This Week in Digital Advertising: Beauty, Privacy, & COVID Drones

This Week in Digital Advertising: Beauty, Privacy, & COVID Drones

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Lindsey Morgenthaler, whose clients and colleagues alike sung her praises! 

All-Hands Goes Virtual

This week, Bidtellectuals have gathered “virtually” each afternoon for our annual All-Hands! Usually the team gathers for a few days of fun in sunny South Florida, but this year looked a little different (i.e. through a Zoom camera). The theme of presentations has been “The Journey of an Ad:” how each department and platform capability contributes to the journey and successful placement and performance of an ad through Bidtellect’s platform. And check this: we broke into teams to come up with a fun “commercial” for Bidtellect. Take a peak at one team’s final product! Get ready to smile. 

Beauty and the Coronavirus

Yes, the industry felt a hit at first, but a shift in popularity to skincare, the “affordable luxury” mentality, and the desire to feel good even in a crisis has helped the industry rebound and more. Expect a permanent shift to ecommerce or hybrid models for customers post-pandemic. Now is the time to build out content to inspire shopping online and expand those digital channels to reach more now. In the words of Elizabeth Taylor: “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” And read this.

eMarketer: Identity 2020

If you’re looking for a good run down of the changes to cookies, ad IDs, and any other regulations taking aim at tracking this year: this is it. Don’t worry, eMarketer also surveyed marketers across the country about how they’re handling it. Surprise: compliance and data regulation will be taking up most of their attention: 60% of respondents will increase spend/emphasis on use of first-party data (IAB via eMarketer). More concerning, though, is that fewer than one-third of data professionals in North America were actively testing and investing in new solutions as of May, per IAB via eMarketer. So we’re heading towards a cookieless future, but most of the industry is about to be like, “Sorry, the dog ate my homework.”

Drones: Covid Tests of the Future??

And on the Covid-testing front: those eager to fly to Hawaii might be happy to hear that United Airlines passengers can take a rapid test at the San Francisco Airport starting on Oct. 15. Travelers who test negative will be able to skip Hawaii’s 14-day mandatory quarantine, BUT will have to foot the $250 bill. (And those who test positive won’t be able to board.) Want to test at home? No problem! Walmart is offering at-home Covid-19 testing kits by drone thanks to a new partnership with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp. There are a few caveats, but in a blog post, Walmart said it will begin trial deliveries of Covid-19 collection kits starting Sept. 22 in North Las Vegas, with Cheektowaga, N.Y., to follow in early October. And if you’re feeling really confident: Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines released new safety procedures and hope to set sail by October 31st!!!! No more buffets, but lost of testing. 

Stay safe, friends, 

Charlotte 

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Beauty and the Coronavirus: eCommerce, ‘Affordable Luxury,’ & the Future

Beauty and the Coronavirus: eCommerce, ‘Affordable Luxury,’ & the Future

The global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year and accounts for millions of jobs, directly and indirectly, according to McKinsey. For this largely brick-and-mortar industry, coronavirus certainly impacted sales, but the industry (and its customers) proved dynamic with its shift to ecommerce and booming skincare and “affordable luxury” products. For now and moving forward, expect a permanent shift to ecommerce or hybrid shopping models. Offer promotions and content to inspire shopping online. And, when in doubt, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

Sales Are Still Expected to Grow in 2020

Health and beauty sales will grow 6.9% to $556.30 billion (eMarketer)

China’s beauty industry rebound is a good indicator of what to expect in the U.S.  In China, the industry’s February sales fell up to 80 percent compared with 2019. In March, the year-on-year decline was 20 percent—a rapid rebound under the circumstances, according to McKinsey.

 

A Return to Au Naturel? Makeup Sales Dropped, Skincare Grew

Sephora skincare outpaced makeup sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sephora CEO Jean-André Rougeot. “Our skin-care business grew versus a year ago during the COVID-19 crisis,” he said (WWD)

Some of the growth in skincare sales may be attributed to a kind of “panic buying” or hoarding mentality – like toilet paper. Junior Pence, CMO and creative director at Peace Out Skincare, reported customers have shifted to buying in bulk: larger orders with more products and buying the “jumbo” sizes instead of regular. “It was what we’ve been calling the “toilet paper effect,” where people started hoarding skincare.” (eMarketer)

64.5% of US internet users are more likely to digitally purchase cosmetics and personal care during the coronavirus pandemic (Redpoints via eMarketer)

Cosmetics and personal care products were the category US internet users were most likely to buy online during the pandemic, coming in above food and beverage and household products. (Redpoints via eMarketer)

In Europe, there was a boom in pampering and self-care beauty categories, including candles, aromatherapy, and detox products; sales of skin-, nail-, and hair-care products were up 300 percent, year on year (Zalando via McKinsey)

Affordable Luxury: The Importance of ‘Treating Yourself’

As lockdown dragged on, consumers found new ways to brighten their mood and “treat” themselves to everyday luxuries, such as high-quality soaps, haircare, and even perfume. Consumers across the globe are showing by their actions that they still find comfort in the simple pleasures of a “self-care Sunday” or a swipe of lipstick before a Zoom meeting.

Leonard Lauder famously noticed and coined the “lipstick index” phenomenon during the 2001 recession. Consumers tend to spend on small products that add a bit of glamour to increase confidence or offer a reminder of better times. The principle is that people see lipstick as an affordable luxury, and sales therefore tend to stay strong, even in times of duress (McKinsey).

Sephora saw sales of fragrance grow up to double digits over the last six months. According to WWD, growth is coming from brands such as Chanel, Dior, YSL and Jo Malone, which Sephora CEO Jean-André Rougeot attributed to the demise of the department stores. “Department stores are struggling mightily,” he said.

Sales of luxury hand soap in France were up 800 percent the week of March 16, 2020, as the country went into lockdown (NPD via McKinsey)

DIY hair coloring, nail care, and care in other beauty categories are finding new customers. In the United States, Nielsen reported rises in the sales of hair dye and hair clippers by 23 and 166 percent, respectively, in the first week of April 2020 versus a year ago (McKinsey)

Promotions are Key

According to research, promotions are proving successful in bringing in new customers and clearing inventory. Several prestige brands are offering discounts online of up to 40 percent, competing with specialty beauty-product and department stores to capture promotion-oriented consumers, and promotions also help move unsold seasonal inventory, according to McKinsey.

Remember, people are still trying new brands: More than 77 percent of Americans trying new shopping behaviors during the crisis (up from 76% in late July), including new methods, brands, and places, with the intention of sticking with them in the long-term (McKinsey).

Expect a Permanent Shift to eCommerce

Prior to the pandemic, beauty was still one of the verticals that relied heavily on in-store shopping experiences. Even online-savvy American millennials and Gen Zers (those born between 1980 and 1996) made close to 60 percent of their purchases in stores, according to McKinsey. But brands and retailers that rose to the ecommerce challenge benefited mightily. Incorporating content to aid customers in the experience – think online quizzes or recommendations – help close the gap. Now is the time to reassure consumers that shopping online is a worthy substitute for in-store shopping. 

Brands that rallied their ecommerce efforts and should expect this to stick around in the near- and long-term, and expect a hybrid experience as stores slowly reopen. Direct-to-consumer e-commerce, such as brands’ websites, shoppable social-media platforms, and marketplaces will become more important, and customers will expect a cohesive multi-channel experience. Beauty-industry players will need to prioritize digital channels to capture and convert the attention of existing and new customers and reassure customers about hygiene efforts (McKinsey).

Some beauty-product brands and retailers are reporting e-commerce sales twice as high as their pre-COVID-19 levels, according to McKinsey. Sephora’s US online sales are reportedly up 30 percent versus 2019 (McKinsey).

New research by Mastercard shows U.S. ecommerce sales were up 92.7%  in May 2020, with more than $53 billion spent via ecommerce channels between April and May—the height of the pandemic. For scale, that’s more spent online than that last 12 Cyber Mondays combined (DigitalCommerce360).

A cohesive customer experience matters, or so consumers say. Last year, 72% of internet users worldwide said a disconnected experience would make them change service providers or brands (MuleSoft and Opinium Research via eMarketer).

 

The Takeaways

  1. Emphasize skincare
  2. Promote “affordable luxuries” like lipstick before Zoom or a new high-end soap or perfume.
  3. Offer promotions and discounts to grab customers: loyalty is swaying
  4. Incorporate content to inspire and make shopping online easier and more alluring
  5. Expect ecommerce to stick around, so blow out those digital budgets and efforts now.
  6. Scale – always scale.

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This Week in Digital Advertising: Google Faces Senate Heat and the Political Ad Spend Breakdown

This Week in Digital Advertising: Google Faces Senate Heat and the Political Ad Spend Breakdown

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Lindsey Morgenthaler, whose clients and colleagues alike sung her praises! 

The Senate is Cracking Down on Google, Who Still Says It Doesn’t Monopolize the Digital Ad Market

“Do you know of any other company that exercises this kind of concentration and dominance across every layer of the ad stack?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, at the Senate on Tuesday. According to NPR, Donald Harrison, Google’s president of global partnerships and corporate development, faced bipartisan grilling in the Senate on Tuesday over the company’s dominance in digital advertising. Findings from the United Kingdom’s antitrust regulator show that Google has dominant positions in various parts of the ad technology market, ranging from 40% to more than 90%. The Justice Department is reportedly getting ready to file a lawsuit against the company in the coming weeks.

Politics and Digital Advertising Spend

Each election cycle in recent years has seen a greater shift towards digital ad spend. So here’s how the respective parties are planning to spend, so far: 

Last month the Biden Campaign announced a $280 million ad buy covering 15 states of which 20% would be devoted to digital spending, Business Insider reported. The Biden campaign has spent more than $9 million a week on Facebook and Google since the middle of August. Before that, the campaign had not spent more than $6 million in a week, according to The Hill. In addition, outside groups such as Stop Republicans and Priorities USA have spent tens of millions of dollars on Facebook and Google this cycle. Priorities USA tracked its digital ads in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and claims that the ads decreased Trump’s net approval rating in those states by 2.5 points between April and July. 

The Trump Campaign is focusing on mobilizing its current support network and is currently spending more on digital ads. Since the beginning of August, the Trump campaign has outspent the Biden campaign by $20 million on Facebook and Google, according to The Hill. Other data says they’ve poured more than $170 million into aggressive marketing on Facebook and Google ads, compared to just $90 million from the Biden campaign. Around 20 percent of the Trump campaign’s digital spending, depending on the time frame, has been concentrated in Texas, California and New York, where many donors live.

While we’re focusing on digital, there’s also television: the Biden campaign has outpaced the Trump campaign by $30 million on the television airwaves, according to The Hill. And Mike Bloomberg’s $100 million television ad campaign to help Joe Biden win Florida – a key swing state – will show up on TV screens throughout the state on Friday, according to Sun Sentinel

Facebook Cracks Down on Hate Speech in Groups

Meanwhile, ahead of the election, Facebook is attempting to clean up its reputation. Facebook will shut down all political ads on the site one week before the election to calm fears of nefarious outside meddling and the spread of hate speech and misinformation. The company announced yesterday that they removed more than 1 million groups and 13.5 million pieces of content in groups for hate speech in the past year. These figures were released alongside new policies meant to “keep groups safe,” including a new commitment to limit the spread of health advice on the platform, according to Adweek. Download our One Sheet on Social Media and Native Ads. 

B2B Sales Is Still Going Strong, With a Golden Opportunity in Digital Advertising

In the US, B2B digital ad spending is growing 22.6% year over year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data by eMarketer. Adapting to work-from-home, digital events, and ecommerce is key. Download our OneSheet on B2B trends and how to adjust messaging. 


Good News: Fall Foliage

Leaves are changing soon?! Check out this Fall Foliage Prediction Map to plan your leaf-peeping trip! It’s the perfect social-distance activity. Bidtellectuals are counting down to our annual All-Hands gathering next week. It will be virtual this year, of course, but we’re pretty excited for some awesome bonding activities and pajama day!

Stay safe, friends, 

Charlotte 

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This Week in Digital Advertising: September 11th, 2020

This Week in Digital Advertising: September 11th, 2020

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Today is September 11th. We remember the men, women, firefighters, and rescue workers who lost their lives on this day in 2001. Tell someone how much you love them today.

Congratulations to Bidtellectual TEAM of the Week Kendra, Ashley, Kevin and Shannon! The client wrote an unprompted note praising the team for their personal attention to the campaigns along with Bidtellect’s platform technology. If this doesn’t make your heart glow… 

Pharma’s COVID Recovery (And Then Some)

Health, healthcare, medicine: nothing like a global pandemic to revamp a vertical’s popularity.  SO we dove into COVID-19’s impact on the health and pharma industry. While there was a brief dip in ad spend in March, by May medical and pharma ad spending was up 56% year over year. Trends to note: higher adoptions of telehealth, filling prescriptions from home, and a shift in spend to programmatic – especially video. 

For this week’s Bidtellect Beat: Digital Edition, I spoke with Bidtellect Director of Sales Phil Marth on the unique challenges pharma marketers face, trends in the industry, and how native programmatic can deliver on the shift to more conscious, hopeful and helpful messaging. Give it a watch here

Google States Obvious: Keyword Blocking of ‘Coronavirus’ Was Too Broad

Nice, Google. If you’ll recall, the industry made a major effort (see IAB) to call out the harm of such broad block brush strokes to news and publishers. Google’s marketing team conceded that it had been “too conservative” in including “coronavirus” on its list of blocked terms earlier this year, and pledged to spend $100 million in advertising to support news organizations this year. Feels a little late to me? Adweek interviewed VP of Marketing Joshua Spanier. Read it here. 

eMarketer: CPG Crushing It

eMarketer’s latest report: Thanks to a boost in digital sales of essential goods and personal care products (purchased more frequently online during the pandemic) digital ad spending in the US consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry will increase 5.2% to $19.40 billion this year, making it the third-largest spender behind retail and financial services. Mobile spending will grow 11.4% and account for 73.2% of all CPG digital ad spend – WOW. Competition with direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, along with an uptick in ecommerce sales, has led to a higher focus on performance marketing. Hit us up.

Good News, Maybe: Pro Sports Are Coming Back

Tennis is underway at the U.S. Open sans fans. Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova made history on Labor Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center by becoming the first trio of mothers to reach the quarterfinals of the same Grand Slam. Go Moms! One of them will face 2018 U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka who reached the final with her win over Jennifer Brady yesterday.  The N.F.L. opened its season Thursday night with a game between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.

Stay safe, friends, 

Charlotte 

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The COVID-19 Impact on Health & Pharma and What It Means for Marketers

The COVID-19 Impact on Health & Pharma and What It Means for Marketers

With COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders still dominating the collective consciousness in the US and Canada, pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers may be wondering how best to manage their efforts. Indeed, coronavirus impacted planned ad spend in March and April, but recovered quickly; prescription drug spending and video performance remained steady. Since May, ad spend is up YoY. Performance testing, creative solutions to information requirements, and the power of Native will bring pharmaceutical marketers the most success now and beyond. Pharma marketers: here’s what you need to know.

Slight Dip in Spend in March and April, Then Major Spending

In March and April, the situation looked a bit dire. In one eMarketer survey, respondents were asked, “What is the level of coronavirus-related strain on your practice?” 41% said severe. An IAB survey found that 70% of buyers had adjusted or paused their planned ad spend.  But it was barely a blip: by mid-April, spending began to climb again. 

Pharma Ad Spend Increased YoY 

If there was any cut in pharmaceutical digital ad spend in March and April, it was short-lived: By May, medical and pharma ad spending was up 56% overall year over year, according to MediaRadar. And according to an August eMarketer report, US B2B digital healthcare ad spend increased 41.2% from 2019 to 2020. 

Some concrete examples: for the first six months of 2020, Pfizer digital advertising is up 532%, Amgen is up 216% and GlaxoSmithKline is up 151%, according to MediaRadar’s data. Biotech companies saw a 171% spike in ads to professionals, and tended to focus on COVID-19 messaging around things like antibodies and testing, according to BioPharmaDive

Prescription Drug Spending Soared

Prescription drugs soared 123% over typical spending levels during the spike—and cancer drugs in particular (MediaRadar). There was an increase in overall prescriptions filled just before the start of social distancing—mid-March volumes were up 10% compared to peaks in early February. By the end of the month, however, rates leveled off, according to BioPharmaDive. Two things seemed to happen: patients “stocked up” on prescriptions pre-social distancing and lockdown, and have continued to fill prescriptions even without in-person doctor visits. 

Programmatic Video Delivers on Performance & Flexibility

Pharma saw an uptick in programmatic video ads, driven by the need for flexibility and convenience during the pandemic, according to Innovid co-founder and CTO Tal Chalozin. Programmatic ads found fans with industries’ looking to be more agile during the crisis. According to Innovid, Pharma video volume saw 85% year-over-year growth for the last week of July. The pharma market saw jumps in both broadcast (10%) and programmatic (9%) video ads for the week. 

When it came to where viewers were watching video ads, mobile was the winner at 47% at the end of July (FiercePharma). That mobile is leading viewership and engagement is no surprise. Mobile had a 106% higher CTR than Desktop in 1H 2020, according to Bidtellect 1H 2020 platform data. In Q2 2020, Mobile users spent 20% longer on sites per visit after engaging with a Native Ad than Desktop users, and 58% more than Tablet users (Bidtellect 1H 2020 Native Report).

Could This Be the Start of a Permanent Shift to Telehealth & Data Technology?

In-person doctor visits decreased, while reliance on telehealth visits increased. The shift could be permanent. Telehealth visits were near 0% until March 12, when they steadily increased to 28% by April 1. Overall doctor visits decreased 56% in March compared to the average number of visitations in February as of April 1, according to Crossix Patient via BioPharmaDive. And the percentage of doctor visits happening remotely (via telehealth) has gone from negligible volumes to 28.1% of HCP visits since mid-March.

In general, healthcare professionals are hopeful for more advancing technology and data usage for the benefit of patients. In a March 2020 Philips survey via eMarketer,  58% of respondents believe healthcare data can be used to improve interoperability between platforms; 57% believe it can be used to improve accuracy of data and 54% believe it could improve data security.

Good News for Pharma and Healthcare Marketers

With a slight dip in spend, there’s an affordable media opportunity in there somewhere, so take advantage of those lower prices. Increasing comfort with filling prescriptions without an in-person visit is a great opportunity for pharma marketers, so adjust messaging accordingly. Ditto goes for increasing comfort in telehealth in general; the pandemic forced a greater adoption of virtual health visits and it will likely stick around.

The Power of Native + Pharma

Native is the new standard for effectively communicating brand messages online, and the format lends itself expertly to pharma content. Native ads are placed within relevant editorial content, and the formats blend in with the form, style, and voice of the page they appear on. When clicked, they drive traffic to strategically developed editorial. For pharma marketers, their format and placement lend credibility, and act as a bridge to a relatable brand or patient story. 

Native Ads lead to 3x higher brand awareness and purchase intent (TripleLift), and have proven to boost in-store traffic by 21% – and more efficiently than standard display ads (Sharethrough).  .

For pharma marketers, the Native ISI units make including necessary information not only feasible, but pleasing to the eye. Contextual targeting ensures privacy standards are upheld; if native ads are targeted based on the content of the article rather than using trackable user information such as cookies, this alleviates most privacy, HIPAA, FDA, and other regulatory guidelines, because users have not been tracked or targeted (BioPharmaDive). Bidtellect’s creative team, [b]+studio, works with clients for creative solutions to information requirements, such as carousel units, and our platform offers extensive optimization capabilities to optimize to best-performing units. 

The COVID-19 impact on pharma ad spend was felt, if briefly, but the shift to programmatic video, telehealth, filling prescriptions from home, and the true benefits of native advertising for pharma marketers will be felt long term.  

Read more: Bidtellect Case Studies

Stats mentioned:

      • By May, medical and pharma ad spending was up 56% overall year over year (MediaRadar). 
      • US B2B digital healthcare ad spend increased 41.2% from 2019 to 2020 (August eMarketer report).
      • Prescription drugs soared 123% over typical spending levels during the spike—and cancer drugs in particular (MediaRadar).
      • For the first six months of 2020, Pfizer digital advertising is up 532%, Amgen is up 216% and GlaxoSmithKline is up 151%  (MediaRadar).
      • Biotech companies, which saw a 171% spike in ads to professionals, tended to focus on COVID-19 messaging around things like antibodies and testing (BioPharmaDive)
      • Mid-March prescription fill volumes were up 10% compared to peaks in early February. By the end of the month, however, rates leveled off. (BioPharmaDive)
      • Pharma video volume, led all categories with 85% year-over-year growth for the last week of July. The pharma market saw jumps in both broadcast (10%) and programmatic (9%) video ads for the week. (Innovid via FiercePharma)
      • When it came to where viewers were watching video ads, mobile was the no-surprise winner at 47% at the end of July (FiercePharma).
      • Mobile had a 106% higher CTR than Desktop in 1H 2020 (Bidtellect 1H 2020 Native Report)
      • In Q2 2020, Mobile users spent 20% longer on sites per visit after engaging with a Native Ad than Desktop users, and 58% more than Tablet users (Bidtellect 1H 2020 Native Report)
      • Overall doctor visits decreased 56% in March compared to the average number of visitations in February as of April 1. (Crossix Patient via BioPharmaDive)
      • Telehealth visits were near 0% until March 12, when they steadily increased to 28% as of April 1. (Crossix Patient via BioPharmaDive)
      • The percentage of doctor visits happening remotely (via telehealth) has gone from negligible volumes to 28.1% of HCP visits since mid-March (BioPharmaDive)
      • In a March 2020 Philips survey via eMarketer,  58% of respondents believe healthcare data can be used to improve interoperability between platforms; 57% believe it can be used to improve accuracy of data and 54% believe it could improve data security (eMarketer).
      • Native Ads lead to 3x higher brand awareness and purchase intent (TripleLift).
      • Native ads register an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than standard banner ads and have proven to boost in-store traffic by 21% – and more efficiently than standard display ads (Sharethrough)

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