ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – May 2015

Site Performance Report Added to Access Control
The Site Performance report has been added to Access Control for all role types.
You can enable/disable it from the following location:
Create Role>> Report Permissions>> Performance>> Site Report

Alert on Profit Report Page to indicate incomplete scraping data
For Ad Network customers we scrap revenue per campaign and apply it while generating Profit reports. When scraper data is unavailable we use the default rate set for the campaign, which is later updated when the scraper data is available.

The message: “Revenue displayed in red is incomplete as data collection is in progress. Check again later or contact your account manager.” will appear when the scraper data is unavailable and the revenue is being calculated using default campaign rate.

The message alerts users about the incomplete revenue data while they do their analysis.

Iframe Buster for Roadblock ads and IAB Sidekick
This feature allows you to run Rich Media Ads created via the Roadblock template, using an Iframe tag and hosting the Iframe buster file. We have also added Iframe Buster support for IAB Sidekick ad format from the Custom Rich Media ads option.

A Quick Way to Solve Your Fraud and Viewability Problems

 Switch to ZEDO. And we’re not kidding. Our platform has been tested and shown to contain less than 3% ad fraud, coupled with over 90% viewability. We’ve got the numbers to prove it.
 What does that mean? It means we’ve been working at this problem since we were founded, and every year we get better and better at serving viewable ad units and firing sites where we identify fraud. If we didn’t have to deal with third party networks, we’d probably have zero fraud, because we never include suboptimal sites in the campaigns we serve. Spotting those has been a major focus of our technologists, as has been viewability.
 Three years ago, we pledged to own the phrase “viewable impressions.” Our InView slider, released at the same time, was the first ad unit to test 99% viewable by comScore.
 We have just been waiting for the industry to figure out how much money was being wasted. And sure enough, 2015 has been the year in which ad fraud and its cousin viewability have become major concerns.
They existed before, but there was tacit agreement that not much could be done, and besides, no one knew what percentage of ads were either not viewable or fraudulent. But it was only a matter of time before our ability to mine and manipulate the data associated with advertising transactions began to surface the extent of the problem.
 According to Ad Age, 30% of all programmatic ad buys could be fraudulent, and 90% of the fraudulent traffic is coming from bots. This fraudulent traffic costs the industry as much as $1 million a day, says DoubleVerify. What doesn’t come from bots is due to video fraud, which is more difficult to spot and even harder to get rid of.
We don’t have that either. And on the viewability side of the fence, we’ve just completed a test with MOAT, one of the only certified vendors to track both display and video viewability.
While the Media Rating Council sanctioned buying on viewability last year, the IAB has recently set a standard of only 70% viewability for this year because many vendors couldn’t get much higher. Indeed, MOAT told us the industry benchmark was 62%.
Our ads? 90% in view, and that would be higher again if we didn’t deal with other networks.
 Sure, self-serving blog posts aren’t the best way to get the information out, but there are only a finite number of hours in the day for our sales teams to spend contacting people who don’t yet know how badly they need us and how much we can help them.

Consolidate Your Vendors for Peak Effectiveness

You know things have become difficult for marketers when the President and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) admits that all the money  flooding into ad tech has merely caused more chaos. As a marketer  you certainly already know this as you attempt to deal with the tangle of new partners who come between you and the consumer. As a publisher you rail at the way every new middleman takes a small piece of the pie that represents your inventory.

It’s time for everyone to consider consolidating from the current melange of startups to a single larger vendor who can do it all.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the display Lumascape.  Notice the sheer number of possible partners, and then take a look at the number of acquired and shuttered companies.

Display Lumascape

Display Lumascape

All this has got to stop. Marketers, the ones who pay the bills, must think about consolidating to a few larger trustworthy vendors and stop experimenting with startups that promise the Holy Grail and sell you stuff that doesn’t work as promised and doesn’t measure what you need measured.

Video Lumascape

The Video Lumascape

But you’re not relying on display anymore, are you? You are also using video, and you’re moving to mobile.

You will need fewer, bigger, better partners that can take you across desktop, tablet, and mobile.

  • ZEDO, a company that has been in the ad tech business since 1999, has a buy side offering in its ZINC division, and a sell side offering in our more familiar publisher ad server and operations services.
  • Over the years, watching the market evolve, we too have evolved, into a platform for easy and automated buying of our high impact, highly viewable premium inventory. We get consistent high marks for viewability from MRC-certified  vendors, and we are active in the Online Trust Alliance fighting against the distribution of malware and the commission of ad fraud.

And now we are developing new mobile formats for use both in a web browser and alongside applications. Here is the mobile Lumascape, with hundreds of additional companies to contend with. Don’t put up with it. Choose one partner you can rely on.

Mobile Lumascape

Mobile Lumascape





The State of the Media Industry

CollisionConf2014-301-1024x678New York (and London),  we’ve got a problem. At the Collision Conference in Las Vegas, there was both a Marketing Stage and a conference-within-a-conference called BrandX. We attended both, and came away with the feeling that there’s been so much change in the advertising industry lately that no one quite knows how to respond. The media industry is in a tailspin that looks a little like the one 20 year ago when the internet first became a household world. As an industry we responded too slowly then, and we have to be careful we’re not responding too slowly now.

The problem is the consumer. She’s disappeared, even though she’s in more places than ever before. We keep trying to locate her amidst the almost infinite media fragmentation. You, publisher, are part of that fragmentation. She’s hopping on your site and then off somewhere else before you get a handle on what she really wants. She no longer clicks on ads, although they may have have influenced her. So the price you can offer for your ads has gone down.

And you don’t have all the inventory you used to either, because of the new push for viewability. First you were put under pressure to re-design your site for mobile. So you went to a responsive design. But now, with some advertisers clamoring for 100% viewability ( and each advertiser giving you a different metric for what viewability actually means), you are redesigning again to make sure all your inventory can be tested as viewable.

You’ll wind up with less salable inventory, and your income may plummet further, as it did when you lost the consumer the first time.

If you’re lucky enough to have a site that targets Millennials, your problems are both larger and smaller simultaneously. You’ve got the great content that brings the largest demographic in the world to your site (18-34 year olds) but they hate ads. They’re cynical and turned off, and they let you know it. As a publisher, you’ve got the great content, but you can’t sell against it if you can’t prove your customers buy the products being advertised.

So you lower the editorial bar by going to “native ads.” Native ads are what you used to hate: content that is often created by or created by your own staff for brands. You have now redefined your mission: you are no longer a publisher, you’re in league with your advertisers.

But you have to get over this. The distinction between advertising and publishing is going away. There’s now only one category: information. Whether under the publisher banner or the brand banner, you’re giving the consumer, that hard-to-find and harder to win Millennial what she wants — good information on which to base a decision.

As an ecosystem, we’ve wrapped a boatload of terms around this new set of circumstances: programmatic, viewability, native, real time bidding, DSP, SSP, DMP and many more. But in the world of the internet, no matter what side we’re on — publisher or advertiser — we are selling the same product to the consumer. Information.

Perhaps we shouldn’t forget that.

Fraud and Lack of Viewability Are Not the Same

It’s frightening how poorly the trade pubs in the advertising industry have dealt with the current big issues of viewability and ad fraud. Almost all of the journalists have conflated the two concerns, leading to unrealistic expectations of what should be done to remedy each. At the very least, we in the industry ought to recognize that they are two different problems. It’s a lot easier to fix viewability issues than it is to combat ad fraud, because fraud largely comes from outside the industry.

Marketers are a little smarter about it than the media. In a recent Ad Age survey, 61% were concerned about paying for ad fraud, but 87% were concerned with viewability. The marketers seemed to understand that there’s only so much we can do about ad fraud, because it isn’t always committed by someone in the ecosystem.

What’s the difference between fraud and viewability?
The commission of fraud is intentional; fraudulent publishers send people or bots to click on ads, forcing the marketer to pay for the ads.  Or they create sites that aggregate large amounts of traffic in ways that don’t match the vision for a brand. Porn sites are an example, of this. They may draw 18-25 year old males, but if you were a consumer brand you might not want your ad to appear there.  But outside of the advertising industry, malware can also be embedded in ads, sometimes by cyberterrorists. For example, cryptoware ransomware was found embedded in fake Hugo Boss ads running on premium sites recently. The ads were delivered through RTB, on the Engage:BDR ad network. But they were placed by criminals, not advertisers or publishers.
Viewability problems , on the other hand, are mostly unintentional: in a real time bidding environment, ads can be served so quickly that they literally step on one another and the site visitor doesn’t even see the ad. Many other things can influence viewability, including the design of a publisher site, the size of the ad, how the ad is served, and the ad’s format. Native, large format, or high impact ads don’t have a problem with viewability. Most good publishers measure viewability using a partner like DoubleVerify or comScore and strive to make sure their ads are viewable.
What led these two problems to be conflated was the realization on the part of marketers that despite the introduction of an entire new set of partners between the advertiser and the publisher, advertiser ROI was still not what it should have been for the dollars spent. Can anyone say “creative“?

What is a Publisher in a Post-Digital Era?

It’s true: the internet changed everything. But one of the things it has changed the most is publishing. It seems like publishing changes just about every week.

When we founded ZEDO, it was easy to define “publisher.” A publisher was an entity that created and distributed content, usually monetizing that content through subscriptions and advertising. Most publishers produced newspapers, magazines, or books. Even in 1999, when publishing had already gone digital, it was still a simple task to find ZEDO’s customers, because we were an ad server to publishers. Now, we have all kinds of new customers that wouldn’t have been publishers in the past — like weather information and dating sites.We were born before the term SSP existed, but we evolved into an SSP, and later to an end to end solution for ATDs. We knew our mission well: to be a partner to publishers.

And we knew who the quality publishers were. Although the internet made it possible for everyone to be a publisher by making a web page, it wasn’t until 2000 when Blogger was founded that individuals began to become publishers in amazing numbers.  Some of those new publishers were actually quite good — their quality rivaled that of traditional journalists. This new development made the supply of content almost infinite and audiences began to fragment accordingly.

Except video audiences. They were still safely sitting in front of the TV, at least until this year. This year, cord-cutting has become  the TV analogue to the end of subscriptions to newspapers. If you can get anything online free, why subscribe to a magazine, or indeed a cable service? That’s why cable operators are unbundling. They have to.

Social media presents yet another challenge. It began to take care of the distribution end of things. If something good happened on the internet, sharing and recommendation sites like Facebook and Twitter could distribute that to an audience in the hundreds of millions, far larger than a publishers’ own site. While that didn’t hurt traditional publishers, it didn’t help them make more money, and Facebook recently launched partnerships with publishers that don’t even involve content appearing on the publishers’ original sites; the content will be published only on Facebook. Buzzfeed, in its own mind, has redefined publisher as “provider of sharable content.”

In the last few months, the video audience, already fragmented by cable and networks, over the top services and social media, had an opportunity to fragment further: Snapchat began its “Discover” streaming video service. While there are plans to monetize this service through advertising, no one is sure how that will work or who will make money. Only two months after Snapchat’s innovation, Meerkat and Pericope have launched, allowing everyone to press a button to produce and distribute live video content to their Twitter friends.

It has been difficult to watch the people formerly known as publishers reel from these changes. Editors who only recently launched Facebook campaigns have had to run to Snapchat, and tell their reporters to get on Periscope.It seems to us that the definition of a publisher has changed. No longer is a publisher a person or company who creates and distributes content; instead, it’s a person or company wildly trying to locate the audience, which is why we’ve evolved as well. We are now a platform that connects both publishers and brands.



Japan’s Mobile Market Leads US

Japan is currently one of the three largest markets for smartphone apps, and according to a report published by analytics firm App Annie, Japan has overtaken the US as the world’s largest mobile app market.  Japanese smartphone and tablet owners spent 10% more than their U.S counterparts in the iOS App Store and Google Play in October 2013.

As in America, the Japanese mobile phone market is moving swiftly from feature phones to smartphones. This move will have great implications for mobile online advertising, because Japan will have the same tension between the mobile web and apps.

Japan has always had a large installed base of feature phone users, but the number of smartphone buyers nearly doubled between 2013 and 2014.  Smartphone ownership rates are about evenly split between males and females, with about 45.4% of the males and 46.7% of females owning a smartphone. By this year smart phone ownership should reach 50% of the population, and by 2018 that will rise to 61%.

Unsurprisingly, younger people were significantly more likely to have smart phones, with more than 75%  of internet users 15-19 owning one, and more than 70% of those between 20-29. As people upgrade their feature phones, they seem to be moving to iPhones; 56.4% of users named the iPhone as their preferred smartphone brand.

Mobile ad market revenues also jumped in 2014. In Japan, 44% of mobile phone owners click on ads they receive on their phones. In 2013, mobile advertising was worth over $1 billion in Japan alone, and by 2017 that number is expected to double.

Over 60% of mobile ad spending was on paid search ads used by real estate, education, travel, and financial companies. 30% was from display advertising used by app developers, e-books, travel, and real estate agencies, and 10% is from app developers incentivizing users to install their apps.

Japan’s mobile shoppers love marketplace promotions:

  • Rakuten Market (楽天市場), the mobile app of Japan’s largest e-commerce website, found itself among Google Play’s top 10 apps by downloads
  • Rakuten Market’s app downloads appeared to spike around July 5-8. This might tie into Rakuten’s aggressive “Shopping Marathon” promotion held that weekend
  • Different from Amazon’s “daily low price” strategy to attract and retain shoppers, Rakuten Market designed its “Rakuten Super Points” rewards program to do so
  • Rakuten frequently runs promotions by giving extra bonus points to specific customer segments, merchandise categories and time periods.

And they are serious about dating. Dating services YYC and Pairs (????) found their apps among the top 10 on iOS by revenue, with YYC also finishing at #8 on Google Play by revenue. Both YYC and Pairs allow free registration, but monetize users’ actions, such as  profile views and user-to-user messages with their in-app currency.

Originally a web service, YYC has 14 years of history with 7 million
registered members; Conversely, Pairs is a relatively new app built
on Facebook with 1.3 million current active users. Both apps are further developing their security and privacy mechanisms, and Pairs has started expanding to other East Asian markets, leveraging cultural carry-over.


ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – April 2015

URL Pattern Targeting

Knowing where their ads run is very CRITICAL for marketers. Recently we have seen players like Appnexus being very strict on what URL they send to buyers. Also sometimes campaign calls for a specific whitelist or a blacklist.

ZINC Adsales told us that they wanted to serve some ads only on certain domains and URLs but ZINC operations team was helpless as groups of publishers were using single tag.

One of our Network customer wanted to block a few domains for his advertisers and at the same time reduce operations work by using single tag.

We have a solution for all the above problems! URL Pattern Targeting. Live now.

Read: http://kb.zedo.com/url-pattern-targeting/

Activity cookie on secure channel

Till now we only supported acitivity logging on non secure channels. It appears that secure protocol is getting popular as many websites are going secure.

Customers using secure channels will be able to use behavioural targeting using activity cookie now.

Emails from white labeled domain

Users of the While labeled systems will now recieve emails from the white labeled domains.

UI changes

  • Video file limit increased to 20MB for VAST
  • Title for companion ads in the UI

Fixed second price calculation in PMP

We are now using method used by the industry to calculate second price auction when PMP deals are part of the bidding response.

Yahoo’s Mobile Growth Signals Marketers’ Shifting Priorities

We just finished reading Nicholas Carlson’s book on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo, and  we think it’s a must read for anyone in the media business.  Set aside the politics, the boardroom battles and the glamorous Vogue photo shoots and you have a picture of a tremendously talented and hardworking CEO who during the past two years has revolutionized the Yahoo product with a strong focus on mobile. If you haven’t visited Yahoo’s various media sites in a while — especially news, weather, and tech — you will find them totally transformed from the old Yahoo. They have the thoroughly modern, easily navigable look of a Flipboard or  Circa, and the mobile versions have even won design awards from Apple.  It’s easy to see that Mayer has taken seriously the need to design data-driven user experiences that can attract younger readers.

Tumblr, too, continues to do well.

And yet, Yahoo’s revenues did not grow in 2014.  Does this mean betting the farm on mobile was wrong? Here’s Mayer putting the best spin on things in the 2014 earnings release:

“I’m pleased to report that our performance in Q4 and in 2014 continues to show stability in our core business,” said Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. “Our mobile strategy and focus has transformed Yahoo and yielded significant results. In Q4, we saw $254 millionin mobile revenue, up 23% quarter-over-quarter. Across all of 2014, we saw gross mobile revenue of $1.26 billion and GAAP mobile revenue of $768 million. Our investment businesses – mobile, video, native, and social – collectively delivered more than $1.1 billion in GAAP revenue, up 95% year-over-year. These growth drivers have really focused our investments and energy on the future of digital advertising.”

The future of digital advertising. Mobile. In those words lie the answer to why Yahoo isn’t doing so well presently, and why it will do better in the future. And also in those words is a lesson for all other media execs who have yet to make big strategic bets on mobile.

Because Mayer was a tech exec and not a media exec, she focused on mobile from almost the moment she arrived at Yahoo. She knew that was where consumers were headed, and she wanted to get there first to beat them there. But for the same reason — because her background is in tech and not in media — she underestimated how slowly the advertising community would move its budgets to mobile. As a result, she landed Yahoo squarely on mobile just in time to meet her users but a couple of years before marketers realized the need for a mobile strategy and the bigger need to shift budgets.

Mayer might have been too early to mobile, but if you look at the paragraph above you’ll see how quickly the mobile business is growing. Either this year or next it will overtake the traditional Yahoo display business. And then it’s our opinion she will be considered a success in her transformation of a company everyone thought was out of the major leagues.

How is your mobile user experience?




Publishers Re-Designing to Take Mobile Seriously

Publishers who have traditionally felt themselves to be the curators and packagers of news are now re-thinking their roles yet again as consumers switch to mobile. In the days of print, there were one or two deadlines a day, usually morning and evening, at which time a new “package” of news was edited, printed, and distributed. The first switch to digital took those two aggregation points in the day and moved them online. Later, the “home page” emerged, updated more often but still considered the first place a reader would land.  More recently, social media and recommendation engines killed that arrangement as readers came from Google, Facebook and Twitter. And now, mobile has changed things yet again.

Premium publishers are redesigning their sites with less emphasis on the traditional home page and more on the way consumers on mobile “pull” news to themselves — on demand and in context. “Publishers have learned that the smaller smartphone screen has to be treated much differently than the screen of a personal computer. They also are grasping that allowing the consumer to select his or her news preferences has to be a priority,”  writes Michael Barris of Mobile Marketer.  “The big lesson here is that people try to access content where they want to, not where publishers want them to. Utilizing approaches like responsive design—sites that flex to the form factor of the device accessing it—allows organizations to create content once and distribute in as many places as possible.”

For traditional publishers, this has been difficult, as they also have to deal with legacy audiences. The New York Times, for example, has redesigned its site to a long scroll containing all the former sections of the print newspaper on one page to be available to mobile viewers. It has also placed video on the front page,  although not typically “above the fold.”  There are four ad spaces on the home page, all small. The Guardian home page has only a single ad, proving that the publisher feels the editorial experience of a clean home page will be more conducive to getting a reader to click on an internal page. CNN.com, also optimized for mobile, has but a single ad on the landing page.

Why has this changed? Because the “front page” is not how the audience on mobile comes to the publisher. More likely, a visitor will come through an app like Nuzzel, which aggregates all the news your friends are sharing into a simple package of headlines. You, as the visitor, pay very little attention to where the news came from as you click on the headline from the Nuzzel app. That headline leads you to the NYTimes, but not to the site as a whole — only to the article you want to read. On that page are the best advertising opportunities.

This represents a sea change in the way advertising is valued, and also in what advertising will likely work. Ad formats and placements are being swiftly revalued for mobile advertisers, and this along with the growth of native advertising is making for yet another bumpy year in the publishing business.