Discovering the Opportunity in Fragmentation

It was a pleasure to be a part of the Brand Innovators Mega Trends Conference last week during Advertising Week New York. The event brought together marketing thought leaders and innovators encompassing all industries, from tech to CPG to finance, and it was exciting to be a part of such a dynamic group of industry experts. Throughout the Mega Trends event, and the entirety of Advertising Week New York, it was clear that the marketers were dramatically rethinking their approach to some fundamental aspects of their roles from insight to execution.
Why? In short, consumer attention has shifted into hyperdrive. Consumers are increasingly connected to their mobile devices, with the average consumer checking their phone about 150 times per day. This constant connection enables consumers’ sharing, consumption, and creation of more social content than ever. We can all relate to browsing through our social feed on Facebook and clicking on interesting links posted by our friends. In fact, publishers are seeing nearly 50% or more of their traffic coming from Facebook alone.
At Mega Trends, we spoke about this dynamic and its impact on both audience insights and ad execution. How do marketers understand audience insights when audience interests are more fluid than ever? How can marketers reach the right person, at the right place, at the right time when content consumption is so dynamic? It turns out that real-time conversation data is an extremely valuable byproduct of fragmentation. When leveraged appropriately, this powerful new data source can help enhance customer insight and improve the effectiveness of paid and earned campaigns. Let’s start by digging deeper into some of the challenges.
The Gap in Consumer Insights
When it comes to audience data solutions, hyper fragmentation has created a widening gap between syndicated research and social listening. Syndicated research, which relies on periodic surveys, is often too static for the rapidly changing consumer landscape. Social listening, which focuses on brands rather than audiences, struggles to deliver global audience insights.
Why is real-time data so critical? Let’s take for example, the Pokemon Go phenomenon that seemingly came as fast as it went. This trend swiftly altered the demographic of the Pokemon franchise, which was previously dominated by teenaged boys and within a month shifted to women between 25–34…probably not an intuitive interest for the latter demographic several weeks earlier. By now, the Pokemon Go trend has died down and the audience profile continues to shift, further illustrating how survey-based tools can be increasingly unhelpful when trying to dissect or act on a fleeting, yet powerful trend.
While real-time data conversation is valuable, it has been traditionally hard to pivot this data around audiences, making it less useful for consumer insights. The lack of audience data can also make it difficult to detect micro trends around large tentpole events. For example, the recent presidential debates were unsurprisingly trending for all demographics, however, our data shows that Millennials were engaging with different content surrounding the debates compared with the 45+ age group. Millennials were fixated on Chrissy Teigen’s debate analysis on Twitter, while 45+ age group were fixated on Trump’s controversial remarks about Sean Hannity.

Right Person, Right Place, Right Time Still a Challenge
Rapidly shifting interests also make it more difficult to target ad campaigns to the content consumers are most engaged with at a given moment. For the past several years marketers have tried to manually align social listening and campaign execution via “real-time marketing” techniques. But according to a 2015 survey highlighted by eMarketer, many marketers have yet to scale this approach successfully. In fact, 3 of the top 5 challenges around implementing real-time marketing programs were around lack of resources. Taykey sees approximately 100 relevant trends per day for a specific audience segment. Imagine trying to align these trends manually. It may work for a tentpole event such as the Super Bowl but on a longer flight or on an always-on basis it would be a rather daunting task.

With real-time interests becoming more difficult to pinpoint, some marketers have retrenched to focus exclusively on audience targeting. The challenge is that fragmentation has taken its toll on cookie-based data as well. Let’s take the in-target delivery benchmark for CPG companies from Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings as an example. We can see that demographics like men 18–34 were successfully targeted about 45% of the time, or if we widen the age to 18–49, about 55% of the time. This means that there is nearly half of the targeted audience that has yet to be activated.

With Great Data Comes Great Opportunity
So now that we’ve reviewed the challenges resulting from fragmentation, how can we use real-time conversation data effectively and turn this fragmentation of attention from a challenge to an opportunity?
More platforms are beginning to shift toward offering an audience-focused view of online conversations, incorporating data from multiple platforms. This is the key to moving beyond brand monitoring to a more holistic perspective of audiences.
With regard to media execution, programmatic media buying offers a myriad of opportunities to connect real-time data to media buying beyond cookies. From our own advertising technology investments, we’ve learned that you can actually transform those 100+ individual audience trends per day into targetable criteria, ensuring your campaign is always aligned with the most relevant content.
To learn more about how Taykey can put real-time data to work for your brand, check our Trend Advertising and Trend Intelligence solutions or visit our Trend Pulse page to get a glimpse of our data in action.