Predicting the future isn't easy, but Millward Brown's media and
digital expertise allows us to provide reliable insights into the
important emerging trends and their implications for our clients
and the world of advertising.
In 2015, we foresee ever-greater tension between four competing
channel-planning perspectives. New technologies are emerging all
the time that give media agencies greater control over how and when
consumers are exposed to brand messages, but there are still huge
challenges surrounding how to connect plans across media silos and
how to reduce and make sense of digital data complexity. Creative
agencies have a more exciting box of tricks and more ad formats to
play with than ever before, but telling a coherent, consistent, and
connected multiscreen and multimedia story across different
audience generations is no easy task.
With many marketers increasingly placing the machine in control,
programmatic buying can result in smarter targeting of messages
based on location and behavioral learning, yet there remain many
questions about whether programmatic campaigns can add up to a
meaningful brand-building story. Will programmatic and brand
building simply compete, or can they potentially complement and
enhance? Finally, there are more planners keen to place the
consumer in control, ensuring that brand messages fit neatly into
their consumer's lifestyle and that the brand is there for their
consumers whenever and wherever they choose to reach out.
At the center of these silos are brand marketers looking to
build their brand's differentiation for the long term, steering a
steady course through new and uncharted waters. We hope these
predictions help you make sense of the changing digital and media
landscape for 2015 and beyond so you can remain on top of the
latest important trends without being distracted by every shiny new
1. Second screen syncing brings greater multiscreen
by Hannah Walley
New second screen sync technologies offer great
potential to amplify your own TV spend… or to hijack that of
Last year, Millward Brown predicted that meshing (simultaneous
viewing of related content across multiple devices) would give
birth to a new era of multiscreen advertising. Since then,
multiscreen advertising has indeed exploded, with marketers
increasingly taking advantage of these user behaviors. For 2015, we
expect this to go one step further with controlled second-screen
syncing set to appear on more and more media plans.
Second screen syncing is planning your media so that within
seconds of your TV ad airing, a complementary ad appears on
consumers' digital screens. Time-synced digital media plans use
listening technology to identify when a specific TV ad airs; the
technology then triggers the ad server to buy up available
inventory across a network of sites, and the digital ad appears for
a short period following the TV spot. For example, an automotive
display ad with a link to book a test drive could be synced with
the TV spot. Ideally, buying ad space in this timely way will
increase the chances of simultaneously reaching your audience both
on- and off-line. Most syncing technology can run digital ads
across desktop, mobile, and tablet, so advertisers are able to
reach their TV audience by the second screen of their choice.
Syncing provides brands with the opportunity to amplify their
message and improve exposure, thus increasing ROI on their
advertising spend. It's important to note that syncing shouldn't be
just about amplification and frequency, it's also a new
storytelling opportunity. Brands should continue the story online
and add extra value for those who have just watched the TV spot.
This should hopefully reduce the potential feeling of stalking that
some consumers may experience when TV and digital screens behave in
a connected fashion.
This technology can also be used for competitor ad targeting, so
you can plan your digital ad to run at the same time as a
competitor's TV ad and deliver targeted counter-claims. Syncing
could also be used to promote products complementary to those being
advertised on TV, for example a Coca-Cola digital ad following a
Smirnoff TV commercial. It is an exciting time of change for media
planning and buying, and the true impact of this form of targeting
will be measured over the coming year as its use increases, and the
impact on brand and behavior becomes known.
2. Breaking down social and mobile silos
by Ali Rana
The fragmented and competitive social and mobile
landscape drives advertising innovation but brings with it
inefficiencies and challenges.
Social and mobile media are hardly "new" media in 2015. But even
as the brand dollars flow in more consistently and in greater
volume, marketers are spending energy developing siloed strategies
for each platform. These media have yet to achieve the
sophisticated measurement of their more established
counterparts-most platforms can only offer peeks inside their own
performance. To prove their collective value, social and mobile
platforms need to offer a more coordinated look at the landscape
they occupy. 2015 will see the start of a transformation from
"walled garden" marketing and measurement toward cross-device,
cross-platform, and cross-media approaches that evidence the full
impact of these platforms on brand equity, consumer behavior, and
Individual platforms will provide more open, connected data,
which links ad exposure to brand attitudes, consumer behaviors, and
sales. Linking this data to established consumer panels will allow
ever more fine-grained insights into the effects of all social and
mobile marketing. Further consolidation in media ownership may also
help standardize these data and processes.
Marketers can already grasp some threads of performance through
standalone audience and attitudinal measurement.
Cross-platform measurement will not achieve the granularity of
standalone measurement in 2015, but it will start to deliver
insights into how brands and their media agencies can best
harmonize their overall social and mobile strategy.
3. Not just big - intelligent
by Margaret Hung
In 2015, marketing will experience a mind shift in focus
from "big" data to streamlined "intelligent" data.
Marketers are data rich but insights poor. Despite the promise
of Big Data, investments in powerful data processing platforms can
be costly and, at best, only marginally useful when marketers lack
a firm understanding of the quality of the data and appropriateness
of its applications. In 2015, we'll see brand marketers culling big
data assets to "must haves," investing in analytic talent, and
applying predictive analytics to orchestrate investments across
retail and communication channels to drive brand equity and
We also expect to see ever-greater collaboration between
different platform owners to enhance consumer relevancy. China's
online video platform, iqiyi. com, already uses Baidu's search data
to inform pre-roll video ad targeting decisions; online giants
Youku and Alibaba partner to link video ad exposure to online
sales. If these partnerships are to succeed, the metrics at the
core of these systems need to be smart, focused, and predictive of
Through exploration and experimentation, focus next year will
shift from "big" to "intelligent" data. Human knowledge and
expertise applied to big data assets and infrastructure will be
recognized as key to translating the hype over Big Data into
4. Paid advertising propels micro-video into the
by Jackie Bartolotta
Micro-video platforms provide smart paid marketing
opportunities, but only brands who know, learn, and love those
platforms will succeed.
Brands spent much of 2014 working to find a place on social
micro-video platforms like Vine and Instagram. Their efforts so far
have been earned media, as consumers rewarded their creativity with
likes and shares, but there is now some movement into paid
placements. Micro-video platforms will become more important as an
ad channel in 2015, but brands will need to tread carefully to
avoid consumer backlash for invading their personal space.
Micro-video is already transcending the online realm and
starting to influence TV advertising. HP this year aired a 30
second commercial in the US that was made up completely of
"Vinelebrities" from HP-sponsored Vines. Many more brands are
tagging television ads with their Twitter or Instagram handle. In
2015 we will see more brands blurring these lines, and perhaps
airing simple, 5-10 second TV creatives that mimic a Vine or
Brands embracing paid micro-video should be aware that these
shorter ads might actually require more effort to be effective.
Poor creative could have a negative impact, as consumers may become
annoyed by clutter invading their personal territory. To optimize
engagement, creative agencies will need to develop stories that
work well across multiple micro-videos, and media agencies will
need to learn how to optimize the new paid targeting options and
the role of micro-video within a broader media campaign.
5. Digital advertising at 21: marketers get savvier
about multi-generational multiscreen marketing
by Joline McGoldrick
Optimize across devices by aligning branding objectives
with learning about how screen usage varies by generation and
In digital advertising's 21st year, multiscreen marketing across
TVs, laptops/ PCs, smartphones, and tablets will finally become
more unified. People's relationships with all of the screens in
their lives (and most folk have at least three) are not fragmented
at all-they're integrated. In 2014 audiences figured out how to
harmonize their various screens, and in 2015 marketers will catch
up. In 2015, the savviest marketers will invest in understanding
what drives screen preference so they can match these drivers with
the branding outcomes they hope to achieve.
Recent Millward Brown research in the US on multiscreen
preferences found that two factors played a key role in driving
screen preference: generation of the audience member and task load
(the amount of time and concentration required for a task).
When exploring the role of generation in multiscreen preference,
we compared the screen preferences of Millennials (born 1981-1996);
GenXers (born 1965- 1980) and Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964).
Millennials have clearly migrated somewhat away from TV and laptops
towards smartphones. Only 77 percent of Millennials reported
watching TV (traditionally) the previous day (compared to 86
percent of GenXers or 91 percent of Boomers). The trend was similar
for laptops and PCs. Only 58 percent of Millennials reported using
the internet on their laptops or PCs in the previous day (compared
to 67 percent of GenXers and 71 percent of Boomers). Instead,
Millennials preferred to access the internet on smartphones, with
77 percent of Millennials using the internet on their smartphones
in the previous day (compared to just 60 percent of GenXers and 42
percent of Boomers).
However, demographics or psychographics alone are not sufficient
since marketers also need to better understand the role of task
length in multiscreen preference. Our US research indicates that
for low-attention, frequent-touch activities, audiences prefer
smartphones (38 percent of US multiscreen users say smartphones are
their preferred device for checking weather and 34 percent for
visiting Twitter), but they still go to their laptops or PCs when
it's time for high-attention activities like product research or
purchase-and yes, this is even the case for Millennials. Ninety-six
percent of respondents preferred smartphones for tasks between zero
and five minutes, for tasks between five and 60 minutes they were
divided with a slight preference for tablets, but for tasks over an
hour a majority of respondents (53 percent) still preferred
laptops. Clearly, the laptop is not dead.
In 2015, successful multiscreen marketers will take these
findings on screen preference and overlay branding objectives to
optimize multiscreen campaigns. For saliency, where low-touch and
high frequency matters, smartphones could be a great medium for
advancing these objectives-particularly among younger audiences.
However, for more complex brand messaging where the goal is to
build greater differentiation or drive further research or
acquisition, smart marketers will balance their efforts across
smartphones and laptops- particularly for older audiences.
6. Programmatic gets creative
by Drew Myers
Programmatic advertising evolves by merging smart and
engaging creative elements with existing media buying
Historically, programmatic ads have been simplistic and
formulaic to enable the adaptability required of the format while
processing the available information on a given person, but the ads
themselves must now become more engaging to break through the
clutter each of us experiences every day. To meet this need in
2015, creative agencies will increasingly partner with developers
or build up their own advanced programming capabilities and
cross-functional abilities to produce and deploy smart ads with
customizable creative elements. The best of these executions will
not seem "robo-generated" but will enable a new kind of dynamic,
relevant storytelling based on when and how they are delivered.
Picture an existing programmatic model-you place an electric
razor you are considering in your Amazon shopping cart. You later
notice that several Facebook friends like that razor company.
Banner ads start appearing for that razor across websites as you
surf. A day passes and you receive an email with a coupon for 10
percent off your order. All of these "hints" ultimately lead to
purchase, but it's the 10 percent offer that sealed the deal. What
if instead of these hints, an emotional connection could be built
by delivering compelling, targeted, and timely creative? If this
leads to the sale and could be scaled, an extra 10 percent margin
would be the result-an attractive opportunity to reduce the cost of
acquisition and sufficient motivation to get programmatic
brand-building right. In addition to increased efficiency, the
ability of programmatic to target very specific people at known
points in the purchase journey should make the impact of delivering
the right messages much more powerful. For example, bespoke
messaging could be delivered to entice active considerers of
specific competitive brands.
What will this evolution look like? In the near term, creatively
adaptable programmatic will start with customized color schemes and
verbiage to set the proper mood and tone. A next step is evolving
video to be customized with distinct vignettes with smart
sequencing or a "choose your own adventure" style determined via
your digital behaviors and psychographics. For example, an
individual execution could be made up of four variable elements
such as color, message, vignette/scene, and product each with a
number of options-three options per element would yield 81 creative
variations (3^4 =81). Different permutations would be employed via
real-time availability based on programmatic targeting variables
such as age, gender, site visitation, and previous ad exposure. The
result is a creative "tool kit" with smart options deployable
instantaneously at key moments in the decision making journey,
driving increased meaning because of the context and sequence in
which they are delivered.
7. Programmatic increasingly contemplates
by Jerome Shimizu
Marketers will question whether programmatic
optimization is damaging or enhancing brand building.
Programmatic advertising, which relies on algorithms to
determine in real-time whether or not to engage a consumer, is a
staggering innovation. However, those algorithms often rely on
limited digital touchpoints, which ultimately overweight the
importance of direct-response metrics and KPIs. Brands are becoming
aware of this overweighting, and in the next year, they will
increasingly demand that these programmatic algorithms also
consider softer measures of brand health.
To overhaul programmatic bidding inputs is a major challenge,
but marketers will achieve this incrementally in three stages:
1. In the near term, advertisers will use new methodologies to
conduct brand effectiveness evaluations of programmatic campaigns
(ensuring that campaigns optimized solely based on behaviors are
still delivering well on brand metrics).
2. In the medium term, advertisers will encourage programmatic
partners to feed normative brand effectiveness learning data
analyzed by site, ad, creative, and audience into programmatic
3. In the long term, advertisers will push to enhance
programmatic algorithms beyond existing industry targeting
variables to include richer audience psychographic and attitudinal
data such as existing brand favorability.
8. Consumer-focused location-based marketing
by Matthew Jorgenson
Location-based marketing opportunities are powerful when
brands focus on consumers' interests rather than on their
The evolution of the smartphone has provided us with
unparalleled convenience and access to data, but this access goes
both ways. Never before have the likes of Google, Facebook, and
their advertisers had more access to information about us, and
increasingly, about where we go. If you are carrying an iPhone or
Android device and the location services are active, chances are
Apple and Google are tracking your every move. It was only a matter
of time before advertisers started to cash in on this wealth of
data that is being collected 24/7.
McDonald's China partnered with Angry Birds to create a
location-based promotional game to entertain and reward restaurant
visitors. Players were able to vote for their favorite McDonald's
location in China, and the most popular branch had a gigantic Angry
Birds slingshot attached to the famous golden arches.
The implications for the marketing world are enormous.
Advertisers will be able to use this data to better understand
consumer in-store journeys and dwell times - not to mention giving
media owners the ability to accurately measure the level of
exposure to POS displays or OOH sites. Service providers such as
airlines and banks can make use of the technology to enhance
customer experience in increasingly competitive industries, while
retailers will be able to tailor a personal shopping experience for
each and every customer. In 2015, giving the customer what they
want at the right place and the right time will be a key
differentiator for cutting edge brands that seek to build personal
relevance and meaning with their consumers.
9. Native advertising more often gets it right - but
by Jon Salm
Native advertising-online ads created to blend in with a
publishing platform's format-will be huge in 2015. However, not all
native solutions are created equal. The worst are perceived as
blatant propaganda and are as boring as your parents' vacation
slideshow. But the best evoke positive feelings, resonate with
consumers, and drive brand impact. Advertisers should identify
publishers getting native right and then partner with them to
execute best-in-class solutions.
The Atlantic's early foray into native advertising left much to
be desired. The magazine published a native ad called "David
Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year." The Church of
Scientology paid for the piece, which was resoundingly criticized
for its overwhelming bias and for only including a single note that
it was sponsored. Other publishers sometimes seem to disown their
native advertising by including excessive indicators that the
content is sponsored. Whether deceitful or disowned, this sort of
native advertising is unlikely to deliver a strong return.
On the other end of the spectrum, The Onion and Forbes strike an
effective balance between advertising and editorial by explicitly
mentioning that content is sponsored and perfectly matching their
sites' regular tone and style. Within the walls of The Onion
headquarters is Onion Labs, a full-service agency that produces
content. Similarly, Forbes offers their BrandVoice platform for
both print and digital clients. Onion Labs boasts clients such as
7-Eleven, Microsoft, and YouTube, and Forbes has produced
BrandVoice content for financial powerhouses including TD
Ameritrade, Merrill Lynch, and Northwestern Mutual.
Research from Sharethrough and IPG Media Lab indicates that
native ads consistently outperform their standard counterparts -
consumers look at native ads 52 percent more frequently than banner
ads and are more likely to share with friends and family. And as
marketers begin to understand the benefits that native solutions
offer, they are beginning to spend big.
Marketers spent $4.7 billion on native ads in 2013, and this
number is expected to more than quadruple to $21 billion by 2018,
according to research from BI Intelligence and the Interactive
Advertising Bureau. The smartest advertisers will use the best
platforms to get the most out of this money, but the worst will see
it go to waste. Brand effectiveness research in 2015 will start to
uncover whether the promise of native is being consistently
10. Analog goes digital
by Kelly Pellico and James Galpin
Brands must leverage mobile-enabled connectivity
coherently through every aspect of their marketing
Conventional wisdom says that our mobile phones are the vessels
by which we bring the digital world into the physical, but we've
moved beyond the point of intersection. From the places we take
them to the apps we choose, our phones know us as few others do.
They have come to represent us- our digital avatars.
Accordingly, mobile devices are transforming traditional media
forms into interactive digital touch points-in short, connected
mobiles turn everything digital. Through simple response mechanisms
using QR codes, NFC chips, audio recognition, and beacons, the
ownership of a smartphone potentially makes everything easily
interactive. Every brand touch point, however "analog" it seems,
can now be readily digitized. And consumers increasingly expect
them to be so, whenever they want them to be.
As adoption widens in 2015, analog's modern-day design will
truly take shape. A fresh look will be given to these channels and
their ability to reach consumers at the right time and place.
Marketers must think about ways they can leverage digital
technologies across all elements of the media mix to make their
message personal and contextually relevant, their brand accessible,
and the purchase easy.
11. Winning in the digital age
by Marc de Swaan Arons and Hugo Schurink
Winning organizations will court innovators, focus on
digital, think collaboratively, and see the big
Through Millward Brown Vermeer's Marketing2020 research in
association with Google, we have realized that winning marketers
understand that digital has transitioned from simply a channel
choice to a powerful marketing tool-but not all organizations can
make brands win in the digital space. Fortunately, several trends
will distinguish winning organizational models in 2015 and
Winning organizations will seek innovative, fresh perspectives
to disrupt the streamlined thinking that plagues lethargic
organizations. Adaptive, agile minds are necessary for the
difficult task of managing the spread of touchpoints and allowing
an organization to anticipate the market's ever-changing
Success also depends on training in digital-starting with the
CMO. In fact, 71 percent of successful organizations have marketing
leadership that understands social and digital marketing. Winning
organizations will be avid recruiters of digital
natives-millennials-and they will work to inspire and retain these
employees, thereby equipping the brand with people who understand
the perspectives of this highly valued demographic.
An organization's vitality lies in its ability to be fluid;
concrete structures and divided communities are not poised for
success. On a structural level, overachievers will move from
centers of expertise to global communities where digital is
immersed in the business. Further, overachievers will outsource to
five or more different agencies-relying on the collaboration of all
rather than on the expertise of one.
Finally, while they sprint to innovate and lead in digital, the
very best marketers will step back and look at the bigger picture.
The myriad of digital possibilities can dazzle even a full-time
digital professional, so brands should ruthlessly examine the
impact of digital campaigns on the hearts and minds of consumers.
What are consumers' motivations for engaging with our brand? What
are the choices they make throughout the day across devices? How
can we connect with our consumers through the onslaught of brand
Across the board in 2015, we will see winning organizations take
a more holistic approach to creating networks across team members,
internal functions, and external agency work, but they will not
lose sight of the need to engage with consumers in a meaningful and
different way. The people capable of driving digital forward and
seeing the big picture may well be different, so finding an
appropriate balance to this inherent tension will be key.
Hannah conducts cutting-edge brand measurement and analysis for
some of the world's most powerful industry players. Her specialties
include digital ad effectiveness and multi-media campaigns.
As the Head of Millward Brown's Emerging Media Lab, Ali leads
company thinking on emerging media trends and digital strategy. His
team creates and scales measurement approaches for new digital
An early player in online ad effectiveness and cross-media
measurement, Margaret is an expert in digital ROI measurement. She
leads Millward Brown Digital's Intelligence Solutions and
Director of Strategic Intelligence for Millward Brown, Jackie is
an Information professional with experience in market analysis,
brand strategy and competitive intelligence.
A long-time authority in studying how audiences respond to
digital advertising, Joline is a product designer and marketer with
a passionate focus on understanding the digital audience.
Drew helps cross-industry clients make the most of their
research and media budgets. He specializes in research analytics
and effective storytelling.
Jerome is a pioneer in developing innovative data-driven
research solutions to inform marketing strategy. His expertise
includes digital advertising ROI analysis methods.
Matthew is an expert in creative development, including digital
copy testing and in-market evaluation studies. His focus includes
helping clients grow their brands through strong and impactful
With particular focus on client research and analytics, content
marketing, and data journalism, Jon is an authority on visual
content and a leader in native advertising.
Kelly leads mobile strategy and production innovation for
Millward Brown North America. Two key areas of her focus include
app measurement and the use of location to garner in-the-moment
With more than twenty years of brand marketing experience, James
has an expert understanding of how to leverage media and digital
investments to grow brands and drive marketing ROI.
Marc de Swaan Arons
Marc is Senior Partner of Millward Brown Vermeer and works with
many of the world's most prominent CMOs. He has authored the
best-selling marketing book, The Global Brand CEO.
Hugo is at the frontlines of media and digital branding and
psychology. He focuses on representing the customer in an
increasingly complex world and facilitating meaningful brand
Duncan has 20 years brand, communications and media research
experience and has been involved in digital marketing research
since 1997. He is currently responsible for growing Millward
Brown's digital and mobile business.
John is responsible for growing Millward Brown's cross media
effectiveness business by providing expert media consultancy and
improving tools and approaches, across both traditional and new
media opportunities. He is approaching 30 years of research
experience gained in advertiser, media agency and research agency
Source: Kantar Millward Brown