Did Our 2015 Predictions Come True?

December 29, 2015 — by Edwin Lee

Last year, I shared sentiments on trends in retail digital marketing that I expected to see unfold in 2015. As we wind down the year, let’s see which of these predictions came true.

Mobile and cross-device will become the new normal

What I said in 2014: Retailers will embrace the development and production of mobile and tablet optimized sites, and the process of purchasing retail goods on these devices will only continue to rise. People will research and buy whatever they want, when they want to. As a result, the data produced in these transactions will make retailers the mobile-savvy marketers of 2015.

What actually happened: This year has been the year of mobile— finally—as mobile ad spend eclipsed that of desktop ad spend. Fifty-three percent of online traffic is from mobile, and of all digital ad spend in retail this year, more than 50 percent was expected to occur on mobile, according to Branding Brand. Consumers are transacting on mobile devices with better, more mobile-first web/app design in droves. New cross-device connections are happening in more compliant ways. Location data is being leveraged to drive mobile advertising spend as well as attribution.

2015 will be the year of attribution

What I said in 2014: Retailers will advance their omni-channel measurement even further in 2015. They will be asking, and answering, questions like: What is the truth of my addressable media against my online and offline sales?  It’s a question few have solved well.

What actually happened: Adoption of multi-touch attribution continues to grow, but hasn’t quite been fully adopted across the board. Companies are using a combination of media mix modeling (top-down) and MTA (bottom-up) attribution to try to understand the full picture of their marketing. Perhaps 2016 will be the year we move beyond last-touch attribution. We’ve found that 20 to 25 percent of our clients are in active discussions with multi-touch attribution vendors, and one client has found a 21 percent increase in return on ad spend by connecting MTA with media buying channels through CLA.

Marketers will become techies

What I said in 2014: As more budget moves to digital, retail marketers will only become more tech-savvy and tech-agile, meaning they will understand, implement and drive the technology needed to execute against their goals. Retail marketing departments will become reengineered for new business processes focused around technology. In 2015 people, process and technology will all come together to drive marketing.

What actually happened: This has definitely happened with marketers I’ve spoken with who can talk about JavaScript pixels and tracking and why first-party data and cross-device connections are important. I’m also seeing more and more of a tech lead/ad tech architect role appearing in marketing organizations to help connect eComm operations with the technology driving advertising.

That’s a wrap for 2015, but what do we expect to see in 2016? Stay tuned for our next post on digital marketing trends for the New Year.

Edwin Lee

Edwin Lee, VP of Global Retail, leads MediaMath’s retail go-to-market strategies. He employs MediaMath technologies to meet global retail business and marketing objectives, developing new programmatic advertising products and custom solutions. Edwin is responsible for global sales and product solutions in the retail vertical. Edwin brings over 19 years of client service, and over 14 years in digital marketing and media, working with global Fortune 500 companies. Prior to MediaMath, Edwin spent nearly 11 years at iCrossing / Proxicom where he lead strategy, creative, web development and digital media teams. Edwin’s interest in technology and media stems from days as a technology management consultant where he transformed companies to act faster and more efficiently through the use of technology.  Prior to that, he got his MBA in General Management from USC and a BA in Quantitative Economics from Stanford. Outside of work and having played competitively at Stanford, Edwin can be found on the golf course, preparing for his Sr. PGA Tour debut.