One of the first major panels to kick-start this year’s conference was a discussion between two heavyweight executives; Luis Di Como, Global VP of Media at Unilever; and Allan Thygesen, President of Americas at Google; whereby Unilever was directly raising concerns about the issue of media wastage due to duplicated reach and frequency when advertising on different platforms. Furthermore, as we move to 1-2-1 personalised marketing at scale, this duplication may be a potential risk to brand image and ultimately impact sales performance as marketers are unable to effectively integrate and manage the customer experience across platforms and channels.
Luis explained that currently Unilever has set up a centralised people data centre, pulling customer data across their house of brands, before developing and deploying specific campaigns via media partners and platforms on case-by-case basis.
The example that he provided were their global Ramadan campaigns, whereby Unilever sought to target a multitude of customer segments with strategically placed food and drink advertisements that avoided the daylight fasting period, and were dynamically programmed to display pre-dawn and post-sunset according to specific time zones in cities around the world. He explained that this was already a challenging task for their team, however, when you have the added complexity of deploying across multiple platforms due to varying platform adoption rates in various countries and without programmatic integration the task becomes almost impossible.
It’s important to provide context about the significance of this panel discussion, as Unilever represents one of Google’s largest client accounts and have been in partnership for some years and it was interesting to see this conversation brought into the public domain and clearly something that the two companies have been discussing prior to Advertising Week.
Another example of how this lack of integration might impact a smaller organisations are the restrictions of ‘Live Broadcast’ across multiple platforms. Most businesses have multiple customer segments following across different platforms and there’s currently no way to simulcast across Facebook and LinkedIn in realtime.
In Google’s defence, the sentiment expressed by Allan Thygesen on stage was certainly not combative and he seemingly expressed a willingness to tackle the issue. Whether this plays out for all advertisers or becomes a bespoke solution for Googles largest account clients remains to be seen.