Sep 22 2017
Anthony Loredo

Ibotta Mobile Innovation Summit Recap and Takeaways


We're back from a trip to the Mile High City, where the 2017 Ibotta Mobile Innovation Summit has concluded. We spent the week connecting with some of the brightest minds in digital, discussing the state of mobile marketing, how to identify innovation opportunities, and the impact digital has had on CPG and retail advertising.

The event, held in downtown Denver, was jam-packed with keynote speeches, panel discussions, digital insights, and best practices for attendees to take back to their jobs.

Our CEO Shawn Riegsecker spoke on a panel and discussed the challenges the digital industry faces as ad dollars shift from TV to digital.

“We are witnessing and going through the greatest disruption the advertising and marketing industry has ever seen," Shawn noted, as the group spoke about how to reach valid consumers, measure ad effectiveness, and bridge the gap between online and offline behavior.

Panelists agreed ad dollars haven't shifted to digital quickly enough – even though all data suggests that's where consumers are and, in an ideal world, marketers determining the right TV/digital split would follow the customer. But it's no secret that digital is a very fragmented space and brings its own unique set of challenges, which has slowed the digital ad spend progression.

Several factors come into play when you begin to explore the reasons behind this. Quite a few theories were debated at this panel, including the demographics of people controlling the mid-market ad budgets. They're the same people who are still watching TV and consider it the most valuable medium.

Another piece of it? The forecasting models and techniques determining the right marketing mix aren't able to keep up and meet the current demands of this fast-moving industry. Asking a company to uproot what's been historically working – but maybe not working as well today – is an enormous request and a huge undertaking.

Consumers are also everywhere these days. Cross-device is the new norm, and that hinders some marketers ability to gather accurate data on where customers are, what devices they're using, what actions they're taking platforms, or whether they're multi-tasking. To make matters more complicated, if a brand works with a digital vendor or a “walled garden" like Facebook or Google, there's a lack of transparency and insight into the data they are able to gather. Brands are spending money on the audiences and getting the performance data, but they don't own the data.

From a brand marketing perspective, it was argued that the onus is on digital partners to prove they can provide the same scale and reach that TV provides.

Which begs the question: Will programmatic TV capabilities help marketers and brands transition to digital ad spend? After all, it combines the broad reach of TV with the highly targeted capabilities of digital.

Certainly, brand marketers argued, programmatic allows for better measurement of traditional business objectives – like ROI and ROAS – so it gives marketers the intelligence they need to determine if they're making an impact or driving sales.

Others on the panel argued that it's the wrong question to be asking, and that we're thinking and talking about digital in the wrong way. Their thinking was that as all the mediums begin to blend together in the next few years, TV just becomes another video touchpoint to consider.

Instead of brands beginning their planning with what has traditionally worked (TV) and allocating the remaining budget to digital, or instead of agencies just repeating tactics that worked last year or last quarter, it's time to infuse innovation into digital strategies.

The question isn't how do you split digital ad spend and TV ad spend. The question is what mix and what strategies create a more impactful ad?

Think about what will meet business goals. Think about how TV spots could be improved if they resembled the interactivity of digital and social media ads. Or how digital could be improved to allow more time for brand stories to be told. How can we get smarter at the individual targeting level – no matter the medium? What can be done to segment audiences properly and interject more creativity? Are we sitting on top of enough data and intelligence to identify solutions? How can we come at advertising with a better targeting perspective for each platform?

At the beginning of the discussion, the moderator asked the panelists to adopt baseball terminology and describe what inning the digital industry is in. Most everyone seemed to decide (perhaps optimistically) that we're in the 2nd or the 3rd inning. After diving into the considerations, debates, and issues at play, it sounds like we're in the top of the 1st inning – bringing a world of opportunity to the plate for digital brands and marketers.