Travel Post-COVID: What Advertisers Need to Know

Travel Post-COVID: What Advertisers Need to Know

Pack your bags! The end of COVID is near, and consumers around the world cooped up for the last year are itching to travel. Here’s what advertisers can expect, from trends to new standards, and how to prepare their strategy.

Digital Ad Spend Is Hot: Thanks to Travel

Wow, I didn’t know when we’d ever read THAT again (especially at this time last year!) Talk about a sight for sore eyes. It’s true: in countries where cases are dropping and vaccines are being administered, consumers are planning for travel and buying products to prepare (hello, beach outfits!). They’ve grown accustomed to digital channels for just about any and everything, so digital ad spend is rising to meet the ecommerce hopes, wants, and needs of consumers.

Ad spending is red-hot right now. The economy is cranking up, travel and leisure are coming back, and consumers are emerging from their pandemic cocoons.” – Henry Blodget, a co-founder of Insider (formerly Business Insider).

Analysts at CNBC say digital advertising’s hot streak shows no signs of cooling down as travel starts to return and e-commerce spend persists. If the fourth quarter of 2020 was digital advertising’s “perfect storm,” then the first quarter of 2021, and perhaps the rest of the year, will be “hurricane season.”

 

Campaign Tip: Spend big on your campaigns and scale to reach as far and wide as possible.

 

Travel Post-Covid: It’s Looking Bright

Consumers are optimistic about travel!

  • 22% of consumers have booked a vacation within the next three months.
  • 51% saying they’re at least somewhat likely to book a vacation within the next three months.

We expect these numbers to rise as vaccine rates rise and more states and countries open up. While local travel and road trips were the popular choice last summer, this summer consumers are eager to visit family and friends they’ve missed, reschedule their cancelled trips from the year before, and experience new sights and places after a year of being cooped up at home.

Campaign Tip: Capitalize on this optimism with hopeful messaging and inspiring content.

 

Vaccine Matters

  • 35% of Americans are currently vaccinated against COVID as of May 10, 2021.
  • 45% of respondents said they need to be fully vaccinated before they feel comfortable vacationing, while another 24% said they would prefer to be vaccinated.

Campaign Tip: eMarketer suggests focusing on demographics who are more likely to have received the vaccine, and geographic areas where vaccines have been rolled out effectively and at scale.

 

Leisure Travel Will Bounce Back Faster Than Business, Hygiene Will Stick Around

According to research, expect a return to leisure travel before business travel. In previous crises, leisure trips or visits to friends and relatives tended to rebound first (this was the case in the UK following 9/11 and the global financial crisis). Couple this with continued remote work and business trips will be less popular compared to vacations and working remotely in new locations.

McKinsey predicts four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic, which could prompt a large change in the geography of work, as individuals and companies shift out of large cities into suburbs and small cities.

  • About 20% of business travel may not return for sometime, and airline traffic likely won’t return to 2019 levels this year.
  • In April 2021, global scheduled seat capacity was 266.8m, 43% below seats in April 2019.

Hygiene and safety standards will continue to be stringent. Consumers have come to expect these higher standards of sanitization and safety. Equally as important as taking these cleaning measures is communicating with consumers (before and after booking) that these steps are being taken. It both puts them at ease, and could be the difference between choosing one place or another (read more on that here).

Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travelers’ vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results. Travelers are already accustomed to booking online.

Campaign Tip: This illuminates where to focus advertiser energy. DO: emphasize hygiene and safety measures and ease of digital ticketing. DON’T cater to business travelers just yet – it’s too soon.

 

Discounts and Deals

Credit cards are anticipating a travel boom! Credit card issuers are offering new card perks for the travel bounce back: American Express introduced welcome bonuses for Marriott Bonvoy members, Chase is partnering with United Airlines, and more. Rewards encourage traveling and offset the losses of 2020.

According to eMarketer, higher demand for travel may lead to sharp increases in travel-related expenses, including hotels and airline tickets, which may create opportunities for brands to offer deals.

  • The share of respondents who said they’re likely to book a vacation climbed to 56% under the premise that they receive a discount from a hotel, and 59% said they’re likely to book if they receive a free night’s stay.

Campaign Tip: Offer deals, discounts, incentives, and reward programs. Most importantly, include those discounts in your creative assets! Bidtellect’s [b]+studio consistently sees highest performance for headlines including a discount.

 

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Bidtellect announced the release of its first-ever online training and certification program. Here’s what to expect and why it might be right for you.

What is Bidtellect’s TraderScorecard?

TraderScorecard is a training and certification course designed to help you master Bidtellect’s unique platform capabilities, industry standard terminology, and strategic trading tactics.

What will I learn?

  • Proficiency in standard industry terminology and metrics
  • Mastery of Bidtellect’s Native DSP & unique capabilities
  • Ability to improve and optimize your campaign performance with tips & tricks
  • Level certifications to add to your Linkedin and social media profiles
  • Chance to earn monthly “Trader of the Month” title and prizes

How many levels are there?

At this time, there are three levels: Back to Basics, Bidtellect Products & Solutions, and DSP/Dashboard Overview, Performance, and Reporting.

Is there a cost?

There is no fee to take the course! You need only to sign up with your name and email address.

Do I earn a certification after I complete the courses?

Yes, you do! You earn a certificate through Credly, which can then be added to your LinkedIn profile. Each month we’ll also award top traders of the month, and offer prizes based on best performance.

Why do you need my email address?

Your email address is used to receive your certification through Credly. If you want to be included in the monthly newsletter, you’ll be the first to learn about platform enhancements, learn new tips, and measure yourself against your peers.

What if I don’t use the Bidtellect platform on a day-to-day basis and operate on a Managed Service agreement?

We still recommend the course! The course covers basic industry information and terminology that will sharpen your understanding of platform strategy to better work with your Bidtellect point person and help you navigate the industry as a whole.

How are the courses formatted?

Each course contains multiple lessons with a mixture of text-based information, lists, explanations, and videos of the platform. Each lesson within the course ends with a quiz.

How do I get started?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

Step 1: Login

Step 2: Select Course

 

Step 3: Select Lesson

 

Step 4: Review Lesson and Materials

 

Step 5: Once ready, take the Quiz to test your knowledge

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3 Possibilities for Cookie Depreciation and the Future of Post-Cookie Identifiers

3 Possibilities for Cookie Depreciation and the Future of Post-Cookie Identifiers

While Google’s recent press release on the deprecation of third-party cookies offered little in the way of new information, it forced the ad tech world to face the future with a bit more clarity and perspective. Google dashed any last hopes of a silver bullet with regard to unique identifiers (I now realize there was a small part of me still hoping for a browser based Ad ID), and made it clear that they would not involve themselves in any alternative, consent-based identifier framework (though it also seems that they will not obstruct such efforts). The programmatic advertising world is facing their options having heard Google’s qualifications, but for real this time.

Three core tactics present themselves as Chrome depreciates the third-party cookie.

 

1. Consent-based, Cookie-less Identifiers and Strategies

One clear path will be to use consent-based, cookie-less identifiers. Many large players in the industry are working towards these identifiers including but not limited to LiveRamp, The Trade Desk, and Lotame. These solutions seek to preserve the framework by which the Lumascape primarily transacts programmatic advertising –identity–while sourcing identity in a privacy compliant manner. While Google clarified that they will not be investing in this type of solution, these new identity products should still work, with some caveats. The size and scale of the addressable web within the scope of these new identity products remains unknown, and the big question is, what portion of the web are advertisers willing to sacrifice in order to maintain the status quo? Quite a lot, I suspect, especially upon consideration of the investments made into DMP’s, first party data, and other countless data strategies over the years.

The typical tactics of audience targeting, re-marketing, and others will continue to work in some capacity, and agencies and brands will continue to be able to communicate those identities to DSPs and down the line for execution. The scale and addressability will all just be some amount worse, as it is now compared to a year ago, and as it was a year ago compared to the year before that.

 

google chrome no cookies

 

 

2. Google’s Proposal: FLoC Buy In

Another alternative is Google’s proposed set of solutions. The Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) adheres to the rigors of privacy restrictions (self-imposed or otherwise) without requiring user consent. It sounds great, but there are a few trade-offs, most of which remain murky. Google claims “that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising,” but the methodology with which they came to that conclusion is not transparent. Google additionally proposed that audience creation and measurement can be accomplished using FLoC; these proposals, however, remain incomplete and subject to change. The lack of clear information and plans from Google makes FLoC difficult to plan for and invest in. No one is clear about how well it’s going to work, and how much work it will take to get it to work.

We can at least say that FLoC will be one solution among three that will make a large portion of the web semi-addressable, with “semi” being a flexible and unknown qualifier for some time. Another large portion of the web (everything but Chrome) will remain non-addressable.

 

3. Just Let All These Post-Cookie Identifiers Go

While staring down the prospects of unique identity and FLoC in the future, one must ask, is it really worth it? Have we strayed too far from the light? Are all these sacrifices and efforts worth hanging on to whatever scraps are left of addressable programmatic media?

Each will have to answer that question for themselves; however, we can say that with a combination of intelligent contextual targeting with aggressive optimization based on non-identity signals, audience targeted programmatic does not have a monopoly on digital performance marketing. In fact, in the grand scheme of targetable audiences that exist in the ecosystem now, very few can justify their price against their performance. Dynamic and algorithmic optimization that goes beyond bid modifiers using non-identity signals reign supreme in performance, and letting go of identity seems like the sustainable bet.

Furthermore, while the addressable web shrinks, the rest of it goes on sale. As buyers concentrate their bidding power on those auctions where the user is known and consented, those auctions where the user is not known will have fewer bidders and ultimately lower media cost.

In the end, the smartest strategy will be one that can make the best use of all the available tools. A programmatic media plan that can work with the addressable web in the new era and understand its limitations while also testing and applying non-identity based programs will be the winner. The best planners and executors will also have a keen understanding of how their different identity and non-identity tactics will interact with their measurement and attribution solutions.

 

arthur hainline bidtellect

Arthur Hainline is the VP of Product at Bidtellect

ENTERTAINMENT: HOW TO SHINE IN THE SEA OF STREAM

ENTERTAINMENT: HOW TO SHINE IN THE SEA OF STREAM

By a combination of design and circumstance, at-home entertainment has become mainstream. But with over 200 streaming options and endless shows to choose from, “streaming fatigue” and decision overwhelm are rampant. How can advertisers reach consumers ready to stream, but unsure of what to choose? What’s the current state of the industry and how is it going to evolve?

The Pandemic Effect: Streaming is the New Normal

Streaming has long overtaken the cultural zeitgeist, but the pandemic’s at-home orders cemented its permanence and pervasiveness. About 80% of U.S. consumers subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service, and more than 70% have increased their use of paid streaming since the onset of pandemic.  Many now consider streaming costs to be a utility expense on par with gas or electric. It remains to be seen whether or not consumers will flock to movie theaters – once the mainstay for quality entertainment – post-pandemic. PWC predicts they won’t: subscription video on demand revenues are projected to double box office revenues by 2024.

But there’s streaming, then there’s actually choosing what to stream. There are reportedly over 200+ streaming services available in 2021. With so many streaming options to choose from, devices to watch on (television, desktop, laptop, smartphone), and content to sift through – not to mention money to spend on it all – how on earth do consumers decide what to watch next? Streaming fatigue” and decision overwhelm are rampant.

  • There are reportedly over 200+ streaming services available in 2021 (Flixed).
  • About 80% of U.S. consumers now subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service, up from 73% in the pre-COVID-19 survey (and versus 69% in Deloitte’s study last year) (Deloitte).
  • More than 70% of consumers have increased their use of paid streaming since onset of pandemic (TransUnion via TVTechnology)
  • The global streaming market was worth $42.6 billion in 2019. It’s expected to grow more than 20% per year and reach a total of $184.3 billion by 2027 (Grand View Research via Comparitech).
  • Subscription video on demand revenues are projected to double box office revenues by 2024 (PWC Media Outlook)
  • Increasingly, many people regard their digital E&M spending—a Netflix subscription or mobile data allowance—as a utility on a par with water or electricity and therefore a non-discretionary expense. (PWC Media Outlook)
  • The average U.S. consumer currently pays for four different services, up from three pre-COVID-19 (Deloitte).

 

With SO Many Options, How Do Consumers Decide What to Watch?

When it comes to deciding what to watch or even which streaming service to choose, studies show that consumers go to what they know (or trust). Many will turn to a show they are already familiar with (hence why Netflix paid $80 million for Friends), but most rely on recommendations: either from trusted sources of reviews and content or family/friends. Family and friends may help to a point, but don’t cater to unique or niche interests. This means that providing recommendations near topics or content consumers already know and trust will ease decision making and reduce overwhelm. 

To tap into that familiarity that consumers appreciate, advertisers should create content recommendations in a warm, friendly tone. Create informative, trustworthy content to read like reviews, listicles, or personal stories. 

  • The most important attributes for a streaming service, per Nielsen’s survey, are the variety of content available (67%), ease of use (56%) and access to movies (52%).  
  • Netflix users spend on average 18 minutes deciding what to watch (Reelgood and Learndipity Data Insights via IndieWire)
  • 67% said the biggest influence on what they decide to stream is the existence of shows they used to watch on broadcast TV now being available to stream (BGR) .
  • 66% of respondents cite recommendations from family and friends as the main factor for determining what show or video content to consume and 54% cited reviews (e.g. online, blogs, in magazines, on TV, etc.) (Nielson via The Hollywood Reporter).
  • Only 42% of respondents said they let what they see on social media sway their decision of what to stream (Nielson via The Hollywood Reporter).

 

Original Content Matters: How Can Advertisers Reach the Viewers Eager to Find It?

In a sea of streaming choices, consumers want a knowledgeable voice to be a directional guide. They are receptive to targeting and recommendations. They are eager to devour content like reviews, videos, recommendations. 

Reach consumers deciding what to watch next by distributing through digital channels and maximizing contextual targeting and context-driven optimization to serve ads relevant to the page they are already reading. (BTW ditch social media – this was the second-least influential factor according to Nielsen’s survey.)

According to Deloitte, it’s also imperative that entertainment companies continue to build their capabilities to harness customer data to deliver highly relevant or personalized content recommendations and targeted advertising. When a consumer gets a relevant recommendation, and they get value from the interaction, they are more likely to stick around.  To provide a high level of value, a strong integration and a seamless user experience among all the content and services is key.

  • 71% of millennials stated that original content was a primary driving factor in choosing a streaming service (Deloitte).
  • Media and entertainment ad spend grew by 14.5% in 2021 so far (January 2021, Dentsu Aegis Network)
  • 60% of US advertisers planned to shift ad dollars from linear TV to either CTV or OTT in 2021 (IAB via eMarketer, November 2020 poll)

 

Ads Mid-Stream: A Nuisance or a Way to Decrease Streaming Costs?

Two contrasting predictions emerged in research: one is that ad-free streaming will increase as consumers’ expectations for on-demand ad-free content (that Netflix popularized) increases; two is that the number of distinct streaming services is becoming excessive and expensive and consumers would prefer ads if it meant free streaming. 

In the entertainment vertical – as in across all verticals – the abundance of choice has swung the pendulum from an advertiser-led mass distribution model to a consumer-driven, choice and targeted model. 

“[I]t is likely that the mass personalisation of content experiences at relatively low cost and the resulting explosive growth in choice have altered the balance, perhaps permanently, between consumer spending and advertising. Companies find they can deliver immense choice at a price point that makes sense for both supplier and customer, while building powerful direct relationships—all without relying excessively on fickle or intrusive ads. E&M companies are increasingly in the business of delivering experiences and content directly to consumers, not delivering audiences and eyeballs to advertisers.” (PWC Media Outlook)

  • 44% of consumers cite an ad-free experience as being a top reason for using streaming services (Deloitte via Comparitech).
  • The leading cause of frustration with TV advertising among streaming subscribers is having to watch the same commercial repeatedly (cited by 46 percent of respondents) (The Trade Desk via MarTechSeries)
  • Ads make up a whopping 20 minutes out of every hour of TV. 75% of viewers think this is massive overkill and 82% express frustration with having to see the same ads time and again (Deloitte via Comparitech).
  • 40% of respondents are only willing to spend up to $20 per month on video streaming services (PCMag 2019 Survey via Deloitte)
  • 65% of respondents say they’re comfortable watching ads to eliminate or reduce subscription costs (Deloitte).
  • 47% of American consumers are watching at least one free ad-supported streaming video service, such as Pluto TV, Tubi, and the Roku Channel (18% growth since the pandemic began) (Deloitte).
  • Free ad-supported video appeals to thrifty baby boomers and matures, who prefer free streaming options by 58% and 65%, respectively, over subscription-based options.(Deloitte)
  • 84% of users rank cost as either extremely or very important when selecting a streaming service. (Nielsen Total Audience Report)

 

Strategy Takeaways:

  1. Recommendations are valuable to consumers
  2. Reach consumers at their moment of intent to research and find a new viewing experience through contextual targeting and context-driven optimization capabilities 
  3. Utilize customer data to offer personalized recommendations

 

The Bidtellect Advantage:

  • Utilize contextual targeting and context-drive optimization to meet consumers at the moment of research and intent to watch
  • Reach users currently streaming at 9 of the top streaming platforms, as well as 165+ TV audiences categorized by program, network, film genre, viewer type, and more thanks to Bidtellect’s partnership with Lotame.
  • Each content advertisement is rendered in real-time to match the format and feel of the unique ad placement on the page, ensuring trust is built with the consumer.
  • Advanced bidding platform will optimize to best-performing creative assets thanks to optimization capabilities or our detail-oriented platform specialists will adjust creative assets manually based on performance and expertise.
  • Unique [b]+studio creative services offers expert copywriting and creative asset creation and/or expert strategic counsel dependent on needs to meet evolving standards of quality content assets.
Gamestop, Bid Shading, and Raising Money for Bartenders. This Week in Digital Advertising: February 5th, 2021

Gamestop, Bid Shading, and Raising Money for Bartenders. This Week in Digital Advertising: February 5th, 2021

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Mitchell Bonkowski!

 

If Gamestop Taught Us Anything, It’s that Sharing is Caring

The Gamestop stock-buying craze has made one thing clear: people love sharing informational content and acting on what they’ve learned. Now’s the time for the finance vertical to up its meaningful content efforts. Create content to (re)educate consumers and build trust, then maximize contextual tools to reach consumers at their moment of research or purchase intent. Director of Sales Jonno Burden weighs in on next steps for the industry.

Read more here: GAMESTOP WHAT? Time to Educate and Win Customers

Superbowl Ad Breakdown: The COVID Effect

You may have heard the term floating around lately, or even read this WTF piece on Digiday. Simply put, Bid Shading allows advertisers to save money on an ad placement that’s valuable to them and their goals. Bidtellect’s VP of Product breaks down the process in the first video of our new Behind the Platform series. You can also read more about it here

The Latest

  • Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon—the trillion-dollar ecommerce and cloud computing behemoth he started 27 years ago that made him one of the world’s richest humans. Bezos will transition to executive chair while Andy Jassy will take over as CEO. Jassy grew Amazon’s cloud segment Amazon Web Services from its inception into a $45 billion business and the company’s biggest moneymaker
  • Magnite has acquired video supply-side platform SpotX from European entertainment network RTL Group for $1.17 billion. According to Magnite CEO Michael Barrett, the company’s vision is to build a highly scaled independent programmatic CTV and video ad platform.
  • The Superbowl is the Sunday. 186.6 million people are expected to tune in this year. What to expect: advertisers are more cautious, somber ads are out, and many new brands who thrived during the pandemic are making their debut.
  • Read a rundown of Superbowl advertisers here and COVID’s effect. 

Good News: Bartenders Get Some Celebrity Love

Say cheers! The alcohol brands of Ryan Reynolds, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and David Beckham have joined together to donate $1 million towards organizations that benefit bartenders in lockdown. You can watch the hilarious video here.

Stay safe,
Charlotte

 

Cannabis Advertising, COVID’s Impact on Superbowl Ads, and Walmart’s New DSP. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 29th

Cannabis Advertising, COVID’s Impact on Superbowl Ads, and Walmart’s New DSP. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 29th

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Vicky Papadimas!

 

The Cannabis Craze & Its Digital Opportunity

Like every industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the cannabis industry felt some changes…but not in a bad way. Sure, live events were cancelled and billboards were suddenly a massive waste of money, but the combination of stress and more time at home meant sales soared. But cannabis advertisers still face lingering misconceptions about its benefits, not to mention laws that differ by state. There’s a dynamite opportunity for increased digital spend coupled with valuable content that can re-educate the masses.

Read more here: Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

Superbowl Ad Breakdown: The COVID Effect

  • ViacomCBS says its Super Bowl ad inventory is pretty much sold out, with 30-second spots selling for at least $5.5 million.
  • For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not run an ad in the Super Bowl. Instead, it’s diverting its ad budget to focus on efforts to improve awareness and education around Covid-19 vaccines, in partnership with the public-service advertising nonprofit Ad Council. (Their seltzers will see some air time, though)
  • On that note, expect lots of ads for hard seltzers and light beer, like this take on the old “make lemonade out of lemons” advice; 2020 gave us a sh*t load of lemons, so they made some Bud Light lemon seltzer.
  • Indeed will run its first ever Super Bowl commercial featuring real job seekers to offer hope and inspiration for job hunting.
  • Tide always crushes it. This year, they’ll air a 60-second spot featuring Jason Alexander. Doritos, Pringles, M&Ms, General Motors, Mountain Dew will be back, too.
  • Hellmans and Huggies make their first Super Bowl debut.
  • E*Trade, DoorDash, Fiverr, and Mercari also make their first debut, each examples of tools that saw new popularity during the pandemic.

 

Walmart Taps Trade Desk Over Xandr

After more than a year of testing, Walmart announced the release of its custom-built version of the Trade Desk DSP for its retail media business. Walmart’s DSP is a separate, walled-off version of the Trade Desk, filled with exclusive Walmart data and inventory and utilizing a self-service model to give buyers more transparency.The Walmart DSP will also be the only way to access Walmart’s advertising inventory– like Walmart.com and in-store ad placements. See what they did there?

Good News: Giant Dinosaur Discovered

Some bones first discovered in Argentina in 2012 may be the largest land animal in our planet’s history. After subsequent field trips, digs, and analysis over twelve years, paleontologists now believe the tail vertebrae, pelvis, and other bones discovered belong to a titanosaur from 98 million years ago. The dinosaur could be larger than 76 tons and 122 feet from nose to tail. Imagine catching one of those in your backyard!

Stay safe,
Charlotte