ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – October 2014

Ad Request Event for VAST

As the digital video advertising market becomes more sophisticated, new features and functionality are required to improve support for streaming ad display and reporting. We have added a new feature Ad Request which works in VAST Events.

The ‘Ad Request’ feature is activated by default for all VAST ads that are created, it will not be available in the VAST Compatible create ad form. The Ad Requests event reports on the number of requests made by the VAST tag to the ad server to fetch the video ad.

Users can view the Ad requests logged for an ad by pulling a VAST event report.

Click here for more information


Reach Report by Channel/Country ( Not yet released)

Apart from existing Campaign and Creative reach report, you can now pull a reach report by Country and Channel. The Country and Channel reach report is available along with all the existing parameters and can be pulled by month, week or day.

These reports will allow you to analyze how effective your reach is for a Country and Channel.


Frequency cap option for expandable

Expandable ads are rich media ads that can expand beyond the original size of the ad unit. The ad can expand automatically or when a user clicks or rolls over, and you can control that setting when you traffick the Ad in Zedo Server. However Auto expanding multiple times in a day for the same user, could create a negative impact. Hence to keep this in check we now provide frequency capping option that allows you to decide the number of times the Ad will Auto Expand in a day for a specific user.


Roadblock and Competing ad setup improved

We have improved the Roadblock and Competing ad setup by eliminating the steps to create pages by synchronizing the channels. You can now targeting roadblock ads directly to any channel and serve the ads on your webpage.


Ad status while creating an ad

You can now set a new ad to app (approved) status directly from the create ad form.

New Advertising Formats Rescue Publishers

Nobody wants the publishing industry to go away, but current conditions sure make it difficult for it to survive. It used to be that advertisers had to come to publishers to reach potential customers. Now, however, all kinds of tech companies sell customer data, and the publisher’s audience appears to have become less critical to the targeting process. Thus, there has been an almost constant erosion of the power of the publisher to impact ad buys, even as his reach increases. The New York Times has 31 million online subscribers, a number unheard of in the print era. But to an advertiser, that could be nothing compared to a Google or a Facebook, who reach billions.

To survive in the programmatic environment, publishers have had to drop their CPMs. from double to single digits. The survivors have already made the shift, and the new startups are unburdened by legacy cost structures (you may remember printing presses).

Yet there are still ways for legacy publishers to survive the commoditization of  what appears to be an infinite supply of  inventory.

One way is through video ads.  There is a relatively small supply of pre-roll to run against video content, and it is so limited that advertisers who want to run on video sites can’t get the reach they need without resorting to other forms of publication to get enough scale. On the other hand, video is increasingly popular with consumers, who watch it on mobile devices in ever-increasing numbers.

Advertisers who want to run video to reach large audiences must find other sites.

On these sites, smart publishers can either create content specific to advertisers , which we think of as content marketing, or   allow advertisers to develop their own content to fit the existing content of the publisher, which  is called native advertising. With either native advertising or content marketing, the simplest thing for an advertiser is to be able to repurpose existing  TV ad content into a standard IAB space.

However, there’s still no guarantee that the ad will be seen, as the statistics say that 50% of video ads go unwatched.

We have the answer to this problem with ZINC’s InArticle video format, which runs on your site in a standard IAB unit, but gets 25% higher CTRs than a typical video ad because it can expand to full screen and leaves a 1×1 reminder at the bottom of the page.

Our InArticle format,  sold directly or programmatically, allows advertisers to reach new audiences across new channels at scale. Our publisher partners have been very satisfied with the high CPMS this format is able to command, and advertisers are thrilled with our viewability metrics. We’ve got first rate video ad viewability partners who help our publisher partners provide the metrics they need to sell successfully.



Will Facebook Beat Google for Mobile Ad Dollars?

Once Facebook realized that it was a large publisher of user-generated content rather than merely a directory for college students, it set about figuring out how to win on all sides of the advertising business rather than be content merely to sell ads on its own  site. In the past several months, with the release of both Audience Network, its mobile ad network, and Atlas, it’s targeting platform, Facebook is demonstrating how serious it is about winning at the advertising game. Facebook ads, which used to be quite affordable, have risen 123% in price this year.

While few will remember the short-lived Beacon ads that infuriated users in the early days, no one can escape the current presence of ads in the newsfeed (although astute users are able to tell the social network which ads they don’t want to see). But the company is well aware that too many ads in a user’s feed will make the service less valuable users rather than more. So how to maximize advertising revenues without angering your users?  One way is to raise your ad prices, as the site has already done. But another way is to roll out a mobile ad network, targeting app downloads and installs.

And that’s just what Facebook did about six months ago when Facebook launched Audience Network, testing the hypothesis that a mobile network could increase ad revenues without losing users.

We assume that experiment was successful, because the mobile ad network has been expanded and is now open to the public.

Facebook had to have a way to capitalize on the growth of mobile and its mobile ad network became a way for Facebook to grow its share of mobile ad dollars, which are projected by eMarketer to reach one quarter of all digital ad spending in 2014. While Facebook already has a respectable percentage of mobile dollars, Google still has the lion’s share — 47% of all mobile ad dollars go to Google. And Google, too, has its own mobile network –AdMob.

We suspect that Facebook and Google will be battling it out over digital ad dollars for the next several years. It won’t be easy to dislodge Google from its catbird seat, but as search advertising slowly shifts to mobile, Facebook has a pretty reasonable chance.


Better Targeting Without Cookies

Amidst all the fuss about cookies and whether advertisers would survive  with new regulations surrounding the use of third party cookies, Facebook has developed a demand-side platform that can target customers totally without cookies.  Not only that, but this platform can target a customer on or off Facebook, on mobile or desktop, and on any device.  Facebook will release the platform, which is called  Atlas,  at NYC Advertising Week.

The targeting is done through Facebook’s own data. For instance, if a customer buys something in a brick and mortar store and gives an email address, if that address is in any way associated with a Facebook account, that purchase can be used  can be used by Facebook to help assign the customer to the right categories for contextual ads. Bidders for advertising on RTB platforms and exchanges  now have a flexible tool with which they can set their parameters according to how valuable a customer could be to them. For other media companies besides Facebook and Google, this would also be a blessing.

Atlas is a step away from cookies, but it might be a step to something much more invasive, and we’ve heard that Google is also working on something like this. While Facebook had revenues last quarter of $2.3 billion, Google had closer to $14 billion, and Facebook would love to catch up.  Because we’ve been in this business a long time, we know that questions will be raised about privacy, mostly by people who remember growing up in an era where we actually had some. It is thought that younger people who have grown up with Facebook and other social networks that harvest personal data will have fewer concerns about the lengths to which advertisers will go to find their customers. We already see this as consumers get up in arms regularly about data breaches, but do not unplug from networks or sites that harvest personal data.

Consumers do say that they wouldn’t mind trading their information for truly contextual ads, since what’s happening right now is — according to anecdotal evidence, decidedly lacking. Who hasn’t bought a pair of shoes online from Zappo’s and been followed all over the web by ads for the shoes you just bought or some just like them?  Retargeting is first generation context. What if instead you were targeted


ZEDO Technology Platform Proves its Worth

As the CEO of such a fast growing company as ZEDO has become, I’m not hands on with our technical team on a daily basis. ZEDO VPs of Engineering Arleif Braganza and Nitesh Naik lead the architecture of the platform its operation. Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a technical presentation the team made to a group of industry experts.
Normally we keep the details of our technology confidential. However in this rare case we decided to explain everything about the platform, including how it is architected and how it handles 100 bn – 150 bn monthly requests from practically every country in the world as well as hundreds of billions of monthly real time bidding (RTB) requests.
These experts were highly technical themselves and they had a big team in the room. They posed difficult questions and had a healthy skepticism about whether our platform was scalable, reliable and able to handle all the features and ad serving needs of the industry.
I was amazed to hear one at a time all the details of the ZEDO platform. Everything in our platform was shown to be beautifully thought out, built with the very latest technology and way beyond the expectations of even this group, who are themselves very cutting edge. When they were told how design concepts like statelessness were combined with some clever engineering to produce a resilient and scalable system without blowing operation cost through the roof, Arleif told them that all ad serving was stateless they didn’t believe it. When he explained how it works they were blown away. This happened again and again. When they learnt he explained how, if our data centres went down, that ads would keep serving they were impressed. And again when he explained how we use in-memory databases to keep each ad server independent from all the others. At every question the team showed that we understood all the challenge of the contemporary ad serving environment, had designed for it, and had a perfect solution. Overall our team showed that ZEDO operates one of the very best platforms in the entire online ad industry. I confidently suspect it may be the very best.
I am very proud of our technology platform and more important of the team that builds it.


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