Great advertising starts when a brand delivers a service to the consumer – rather than an ad, says Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, Brian Wong.
Wong is the 25-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Kiip – an advertising tool that allows advertisers to send ‘rewards’ to mobile users during moments of online achievements. It gives the 700 brands using the platform, access to more than 200 million monthly active users across 5000 apps.
Ad blocking has forced the advertising industry into some self-reflection, while simultaneously pushing the trend for native and platform-driven content.
Viewability has become a key metric as a result, forcing brands to be more honest about where their ad dollars are going.
“It’s always important to have these moments of responsibility and accountability in an industry. After the whistle is blown, people are more careful, more conscious, and ultimately more responsible,” says Wong.
Here are Wong’s key tips for advertising which goes beyond reach and placements to engaging connected consumers during the moments when they are most receptive to receiving ads.
1. Native advertising
Native advertising has become a key trend this year, largely as a way to outmanoeuvre the ad blockers. It’s also what has helped drive the rise of platforms like Snapchat and Hulu.
“There are platforms where the more native you are, the harder it is to block you,” says Wong.
He says users don’t want to have to skip or block an ad, they want an advertising model that’s entertaining. And a platform like Snapchat allows brands to do just that.
This dynamic is forcing advertisers (in a really good way, Wong adds) to be more conscious of their content.
“In the past, a brand would use its own creative and spew it out across thousands of publishers. That no longer works, you now have to be a lot more curated and a lot more intelligent about what you’re trying to push out there,” says Wong.
2. The connected consumer
Forget millennials, the real consumer a brand should be targeting is the connected one.
“Ultimately it’s not about age groups or generations – it’s about the level of connectivity that the consumer is experiencing,” says Wong.
This level of connectivity comes from the number of devices a consumer owns, and how often they are interacting with them.
Mobile is enhancing this level of constant connectivity in both developed and emerging economies, and for brands it means developing strategies for these constantly connected consumers.
Wong uses his mum as an example. She has an Apple Watch, an iPad and an iPhone.
“Just because I’m a millennial, doesn’t mean I’m in a special generation that requires such treatment. My mum requires special treatment.”
Brands need to recognize that consumers adopting these technologies expect special types of services that come from being constantly connected, and that’s not just millennials.
3. Servicing the moment
A core component of the Kiip tool is access to user ‘moments’. Wong and his team are using these moments to build a new metric around the modern connected consumer.
A ‘moment’ is when a user is connected to a device while experiencing a period of time where they’ve just done something ‘meaningful’. For example, they have achieved a new high score in a mobile gaming app, or hit a target during a work out.
This is where the value of this moment can be detectable in real time. It puts a brand in a very advantageous position if it can communicate with the consumer at these moments where they are most receptive to an advertising messaging, says Wong.
“We are trying to create a model where the brand is conscious of the time component, where someone is active on mobile and being respectful of that experience in bringing the advertising in to that moment,” he says.
The best way to do this is to engage with them via a reward on mobile. This leaves the consumer with something valuable, but something they can takeaway and engage with at a later time.
“That’s important on mobile – at the moment I am doing something else so I’m not going to immerse myself into your brand. However, if you give me something to takeaway, I will be able to spend time with it later on,” says Wong.
Where does data and privacy come into all of this? Wong believes privacy isn’t so much of an issue when the ad stops being an ad, and starts being a service to the consumer.
For example, when a hotel knows everything about the consumer, the better they can serve them and it becomes about the experience.
4. Respectful advertising
It all comes down to being conscious of the consumer and the consumer experience. In short, the consumer has to come first.
That means if a click through rate is just 2% to 5%, advertisers need to face up to the reality that 95% of people don’t want to consume that ad.
“Be respectful and cognisant that you need to create something the consumer wants,” says Wong.
In addition, it’s about timing. Wong says 90% of the battle is knowing what time to be a part of a consumer’s digital habits.
“You might have the best ad ever, but if you are there to interrupt them, you will get flack,” he says.
5. Awareness and product
A common mistake advertisers make is thinking that if a product is good it will sell itself.
“Unfortunately with all the noise out there, good advertising needs to accommodate that product,” says Wong.
The product still comes first, but these products need to be integrated into the fabric of a consumer’s daily life through advertising. The product itself begins to create new ways for the brand to become relevant, he says.
Good advertising and good products have to be combined – it can’t be mutually exclusive.
Wong believes a common mistake brands make is running an ad campaign without paying attention to the data that is being generated from it. Worse still, the company the brand has just bought the ads from is probably using that data, whether that’s for things like retargeting or profiling.
Brands should therefore take hold of their data, store it in a DMP, knowing they have it at their disposal to use in future campaigns.
7. Mobile first
Mobile will continue to be the dominant focus for advertisers as they target mobile first audiences. Traditional forms of CRM and advertising via television are no longer going to cut it.
The juggernauts like Facebook, Google and Twitter already have a lot of mobile first data, and more and more brands will start to look at the consumer from this point of view. Wong predicts that by 2020 most big brands will have a mobile profile of the consumer.
As an entrepreneur, Wong has this concluding advice: Never learn the rules. “When you go to different industries, it’s kind of cool not to know the rules because you are ultimately going to take people who have been in the industry for a long time by surprise,” he says.
*Brian Wong is a keynote speaker at ClickZ Live Hong Kong on August 3-4. Join him there to learn more about successful marketing to the connected consumer and what it takes to be a Silicon Valley startup entrepreneur at 19.