This month we reflect on May trends which include advertisers that are making headlines based on building ESG into their marketing strategy, how subscriptions services across retail are remaining a strong choice for consumers and how media owners in display are hyper-targeting as they prepare to navigate a post-cookie world.

A brand leading sustainably by example

If you want to see a brand prioritising ESG in its marketing strategy, look no further than Giffgaff. It’s a forward-thinking brand which leads by example and this recent article in Marketing Week  highlights that. Giffgaff not only works on its on its own ESG deliverables but also challenges its agencies, partners and suppliers to work harder towards joint sustainability goals. As an agency, it’s interesting to see a brand leaning so strongly into this and comparatively how we can encourage brands to take more of this approach if it’s slightly more unfamiliar territory.

Giffgaff’s marketing strategy director, George Bramall, emphasises the importance of incorporating carbon impact into media planning; alongside reach, frequency, and cost. Over the past year, Giffgaff has reduced its carbon footprint by a whopping 52 tonnes, 14% of its annual media plan, by considering carbon impact in its media strategy. This includes taking bold decisions such as potentially diversifying from major digital players like Facebook and Google to newer suppliers with better carbon reduction practices.

Achieving B Corp accreditation, Giffgaff launched the “Up To Good Collective Fund” to support carbon reduction efforts. The company prioritises decarbonising at the source of its advertising and collaborates with partners to ensure responsible reach, such as turning off out-of-home sites after midnight. Initiatives like providing 250 refurbished phones to Big Issue vendors underline Giffgaff’s commitment to sustainability. Bramall notes the challenge and reward of achieving B Corp status and balancing people, planet and profit. Giffgaff’s digital-only approach aids sustainability by minimising its physical footprint. Looking ahead, the company aims to enhance its responsible reach principles and leverage its sustainability ethos to attract top talent.

Consumers are choosing convenience in retail with subscriptions

It’s a trend that won’t be surprising to many of us, as we assess our own behaviours towards shopping. Retail subscriptions are a significant growth area for eCommerce, offering consumers convenience and reducing their need for in-store shopping.

A recent survey by PYMNTS found that 42% of subscribers shop in physical stores less often due to their subscriptions. While nearly one-third of subscribers rely on scheduled or auto-fill subscriptions, 15% show to prefer manual online orders.

When it comes to demographics, unsurprisingly, younger consumers, particularly millennials (39%) and bridge millennials (38%), are more likely to use subscriptions than older generations. However, only 3.8% of subscribers have completely stopped in-store shopping, but for particular brands such as pet food subscriptions, this rises to 11%. Additionally, almost a third of subscribers foresee exclusively using subscriptions in the future, though currently, 35% report no change in their in-store habits.

There are numerous reasons why consumers are purchasing from retail subscriptions rather than going into stores. Dare we say it, many behaviours have stemmed from the pandemic which accelerated the change in how people shop. More obviously it is due to things such as convenience and saving time. Coupled with this is the shift in what is important to people such as personalisation and product offerings based on consumer preferences and previous purchases, enhancing the shopping experience and ensuring tailored products. Subscription services also often provide discounts or special pricing, making it more economical for consumers to subscribe than to purchase the same items individually in-store. Using digital marketing as an advantage, there’s the added benefit of pushing product discovery, allowing consumers to discover and try new products they might not have selected on their own, something you may not be able to do so easily in store. The challenge for eCommerce merchants is to attract those still shopping in-store by meeting evolving consumer expectations with innovative subscription services.

What a display! Soaking up insights from our media owners

In May we hosted the experts from MiQ, TapTap Digital and Teads who shared insights into their latest innovations within the display space. The team from programmatic media partner MiQ, detailed their approach which centred around the pillars of Identify, Activate and Measure. They showcased the transition from cookie-based targeting to advanced geo-contextual targeting. These contextual methods using cookieless datasets, leverage MiQ’s privacy-centric Airgrid technology to build personas and create audiences based on browsing behaviour. MiQ’s measurement solutions include display metrics, brand uplift and sustainability indicators, moving away from traditional brand metrics and offering a comprehensive, risk-free solution aligned with diverse business objectives.

Location, location, location: TapTap Digital highlighted the power of location-based data in a post-cookie world, demonstrating how it defines and discovers ideal customers through geo-referenced Mastercard data and extensive postcode-level insights. With a mind-boggling 200,000+ geohashes in the UK, TapTap offers real-time geo-fencing, mobile retargeting and location-adaptive solutions across display, mobile, digital OOH, DOOH and CTV, ensuring precise audience engagement and adaptability to time and weather.

The team from Teads shared their in-feed display advertising solutions across premium publishers, emphasising a readiness for a cookieless future with advanced accidental click removal technology and creative optimisations. They highlighted the platform’s ability to provide comprehensive insights on audience behaviour, attention, conversions and carbon output, boasting a 99% higher carbon efficiency compared to other in-feed publishers.

All three share a common goal of leveraging advanced, privacy-centric technologies to effectively engage and measure audiences in a post-cookie world as well as a commitment to sustainability and operational efficiency.

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