“What I learned this week” is a collection of articles related to online advertising, though in case of a slow news week, I might call it - What I learned in the last couple weeks. Let’s kick it off…
http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/22/facebook-home-over-a-week-later-only-500k-installs-with-a-two-star-user-rating/ - FB Home app downloads are off to a slow start. The article notes a miserable launch when Home’s downloads are compared to other high-profile apps. Could it be that Facebook is practicing what they preach… agile development and prototyping at the user’s expense? Who knows, four iterations from now we’ll all love it? Maybe it’s a slight confirmation of the reported drop-off in usage by the younger crowd? Whatever the reason reviews aren’t positive.
http://www.adexchanger.com/social-media/twitter-programmatic-strategy/ - It’s inevitable and we are paying close attention to see how Twitter (and for that matter, Pinterest and Tumblr) open up their inventory to RTB. Bonus: Our own COO adds his comments.
http://gizmodo.com/5994607/people-stream-netflix-more-than-they-watch-any-cable-network?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews – Just one data point but this trend is an important one to watch as television and viewing habits continue to morph into something gramps wouldn’t recognize.
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/197708/facebook-publishers-make-inroads-on-mobile-ad-net.html?edition=58709#axzz2QB5uuox7 - The changing landscape of mobile ad delivery. “Networks, especially independent ones, are entering a difficult phase…” Agreed.
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/198627/tumblr-launches-mobile-ads.html#axzz2RF5vMnYu - Tumblr starting mobile ads… Pinterest can’t be far behind. As mentioned above at some point these publishers may open their inventory to bidding. Lets call it Native Premiumatic – you heard it here first.
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Recently statements were made by Randall Rothenberg and Peter Naylor at the IAB leadership that I believe were untrue and not a good representation of our industry’s leadership. I’ve only met Randall once and was incredibly impressed. I don’t know Peter but certainly give him the benefit of the doubt regarding his intent. So, while I say this with due respect for what they’ve each done for our industry, these statements border on being outright disloyal to their membership.
At this week’s IAB leadership meeting, Randall said, “Consumers have fallen prey to banner blindness…” and Nayer said, “[Banners] haven’t moved hearts, minds and bodies unless you count the .02 percent of clickers, God bless them.” Let’s take this piece by piece.
- First, neither of these gentlemen are in a role where it’s acceptable to outright disparage the work we do within this industry. Eric Picard of Traffiq often makes statements like these. While I disagree with his points of view in these cases and don’t think it’s wise to publish them, he’s not employed at the industry’s most dominant and important governing body.
- Tolman Geffs is a pro at making constructively criticizing statements (see any of these videos) without bashing our industry. Tolman understands that if we’re to thrive, we need to continue to move more money online (which will help new companies form that he can help be acquired or merged.)
- Now, the statement about consumers falling prey to banner blindness. It’s simply not true. Take the hundreds of attribution case studies that show that consumers exposed to display before clicking through via search are more likely to convert. Take the hundreds of brand studies that show how display has and continues to help advertisers efficiently increase awareness, consideration, and intent. Most of these studies are done with proper control groups and still show measurable lift. Banners could indeed be more effective and I support the new rising stars ad units. But let’s not write a TV salesperson’s deck for them!
- Banners haven’t moved hearts or minds unless you count clickers? I’ve already addressed the hearts and minds in point #3. It’s simply not true because it has and there is hard data to support it. Then to turn the focus to clickers when it’s been proven via good data that clickers make up a small share of the total internet user population and are NOT those who generally end up converting? We’ve spent years getting clients off of CTR and Naylor’s incoming message is to thank the clickers, for they are the only ones who have (begin sarcasm) propped up our woeful little industry all this time?
To re-clarify, I fully support advancing our industry by introducing new ad units and finding ways to be more impactful in branding and purchase intent metrics. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, though, that the leaders of our industry speak positively about our product today while still motivating us to move forward.
4 Ways To Stand Out Using Digital Media This Election Season
I saw this article about 4 ways to stand out this election season and thought it was a great reminder of the “blocking and tackling” we often forget about when shiny objects are distracting us everywhere. As candidates prepare for November on every governmental and geographic level this year, here are four ways you can stand out using tried and true digital media tactics.
- Dynamic Creative: Dynamic creative can be thought of in two ways. The first is where the creative is dynamic based on the individual user. Say you know you’re showing your ad to someone within your party you might have one message whereas if you’re unsure about the user’s party preference you might show something else. This is done in real-time at the ad server level based on cookie data. The second kind is the ability to change out your message within minutes across all placements without re-trafficking. Our GoLive product does this and is a fantastic way to change from a proactive economic message to a message that defends a candidate’s past voting record if the opponent is on the attack. Both of these, though, require intense planning up front to create the message needed for all possible topics and audience. You’ll be glad you did.
- Cookie Targeting/BT: Behavioral/cookie targeting isn’t scary. It’s the norm. There are more than 300,000 data segments available for purchase, including some as odd as “in-market–>retail–>pet products–>feline”. Correct, you probably don’t want to target that segment, but there is a ton of voter data, party data, and political preference data available. Why aren’t you using it?
- Attribution: Ask anyone in political digital media and they’ll tell you search drives donations, display doesn’t. That is true, but only if you’re looking at last click alone. Just like you wouldn’t pay $1,000,000 for just the bottom inch of a famous painting, you absolutely must look at the entire user exposure rather than only the last. What if you found out that users who had seen three display ads, prior to searching, donated twice what users who saw no display before searching? Would display be “ineffective” then? The same applies to social and video. If you’re spending good money in digital this campaign season, spend the extra $0.10 CPM to know the full story of what’s working within your media flight.
- Treat Each Social Channel Differently: Using one tool to post the same message to Twitter and facebook? That’s like taking your TV spot and running it on the radio. Not good form! Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social channels are all very different and require different strategies. Furthermore, you should set individual social channel success goals that are separate and measurable. Is gaining followers your priority in Twitter or just RT’s that lead to exposure? Again, gaining Facebook “likes” is the first thing to comes to mind for a Facebook campaign objective but it’s not necessarily the most important. Should you be on Pinterest? No idea! Whatever you chose, please make sure you work with someone who knows the nuances of each social channel/network and has experience succeeding and failing in each of them before establishing goals and launching your campaign.
Remember, all you need is one vote more than your opponent does. Taking into account each of these four best practices makes you that much more like to capture votes your opponent may have otherwise had.
Like most platforms, we buy billions of impressions and clearly do not want to buy an impression that will never be even in-view of the user. But before we declare panic based on comScore’s recent announcement that 31% of display impressions in a recent study were never seen, let’s consider all the factors.
- Yes, the issue has merit on its own. It should be noted that this announcement just happened to be timed with the unveiling of a new comScore product that… wait…yep! Helps marketers eliminate wasted impressions.
- Name a major ad medium that doesn’t have never-seen impressions. DVR’ing alone kills a significant portion of TV impressions, no one truly knows who is changing the station during radio ads, and there are entire sections of print media that don’t get looked at. I agree that just because it’s this way in traditional media doesn’t mean we in online should settle for it. I do think it’s worth holding off the panic, though.
- And, because of this waste in every medium, the waste is built into the cost. If you ask a publisher to only charge you for viewable impressions, guess what? Your CPM will go up 45% (the inverse of 31% for the non-math folks) to account for it. And, maybe even more just to be sure.
- If we as an industry decide that advertisers shouldn’t have to pay for unseen impressions, guess what will happen. Publishers will fill the tops of their pages with ads to make sure the ad gets seen and they get paid. Now, how long will those ads actually be in-view? Different story, and the answer is not very long. But, publishers will get paid.
- Finally, the great thing about online display is that it’s measurable. If a site isn’t working it’ll get cut from the buy.
One area we would strongly favor a new standard is that never-in-view ads should NOT get credit within the conversion funnel, especially when this was their only “exposure” to the user by an ad network or DSP (or worse, their last exposure, giving them 100% of the credit.) We’re smarter than that, and we will remove any credit these never-been-viewed impressions receive from the conversion funnel.
This may be the 1438th piece written on this topic but because some people still value the click, it’s worth sharing. Thanks for Daryl and Jess for putting this great graphic together.
In this chart, “100″ means average, so if a category had a CTR index of 100, or an Action Rate index of 100, it clicked or converted at the same rate as the rest of the campaign. 1xx is xx% better than average, the reverse is true for below 100. Reviewing this data shows that those who click simply do not convert at a better rate than those that don’t, and those that convert don’t always click.
Let’s focus on that end action!
This week we are officially revealing the results of our second annual “State of the Regional Agency and Expertise” study, and the first-ever white paper to accompany it. For many, the results will truly be astounding, but in different ways for different people. A full analysis will be coming in one of the mainstream digital publications in the next few weeks. For now, here is a brief summary, some points to consider, and a link to download (absolutely free with name and email).
- Most importantly, regional agencies realized that simply rearranging their internal processes is not sufficient to have strong digital media expertise. These agencies realize they need to hire an expert, but now budgeting for those people pose a challenge. For now, it’s a good start to have this realization (and this is echoed in a later response, noting the complexity of planning/buying digital media.)
- The panic/hysteria of needing to be an expert now in social media is gone. Having a marketing presence on Facebook and Twitter lead agencies to having real concern over this channel until they realized that simply being personable in electronic communications wasn’t cause for panic after all.
- Most concerning is the lack of urgency stated in this year’s responses relating to “going digital.” It’s possible, even likely, that seeing how big of a challenge it is to become an expert in digital media has dampened the spirits of agency owners about their near-term prospects.
With most press coverage focusing on the largest agencies and clients, this is a fantastic look into the mindset of the large majority of agencies and their approach with clients. What was most surprising to you in reading this survey?
It’s 11PM on the Saturday before elections. The opponent just went public with information about your candidate you never thought would see the light of day. You have planned for this moment and you even have a TV spot ready to traffic out to counter the message to continue your candidate’s moment through Tuesday. It’s just that your digital ads (pre-roll video and display banners) are running and it usually takes at least 24 hours to create new digital assets. You don’t have 24 hours. You just knew digital was a bad choice when TV was so easy, right? WRONG.
A few months ago we unveiled our newest product, GoLive! GoLive! does exactly what it says, it helps you go live with your new digital messaging – fast. While this blog certainly promotes our own capabilities, the political strategists we’ve shown this capability to have praised us for providing them a solution to their digital messaging challenge. GoLive! works best when the campaign creates all of its digital assets upfront, knowing the various issues that their messaging may need to support in advance. By developing ahead of time individual assets like videos, messaging, and even the click buttons within the banner, campaigns can take advantage of their own digital library. The GoLive! template can then pull any of these assets into the frame, making complete messaging overhauls possible within minutes instead of hours or days. However, whether you have GoLive! or not shouldn’t prevent you from pre-planning your digital messaging. Candidates need to be able to quickly swap creative and ad tags. As we move into 2012, here are a few hints regarding what you need to know to get ahead of your opponent in planning your digital messaging:
- Create a “right to the point” :15 companion video for every issue you’re making a broadcast spot about, and maybe even a few digital videos. You have less than :05 to grab an online video viewer’s attention so be sure to say something important and grabbing right up front.
- Whether using a dynamic creative solution like Goodway’s proprietary GoLive! or building each set of digital banners from scratch, plan ahead. This means producing full assets for all of the major messages you’ll want to address. This way, as you need to switch from one issue to another – for any reason.
- Consider placing your display (banners) on/through platforms supporting direct publisher access or even standard exchange access. This will allow you to get pre-approval from publishers on all messaging up front and help remove delays on the publishers’ end.
- Set up “after hours” and weekend agreements with your digital agency so that you have coverage at all times you may need it.
- Remember that broadcast and digital viewers have equal value. Having trouble buying the final 50 GRPs of TV within the right programming? You can buy it as online video just the same, and come away with many more metrics than TV to help you evaluate success.
In 2008 most campaigns were asking why on earth any candidate would do paid digital media. In fact, most Presidential candidates didn’t even have a true online strategy! In 2012, nearly every candidate in a tight race knows they have no choice. It’s just a matter of planning ahead and doing it better than your opponent!
I just saw this article a few weeks ago. While good, there is something missing from its perspective depending on the point-of-view of the reader. To be fair, if you’re a DSP who’s CTO just won the lottery and you’re looking to replace them with someone who is an expert in algorithm and RTB implementation, I would agree there is a small dearth of talent in that area. It’s out there, but those folks are generally happily employed and have options with young promising start ups. But what if you’re a small or mid-sized agency – one of the tens of thousands in the U.S. – looking to simply hire someone some a mid- to advanced level of knowledge in display, social, SEM, mobile, or video? Or even all of them? The reality is they’re not that hard to find. In fact, the article tells you exactly where to find them! Back to the article in a minute.
Tony Mikes, President of small and mid-sized agency association Second Wind, has adopted the mantra of “Small + Smart”. This means in order for agencies to compete to win and retain good clients, they must be nimble and rapidly adapt to the newest best practices. Why has Tony pushed this idea so hard? Because not only has Tony owned and operated successful agencies, he currently has the pleasure of working with and advising more than 700 of them on a daily basis. He’s seen what works, what doesn’t, and why. The old notion “all talent must be here, in-house, and full-time in order for us to look the client in the eye and say we did the work” was fine for Mad Men way back when. In today’s world, it is the fastest route for an agency to close its doors in 2012 and beyond.
Clients go about their day trying to solve business problems. To do this, they want smart business thinkers who bring them solutions to those problems. If a ten person agency with outsourced media, production and various other services can solve that client’s problems, they will be the ones to win and retain that business. If these last two paragraphs put a pit in your stomach, you are exactly the person who should read on. Now, back to that article.
Shortly after this article was written, I, along with thousands of others, convened in Manhattan for ad:tech. There were indeed thousands of highly knowledgeable industry people around Manhattan that week with many of them willing to listen to job offers. So why is there this perceived lack of talent when there are plenty of digital resources available who would bring 4x their value (or more) to a mid-sized agency (and be willing to work full-time for that agency)? Because the new hire for the Omaha agency won’t be in Omaha. They’ll be in NY, SF, or maybe even Austin, Seattle, or Boston. Sure, they can visit the home office as needed, but the reality is great digital talent isn’t going to move to a mid-sized market (even if you think it’s quite a fine place to live!). Even more important is your new hire will learn more and be more valuable to your business being located within a good digital market than being in your home area. They’ll attend conferences and industry events, network with others in the industry while learning about trends much more quickly this way. How do *I* know this works? We went this route five years ago and haven’t looked back once.
Agencies always say “Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two.” In this case it’s likely, “Great digital talent. Someone physically filling a chair in your office. Pick one.”
Wow, the iGRP debate just won’t end! But, why? Why does the industry need to only do one thing or another? Why in an era where color monitors display 32,000,000 colors does this have to be a black and white issue? Well, it doesn’t.
Yes, it would be great if all the advertisers who want the iGRP get together and come up with a standard, but that doesn’t seem imminent. On the other hand, a bunch of digital minds getting in the room to create a solution is pointless as well. That’s like scholars in New Zealand forming a committee to solve America’s economic woes despite none of them ever having lived here. Until you’ve walked a mile…
Well, I have walked a mile. In both pairs of shoes. The very easiest solution is: If your client wants to see the iGRP, give them that info. If they don’t, don’t. The core really is that easy. From here, if your clients want the iGRP, here is what you need to know to be successful.
To start, remember that GRPs = reach x frequency. And, let’s get out simple facts out about the TV Nielsen GRP system. GRPs are measured by Local People Meters (LPMs). Depending on the source, there are between 25,000 and 37,000 LPMs in the entire country to measure TV viewing habits among the 200+ channels now available. Yes, if you’re not familiar with this, $60B+ each year is spent based on what these 30-some-thousand people watch.
The suggestion that cookie-counting isn’t accurate enough for true unique reach is ree-diculous. Sorry, Anne, (who is Anne) but you’re making this too complicated and your response favors your own product. The folks at comScore might say, “But what about all the ads that are served but never seen?” Well, that would be exactly in line with what happens on TV, and isn’t that what we’re trying to achieve? The LPMs don’t record if someone goes to the restroom or isn’t watching the commercial when it comes on. Everyone who has had ample exposure to digital knows that iGRP or no iGRP, the metrics available in online are infinitely superior to the iGRP, but this debate has merit because people who would rather use traditional media metrics aren’t bringing money to digital because it’s not similar enough. So, let’s stop trying to make it “better.” Digital measurement was already better, and that wasn’t enough. The focus needs to be on making digital measurement similar to broadcast measurement, and similar would be counting total impressions divided by the raw number of unique cookies to which the ad was served. Your ad server does this for free, by the way.
What’s a bit funny is that no one will be talking about this in 10 years because the need will be gone. One great example why is my company’s work with car dealers. The older dealers are asking for GRP equivalents to our digital impression counts for the month. The younger dealers just want to see how many consumer actions we generated and what they each cost to generate. This is, of course, what online should be: spend money and get results. Within 10 years those who are mostly rooted in traditional media will have found this value, and many of the younger talent will be in leadership positions that enable the conversation to focus on marketing results rather than reach and frequency.
These digital measurement steps make it easy and exactly like TV. So, if you have a client who wants the iGRP, use it. If they don’t, don’t. Why is this even being debated?