Brand and content led advertising will continue to flourish as real-time bidding grows, according to Microsoft Advertising UK head of specialist sales, James Hayr.
Talking at the Association of Online Publishers’ premium sales strategies forum, Hayr said 25% of all display advertising being done through RTB by the end of the calendar year but that there still needs to be a common attribution model and outlined five reasons why brand and content solutions will continue to prosper.
Firstly, he said, “The industry wants it. There is a blurring of the lines between above the line and below the line advertising - the line doesn’t exist anymore. There is a new line emerging - the story line. Clients are increasingly demanding ways of telling the story in a new way.”
He added that his 25-strong team is set to grow to 35 by next year.
Secondly, he said customer is king but Microsoft thinks of the customer as the dictator, adding, “We spend all our time in a virtual bubble thinking what value can we give back to the customer.”
He also advised to keep campaigns social, but highlighted the importance of having a story that will spark conversation. He likened it to inertia in a pipette which needs a catalyst like a Bunsen burner or chemical to get it going.
As an example he said ahead of the last Harry Potter movie release, it used the power of fans to amplify the message. Fans were asked to upload pictures of their faces, which eventually made up a poster of the boy wizard and his rival Lord Voldermort. Each person featured was sent a copy of the poster which they then shared with friends.
“We wanted to get them to become advocates,” said Hayr.
Additionally, he said technology should be the ally of creativity, adding that Microsoft is currently looking to hire a creative technologist, a newly created role which looks to bridge the gap between the two disciplines.
He pointed to a current campaign for Wagon Wheels which it worked on with creative agency VCCP which runs with the slogan The Truth is in There and plays on the alien theme.
Along with a number of videos (see above) it created a game using Bing maps to get consumers involved in looking for six hidden Wagon Wheels around London and beyond.
Dwell time for the game is 15 minutes, and Hayr added, “You have to find a catalyst to make people spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy with the brand.”
Lastly, he pointed to return on investment and highlighted a campaign it did for the Ford C-Max car which it worked on with Mindshare.
Technology was a key driver for the car, so rather than going down the usual display banner or TV spot route it ran a 14 week campaign on msn.co.uk which was set 15 years in the future, and featured Tiff Needell talking about the future of cars and Starsmith on the future of music.
It generated 1m unique users, 9.5m page views and just under five minutes dwell time. Brand favourability went up 50%, negative commentary was reduced and the number of people that would recommend the car nearly doubled. Plus, there was an 82% upsurge in the number of people that would download the brochure in those that had seen the campaign, compared to those that hadn’t.