#SMX Liveblog: Why The Display Ad Of The Future Is All About You (#ms4)

This session is all about the future of online display advertising, or, as the SMX agenda puts it: “A landscape very different than today’s, and one that disrupts current advertiser practices and beliefs.”

Pre-session side muse observation: I’ve got to say, so far my first three hours at SMX West 2014 have been filled to the brim with talk of big change – from “paradigm shifts” to “revolutionizing” the way we collect and parse analytics data, it sure sounds a lot like the end of the world as we know it is upon us. As REM did back in 1987, I feel fine, but, man…. it’s worth reiterating that now is not a great time to be one of those marketers who are stuck in their ways; happy doing things the way they’ve always been done. The times they are a changin’ and, from what I’ve gleaned this morning, we’re at a major turning point where marketers have two options: take action or get left behind.

Ramblings aside … let’s get started with Tim Mayer’s display marketing revolution presentation!

Tim (who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Trueffect; @TimMayer) tells us he is fluent in both B2B and B2C marketing, and that over the years he’s had a lot of experience leveraging multiple channels to garner paid success.

He tells us that a lot of optimizers he talks to kind of brush off display marketing. They think “display is kind of boring. It’s a banner – how interesting can it be?” He wants us (and those people) to know that display in 2014 is just getting interesting! It’s not the same old advertising we used to know. He’s going to talk us through the direction where it’s going.

He’s showing us a slide with three faces:Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and [fudge. I can’t remember who the third one is and I happened to not write it down… any attendees reading this who can help me out? Editor’s Note: My blog readers came through for me via the comments! It’s Joseph Heller.]. He asks us what these three people have in common. The answer: They all started as journalists! The point: The art of storytelling is very important; both from a novelists’ perspective as well as an advertising perspective.

Tim Mayer speaking at the #SMX West Digital Marketing Summit.

Resonance vs. relevance

Resonance = identifying and appealing to the values that stimulate behavior.
Relevance = largely based on interests and demographics.

In the print era resonance was very important because your marketing wasn’t largely done online, Tim tells us. Now in the age of the Internet relevance is critical as we’re trying to push people through the viral funnel. The pendulum has swung from resonance to relevance (and we should expect it to keep swinging back and forth).

Very few ads these days that are actually combining both.

One main key to advertising that resonates in 2014, Tim says, is to tell a story in a short period of time; appeal to values.

Data Marketers vs. Brand Marketers

He asks how many people think they are data marketers vs. brand marketers. He thinks there is a huge divide between data marketers and brand marketers, and how both perceive success.

He gives us an example: An Esurance commercial that aired right after the Super Bowl. The post-roll analytics show 2.6 billion impressions of hashtag and a CPF (cost per followers) breakdown of apx. $5.75 per follower. Data marketers see this breakdown and think this campaign was a failure (no one wants to pay $6 for a follower), while brand marketers see these results and think this campaign was a huge success in terms of word of mouth marketing, reach and impact.


We need to find a way for brand and data marketers to to measure success across the board; to find metrics that allos us to measure success of campaigns in a common way.

Need to tell stories with data across channels – with all touches of the brand. We want to be able to attribute touches with conversion.

Lots of people are using last-click attribution, but we need to get into that stream; into that customer journey, esp. as earned media is becoming a more prominent part of that customer’s journey.


Take into consideration structured versus unstructured channels:



What’s next? Two things to keep an eye on

iBeacons! For both acquisition and in the funnel. As an example jewelry company Alex and Ani are seeing 72-74% engagement from the implementation of in-store iBeacon technology. This technology is a great way to send new customers offers that can push them toward their first purchase. Then, what this is essentially doing is buying you, the business owner, more data about the consumer, which can help you reconnect with the consumer and upsell to them later down the line.

Another thing to keep an eye on: Viral Pull Ads, or ads as entertainment.
Tim references the Pepsi Max Jeff Gordon Test Drive campaign. After these videos aired a lot of online discussion about whether the ads were real or fake started brewing. In other words, people started talking and actually seeking out the ad.

Why did it work? The Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max ad was engaging, it told a story, and it gave people something to talk about; something to think about; something to share with their friends. It gave them an experience that held the advertisement top-of-mind.

Moving forward in display, the art of storytelling is going to be much more important. As mentioned it’s all a matter of moving from relevance to resonance, and then back again; learning to work with the relevance/resonance pendulum swing.

Chelsea Adams Brooks is a long-distance cyclist, aspiring cob house builder, schema/analytics/algorithm obsessor, and a former senior content writer at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Chelsea's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (4)
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4 Replies to “#SMX Liveblog: Why The Display Ad Of The Future Is All About You (#ms4)”

There is no doubt that display has been neglected for some time. Tim is spot on with the relevance and story telling being part of the discussion into the future. My company (shameless plug http://impressionly.com) only works in the display advertising space. We’re focused 100% on native advertising because native is about connecting the consumer to the advertisers story. That’s why it works.

I think content marketing taught the industry that pull is more effective than push. There is a reason people say that a novel “sucked them right in” or “I couldn’t put the book down”. The’ve been pulled into the story and they often share their experience. Companies that grasp this will dominate the discussion in the future.

Chelsea Adams

“I think content marketing taught the industry that pull is more effective than push.” I couldn’t agree more, Dave. As our audience needs and our end-user psychology continues to evolve, the tactics we use to make consumer connections and garner mindshare with our advertising efforts need to evolve as well. No one is running their display campaigns with fingers crossed hoping that no one sees, remembers, or converts from their ads — so why are we still running ads that aren’t worth talking about?

I feel optimistic about the future and –as a marketers and a consumer — I’m glad that permission marketing is finally becoming mandatory for success.

Great article and review. That third face on the first slide is Joseph Heller (novelist and playwright) :-)

Chelsea Adams

YES!!!!!! Thank you, Mike Iatesta! I remember thinking (for maybe a second or two too long) about Catch-22 in that session (after thought: should have been thinking about typing “Jospeh Heller” and not about novels I read and enjoyed a half-dozen years ago…). Thanks for filling in that gap for me (and our readers).

Glad you found Tim Mayer’s display marketing revolution insightful (or at least a good read). I really liked his bit about the Resonance vs. Relevance pendulum swing.


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