Tag Archives: Big data

The Death of Traditional Demographics

Caitlin Thomas looks at the rise of Big Data in Media and Advertising agency’s strategy and evaluation.

As a brand, to flourish in today’s marketplace, you need to understand that the ‘typical consumer’ is no longer typical! And furthermore, will not just slot right into the traditional marketing model of demographics. With the help of technology, consumers have access to multiple touch-points to gain knowledge and interact with brands, they have obtained an element of control. Take away the age, race and sex and focus predominately on the personality of the target market and you will see that the use of traditional demographics is no longer relevant in today’s society.

When you hear the word ‘Demographic’, it will usually be accompanied by a few other ‘graphics’, one of which I believe is the most important tool for uncovering the target market and that is ‘Psychographic’. This segment should be embraced now more than ever. Why? Simply put, the world has changed, and the way consumers categorise themselves is beyond the outdated model. With an abundance of new ways to identify ourselves, marketing to a target audience has progressed far beyond predicting what a ’25-35-year-old Australian Female’ will buy or how they will interact with a brand, as today, the social norms that predicted the purchasing behaviours of these targeted groups are fading away. Right now, it is all about diversifying these stereotyped groups and focusing on the interests of individuals.

Even the word ‘individuals’ should provide an insight of why brands need to focus on the behaviours and interests over age and sex. An example of the various types of individuals and the declining usefulness of demographics comes from the globally launched, paid streaming service, Netflix. The VP of Product Innovation over at Netflix shared some insight into consumer behaviour at the 2015 SWSX Festival, claiming that demographics are ‘almost useless’ at predicting what Netflix users will watch. “What we’ve learned over time is: it’s not who they are in a superficial sense – like gender, age, even geography. It’s not even what they tell you. It’s what they do. There are actually 19-year-old guys who watch Dance Moms, and there are 73-year-old women who are watching Breaking Bad and Avengers.” You see, it’s no longer about at what age will somebody buy a product, of what race, financial status or level of education will a product interest the most but about the personality and preference of the person, the individual.

This is not the end of the world for brands, no need to restructure a marketing model or drastically forego demographics but instead, focus on the kind of people you want consuming the brands products and interacting with the brand. Brands can still, of course, have their ‘golden target’ with an ideal age bracket, gender etc. The only difference is that the traditional marketing model just won’t cut it with the individuals present in today’s society. A good way to think of how consumers and brands interact can be viewed similarly to how people interact with one another. This form of communication and connection has always been unique, our friendships and relationships are chosen on compatibility so why should that be any different between brands and consumers?

‘Who’ are the consumers in terms of biology and financial status is less important, ‘who’ they are psychologically is the question needing to be asked and answered to effectively speak to the target audience, to best reach consumers, connect and create relationships between the brand and audience as to allow for consistent product recall, brand trust and brand loyalty.

Is Programmatic killing creativity in the advertising industry?


Customers today prefer a more personalised online ad experience. Ryan Roche looks at how this is achieved using a blend of technology, data and creative input.

With only 2 more weeks until I finish Macleay, I’ve learnt so much information in such a short period of time. However, if I were to condense all this knowledge into one main point, it would be that ‘different is good’. You don’t win Effie’s or get your name considered to be apart of the Cannes Lions festival of creativity in France if your work isn’t better then not just anyone else in your agency, but rather all the other agencies around the globe. According to CBS News, the average person is exposed to roughly 5000 advertisements each day.

With so many brands paying for your attention, most of them will find some difficulty in getting any actual results such as brand awareness or sales if they all start looking the same. However, taking a broad approach, the question I ask. “Is programmatic the vehicle that drives the majority of these 5000 advertisements out of our minds as soon as we see them, having no affect at all?” Or in actual fact, is Programmatic the new formula that advertisers have needed to better connect with their audience?

According to the Internet advertising bureau, 47 percent of display ads were traded in programmatically in 2014, nearly doubling from 28 percent the previous year. Furthermore, in 2014, Magna Global forecasted digital ad revenues to reach 30% market share globally by the end of 2015, validating that advertisers need to shift their focus more on digital. With such huge growth, it seems as though more of each agencies money, time & energy is being spent on buying into programmatic compared to focusing on the big idea. In other words, with numerous deadlines for the agency to meet, it seems as though the most efficient way to get business done would be done through using less of the creative & shifting their focus on buying media space in the form of a cheap banner ads in front of the right people just to get their message out there. In doing so, this causes for a much less effective, innovative & resonates far less with each consumer, even if they are all reached individually.

I would like to further continue on this path when talking about how big programmatic really is & how much it has taken over the advertising industry in such a short time. The scariest statistic I found was that Yahoo processes around 150 billion user data events every day globally, which is an incredible amount of knowledge that us as advertisers have about consumers. However, I feel like there is so much information for advertisers to use to best target their specific target audience that they can fall into the trap of just assuming that their work will be effective. They fall into the trap of thinking that they are reaching their target audience anyway, so it’s easy to just think of an idea & put it through the programmatic pipes & let that do the work for them. I think now would be a good time to confirm that after reading numerous articles, I believe programmatic is the best resource that has happened to the advertising industry in the past ten years, however, my issue lies with the work ethic of the creative.

The best thing about all this programmatic data is that it allows us to distribute content to the right consumer at the right time. It’s all up to the creative ideas that will ultimately drive optimum performance, creative minimal wastage of money & determine if this ad is the once that people actually remember from the other 5000. I found a great quote that backs up exactly what I would like to convey about my views on programmatic.

“The goal of programmatic advertising is not to take humans out of the equation, but to make the process itself more efficient & ensure that individuals can focus on higher value work. It doesn’t mean humans are gone, it just means that their role in the process is changing. Humans may not be buying or placing the ads directly, but they are still the cornerstone of the process.”

To further expand on this, no jobs are being lost. The advertising industry is forever shifting & it is our job as advertisers to adapt, to change with technology & trends to continue to better our own work. Rather than it being a case of man vs. machine, it is actually man + machine, with increasing opportunities opening recently for creative in buying & selling programmatic to make sure the quality of work is continually improving.

A great example to further expand on the importance of programmatic is the forever growing age of digital media. Whether we like it or not, phone usage has increased significantly, & so has the way that we interact with our phones. Currently, there is close to one million apps that are available through IOS & Google play. Furthermore, on average, people use 20 different apps on their mobile, spending roughly 86% of their time in one of these 20 applications compared to 14% of people that are on the web. So we know that most users are on their applications, they are highly engaged, they may be focusing heavily on getting a new high score, maybe scrolling through their social media such as Instagram or Facebook, or maybe they are just watching a ted talk video on the way to work. This is a perfect opportunity for us as advertisers; we can subtly place our message in front of each consumer’s eyes while they are highly engaged.

Well without programmatic, good luck choosing which apps that your target market will be engaged in. For example, If I wanted to sell my brand’s new product, I would have to choose one app out of one million that is not only popular, but also is where the target market will be engaged. Programmatic is the way that this can be done. More facts about phone usage, more information about each app, more knowledge about where our target market are & inevitably, from all this, we have ourselves increased creativity all achieved through programmatic.

To sum up my beliefs into my own words, customers today would prefer a much more personalized ad experience. So in order for this to happen, you get the most from digital advertising through showing that you view each customer as a person, not just data, and to do that most effectively, it all comes back to the creative. All that programmatic is doing is repositioning the online advertising industry to make it more efficient & effective. At the end of the day, automation is just machines doing what the creative programmers tell them to do, and programmatic is laying the ground for a new wave of creative thinking.

BIG Data vs BIG Insights


Dion Heal is about to graduate from the Advertising Diploma here at Macleay College and he explores the real results and new role of Big Data.

There is an almost infinite amount of data collected about us every second. Right now, multiple companies know how long you’re spending on this page and what the content is. They know where you mouse is hovering, where you physically are, when your last jog was and even how you slept. Creepy? Probably. But if we break it down this ‘big data’ is nothing but a bunch of numbers. Who cares that you spent 33.2 seconds on the BuzzFeed homepage this morning after your 8h 22m sleep if we don’t know how to read it and generate BIG and RELEVANT insights from it.

Big businesses (evil or not) get so excited about the abundance of data. Like a kid in a candy store. But like the kid in the candy store they have two choices: They can go crazy, buy everything, get a massive sugar high and pass out an hour later. Or they can carefully select the best candies, take them home and get the best out of them.

But selecting the best candy is often where businesses fall over. To do this, you need to know how your consumers ‘tick’. You need to know the basics of what motivates them and how they live their lives, so you can select the data relevant to them, analyse the data and come to an insight that is far better than if you were to use every single scrap of number and percentage at your fingertips, purely because you can.

‘Big Data’ alone is also noisy, messy, constantly-changing, in hundreds of formats and virtually worthless without analysis and visualisation. Companies must learn to combine business, technology, and data expertise to get intelligent customer engagement. (If they want to save money that is. And who doesn’t.)

An example of looking through the crap and applying the useful stuff through BIG insights is the prevalence of ‘recommendation engines’ like those used by Netflix or Amazon. They gather relevant data about the consumer and prior interests (which the consumer entered) and previous purchases to suggest things the consumer may be interested in. Some credit-card companies are even making unusual associations while mining data to evaluate the risk of default: people who buy anti-scuff pads for their furniture, for example, are highly likely to make their payments.

In these situations, companies are looking specifically at one set of data to arrive at the BIG INSIGHT, instead of getting all excited about the ‘Big Data’ they have, trying to use every bit of it and eventually failing.

Especially with the rise of Gen Z/Millennial consumers who are very tuned in to knowing when they’re being watched too much, marketers need to learn how to use a small amount of the big data they gather to target consumers in a way that is highly effective, but also not alienating by appearing ‘creepy’.

In summary…

Dear Companies,
Keep on stalkin’ us. We’ll love it; if you get big enough insights 😉