CTRL ATL – Media’s Inevitable Migration to Lower Funnel 

There is no debate that digital media has impacted the purchase funnel in significant ways over the past 25 years – completely innovating the ways in which advertisers connect to their audiences. One of the pivotal moments for advertising has been the emergence of performance media and its powerful proxy to transactions. Brands have been leveraging traditional lower funnel tools (like search and email marketing) with many migrating their budgets deeper down the funnel in the absence of reliable and consistent tools to establish attribution models that could help balance the allocation across all stages of the path to purchase. The direct reporting has proven to be simply irresistible. 

In true Darwinian fashion, the industry is evolving around this reality. Above the Line media (ATL) is clearly migrating southward and finding viable positions in the lower funnel. Several IAB Canada discussions and presentations over the past months have indicated this macro-shift is occurring in our sector. As recently as this week, with IAB Newfronts wrapping in New York, the most exciting discussions are around transforming above the line media to enable lower-funnel activity and it’s exciting! 

While most of the transformations are driven by increasingly sophisticated streams of data, some are accredited to creative convergence and a new breed of unlikely partnerships emerging from the market.  

Evidence of this transformation can be seen across several channels: 

  • CTV – Shoppable ads are all the rage and CTV is extremely well-positioned to leverage its relationship with viewers to provide fluid transactions that are based on behavioral data as well as powerful contextual environments. 
  • Audio – Voice commerce is squarely on the horizon. Frictionless shopping through simple voice commands like “Buy it Now” or “Send to my Phone” are realities that are emerging rapidly. Dynamic ad insertions placed in retail locations to capture intenders in transactional environments is a great example of how creative partnerships are developing in our sector. 
  • DOOH – Measure effectiveness of DOOH campaigns across a variety of digital KPIs, including web conversions and behaviors, app downloads and in-app actions. With the resurgence of QR codes and other on-screen interactivity, the medium is becoming increasingly direct. 
  • Retail Media – The ultimate proxy to transactions is now available as a lower funnel marketing channel across all categories. Leveraging powerful first party data to reach intender-audiences identified through machine-learning is in its infancy and we expect this channel to rise to centre stage in the coming months and years. 

The explosive growth of eCommerce over the past three years has made it crucial for advertisers to bring their stores to the individual across a multi-channel media environment. The options are multiplying and while the industry focuses heavily on specific areas of measurement and attribution, we can’t help but think about the multitudes of other “plug-ins” that will need to be streamed into a measurement dashboard.  

IAB Canada recognizes that the opportunities emerging in our sector are challenging to keep up with. In earlier years, the industry would have seen a handful of “emerging” media opportunities to keep an eye on. Today, we are experiencing exponential growth and it is now critical to stay connected and to collaborate as we consider how best to make these opportunities accessible, scalable, and measurable.  

We look forward to our committee discussions on this very topic and invite you to participate in our community. To get involved please reach out to committees@iabcanada.com.