While swifties are enjoying their Eras era, the world of adtech is grappling with its identity crisis era. Under pressure from regulators and consumers alike, advertisers are working to balance the demand for personalization with the need for increased data privacy. And while many marketers might wish they could just shake it off (à la 2014 Taylor), the need for privacy-friendly advertising solutions isn’t going anywhere.

If, like TSwift, you know this challenge all too well, then this post is for you. Though there’s no quick fix to the identity crisis, there are tools and solutions that can help.

One of the most powerful solutions for advertisers to have in their identity crisis toolkit? Digital advertising automation. Today, we’re exploring how advertising automation can help marketers survive—and, dare we say, thrive—as they navigate the identity crisis.  

As we wrote this post, we couldn’t help but notice how seamlessly TSwift references and puns slipped their way into it. Maybe it’s because she’s secretly a marketing whiz; or perhaps it’s because we’ve been spending hours each day bingeing videos from her Eras tour. Whatever the reason, buckle up for a deep dive into how automation can help your team through the identity crisis—as told through a collection of Taylor Swift lyrics, song titles, and gifs.

Let's dig in.

Why is adtech facing an identity crisis?  

Long story short: the conflicting demands for increased data privacy and for personalized advertising experiences are coming to a head.

Was Taylor Swift talking about these competing pressures when she wrote this line?

To add a bit more detail: Over the past several years, more and more data privacy-focused regulations and changes have popped up (both in the US and across the globe), including the impending deprecation of third-party cookies in Google Chrome.

Who knew third-party cookies could develop such a big reputation?  

Though there’s a lot of hype around Google, other browsers have long since parted ways with third-party cookies. Couple this with the recent explosion of privacy-related legislation and regulation and the fact that 86% of consumers say they have a growing concern about data privacy, and it’s clear that now is the time for advertisers to explore privacy-friendly solutions.   

To make things even more complex, consumers still want personalized advertising experiences from brands and companies. In fact, 90% of consumers say they enjoy receiving personalized offers, and 56% expect all offers to be personalized.  

It’s a perplexing problem to address. How can marketing teams adapt to the identity crisis and balance the complexities of today’s digital media landscape and still provide personalized advertising experiences that resonate with audiences? It’s a question we’re all figuring out together—but let’s explore how digital advertising automation can help.  

Why is advertising automation key to navigating the identity crisis?

Advertising automation is a term that encompasses a wide range of technologies and strategies aimed at optimizing the campaign process from start to finish. And if it sounds like something out of your wildest dreams, we get it. We’re enchanted by it too (Too many TSwift song references in a row? Sorry, [we’re] not sorry!) Especially within the context of the privacy-first transition, automation can simplify marketers’ jobs in many ways:   

1. It automates the collection and maximization of first-party data.

In the privacy-centric present, first-party data is of the utmost importance. Since it’s data that audiences willingly give to brands and companies, it is inherently privacy-friendly and allows for accuracy in personalization and targeting. As such, it’s something that, in the words of Taylor Swift, will never go out of style.

But what does automation have to do with first-party data? Since it is collected and housed in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, the process of uploading this CRM data can often be complicated and time-consuming. By using an advertising automation platform with built-in integrations that allow direct uploading of CRM data, advertisers can speed up the process and access targetable audiences with greater ease.

2. It saves marketing teams time and resources.

The average advertiser uses seven platforms in a typical day and nine in a typical campaign. NINE. DIFFERENT. PLATFORMS.

Same, Taylor. We feel the same.

Embracing advertising automation means consolidating those point solutions into a single, universal platform where teams can handle every stage of the campaign—from planning, to automated media buying, to reporting and billing.

Making this shift can significantly free up marketers’ time and energy, thus allowing and empowering them to test different privacy-friendly solutions and determine those that work best for their brand and audiences.

3. It makes it easier to create personalized advertising experiences.

Remember how we mentioned that consumers not only want increased privacy, but also want personalized ads? Yeah, like TSwift once said, it’s a delicate balance (okay, we might be paraphrasing, but you get the gist). Luckily, advertising automation makes it easier to use the latest technological advances to reach audiences with personalized messaging.

For example, artificial intelligence-enabled predictive modeling can help advertisers to quickly identify audiences and serve them personalized placements. And dynamic creative optimization (DCO) offers the ability to automatically craft thousands of creative variations to serve to distinct audiences.

Wrapping Up: Getting Out of the Woods of the Identity Crisis

Just remember—if Taylor made it out of these woods, you can make it out of the identity crisis.

Advertisers today face a significant challenge: They must connect with audiences in privacy-friendly ways, while still personalizing ads based on individual consumers’ wants, needs, and preferences. Advertising automation is a powerful solution that can free up marketing teams’ time and resources, as well as allow them to create impactful, personalized advertising experiences.

To sum it up, identity crisis + advertising automation = 


Learn more about the power of advertising automation with our guide Meeting the Moment with Advertising Automation.

If it seems like everyone around you has been feeling the adventure itch lately, they’re in good company: More than 90% of Americans are planning to travel this year, with nearly one in three intending to venture abroad. After the total number of trips taken by US travelers decreased by 33% in 2020, that number has steadily increased and is forecast to continue to grow in the coming years. And, spending in the travel industry reflects this trend. Despite economic uncertainty and the lasting impacts of the pandemic, the travel industry is returning to pre-pandemic levels and experiencing steady growth.

Still, airlines, hotels, restaurants, and other travel businesses across the world are facing unique challenges. From shifting consumer habits to rapidly evolving technologies, there’s a lot for travel marketing teams to juggle. Below, we outline six marketing challenges in the travel industry today as well as the strategies teams can use to address them. Ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Price is top-of-mind

Inflation peaked in June 2022, and while the costs of consumer goods were skyrocketing, so too were travel expenses. In fact, they were increasing even more. As a result, vacationers in 2022 identified price as the most important consideration when selecting their travel providers. With prices remaining higher today than pre-pandemic, most travelers will continue to look at the price tag first, and everything else second.

To address this, travel marketers can lean into messaging that emphasizes low rates and highlights value. For example, ads should draw attention to discounts and bundling whenever possible. Loyalty programs should also be front-and center, with 72% of travelers reporting that a great loyalty program improves their opinion of a travel brand. By crafting ads that highlight value and low rates, travel marketers can speak directly to the factors that are most relevant to consumers.

2. Consumer habits are shifting

From the explosion of remote work, to the renewed focus on health and sustainability, to increased digital engagement, to a heightened sense of budget-consciousness, many of the shifts in consumer behavior that took hold during the first couple of years of the pandemic are still with us today. And while they’ve impacted all industries, they’ve had an outsized impact on travel and tourism.

For example, thanks to the number of people who now work from home, a new audience segment has emerged: bleisure travelers, or people who travel for a combination of business and leisure. This new category of travelers is substantial, and on track to overtake the category of traditional business travelers. And of course, the same marketing strategies that work for people traveling exclusively for either business or pleasure won’t be as effective with this new group.

Marketing teams must commit to tracking shifts like these and adjusting their strategies accordingly. This could be by leveraging a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to collect, organize, and research customer data; using machine learning technology to analyze first-party data and identify patterns, trends, and other insights; or by investing in a researcher (or team of researchers) to organize and dig into existing data so it can be used effectively. Regardless of which method(s) they use, marketers must consider the unique wants and needs of these new and emerging groups and adapt their campaigns to meet those needs.

Which leads us to our next challenge…       

3. There’s a heightened demand for personalization

While personalization in digital marketing has become a must-have for all industries, it’s particularly impactful for travel and tourism brands. In fact, 86% of travelers say they’re looking for personalization during their travel experiences and interactions. And personalization isn’t just a trend on the marketing side—businesses are leaning into it to improve product and service experiences as well.

Delta Airlines, for instance, uses personalization technology to deliver personalized in-flight entertainment, onboard amenities, and more to customers. Hilton also leverages customer data—specifically, data obtained through their HHonors loyalty program—to provide a more intimate and individualized customer experience.

Marketers should personalize the experiences they curate for consumers to complement personalization on the product and services side. For example, a hotel brand might craft one variation of ad creative that emphasizes amenities that would appeal to families, and another that’s geared toward solo travelers. Or, a tourism company that offers immersive local experiences might target audiences 21+ with creative that features alcoholic beverages.    

Capturing audience information and leveraging it, however, are two different things entirely. Brands need systems to both collect this data and connect it to their CRM platforms to create personalized advertising experiences. The challenge? Many marketing teams today use a variety of point solutions to navigate the complexity of the digital media landscape. And, as a result, many travel marketing teams struggle with poor data quality and a lack of data consolidation.

There are a variety of ways to address this, from upping your team’s number of data analysts, to investing in tech like universal reporting systems and customer data platforms (CDPs). Marketing teams with robust and secure systems for gathering, storing, and making the most of customer data will be well-positioned to create meaningful and personalized campaigns.

4. Marketing teams need to connect with travelers at every step of their journey

Remember when we mentioned that consumer habits are shifting? One of the reasons that travel marketers need to keep a pulse on these shifts is so they can connect with their target audiences throughout their entire customer journey. By first identifying key shifts in consumer behavior, travel brands can ensure that audiences are seeing the right messages at the right time.

What might this look like in practice? Well, a brand focused on vacation air travelers might focus on Instagram and Facebook to build awareness of their products and services, since these travelers often look for inspiration on social media. By leveraging an omnichannel advertising platform, teams could then retarget these prospective travelers via paid search or native ads as they move from awareness towards consideration and purchasing.

Or, a travel company targeting road trippers might focus on connected TV (CTV) and other digital video channels during early stages of the customer journey, as well as roadside digital out-of-home (DOOH) billboards, since these travelers watch a lot of online videos and spend a significant amount of time on the road. With retargeting, advertising teams can then place additional, personalized ads across digital channels like audio (for the drivers listening to their favorite music and podcasts) and social media (for the passengers posting photo dumps of their travels) to move these customers further down the funnel. By both leaning into current consumer trends and thinking holistically about their path to purchase, travel brands can make meaningful connections with travelers throughout their individual journeys.

5. Brands must keep up with new technologies to stay relevant 

Technology is constantly evolving. Consider the fact that, back in 2010, hotel and airline apps were just getting started, yet now they are an integral part of most travelers’ experiences. For travel marketers, there is a constant need to keep up with the latest innovations to ensure great experiences for target audiences and current customers.  

First and foremost, travel companies need to ensure their customer-facing technology ensures a great experience. When traveling (or planning for travel), many customers look for flexibility and efficiency in the booking process. And, in 2022, nearly twice as many travelers chose to book directly with a provider online than through an online travel aggregator. For brands, this means that leaning into innovations in technology will help with both garnering new customers and retaining existing ones. At the very least, your digital presence must ensure a good customer experience: When prospective customers see an ad for your company but encounter overly-complex or faulty tech when they click on it (i.e., their click brings them to a “page not found” error on your website or to a hard-to-navigate app), that experience can have negative impacts on conversions, not to mention customer loyalty.

Additionally, travel companies should take advantage of emerging technologies to maintain a competitive edge. One prominent example of a new(er) technology that travel businesses can embrace is dynamic pricing. Airlines and hotels can use factors such as time of year, day of the week, and corporate versus leisure travelers to estimate the right price point to drive conversions. Using technology backed by artificial intelligence, it’s possible to make these adjustments based on daily changes in market demand. Some pricing engines have the power to update fares as often as every 15 seconds, and businesses are starting to see the huge difference this makes in bookings. 

Though this new technology can result in significant benefits for travel companies, it can also present distinct challenges. To use dynamic pricing requires much more than just investing in the tech: Businesses must also rework their data management processes, including integrating CRM and revenue analytics. And, this can be made even more difficult if customer data is messy or has not been consolidated to a single interface—another reason why it’s so important for travel and tourism brands to prioritize data quality and consolidation.  

6. Sustainability is of increasing importance to travelers 

In the wake of the pandemic, more and more travelers are looking for environmentally sustainable travel options. This can prove to be both a challenge and an opportunity for travel brands and companies. In 2022, these were some of the top sustainability practices vacationers expected from travel providers:

And while it’s true that marketing teams may not have much say in their company’s larger sustainability initiatives, there are ways they can prioritize the environment through their advertising practices.     

First and foremost, marketing teams should avoid greenwashing at all costs. Making sustainability claims that your brand can’t back up is inauthentic and diminishes consumer trust in your company. And, these damages often extend beyond tarnishing a brand’s reputation: Making false or misleading claims can negatively impact customers’ experiences with the products or services you provide.

Additionally, there are strategies that digital advertising teams can use to help minimize their carbon footprint. One such strategy is to focus on attention metrics and eliminate impressions below a certain threshold. Since anywhere from 30% to 40% of online ads are “not ultimately viewed by consumers,” focusing on attention metrics can help advertisers reduce unnecessary emissions from these unseen (or sparsely viewed) ads. Another way that teams can help reduce their carbon emissions by streamlining their internal processes to reduce the amount of computing power needed for a typical campaign workflow. Rather than using many point solutions, consolidating to a single, automated platform for every step of the campaign can help advertising teams further minimize their environmental impact (and make their lives simpler, to boot!).

By leaning into sustainability, even in ways that may not be immediately apparent to consumers, travel and tourism brands can back up authentic statements about their commitment to the environment—and in doing so, match their consumers’ values.

Marketing Challenges in The Travel Industry: Next Steps

It’s clear that travel and tourism marketers are facing a variety of demands. To meet the needs of today’s travelers, they need to be flexible and intentional, consider the entire customer journey, lean into personalization, emphasize their value in an authentic way, and adapt to innovations in technology. It’s a lot, but hey—so is making all the arrangements for a memorable getaway!  

Speaking of innovations in technology, advertising automation is a powerful tool for simplifying the campaign process and improving performance. It consolidates disparate point solutions into a single platform, empowers teams to make data-driven decisions through a comprehensive analytics dashboard, and allows for a simplified billing and reconciliation process.

Interested in learning more about how advertising automation can help travel brands reduce manual labor and spend more time meeting the complexities of today? Check out our guide, Meeting the Moment with Advertising Automation, for everything you need to know.

Imagine going back in time and trying to explain TikTok to your 2009 self:

“No, not the absolute banger that Kesha just dropped—it’s a social media platform. You can find everything from funny animal videos, to product recommendations, to mouthwatering recipes, to trending dances. But you don’t find them just by following people you know; there’s an algorithm that places videos it thinks you’ll like alongside content from accounts you follow on a feed called a “For You Page” (FYP). The more you engage with a certain type of content, the more related content shows up on your FYP. Oh, and you’ll probably spend a movie’s length of time scrolling through it every day.”

Whether or not our past selves would have believed us, there’s no denying it: The TikTok boom has shifted the social media paradigm. And as users spend more and more time on the app, advertisers are presented with a unique opportunity to engage them.

So, how can advertisers take advantage of that opportunity? They can start by understanding the platform in all its uniqueness. Here are three big things to know:

1. TikTok is a full-screen, sound-on platform.

Though video has been around for a long time, the ways we consume it are fluid and ever-evolving. Considering that our attention spans have shrunk over the past several decades, it’s no surprise that short-form videos, such as those found on TikTok, have risen in popularity.

Though videos on the platform are brief, they are highly engaging and create an immersive experience. On their FYPs, users are met with vertically aligned videos that take up the entirety of their mobile phone screens. And, since sound is a crucial piece of the TikTok experience (after all, one of the ways users can find new content is by looking at videos that use the same audio as the current TikTok they’re watching), most users scroll with sound on. In other words, TikTok provides a full-screen, sound-on experience.  

This means that marketers can get their message in front of audiences and engage them through both video and sound. When your ad is playing, all eyes and ears are on you—it’s a great opportunity to show (rather than tell) what your brand or product is all about.

2. TikTok is changing the way users discover and engage with products.

Not only is TikTok an engaging way to connect with audiences, but it also delivers across marketing objectives.

“Hang on,” some marketers might say. “Wouldn’t TikTok only work for upper funnel KPIs?”

Think again! Due to its truly unique nature, TikTok is shifting the way that users discover and engage with products, allowing advertisers to connect with audiences throughout the purchasing journey.

In fact, TikTok is changing the customer journey itself. Rather than a linear experience flowing from awareness, to consideration, to purchase and retention, TikTok’s path to purchase looks more like an infinite loop: Discovering, commenting, shopping, watching, referring, creating, liking, and so on happen simultaneously and continuously. And, TikTok audiences are more likely to purchase a product in the moment they see it.

With 49% of users saying they’ve purchased a product or service because of TikTok, it’s clear that the platform can drive tangible results for products and brands.

3. The most impactful TikTok ads are raw, authentic, and real.  

Perhaps the most important thing advertisers need to know about TikTok? Users crave authenticity. And it makes sense, right? No one wants an overly salesy ad in between silly cat videos and Pedro Pascal sandwich memes. This need for authenticity and realness isn’t purely anecdotal: 71% of global TikTok users prefer brand posts that are raw rather than over-polished, and 65% feel that “overly professional-looking” brand content feels out of place.

So, what should ads on TikTok look like? Here are a few recommendations for effective creative tactics:

Wrapping Up: Making the Most of Your TikTok Advertising Strategy

What started as a place to catch up on the latest viral trends and learn new dance moves has exploded into a captivating and powerful entertainment platform. With users spending more and more time on the app each day, TikTok offers advertisers a compelling opportunity to connect with audiences. And, by leaning into the style of the content on the app—raw, authentic, and real—marketing teams can make meaningful connections with consumers throughout their individual journeys.    

Interested in learning even more about all things TikTok? Check out our webinar, Seizing the TikTok Advertising Opportunity. In it, you’ll hear firsthand from experts at TikTok about key advertising strategies, best practices, and more so your team can leverage the platform’s power effectively.

From Serial, to My Favorite Murder, to Pod Save America, almost everyone has a favorite podcast these days. In 2023, 38.3% of the US population will listen to a podcast each month—a number that’s steadily increased since Apple first released their podcast app in 2012.

Beyond their popularity with listeners, podcasts offer advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with consumers whenever and wherever they’re listening, within content they’re actively engaged with. Podcast ads also reach listeners on a wide variety of devices—from tablets, to mobile phones, to desktops and laptops, to smart speakers. Given these benefits, it’s no wonder that more and more advertisers are incorporating podcasts into their omnichannel media mix.    

So, what should advertisers know about the state of podcast advertising in 2023? Read on to find out:

1. Podcast Listenership Is Still Increasing

Podcast audiences exploded during the pandemic. In 2019, the number of podcast listeners in the US increased by 28% year-over-year (YoY), reaching 92.4 million; in 2020, that number grew by 32.4% to reach 107.7 million.

Though growth today is less rapid than a few years ago, podcast listenership is still steadily increasing. In 2022, there were 124.2 million podcast listeners in the US, and that number is forecast to reach 129.9 million this year.

Beyond this growth in listenership, time spent with podcasts is also increasing. In 2023, it’s forecast that the total US population will increase its time tuning in by more than 11%, reaching 25 minutes per day. For active listeners, that number is expected to reach 57 minutes per day.  

And just what shows are folks listening to? As of January 2023, there were more than four million total podcasts registered around the world, spanning topics from sports, to true crime, to lifestyle, to news, and more. For advertisers, this provides a great opportunity to use contextual targeting to reach key audiences in a privacy-friendly way (because who’s going to be more receptive to a home security system ad than someone binge listening to a true crime podcast? We’ll wait…).

2. Podcast Ad Spend Is Booming

As more and more people tune into podcasts (and spend more time listening to their favorite shows), it’s no surprise that ad spend is following in kind. After all, advertisers want to connect with audiences where they’re spending time, and podcasts offer them the chance to do so within content that consumers are personally connected with.   

Here are some key stats to know about the state of podcast ad spend in 2023 and where it’s projected to go from here:

3. Podcast Ads Resonate with Consumers

Sure, they’re popular. And more and more people are listening. But why are podcast ads effective?   

In short, podcast advertisements reach people as they engage with content that’s meaningful, and often personal, to them. When listeners spend hours tuning into a specific show, they’re building a connection with that show and its hosts. As a result, that host’s recommendation, or even an ad placed within an episode, will likely go a long way.

This phenomenon, dubbed the “audio trust halo,” is backed by research. A 2022 study by iHeartMedia found that 51% of respondents say they are more trusting of radio and podcast advertisers than advertisers on any other medium.

Beyond the “audio trust halo,” here are a few other stats that demonstrate how podcast ads are particularly resonant with audiences:

4. Programmatic Possibilities Are Just Emerging

Everyone’s taking part in the podcast craze, but programmatic podcast activation is still an emerging market. eMarketer predicts that US podcast ad spending will surpass 29% of total digital audio ad spending this year, but only 8.3% of podcast advertising will be bought programmatically in 2023 (up from 3.3% in 2020).

However, as programmatic audio technologies evolve, more and more advertisers will take advantage of the benefits it offers: namely, the ability to place audio ads—in real-time—and to harness the power of advanced targeting, measurement, and optimization technologies to ensure those ads reach key audiences. A 2023 study forecasts programmatic podcast ad spend will triple by 2027. For marketers today, this means that there’s a big opportunity to get in ahead of the curve.

Wrapping Up: Make the Most of Podcast Advertising in 2023

Podcast advertising offers a distinct opportunity to digital advertisers in 2023, allowing them to engage with audiences across their devices and in a variety of settings. And, with programmatic podcast ad spend gaining steam, more and more advertisers are utilizing this channel in an automated and data-driven way. Given its benefits, it makes sense that podcast advertising is forecast to continue to grow in the coming years.  

Want even more insight into the audio opportunities available within to digital marketers? Check out our digital audio advertising guide for a deeper dive.

Imagine you’re back in high school (rough time, we know. But stay with us!). Your teacher just handed back a recent test, and your palms are sweating as you scan their feedback.

There, at the top of page two, you see it: “Mostly correct, but…” Ah, partial credit. If you were like us, you’d probably find yourself wondering, “Isn’t being close good enough?”

Fast forward to “adult” life (yikes), and there are certainly instances in which being close is more than enough…but there are also times when precision is key. In a space as complex as digital marketing, for example, a lack of precision can lead to misunderstandings and costly errors.

Today, we’re digging into an area where it pays to be precise: differentiating between connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) advertising. Though these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important differences to be aware of. Knowing what each refers to and how they differ will ensure your team is utilizing these channels effectively, and prevent an awkward situation in which an ad intended to run on a TV device ends up displayed on someone’s phone instead.

Ready to dive into all things OTT vs. CTV? Let’s begin.

What Is Connected TV (CTV)?

Before we can explore the differences and similarities between OTT and CTV, we need to define each term individually. First up? CTV.

A CTV is any television set that is connected to the internet. CTVs include smart TVs, as well as TV sets that can access the internet via an OTT device, a set-top box, or a gaming device that serves as an OTT device.

The term CTV describes the device on which viewers are watching video content. As such, it’s not possible for someone to watch CTV on their phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, or other digital device, since none of those devices are TVs.

(Psst: There are tons of other words and acronyms associated with CTV that you might want to know about. Check out our connected TV advertising glossary to learn more!)

What Is Over-the-Top (OTT)?

Now that we’ve established what connected TV is (and what it is not), let’s move on to OTT.

Where the term CTV describes a specific device, OTT describes a way that video content is delivered to users. Specifically, OTT is a method of delivering video content to users through the internet, rather than via cable, broadcast, or satellite. A few well-known providers of OTT content include Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+.

OTT vs. CTV: Key Differences

OTT advertising can happen just about anywhere. The same cannot be said of CTV (because, hey, how many people do you know that carry their TV sets around with them?)

Though there are ways in which CTV and OTT overlap, it’s important to note their key differences:

Though these terms are sometimes used synonymously, they are distinct. Just remember, all CTV is OTT, but not all OTT is CTV (kind of like how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares).

Benefits of CTV and OTT

“Okay, we get it,” some advertisers might say. “CTV and OTT are different. But why use them? What benefits do they offer?”

Well, more and more people are using CTV devices to watch video, and many people are turning to OTT content over traditional cable and broadcast providers. In short, both CTV and OTT offer advertisers the opportunity to connect with people when and where they’re watching video. Still not convinced? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves:

With the explosion of people tuning into CTVs and tapping into OTT video content, it’s no surprise that ad spend has followed in kind. In 2022, US CTV ad spend grew by 23% year-over-year (YoY) and is projected to grow by 27.2% YoY in 2023 to $26.92 billion. And, subscription OTT ad spend is forecast to grow 50.5% YoY in 2023 and to reach $11.11 billion in ad spend in 2024.

CTV vs. OTT: Test Your Knowledge!  

Before we wrap things up, here’s a quick quiz to assess your knowledge on CTV vs. OTT:

Imagine you’re chatting with your coworker Larry. While discussing an upcoming campaign, Larry says, “Let’s include CTV ads in the mix! I saw one while watching the newest episode of ‘The Bachelor’ on my phone this morning, and it totally hooked me.” How do you respond?

  • A. Heck yeah! CTV ads for the win. Maybe we can target people on their desktops as well.
  • B. Wait, are you talking about OTT or CTV? If we want to reach people on their phones through Netflix, Hulu, etc., we probably need to focus on OTT, since CTV only reaches people on internet-connected TV devices. That said, both would be a great part of the mix.
  • C. Nah, time spent with CTV is declining. No reason to include it in the mix.

If you chose answer B, congratulations! We can now officially dub you a CTV vs. OTT wizard: You know exactly what these terms mean, where they overlap, where they are distinct, and their top benefits.

Looking to expand even further upon your OTT vs. CTV advertising expertise? Our Connected TV Advertising Guide can help! In it, we dig into how to make the most of the CTV opportunity, CTV best practices and strategies, how to optimize towards key KPIs, and more.

Like piling freshly grated parmesan on pasta, dipping pizza in ranch dressing, or pumping extra butter on movie theater popcorn, adding “digital” to out-of-home advertising makes what was already a good thing even better.

In its non-digital form, out-of-home (OOH) advertising allows advertisers to connect with consumers in high-traffic locations to drive awareness and/or action, and to reach people in places and moments where other forms of advertising can’t. From a series of bright and cheery billboards for a frozen custard shop along the highway, to a larger-than-life poster for a hot new film release placed just blocks from a movie theater, out-of-home-ads foster connection and emotion. And given how long OOH advertising has been around, it’s no surprise that the advent of its digital counterpart has been making waves.   

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising takes everything great about OOH and adds the benefits inherent to digital technology—namely, the ability to target, track, optimize, refine, and measure the results of OOH ads. Programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH) takes things a step further, allowing advertisers to harness the power of automation and real-time bidding technology to make the most of out-of-home ad spend. And as more and more marketers embrace these benefits, DOOH and pDOOH ad spend are experiencing rapid growth.

We’re here to give you the lowdown on digital out-of-home advertising so you can leverage its power in your upcoming campaigns and connect with people in intentional moments along their purchasing journeys. Ready? Let’s dive in.  

What Is Digital Out-of-Home Advertising?

DOOH advertising is defined as any digital advertising media that people encounter outside of their homes. Though people most closely associate DOOH with brightly colored digital billboards (like those in Times Square), the channel includes everything from massive digital billboards, to ads displayed on mall kiosk screens, to video ads that pop up on the gas station TV while you’re refueling.

Here are the latest stats marketers should know about DOOH:

Much like DOOH, programmatic digital out-of-home is growing rapidly. In 2022, pDOOH ad spend saw a 116.3% increase year-over-year, and it is forecast to surpass $1 billion in 2025 while accounting for 31% of total DOOH spend.

What’s the Difference Between DOOH Advertising vs. OOH Advertising?

As their acronyms suggest (and as we briefly touched on earlier), DOOH and OOH ads have a lot in common. Out-of-home advertising includes any ads a person would find outside of their home that are not found on their personal device(s), including billboards, images around bus stops and other public transit systems, posters in public areas, and more. It’s an umbrella term that covers non-digital out-of-home, digital out-of-home, and programmatic digital out-of-home (easy way to remember: all DOOH is OOH advertising, but not all OOH advertising is DOOH advertising!)

Non-digital out-of-home is one of the oldest, most established forms of advertising around—with (the origin of US billboards dates back to the 1830s). But non-digital out-of-home often requires long commitments and lacks flexibility when it comes to revising buys.

Enter: DOOH, the digital iteration of OOH advertising. The digital elements of DOOH have brought significant advancements to OOH advertising that have reenergized marketers’ view of the channel and its effectiveness. DOOH includes the digital forms of ads that consumers encounter outside of their homes, such as large format screens at sporting events, digital screens at gyms and doctors’ offices, and screens that include advertisements at the point-of-purchase.

And how does programmatic digital out-of-home fit into this mix? Much like how DOOH is a type of OOH advertising, pDOOH is a type of DOOH advertising, and it includes any DOOH inventory that is bought programmatically. Programmatic digital out-of-home allows advertisers to activate DOOH campaigns in an automated and data-driven way, typically by using a demand side platform (DSP).

What DOOH Formats and Mediums Are There?

There are several different venue formats when it comes to DOOH advertising. These include:

On top of these, other forms of digital signage are making their way into more and more places in our everyday environments. From screens scattered throughout the local gym, to bright and bold outdoor panels along sidewalks in urban areas, to small screens on the back of the headrests in taxis, digital displays are popping up everywhere.

Using a combination of these different venue types can allow you to get your brand or product messaging in front of the right consumer, at the right time.

What Are the Benefits of Digital Out-of-Home?

With an oft-dizzying array of digital channels and media types to choose from, what distinct benefits does DOOH offer to advertisers? Here are some of the most notable:  

1. DOOH enhances the customer journey and has a strong impact on consumers

DOOH offers brands an opportunity to connect with consumers in real-world moments—including those in which they’re unreachable (or less reachable) on their personal devices. Case in point: 98% of consumers have visited a DOOH venue in the last 30 days. And, given its one-to-many nature, DOOH is an effective channel for building brand awareness and boosting brand recognition at scale.

In addition, recent research shows that DOOH ads have a stronger impact on consumers than more traditional OOH formats. A recent study that dug into the neuroscience of DOOH found that digital ads deliver 63% more impact, on average, than their non-digital counterparts.  

2. DOOH offers marketers the opportunity to get creative

A digital sign in the subway station that reminds you to buy groceries (with a QR code that takes you right to the supermarket’s same-day delivery app).

A digital billboard that switches between images of iced coffee and hot beverages, depending on the weather.

An urban panel that highlights an upcoming concert at a nearby venue, and then directs customers to the ticketing website on their mobile phones.

Much like OOH, DOOH offers advertisers the chance to connect with consumers in a way that’s eye-catching, bold, and memorable (and on a screen that’s likely far bigger than those of their personal devices!). And, thanks to its digital nature, advertisers can potentially even lean into advancements in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to give consumers a truly immersive experience.  

Given the variations in sizes, locations, and types of screens available for DOOH ads, marketers can get creative with their ads. This could include using multiple images or videos, since digital screens allow on-screen messaging to change every few seconds; incorporating interactive elements like QR codes to direct consumers to take action; or leveraging touch-screen technology for a more immersive customer experience.

And, unlike many other ad formats, DOOH ads are non-skippable and highly viewable, so bold and engaging messaging/creative has a high probability of making an impression: A recent study found that DOOH ads have the power to deliver impact in as little as a one- or two-second glance. In other words, these ads provide a great opportunity to make a statement!   

3. DOOH is flexible

More traditional OOH investments are known for their long buying cycles and relative lack of flexibility when it comes to revising buys and/or creative displays. And it makes sense, right? Making tweaks to the messaging on the non-digital billboard along the highway is a far greater undertaking than updating the digital files to be displayed on a DOOH screen.

DOOH, on the other hand, offers advertisers increased flexibility within their campaigns: On-screen messaging can change every few minutes, and it’s easier to adjust creative and/or make optimizations during a campaign. Additionally, advertisers can use DOOH within cross-device campaigns—whether by incorporating QR codes that viewers scan on their mobile devices, or by geotargeting personal devices of consumers around a specific DOOH ad or campaign—leveraging DOOH’s flexibility to reach and connect with consumers in a way that drives action.   

4. DOOH is future-friendly

Consumers are demanding increased privacy, and the world of adtech is shifting to meet the needs of a world without third-party cookies. So, how does DOOH advertising fit into the privacy conversation?

Since DOOH is anonymized and a one-to-many channel, it’s inherently privacy-friendly. With DOOH, there’s no need to think about alternative solutions to third-party cookies or ways to target that are privacy friendly. Though DOOH ads can be targeted based on a screen’s geolocation, context, and other parameters, targeting is not done at a personal level.

5. pDOOH allows for faster activation

Though this one’s specific to programmatic DOOH, it’s worth noting: Thanks to the power of real-time bidding, pDOOH allows advertisers to put ads in front of consumers at the right time and place. Where traditional OOH investments are known for requiring long commitments and lacking flexibility, pDOOH empowers advertisers to use real-time data to act flexibly and nimbly in their campaigns.

What Targeting Capabilities Does DOOH Offer?

In its original non-digital form, OOH advertising is largely location-based. Just think of that billboard for a juicy burger and extra-crispy fries that shows up just as you’re about to reach the appropriate exit on the highway, or the poster plastered inside the ski bus that advertises services for a personal injury lawyer (yikes!)

DOOH allows for similar location-based targeting (geotargeting), as well as additional targeting features including:  

These enhanced targeting parameters allow advertisers to get even more specific in ensuring their ad gets in front of their ideal consumer in a precise and strategically beneficial moment.

Can DOOH Ads Be Measured?

Thanks to recent advancements and innovations in location technology, DOOH ads are now far more measurable. By understanding when and where an ad was played, who was nearby, and what actions people near an ad (and likely exposed to that ad) took, marketers can measure the impacts of their DOOH campaigns.

Marketers can track the impact of DOOH ads based on metrics like impressions, bids won, impressions per bid, and win rate. They can also set KPIs across the purchase funnel, including:

Next Steps: DOOH Advertising

DOOH advertising gives marketers the opportunity to connect with consumers in a big, bold way, at times when people may not be actively using their phones, tablets, and other personal devices. Unlike traditional OOH, digital OOH gives allows advertisers to embrace the latest innovations in adtech to personalize, target, and measure the results of their out-of-home ads. As such, savvy marketers are increasingly embracing the channel as part of their larger, omnichannel media strategy.

Of course, adding any new channel to your marketing mix can be challenging, especially given the state of media complexity in today’s marketing landscape. If you’re interested in learning more about how to incorporate DOOH within your campaigns but unsure of where to start, our Media Strategy & Activation Team has you covered.

Digital audio is everywhere: from the podcasts we download for our morning commute, to the tunes we blast at the gym, to the live radio programs we stream while doing the dishes. For marketers, the channel provides an opportunity to connect with consumers when and where they’re listening—and to foster meaningful, personal connections in these moments. 

Until now, digital audio’s power has been largely underutilized by advertisers. But the tides are turning, and with people spending more and more time with digital audio, a wave of audio ad spend is cresting on the horizon. 

In this guide, we explore how savvy marketers can embrace this unique opportunity to connect with consumers. We analyze the latest trends, insights, and research to help advertisers harness the power of audio in their campaigns.

In this guide, you’ll learn: 

Ready to level up your digital audio advertising expertise? Download your copy of the guide today!

Well, here we are again, halfway through February. Love is in the air, spring is peeking around the corner, and candy hearts are in high demand.

Yes, today is Valentine’s Day, and so what better time to show your customers how much you care? To help, we figured we’d share a few strategies that will have your customers crushing on you like it’s night one of The Bachelor.

❤️❤️❤️ How to Win Your Customers' Hearts ❤️❤️❤️

Tip #1: Let them know you’re thinking of them (but not in a creepy way)

Like love at first sight, customer conversions after only one marketing touchpoint are rare. Retargeting ads can help you re-engage potential customers in a personalized way.

Here are three tips for developing effective retargeting strategies:

1. Craft Intentional Creative

Users want personalization: a recent study found that 56% of consumers expect all marketing offers to be personalized. So, once you’ve leveraged available data to create basic audience segments (i.e., groups of people who have taken the same actions online or who share a common demographic, interest, etc.), tailor your ads to those segments. Advertisers should leverage available data to incorporate customization and personalization into retargeting ads, as well as feature a strong call-to-action to prompt users to take the next step.

2. Leverage Tech to Automate Content Creation

Dynamic creative optimization (DCO) is a highly automated approach that uses customer data to create thousands of variations of personalized ads automatically, based on individual customers or groups of customers. It’s more efficient, less error-prone, and ensures your customers are getting the personalized ads they want without you having to create each one individually.

3. Embrace a Cross-Device Strategy

For marketers keen on creating an effective retargeting strategy, cross-device retargeting is a powerful tactic. It allows brands not only to re-engage potential customers, but also to do it across their devices, creating a seamless customer experienceFor example, a person might first encounter your brand as they browse on their phone while on-the-go, and, through the power of cross-device retargeting, could later be served a more personalized ad on their tablet or laptop to move them further down the purchase funnel.

Read more about how to create effective retargeting ads.

Tip #2: Show them you’re in it for the long-haul (no commitment-phobes here)

If you want a love and/or digital media strategy that lasts, you need to focus on a long-term approach that maximizes lifetime customer value.

Take the current economic upheaval: this uncertainty leaves little room for marketing that inadvertently steers away from maximizing lifetime customer value.

In a recent episode of the AdTech Unfiltered podcast, Basis Technologies' VP of Media Innovations & Technology, Noor Nasser, spoke with Vera Shafiq (VP of Digital Strategy, Location 3) to explore how and why advertisers must rethink some common but shortsighted marketing tactics that are curbing long-term success. Their conversation touches on strategies for generating long term, scalable, and sustainable results for agencies and brands.

Check out "How to Build a Digital Marketing Strategy That Lasts".

Tip #3: Add a personal touch (to show them they’re “the one”) 

A worn-out opening line won’t do much for the date you’re trying to woo, and a generalized approach won’t win over your customers. Personalization is key to a great customer experience.

In today’s campaigns, customers want brands to move beyond a blanket targeting approach and create content that caters to their unique experiences. Studies show that 73% of all buyers (including both B2B and B2C) expect companies to understand their unique needs, while just over half (56%) expect offers to always be personalized.

When done manually, these types of omnichannel personalization strategies can be incredibly cost sapping and time consuming, relying on a host of disparate platforms. Marketers who are looking to successfully incorporate personalized moments into their advertising experiences—and find the greater flexibility, efficiency, and scalability required to implement them—will need three things: a strategy to streamline planning, technology to effortlessly control campaigns, and data-driven measurement. Fortunately, there is one existing solution that offers all that (and more): digital advertising automation.

Read more about creating personalized customer experiences.

The Best Relationships Are Built on Trust

A whopping 88% of customers believe trust becomes more important in times of change. And just like cheese, wine, and blue jeans, trust gets better with time. By using intentional strategies like these and staying savvy about brand safety, digital marketers can help build and strengthen trust across the entire customer journey. And who doesn't love the sound of that?


Ready to develop a media buying strategy that will rock your customers' world, but not sure where to start? Basis has all the tools, resources, and support you need to develop customer relationships that last.

Imagine this: You’re online shopping on your lunch break and see a pair of running shoes that catches your eye. On sale, in your size—and aren’t your old ones getting a bit worn-out?  “Noted,” you think as you click to another website.

Later that night, you grab your phone to pull up the recipe you’re making for dinner. And voilà! There’s an ad for those exact running shoes from earlier displayed alongside the recipe.

While some may be tempted to think it’s a coincidence (or even a sign that they’re meant to buy those new shoes), this is an example of ad retargeting at play.

Retargeting: What Is It?

Few website visitors convert on their first visit. But that doesn’t mean that advertisers should (or do) give up on them! Just think about the number of times you’ve visited a website, added items to your cart, and forgot about said cart, only to return later on to make a purchase. Rather than giving up on would-be customers who don’t complete a conversion the first time around (fill out a form, buy a product, etc.), marketers can re-engage them through retargeting advertising.  

Retargeting is a digital strategy in which advertisers serve targeted ads to consumers who have visited their website or who are contacts within their database. Retargeting ads allow marketers to reconnect with potential consumers who have not yet completed a conversion, thus building brand awareness, expanding product recognition, and increasing the likelihood that those people convert.   

When set up correctly, retargeting ads are a cost-effective way for advertisers to reach interested buyers who already have some familiarity with their brand and/or product.

How Do Retargeting Ads Work?

We provide an in-depth look at how retargeting ads work (and share a host of solutions for retargeting in privacy-friendly ways!) in this piece, so we’ll keep this part brief. Here are the basics:

In pixel-based retargeting, a small piece of code (aka a pixel or “cookie”) is attached to a consumer’s browser when they visit your website. Later, when they’re browsing online, the pixel allows your advertising team to serve them personalized, retargeted ads based on the interactions on your website.

Other types of retargeting allow marketers to leverage first-party data to serve personalized ads. This could mean retargeting them on a different device, aggregating first-party buyer intent data to create audience segments, or serving an ad for a specific product that was left sitting in their shopping cart.

How Can Marketers Use Retargeting Effectively?

So, how can marketers create effective retargeting ads? Though there’s no secret sauce or magic ingredient that guarantees retargeting success, there are some proven strategies that marketers can employ:

1. Craft Intentional Creative

Users want personalization: a recent study found that 56% of consumers expect all marketing offers to be personalized. So, once you’ve leveraged available data to create basic audience segments (i.e., groups of people who have taken the same actions online or who share a common demographic, interest, etc.), tailor your ads to those segments.

Keep in mind that those users have already demonstrated interest in your site and/or product, so serving the same messaging that you’d use for a more general, potentially unaware audience likely won’t have the same impact. Advertisers should leverage available data to incorporate customization and personalization into retargeting ads, as well as feature a strong call-to-action to prompt users to take the next step.

2. Leverage Tech to Automate Content Creation

If you shuddered at the thought of having to manually craft personalized variations of creative for individual audience segments, we get it. Advertisers today face an increasingly complex digital media environment, and adding another factor like ad personalization can feel overwhelming.

Fortunately, technologies like dynamic creative optimization (DCO) can eliminate some of that manual labor. DCO is a highly automated approach that uses customer data to create thousands of variations of personalized ads automatically, based on individual customers or groups of customers. It’s more efficient, less error-prone, and ensures your customers are getting the personalized ads they want without you having to create each one individually.

3. Embrace a Cross-Device Strategy

People spend a lot of time with digital media. In 2022, US adults dedicated a whopping 8 hours and 28 minutes to digital every single day (that’s more than the average US adult sleeps each night!)

Importantly, consumers don’t spend all that time in one place. From watching video on connected TV devices, to scrolling through TikTok or Instagram on mobile phones, to browsing the internet on a second computer screen while working from home, people are increasingly engaging with many different devices and channels throughout the day.

For marketers keen on creating an effective retargeting strategy, cross-device retargeting is a powerful tactic. It allows brands not only to re-engage potential customers, but also to do it across their devices. For example, a person might first encounter your brand as they browse on their phone while on-the-go, and, through the power of cross-device retargeting, could later be served a more personalized ad on their tablet or laptop to move them further down the purchase funnel.  

Next Steps: Ad Retargeting

Retargeting marketing offers the opportunity to provide a personalized experience to customers, increase brand awareness, and re-engage with consumers who already have some knowledge of their product or brand. And, by taking a cross-device approach, leveraging available automation tech, and leaning into ad personalization, advertisers can ensure they’re using retargeting ads effectively within their campaigns.


Interested in learning even more about retargeting? Take AdTech Academy’s retargeting course to learn even more about this digital marketing essential!  

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