Tag Archives: advertising

What is Real-Time Advertising? Opinions Vary — A Lot

I’m starting a report covering real-time advertising.

To kick off my research, I conducted an unscientific poll of my connections on Twitter and LinkedIn and asked them to define the term. The results make it clear that no one agrees what real-time advertising is. That’s not surprising in these early days; for a term as precise as “real-time” seems to be, it encompasses a range of advertising and marketing opportunities.

The variations in the definitions I gathered tell me that there is a great opportunity to analyze the role of real-time advertising not only in the real-time marketing ecosystem, but in the larger digital ad business and in the even larger  traditional ad business.

Here are some of the definitions I received:

“Brand interactions with cons. in the moment. Hungry = “Here’s a deal, try this.” Watching a film? = “Similar film coming.” ”


“a real time adv is where the contents are delivered by checking the current status/choice of the customer.”

“taking owned content that’s a response to a current event (eg oreo/Super Bowl) then promoting that content via paid media.”

“When you check out reviews of SLR camera lenses on Amazon, then see an ad pop up for SLR camera lenses just minutes later on another website.”

“Twitter postings playing off events everyone is watching, such as the Super Bowl or presidential debates.”

“Traditionally it’s been the newsjacking approach. Quick, reactive advertising based on topical themes that may be newspaper headlines (in the UK Virgin and Specsavers have mastered this approach). Increasingly (similar to the pressures on traditional printed news), this is becoming more of a case of ‘in-the-moment’ rather than ‘after-the-moment’. It’s now a case of proactively being relevant before and as the moment of audience interest is being realised, rather than during and after, but with ads that feel created in the moment as opposed to pre-planned. In essence it should feel less like traditional agency art, and more like community constructed content, just from a commercial source.”

You probably want to know which definition I agree with. I’ll come back later with a definition — after I finish my report.


Personalizing Advertising on the Fly: Google’s Art, Copy & Code Experiment

Google has launched a project that aims to customize marketing-oriented experiences in real time.

MediaPost covers the project, dubbed Art, Copy & Code, in a piece that describes how Volkwagen is using the technology to power its Smileage mobile app. The app syncs with a VW owner’s car and seamlessly tracks where it is driven, enabling the user to tag passengers, upload comments and share photos of the trip.

Google demonstrates another aspect of the project in a short video on the Art, Copy & Code website that automatically integrates information about the user’s location, the time of day and the events happening on the web at the moment the person is watching the video. The video updates and changes each time the viewer watches it.

Another project, the Talking Shoe, embeds internet connectivity into the shoe, delivering information in real time via an accelerometer, gyroscope and other technology. The information can be transmitted to the person wearing the shoe, uploaded to social media sites or even added to real-time ad units, Google says.

These things take the idea of real-time in exciting new directions. Objects embedded with internet connections and sensors that tap into what is going on around them can deliver all sorts of intriguing new types of information that will be helpful not only to the individual using or experiencing the object, but to marketers that want to customize the information to deliver personalized marketing.


Tribal DDB’s Gunning: Brands Must Adapt to Real-Time Marketing

In an opinion piece posted on Fast Company’s coCREATE site, Tribal DDB agency CEO Paul Dunning exhorts marketers and agencies to get serious about adapting their strategies to make use of real-time data. The key question:

Given that there is now an understanding of audiences in near real time, why are marketers struggling to act on this valuable trove of data?

Among the obstacles he cites:

  • most brands plan media budgets far in advance
  • the complexity of the chain of players that must work together to make real-time marketing a reality
  • the inability to “nimbly push through creative”

The solutions he offers:

  • Swift approval processes for creative
  • Involve legal from the start rather than trying to circumvent them
  • Build “buffers” into budgets to allow for on-the-fly tweaks and/or new campaigns

I had a conversation today with an agency executive who shared several of the same concerns and issues. Creative, in particular, is a huge bottleneck, he said. Technology can help marketers and their agencies find opportunities to do real-time marketing, but creating the creative is still the domain of humans, who can only work so fast.

What the Oreo Daily Twist Campaign Accomplished

In my initial conversations about real-time marketing, the same example keeps coming up: Kraft Foods’ (now Mondelez International’s) Daily Twist campaign for Oreo. In that campaign, which ran from June through September, Oreo delivered a new ad every day for 100 days to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the oreo.com website. The twist (so to speak) of the marketing campaign was that each ad was created based on real-time information that Oreo’s marketers and agencies gathered. So news events played a role, as well as feedback from Oreo fans on social media sites. The ads can still be seen on a website set up for the campaign.

In an interview with The New York Times as the campaign was ending, Cindy Chen, marketing director for Oreo, said, ““Creating content in real time is not easy to do … But we’re happy to see that the content we’re creating has been found very relevant.”

After the campaign ended, Compete.com looked at the results. According to its analysis, the share of traffic in September 2012 from Facebook and YouTube to Nabisco.com increased – by 19.57 for Facebook and 29.97 for YouTube. 360i also included the campaign as an example of successful content marketing, in its whitepaper on that topic.

While some of the “twists” were certainly driven by real-time events, others seem to have been planned in advance (or at least they could have been). “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” for example, isn’t something that happened spur of the moment. On the other hand, “twists” themed to notable deaths (Nora Ephron, Neil Armstrong) couldn’t have been planned in advance. The campaign was certainly an example of how a marketer can bring several agency resources together for a common goal (it worked with multiple agency partners) and how advertisers can stretch their ability to be nimble and creative at the same time. But as an example of true real-time marketing it shows promise but also the limitations of what can be done on the fly. Creative execution takes time, and marketers can squeeze the cycle down, but a true real-time campaign would have taken even more immediate advantage of an event or trend.


Should Brands Move Toward Real-Time Planning?

“Brands need to catch up to consumer time and adjust to real-time planning,” writes Sebastion Rennie, of MEC in Sydney, in an opinion piece for Marketing Magazine in Australia. I couldn’t agree more.

Among the points he makes (with my own comments in caps):

  • “It’s not impressive to respond quickly to someone’s comments in seconds, minutes or hours – it’s expected.” [YES. NEXT GEN CUSTOMER SERVICE ISN’T ABOUT FAST; IT’S ABOUT THE RIGHT RESPONSE, FAST]
  • “Collecting and analysing data on how consumers respond to a brand’s activity allows us to be more responsive and relevant in our approach to planning and developing communications – in real time, not old-fashioned brand time.” [YES.]
  • “From periodic data to daily/live data, we will be see the frequency of decision making increase and if the right platform and expertise is not in place the ability to react in consumer time is diminished.” [REAL-TIME WILL BECOME A NECESSARY FEATURE FOR ALL ANALYTICS PLATFORMS, IF IT ISN’T ALREADY.]