Fresh off the Media Rating Council's accreditation of its new metrics, MediaMind talks about why consumers don't trust advertisements, and what it's doing to change that.
Dean Donaldson, global director of media innovation at MediaMind, wanted to buy an electric guitar. As he went through the process -- asking his Facebook friends for suggestions on which guitar to buy, using Google to search for information, reading up on different guitar models on blogs, and finally setting out to find out where he could buy the model he wanted -- something became very apparent. Relevant ads were only popping up on his screen half of the time, and even when they made sense, there was no execution. He wasn't about to spend nearly $2,000 on a guitar vetted solely by a banner ad.
The numbers affirm what Donaldson went through: 25 percent of search results of the world's top 20 brands link to user-generated content, and 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14 percent trust ads. In fact, 83 percent of purchasing decisions are being driven by word-of-mouth. Technology is helping advertisements be relevant, but it's not doing anything to capitalize on it.
"We have to change our way of thinking to effectively get to the consumer," Donaldson said. The key to getting there is in apps, social media, and the targeting world -- not through the back door with technology.
Donaldson pointed out that when a consumer is in a brick-and-mortar store, he or she is likely willing to give a lot of personal information to a salesperson as a means of making an informed purchase decision.
"If you're buying a dress for your wife and a salesperson asks you how they can help, you might end up telling [a stranger] things like her age, her dress size, and the occasion you're buying the dress for. Or, you might say 'no thanks, I'm just looking.' Technology needs to give consumers this choice," he said.
MediaMind metrics look at the consumer lifecycle -- awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, and retention -- to create a strategy, gather consumer touchpoints into a single repository, organize them intelligently, and continue conversations. An indicator of the company's success is the Media Rating Council's approval of its metrics, which are built on the principles Donaldson discussed. The company is the first third-party ad serving provider to become accredited.
"Our goal is not for technology to replace the agency, but assist the agency to do something better," he said. They seem to be on the right path. MediaMind reaches more than 700 million unique viewers, and counting.
Lucia Davis is associate editor at iMediaConnection.
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