Nearly everyone who went to Cannes this year will agree with technology's big impact, especially the people who arrived onboard an Ubercopter from Nice and those who found themselves stranded in Cannes after taxis went on strike in protest of Uber’s very existence. To avoid unnecessary drama I opted to take the bus. After arriving I walked around the marina past super yachts hired by companies like Rubicon and Tumblr, strolled down Le Croisette past Facebook, Spotify and Google (narrowly avoiding a pedalo sponsored by Tube Mogul) to Microsoft Beach, my temporary office for the last few days on the Cote d’Azur. Right outside the Carlton, smack bang in the middle of the famous Cannes Lions festival of creativity.
This year more than ever, I am told, technology is impossible to avoid. And despite some grizzles from a few creative stalwarts about overcrowding and algorithms it’s actually a really good thing.
Generally speaking, the role of advertising is to sell stuff (public service announcements like the excellent Dumb Ways To Die excluded). Great work sells because it makes an impact. Impact is achieved with the perfect combination of creativity and reach. Not just any creativity and reach mind you but dazzling creativity and impeccable reach. By embracing today’s technology, creative and media agencies are raising the bar and helping marketers make a bigger impact than ever.
This is particularly true of platform companies like Facebook, Linkedin, Snapchat, Tinder, Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest. These platforms command huge and valuable audiences that appear to be spending less and less time watching television. So ad technology has been developed to help marketers reach specific types of people in innovative new ways.
Every year now we see brands leveraging new types of ads across an ever-expanding array of platforms in order to sell more stuff. About 90 per cent of that stuff is still sold through physical stores and for years marketers have been at pains to work out whether all the money they are giving to platforms like Facebook and online ad networks like Microsoft is actually driving more sales in store.
A lot of the conversations I had at Cannes were about how we can now use mobile technology to bridge the divide between digital ads and physical sales. Marketers are supremely interested in this topic. They want to know which media channels and which type of customers generate the most profit for their stores.
Take for example a global fashion brand that knows the highest spending customers are males over the age of 40 that downloaded their app from a mobile landing page after clicking on an ad they saw in Bing. In fact, they know that customers who did that spent approximately four times as much on average last month than any other app user. Marketers love knowing that sort of thing, and so does Microsoft. If they can prove how many in store sales that particular online ad generated then they can put a higher value on premium ad stock. But they can’t do that without a partner that is integrated to the retailer’s point of sale system.
Which, in a round about sort of way, is why I find myself at Cannes this year. Invited by Microsoft who aim to provide better advertising solutions by partnering with technology companies like Plexure.
In the future, more and more marketers will make better advertising decisions and achieve better reach based on closed loop transaction data from their mobile apps. The impact that technology is having on the effectiveness of advertising reach is significant.