Good news from BPA Worldwide, the print and digital circulation oversight group. The BPA board passed a number of rules changes at its May 2012 meeting, which it has just released. All rules are in effect immediately. The short story is that tagging website traffic will become easier, digital subscriptions will be easier to prove, and subscribers will not be tasked with having to fill in a new form to renew (which runs the risk that they do not bother).
Audited Web Traffic Using Tags: Due to advances in technology, the Board took strides toward a truly “tag neutral” approach with respect to reporting audited website traffic data. BPA is now making more options available to members to participate in BPA’s web traffic audit process.
“The change was prompted by the member feedback,” Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide told Folio. About 700 of 2,000 member companies used the Nielsen tags. "The question to the other 1,300 was what’s preventing you from doing this? Some had said they were using other analytics providers. The two that were named more often than not was Google Analytics and Omniture.”
Specifically, BPA no longer requires its members to use the BPA proprietary tag powered by Nielsen. It can now work with, for example, including Google Analytics and/or Omniture SiteCatalyst tags. Members may begin reporting Google Analytics data as of July 2012 after completing a simple set-up process.
Reporting Apps: As of December (BPA’s last board meeting), BPA determined that only App downloads could be reported on BPA Brand reports, as there was not enough recipient information to report qualified subscriptions/copies delivered through Apps on circulation statements. But, media owners have developed App registration (free) or payment (paid) gateways, which BPA believes is sufficient proof of qualified circulation.
Business and Consumer Magazines
Pre-Populated Electronic Qualification Forms: BPA will allow publishers to pre-populate electronic subscription forms (web, email, text) with a previous year’s data. The maximum age of the previous demographic data cannot exceed three years in age and the subscriber must be asked to review the data and press a single confirm button to agree the information is correct before completing the renewal.
Digital Request, Electronic: At the December 2011 meeting, the BPA Board ruled that subscriber access to digital copies (by downloading the issue or accessing it online) may be used to substantiate a renewal to continue receiving a digital subscription. The rule requires minimum access for a six-month reporting period: but because most members analyze either May or November issues, media owners found they were not getting the benefit of subscriber access in the months of June or December, effectively losing two months out of the year. The Board amended the rule to maintain the original access requirements, and the six-month period, but the six-month access period will now end with the analyzed issue, and, in so doing
The Boston Globe is offering free access to its online edition through May 9, reports paidContent. Reporter Jeff John Roberts dug into the story, to find that the Globe has attracted just 18.000 subscribers since erecting the paywall last October.
Roberts reported earlier in the week that The New York Times Co. announced that online revenue had slid 2% from a year ago—but in that year, and after erecting its paywall, the Times has attracted 454,000 paid digital subscribers. The Times is so bullish on its digital subscribership that in March it cut the number of free stories nonsubscribers are allowed to read by 50%, from 20 per month to 10. The changeover took effect on Monday, April 20th. The Times on its website explained that “The change provides us with an opportunity to convince another segment of our audience that what The Times has to offer is worth paying for.”
The Globe is gambling on the same, and its idea is “getting the word out on new features, including the Boston Globe e-paper,” said the Globe’s Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Peter Doucette—but the Globe has yet to articulate what those features are, other than automatically adapting to mobile devices.
Likely, the Globe will find that a regional newspaper has less of a value proposition for subscribers (and advertisers) than does a more national property like The New York Times—for that matter, like the Los Angeles Times, which according to comScore data, was the third-most-viewed U.S. newspaper website in 2011 (17 million unique visitors a month); the New York Times and Washington Post ranked first and second.
"Both Nielsen and AOL are pushing toward a more TV-like ad model," describes Adweek, hoping to go head-to-head with TV ad buyers and cull some of those mammoth TV budgets.
AOL has announced it will offer advertisers guaranteed audience delivery for online video advertising campaigns bought across its properties. This is the first time that online gross rating points (GRPs) – based on audience demographics, rather than clicks or impressions – are being used as the basis for advertiser guarantees on the Web. AOL will leverage Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings reach, frequency and GRP measurement to determine how well it delivered ads to the desired target audience. As the digital content NewFronts (a digital upfront) approach, AOL is the first major publisher to use a TV-based guarantee model for its online video inventory. Online video ads are one of the fastest-growing formats: eMarketer predicted a 52% increase in online video ad spend for 2011.
“As marketers and advertisers increasingly shift dollars from traditional television advertising to the Web, partnering with Nielsen puts AOL in a unique position to offer a more cost effective mechanism for reaching targeted audiences and a better or equal brand lift, reach and recall,” said Ran Harnevo, Senior Vice President, AOL Video. “AOL has a significant volume of high-quality content valued by advertisers and we are excited to take the lead on showing marketers the value and differentiated results we can guarantee.”
“With online video increasingly playing a role in traditional TV Upfront buying and selling, consistent cross-platform metrics are becoming more and more critical to proving the true value of advertising on a site, in terms that are familiar to brand marketers,” said Steve Hasker, President, Media Products and Advertiser Solutions, Nielsen. “This is the first time that online GRPs – based on audience demographics, rather than clicks or impressions – are being used as the basis for advertiser guarantees on the Web. We are pleased that AOL, the first major publisher to use an audience demo-based guarantee model for its online video inventory, turned to Nielsen’s highly accurate reach, frequency and online GRP measurement to drive increased confidence in their platform as a brand medium. We look forward to working with them to demonstrate their ability to effectively deliver on their clients’ goals.”
AOL will host clients at its Digital Content NewFront presentation on April 24 in New York, NY, and will premier significant video opportunities on sale to marketers and advertisers. AOL offers a rich online video platform with original programs including “Sessions,” “Heidi Klum on AOL,” “Moviefone’s Unscripted” and “The Engadget Show.”
Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings launched in August 2011 providing the first-ever Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited GRP for online advertising campaigns of any size with metrics similar to those used for TV advertising, enabling cross-media planning and analysis. Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings is part of the Nielsen Campaign Ratings suite, which provides a full range of premiere advertising audience measurement.
comScore today released data from the comScore Video Metrix service showing that U.S. Internet users watched nearly 38 billion videos of online video content, and 7.5 billion video ads, in February. Hulu ranked 9th of 10 for online video content, but for video ads.
For content, Google Sites(driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com) ranked first, with 147.4 million unique viewers in February, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 60.9 million, VEVO with 52 million, and Facebook.com with 43.6 million. Hulu took a respectable 951 million, with viewers catching up on TV series and watching streaming movies. The average viewer watched 21.8 hours of online video content, with Google Sites (7 hours) and Hulu (3.8 hours) demonstrating the highest average engagement among the top ten properties.
Hulu also delivered a record-high number of video ad impressions, with more than 1.5 billion. Hulu also delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 48, while ESPN delivered an average of 26 ads per viewer. Google Sites ranked second in ad impressions with 1.1 billion video ads during the month, followed by Adap.tv with 706 million, BrightRoll Video Network with 683 million and Specific Media with 611 million. Time spent watching video ads totaled nearly 3.2 billion minutes, with Hulu delivering the highest duration of video ads at 650 million minutes. Video ads reached 50% of the total U.S. population an average of 49 times during the month. comScore in its calculations defined video ads as include streaming-video advertising only, and did not include other types of video monetization such as overlays, branded players, matching banner ads and homepage ads.
Other notable findings from February 2012 include:
- 83.8% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
- The duration of the average online content video was 6.2 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes.
- Video ads accounted for 16.6% of all videos viewed and 1.3% of all minutes spent viewing video online
- “Comcast's XfinityTV is giving college hoops fans a chance to check out all the Madness in one place,” writes Multichannel News. Comcast has aggregated coverage of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship at http://xfinity.comcast.net/sports/cbk/, where Comcast subscribers can stream games live; this regardless of the network on which a game airs, be it TBS, TNT, TruTV or broadcaster CBS. The microsite also brings in video from ESPN, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, AP and Reuters.
- No word yet on if/how it will work in advertising, but PixyKids, a social network aimed at kids 6-12, has raised $3m in funding, reports SocialTimes. The funding comes from ATA Ventures and angel investors. PixyKids is a new social network focused upon parent-approved entertainment, social interaction and creativity. The site will have a heavy bent toward creativity, offering kids a platform to share their art, photos and videos. CEO Rajul Kadakia has billed it as “Facebook Meets Disney.”
- The CW is “Pushing the boundaries to where its young TV viewers are,” writes Media Post, “as well as helping its TV advertising sponsors,” by releaseing a new mobile app where full episodes of CW shows can be viewed the next day—ads intact. Before, those episodes were available three days after airing. In fact, the most recently aired five episodes are available on the app, which in turn is available for iPad, iPhone and Android. CW is home to “Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “Gossip Girls,” among other properties.
- Rush Limbaugh posted his first tweets yesterday, reports CNBC, with links to two stories that were supportive of him after the recent advertiser boycott. (This after Limbaugh referred to a female birth-control advocate and law student as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”) A bold move, considering the considerable backlash against him on Twitter. Limbaugh created the Twitter account in 2009 but never used it. “There’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it,” he said on his radio show. One story by Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson accused Limbaugh’s opponents of “astroturfing” advertisers. As of Thursday, Limbaugh had more than 100,000 followers.
- eBay has selected Publicis Groupe's Digitas to handle its digital media and digital creative, reports Ad Age. Digitas beat out a trio of finalists, which included Organic and Swirl. The deal does not as yet include social media, and it is unclear if that will be assigned to a different agency. eBay's North American CMO Richelle Parham worked at Digitas for 12 years, finishing as senior VP and general manager at Digitas in 2007.
- The social media source that women trust most is the –alas—ad-unfriendly Pinterest. That according to a survey by BlogHer, as reported in Adweek. When asked whether they trusted different social media sources, 81% of American women said they trusted blogs and Pinterest; 73% said they trusted Twitter; and 67% trusted Facebook. By “trust,” BlogHer means making a purchase acting on recommendations from the various sources. Sixty one percent had acted on a blog recommendation, 47% on one from Pinterest. Facebook came in at just 33%, and Twitter, 31%. Because Pinterest is populated with reposts, it is more an indirect marketing outlet than a marketing outlet.
- What makes a campaign go viral? Humor is overrated, suggests David Sable, CEO of Young & Rubicam. He is one of the global judges for the Microsoft Advertising Story Awards. (The awards were conceived to honor truly innovative multiple-screen campaigns.) Sable said on the Microsoft Advertising Blog that his current favorite campaign is Kony 2012, aimed at bringing a former Ugandan warlord to justice. Sable calls it one of the great viral stories of all time, “And it’s a sad story, but it’s a story people wanted to share because [it’s an] important story…we need to be taking people to a place where we’ve moved them. That could be funny…but if we don’t create that story in their head and let them make that story their own, we haven’t done anything.”
- An unhappy user is suing Apple for false advertising, reports BizJournals. Plaintiff Frank Fazio filed a complaint in San Jose, California, claiming that the Siri voice command function on the iPhone 4S does not work as advertised. Part of the complaint reads “When [Fazio] asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer." This may be the first of a spate of such suits. Apple settled last month over the reception problems of the iPhone 4, with a $15 offer or a new wrap-around case that supposedly solves the problem.
- Discovery Communications has penned a digital content licensing deal with Amazon.com, says The Hollywood Reporter. The deal will add series from several networks to Amazon’s Prime Instant Videos streaming service, including shows from TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel. Among the programs covered by the agreement are Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress and Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. Prime Instant Video's total title count now stands at 17,000+ offerings.
- Ad agency BBH is defending itself for its “Homeless Hotspots,” in a Digiday interview. It seemed like a good idea: have homeless people carry around 4G wireless equipment that made them into mobile hotspots, and enable them to accept donations (a suggested $2 for 15 minutes) for WiFi access. Participants from the Austin, Texas Front Steps Shelter wore T-shirts identifying themselves as “homeless hotspots.” Critics saw it as objectifying the homeless. But BBH Labs’ Head of Innovation Saneel Radia compares it to the street newspapers that homeless people sell (e.g., “The Big Issue”), which are generally well accepted by homeless advocates. “When we announced the plan, Mark Horvath (he founded Invisible People) ended up loving the idea and helped us figure out some of the mechanics of the project,” said Radia. The program is still in effect in Austin, but BBH appeared more interested in spearheading the idea, than in owning it or taking it national.
- 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.
“We will begin to restrict some access to non-subscribers,” said Gannett’s Bob Dickey, president of community publishing, at a Wednesday “Investor Day” event in New York. Gannett will switch all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by year end, for both mobile and Web versions, reports Forbes.
Online readers of papers like the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Hattiesburg American and the Montgomery Advertiser will be metered, with access to up to 15 stories before being asked to subscribe (the number varies by market). Gannett’s flagship USA Today is not included in the scheme.
Gannett is gambling that this will bring in a 25% boost in subscription revenues for $100, but paidContent has its doubts. That 25%/$100 million projection is based on the presumptions that 1) current online and mobile readers will gladly pay for subscriptions, and 2) advertisers will not be scared off by a potential loss of exposures. If subscriberships fail to materialize, then advertisers will likely abandon the digital editions. Bearing in mind that these are local newspapers with local advertisers, their patience is likely to be short.
Also true, the company does not yet have mobile and tablet applications for all 80 properties. It plans to scale up in 2012 for 100% coverage, on a common architecture that is localized. “So the look and feel and operability will be the same, but the experience will look/feel local,” said the company in a statement.
Gannett’s ad revenues (USA Today included) were down 7% year-over-year in Q4 2011, at $670.7 million in 2011. But it appears to have a handle on digital operations, which were profitable and growing. Its entire digital revenues were $290.3 million for Q4.
Yahoo this week hosted 40 advertisers and agencies at the Caroline’s on Broadway comedy club in Manhattan, to introduce the Yahoo! Comedy Channel.
The channel debuts tomorrow (February 23) on Yahoo! Screen, the company’s streaming media platform with both partnered and original content. First up at 7:30 PT/10:30 ET is a free stand-up show, "CrazyStupidPolitics: Bill Maher Live from Silicon Valley." In March, Yahoo! will launch several short-form video programs with comics including Mike O'Brien ("Saturday Night Live") and Seth Morris ("I Love You, Man").
First among advertisers: Progressive Insurance, with its comedic ads starring “Flo.” Yahoo! Claims its comedy channel will be an easy sell, as its women’s slate on Yahoo! Screen has attracted 10 million streams per month, with shows like Morgan Spurlock's "Failure Club."
Comedy is a good bet for Yahoo!, which declares that “comedy is the king of online video content,” and is watched by 93% of the 18-29 demographic. These are the “Comedy Natives,” as MTV Network EVP of Research Tanya Giles describes them. MTV owns Comedy Central, with 46% of its viewership between the ages of 18 and 34. The Comedy Natives (males in particular) define themselves by their sense of humor, versus their musical taste or enthusiasm for sports. They will choose to watch an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” over a ball game, and consume more humorous video than music.
At the advertiser event, agencies like Mindshare, Publicis and Optimedia, Zenith Media met comics Mike O'Brien of "Saturday Night Live" and Seth Morris of “I Love You, Man," and Ed Helms of “The Office.” Helms is one of several comics who will be featured in a weekly video series of shorts called “Sketchy.”