Marketing Featured ANZ

R.M. Williams appoints WiredCo. as global digital media partner

Sydney, Australia – Australian footwear and clothing company R.M. Williams has appointed WiredCo. as its global digital media partner, where the agency will be working with the apparel and footwear brand across six regions globally.

WiredCo’s mandate covers paid search, shopping, display, broadcaster video on demand (BVOD), and off-page management of the brand’s Meta, Pinterest and YouTube channels.

R.M. Williams is undergoing a massive digital transformation and will use digital media channels to drive brand awareness, consideration and growth globally, focusing initially on their biggest and emerging markets; Australia, New Zealand and the UK, respectively.

As part of the mandate, WiredCo will work in close partnership with the brand’s offline agency partner, Audience Precision, tapping into their proprietary ‘Precise360’ platform, along with Special Group, the brand’s creative agency of record.

Chris Willingham, chief marketing officer at R.M. Williams said, “What really stands out about WiredCo. is how successfully they integrate strategy and creativity with digital performance. It’s something I haven’t seen done this well by a digital agency before.” 

He added, “Above all, the people at WiredCo. are the perfect fit for the people at R.M. Williams. We’re looking forward to a fruitful long-term partnership as we launch into a new era for the brand.”

Meanwhile, Angela Hampton, founder and managing director at WiredCo, commented, “We’re absolutely stoked to be appointed to the legend and icon that is R.M.Williams. Having grown up in the bush myself, I have a genuine connection with the brand so this is a dream come true for our agency. As the brand embarks upon a new journey to get closer to its Australian roots, we can’t wait to play a key role in realising this.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Two-thirds of SG marketers expect about 25% drop in revenues over loss of third-party cookies

Singapore – While a privacy-first internet is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, advertisers and companies are not withheld from disclosing the real pains of transitioning and adapting to a cookieless digital space when Google dropped the news of cookie deprecation in 2020. 

Advertisers were, however, granted a breather, when the cookies phase-out, originally eyed by the tech giant in 2022 had been delayed a bit further into 2022.

Shortly after the announcement, data solutions provider Lotame released a poll among 200 Singapore-based senior decision-makers in digital media and marketing to further learn their sentiments on the future of cookieless internet. 

First off, half, or 55%, said they were happy with Google’s decision to delay citing that they needed “more time to prepare.” 

A top concern among digital media professionals is losing revenue amid weakened ad-targeting opportunities, where about 57% of marketers believe in reduced ad-targeting opportunities, with over two-thirds (66%) expecting a 10% to 25% drop in revenues as a result of the loss of third-party cookies. Meanwhile, almost 60% (57%) of publishers anticipate a reduction in the workforce brought by revenue loss. 

In adopting new identity solutions, the primary reason for Singapore-based marketers is to support audience targeting (59%), while among publishers, 64% would foremost adopt identity solutions for data privacy. 

With the optimal number of ID solutions, 36% of Singapore marketers were open to using any number, while 35% of publishers cited two, with 30% saying three.

“A cookieless future is closer on the horizon and whether or not the industry ‘feels prepared,’ the end result is inevitable,” said Luke Dickens, Lotame’s managing director for ANZ.

Dickens adds, “Digital advertising is changing, and identity solutions will be part of that new future. Addressability and connectivity are at greatest threat in the post-cookie world.”

With a stronger call for privacy, Apple, aside from Google, had digital media players also rethinking their ad strategies with an update on its privacy features earlier this year.

Apple’s new iCloud Private Relay has been designed to protect users’ privacy by ensuring that when browsing the web in Safari, no single party, including Apple itself, can see a user’s identity and the sites he or she is visiting.

The same survey found that 53% of Singapore-based respondents are concerned about their ability to monetize the email channel amid Apple’s new privacy feature, while 46% said they are concerned for the impact on email hash identifiers.

Relatedly, email-based identity solutions (69%) were the most popular choice when asked what types of ID solutions marketers and publishers were planning to test in the next six months to one year. Contextual (44%) was in second place, followed by cohorts (33%) and probabilistic (27%).

The current report ‘Beyond the Cookie: Identity Solution Adoption & Testing Among Marketers and Publishers’ is part two of Lotame’s cookie-focused study, where the pilot study was released in February and examined how organizations are beginning to plan for the phase-out of third-party cookies.

Technology Featured APAC

Digital agency ADK Connect launches new one-stop platform for digital media

Singapore – ADK Connect, multi-national digital creative and performance media agency with origins in Japan, is strengthening its digital media capabilities with the launch of its new programmatic-focused Integrated Performance Platform (IPP), which is developed to centralize the connection of all ad accounts for ad platforms and demand-side platforms (DSPs) in one place.

The agency has inked a multi-year partnership with Bench Connect, a data-driven marketing intelligence technology for brands and agencies, to power the IPP. The platform enables advertisers to scale their campaigns across multiple platforms efficiently while gaining complete control and transparency of all digital media channels and regional teams at the same time.

Kelvin Koo, the managing director of ADK Connect in Singapore, said that its Singapore office is fast becoming the programmatic hub for the region and IPP is centralizing all offices to extend on the ‘Locally Global’ ethos of ADK.

“The APAC market is ready for simplicity and transparent media practices. We require a holistic marketing intelligence platform that sits at the heart of our agency operation and that allows everyone including advertisers to see all their digital media in one place and make rapid decisions accordingly,” said Koo.

Bench’s CEO Ori Gold said, “We are excited to power ADK’s Integrated Performance Platform. This partnership represents a new breed of digital media management software purpose-built to rapidly connect ad platforms. ADK has made a clear step ahead to automate all ad platforms and DSPs in one place.”

Marketing Technology Global

Global ad fraud solutions IAS expands ‘Center of Excellence’ in India

Sydney, Australia – Global firm Integral Ad Science (IAS), which delivers ad fraud solutions to brands and publishers, has announced the expansion of its ‘Center of Excellence’ in Pune, India with a new office facility, and plans to hire top engineering talent locally. 

The IAS Center of Excellence (COE) was established in 2020 to focus on expanding the company’s engineering and operations talent and develop innovative digital ad verification technology, drive critical partner integrations, and ultimately to provide excellent customer experience support.

IAS aims to be the global benchmark when it comes to trust and transparency in digital media quality for brands, publishers, and platforms. It offers solutions in ad fraud, brand safe and suitability, contextual targeting.

IAS said that the extended office of the COE will be housed in a world-class facility, located in the heart of Pune’s IT business district. The COE and the local engineering team will be led by Mehul Desai, IAS’ country manager in India, and VP of engineering & operations

IAS further shared that the team in Pune will collaborate closely with the company’s global data science, data analytics, and product teams to drive innovation and operational excellence. IAS will continue to expand its team in Pune and will be hiring for several key roles. 

“With our Center of Excellence in India and talented local team, we’ve developed cutting-edge technology and established the latest data and analytics capabilities at IAS. We’re growing rapidly, as IAS delivers excellent digital media quality solutions for advertisers and publishers while establishing a great place for top talent to work,” said Desai. 

Desai will be reporting to Tony Lucia, IAS’ chief technology officer. 

Lucia commented, “Expanding our Center of Excellence is a key part of our global strategy to drive continued technology innovation and operational excellence at IAS, backed by the highest caliber of engineering talent. As we grow our engineering team around the world, our team in Pune brings exceptional talent, cross-collaboration, and technological expertise as we build the future of digital media quality at IAS.”

Similarly within this month, IAS has announced the appointment of Saurabh Khattar as the commercial lead for IAS India. Khattar is charged with leading sales operations of the company in India, to work with brands, agencies, publishers, and platforms in the region.

Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

Why B2B digital marketing needs a unique approach

You might think that marketing is the same whether you’re targeting consumers or other businesses, however, it’s important to approach B2B marketing with a tailored approach. Businesses and organizations have different motivators for end-user consumers and often require a unique strategy around messaging, positioning, and creative.

Target audiences in the B2B space are making major purchases and partnership decisions on behalf of their organization. The money they spend isn’t their own, so they are often more price-sensitive while seeking a product or service that they can trust. Time and efficiency are important to them, and so the path to purchase should be as frictionless as possible.

Here are the top 3 things we recommend when shaping your B2B digital marketing strategy.

Always testing

Testing is vital for identifying niche target audiences. While you may choose to test what you already assume, it can also help to uncover new opportunities and learnings. Channels, messaging and targeting can all be investigated to optimize campaign performance. There should also always be some element of testing going on, whatever you do. It can be tempting to test early and run with it. However, macro factors, whether they be political, cultural, or technological changes, can influence purchase behaviors and so we recommend an ‘always on’ testing approach.

Clear frameworks to test and learn, in order to identify what is being tested, is highly important. As an agency, Agnes Media builds rigorous testing frameworks to ensure insights are robust and reliable.

The B2B digital media landscape can be competitive and expensive to play in. When each purchase is major, leads become more valuable. Testing helps to mitigate costs by providing constant feedback and creating a more targeted approach. Opportunities can be identified so that media spend is more finely tuned.

Ensure your brand is always testing whether it’s a new channel, tactic, style of messaging, or creative format to ensure you are always maximizing efficiencies from your budgets while identifying what resonates with your audiences. This will then improve ROI, provide valuable insights for the wider business that can be applied elsewhere while driving business growth and market share.

Know where to be

Content is key to ensuring your brand is front and center during the discovery phase of your prospects. B2B customers are usually very busy decision-makers, so it is important you’re providing quality content and engaging them by using the right channels. Regardless of the industry, trade publications can play an important role in reaching your core audiences. These sites are often connected to engaged social media profiles and mailing lists, meaning your message has a greater chance of being seen and remembered.

Customized content can be developed that aligns your brand to the needs of your audience. There are a variety of content syndication partners we recommend who put your branded content in front of a highly targeted audience and generate relevant leads in the process

Link in the sales team

For most B2B performance campaigns, the data ends once a lead is generated and the sale continues offline. It’s common for this lead to then be owned by a person in the sales team. To get the most out of your campaign, it’s vital that a process is established for getting sales team feedback, so that manual optimizations can be made. 100 leads that are wrong are less valuable than one high quality lead that is spot on.

It is further worth noting that due to the value of one lead, media budgets need to align with this. If a lead is worth $10k to a brand then that business should invest more than $10k to seek multiple leads and the CPL (cost per lead) will decrease over time.

The best way for connecting lead generation feedback to sales is to utilize a scorecard and to manually update it. For example, downloading a whitepaper might be automatically worth +10, but having a phone call with someone who has registered their details and finding out they are the decision maker in their business should be scored even higher. When the sales team are encouraged to share feedback on leads generated through digital channels it ultimately benefits them as their leads will only get stronger and stronger, as the marketing channels are optimized to drive the greatest outcome.

Marketing to business customers requires a unique approach. It’s tempting to apply a comfortable B2C strategy to your business campaign, however, this is expensive and inefficient. From capturing their attention to generating and nurturing the lead, B2B campaigns need to consider the attitudes and behaviors of both key decision makers and influencers and how these differ from a B2C prospect.

This article was written by Charlotte Ward, director of Agnes Media.
Agnes Media is a measurement-first marketing agency that drives profitable business outcomes through effective and data-based marketing efforts️.

Marketing Featured APAC

beIN Asia Pacific extends digital media remit with M&C Saatchi Performance

Singapore – Multi-platform media company beIN Asia Pacific has extended its digital media remit with global digital media agency M&C Saatchi Performance.

beIN Asia Pacific offers a line-up of live sporting events through its premium sports brand, beIN Sports, and serves great coverage, news, and analysis of the top leagues and competitions, as well as exclusive content globally.

The extension, which will run until April 2022, comes after one year of successful partnership, where M&C Saatchi Performance was responsible for leading the digital media planning, buying, strategy, and analytics for beIN’s streaming service, beIN Sports Connect. The agency has also been handling its branding and performance campaigns. 

In addition to the markets currently managed by M&C Saatchi Performance, which are Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, the new contract will expand to include the scope to Hong Kong as well.

beIN Asia Pacific’s Head of Marketing and Communications Magdalene Ng commented that they are thrilled to continue working with the team at M&C Saatchi Performance. 

“Looking ahead, we plan to consolidate our positioning as the leading sports streaming platform in the region. We’re confident that the integrated marketing approach adopted by M&C Saatchi Performance will help us communicate the great value offered by our platform and ultimately win market share,” said Ng.

Meanwhile, Melissa Yik, the account director at M&C Saatchi Performance, commented that over the past year, digital adoption has increased rapidly with larger audiences shifting online to watch their favorite sports competitions. 

“It has been a real pleasure to work with beIN Sports to leverage this unique momentum. We take great pride in having grown the company’s subscriber base in Southeast Asia and look forward to a long working relationship with beIN in the region,” said Yik.

Technology Featured APAC

InMobi’s latest partnership with The Trade Desk to expand brand lift solutions across APAC

Sydney, Australia – As more and more brands seek to measure their brand campaigns across all digital media, marketing cloud InMobi has announced a new partnership with technology company The Trade Desk to cater to this growing need among marketers by making their respective platforms available to clients accordingly.

Through the partnership, InMobi’s mobile-first consumer intelligence platform – InMobi Pulse, will be made available on The Trade Desk’s demand side platform (DSP). Such use of these in-app brand lift surveys that are delivered programmatically can aid brands to measure metrics such as brand awareness, favorability, intent to purchase and other metrics that determine campaign effectiveness.

Vivek Misra, senior director for data partnerships at The Trade Desk said that they are thrilled to partner with InMobi, and aim to make it easy for marketers to access reliable and affordable brand lift studies from within their platform.

“Marketers are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate the impact of their advertising dollars. The Trade Desk is committed to giving advertisers more options to measure the value of their ad spend and prove their marketing investments are driving business results,” Misra said.

Meanwhile, Vasuta Agarwal, managing director for Asia Pacific at InMobi, commented, “This proposition by InMobi Pulse gives digital marketers an efficient, accurate and unbiased means to establish the efficacy of their campaigns. Marketers can accurately deliver in-app surveys to an exposed group which has seen the ads and to a control group which has not seen the ad. Through the difference in brand metrics between the two groups, the true impact of a campaign can be measured.”

InMobi also noted that the brand lift study can be deployed for a single creative or the entire campaign, based on the metrics the brand intends to measure. Advertisers can measure ad recall, awareness, consideration, favourability and purchase intent using the InMobi Pulse BLS on The Trade Desk’s platform.

InMobi’s latest partnership comes in line with the company’s recent goals to take their marketing cloud service globally, which led to the appointment of Krista Thomas as the company’s senior vice president and head of marketing for its marketing cloud division.

At the APAC level, InMobi has also shown its growth in the region, including senior appointments for its ANZ division, and with other corporate partnerships such as with and Gojek.

Marketing Featured South Asia

India’s Ad Standards Council releases draft guidelines on influencer ads

Mumbai, India – The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released Monday, draft guidelines for influencer advertising on digital media.

The guidelines were established by the regulatory body in response to the surging influencer marketing in the country, and the tendencies following naturally of influencers and marketers to insufficiently identify and distinguish that a digital content is promotional.

According to digital marketing agency AdLift, India’s influencer market is estimated at US$75M to US$150M a year as compared to the global market of $1.75B, and ASCI foresees that such medium is poised to increase further in practice as more Indians go online.

ASCI said that when influencers fail to properly identify promotional content, the non-disclosure is misleading, and therefore a disservice to consumers.

The council’s draft guidelines consist of 10 pointers. The direction mainly guides influencers and marketers on how a disclosure label should rightly appear, and where it must be properly placed within a content to achieve the transparency for audiences and consumers. 

ASCI said that branded and promotional content must be obviously distinguishable by the average consumer from editorial and independent user-generated content. It is not enough that advertisers label the content but that disclosure labels must be from the approved specifications. 

The reason for this is that some consumers may not be familiarized by the creative ways influencers and advertisers choose to deliver disclosure labels, and therefore labels that are not able to follow the approved specifics will not be considered adequate. Examples of these advertisements are paid music promotion in a video or a promotion of a store or a brand through a post on the influencers’ media handle. 

ASCI said the disclosure label must be upfront, such that it should be within the first two lines of accompanying copy in any given platform, not needing to click ‘see more’ or scroll further to see details. It should also be prominently placed, appropriate for the channel, and suitable for all potential devices, meaning the label is visible regardless of what channel, platform, and device is used. 

The disclosure label must also be in English or translated into the language of the ad in a way that will be well understood by the average consumer who is viewing the ad. ASCI also said that blanket disclosures, those that are put in the profile, ‘bio’ and ‘about’ sections of brands and influencers’ social media accounts will not be considered adequate. 

The council has also specified that in instances where an ad is only a posted image such as in Instagram stories or Snapchat, the label needs to be superimposed over the picture and that it must be seen clearly by an average viewer. The same goes with videos, where in cases that the promotional video content does not carry any text, the disclosure label should be superimposed. 

In regards to the video’s length, ASCI has also given a direction. For example, for videos that last 15 seconds or lesser, the disclosure label must stay for a minimum of 2 seconds, while for those that are longer than 15 seconds, but less than 2 minutes, the disclosure label must stay for one-third the length of the video. Meanwhile, for videos that are 2 minutes or longer, the disclosure label must stay for the entire duration of the section in which the promoted brand or its features and benefits are mentioned. 

With audio media, on the other hand, the statement must be clearly announced both at the beginning and at the end of the audio. In addition for social media ads, the council also prohibits filters applied to these types of ads, especially if they exaggerate the effect of the claim that the brand is making, such as shinier hair or whiter teeth. 

It is also expected that the influencer must do their due diligence about any technical or performance claims made by them such as ‘twice as better’, or ‘effect lasts for 1 month’, or the ‘fastest speed’, among others. Due diligence can be verified through correspondence with the advertiser or brand owner confirming that the specific claim made in the ad is with scientific substantiation. 

With the said guidelines, ASCI recommends that the contractual agreement between advertiser and influencer carry such presented clauses pertaining to the disclosure label, use of filters as well as due diligence. 

The guidelines will be available for all stakeholders, including industry, digital influencers as well as consumers for feedback until 8 March, 2021. Based on the feedback and inputs, the final guidelines will be issued by ASCI by 31 March, 2021, and will be applicable to all promotional posts that are published on or after 15th April 2021.

Subhash Kamath, Chairman of ASCI, said that Digital is no longer a niche and that consumers have the right to easily recognize promotional content. 

“The guidelines will help consumers identify promotional content and also guide digital influencers. We look forward to feedback from industry stakeholders, including more influencers, which would help us make the digital space more responsible for all,” said Kamath. 

The guidelines were a collaborative effort with influencers. ASCI teamed up with BigBang.Social, a marketplace for social storytelling, to get India’s leading digital influencers’ views on board.

Dhruv Chitgopekar, CEO of BigBang.Social, said, “We realized the need for a responsible advertising ecosystem in place for influencers; promoting ethical practices, fair & transparent expression. These guidelines will benefit consumers and digital influencers. We firmly believe it is essential for digital advertising platforms too. We are delighted to partner with a self-regulatory body that wants to be inclusive of all stakeholders.”

ASCI’s draft guideines on influencer ads also provides a ready reckoner on disclosure lables for each specific social media platform.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

How a biased media planning practice made this CEO set own agency straight

Let me start with an anecdote.

10 years ago, when I was working for a big network agency and leading some big accounts, my boss came to see me and asked me to put an important media platform on the plans. I wasn’t really sure why he was asking me to include this specific media platform on my campaigns’ media plans whereas, the target audiences on any of my campaigns, were not consuming this specific media platform.

This didn’t make any sense from a media planning perspective.

It was early December and annual deals between media owners and agencies were about to close. It means that agencies committed to spend annually a certain amount of budget with each media owners, in exchange for rebates, cash, impressions, clicks that will be given exclusively to the agencies, and we were not close to the amount my agency promised to this specific media platform. Now it made all sense but it started to trigger lots of questions.

Just for the story I had to put this specific media platform on the plans and convince the clients that it was a good idea. I played team work but this changed me.

This is when I realized that the Media Planning in agencies was not neutral anymore, actually it was influenced by extra revenues that agencies could make through deals with media owners and would keep for themselves in order to increase their overall revenues.

Today, nothing has changed, these deals still exist and actually they are even more present than 10 years ago.

As an agency we witness it regularly when new media owners present to us their platform and at the end of the meeting, they inform us how much additional money we could make thanks to the referrals we would receive. This is an extra push to convince agencies to put a platform on the plan. And the more an agency invest in a platform, the more the referrals become.

Are media owners to blame for offering this extra source of revenue? No, I do not think so. It is more those who say yes to it that are fueling this.

Now, let me ask this question: Is it not the role of agencies to recommend to their clients the best media platforms to put on a plan based on certain criteria, like target audience’s media consumption, media objectives and performance?

How can this be achieved if agencies are recommending the ‘best’ platforms based on the extra revenues they are going to make? Media planning neutrality is gone!

Agencies must recommend the best plan and stay unbiased but this is far from reality nowadays. Agencies have lost their media planning neutrality.

One of the reasons for these ‘deals’ to flourish nowadays is that agencies’ remunerations have reduced across the years and they are trying to keep with the same level of revenues thanks to the referrals, free impressions, free clicks given by media owners at the end of the year. However, agencies should not walk this path and should stick to what makes them media agencies: expert at planning the best channels to deliver against campaigns’ objectives.

Now that I have founded my own digital media agency, JOLT Digital in Singapore, I make it a point that our system welcomes all referrals, rebates, and free clicks and free impressions we can receive by media owners, so we can pass them to clients. With rebates, we pass a hundred percent to them.

We do this so we can maintain planning that is neutral, free from influences in media recommendations. With JOLT Digital, where we live by the vision of ‘Game-changing is in our DNA’, I aim to direct my team in implementing disruptive practices, which are not just meant to be innovative, but most especially, beneficial with the client’s best interest at heart.

It is essential that as media and marketing professionals that we retain our integrity. What must reign supreme at all times is the campaign results to be delivered. We are ex-clients and we can truly put ourselves into the clients’ shoes, putting faith in media partners, trusting we will all together deliver to the objectives with full commitment and passion.

The author is Sebastien Lepez, CEO and founder of JOLT Digital.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Cruise operator Hurtigruten taps Aussie creative agency to debut ‘immersive’ digital magazine

Sydney, Australia – Norwegian sustainable cruise operator Hurtigruten has tapped the creative talents of Australia-based publishing agency Grin Creative in launching its first-ever ‘immersive’ digital magazine, initially set to roll out in Australia.

Hurtigruten is known for their cruise routes locally in Norway and through the Arctic region, such as Svalbard, Alaska, Iceland, as well as Antarctica, the Carribean, the British Isles and parts of Europe and North America. Hurtigruten Magazine is its first foray into publishing.

The new ‘immersive’ digital magazine will make full use of immersive videos and sound, the first issue of the magazine allows readers to tour Norway’s coastal kitchen with Danish food and travel blogger Anders Husa, embark on a visual journey to Antarctica with award-winning Australian travel photographer Dan Avila, and follow in the footsteps of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen.

Hurtigruten’s digital magazine will also feature the cruise line’s mission for sustainability, showcasing stories about the first all-women team to overwinter in the Arctic, and discover how ice samples in Greenland are helping scientists to predict the future.

“Much like our hybrid ships, we’re embracing new technologies to keep our audiences’ travel dreams alive through an interactive and immersive experience that goes beyond brochures,” said Damian Perry, managing director of Hurtigruten Asia Pacific.

The digital magazine will be published quarterly and will be optimized for mobile phones, tablets and desktops.The creation of the digital magazine was spearheaded by Joel Victoria, head of marketing for Hurtigruten Asia Pacific, who believes that the magazine will serve as a ‘temporary escape’ and an inspiration for travel in future, still restricted by the ongoing global pandemic.

“We’re finding that cruises exploring remote destinations are performing exceptionally well at the moment for forward bookings; nearly 80% of bookings in the last quarter of 2020 were for Antarctica, fuelled by an ‘All-Inclusive’ marketing campaign. Svalbard, in the Norwegian Arctic, has also proven popular with Aussies,” Victoria stated.

After its initial release in Australia, the printed edition of the magazine will roll out in the UK with translated editions also available in France, Germany and Norway and soon to roll out in Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark.