eMarketer's chief innovation officer Geoff Ramsey, who will be speaking at this week’s ANA Masters of Marketing conference, chatted with Bill Duggan, group executive vice president of the ANA about trust, brand safety and the uses for AI.
Read their conversation ahead of Ramsey's presentation on the new technologies, platforms and tools marketers need to harness.
You have spoken previously about a "crisis of trust" in the digital advertising ecosystem. What do you mean by that and how should it be addressed by the industry?
When consumers say they can't trust the media they read, you have a big problem, not only as a marketing ecosystem but as a democracy. We need to be able to trust at least some sources we read and believe that facts exist. Solid, reliable journalism matters greatly. But there's a paradox with consumers. While consumers say in surveys that they don't trust a lot of what they read on social platforms, a majority say that's their primary source for accessing the news. Go figure!
On the other hand, brands play a role in this, too. Some marketers are paying lip service to the importance of brand safety. They may insist that context matters and that they want their ads to appear only alongside appropriate content, yet too many don't put their money where their mouth is. In other words, they are so fixated on scale at any price, using programmatic to chase consumers all over the web, that they overlook the fact that their ads are popping up on sites with violence, terrorist ideology, sexual content or other unsavory contexts. I believe brands should take a firmer stand, and take a flight to quality, or they run the risk of eroding their brand equity.
Your upcoming session at the ANA Masters of Marketing promises to discuss "a number of new technologies, platforms and tools that come with steep learning curves and require entirely new approaches." What technology, platforms and tools are you most excited about?
I'm excited about many interrelated and powerful new trends. Some may think that artificial intelligence is overblown or hyped, but I believe it is already changing the field of marketing in every possible way, from awareness-building and CRM to personalization and customer loyalty. AI will power, personalize and accelerate every function we do in marketing. It's already under our noses -- if you as a consumer are using Google Maps, Amazon, Pandora, Netflix or Spotify, for example, then you are using AI.
Related to AI is voice technology. The market for voice-activated devices (think Alexa, Google Home, etc.) is exploding like I've rarely seen. By (the end of) 2018 nearly one out of every five Americans will use one of these devices, and 28 percent of them will be buying stuff on them (per eMarketer).
Now I'm getting excited about Augmented Reality (AR) which is finally ready for primetime. Lots of use cases. Lots of opportunities for brands to really connect with consumers in a deeper more involved way.