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Amazon to have big say on ads

Advertisers can expect Amazon to challenge the Google-Facebook duopoly this year and see tasks become more automated. In a report on search marketing trends for 2018, Shane Lyons , head of search and analytics at Mediaworks, says artificial intelligence (AI) has moved on to the extent that manual bids on keywords have given way to automated bidding.

Automated bids take into account different contexts, like a user’s location, previous search history, sites visited and so on. It means it’s better placed to decide how forcefully to bid for individual users. Lyons says Mediaworks ran a series of trials for clients and every single test showed AI beat manual bidding hands down.

No other online platform has data as robust as Amazon’s about the products consumers check out and ultimately buy. Lyons predicts that with the rise of in-home devices and increased shift from text to voice for long tail queries on mobile, the number of voice searches will increase sizeably this year. He reckons ensuring brand has a presence through voice is a search engine optimisation (SEO) rather than a paid-search issue.

From a paid perspective, agencies are still unable to report on text versus voice searches, although if the search term is four words or longer it’s more likely to be voice activated. Results being served for voice search queries are the featured snippets (embedded text feature) within search engine results pages.

Lyons says the only way to achieve featured snippets, especially in competitive verticals, is by having an SEO strategy. However, it would be very unlike Amazon and Google not to capitalise on this shift in consumer behaviour, so Lyons expects to see new ad formats matched to voice in 2018.

Finally, the new GDPR data laws are going to be a big talking point in the build-up to its rollout at the end of May.

Online advertising isn’t going anywhere and online media consumption will continue to increase but GDPR will bring stricter rules on capturing and retaining personally identifiable data. So unless marketers stay ahead of the curve, ad campaigns may be less targeted.

When it comes to consumers opting in, search has the benefit that it continues to target consumers based on what they search for and should be less affected than other digital areas. But Lyons hopes consumers realise that they are always going to be served ads to access free online content. By consenting, the ads viewers see prove far more relevant.

As 2018 gets into gear, agencies have made some personnel changes. Over at Ogilvy, Wilson Hartnell Public Relations (WHPR) has promoted Sarah O’Connor and Amy Pilgrim to its board. Since rejoining WHPR from FleishmanHillard three years ago, Pilgrim has headed up the WPP agency’s healthcare and wellness division.
O’Connor leads WHPR’s sports and sponsorship unit, having replaced Máire Scully in 2015. She was previously chief executive of the Federation of Irish Sport (FIS), where she directed the ‘Why Irish Sport Matters’ campaign. She trained and qualified as a solicitor with Arthur Cox. Clients include Adidas, AIB, Electric Ireland, Liberty Insurance and SuperValu.

At Javelin, Orla Hickey has been promoted to head of client services. She joined the agency three years ago as senior account director from Epsilon. She was also a senior account manager at Chemistry. Chris Cashen is set to join Javelin as head of media from Carat. The agency’s current media director Ruth Payne will assume a new role. Javelin clients include Toyota, Irish Ferries, Aviva, Bacardi and Snap Print.

It’s described as “an epic journey into the dark, wild and unruly world of Britain”. Not to be confused with Brexit, ‘Britannia; is a new drama starting on Sky Atlantic next Thursday.
Set in 43AD, the Imperial Roman Army aims to crush Britannia, a land ruled by warrior women and druids. Among the cast are David Morrissey, Zoe Wanamaker and Barry Ward. A native of Blanchardstown, Ward also stars in ‘Save Me’, a drama set in a London council estate, kicking off on Sky Atlantic next month.

In his new book, ‘Customers the Day After Tomorrow’, Professor Steven van Belleghem explores how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), driverless cars, blockchain and robots will change relationships between brand owners and consumers. It’s one of the first books to use integrated augmented reality (AR). It means that as well as reading about how brands embrace tech, you can view the book through your smartphone or tablet and see pages come to life.
WPP’s GroupM is first off the blocks with a comprehensive media marketplace report. Bill Kinlay and his group colleagues have also gone into some detail to explain the rationale behind the predictions. Another difficult year is forecast, with a 0.4pc drop in total spend to €719m. Digital at €226m, TV at €177m and out of home at €81m will record growth.
Michael Cullen is editor of;

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