It is clear that adtech has profoundly changed the way the advertising industry works. Although distribution of ad spend has yet to align with consumers’ behaviours and, more specifically, varied device usage, adtech has been particularly powerful in helping advertisers get the most out of their online ad spend. With the rise of programmatic advertising, adtech’s focus has largely been on the media spend and placement activities within the advertising process. As a result, optimization of the ad planning and creative process is still an area that is ripe for tech innovation. Paris-based Little Big Data is looking to be at the forefront of this innovation.
Data-driven branding and storytelling… the next frontier
According to Little Big Data CEO Guillaume de Roquemaurel, the shift towards bringing data and technology into the creative and branding process is also a natural evolution from the initial focus of digital, which was squarely on improving conversion rate. The primary objective was to answer the question ‘how can I increase the percentage of people who buy when they come to my website, knowing that the industry average stands at 20%?’ Thus, digital activities centered more on the ‘back funnel’ (i.e. conversion, CRM, loyalty).
The new frontier, according to de Roquemaurel, is acquisition. So, how to attract visitors, get them to connect with my brand, speak about my brand, etc. As we’re still very much in the early stages of this process, many brands are taking TV ads, for example, and simply using those as pre-roll ads on Youtube. de Roquemaurel stresses that this is not the right approach. The nature of online advertising and its ability to connect brands with micro-segments, requires a more customized approach to the creative, advertising planning, and placement processes.
Little Big Data at the nexus of data science and creativity
Little Big Data achieves this by bringing together data science and creativity to enable brands to create more personalized, conversational and impactful advertising messages for consumers. As online advertising formats (e.g. banner ads, pre-roll ads, pop-up ads, etc) don’t enable advertisers to hold consumers’ attention for as long a period as, say, TV spots, they need to deliver a high-impact messages quickly and via the right format.
Little Big Data offer a solution that essentially facilitates the breaking down of ad copy into several short messages that can be delivered to and tested with consumers. This allows for an automated scenario or A/B testing approach to advertising, very different from the traditional concept testing approach (i.e. focus groups and quantitative surveys) which, while useful, can be delayed and generate less than precise results. Their algorithm ultimately allows brands to understand which messages have the most impact with their target consumers and act accordingly. So, for example, ‘with consumer A you should first message about the brand, then mention price to achieve the most impact with this segment.’ They offer three three principal solutions aimed at the planning process: their Audience Planner, Content Builder, and Journey Optimizer, their solution centered around ad scenario testing and, consequent, optimization recommendations.
Currently, the sectors that are most drawn to their solution are those that have been ‘digital’ for the longest, namely e-commerce and media; and products that are a bit more ‘complicated’ and, as a result, have a broader range of messages to convey, such as automotive, consumer electronics, and telecom.
Creatives need not be afraid
The natural question out of all of this is whether creatives should be fearful that they will one day be replaced by an algorithm. Little Big Data’s CEO Guillaume de Roquemaurel stresses that this will never happen. If anything, technology will strengthen the role of creatives. The technology merely gives more insight into which messages work best and how best to deliver them. The creative will always be needed to come up with the most impactful, elegantly conveyed messages possible. And, as mentioned above, as internet advertising makes it even more difficult to engage with consumers and hold their attention, the human factor, which leads on creativity and cleverness, is arguably more important than ever.
Last year LIttle Big Data raised a small round with leading digital communications agency Fred & Farid. They are considering raising a second fund at some stage, but with a parallel consulting activity, expect to be able to self-finance their development in the short to medium term. Having focused heavily on the build out their tech/algorithm since launching last year, they’re now increasing their focus on the commercial side of their of their business. And in terms of international, the fact that their clients are largely global, is driving their need to expand abroad, with the UK topping their international expansion list.
Although adtech has made enormous strides in moving the advertising sector into the digital age, there’s still significant opportunity to innovate. Little Big Data is showing that even in parts of the ad process where tech has had less of a foothold, innovation and technology can add significant value. It isn’t a space that is risk-free of course with new developments affecting the sector, such as ad-blocker capability that will soon be coming to iOS 9, which will undoubtedly require adtech companies to shift gears as things evolve. However, as consumers continue to move wholeheartedly to internet delivered content, solutions such as those offered by Little Big Data will be critical to the success and continued growth of the ad industry.
Come and be part of the debate about the latest trends affecting advertising at AUDIENCE, December 4th at the Gaite Lyrique. Register here. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Further details here.