- Social TV content and data solutions provider SocialGuide has launched SocialGuide Intelligence, an analytics engagement platform that tracks Twitter for networks, reports MediaBistro. SGI’s charter client for the service is A&E Networks, which will utilize the service for A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, BIO and its other networks. The service enables networks to see how many tweets roll in about a show, and get “social snapshot” of an audience. As the company describes its solution, SGI delivers daily, weekly and monthly social TV reports across 215 broadcast and cable channels in a dashboard view (see graphic), and “[measures] the social activity for every program type and every program air. Also, SGI is the only social TV analytics product in the marketplace that can be used to identify and engage with key comments and the social influencers of every network and program.”
- Apple announced yesterday that it had sold 3 million new iPads since releasing the newest iteration on Friday, reports Mashable. Forbes reported that as of Monday evening, the new iPad took of 4.6% of all iPad traffic in the U.S., citing data from Chitika. That sounds considerable, but Managing Director Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research reminded Forbes that Apple released the iPad simultaneously in 10 countries, versus the usual three or four. “Three million units sold, or 4.6% of iPad traffic…would be good if the release had been limited to three countries,” said Chowdhry, “Not ten.” He estimates that ideally, the new iPad should have taken 12% to 15% of all iPad traffic.
- Elsewherein iPad news, Adweek reports that Apple is offering trials to publishers of auto-renewing subscriptions. This signals that the usually inflexible Apple is “paying close attention to the Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle, which already have the feature,” says Adweek. In the auto-renew model, customers who sign for a free trial are automatically charged at the end of the trial, unless they take action to turn off the auto-renew. unless they turn off the auto-renew option. Bonnier Senior VP Gregg Hano (who helms “Popular Science” and other titles” told Adweek said Bonnier will try the feature: “The downside risk is very small, and the upside is high.”
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) has added 26 live local broadcast channels in New York City to its TWC TV apps for iPhones, iPads and the TWCTV.com website, reports Multichannel News. This may be a direct response to Aereo, the broadcast-to-digital startup that offers much the same service for $12 per month. TWC's New York customers may now stream WCBS, WNBC, NBC NY Nonstop, WNYW (Fox), WABC, and numerous other broadcast channels.
A small developer of social media and online applications has filed suit against Facebook, alleging antitrust and anticompetitive behavior. Kotchen & Low LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its client Sambreel Holdings LLC against Facebook for alleged violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and California state laws prohibiting unfair competition and interference with contract. Sambreel seeks an injunction preventing Facebook from requiring Sambreel's advertising partners to boycott Sambreel and to prevent Facebook from "gating" – i.e., scanning its own users’ computers without their consent to learn who downloaded a Sambreel application then forcing those individuals to uninstall Sambreel's applications before they are allowed access to their Facebook accounts.
“Today I’m happy to announce that the partnership we announced this past November, between Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo! is now fully operational and open for business,” declared Microsoft on its ad blog. “Starting this week, the Microsoft Media Network, AOL’s Advertising.com and Yahoo! Network Plus are leveraging real-time bidding (RTB) to offer advertising opportunities across all three networks’ premium, non-reserved, owned and operated display inventory.”
The idea is to provide marketers with “flexible access” to a larger pool of ad inventory; added audience reach; and the combined analytics of the three organizations.As Yahoo! described the offering in its own ad blog, the partnership streamlines the media-buying process “by providing more efficient access to premium online ad inventory,” while both extending reach and offering better yields.
As Adweek described, the agreement was perceived as a “play against Google, which added premium inventory to its offering through last year’s Admeld acquisition.” But until this announcement, there was no indication when the partnered inventory would go live. Still there were some rumblings, when AOL moved its inventory to Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange (RMX). Microsoft’s inventory will remain on its Microsoft Advertising Exchange.
CEO Mark Hughes of C3 Metrics (a media analytics platform) predicts that as of 2013, marketing officers will be far more accountable to financial officers for digital ad return on investment (ROI). He detailed why in a Business Insider column.
The standards of ad verification will change as of 2013, and for the better. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in February released the final version of its “Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification,” in cooperation with the Media Rating Council (MRC). The advantage to advertisers and marketers is truth in numbers: IAB is promising that with a common set of standards, “companies engaged in the verification of interactive advertising campaigns can themselves be audited against a common, transparent standard.”
What will be required of chief marketing officers (CMOs)?
First, they will need to recalculate ad ROI. The ROI of display ads is about to change. The until-now accepted definition of an impression is the “server request” (when a consumer logs onto any website), but the ads do not fully load, 12% of the time. So, writes Hughes, “Advertisers still pay for ads never reaching a consumer’s page.” He expects CMOs to account for and pay for only fully-loaded impressions.
Secondly, the definition of a “viewable ad” will tighten. This is owed to the new standards defined by the IAB, along with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). According to those organizations and C3’s own data, 68% of all display ads are never seen by consumers—they are not even viewable for one second, which IAB recommends as a standard. If it becomes a standard, then advertisers will not pay for unviewed impressions; cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) will rise 50 to 70%; and advertisers can expect stronger ROI.
Finally, CMOs can expect more scrutiny concerning advertising expenses, as they fall under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). As the IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) defines it, “Expenditure on an intangible item shall be recognized as an expense when it is incurred." The CMO will be held accountable to prove that an ad runs, else, expenses are out of line with services or advertising, and a company risks violating GAAP. “CFOs generally don’t like to be caught by surprise, and they don’t like violating GAAP,” opines Hughes.
- Helping us make sense of the Yahoo/Facebook battle, paidContent has translated the 10 patents into plain English. You can try to make sense of the gobbledygook like “US Patent 6907566 US Patent 7100111 and US Patent 7373599 Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage (Filed 1999, Issued 2005),” but it boils down to “Placing an ad on a webpage based on what users have done before.”
- Fox Digital Studio will debut a 7-episode comedy series on Myspace, reports Adweek. Sponsored by Taco Bell (which will enjoy heavy brand integration), "Let's Big Happy" will star Angela Sarafyan as a music blogger who tries to make it in LA, but ends up being a guerrilla marketing savant for upstart bands. While Myspace appears to be the social network that got clobbered by upstart Facebook, it is the preferred medium of bands and musicians. Myspace in Q2 will launch Myspace TV, which will somehow integrate traditional TV content and the social media experience. As Myspace Entertainment President Roger Mincheff told Adweek, "Imagine watching a football game or a concert or even just a favorite sitcom, yet being able to interact, chat, engage with your friends and really make it a shared social media experience." If successful, Myspace will effectively boil the two-screen experience down to one screen—the computer or mobile device.
- Digiday, which bills itself as “The Authority on Digital Media, Marketing and Advertising,” has taken a chip out of what it calls “Publishing’s Privileged Class.” Digiday’s Josh Sternberg described car-comparison sites as “A magical land in digital publishing where ads sell out, ad networks don’t exist, and advertisers clamor to close deals at high CPMs in an upfront process.” Sternberg interviewed agencies including Digitas, and car sites including Kelley Blue Book. With cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) nearing $100, the director of advertising products for Kelley Blue Book justifies the cost with the high returns on the price of an automobile; while Sternberg describes “Don Corleone-type tactics” whereby automakers cannot afford to ignore the comparison sites, else they risk “conquesting”: purposeful promotion by the car site of competitor brands.
- Time has launched a new sports blog, “Keeping Score.” As MediaBistro reports, the blog ismore than stats and scores, “its goal is to tackle all the related controversies and issues.” The site will be edited by Sean Gregory, a Time veteran of 10 years. The new blog will be somewhere between Sports Illustrated and Sports Business Journal in coverage, with the business, economics, culture and politics of sports.
- Toyota has launched a multipronged ad campaign based on the Hasbro boardgame “Life,” “to drive millennial attention to the just-released ‘city’ version of [its] hybrid Prius,” reports AdAge. The campaign will integrate TV spots with spots on YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and other digital outlets. Also in the works: an online car configurator for potential buyers. “Life” may seem like an old chestnut (it was created in 1860), but Saatchi & Saatchi Strategic Planning Director Sara Bamossy told Ad Age that its research shows the 25-35 target market grew up playing the board game, and “life for them is a constant media stream of information”: they’ll welcome the classic board game tie-in with new media. (It will be interesting in a decade to see how car makers market to a generation that grew up on “Angry Birds.”)
Optify, a provider of business-to-business marketing software, has released a report analyzing how search engines react during breaking news events, and how advertisers and marketers can bust into those features with targeted ads. In particular, its study compared Bing and Google and their algorithms around breaking news. Among Optify’s findings:
- On average, about 70% of content above the fold was used for breaking news results rather than ranked results.
- In surfacing news results, Bing favors most recent results, and MSN.com, serving results just a few seconds old. Google favors authority and reach, serving results from prominent publications.
- Both search engines react quickly by surfacing news, videos, images and real time updates above the ranked results.
Optify conducted a study around three breaking news event types: the tsunami that hit Japan, the resignation of the late Steve Jobs from Apple, and Amanda Knox (accused of murder in Italy) returning to Seattle. These events were chosen as examples of worldwide, local, and business breaking news.
For each event, Optify identified keywords that would drive the highest volume of results and conducted the searches on both Bing and Google. To analyze the evolution and performance of these keywords, search engine results were observed over a period of time. Both Google and Bing made major changes in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to react to the breaking news. Sponsored content declined or was eliminated, while integrated or multimedia content increased, and recent news content rose to the top of the page, pushing down ranked search engine results.
The findings suggests that publishers and marketers must familiarize themselves with trending terms and the processes in which users search for these events, and incorporate real-time elements into their SEO strategies. The study concludes with ten best practices to help marketers and publishers drive organic traffic before and during a breaking news event.
Among those 10 tips:
1. Format. Search engines give preference to multi-format results, and video is the most desirable as it is easy to consume and share, but hard to come by. Syndicate video on YouTube, embed it into your site, and use kewords to describe it.
2. Social sharing. Google likely renders real-time results by looking at the sharing volume of content. So using your social network to mae it easy for people to interact with your content increases your chances of ranking higher on SERPs.
3. Google+. Optify believes the recent release of Google Search Plus Your World makes Google+ an important part of social sharing efforts. Google will likely give more weight to content with a lot of +1’s (similar to the Facebook “Like” function).
4. Keyword optimization. Without optimizing your content using the durable elements of SEO, chances are that you will not rank very high. While you cannot prepare a keyword strategy for news events that have yet to happen, your marketers and copywriters can react quickly with SEO savvy. Some news categories that are more stable with predictable breaking news events (e.g., sports, politics and health). If in doubt, use Twitter trends to see what keywords and hashtags are trending, and uncover keywords to use in your own content.
At the heart of Yahoo’s just-announced lawsuit against Facebook: patent violations, particularly with regards to targeted advertising. Yahoo lists 10 patents which upon which Facebook has supposedly and knowingly infringed, which include patents for advertising; privacy; customization; social networking and messaging.
Forbes describes the stakes. Yahoo is claiming that Facebook relies upon its patents “to direct ads to viewers who have expressed an interest in certain topics and the pay-per-click model for charging advertisers, which it says requires Yahoo!’s patented algorithms” to strip away fraudulent or unwanted clicks.
If Facebook were to be disallowed the technology, then, the personalized experience of Facebook, both in social networking and advertising, would be essentially wiped out. The New York Times in its DealBook section has listed just what those ad patents are, being three entitled “Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage,” granted in 2005, 2006 and 2008, and one called “System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network,” granted 2010. Also in contention, at the sheer ability to target those ads, as the suit includes patents for generating a “community bias” and a “dynamic page generator.”
Facebook in a statement said that “We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation.” Facebook claims that after some unsuccessful negotiations, it “learned of Yahoo’s decision simultaneously with the media. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.”
How likely is this to put the brakes on Facebook advertising? Not very, frankly. This kind of suit is commonplace, “Where a company that used to be a leader asserts patent against a newcomer gaining share,” said Alexander Poltorak, chairman of the patent consulting firm General Patent, in the Forbes story. For example, Apple is fielding lawsuits from both Motorola and Samsung for smart phone technology. Settlements are more commonplace in patent disputes, and Apple last year settled with Nokia in a patent suit, for a one-time fee and royalties.
Still, Yahoo has retained a tough firm that once achieved a settlement with Facebook. As The New York Times describes, Yahoo has retained Los Angeles-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which represented the Winklevoss twins against Facebook. The twins had hired Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a programmer to create a social network, and of course Zuckerberg went on to found Facebook, independent of the Winklevoss brothers. The Winklevoss twins took $65 million and Facebook moved on.
So Facebook ads are likely to continue, unabated. Yahoo is likely to walk away from the proceedings with some satisfaction, but not enough to recoup the leadership position it once held.
Forbes columnist Robert Hof laid out just what impact on advertising Apple’s new iPad will have. To date, advertising on the iPad has been sluggish. But Hof explains why that could change.
- The screen quality. While the screen is magazine size, it has superior definition to HDTV. This will create new ad formats and spark interest in existing ones. And it makes static ads (like those “polite banners”) more eye-grabbing.
- The speed. The higher-end 4G versions and the internal processor are offering twice the speed. This enables near-immediate download of banner ads, and of course, a richer video experience. Thus the digital edition of National Geographic can look like the attractive print edition, but with a touch, deliver a video that loads and plays as immediately as TV. Besides which, that speed is likely to foster more video and interactive ads, from advertisers reluctant to ignore mobile viewers.
- Apple can compete for market share with…Apple. The company will continue to sell its iPad 2, and at about $100 less than before, at $399—not as inexpensive as the Kindle Fire at $200, but it lowers the barrier of entry for Apple afficionados. This will likely increase the iPad reach.
So, says Hof, “Advertisers can run rich, colorful brand ads in a way that never has worked well on the PC…There’s simply a huge difference between an ad you have to click on to view or run and an ad you just have to tap on or swipe to see.”
In its Q4 2011 report, Rhythm NewMedia observed that full-page display ads on tablets garnered a 21% engagement rate, versus 9.4% for the same ad units on smart phones.
Further, combining video with a full-page ad increases engagement on mobile devices, from 9.4% to 11.5%.
Shorter formats (15 seconds) are more common, and do have slightly better completion rates of 89.2% versus 88.3% for 30-second ads. And completion on the Android smart phone platform was better than the Apple iOS platform, at 92% versus 87%.
Interestingly, a custom button within interactive in-stream ads invites 24.7% higher engagement than a standard button. A custom button typically includes a company logo, for example, the Facebook F (see graphic).
Rhythm NewMedia reported that 76% of the campaigns on its network—that is, campaigns, not the videos themselves—include in-stream video ads as commercial breaks during full-episode streams, or as pre-rolls to a video stream.
Among Rhythm Network clients are ABC, IAC, Warner Bros., McDonald’s and General Motors.
InMobi, the global independent mobile ad network, has released a series of reports on global mobile media consumption. InMobi presented its findings earlier this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
InMobi surveyed 20,000 mobile device users in 18 countries, focusing upon consumers who use mobile web services, be it through a browser or app, and across all types of mobile devices. Among their findings:
- Mobile has surpassed TV in terms of time, with consumers spending 27% of their media time on mobile, compared to 22% on TV
- 39% of consumers use their mobile phones while watching TV
- Three quarters of mobile consumers plan to conduct mCommerce activities within the next year (76%)
- 42% of mobile consumers claim mobile advertising has introduced them to something new
- 66% of mobile users are just as comfortable with mobile advertising as they are with TV or online advertising
- Advertising on mobile devices has led to mobile gaining tremendous popularity as a viable shopping channel, with 42% of respondents indicating that mobile ads have introduced them to something new
- 23% of respondents indicating that mobile ads saves time and money
- 14% of respondents indicating that mobile ads have influenced them to buy via mobile
inMobi Global Research Analyst Taimour Azizuddin told Mobile Marketing Daily that the time-spent measurements are active engagements, and “Does not include phone calls or SMS…We excluded those activities so we could really focus on how mobile devices are being used for media consumption activities.”
As Mobile Marketing Daily describes, “the ‘second screen’ effect is quite real,” with 39% using mobile while watching TV. And surprisingly—“bedtime is phone time, apparently, with a stunning 67% saying they use their mobile devices in bed.”
ValueClick, Inc., an Internet advertising network, has announced results from its “2012 ValueClick Media Advertiser Survey.” This annual survey tracks the perceptions, thoughts and actions of agencies and brand marketers, including their views on advertising budgets, reasons for selecting media partners and digital marketing trends. Nearly 300 digital marketers and agency professionals participated in the survey, conducted in December 2011—71% of respondents from agencies, 26% being direct buyers.
ValueClick found that in the category of stationary display advertising, aggregated media–such as networks, demand-side platforms (DSPs), exchanges and trading desks–are stabilizing or increasing their footprint, apparently at the expense of portal buys. Still, while DSPs, exchanges, and trading desks are gaining momentum, 19-31% of media buyers do not plan to spend in those channels in 2012. In addition, video and mobile marketing are experiencing a surge, with only 7-10% of marketers not planning to spend in these channels in 2012 (down from 13% and 15%, respectively, in 2011).
- The number of buyers planning on decreasing spending in networks dropped by over 50%, while those planning to spend the same or increase on networks grew from 72% to 83%. A mere 3% of buyers do not plan on spending on networks.
- DSPs appear to be stabilizing, with the percentage of buyers who plan to keep the spend the same as last year equating to 30%, vs. 23% in last year’s survey, while those planning to increase their spending decreased to 17% from 20% over the same time period.
- Those buyers planning to not spend at all with portals jumped over 38% - from 13% to 18% - and the percentage keeping the same spend or increasing declined from 53% to 45%. A mere 9% of buyers expect to increase their spend with portals.
Targeting Techniques Even Out
Compared to prior years, 2012 will bring a relative impartiality to various targeting techniques. For the first time in the seven years that ValueClick Media’s Annual Advertiser Survey has been completed, the top four preferred targeting techniques (audience-based, demographic, contextual and retargeting) are within a mere six percentage points of each other. Advertisers value any method of reaching the audience, but the one-time king of demographics is now simply part of the pack as contextual and retargeting methodologies have improved, and proved their worth.
Performance Takes on Greater Emphasis
Perhaps related to the leveling out of targeting preferences, the importance of tangible results dwarfs all other criteria buyers use to select media partners. While buyers surveyed in past years regularly ranked performance as the most important consideration, never before has the gap between performance and any other consideration been this wide. In a particularly surprising finding, the importance of transparency dropped by just over 50% compared to last year’s survey.
So buyers are spending less time policing their partners, than policing the results of the partnerships.