If there was ever a criteria which typified the modern-day marketer’s demands for an ad, ‘right message, right place and right time’ wouldn’t be far off.

The need for timely, relevant messages to be delivered at the feet of a specific audience segment has given rise to ‘moment marketing’: the practice of being able to capitalise on a chosen moment in time for the best possible exposure.

This places a label on the work done by display marketers when choosing to run their campaigns alongside a big TV ad campaign; the paid social posts which crop up when Wayne Rooney scores for England, and much more.

Moment marketing has certainly taken its time to evolve into a fully-fledged technique. However, its place in Deloitte and Warc’s six digital marketing trends for 2016 hints that a lot more people will learn of its benefits in the future.

To find out a bit more about this growing practice, we spoke with Antoine de Kermel, managing director for EMEA at TVTY – a platform which enables advertisers like Kia and Coca-Cola to link their campaigns to sporting events, the weather, TV commercials and more. 

Deloitte and Warc seem adamant that moment marketing will have a big year in 2016. Why is this so?   

Antoine de Kermel: When we look back two years ago, moment marketing was not even a subject. It was not possible to activate and deactivate campaigns by the minute or contextualise an advertisement in real time. We now have technology that allows you to do it. We work in a programmatic world, which is geared towards real time, and what companies like ours do is connect the online with the offline.

What is your take on their definition of moment marketing: ‘right message, right consumer’?

ADK: I think the right moment is the key point here. If it starts raining, that is a moment where a brand can reach an audience with a relevant message. 

The right message is crucial. A specific event will trigger a certain campaign, and this is where we get marketers pushing messages out at specific moments for greater relevancy. For instance, if someone scores a goal in Chelsea vs Man United on the TV, a company can push a message out which fits in line with the moment. 

There are lots of other considerations though. You need to think about the moment, the device, the creative, and the channels. Nothing is really new here, but it’s about putting all of these different elements together for something that really makes an impression.

What is TVTY’s role in the journey?

ADK: We capture all the numbers in real time. We monitor TV channels, the weather; all of the significant moments taking place. The platform is connected to all the big ad servers like AppNexus and Adap.tv so we can modify the ad in real time. It allows people to do something like see that it’s raining in Manchester and activate a campaign based on that information.

We are able to cater for every stage of the moment marketing journey by connecting to lots of different technologies, which in turn helps our users broadcast across devices and channels. Not only this, we measure everything. It’s very important for us to measure the uplift of something in the aftermath of it working with a moment. 

Isn’t there also a counter attacking element to moment marketing; where people can pounce on a moment created by their competitor’s TV ad?

ADK: There is. More than half of the people using our TV Sync product are launching ads in this way. The reason is that when a brand is on TV, they’ll do something we call ‘TV boost’, which is a way of emphasising a message on a second screen. The ‘conquest’ part of it [moment marketing] is very popular.

We know that people can schedule their campaigns and pre-set goals for an ad to be displayed, but your survey found that 44% of people prefer the manual option to launching their activity. What are their capabilities in real time?

ADK: It’s mainly focused on social media. If you were to do a search campaign you’d have to delve into your keywords and activate and deactivate certain ones manually, which takes time. It’s interesting that people are doing it manually, because it means they don’t have the tools to do things properly. 

Our survey also found that half of those interviewed could react to a moment in less than 10 minutes, which tells us there is a lot of improvement to be done. It means that for all those who said they did moment marketing, they’re not actually doing it in real time. These people aren’t doing things in the moment and still relying on manual processes. 

Although the phrase ‘moment marketing’ is fairly new, social marketers have been piggybacking on the lure of sporting events and TV shows for years. With that in mind, can it really be viewed as a trend? 

ADK: Yes, and this is something we saw in the survey – their approach was manual and based on social. The ‘social dart’ is the easiest way to do real-time marketing, which was where it all started. 

Facebook and Twitter were pretty much the only mediums available for that type of marketing. What you’d have was people sitting at their desk; watching the game and interacting with the audience during it. 

The way we’d do that scenario now is by setting rules which say ‘if this player scores in this particular game, I want to activate this campaign on this channel’. It could be a display ad announcing the scorer and supporting the team for whom he’d scored. This is something we can set two weeks before, and if it happens it’s launched automatically. 

Your survey found that 51% of brands have hired moment marketing specialists and brought them in-house. We – personally – are yet to come across someone with that as a title, so what role would they typically have?

ADK: It’s usually in reference to social media marketers. We just have to look back to the other results in the survey and how they showed that most people do moment marketing in a very manual fashion, through social networks, to see that. 

We probably don’t have ‘moment marketers’ quite yet, but we’ll talk to lots of different people in the marketing team – the search guys, the display guys… It’s a cross-platform innovation.

One thing we have to bring up is the TV measurement debate. Hypothetically, we engage with an online moment marketing campaign without even considering the TV commercial being aired at the time. That might get viewed as a good result for the TV spot despite the fact we didn’t see it. How do you tackle that?

ADK: You can’t be sure, that’s right. With our technology, we went to the agencies and asked them to try to reach a specific audience, and then told them that we’d let them know of the best possible time to connect with the people in question. It’s a probabilistic approach.

The way we compare uplift is by taking results from a campaign which is always on and pitting that against something which is activated by a moment. This is where you see the improvement. 

It’s true that people can interact with a campaign without watching the moment on TV or similar, but we see uplift of over 100% in some efforts.

We recently worked with Coca-Cola, who had a video campaign running during the football World Cup. It was a campaign supporting the French team, and every time a goal was scored by them, they pushed a video campaign to express the joy of the moment. They measured an 80% click-through rate during that time, which produced an uplift against another effort.