3 Marketing Predictions for Cannes Lions

Jun 13, 2019


Article ImageCannes Lions is right around the corner. And for pharma marketers attending, there are a number of topics that will be covered throughout the week that they should keep a close eye on.

Following and expanding on the ongoing trends of the past couple of years, I expect a strong emphasis to be placed on both transparency and privacy, as well as publisher monetization—all of which continue to be challenged by recent changes in the marketing ecosystem.

Let’s take a closer look at these areas and what to expect on-the-ground.

Transparency and Accountability

Transparency and accountability will continue to dominate advertiser discussions at Cannes. Marketers are frustrated by a lack of insight and oversight across the media supply chain. In fact, according to Verizon Media, nearly all marketers are “concerned” about the transparency of their media buys. From walled garden ad tech vendors to obfuscated fees, they are demanding more transparency, access and culpability. This is especially critical for the pharma marketing industry, where brands face more regulation and scrutiny than many other sectors, and where digital spend is still nascent. The ecosystem must do a better job delivering on transparency for brands so that they can have full confidence in their campaigns and spend.

Consumer Privacy

Privacy is bound to be a hot topic in the French Riviera. The discussions will be driven by a slew of recent privacy-related announcements by some of the ad industry’s biggest vendors. Google, for example, just announced changes to Chrome’s privacy capabilities, giving users greater control over clearing specific types of cookies. This follows the emergence of ITP 2.2, another cookie-blocking mechanism enabled by Firefox and Safari. Apple also recently unveiled a single sign-on ID designed to support consumer privacy. What will be the marketing impact of these changes? It’s likely to hurt ad targeting, but by how much? And how will publishers who use cookies to ID its audience and tailor content be impacted? It’s hard to say at this point. However, Cannes will serve as a sounding board for next steps and potential solutions.

Publisher Monetization

A new report found that publishers aren’t benefiting much financially from behavioral targeting. This is a controversial finding to say the least and I imagine the study will be a point of conversation at Cannes. According to the WSJ, the report found that “publishers only get about 4% more revenue for an ad impression that has a cookie enabled than for one that doesn’t.” While there are significant issues with the study – namely stale data and a very limited methodology – the larger point is that publishers need to identify different revenue opportunities to thrive in today’s marketplace. Publishers may need to become more creative and embrace different format types, including high-impact formats and storytelling opportunities, such as video and branded content. (Video and storytelling, in particular, has been a major driver for our company.) It also means considering alternative revenue paths, such as subscriptions, consumer goods and ecommerce. At the end of the day, publisher monetization must be multifaceted.

This year’s Cannes Lions will focus on a number of trends. Expect transparency and accountability, consumer privacy and how publishers make money long-term to be among the biggest areas for pharma marketers—not just at the event, but beyond.


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