Key Insights from IRI's Virtual Cannes Clubhouse

The IRI Media Center of Excellence team took its Cannes Lions discussions virtual this year to keep the learnings coming for advertisers, agencies, publishers and the rest of the advertising ecosystem. While we missed the quality facetime with clients and partners, along with the good wine and beaches of the French Riviera, we were happy to be able to share the eye-opening, thought-provoking industry discussions you have come to expect from IRI at this event. Below are some of the key insights from our eight virtual sessions.

Fireside Chat With IRI's New CEO, Kirk Perry

IRI's new CEO Kirk Perry offered candid conversation about the future of advertising and data. Sharing experiences from his decades of CPG experience and his most recent executive role at Google, Perry provided insights on how to pave the way for successful consumer engagement through media.

Key Insights: CPG companies should use their learnings gained on changing consumer behaviors during the pandemic to test, optimize and learn against changing consumer expectations. Strong purchase data, a good first-party data strategy and the right partnerships will be essential in the future of a cookie-less world. Brands that make clear choices in their media plans about where they will and won't play will be positioned for success – so will brands that invest in and test relevant new platforms. Companies must also figure out how to make money personalizing the e-commerce experience.

A New Twist on Privacy – Demystifying the Post-Cookie and IDFA World

IRI interviewed LiveRamp SafeHaven on their views of how advertisers can navigate new data privacy and compliance rules. The session explored the impact of these rules on sales lift and offered insights on how marketers and advertisers can succeed in this ever-changing ecosystem.

Key Insights: The time to transition away from cookies and risky identifiers is now. Advertisers will see their foundation become shaky if they are not prepared for these industry changes. But technology and industry initiatives are providing solutions to bridge the gap and create a more consent-based, addressable view of the consumer world. Organizations that double down on consent-based first-party data strategies, enriched with "first-party-like" data acquired with explicit consent, will be positioned to optimize the consumer experience and win big.

How Gen Z Is Defining the New Normal Post-Pandemic

This discussion, hosted by Shelley Zalis from The Female Quotient, discussed Generation Z and offered perspectives and research on their worldviews. It also highlighted how marketers need to tune in to these insights to connect with this generation post-pandemic.

Key Insights: Gen Z consumers appreciate authenticity, experiences and personalized marketing. They have inherent comfort with experimentation and learning. As true digital natives, they are mostly influenced through short-form video from the likes of platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram but also rely strongly on recommendations from friends and family. Gen Z is the most racially diverse and gender-fluid generation. As consumers, they appreciate non-binary products, sustainable packaging and purpose-driven brands.

Creating Brandwidth With Gen Z: Fueling Brand Discovery via Short-Form Video

IRI, Chobani, Influential and TikTok discussed TikTok's emergence as one of the most powerful product discovery tools with Gen Z consumers. They highlighted insights on what sets brands up to win with Gen Z using short-form TikTok videos, as well as potential pitfalls to avoid on this unique platform.

Key Insights: TikTok is creating a new way of communication for people who want to tell stories and find creative ways to break through. Gen Z comes to TikTok to be entertained and uplifted, to participate and to discover content. Brands like Chobani have had success creating the kind of perfectly unpolished, vulnerable content that succeeds on the platform. They have done this by partnering with TikTok creators and giving them open-ended creative briefs that allow them to be authentic in reaching the target audience.

The Power of Intelligent Creative

The pandemic has altered consumer expectations and increased the need for creative hyper-personalization at scale. In this session, IRI, Snap and VidMob defined intelligent creative, discussed how it can fuel better decisions and shared key learnings from recent Snapchat ad campaigns.

Key Insights: Video elements such as people, logos, facial expressions, animals and music can be treated as creative data points using technologies such as AI and machine learning and layered with performance data from platforms such as Snapchat to inform creative and optimize campaigns. Augmented reality creative is becoming a core component of Snapchat ad campaigns that advertisers need to seamlessly integrate with their video campaigns. And Snapchat ads that showed a product actively in use led to a 150% return on advertising spend versus ads that did not.

Optimizing Campaign Results via Sales Lift Insights

Delivering incremental sales is the ultimate measure for productivity of an advertiser's marketing investment. IRI, Google, PepsiCo and OMD discussed how advertisers, media platforms, agencies and measurement partners can collaborate successfully to generate actionable insight-based sales performance of media investment in a privacy-first environment.

Key Insights: One key to a successful sales lift study is collaboration and transparency between all stakeholders relating to the objectives and design of the study. Another is the final step: analyzing and interpreting the results to create an active plan. Sales lift insights can serve as a strong complement to marketing mix work for more granular platform-level insights. YouTube's sales lift studies have shown that components of successful ads on their platform include a focus on attracting the viewer, showing the product early and often, making an emotional connection and finishing with a strong call to action. AI and machine learning promise to allow greater speed of gathering and implementing insights into the future.

The Innovation Imperative: How Shopper Marketers Can Accelerate and Win in 2021 and Beyond

IRI was joined by leaders from three advertising technology companies — Valassis, Aki and Ogury — for a discussion highlighting 2021's top innovations that improve the relevance and effectiveness of shopper marketing programs.

Key Insights: Brand and shopper marketing are converging, from digital ads featuring "buy now" messaging to connected TV ads containing retailer tags to drive people to the point of sale. Good KPIs, including sales lift figures and the fully onscreen rate, are critical to measure performance. Also, COVID-19 has accelerated shopper options, making it important to maximize both bricks and clicks to improve in-store, pickup and delivery purchases.

The Intersection of Marketing and Technology: How to Win With Retail Media Networks

IRI was joined by Sam's Club to discuss how CPGs can realize a higher return on ad spend by using targeted, measurable data to make the most of retail media networks. The discussion also looked at how CPGs can navigate the intersection of marketing and technology in a post-pandemic world in which pandemic-inspired consumer behaviors such as e-commerce and curbside pickup will linger.

Key Insights: Media spend on retail media increased almost 28% in 2021 and this will be a $30 billion media channel by 2022. Sam's Club has seen huge growth in app orders and curbside pickup. Scan and go is providing digital shopping inside and outside the club and turning in-store shopping into a digital activity, providing tremendous opportunities for physical proximity, personalization and conversion. In the future, machine learning, data partnerships for enhanced relevance, campaign optimization via algorithms and self-service tools for advertisers will further enhance the effectiveness of retail media.

Note: If you already registered for access to the IRI Virtual Cannes Clubhouse, you can access the session replays here (otherwise, you will first need to register here).

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