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Power Essays 2022: Long-live CPC – by ArabyAds’ Mohammad Khartabil

No, not cost-per-click, but consent, personalisation and consumer experience, says, Mohammad Khartabil, Chief Business Development Officer and Co-Founder of ArabyAds

ArabyAds’ Mohammad Khartabil

With a multifold change across consumer needs, desires and expressions, and technologies that fulfill these needs, we sit at the confluence of transformations that have never before seen momentum and dynamics this complex.

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Today, we see an evolution in the expression of the most talked about metric by marketers as well, the CPC. While CPC, in terms of cost-per-click, has been a metric every marketer has spoken about in order to determine the success of campaigns, the CPC I am referring to is about encompassing the future of advertising: consent, personalisation and consumer experience. In a world of technology, platforms that enable advertisers with equal play across each of these three attributes are poised to see a stronger relationship with their customers. And if the CPC can be enabled with stories that are told with a human touch, it’s a win-win for all.

The most vivid memories I still carry are from stories I heard as a kid. And today, when I look back at what makes me stick to those stories, it’s the experience they triggered. Two decades later, influencer marketing has created this opportunity for brands to build lifelong memorable experiences. Today, a wildlife explorer in the deep Amazonian forest, a famous cook, or even a lifestyle enthusiast making content on strengthening inner consciousness could open up so many possibilities for engagement with the niche content that they produce. The mega-, nano- or micro-influencers are also an expression of the desires of consumers. Influencers are something that consumers themselves want to see or be. They are an expression of dormant stories that lie in consumers’ thoughts. And this is why the connection and the bonding (also measured by the follower base) are higher. The outcome of such engagement? Loyalty.

The end of third-party cookies is closer than ever, and global regulations are witnessing significant momentum. Moreover, it is believed that governing bodies across the globe will strengthen their data and privacy regulations in the coming years. Data and privacy regulations are garnering focus and action by leading countries, even in the MENA region. The UAE’s Personal Data Protection Law constitutes an integrated framework to ensure the privacy of individuals. Saudi Arabia also has recently issued its comprehensive national data protection law to regulate the collection and processing of personal information. At the core of all these regulations is the customer and the fact that a customer might want to share certain data only when the outcome is in their favour – not just in data privacy but also in advertising experiences. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that technologies that naturally invite consent are going to be way more effective than those that are forced and intrusive. Brands that can become a part of consumers’ needs are poised to see more trust and, therefore, consent. With the right mix of influences to reach niche audiences, brands can tell compelling stories and build more meaningful connections with their followers than one-size-fits-all intrusive advertising. Connections reinforce acceptance, acceptance strengthens trust, and trust invites consumer consent.

When we talk of scale, a marketer’s challenge gets more interesting as the need for reinforcing personalisation steps in. Marketers have to walk a tightrope by balancing the needs of their consumers – a personalised and seamless shopping experience – and managing the consumers’ reservations about sharing their personal data. As I mentioned above, a one-size-fits-all advertising approach would no longer work. Therefore, the first step is to segment the data of your consumers based on key attributes, affinities, opinions and, in a world of rising interactions, even social expressions. The next step is to then reach out to these segments of audiences with personalised brand offerings. Remember, today the journey of consumers is complex. While both you and I could buy from the same store, the convincing factor in between could be different. And that’s where influencer marketing introduces significant flexibility for brands with a wide range of niche-segment-specific influencers. With a social platform, the added advantage of influencer marketing is that it becomes interactive, and the bi-directional expression and customer empathy score is way higher.

The first step is to agree that at the core of advertising is a consumer, and brands need to be an extension of consumers’ needs. Efforts to build a relationship based on trust and transparency with your consumers while ensuring their digital safety are a basic ingredient in advertising today. Since almost every attribute of customer interaction with your brand is evolving – devices, technologies, consumers, and their expressions as well – brands that can leverage future-ready platforms that enable them to be a part of this pace of evolution will find their lifetime value (LTV) much stronger.

A unified tech platform that keeps the new CPC at the core is the need of the hour and that’s where in the last few years iConnect – ArabyAds’ influencer marketing platform – has created a differential experience for both brands and consumers. On one side, iConnect ensures there is immersive storytelling for consumers with thousands of influencers on the platform, and on the other side, iConnect has a future-ready set of capabilities on the platform with a focus on LTV for brands.

As marketers are trying to decode the formula to increase the efficiency of their advertising in the current scenario, I firmly believe that CPC will be the game changer and become a go-to strategy for the industry.

By Mohammad Khartabil, Chief Business Development Officer and Co-Founder of ArabyAds