- In an interview with LEADER, Tom Hanan talks about what he does differently to his competitors in Zurich, what he thinks are the greatest entrepreneurial challenges and which direction digital marketing is heading in Switzerland.
- The Programmatic Advertising Day 2017 was a complete success. As one of the event's sponsors, we would like to thank both the organizers and the outstanding team at ViCafé, who expertly ran our Webrepublic coffee stand – much to the delight of the participants.
- Two new employees joined us in November. Welcome, Erika (Display Advertising) and Annika (SEO)!
- By the way, we still have six vacancies left to fill, including in our Display team, Business Development Unit and Client Solutions Management.
Google is enriching local search results on smartphones with additional data. Their intention is clear: Google wants to give mobile users even more helpful information about places and businesses in the vicinity. Marketers therefore need to make sure to correctly structure relevant information about their companies, products and services.
Discussions at the sold-out Programmatic Advertising Day (PAD) proved that advertisers, agencies, publishers and ad-tech providers are all eager to tackle the challenges of today. Four initiatives have inspired great hope: iab’s Code of Conduct for publishers, data and technology providers (SSP and DSP), which was launched at the start of the year; quality certification for media agencies and trading desks, which iab will launch at the beginning of 2018; the Swiss Media Hub, which will determine the effective reach of digital campaigns; and finally the Coalition for Better Ads, whose aim is to prevent substandard and fraudulent advertising formats.
The system of certification announced by iab at PAD will be especially important for agencies and advertisers. As part of the multi-stage certification process, agencies can fill out a detailed questionnaire and submit customer references and case studies (which will be anonymized and analyzed) for review. The examining body will be composed of industry and legal specialists. Scheduled to get underway in January, the first certificates should be awarded by mid-2018 and will be valid for 24 months. We absolutely welcome this step, as it will bring transparency to the market and make it easier for advertisers to identify serious industry players.
The e-privacy regulation is causing headaches within the industry, partly because it appears that legislators might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Seeing as the three-way negotiations between the EU Council, Parliament and Commission probably won’t be able to be completed within the intended time frame, the e-privacy regulation will most likely enter into effect after May 2018. Nevertheless, regulations are unavoidable and – for the sake of pragmatism (!) – welcome. Given all of this, our industry has to encourage solutions that are not only technically robust, but legally compliant, so we may continue to reach our target groups with relevant content.
What are the consequences of Amazon’s pseudo-entry into the Swiss online marketplace? The local online alpha males, namely Brack and Digitec Galaxus, are playing it very cool. They can point to Swiss USPs (e.g. Twint as a payment solution) and the value and benefits of their omnichannel services. Unsurprisingly, they are pleased about the added competition, as it will reinvigorate online business and put increased pressure on retailers that only sell offline. For Swiss brands, it seems as though Amazon will become a much more attractive sales platform (including in terms of performance marketing solutions) in the medium term.
Thanks to Black Friday – which, by the way, has nothing to do with slavery! – and Cyber Monday, online retailers must be making a fortune, right? According to a study by PwC, only 35% of online shoppers still actively make purchases on Black Friday. In 2016 this figure was 51%, while back in 2015 it was as high as 59%. Should online retailers be worried? Not at all: sales promotions are no longer held on individual days alone. Bargain hunters simply stalk their prey all year round, regardless of the season. Meanwhile, others – namely those who understand sales psychology – vow to ignore the price tags and concentrate more on the products.
Even if perennial bargain hunters and mindful shoppers renounce Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles’ Day, the transaction and turnover figures continue to be impressive, especially in the case of Singles’ Day in China. In an article which is definitely worth checking out, the NZZ highlights both the quantitative and qualitative differences between Singles’ Day and Black Friday. It’s hardly surprising how important mobile shopping is in China. What’s more exciting are the comparisons between different users’ shopping behavior. Americans want to be efficient: on average, they spend just 8 minutes a day on amazon.com. The Chinese, by contrast, spend up to 30 minutes a day on their shopping platforms looking for inspiration and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, Singles’ Day is a full-on sales and entertainment extravaganza. This raises the question of whether European users will become more like the Chinese. If they did, content marketer and advertisers would no doubt be delighted.
YouTube is battling with content on its Kids Channel which is not at all suitable for kids. The chaos is being caused by algorithms that are supposed to be curating the content. This example clearly shows that without human intervention, artificial intelligence is still struggling to correctly classify and allocate content. That’s why platforms like YouTube are using legions of sensors to check and (if necessary) delete content – a process that conveniently trains the algorithms at the same time. What’s more, problematic cash flows are being cut off. These efforts are relevant for marketers to the extent that secure and suitable digital environments are hugely important for certain campaigns and brands.
While in Switzerland, Twint is once again talk of the town thanks to its healthy growth figures, WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s AliPay are making headlines due to rolling out their mobile payment solutions in Europe – initially to make life easier for Chinese tourists. However it’s almost certainly not going to stay that way. After all, when was the last time you heard a Chinese giant pursuing a short-term strategy within a niche market?
Snap is being chatted about due to its disappointing business figures, but also because of its new advertising tools: Marketers can now use Snap Pixel to be able understand how conversions are made via Snap. In other words: Snap is using Snap Pixel to make inroads into the performance marketing arena – and it’s not alone. With its Taste Graph, Pinterest is also working hard against Google and Amazon in the battle for a greater share of performance marketers’ budgets.
In early 2017, Apple introduced the HomePod, a smart speaker that was due to hit the shops by the end of the year – right in time for Christmas. Now Apple has postponed the retail launch until the start of 2018, drawing criticism in the process – and critics have been quick to point out the lack of imagination and orientation among Apple’s product developers and strategists. In fact, the problem probably lies with Siri rather than the HomePod. While Amazon, Google and Microsoft have made their assistants available to third parties – like Apple did for its iOS mobile operating system in 2008 with the AppStore – this time Apple is being overly cautious and has effectively turned Siri into a social recluse. If Apple doesn’t follow suit soon, it could have fatal consequences: it is unlikely that a digital ecosystem without a functional smart voice interface that works as a platform for third-party suppliers will be able to survive.
It was only a matter of time, really: in Silicon Valley preparations are underway to launch the first religion dedicated to worshiping Artificial Intelligence and surrendering supreme world power to algorithms. This is rather apt given that this year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Behind it all is none other than Anthony Levandowski, the boy wonder of self-driving cars. The idea and the website might still seem a little amateurish. Even so, Levandowski is convinced that not even religion will remain untouched by the digital revolution.
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