By Rishad Alavi, Data and Analytics Manager at UM UAE
With the advent of digital transformation in media, consumers have more opportunities than ever to access content. As a result, they expect to receive personalized and relevant content wherever they are. For advertisers, the challenge is not just audience targeting but when, where, how, how much, and with what they target consumers. It’s about using digital technology to package a brand’s message natively, then deliver it when consumers want it and where they want it, to build a conversation and relationship with the audience.
Media companies are under pressure as consumers shift their attention to digital channels and ad dollars follow suit. In response, media organizations are turning to digital transformation to save costs, increase revenues, and improve customer engagement. According to WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends report, spending on digital technology and services is anticipated to rise from $1.78 billion in 2022 to $2.39 billion in 2024. A study by PCW forecasts that AI will be a major contributor to the GDP of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and GCC4 countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar) by 2030.
Digital transformation informs many aspects of everyday life, in personal and business interactions. The more time people spend interacting with digital touchpoints, the more data is generated, allowing brands to become more agile, serving more targeted, customized messages in real time.
In short, digital transformation is the support system that enables advanced ad-tech adoption like AI, Internet of Things (IoT), or Deep Learning, all essential for serving the changing needs and dynamics of the market. Once on board, the use cases are bound only by our imagination and creativity. By unfolding three case studies, we demonstrate ways you can monopolize and grow your brand effectiveness through digital transformation practices.
Talking about personalization is one thing; scaling personalized ad formats over 100-plus products and multiple sets of audiences is another. This requires audience research, clustering, defining personas, then mapping these personas over key digital touchpoints into addressable audiences in a digital platform. But it doesn’t end there; building a truly personal and meaningful ad placement decision tree requires well-defined triggers and matching mechanisms.
UM UAE, in partnership with Innovid, achieved this feat for Mcdonald's, winning the Momentum UM Global Awards for Best Use of Individual Medium. While the data science came from a commissioned Market-i study, segmentation and GWI research helped connect the digital touchpoints to the addressable audience. UM’s proprietary ACE strategy was to run each product against a specific set of curated audiences across multiple objectives with automated creative executions. This resulted in activating all 22 products against nine audience groups split into two languages and six ad sizes leading to 550 iterations of personalized creatives, refreshed twice over the course of the campaign that was run on DV360. This resulted in a total of 123% increase in digital orders with 16% lower CPOs on conversion objectives and 14% lower on CPRs for redemption objectives, lowered CPMs by 72% on awareness objectives, and CPCs by 36% on traffic objectives with an achieved CTR of +1%.
Communication is not only about understanding the segment but knowing when and where to place a message. Contextual advertising through real-time intelligence enables powerful and time-sensitive placements. This is what Coca-Cola did during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Coca-Cola partnered with an ad tech company on a contextual TV ad campaign to drive awareness for the brand’s presence in local food delivery apps. Using its AI-driven automated system, we enabled Coca-Cola to activate seven different creatives in response to seven in-game moments, such as goals scored, penalty shoot-outs, or half-time breaks. The automated system also customized the creatives for each country, generating 63 customized ad copies in total. The ad also drove viewers towards mobile apps to place orders, with the added incentive of getting a free customized Coke can, depending on the ad they saw. The campaign turned out to be a smashing success, resulting in a 200% increase in the action rate.
For products like insurance, it’s difficult to depend on search terms as people seldom search for insurance products. That’s why UM UAE investigated finding the precise moment for its client RAK Bank to connect with its potential customer through emotion. We know emotions play a vital role in decision-making. A Harvard study pointed out that an emotional connection sparks 95% of purchase decisions.
The question remained, however, how to identify the right emotional moment to pass on the message. For this, UM partnered with an ad tech company and together, we created an “Emo-Bot,” which combines the power of artificial intelligence with the ability to detect unquantifiable human emotions. The bot was trained using historical and behavioral data on YouTube and linked it to 200-plus life stages. The bot scans the vast YouTube library and as soon as the right moment is detected, the Emo-Bot serves a relevant creative with a customized creative, text, copy, and call to action that matches their current emotional state and recent life events, thereby creating a strong empathetic connection. The campaign was a huge success, with engagement levels 1.5 times higher than the average benchmark, yielding 70% more leads than expected.
In this digital native era, we have the technology to spin highly customized creative and content on a large scale; curate newsletters from a wealth of content based on each individual’s taste and needs; dynamically apply details to e-commerce creatives based on inventory changes, and deals; have cognitive yet automated conversations with customers on a personal level at scale; and communicate messages based on weather, TV content, or real-life moments. And it will only grow from here as governments across the globe invest in developing the ICT infrastructure and AI capabilities.
The potential and importance of AI in media and marketing is immense. However, success will depend on how many processes are digitized and connected. Ultimately it will be about how big an agency’s digital transformation can scale.