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.

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – September 2014

Device Targeting

Users can now target ads to a specific device when trafficking ads. An option for “Device Targeting” is now available under “Targeting”.  A creative targeted to a specific Device will serve only on that Device. All major manufacturers/models are supported by this feature. If a creative is not targeted to any specific device than it will serve on all device.

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Targeting by Device Manufacturer/Model

Apart from device, a user can target various devices based on different categories. At any given point of time, a user can target multiple manufacturers and categories.

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Targeting by Device Category

Reach Report by Creative

Apart from existing campaign reach report a user can now pull a reach report by creative. The creative reach report is available along with all the existing parameters and can be pulled by month, week or day. Creative reach report will show creative wise reach. It will help to analyze how effective the reach of a creative was.

Shifts in Viewing: Video Consumption Up, TV Down

How appropriate that Nielsen’s new Cross-Platform Report is called “Shifts in Viewing.” You would have to be insensate not to know that people are consuming  more digital video. We know it because our video content publishers are seeing rapid upticks in traffic. In summary, the report says that although TV viewing has declined, most sharply among young people, not only has digital video viewing gone up, but the total time people spend interacting with has increased. Therefore, as Nielsen says charitably, we should not look at this shift as a game with winners and losers, but instead as an opportunity for everybody. Opportunity indeed. This must be what newspapers were told when news moved online twenty years ago. I’m not sure the opportunity here is for TV stations as much as it is for advertisers, who now have a solid new channel, mobile video, through which to reach those customers who have disconnected from TV. And according to Experian Marketing Services, that number is now 7.6 million households — up 44% in the past four years. But not having TV reception doesn’t faze them. fact, year over year among the younger 18-34 demo media consumption has grown four percent overall, two percent among Hispanics, eight percent among Blacks, and ten percent among Asians.  That’s because the young are looking at TV-like programming on their phones and tablets..  Nielsen says, “We are seeing year over year overall growth in digital use of sixteen percent among persons 18-34 with fifty-three percent growth in digital video viewing. ” But the truth is that not only the young are increasing the amount of video they consume online. Fast growth is also reflected in the 35-49 group, and the 50-64 demographic is surprisingly the fastest growing group of digital video consumers. Digital video consumption in this group  increaed 60%. TV viewing is down in every age group. And we look for that trend to continue, because this report shows that the highest increase in number of hours spent consuming video are spent on either time-shifted TV or mobile phones. Once the time-shift pattern was established, it became only a matter of time before video shifted online, and especially to the smart phone. As a culture, we’ve made a shift and we won’t be going back. Indeed, as phone screens get bigger, we expect video viewing on mobile phones to increase even faster.

Will Infinite Scrolling and Lazy Loading Help Publishers?

If there’s anything that can convince you that times are changing –again–in the online advertising business, it’s the relatively new practice of “lazy loading” pages. Unless you’re deep in the weeds of the business, you may not even know what this term means, but it is a new way to make pages load faster, and ironically may also be a way to make ads more visible.

In the old days of web design, the job of a good browser was to load an entire web page at one time, no matter how many outside calls and redirects the server has to make, as quickly as possible. Even if the user isn’t on that part of the page, the browser would load it anyway. That’s why everyone demanded to be above the fold.

But web design has changed. Now there’s just in time loading, or “lazy loading,”  a relatively new method of web design that renders the page on an as-needed basis,  only when a user is scrolling down to that piece of content.

Lazy loading pages are perfect for our InView Slider formats, which work especially well on web pages that are designed for infinite scrolling (which most new high traffic sites favor.)The content available to the user isn’t all loaded at once, because it would take forever; rather, the page renders as the user scrolls to it, and if you don’t scroll down, the content isn’t rendered.  So lazy loading any web content, ads included, means the web server only provides the necessary source code to the browser as the user needs it.That’s what makes our InView Slider so “polite.”

The New York Times switched to lazy loading and achieved a 50% improvement in the performance of its pages. In its blog, the Times said it switched to stop its pages from being slowed down by advertising.

Why is this good for viewability?

From the publisher standpoint,

aside from the performance benefits of lazy loading ad content … is the happy consequence that every ad view is also visible to the user, since the content is only rendered when the user is scrolling the content into view.  While it’s true there’s still a lingering debate over how viewability is measured – this Digiday postgives a good overview on the complexities of each viewability vendor using different methodologies to measure the same MRC standard (50% of the ad content in-view for at least one second) – there’s no question that a lazy loading strategy is far superior to traditional content rendering in terms of ensuring your ad requests are viewable.

Although viewability metrics probably won’t be the gold standard for billing in the near term, eventually they probably will be. The downside of this is the potential loss of inventory to the publisher. However, lazy loading their pages could let publishers  keep user-friendly page layouts and not worry as much about 3rd party viewability measurement. And, of course, the viewability would improve even further if the site published high quality content that encouraged engagement.

It’s funny how everything boils down to high quality at the end of the day.

 

Almost Half of Video Consumed is Advertising

An amazing new chart we discovered this morning via Statista has demonstrated that there’s a reason publishers like our native InArticle Video ads. As of March 2014, nearly 40% of all video viewed online was advertising. Even advertising-averse Millennials seem to be watching video ads online.

Percentage of video ads viewed grows

Percentage of video ads viewed grows

According to comScore, “Americans viewed more than 28.7 billion video ads in March, with LiveRail capturing the #1 position with 3.9 billion ad impressions. AOL, Inc. came in second with 3.8 billion ads, followed by BrightRoll Platform with 3.1 billion, Google Sites with 3.1 billion and TubeMogul Video Ad Platform with 3 billion. Time spent watching video ads totaled 10.9 billion minutes, with AOL, Inc. delivering the highest duration of video ads at 1.7 billion minutes.

Video ads reached 54.3 percent of the total U.S. population an average of 170 times during the month. Hulu delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 82.”

Most video ads on the sites listed above are delivered as pre-roll. Our publishers, many of whom are not predominantly video content sites, want to reap the benefits of video advertising, too. That’s where InArticle works well; it delivers a video ad experience while a visitor is reading an article or scrolling through a social stream, thus expanding the reach of advertisers who want to reach new audiences.

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