Avatars have existed for a long time but recently gained a second wave of popularity due to the metaverse trend.
Users love avatars: It’s so exciting to have a digital copy of yourself. On top of that, you can be whatever you want in the digital world.
So, what are avatars? Why are they so special to us? And what are their future utility?
Let’s start with the definition. Avatar is a graphic representation of a user, his online alter ego.
The word “avatar” takes its roots from Hinduism and means a being who embodies a god. Its initial goal was to reflect specific character traits of a person and help create a fairly accurate impression of his inner spiritual world and status (the nickname also serves this purpose).
Also, avatars had a decorative purpose. In addition, avatars simplify the perception of the topic discussion: They make it easy to associate posts with their authors.
The gaming industry was the first to implement the concept of avatars. It was used in 1985 in the computer game Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar for the first time. Ultima has been releasing its series of adventure games since 1981, and becoming the Avatar was the goal of the fourth part.
The term was later adapted in the role-playing game Shadowrun (1985) and the online role-playing game Habitat in 1987 (this game is considered a forerunner of the metaverse).
Today, most games offer users to create their avatars and select their look, equipment, and other features.
The rapid development of the Internet led to the active use of avatars (a commonly used word for profile picture) in blogs, forums, and instant messenger services.
In the late 2010s, even before the metaverse trend went viral, several companies established a special feature for creating avatars, for instance, Apple and their memoji, Snapchat’s Bitmoji, and Zepeto.
Now, 3D avatars are becoming more and more widespread. The main advantage of such avatars before 2D pictures is dynamics. That means avatars can move and interact with other users.
Avatars have come a long way from video games to an integral element of the metaverse. Let’s take a look at how avatars are used today and what their future prospects are.
Many social media platforms use avatars - Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Tiktok, IMessages, Snapchat, and Zepeto - just to name a few!
This can be easily explained by the fact that most social media developers understand the upcoming trend of virtualization and moving in the direction of metaverse development. Indeed, In Web 3.0, social media will be transformed, so avatars will be a vital part of them.
Have you ever spent money to buy “skins” for your character in the game? Users are fond of making their avatars unique and are willing to modify them by purchasing different appearance items. And if something can be monetized, brands immediately jump at it.
Some brands, like Nike, MacDonald’s, or Gucci, have already contributed to this area and even created their own metaverse space. And avatars are expected to be used there.
Consequently, brands have started designing different skins and fashion items for avatars to sell online. Fashion and luxury brands will have a particular advantage in this field: Customizing the character not only with ordinary skins but also luxury items with a certain value, isn’t it cool?
Games will evolve and become more immersive. The need for avatars representing gamers in the metaverse is becoming more crucial.
The quality and resolution of in-game avatars will increase, and with innovative motion-capture technology, player facial expressions, emotions, and movements can be transferred to the game.
In the future, AI-driven avatars that don't require any human management will be a part of our daily lives. Such smart avatars can be helpful in different fields: from bot-consultant in retail to personal assistants and virtual influencers.
Of course, AI-driven avatars can be anything, but to accelerate user adoption, these avatars will look like people. Such skeuomorphism is used to give something new a familiar look to speed up acceptance and adoption. In other words, to feel more comfortable chatting with AI-avatar, we would still need a person to see.
Beyond that, these avatars can be indistinguishable from real humans. A neural network, of Samsung NEON, for one, can create an image of a person and animate it based on a huge database of uploaded photos.
And this is no longer a futuristic concept! Artificial humans like Lu do Magalu or Lil'Mikela are taking over the digital world. They have millions of followers; meanwhile, they represent fashion brands and collaborate with different companies. On YouTube, they rack up 1.5 billion a month and earn $100,000 a week from donations.
Avatars in the music industry are not new. You obviously know Gorillaz, whose performances created a real sensation at the beginning of the 21st century. At that time, no one could imagine that holograms could sing.
Another example is K/DA, a virtual K-pop girl group of four League of Legends characters. K/DA was developed by Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends. The group first performed at the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Finals with their debut song, "Pop/Stars." "Pop/Stars" topped the World Digital Songs Billboard charts, making K/DA the fourth female K-pop group to top the chart.
And last year, in September 2021, US TV channel Fox launched a new TV show where digital avatars perform on stage instead of humans and fight to win the competition!
Furthermore, real artists can have their avatars to give concerts in the metaverse. The company Wave offers such services. Among their clients are Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Alison Wonderland, and others.
Cinematography influenced the nature of avatars not less than video games. The movie Avatar, as the name suggests, was one of them. The technology of motion capture was used in that movie. Simply put, the blue creatures in the film are high-realistic 3D models, not SFX-modified actors. This led us to ask the question: Do we really need people to act in the film now?
These kinds of hyper-detailed avatars can be seen in the movies such as Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, or Rachel in Blade Runner 2049.
Today, however, motion capture technology competes with deep fakes when recreating an actor who is no longer alive.
Now we are seeing how the technology, that once was designed for games and social network users, is being transformed into a way of representing a living person for various needs. And this is just the beginning. With the development of the metaverse, everyone will have their own avatar, and perhaps even several.
The recent announcement of Apple joining the advertisement race and building its own demand-side platform (DSP) was quite surprising to many. Indeed, Apple is publicly known for being rather skeptical and critical of online advertisement, especially when it comes to user privacy matters. So why the change of heart?
Since the beginning of the year, the job ads and number of hires in the advertising platforms division skyrocketed.
In the May report, the company stated that the Apple Services group now has an executive director, Todd Teresi, who handles advertising-related initiatives.
Most notably, Digiday highlighted job listings that say Apple is building “the most advanced and sophisticated privacy platform possible.” This sounds like their own DSP.
To explain what DSP is, we need to step back and return to the concept of the programmatic advertisement.
The programmatic advertisement offers an automated process of buying and selling online advertising. This makes transactions more efficient by optimizing the process and consolidating digital advertising efforts in one technology platform. Unlike traditional advertising, which includes requests for proposals, quotes, tenders, and negotiations, programmatic buying uses algorithmic software to buy and sell online display space.
The programmatic ecosystem comprises the different technology platforms, available advertising deal types, and methods of buying programmatic media and spans across various ad formats.
All components communicate and interact with each other and create
an ecosystem that allows making the process of automated media transactions more facile.
As a rule, each programmatic platform is owned and operated by either a publisher, an advertiser, or an intermediary.
DSPs allow advertisers to set up an automation that scales campaigns based on performance metrics using machine learning. As long as the platform is well designed, advertisers are happy and spend more.
DSPs also perform other functions, such as helping advertisers to accurately match the demographics of their intended audience, testing multiple ad campaign options with dynamic A/B testing, and ultimately optimizing and increasing spending on the most effective campaigns.
This is not the first time for Apple to enter the advertising game. In 2010 the company acquired mobile advertising company “Quattro Wireless”. You may also remember iAd - Apple’s failed attempt at programmatic advertising. iAd was supposed to offer inventory available programmatically through open exchanges. Apple even announced in 2014 entering a partnership with Rubicon, MediaMath, Accordant Media, The Trade Desk, Adelphic, AdRoll, and others. Back then, it seemed like a promising and prospective beginning of the next ad giant! Suddenly, Apple rolled up the iAd project in 2016 due to data limitations and a lack of demand.
iAd case and the latest news about Apple’s DSP make asking the question: Will this time Apple’s attempt to get into the programmatic market be successful after such a dramatic fail? Looking ahead, yes, and there are many reasons why it will. Estimates are that Apple should make about $4B in advertising this year.
Apple has a huge advantage over the competition of being the owner of the popular iOS operating system. All those years, Apple has been building a complex system of connected products and services. These products and services are interconnected, which creates smooth consumer experiences. That is why Apple’s future DSP looks like a well-thought rational next step in this evolution. The company was building and expanding its advertising business behind the scenes, and now they finally revealed it.
Yet, Apple is giving very generous promises in their job posts regarding their future DSP platform:
“Our platform runs and delivers advertising auctions to match supply (customers) with demand (advertisers), focusing on technical components including Campaign Management, Bidding, Incrementality, Dynamic Creative Optimization, Matching, Auctions, and Experimentation, while empowering Customer Privacy throughout,”
Another interesting aspect of all of this is user data. Apple promises confidentiality in its actions and many times has already reported that privacy is a priority.
When Intelligent Tracking Prevention was introduced, it effectively disabled the usage of third-party cookies in the Safari web browser. Later, it ceased the mobile advertising identifier (MAIDs, or IDFA). Once App Tracking Transparency appeared, which allowed the user to control any ad experience by opting in or out of any track. The introduction of App Tracking Transparency was a clear win for consumers, but ad networks like Facebook and Snap have struggled to keep their ad platforms efficient. As a result, it is estimated to cost the industry tens of billions of dollars.
On top of that, Apple’s definition of “tracking” as a transfer of data to third parties means that its own personalized ads are not subject to the App Tracking Transparency, as this is
considered a transfer of data by the first party. So, users still will receive ads, but advertisers would have to pay “iPrice” for that.
That is how Apple first cut off Google and Facebook, which make up about 65% of all global advertising, by limiting their tracking and attribution systems while using privacy protection as an excuse.
It’s interesting to see whether Apple will get slammed by its users for monetizing their personal data for a premium price. Or whether US Federal Trade Commission will launch an antitrust investigation for monopolized advertising services.
Although, seeing how devoted Apple users are to the brand, there’s a good chance that Apple will get away with it.
Privacy rules are a strong tool for them to shut down competition while monetizing Apple user data all on their own.
A hard-to-swallow pill for all professionals is that technologies will always outpace skills. And this is quite unfair: imagine mastering the skill for years, and then suddenly new technology appears and performs your tasks quicker, better, and more accurately. This would destroy you as a professional, your hard work, and many years of experience.
And now, many professions in the marketing and advertisement field, whose work is connected to creativity, are under threat. Today AI can perform certain creative tasks at a very advanced level. These are several examples of what is happening in the industry right now:
Are AI algorithms smart enough to generate creative assets that will be indistinguishable from man-made ones?
DALL-E is an AI software that creates images on request. Many of you have probably tried on DALL-E Mini to create funny pictures. However, recently DALL-E 2 was released. The software is able to perform more sophisticated tasks by generating accurate, realistic high-resolution pictures.
Cosmopolitan unveiled the first AI-generated magazine cover by the DALL-E 2. Artificial intelligence created images based on text queries. In just 20 seconds, the neural network produced pictures to a request for “A strong female president astronaut warrior walking on the planet Mars, digital art synth-wave.” The result looks great!
One of the typical routines for the fashion brand is creating a lookbook for the customers. For that, they need to hire a photographer, rent a space, install the lightning, find models, make-up masters, and stylists who will pick the dress for each model, etc. Now all those involved in that process can go on unpaid vacation due to AI replacement.
Zalando researchers found a solution how to facilitate their content generation process. One of their recent research papers suggests a new AI-driven digital outfit recommendation tool can produce high-resolution images of outlooks based on customer preferences, thus increasing an average basket size by almost 40%.
All these years, marketers and advertisers have been dreaming about this tool, and here it is: ad creative generator - Pencil.
With Pencil, customers can create different kinds of advertisement creatives, from static banners to videos. Algorithms generate new ad banners based on the input of branding and keywords. AI needs less than 1 minute to demonstrate the result! Users would only need to choose the best one from the different options.
Now, there is no need to wait days or weeks for the creative delivery by the agency. Pencil will write, copy, edit video and apply best-practice templates and animation.
And just like that, AI penetrated different creative spheres in the marketing and ad industry. Picture this: Algorithms will help reduce the amount of routine creative tasks that do not require extraordinary skills, thus optimizing the expenses of marketing teams. They will also free up some time for talents to do what they can do best – create! A healthy life-work balance and more time to focus on exciting projects will inspire your team to deliver results with a meaningful impact.
So, what is the future of creative professions?
When you analyze the trend even more sorrowfully, you can find even more reasons why AI won’t replace creative people (at least in the near future):
Often the adoption of new technologies is slow and can last for decades. Even though AI that generates creative assets seems very promising, brands will not rush to obtain these innovative solutions. Instead, many will prefer to continue work as they used to and give preference to talented people, not computers. Brand trust their many-years-experience of working with people, and they are not ready yet to switch completely.
Remember the adaption of remote work? The ability to work at a distance results from technological breakthroughs and the appearance of the high-speed Internet. However, companies didn’t want to change their working habits for years, finding endless excuses, even though remote and hybrid work has a range of benefits. And only an acute need for distancing during Covid-19 forced the companies to give remote work a chance. And this method proved to be working. Nevertheless, some large companies, such as Tesla, still advocate only-office-work.
Even though AI tools can optimize and speed up some tasks, these technologies still have certain biases and limitations. That is why there are still aspects that can be done only by humans.
However, keep in mind that AI learns fast. This is an example of how This Person Does Not Exist AI learned to generate better pictures of faces in just a few years.
No AI tool is fully automated for a moment. There are always people behind the algorithms giving commands, setting up AI, feeding data, and bug-fixing. So, the first link of this chain will always be a human.
Now, imagine the worst-case scenario: People related to creative work are losing their jobs due to AI replacement. Nevertheless, this would not mean the end of their careers. Creativity is different from learning math formulas. Creative thinking should be constantly improved. Therefore, people can still perform more complex creative tasks, run quality control of AI-created art, feed it with data on trends and social limitations, etc. There will also be a growing need for soft skills development. Spending more time on soft skills development and new experience, yesterday’s designer/copywriter may become a creative manager with strong leadership and communication skills to improve customer experience.
Furthermore, there will always be a demand for professionals that have unique creative styles and whose artistic signature would be a plus for the company.
Creativity has been on the verge of extinction since… beginning of the 20th century. During this time, photography obtained its popularity. So did the idea that there is no longer a need for an artist because photographers can take pictures instantly. Did the artists disappear, and all museums got closed? Instead, the art and creative work have changed: The new schools, genres, and directions appeared that opposed realism. Later, the hand-drawn ad posters were replaced with the ones that were created with software and digitally printed. Again, photographers have not disappeared, they have adapted. And summing up previous arguments, it is important to highlight that AI algorithms in the scope of creative work are supposed to be just a tool, not a replacement.
The mobile ad industry has seen significant growth in the last few years. According to the recent App Annie report, mobile ad spending grew 23% in the period from 2020 to 2021. That constituted $295 billion and this number is expected to grow to $350 billion by the end of this year.
There are many reasons why mobile phones have become so popular in recent years, but the most evident factor is the increasing percentage of the population with mobile devices. For example, last year, it was estimated that there were 5.22 billion unique mobile users around the globe. Thus, mobile Internet traffic has increased as well. Today more than half (55.7%) of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Indeed, we live in the era of mobile, where phones are an undivided part of our everyday life.
“Mobile is ... the go-to device of the future. The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category — time spent, downloads, and revenue,” App Annie CEO Theodore Krantz said in the report. “Mobile brings us closer together, whether virtually or in personly. The future will be based on an immersive entertainment experience you create. You won’t watch movies, you’ll star in them.”
Consequently, mobile apps have become a significant component of mobile devices and one of the reasons why mobile devices are so popular. Today there are various kinds of apps in different categories that make our life more flexible, dynamic, and convenient: from hyper-casual games to complex software for work.
As the number and complexity of the apps increased, the human app interactions were gradually changing correspondingly. Today, the average US citizen spends 5.4 active hours on their mobile device, whereas it was only 3 hours 6 years ago. At the same time, 7 of 10 minutes that were spent on mobile are spent on social media and Photo & Video Apps.
Another behavior shift was caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the events of 2020-2021, people would have to shop, work, play, stream and connect from home.
All those factors affected the growth of mobile app downloads and the time spent with the phone. As it’s not hard to suggest, marketers recognized a favorable environment for the ad. The broad reach and engagement of the apps are the main factors that attract advertisers. All of the above made ad agencies invest 23% more in mobile app marketing than in 2020. Those marketing efforts were quite fruitful for the industry. For a moment, in-app ads are one of the fastest-growing forms of mobile advertising on the market.
Now let’s take a closer look at the mobile apps in the market. The average phone has between 25 and 30 apps which are actively used. Here are some of the app categories that showed a prominent result last year.
In 2021, there were over 1.5 million mobile apps (this is not counting older apps and discontinued apps) across all major platforms. Games constituted the vast majority of all apps.
Our favorite games have migrated to mobile devices already a long time ago. Faster Internet, enlarged screen size and improved hardware have made this transition possible, so the users can enjoy gaming experiences right on their mobile devices.
Why do people play games? The most common reason is to relieve stress. To the other popular answers are passing the time and immersing themselves in another world.
The most popular games in 2021 are so-called hyper-casual games. Those games, as a rule, are easy to develop and play.
The most popular apps on app market platforms are still social media. Indeed, social media headed the rating of the most popular apps in the app store in 2021. Last year TikTok outstripped Facebook and Instagram and saw the highest engagement level among other apps from the same category.
Another rapid growth in 2021 was the social media apps that offer avatars (like Snapchat, Litmatch, REALITY by Wright Flyer and Zepeto). Those apps also have gained their popularity within the growth of interest in the metaverse.
Video streaming apps also belong to the category of the most popular apps. The popularity of this app category has been steadily growing over the last 3 years. At the same time, the number of hours spent watching video via streaming apps has also grown up to 32% worldwide. The download leaders in the App Store in 2021 are YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
Finance and Shopping apps didn’t manage to reach a broad Gen Z audience yet. These categories are more popular among Millennials and older generations. Nevertheless, these app categories have experienced constant growth every year and are currently a very promising area for investment. Speaking about the marketing aspect, shopping apps already constitute nearly 20% of the US market and have become a critically important sales channel.
The travel apps have seen a positive tendency in the second half of 2021.
Last year 82% of Americans traveled in the Summer (Tripit.com). During the summer, mobile travel activity reached the same level as we witnessed in 2019, with 40 million downloads. This was the highest indicator since August 2019.
As the data has demonstrated, the apps provide various benefits for the users.
Within iOS 14.5 and the latest versions, it is required to ask users for permission to track them across apps and websites which are owned by the companies. Apple has always declared that user privacy has a high priority to the brand. Gradually, Apple has given the users the ability to opt-out of any type of targeting or tracking. While increasing privacy means less data, mobile still remains the best way of targeting users, now with consent.
Despite all IDFA fears, the Mobile Ad industry remains one of the most profitable. It reached $295B in 2021 and is expected to grow up to 23% every year, reaching $350B this year.
As most mobile applications collect not only demographic but also behavioral data on their users, app developers collect detailed insights about their audience. This helps advertisers to bid on the most relevant traffic for their ads.
Another benefit is the ability to harmlessly determine where your audience is. Thanks to GPS signals and other data that are coming from mobile devices, it’s possible to determine the user location. From inception Adello has been propagating a cookieless approach. Since 2013 Adello has specialized on geotargeting. Understanding the location metadata (what kind of location is that on a map, the boundaries, classifying that location) in conjunction with the current visitation and audience information is key. Adello’s DMP method is privacy-safe and used by some of the largest retailers, QSR’s and DMO’s in the world.
By visiting a website, especially from the desktop, there is a high probability that there will be several ad creatives on the screen. Which reduces the effectivity of desktop advertising. This is not the case for the app. Independently of the ad creative format, most probably, there will be only one creative on the screen. That is how the brand message reaches the audience and attracts their attention, and does not compete against any other ads.
Moreover, mobile apps incentivize users to watch advertisements gamifying the whole process. It could be either waiting time when the app is loading or conditional ads presented for the reward.
Recent studies have found that in-app creatives, independently of the ad format, generally have higher KPIs rates than creatives on the web. In-app advertising has a higher click-through rate than web ads and constitutes 0.58 % for apps; meanwhile, mobile web, on average, only has a 0.23 percent CTR (Medialets). At the same time, in-app ad creatives perform 11.4 times better than web creatives.
Due to the strong growth in sales in the first quarter, Adello hired another employee.
Ana Cecilia Bravo Lopez is the fourth person to join the team this year. She studied marketing in
in Karlsruhe. With her passion for data analysis and digital marketing, she is the ideal candidate for the Big Data company.
Cecilia Bravo on her new position: "I like data. What fascinates me about Adello is the combination of technology and behavioral patterns to achieve better results. By making the decision regarding the company, the dynamic, young team was also very important to me. I hope to learn a lot and contribute to make digital marketing even better."
We still have open positions in the areas of:
Adello analyzes human behavior in real-time and combines it with fully automated, self-learning
technology for maximum mobile marketing ROI. Global market research agency Technavio ranks our technology, which is protected by various patents and winner of nearly 20 awards, among the top 16 in Big Data worldwide.
Since 2022, the company has been refocusing on emerging Metaverse technologies Blockchain, Gaming,
Crypto/NFT. Adello has among its customers hundreds of the world's leading brands and agencies such as BMW, Clear Channel, GroupM, McDonald's, SBB, and UBS. Adello operates offices in Europe, Asia, North America, and is a Swisscom Ventures portfolio company.
What do companies usually do when their income is shrinking due to a crisis? The first answer, which seems obvious, is reducing expenses. The company budget is getting cut in many departments, including marketing, which leads to serious consequences.
The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute came to this conclusion while researching the Australian companies. Due to coronavirus, the majority of companies reduced their spending on advertisement budgets.
The average reduction rate of those companies after the first year of advertisement hiatus is 16%, and this number reaches 25% in the 2nd year.
Longer ad break reduces the speed of a company returning on the pre-pandemic level of sales and higher. According to the research, those brands which did not provide a budget for marketing lost their income. Only a minority of surveyed brands, approximately 7% of all researched companies, were trying to find an opportunity to allocate a certain budget for advertisement.
An important thing to understand is that the marketing budget proportions are different in every specific industry. Reducing the financing for advertisement affects B2B and B2C to varying degrees. Initially, B2B companies would have to spend less percentage of the revenue for marketing because their campaigns are more targeted and their marketing interacts with specific channels only. Meanwhile, B2C companies implement different kinds of marketing channels to encompass a wider audience. Last year, B2C companies would have to prioritize what marketing channels and tools were more relevant. A great example has shown the luxury brands: they started promoting their products on LinkedIn, even though the advertisement in this social media channel is more expensive than on Facebook. LinkedIn is a platform often used by people with a higher income and who can afford luxury products. That is why it was a successful strategy.
The relevance of the marketing channel had a bigger value than the price. Choosing relevancy over cheap CPM is crucial while overcoming the crisis. But worse than reducing the marketing budget and targeting cheap channels and keywords could only be marketing breaks. Let’s find out why.
B2B companies use marketing as the connecting link to the customers, building strong relationships and loyalty. Unlike B2B, B2C brands use marketing as an important part of their customer acquisition and conversion strategy and keep the active sales mechanism as a priority.
The B2C companies spend a large amount of money to generate new leads and increase the conversion rate. Cutting the marketing budget can provoke a decrease in attracting new customers and check-outs because the amount of advertisement, which is supposed to “warm-up” the audience before the sale, becomes smaller.
Again, relevance should be taken in the first place. It is important not how much the budget is allocated, but what for.
Prioritizing customer experience allows empathizing with the clients. That is how business-customer relationships are built. Once customers have been attached, they are more likely to react to company announcements and actions. From the B2C perspective, loyalty can be very fragile in comparison to companies in the B2B space.
Before, brands were trying to catch customer attention with sales and promotions. Now, what the brand does for society is essential. Think about Gen Z: their preferences on brands correlate with brand views, values, and social engagement.
Moreover, just publishing brand value on the website in the CSR category is no longer enough. The position must sound out loud, and the message should be spread, which requires financial investments. If there is a neutral or even an absence of social positioning, the company could be easily replaced with the competitors, who have stronger brand values awareness.
Let’s take a look from a B2B point of view. Unlike B2C businesses, B2B brands have more loyal and long-term connections. As it was mentioned, marketing has a connectional role between the brands. Marketing in B2B can generate leads, support sales by building the brand image, upsell products by straightening customer relationships.
Other companies follow vendors and suppliers because they see the professional importance: either it could be unique knowledge, industry insight, information, or other valuable content. The information can be passed through different marketing channels, like blogs, social media, educational platforms, events and webinars, podcasts, periodical publications, and conferences.
A marketing absence can be unpleasant evidence that a business shows no signs of life. And that can influence potential and existing customers. They can easily forget about the company’s existence, if the brand doesn’t declare about themselves, and turn to the competitors instead. The advertisement gap can provoke mistrust in the eyes of clients. That is why it is important to remind the customers about your experience through marketing.
Those rivals, who decided not to cut the marketing budget, have potential over your company. That would be a perfect time for them to lure away your clients by advertising them more attractive propositions. Marketing is one of the tools of a company to declare, brag and show off in good lightning.
If a brand is not going to do that, their competitors will benefit from your inaction.
This situation may seem hard to resolve: the company’s income is low, and spending remains the same. What should companies do to stay afloat and be financially stable? Several pieces of advice will help you not cut off your marketing budget and do not risk your income.
The audience is what sets the tone of any marketing strategy. Last year was full of unpredictable changes, restrictions, and negative media flow that raised fear and insecurity all around the world. Those brands that managed to react to the changed vibe of their audience, showing compassion and getting closer to people emotionally, increased their customers’ loyalty.
Marketing was responsible not only for selling products and services but also for bringing important messages out there. For example, that company cares about its customer and employee health, uninterrupted products delivery, and high-quality customer support. It was crucial to position brands according to the newly created consumer values.
After the worldwide roll-out of the vaccination and slow reopening for the summer season, fast and agile brands realized the importance of pent-up demand on their business.
What is pent-up demand? According to TheBusinessProfessor.com, “Pent-up demand is a build-up of demand for goods and services in an economy where consumers are unable or unwilling to make purchases to satisfy the demand at the present time.”
It was a perfect time to launch an aggressive marketing campaign for new customer acquisition and sales acceleration.
Considering the current political and economic situation, marketers should assess risks and develop new plans according to several possible future scenarios. What would you do if the borders were closed again? What if there is a new lockdown?
Knowing the customer needs, business environment, and certain set of actions in any particular situation will help to build a strong strategy and avoid future unforeseen obstacles.
At the end of the day, the future can have unexpected turns and pivots from any forecasts or predictions. But quality risk management and agility would always help to continue growing.
Obviously, the strategy that was approved in 2019 and the beginning of 2020 became useless. Some companies have adapted faster than others and even increased their income by thinking out of the box.
When changing marketing strategy, the main question to be answered is what does the business try to achieve? Starting from this point, you can, build your path for the long-term perspective or better short-term to avoid too many pivots from the initial goals.
Set the north star to guide your team in their daily activities but do not put strict limits. Ideally, the marketing team should review the current situation and company results at least on a quarterly basis. Remember, business is supposed to be dynamic since the environment and consumer interests are constantly changing. Sometimes it is important to take a risk and bring the changes into the company.
It would be wise to eliminate some useless or overpriced marketing tools and subscriptions by replacing them with more effective alternatives to save money. Train marketing team to run more activities in-house and work more efficiently. You can review and access the marketing channels used in the last months and evaluate their costs and effectiveness to conclude the prudence of the marketing budget.
The same would have to be done with other intermediaries. Try to negotiate new contract conditions with a media agency. As a rule, media agencies work under a certain percentage of the marketing budget, often around 20-50%. This amount can be saved and contributed towards campaigns by moving to SaaS solutions for programmatic ads.
If you would like to learn other solutions, this article can help: Programmatic In-House: Build or Move with SaaS?
There are different SaaS solutions and Adello.Direct is one of them. The main benefits of SaaS are simplicity, usability, and the possibility to target, set up, and monitor the marketing/advertising campaigns in a much cheaper and convenient fashion.
Set up and stick to your budget. Remember: the budget should serve the marketing strategy and not the other way around.
It is time to choose more effective and efficient methods of advertisement and give it a try to jump into 2022 fully armed and prepared.
You would have to be ready that every action of the marketing team will work for the brand in a long-term perspective, and it takes time to see the results.
It can be compared with body health improvement: Eating healthy for one week can barely bring any results. In order to change the body shape and improve wellbeing, one would have to eat healthily and do sports regularly for months or even years.
Same with marketing. The investment has an accumulation effect. The notions like customer loyalty and trust may take time to build up. The client database will also grow gradually, and later the conversion can be increased.
Undoubtedly, it is time-consuming and requires patience, but in the future, the results can grow exponentially. A crisis is not a reason to cut off your marketing budget for a short-term cash win. Indeed, it could be a time for revision of the current strategy.
The relevance of marketing methods comes in the first place, which can be a better alternative than reducing spending. Think about how cutting the budget can negatively influence your brand and your customers and how the rivals can celebrate it.
Change the strategy, reflect on what can be improved, remove non-essential expenses. Invest in a long-term perspective and see your business growing.
If you need some advice from the marketing experts, Adello is always ready to help!
“All you need is social media marketing” - this and similar ideas have been floating in the air for a long time and were actively spread by numerous social media “experts” that continue popping up. On the one hand, social media marketing (SMM) is relatively affordable and easy to use, even for those who are new in marketing. It’s enough to create a free business account on social media, post catchy content, set up targeting, pay - done, your SMM campaign is live! That makes SMM seem like a lucrative, beneficial, and affordable way of marketing. Or not?
Don’t misunderstand us. SMM is a quite helpful tool and many businesses use it as a primary marketing channel. Moreover, SMM activities have a significant impact on the intentions of users. Furthermore, social media encompasses about 4,5 billion people around the world. Nevertheless, SMM is not a panacea. In addition, using only social media for large brand marketing brings certain risks.
The brands obviously can create a social media account, customize it and post various original content. However, social media is just a platform provider. What if social media is blocked in your country?
The inescapable truth is that there is no control over social media from the brand side. The fate of the company should be in the hands of the business owners.
It is important to remember that social media campaigns will not necessarily lead to the business goal, rather it has to be a part of the path. Indeed, social media is great for lead generation, but it doesn’t mean the potential customers will necessarily provide your income.
Some brands may deem that their audience is on social media. However, they may be mistaken. We wrote above that social media encompasses a large audience. However, that doesn’t mean that the ad campaigns on social media will be relevant exactly for the certain audience the brand is looking for.
Luxury brands, for one, don’t seek their audience on social media exclusively.
Unfortunately, social media doesn’t have a good reputation regarding ad fraud, it is an especially big problem on Instagram and Facebook. One of the massive issues is fake accounts. According to Facebook Transparency Report, the number of fake accounts is counted in billions every quarter! During three years, Facebook has deleted more than 15 billion fake accounts. This is more than the population of Earth! Those accounts are used for different purposes, but most of them are created to conduct ad or engagement fraud.
Moreover, large tech companies are also not always transparent in regards to their business activities. In many cases, they put their own interests before anything else, even if it goes at the cost of their customers…
For data collection, social media uses social media cookies. Those cookies are used to connect a website to a third-party social media platform and collect user information after they sign in to a social media account from a website.
Today users are concerned about their personal data in the webspace. Third-party cookies are considered unethical and social media would have to find alternatives to them. At the same time, without social media cookies, social media platforms are expected to experience losses on the advertisement. For instance, the recent case, when Facebook experienced losses in revenue and targeting after the new iOS rules, demonstrated how reliance on third-party cookies could be fragile.
What should be a solution? Again, we do not suggest deleting social media accounts and completely switching to other marketing methods. It’s not about “instead of this” rather “in addition to”. That is how Adello would like to recommend to businesses that were using SMM only and not completely satisfied with their marketing to try omnichannel marketing.
An omnichannel strategy is a technique that helps to create a smooth customer experience across all the marketing channels the brand sells through. Omnichannel marketing can combine email, social media, mobile, paid online advertising, DooH, and many others. Such cases did not occur otherwise. This approach allows customers to have a choice in how they interact with the brand. Today, omnichannel is actively used in large companies. Nevertheless, small businesses can also participate in the omnichannel game.
Some may ask why an omnichannel strategy is needed? Advertising using only one channel is definitely cheaper and requires less time and energy.
To stay relevant, companies need to deliver a holistic and consistent brand experience across all sales and marketing channels. It’s about connecting the dots of your digital and physical presence. This is where an effective omnichannel strategy comes into play. The marketing strategy will be more efficient if more channels are implemented instead of one.
Apart from that, there are also other important reasons that benefit the brand:
Creating awareness is essential for the business. For this purpose, many different channels have to be implemented: from DooH to mobile to store. Thus, a combination of the channels increases the possibility of the customer getting aware of the brand.
The ad that is displayed via different channels does not only repeat the message but also supports brand reasoning and leads clients towards the business goal. This allows the creation of the customer journey that leads to the business goal. As an example: DooH perfectly works together with mobile marketing. DooH helps to establish trust in your brand and strengthen customer loyalty towards it. Mobile advertising can retarget potential customers, lead them to the business goal (72.9% of purchases are made on mobile), and gain precious privacy-friendly insights about your audience.
An omnichannel strategy is a good way to declare about the business and its values. We have already written that the social position of brands is gaining importance, especially among Gen Z. Now, brands cannot be neutral and indifferent to social and environmental challenges. Declaring your view only on social media is not enough. Your positioning would have to be fully integrated into the company. Thanks to the omnichannel strategy, potential customers will be able to notice this message everywhere and easily memorize what that brand stands for. Today more and more companies establish CIO position that stands for Chief Impact Officer. The responsibilities of CIO are to help organizations to create, increase, and report on the impact of the brand. Recently, Prince Harry became chief impact officer of BetterUp, and Lil Nas X became CIO of Taco Bell.
Some brands are changing their representation in order to correspond to today’s agenda and demands of society by trying to be inclusive. The brand Hugo Boss previously had a certain image for the narrow contingent: In their advertisement, most of their models were wearing business suits. However, recently Hugo Boss changed their strategy and launched #HOWDOYOUHUGO campaign: the business outfit over all its channels was replaced with the free, bold look, which is more relevant and clear for different groups of people.
Social media marketing is often used to “hit the jackpot” here and now: quick followers gain, high engagement, customer reactions. However, this hardly will help for the long term period.
Omnichannel allows the brands to deliver a continuous message to the masses. Referring to the previous bullet point, this message creates a customers’ “believe’ in the brand that will last for a long. That is how the brands build bigger audiences with more channels.
Adello has been in Mobile Advertising for 14 years and has become one of the most successful digital providers in APAC, EMEA, and the US. We have a long, deep experience in digital marketing. Today, Adello helps brands to develop highly relevant omnichannel marketing strategies. One of the solutions we use is combining mobile advertising with DooH and Social Media campaigns. This combination leads to a strengthened brand position, covering broader audiences and increasing consumer trust. Moreover, it helps to boost the business and sales.
Need help with building a unique multi- or omnichannel marketing strategy? Adello’s team can help you to develop and execute even the most daring and bold marketing ideas! Let’s bring the best know-how in mobile advertising, DooH, and social media together to promote your brand.
It may seem that Google and Meta live through hard times. Over the past decade, Google has already faced more than 8 billion euros in EU antitrust fines. Recently, Google had a lawsuit in France for adtech abuses and was fined for $268 Million.
Facebook has not been spared trouble too. The company keeps losing money on its stock after rebranding. Furthermore, currently, both Google and Facebook are under antitrust investigations in relation to their online display ad businesses by the European Commission and the U.K., which will drastically affect the reputation and income of those companies.
Let us tell the story from the very beginning. It all started in 2007 when Google bought DoubleClick.
DoubleClick was one of the leaders in display advertising that developed and provided Internet ad services. DoubleClick was in collaboration with large brands such as Microsoft, General Motors, Coca-Cola, Motorola, L’Oréal, Apple, Visa, and many others.
Suddenly, Google acquired DoubleClick for $3.1 billion and immediately started implementing its rebranding. That is how DoubleClick became Google Marketing Platform brand, DoubleClick Bid Manager is now Display and Video 360, DoubleClick Search became Search Ads 360, and DoubleClick for Publishers turned to Google Ad Manager 360. Through this purchase, Google obtained its cash cow that Google protects with its full determination.
This occasion made advertisement analytics see the obvious red flags: there is reason to assume that if the leader in search advertising had acquired the leader in display advertising, it would consequently lead to the antitrust law breach.
Advertisers recognized a hidden menace in the Google Ad platform as well. That is why they started developing and open-sourcing a system called Header Bidding. This system allowed to launch a bid for several ad exchanges at once and in a much more transparent way than through Google’s systems. Thus, Header Bidding became a threat to Google’s dominance by improving the playing field for competition.
Exactly at this point, Facebook goes to the stage in this story. In 2017, Facebook began demonstrating a strong interest in Header Bidding but then suddenly backed off. It turns out, Google was trying to make friends with Facebook and gave the company a fantastic offer, which was not given to anyone else: a guarantee of a 90% (!) of auctions regardless of the bids; more time to bid, which is 300 milliseconds compared to the 160 offered to other companies, at the risk of pages loading more slowly, identification of 80% of smartphone users and 60% of web users. This agreement obtained a code name Jedi Blue.
Before we continue our story, let’s take a step back to understand why the monopoly of the tech giants is dangerous.
The Jedi Blue case is one of the examples of the abuse of Google and Facebook’s privileged positions and proof of why the tech giants need regulation.
For those, who are not familiar with the ad industry, Google and Facebook look like the undoubtful guarantee for quality since they reach dominance in the industry. However, this statement is misconceived, we will share some constructive criticism on the Facebook and Google ad products in a separate article. Furthermore, the monopoly of the large tech companies leads to a range of negative consequences.
The most obvious reason that comes to mind is decreasing the quality as a result of monopoly. If there is no competition, there is no motivation to produce a quality product. This will consequently impede progress.
Today billions of people are dependent on services like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Almost 3 billion people monthly use social media that belong to Meta (Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram), and this number will grow. If a large social capital is concentrated in one tech conglomerate, this can lead to a range of different problems such as disinformation or censoring.
Referring to the previous problem, lack of confidentiality deserves special attention. Collecting, selling, exploiting, and abusing data have long been a serious problem for tech companies. Currently, this is one of the reasons for antitrust and monopoly concerns about big tech companies.
The dominance of big tech companies is oppressing the small companies and preventing innovative brands and startups from entering the market. This will consiqencelly limit the customer choice.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are more reasons why the power of the big tech companies should be under control. Nevertheless, there is a counter-power that prevents the domination of big companies and fights against the appearance of a monopoly.
Returning to the Jedi Blue case, it doesn’t happen for the first time when the tech giants, such as Apple, Google, Meta, or Amazon, are close enough to breach the antitrust law. For such cases, there is the European Commission’s commissioner of competition in Europe.
Very recently, EU antitrust authorities began their investigation regarding Google and Facebook’s Jedi Blue.
“On Friday, we just opened a new case with Google and Facebook, now Meta. It’s called Jedi Blue, named after the codename for an agreement that they seem to have entered back in 2018, with the aim, seemingly, to kill off Google competitors in the advertising ecosystem. We also have another Google case exclusively focusing on Google and the ad-tech stack, looking at some of the behaviors that seem to be anti-competitive.” - said Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, a European Commission’s commissioner of competition in 2014 and an executive vice president in 2019, she’s pursued antitrust cases.
If the investigation confirms the antitrust law breach from the side of Google and Facebook, the companies should expect another big fine.
Representatives from Facebook and Google have already commented on the situation.
“The allegations made about this agreement are false. This is a publicly documented, procompetitive agreement that enables Facebook Audience Network (FAN) to participate in our Open Bidding program, along with dozens of other companies. FAN’s involvement is not exclusive and they don’t receive advantages that help them win auctions. The goal of this program is to work with a range of ad networks and exchanges to increase demand for publishers’ ad space, which helps those publishers earn more revenue. Facebook’s participation helps that. We’re happy to answer any questions the Commission or the CMA have.”
Meta also has declared their statement:
“Meta’s non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms have helped to increase competition for ad placements. These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers and publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all. We will cooperate with both inquiries.”
Facebook and Google are experiencing not only financial but also reputational losses due to the range of lawsuits. Remember when Zuckerberg lost in court because of Facebook’s privacy breach? After the range of claims from the EU privacy regulation administration, Meta is threatening to leave the European market.
Or did you notice how Google is losing its trust in privacy and ad products quality? For one, these consequences have already led to Google being completely banned in Austria.
Other European countries can follow the example of Austria and ban Google ads as well.
All those occasions will not be traceless for those companies. The question is if users will still want to collaborate with those tech giants after what happened.
While continuing to monitor the situation, we at Adello adhere to our mission to deliver the most transparent, reliable, and effective mobile advertising services to our valuable clients!
The 28th Adello Industry Event took place on 2.2.22. The topic of the discussion was “Metaverse: Technological Gimmick or the Most Important Invention after Mobile?”. The event hosted Thomas Hutter, CEO of the advertising consultancy company Hutter Consult, and Dr. Margarethe Dopf, Chief Business Development Officer at the digital tourism organization Speed U Up Suisse. Mark Forster, Chairman of Mobile Task Force at IAB Switzerland and founder of Adello and GeoCTRL, was a moderator of the event.
The event started with Mark’s presentation, where he gave a detailed explanation of what Metaverse is.
Then Thomas continued with his presentation. He shared the possible ways the Metaverse can be used and gave his recommendations to businesses on how to adapt it.
Further, in the conversation with Mark and Thomas, Margarethe explained her opinion on how the tourism industry can transform within the Metaverse. She claimed that by implementing the Metaverse in the tourism sector, we could contribute to the environment: “With the Metaverse, we can be traveling without putting a great ecological strain on nature”.
After discussion, the audience could ask the industry experts questions related to the Metaverse, its future, and possible challenges.
“Why do you think companies’ adoption of Web 1.0 and especially Web 2.0 was slow? This doesn’t bode well for Web 3.0 and Metaverse… is it just a lack of knowledge or could it be linked to the lack of demand/consumer needs?”
Thomas claimed that the adoption of users was never a problem. Indeed, the problem lies on the business side. “In this country, at least in Switzerland, we have some innovation problems due to luxury laziness.” - shared Thomas with his opinion.
He added that unlike in other countries, there is less pressure from the competitors in Switzerland. If businesses are more or less satisfied with their state, there is no urge to change anything unless there is a strong motivation for innovations. Another reason that Thomas shared is the deficiency of know-how on the market.
Mark added that at the same time, Switzerland has good preconditions, such as a fast Internet, 5G, low latency, cryptocurrency development, and many other factors. It means that Switzerland still has a potential for faster Web 3.0 adoption.
“Web 3.0 also focuses on the approach of decentralizing all data. Doesn’t this contradict data collection, evaluation, tracking practices?”
All the experts agreed that data collection in the era of Web 3.0 would be another challenge on the way to the Metaverse adoption. The new reality will offer new data collection methods. Since the Metaverse will be based on real-time technologies, it is possible that data will be processed in real-time correspondingly. The experts believe that the audience can govern their own data and decide what data to share and with whom in the future.
“When it comes to the Metaverse, I also think of immortality, which would also be a global need. Would it be possible, if the person dies, their avatar will continue living in the Metaverse without the VR glasses, sensors, and AI?”
Mark noticed that it is quite a philosophical, but at the same time, an interesting question. He shared that within the technology and meta-world development, digital immortality will be possible: “It could be that the avatar is populated with a digital mindset, which has been approved by a user.”
“Who is responsible for the content in the Metaverse? According to previous experiences, let’s say the system providers (such as Meta) only operate the platform to enable networking and self-expression but not the content. [...]”
The experts agreed that this question hadn’t been answered yet, even in the era of Web 2.0. In practice, technologies appear first, and then the users come across the issues of how to regulate them.
“The legal frames follow the technical possibilities with a delay of a couple of years,” - added Mark.
The inescapable truth is that there will be certain risks for the platforms that provide self-expression. However, for the moment, the answer remains open for discussion.
“How do you see the possible negative effects from the filter bubble that can also be transferred to the Metaverse and can thus also be significantly controlled?”
Mark, Margarethe, and Thomas concurred that the filter bubble exists everywhere in the Webspace. It doesn’t matter what platform is used, there is always a risk of being locked inside the filter bubble. It is mainly the responsibility of the publisher side who produces the content. In fact, the problem of filter bubbles will be another challenge in the Metaverse.
“How will journalism be involved in the Metaverse? What role could the journalists play in the Metaverse and what dangers and challenges do they entail?”
Mark stated that Metaverse will be another platform where journalists can repost, which could significantly impact journalism in general. Thomas said that journalism in general still has certain challenges in the real world that will be transferred to Metaverse. Margarethe mentioned that there might be an escalating problem of fake news appearing in Metaverse.
Adello, together with Hutter Consult and Speed-U-Up, successfully conducts their first Metaverse event and announces its new focus. Adello streamed the event via Linkedin and YouTube for more than 180 tech and media professionals.
Mark Forster, Chairman of the Mobile-Taskforce at IAB Switzerland and founder of Adello and GeoCTRL, led the event. In his intro, he showed which worlds are opening up in the current metaverses and the prerequisites for their development. He explained the evolution of the Internet over the last 30 years with the breakthrough of the revolutionary iPhone in 2007, the impressive performance increase and minimal latency of broadband from 2G to 5G over the last 15 years, the proliferation of Crypto and NFT's over the last 8 years.
Thanks to these developments, new opportunities that were unthinkable 19 years ago during the launch of Second Life are opening up now.
In his keynote, Thomas Hutter from Hutter Consult led the audience step by step into the depths of the metaverse. He also noted that the metaverse is not yet fully developed. Thomas added that the opportunities are enormous in all sectors. At the same time, he dampened the euphoria with the statement that even today, many companies still haven't fully adapted neither Web 1.0 nor 2.0. With these prerequisites, they are not prepared for the metaverse. Although the spread of 5G would create excellent conditions in Western Europe and especially in Switzerland, there is also a lack of courage to drive forward such disruptive innovations.
In the panel discussion, Dr. Margarethe Dopf of the Speed-U-Up agency outlined examples in the tourism sector that could increase sustainability, guide visitors and link them to a business model. The experts were asked numerous (sometimes tricky) questions posed by the participants. For example, Mike Weber and Oliver Schönfeld questioned the role of the platform operators with regard to the resulting filter bubble and the responsibility for the content shown. Jana Rudolf, for one, asked to what extent journalism would be involved in the metaverse.
In the end, Mark Forster announced the next event to take place on 05.05.22. Moreover, he added that after 14 years of pioneering mobile marketing, Adello had decided to change its focus on the metaverses. Mark claimed that after mobile marketing emerged from the rapid proliferation of powerful devices, a multitude of apps, and their increasing user base, the metaverses are at a similar point. Omnipresent broadband access with 5G, new sensors/real-time data/AI, and crypto/NFT would all come together. That's why Adello decided to pioneer in this area and proclaim it with the new slogan "Beyond digital Realities".