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Omar TawakolGroup Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Data CloudOracle
When Oracle acquired data management platform (DMP) BlueKai in February 2014, Omar Tawakol, BlueKai’s former CEO, was tapped to oversee Oracle’s Data Cloud, as well as the company’s Data as a Service for Business—both of which center around using information to provide greater intel to sales and marketing efforts. Tawakol, now group vice president and general manager of Oracle Data Cloud, recently spoke with eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher about how some of the biggest trends are driving digital advertising today.
eMarketer: What trends do you see affecting digital display advertisers this year?
Omar Tawakol: Cross-linking everything across screens and devices is the biggest and most important trend this year. Marketers have these first-party data assets: data tied to email, data tied to a physical address, data tied to cookies—and they’re all massively disconnected.
Linking allows you to target across devices and measure whether an ad on a mobile device or PC drove an in-store sale.
These types of insights will be important for advertisers, particularly those in the automotive, retail and travel industries, where a lot of transactions happen physically in the real world.
eMarketer: There are a number of companies offering device identification services, and each tends to take a slightly different approach. Will we see greater standardization to these offerings?
Tawakol: Absolutely. We’ll see focus on the quality of data and linkages you’re making with the data.
Data quality has been a problem since day one. We get demographic information from dozens of sources, and a lot of them are data companies that people know and trust. The problem is these companies have different quality metrics on what they think is acceptable for putting demographic data on a cookie.
Some might be putting household data onto a cookie. If a household attribute is tied to a cookie, that’s a problem for a household of four where half are female and half are male. They can’t all be tagged with a single demographic.
Originally, there was this phase of programmatic where people were more interested in having data on as many cookies as they cost-efficiently could.
As the market gets more sophisticated, this is going to change. Buyers will take a closer look at the data and go for what drives more value.
eMarketer: Are there any specific trends you’re seeing related to ad formats or types?
Tawakol: The industry is getting fed up with interruptive ads. Some brands recognize that it’s better to provide services to people rather than interruptive ads.
An extreme example would be Nike coming up with a useful running app. Rather than spending on an ad that tells you to buy shoes, you run with the Nike app. Guess what happens the next time you go to a store? You buy Nike shoes. Spend is built on service. It’s not easy for everyone to figure out how to provide a service that gets someone to love their brand.
A less extreme example is native advertising, where you’re providing useful content that’s actually an ad. We’ll see native ads increasing more as people realize that hitting consumers over the head with interruptive messages in the midst of clutter isn’t effective.
eMarketer: Native ads seem to be the pendulum play for brands that are fed up with poor banner performance. As more buyers swing toward native, do we run the risk of publishers trying to oversaturate it to the point of ineffectiveness?
Tawakol: That’s already happening, and it’s frustrating. Ultimately, the backlash will be lower performance. The reason the other stuff worked is because the ad was useful to the consumer and wasn’t mixed in a way that interrupted what they were doing. The more noisy we make native advertising, the more it hurts the unit to the point it starts to perform like a banner ad.
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