due to removal of the identifiers. As your ads reach the most important members of your audience, your products will break through the generic and non-descript advertising from competitors.
- Increase Opt-In retargeting. Not all digital ads reach the right potential consumers, but by utilizing the reduced targeting categories of FB, Instagram or Messenger for your initial digital ad campaigns, while increasing the frequency of retargeting to those that have engaged or opted in with emails, you have limited your ad waste, and increased your chances of success since retargeting can lift ad engagement rates up to 400%. The average click-through rate (CTR) for display ads is 0.07%, while the average CTR for retargeted ads is about 0.7%. Those that engage with your re-targeted ads have a far greater likelihood of becoming future customers.
It’s imperative that every agency and company who uses digital ads understands the changes coming and the ways to succeed despite the changes.Reading Time: 4 minutes
For many businesses, establishing an online presence may seem like a tall task and some may find it unnecessary depending on their product or offering. However, once businesses realize how impactful a solid online presence can be to their marketing, they are usually quick to implement some of these practices into their overall strategy.
An online presence can be defined by how easy it is to find a brand or company online. It’s important for building your brand’s reputation, increasing brand awareness, creating credibility as an industry leader, and providing visibility to your products or services when users are online searching for solutions.
Creating quality content that appeals to your target market is the key to success. Using resources like websites, social media platforms, blogs, and SEO best practices, can help make building an online presence a bit easier. With that said, here are five tips along with some insight on how to get started with improving the online presence for your company or business.
- Create a Website – this may seem like an obvious place to start for many, but there are some small businesses that rely solely on social media pages in place of a website. Creating a website for your business lends credibility and gives a central hub to the customer to be able to see you 24/7. Having your own site also allows for online growth opportunity and it sets you apart from your competition. Another advantage is SEO and online advertising, which are a great way to help build awareness and increase traffic to your website. Free website builders like WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are available to help you get started.
- SEO Best Practices – by following the best practices for search engine optimization you can increase the organic discovery and traffic for your website. An effective SEO strategy can help you deliver the content on your site to your audience as they search online. SEO provides 24/7 promotion and visibility for your business. Results can take time as SEO is more of a long-term strategy. However, it’s the quality of the results that can really make an impact. For example, if your page ranks on page one of a particular search, that user is more likely to take an action with your site receiving increased traffic.
- Create a Blog – if creating content for your audience is the key, then having a relevant blog is a must. A blog can establish your business as an industry leader by providing something of value to the consumer. How-to guides, lists, interviews, product reviews, case studies, and videos are just a few of the more common blog formats that can be used. Adding a blog into your strategy can offer benefits like an increase in organic web traffic and content that can be shared easily on social media. Companies that maintain a blog produce an average of 68% more leads per month than companies who don’t blog. Enough said!
- Be Active on Social Media Platforms – having a number of social media pages across the different platforms will certainly be to your benefit, but it is also important to go where your customers are. These days, just about every business has a Facebook page and that’s great but working that in with some of the other platforms can really set you apart. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are great places to display new product images, post video content, and stay engaged with your audience. YouTube can be the perfect place for a video blog or more in-depth videos about your business. Let’s not forget Twitter, which is a real-time platform perfect for trending stories and the latest news and updates related to your business. Again, it is important to determine where your customers are and be active on those platforms. Your social media pages may be the first place a user goes to learn more about your company. So, being on social media is an absolute necessity in today’s world.
- Create Valuable Content – creating good relevant content can provide your business with more organic traffic and increased customer conversions. It will set your company apart as an authority in your particular field which creates trust and ultimately leads to expanded brand awareness. The goal is to attract customers and keep them interested in your brand or business. It’s all about providing users with original content that is informative and useful. Remember to clearly define who you’re trying to reach, how you will reach them, what types of content you will create, and how you will measure the results.
These days most companies have a social media manager on staff or someone who handles their digital marketing strategy. The important thing for them to remember is to stay up to date on the best practices across this ever-changing medium. Here at A3 Media we believe it’s a multi-layered media approach that is always going to service your business best. Improving your online presence is just one piece of the puzzle.
It’s all about reaching your audience and letting them know you have what they are looking for and you may even convince them you have what they didn’t know they were looking for.
Social Media Specialist
Growing up in a top sports market like Philadelphia has had its ups and downs in terms of winning teams. But if nothing else, it’s always an exciting place if you love sports. Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, Flyers have provided year-round conversation, drama, and debate amongst me and my friends. One thing that goes along with those conversations is sports betting. What lines we like, what games to bet, which teams we think are a lock. As early as middle school my friends and I have been betting on sports. Fast forward to 2021 and now we can pick up our cell phones, download a sports betting app, deposit money from our bank account and away we go. And the best part, it’s all legal.
Working for A3 Media, I think about the following question and how it relates to our industry. What impact will the sports betting industry have on media and advertising opportunities?
First some background. In 2018 the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which took away the federal government’s power to regulate sports betting. Sports betting is now legal in 22+ states, with more currently working on legislation. Since the PASPA ban was lifted, over $45 billion has been legally wagered in the U.S., according to Legal Sports Report. However, it is important to understand that there are no national advertising standards or federal agencies in charge of monitoring marketing activities. Rules and guidelines are ever changing. All sports betting practices, including marketing and advertising, are regulated by the individual gaming commissions in each state.
An Increase in Advertising Opportunities
One indicator that there will be growth in sports betting advertising and sponsorships are the number of recent mega media deals. More and more broadcast and cable networks are partnering up with sportsbooks. For example, Fox Sports invested in their own Fox Bet branded app, then there is CBS inking a deal with William Hill to make them their official sportsbook sponsor and both DraftKings and FanDuel are working on plans with Turner Sports.
The interesting thing about these deals will be how they will create a shift in content when it comes to TV, sports radio, social media, mobile apps, and even in-game commentary. Look for television commercials that promote betting apps and offer a bonus or a cash incentive to download their app. I expect an increase in network broadcasters and personalities discussing the betting lines, over/under plays, and even their picks before, during, and after the games. I read a recent article that satellite TV provider Dish Network has partnered with DraftKings to incorporate content into live sports games. Users can then use their DraftKings app to initiate bets, and then view live games that correspond with those bets on their TVs. US sports betting revenue is expected to increase from $2.1 billion in 2021 to $10.1 billion by 2028.
As advertising dollars and revenue increase, expect to see a greater number of things like podcasts and influencer marketing related to sports betting. There will be even more sponsorships from players across the different sports leagues promoting betting apps and websites. I also expect to see some stand-alone sports betting parlors open where patrons can view all the lines, place bets, and watch their games. Look for social media to play a greater role specifically with Twitter. As a real-time platform Twitter can help provide insight, commentary, and video all related to sports matchups.
In conclusion, some may continue to view sports betting as a vice industry that lacks morals and pushes non-suitable content. However, the numbers don’t lie. It’s been shown that there is a rabid following for this industry especially with online and mobile betting. As each generation becomes even more tech savvy than the next, and things like bragging rights and social relevance become more important, sports betting will be commonplace.
In the next 10-15 years the outlook looks strong for advertising and media opportunities related to sports betting. This will lead to increased fan engagement and will ultimately increase overall viewership, making sporting events that much more exciting.
One thing is for sure, sports betting revenue and advertising opportunities are the odds-on favorite to increase for years to come. That’s a stone-cold lock.
Social Media Specialist