Macala Wright: Why Mad Men Are Becoming Math Men

Macala Wright: Why Mad Men Are Becoming Math Men

Programmatic, transparent, scientific processes are now being used as the tools of good marketing.

Macala Wright
  • 28 april 2013

In our digital worlds, it is safe to say that advertising is becoming more dynamic and complicated than ever. In advertising, Mad Men are becoming Math Men.

Some would say that mobile devices, technology and advanced consumer behavior have made it a complex art and science of anticipating how, when and where someone will respond to a brand’s message. At Ad:Tech San Francisco, the debates surrounding advertising and our multi-screen, cross-platform communication channels yielded three key trends:

2013 Trend: The Focus Is On “Programmatic”

Mad Men are becoming Math Men with programmatic, transparent, scientific processes according to Michael Baker of DataXu, a programmatic marketing platform. Programmatic Marketing is the key phrase and practice for marketers in 2013. Programmatic marketing is a brand’s use of their consumer data to measure and tailor messages to incite action – most notably in their digital display advertisements.

“Brands, companies and marketers now have tons of data, but few processes to really understand and leverage it. So we see the rise of programmatic marketing,” says Michael Baker. “A programmatic approach is allowing the human entities that work within an organization to focus on leveraging technology for creativity instead of non essential tasks.”



Programmatic marketing enables brands to optimize their media spends and eliminate spend waste by automating ad targeting through leveraging that data and predictive analytics. The practice of programmatic marketing is directly related to the contextual relevance of the ad content to the target audience’s behaviors, needs, geographic locations and possibly other AIO variables.

behavioral algorithms

The promise of programmatic marketing is to bind dispersed data together and make it actionable in a real-time, digital world, notes Search Engine Land columnist Dax Hamman. Hence, publishers potentially view the rise of programmatic ad buying as a threat to premium ad pricing and are tailoring their revenue strategies to accommodate a middle tier of ad pricing that can make up for the pressure on premium rates, as most recently noted by Digiday with Hearst Publishing.

Though in its infancy, there are already companies such as Immserive Labs and (bought by Facebook) testing digital billboards with facial recognition or companies such as Control Group that target digital ads that change based on customer location captured from mobile devices. These groups stand to push the boundaries and legal limitations of programmatic marketing capabilities.

Brand Content Must Align To Social Culture

Content marketing continues its rise. Currently estimated at $40.2 billion dollars, brands are continually looking to leverage their content to create consumer interest on social networks and platforms. But they are having to do so in a way that matches their target audiences’ affinities for things like Justin Bieber and animated kitty gifs.

context marketing infographics

They do all that by analyzing and leveraging the content’s context. Context is about delivering the right message to the right people, at the right time via the right platforms and messaging media that then drives them to take the action you desire.

The end result of content created in the right context is action i.e. your audience successfully completed the actions you were hoping for, whether that was a simple sharing of information or conversion (successful performance of a task or set of tasks that results in a desired outcome) to business lead or product purchase.

Furthermore, content marketing requires brands to put their brand owned assets where consumers are, while also driving them back to key entry points on their brand owned properties.

For example, “80% of pins on Pinterest are repins and people spend 70% more time on Pinterest than Facebook,” said Ali Turner of Leapfrog Interactive. “And retailers’ goals for Pinterest are to translate in-store experience online and to inspire, and encourage customers to engage and act online.” If retailers want to effectively leverage Pinterest for content marketing, they’re going to leverage content their customers have affinities for.


 Insider Tip: Marketers must aim to put content with the brand itself; whether that is a product, service or offering.  People remember what they see, not where they saw it.  So a brand must be aligned within the content itself.  Kate Spade is a great example of this, the fashion brand does this extremely well without actually adding their logo to most content.

Publishers Look To Native Advertising To Boost Revenue And Ad Performance

Brands seeking content are looking for better integration than ever from media publishers, and they are investing heavily in native ads. With native advertising, brand ads are integrated into the actual visual design of the editorial in attempts to blend content. The effectiveness of altering viewer perception is becoming extremely effective for those leveraging it in terms of social sharing and content engagement.

Recently, John Flinn, VP of Publishing at Zumobi, a native advertising platform, shared a recent campaign with MotorTrend Magazine and Chevrolet. By leveraging Zumobi capabilities, the automotive company saw:

Native Advertising Case Study


  • 37% overall mobile engagement rate, meaning that more than one third of people interacted with the Chevrolet ZBi campaign

  • Click-Through Rates (CTR) as high as 11.2% for the ZBi expandable Paso Doble ad units

  • 6.8% of users saved the integrated content experience to their home screen via the ZBi Footprint feature, creating a leave-behind app on their mobile device

  • People spent as much as 6.4 minutes interacting with the Chevrolet ZBi ads

“We presented Zumobi with a challenge to preserve the creative elements of our print and online campaign to create a cohesive brand identity across mediums and yet build a unique experience that addresses the specific usability and content aspects for mobile,” said Carolin Probst-Iyer, Manager Digital Consumer Engagement at General Motor’s Chevrolet Division. “They far exceeded our expectations on mobile. The results of a 37% engagement rate are a testament to the success of this campaign, and the ZBi platform.”

Recently Tanzina Vega of the New York Times wrote, “Publishers are largely being driven to support the use of sponsored content because of fewer people clicking on banner ads, the abundance of advertising space and other factors make it more difficult to make money from traditional online advertising.” So naturally native advertising holds huge appeal for advertising and publishers.

Consumers will embrace native advertising as long as it’s authentic and tells a great story, which requires brands to invest in great storytellers who understand content creation and platform engagement, perhaps that’s why it’s at the heart of Buzzfeed’s latest revenue strategy. However, it is also at the heart of many media publishers’ strategies.

As the conversation surrounding the blurring of the lines between the church and state of editorial and advertising grows, consumer tolerance for embedded advertising experiences will also build, but native advertising’s approach will still prove more effective than traditional banner display.

 Photos: DataXu, Shutterstock, Kate Spade, Zumobi, Daniel Izans


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