Don’t Confuse ZEDO High Impact Formats with Traditional Rich Media

For years, ZEDO has led the market toward better online advertising. We think of ourselves as innovators without being risk takers, working to ensure the success of our publisher partners by helping them realize higher CPMs from innovative ads.

At the same time, we help provide brands and agencies a better return on investment with our High Impact Formats. And we do that without requiring that creative be customized, because our formats fall between standard ads and rich media formats. Our High Impact Formats take advertisers’ existing creative without customization and do more with them. And the formats do work well: users see them and they allow great advertising.

Our vision is a win-win in digital just like the one we are used to in TV. The content provider benefits. And the advertiser benefits.

So we understand why our customers get so excited about our 99% viewable impressions formats. The sales people want to sell them: they get better results and premium CPMs. We know that sometimes the editorial teams and the UI teams are suspicious that users will react react badly. We can understand that, because publishers also have brands to maintain and build. And we therefore offer 9 different high impact formats AND many settings to control how they look on the site.

Now we’ve been serving these formats long enough to know that users actually don’t mind them – some even like them. We have formats that shuffle, formats that contain video, formats that play full screen video and formats on travel sites that look like beautiful content pieces.

That’s why we call them “high impact formats,” they are fun and cool and people see them. They are not standard, boring old banner ads. We’d be interested in showing them to you and asking your feedback.

The Future of Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are a touchy subject for people in the digital marketing business. A profusion of pop-up ads in the early days of online advertising gave rise to browser extensions to block ads, and to consumer complaints. As a result there’s a school of thought that says advertising will die, replaced by social sharing and a new movement called Vendor Relations Management, written about most recently by Doc Searls, one of the authors of “The Cluetrain Manifesto.”

Searls tries to prove his point by demonstrating that ad blocking software is used by a percentage of people in every country:

In May of this year, ClarityRay reported that the overall rate of ad blocking by users was 9.26% in the U.S. and Europe. The rate ranged from 6.11% for business and finance sites to 15.58% for news sites and 17.79% for tech sites. For some sites, ad blocking reached 50%. Ad blocking is highest in Europe, where Austria is tops with a 22.5% ad blocking rate. The U.S. is slightly below average at 8.72%. With 1% or less are Iran, Guyana, Kuwait, Myanmar and Qatar.

Notice that business and financial ads are blocked least. That is because the information on those sites is perceived as having high value. If the content is valuable, consumers assume the ads, too, are more valuable, and won’t block them as often.

Which leads us to the other school of thought: that advertising will change to be more accurately targeted and more useful to the consumer.

At ZEDO, we have been more active than many of our colleagues and competitors in industry initiatives against bad ads and annoying ads. We offer an opt-out for the behaviorally targeted ads we serve. But if you ask us whether advertising will die, we have to say no, because consumers need information to buy, and that information can’t always be provided by friends. Friends can make recommendations and referrals, which has always been the case, but imagine Ford or Unilever trying to roll out a new product using only the recommendations of friends. It would simply take too long, be too expensive, and the results would be insufficiently measurable. No matter how well Facebook, Yelp, and Get Glue work, they won’t replace advertising any time soon.

Rather, we think advertising will become more informative, more entertaining and less intrusive by shifting to high quality especially TV style ads on the web. The video which can be seen on the same page as whatever content the reader is already consuming distract users less. And interested users who like what they see can choose to view the video in full screen. The video formats we serve make advertising over all less interruptive and more pleasant. Our On-Page video formats are gaining quick and broad acceptance with premium publishers for this reason. Better yet, our new formats guarantee 99% viewable impressions.

Advertisers have to learn how to make online advertising as compelling as TV. We think this can happen, and we’re willing to partner with everyone who is trying.

Great Creative Drives Engagement in Mobile Ads

People are still confused about the value of mobile as an ad platform. Because consumers are now spending more time on mobile devices than on desktop PCs, it is intuitive to conclude that mobile is a great place to advertise, but most mobile ads aren’t working, and spend hasn’t grown the way it should. ROI doesn’t seem to be there, either. A recent backlash, led by Jean Louis Gassee, a respected American investor, was framed around the hypothesis that mobile might not be such a great opportunity after all.

But a convincing deck by Henry Blodgett spoke recently about the future of mobile as barely having begun. Blodgett and his collaborator point out that mobile advertising does, however, require different approaches, both in format and in creative. That seems to be what people are overlooking, You can’t just translate the desktop to the tablet or the phone, any more than you can translate print to digital — although people have wasted a lot of money trying.

First of  all,  we think the best opportunity for mobile advertising isn’t the phone. Because the phone screen is small, users feel that ads that take up too much screen real estate are intrusive, and brsides,the consumer is on the move. He can respond to a text ad, or perhaps to a location-based special offer, but the phone will evolve to be useful only for performance-based ads, not for brand lift.

On the other hand, tablet owners consume lots of content, usually in a relaxed fashion, and are more willing to tolerate ads in long-form content. Mobile ads on the tablet, especially if they are video or interactive can be very effective for building brand, especially if they are combined with social media campaigns and PR.

We have just seen an ad that we think exemplifies the best kind of creative for a tablet ad that will get results. Last week , the “creative community” (they don’t call themselves an agency) Johannes Leonardo, friends of ours in New York,  brought home the first ever Mobile Cannes Lion of Creativity award. The  winning creative, for Google and Coke, recreated the old theme of buying the world a Coke for the 21st century, allowing the viewer to access a map and choose someone in a foreign country for whom they’d like to buy a coke. The ad, on Google, was video with novel creative and high interactivity.

Why were these guys able to produce such a spectacular ad? Because Johannes Leonardo began as a creative shop with the founding belief that “the consumer is the new medium.” This is a great statement of how new mobile formats and creative must work together.

In the winning ad, the agency gave the consumer an actual task to perform.This mobile ad from Google, which re-imagines a classic Coke spot, is a digital reinterpretation of Coke’s iconic ‘Hilltop’ spot, featuring the song “I want to buy the world a Coke.”

It’s not a banner, and not a static display. Instead, the mobile ad enables viewers to actually buy a Coke for someone in a city of their choice. As he watches the mobile ad, which ran on Google’s Admob network,  a the viewer can pick a city to send the Coke to, attach a text message and press a button that dispenses a drink at  specially designed vending machines in the selected city. The viewer can even watch as his Coke is delivered. An ad like this produces high engagement.

The ad was created as part of Project Re:Brief in which Grow Interactive and agency Johannes Leonardo reimagined classic ads with a digital twistfor the modern day. While Google commissioned it, Coca-cola also signed off on the ad.

We share it with you because we believe this agency is one of the first to embrace the potential of advertising for mobile devices. We hope they will choose to try out some of ZEDO’s nine new mobile formats.

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The phone is a personal a device and users feel that the ads that take up a lot of the screen are too intrusive.

The phone is a personal a device and users feel that the ads that take up a lot of the screen are too intrusive.

Agency Creatives: The Ball’s In Your Court for Better Mobile Ads

At last week’s ComScore State of the Internet Webinar, the internet research firm presented data indicating mobile users would surpass desktop users in 2014. So why hasn’t the mobile advertising problem been solved? In fact, why do some tech pundits think that mobile advertising revenues will NEVER materialize, and are only “a mirage’?

We think it’s because most publishers have not applied real creativity to mobile advertising. They’ve been content to take the same performance-based ads they used on the desktop–the ones that they can only sell at low CPMs and the same ones that don’t perform well for brands–and move them to a smaller screen.

This won’t cut it. It’s what drives Jean Louis Gassee to say

Now we have advertising on smartphones, and we’ve fallen into a comfortable, predictable rut: “It’s just like Web advertising on the PC, shrunk to fit.” We see the same methods, the same designs, the same business models, wedged onto a smaller screen.

Mobile needs new formats and new creativity. Throughout the past year, we at ZEDO have created new formats that we refer to as “high impact”: they are the inView, the InView Shuffle Ad, and on-page video. These formats test out as providing 99% viewable impressions, no matter where they are on the page. They’re designed to be viewed on tablets, and even on smartphones. Best of all they don’t require more work from the advertiser – infact they require little or no work from the advertiser. We just take standard “made for TV” commercials and run them on our high impact formats.

These few formats themselves are already starting to become compelling. One TV station website in Maryland sells them at $20 CPMs. Theor sales team loves to be able to show online video ads in a great way so that  the advertising works as well as TV advertising-  or maybe better.

Now it’s time for advertisers to take a good look at these mobile formats and run their best TV ads on them. It does, after all, take a marriage of innovative form and great content to create a compelling ad. While some agencies are already doing this in per-roll video advertising campaigns, these new formats are a great opportunity for most brands and agencies to do what they still love to do best — run some great television advertising that is memorable and effective and has huge reach everyday.

ZEDO-SceneChat Relationship Furthers Social Video Advertising

We have always said video is the future of online advertising, So last week we signed an agreement with SceneChat to deliver interactive display ads into the SceneChat network – globally.  The arrangement will enable SceneChat and its its customers to monetize a global base of users creating and sharing interactive social videos.

The SceneChat Social Engagement Platform is the web’s first self-service social video marketing platform. 
The arrangement with ZEDO will enable SceneChat to monetize via ads publishers opting into the SceneChat’s Free, ad-supported usage program.  SceneChat will then serve ads to the engagement bar of select clients. Clients may opt out of advertising by signing up for a paid account.

SceneChat is a simple self-serve flexible solution for marketers looking to increase video engagement and conversions. Marketers can publish and analyze interactive social video marketing campaigns without the need to migrate content to a specialized service, hire video editors, or Flash developers.

The ZEDO / SceneChat combination will provide video companion display ad capabilities that help marketers augment video creative with dynamically driven display advertising.  Marketers can create a more integrated messaging experience for prospects by timing placement of display ads with a specific call-to-action synced to a video. This capability can increase direct response to video campaigns, improve video completion rates and also drive prospects through the marketing funnel from awareness through conversion.

Interactive experiences can be synced to specific scenes within a video, engaging audiences as they consume content. Interactions can be timed messages, polls, graphics, URL links, or multiple choice questions that can navigate a video.

And SceneChat experiences can be broadly distributed via Facebook or Twitter, or directly embedded on a publisher’s site or blog. In addition, the company offers both a WordPress plugin and on-site code that enables experiences to be directly published onto a site.

“We’re very pleased to establish this relationship with ZEDO,” said Shawn Hopwood, CEO of SceneChat. “The ZEDO platform provides a comprehensive display ad delivery platform that meets all our needs and those of our customers. We look forward to rolling out this solution to our growing network of brands, agencies and publishers.”

Do You Have a Tablet Strategy?

ZEDO‘s tablet strategy, long part of our product road map, has very quickly progressed to the forefront of our offerings, along with our high impact formats and measurable viewable impressions. We think TV advertising is moving online faster than anyone would have predicted, and the impetus for this is the startling success of the iPad.

… one in four Americans used a tablet device in the first quarter of 2012. In April, 16.5 percent of mobile phone subscribers used a tablet, representing an increase of 11.8 percentage points in the past year.

What’s more, tablet users are three times more likely than a smartphone user to view a video, ComScore says. Ten percent of tablet users watch video on their device daily. More than half of tablet users watched video and TV content on their device in April 2012, compared to just 20 percent of the smartphone audience. The larger screen sizes make tablets more favorable to video. In fact, of those viewing video at least once a month, 26.7 percent paid to watch content, highlighting a big opportunity for publishers.

Many companies believe that a separate tablet strategy isn’t necessary, since all mobile strategy can be lumped together. Not so. The smartphone small screen, and the on-the-go experience do not lend themselves to watching longer form video content that can be monetized by advertising. In addition, most smartphone users don’t browse the web unless they are looking for something specific.

Tablet readers, on the contrary, are defined by their content consumption. Whether the tablet is the only screen they’re watching, or one of several (younger people sometimes watch TV with a tablet in front of them and a smartphone beside them on the couch), tablet consumers are prepared to spend watching video, and video ads, too.

Because we started as an ad server, we know how to serve video ads, and we’ve got a high impact in-page video format that is delivers 99.9% viewable impressions. Currently, that high impact video format is selling directly at $20 CPM –a sign of advertisers’ belief in the format’s effectiveness.

As one would suppose, tablet users skewed older than smartphone users, and in a higher income category. This is not surprising, given the fact that tablets are expensive, while smartphones are nearly always subsidized by the carrier.

Nearly three in five tablet users reside in households with income of $75,000-plus, compared to one in every two smartphone users. This is an obvious opportunity for the high-end luxury-goods sector.

We have been saying for a while now that online advertising can be every bit as good as TV advertising. Now, we’re beginning to see the evidence manifest.

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More than Hype: Mobile is Coming Quickly

Mobile advertising, in the words of people who know it best, is still all hat no cattle. Most publishers don’t have the technical capability to create ads that brands will feel are worthy of them, and thus advertisers give more lip service than budget to mobile advertising.  Advertisers have to know that the new mobile formats can guarantee viewable impressions.But it’s easy to make the change to mobile with good creative and new formats.

Our advertisers want executions that inspire — while we often have to settle for the basics. To be successful in mobile advertising today on the brand side, it takes a bit of imagination. Unfortunately, the big ideas are often held back by brand restrictions and lack of technological investment.

We saw this coming, and that’s why we have spent the last year developing high impact formats that are optimized for tablets and mobile. We think the tablet will be the mobile device of choice for consuming content, although the phone will certainly play a big role in countries where it’s the only electronic device the consumer owns.

High impact formats that produce real, quantifiable viewable impressions are where the puck is going, and we are already waiting there with our InView suite. Publishers can trust us to produce ads brands will find worthy of them, and that’s why we are now reaching out to the advertising side of the industry to show them what we have. We think it will take publishers and advertisers working together to make the shift to mobile worthwhile.

This has to be done quickly, because the consumer is already shifting. This will be the year in which mobile sales outstrip PC sales, and we can see from our publisher clients that content consumption on mobile devices in the evenings and on weekends is growing monthly.

In this same article, the mobile executive points out that to be successful, companies will have to invest ahead of the curve. Mobile is in the hype cycle now, but it will move into broad adoption almost before we know it, because the consumer has already shifted.

The leaders of this upcoming communication revolution will be brave enough to take a short term dip in revenue in order to adapt to a dramatic change in consumer behavior. There will always be a place for desktop computing, but cloud-enabled wireless devices are clearly fast on their way to becoming the dominant choice for consumers.  Faster than any technological shift in our history.

As a technology leader, we DID invest ahead of the curve. Publishers who want to try out the new technologies are brand safe with us.

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ZEDO Named to Online Trust Alliance Honor Roll

Microsoft announced Thursday that the next version of its browser, IE 10, will ship with the controversial “Do Not Track” feature turned on by default, a first among major browsers, creating a potential threat to online advertising giants.That includes one of Microsoft’s chief rivals — Google.The change could also threaten the still-nascent privacy standard, and prompt an ad industry revolt against it. Do Not Track doesn’t attempt to block cookies — instead it sends a message to every website you visit saying you prefer not to be tracked.

Wired’s article really points out how much online privacy has become a concern among internet users, and also of the ethical people who serve them.So it’s with great pleasure that we announce that ZEDO today announced it has been named to the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) 2012 Online Trust Honor Roll, based on a composite trust score of security and privacy measures at hundreds of online sites.

Designed to recognize leadership, the Honor Roll distinguishes ZEDO as a “North Star” to inspire others. As part of the 2012 study, released June 6, 2012, OTA analyzed the adoption of key security and privacy initiatives, providing benchmark reporting and comparisons between key industry sectors including leading internet retailers, FDIC Top 100 Banks, and social networking sites. Of the companies evaluated by the non-profit, member-based OTA, less than 30% made the grade.

This report examined over 1200 domains and privacy policies, 3600 web pages, and over 500 million emails.

The focus of the OTA Online Trust Honor Roll is to:

1. Recognize exemplary efforts of leading companies toward data and user protection, as security & privacy efforts, and highlight them as “North Stars.” Organizations on the Honor Roll manage data via security best practices while having transparent privacy practices.

2. Demonstrate OTA’s commitment towards providing prescriptive advice, tools and resources to businesses to enhance the security and privacy of the internet.

3. Underscore the importance of focusing on security and privacy holistically, and that individual security and privacy initiatives cannot be pursued in isolation.

4. Provide benchmark scoring, using the Online Trust Index (OTI) and reported data attributes, for companies to evaluate their own sites, for businesses to use in evaluating partners, and for consumers to consider when interacting or doing business online.

Since 2010, the OTA Online Trust Honor Roll has recognized organizations that follow best practices in data security and privacy.

As one of those organizations, it is part of our mission to serve and protect both our partners and their users. If you have any questions about online privacy rules and how you can comply, please feel free to contact us and we’ll help you understand them.

OTA Honor Roll

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A Year of Expansion Ahead: Paul Prior Joins ZEDO as President

The future of advertising is mobile. 2012 is the year when mobiled device sales will replace PCs. The mobile future isn’t conventional display ads, where effectiveness declines every year; rather,  it is creative messaging delivered through equally creative new formats. In-page video will play a large part here, as well as display ads that only appear when a viewer scrolling down on a mobile device, reaches the appropriate content. We have always thought digital advertising could and should be as effective as TV advertising, and have spent years developing the technology to make it so.

 

The conversation around viewable impressions is just beginning, and fortunately ZEDO is positioned to be viewable impressions’  major player. Our early partnership with AdxPose, now comScore, made us the first to test the comScore VCE platform and certify that the viewable impressions percentage for our inView ad format suite is 99%. We have more experience under our belts than anyone else.

 

We are good at measuring the effectiveness of the ads we serve (and even those we don’t). We’re much more than an ad server now, although that was our roots. We offer high impact formats, private exchanges, and specific formats we invented for tablet advertising. For example, we now offer full screen video ads on the desktop, and we will soon have those available on tablets.

 

But the advertising industry hardly knows us, because we’ve been a partner to publishers for the last decade, and we’re headquartered in San Francisco. To give the ad industry greater exposure to us, we have hired  Paul Prior, formerly of Acceleration, to assume the role of President of Zedo and to expand our New York office.

 

ZEDO’s vision is to be the leading global platform for premium digital publishers — to connect them directly to brand advertisers and their agencies who want proven high impact, high reach placements with quality audiences. We are now  offering our private exchange platform technology to advertising agency holding companies.

 

Paul’s presence in New York will take us to the next level. We welcome him, and we predict a year of great growth and change under his leadership.

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ZEDO is Known for Viewable Impressions

The conversation about viewable impressions is just beginning. We now know that we can reliably serve ads, because we have been doing that ourselves since 1999. But more and more, advertisers want to know that their ads are seen, rather than just served.

More often than not, you hear ordinary people, the ones advertisers are trying to reach, say “I don’t even see the ads when I go to a site. I just scroll past them.” This becomes increasingly true as mobile devices become the primary ways by which people read. The classic banner ads produce disappointing returns.

Our customers, often major publishers, began to ask us more and more often for ways they could prove the ads on their sites were actually seen, especially since the are paying by impression. And the inability to prove that ads are being seen has dragged down the CPM, and this the revenue, for publishers.

About six months ago, we decided to come up with a solution for them called “InView Formats.” These ads are designed to display in such a way that the user has to see them. These ad formats perform beyond our wildest expectations– it consistently delivers 99% viewable impressions. They are beginning to excite the market.

We are not just measuring what is viewable and what is but we are innovating formats and placements that ensure that Internet ads are 100% viewable or viewed by users.

How do we prove our success? We partner with comScore, whose AdXPose product measures constantly. And as the advertising industry moves toward buying only viewable impressions, and the dollars spent move this way – we have seen RFPs that say they only want to buy viewable impressions, we have a core technology product that creates only viewable impressions. This is ahead of the market, it is exciting and it makes Internet advertising better for the publishers and the advertisers.

ComScore is recognized as the most reliable measurement tool in the industry; in fact, many complain that it is too conservative in its measurements. But with 99% viewable impressions, we can’t complain.

We are now testing even more innovations some of which include video, to see if we get as good viewable impression results. We’re all over viewable impressions, so we will let you know here, in the blog! It’s a very exciting time at ZEDO. If you need viewable impressions as an advertiser or a publisher – call us. We have the technology.

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