Today, there’s no reason a person who doesn’t use makeup should be made to watch a lipstick promo, or that someone in Montana watches a commercial about a company local only to Californians.
That’s the olden way of making ads, the one-size-fits-all approach to get a product in front of the masses. But now, with the help of big data and more personalization tools, it’s possible to craft a message tailored to a consumer’s location, education level, interests and even community. Eric Frankel, founder and CEO of AdGreetz, thinks brands are starting to take advantage of this cheaper, more effective way of engaging today’s consumers.
“It didn’t matter whether you were 12 or 92, male, female, married, single, kids, babies, whatever it was – we all pretty much got the same [message],” Frankel told TheWrap for this edition of Office With a View. “Then the TV commercials that I grew up with moved off of NBC onto Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and eventually Snapchat and TikTok and everywhere. Again, almost everything was one size fits all, generic.”
After two decades at Warner Bros., most recently as president of domestic cable distribution, Frankel left to launch marketing firm AdGreetz in 2009. Using video personalization, the company is helping clients customize their marketing across 26 different channels, from social media to streaming platforms, at scale. Their clients range from tech giants like Amazon and Google to Hollywood players including Universal Pictures and ABC.
And perhaps boosted by increased digital activities during the pandemic, Frankel has noticed more organizations are now more open to creating savvier, targeted ads using data and social media. That’s a sea change from his time at Warner Bros. when companies were less sophisticated at leveraging this information.
“At Warner, we always talked about data, and the guy with the most data would win,” Frankel said. “And we never did anything.”
By making simple modifications to the same ad — whether it’s for a car or a vacation spot — Frankel said adding information like an address, shortcut to a ticketing site or specific images can make a huge difference in getting people hooked in a more personal way.
Read on for Frankel’s take on how social media has transformed marketing, how they use data to target ads and what has been the biggest change during the pandemic.
What compelled you to leave Warner Bros. and launch your own company?
I realized that all these companies and all these brands and all these people had all this information. So I got together with [former Disney chairmen Dick Cook and Joe Roth] and we raised $12 million.
In those days, I tried to be the best-dressed guy on the block, to wear suits and ties and luxury clothing from Barney’s. Yet, I realized that none of these brands ever conversed with me.
How do you use data to drive personalized ads?
Clients, brands, agencies and ad platforms now [provide] hundreds of data points from really legitimate sources that say this is what people like. When we [mention] San Francisco and we’re thinking about dinner tonight, and if I knew you had a family, we’ll connect the dots … and we show a smiling family. When we say there is UberEats delivery, you pay attention — so we get about five times more attention on Facebook and seven times more on Google. The brands have come back and said, your ads by saying “San Francisco” and getting the street address of that McDonald’s or whatever it is, has doubled the sales.
How has social media changed the game?
Social is a whole source of data. There are people who tell [our partners] whether you’re looking to buy a car, whether you’re looking to buy a house, whether you’re about to get married. None of us know whether this data is 75% accurate or 98%, but it’s a lot better than talking to you about diapers if you don’t have a baby. Sometimes we do messaging where friends send something to friends, so that’s called user-generated. Obviously that’s accurate, because you’re pushing something to me, and you know all about me. There’s contextual data if I know you’re in San Francisco, I know that it’s 4 p.m. I know what the temperature is. I know that it’s Thursday. I know the sale starts in 36 hours.
But how many organizations are approaching their marketing with data like this?
I would argue that this is being done by 2%–3% of brands. It’s something we read about every day, if you were to read about personalization, you would think everyone in the world does it. Almost no one does. I’m just making it up based on costs, because we’re able to go to Facebook, Google and everywhere and pull all their creative. These things take a while, and then they catch fire and they become hugely popular. Why? Because we’d love to press a button and watch what we want when we want to go to bed and pick it up.
What’s the biggest change since the pandemic?
We did well during COVID. We’ve had more senior executives for more gigantic companies book meetings with us in the last eight days than in our 10 years of existence. Are they waking up? Are the old bad habits dying? Do they realize? [Companies] have static ads that have no data. So you don’t have any babies at home? All right, so there’s no reason to tell you about Gap Kids. That’s a stupid message. But they should be telling you they have the world’s greatest blue jeans and T-shirts or whatever else people like you and me might buy.