Ten Top Trends in Digital Advertising for 2016

It’s fun at the end of every year to predict what will happen the following year, especially in an industry so prone to change as the online media industry. But this year, because consumers have announced that they’ll have a say in next year’s trends by turning on their ad blockers, some upcoming changes are less difficult to predict correctly than usual.  Assuming the publishing industry isn’t suicidal, for example:

1)publishers will take seriously the wishes of consumers to have less intrusive advertising by planning more native content campaigns with brands and selling fewer display ads at higher CPMS;

2)the creative department (or agency) will assume more importance than it has had in the past decade, because media buyers are coming to the conclusion that it’s not only a numbers game — it really matters what message is delivered to which customers. The most sophisticated brands are doing very customized creative based on information gleaned from their own databases so customers don’t receive irrelevant ads. Example: if you live in Florida, you won’t get the ad about how the car handles in ice and snow; you’ll get the one about its powerful air conditioning system;

3)Brands will expend more energy and money producing content consumers might actually want to watch and engage with, rather than just buying impressions for reach and frequency.  In fact, frequency caps will probably go down, as advertisers strive not to irritate consumers, and reach will be deeper, and not as wide;

4)Autoplay video with the audio turned on will probably go away, as will non-skippable preroll and other formats that irritate consumers such as pop- unders and interstitials. Advertising that blocks content from a site visitor will also go away;

5)Millennials and IT professionals, the most tech savvy segments of the online audience, will have to be reached with native advertising, in-app advertising, and direct mail, because these consumers are the heaviest users of ad blockers and will probably not willingly turn them off once they’re on;

6) As a result, native formats and contextual targeting will be the “new new thing,” which means the one thing that can’t go away is data. Both publishers and brands should invest heavily in their own databases, because trackers are also being blocked along with ads. Cookies have fallen out of favor;

7)As an industry, we shot ourselves in the foot over the past five years seeking scale, scale, scale. That meant we made many more consumers angry than those whose needs we satisfied. In 2016,  in order to wean consumers off their ad blockers, we’re going to have to make the user experience of the mobile web  better.  By better, we mean faster page load times for mobile browsing, which means using technologies like Google’s new AMP framework. It means buying ads on premium sites that have reduced their inventory to make their pages deliver a better user experience, and paying more per CPM. And it means reaching more of the RIGHT people, although fewer people overall;

8) In 2016, we will probably see a true supply and demand market, in which the supply is no longer infinite as advertisers refuse to pay for traffic generated by bots and publishers streamline their pages. Group M’s dictum that it will only pay for ads in which the experience is initiated by the user and the “chosen” ad is 100% in view, 50% completed, with the audio on for the entire time will take hold. This is a tough standard to meet, but MediaCom’s Steve Carbone argues that anything less than 100% viewable in any other medium would be considered a “make good.”

9) Ad exchanges will continue to struggle as agencies leave them for private marketplaces.

10) A plethora of working groups and industry committees will be convened to flesh out the new standards.

Happy Holidays and Happy Ever-changing New Year.

 

Don’t Blame Advertising for Slow Page Loads

I downloaded Ghostery today to see what’s really slowing down the web pages of my favorite publishers. I did it because tomorrow Apple’s going to release IOS9 with its built-in hooks for blocking ads. I wanted to see how ads slow page loads, since one of the biggest reasons given by consumers for blocking ads is a disappointing web experience due to takeovers and slow page load times.  The second reason was lack of relevance in the ads they were being asked to see.

Let’s see how this all works.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 12.32.54 PMToday the New York Times home page had 11 trackers. Of those eleven, three had to do directly  with the serving of the ads: Doubleclick,  Dynamic Yield, and Facebook Custom Audience (because the Times is a FB partner for in-stream native content). The rest were either analytics, site optimization, or beacons. Those are all third party trackers. And we don’t know whether they are companies the Times has asked to track its users, or whether they are sent by some other party gathering information.

Now look at a page from Ad Age.Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 12.28.52 PM On this page, there were 18 trackers, only four of which were for the advertising. The rest are for the targeting. What can we learn from this? Well, in our own case (although we weren’t serving an ad on this page in this case), the ZEDO ad server delivers asynchronous tags, so we’re not the influence on page load times. Doubleclick for publishers allows a choice of synchronous or asynchronous. So the publisher has a choice whether to risk a slower load time.

But then we have those trackers. From our vantage point, it looks like the amount of tracking that’s being done is, indeed slowing down page load times and making privacy-minded consumers angry in the process.

Worse yet, if the number one or two complaint by consumers is that the ads they are receiving aren’t relevant to them, what’s the good of all that tracking anyway?

We are going to have to re-think the way we collect and use data if we are going to save mobile advertising as a viable form on monetization for publishers. The first step, we would assume, would be for publishers and advertisers to examine the number of vendors they use and move as quickly as possible to an end-to-end solution like ours.  That would entail re-educating media planners, who do not consider these issues in buying campaigns although their bosses probably do.

If publishers and advertisers simply cut the number of vendors they use and stick with their own customer data, we can preserve free content on the mobile web.

ZEDO Has the Secure, End-to-End Private Buying Platform ATDs Need


Making the ad industry supply chain safe is going to involve getting rid of some middlemen who opportunistically take advantage of speed and automation to make the industry dangerous for all of us honest players. Yahoo’s recent experience with malware raised the awareness of the advertising industry to the dangers of using too many vendors. It is now impossible to ignore how much ad fraud is still going on, and although the work of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a cross-industry initiative, is just getting started, wary publishers are already looking for a way to guarantee a clean supply chain as advertisers ask all sorts of questions..

Fortunately, we anticipated the move to consolidate vendors, although we thought that would be more for cost and time saving, rather than for security. That’s why we developed  the platform to link  our high impact format buyers on ZINC to our private network and our publisher ad server at ZEDO.  Our platform was designed in response to requests by Agency Trading Desks for a private, direct way to buy high impact formats on premium publications with the transparency of direct buying and without the risk of an insecure supply chain.

Here’s how it works:

We have a secure buying platform that an agency trading desk can log into that includes a private exchange  only for our unique ad formats. We built the exchange especially for differentiation, and for higher performance than most digital ads, but now we realize we have an important message about security, because on the supply side, the supply comes only from the ZEDO publisher ad server. Because we’re a large publisher ad server, and have been one for so many years, we can provide our own fill — we can create all the impressions on the publisher page. We don’t buy from anyone else, so no bad stuff can be introduced, and thus we service both ends of the ecosystem.

Agency Trading Desks love this clean end to end platform. More important, our  control over the whole supply chain allows us to innovate constantly, which we have always done.  Since our founding, we have prided ourselves on being ahead of the technology curve.
Right now, we’re being told we have the best formats in the industry, and because we have a large development team, our products get better every month in response to customer requests. For the past few years,  we’ve launched 2-3 new formats every year, and this year we have a new format for apps, and one for mobile video. ATDs love the fantastic formats and clean supply chain.
We’re now seeing articles about the need for the industry to evolve to end-to-end platforms. We’re already there.

 

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.

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

 

 

 

 

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.

ZEDO Releases VAST 3.0 and VPAID 2.0 Compliant Player

If you’re looking for a reason to choose ZEDO over all the other companies in the ad tech space, you might want to consider our ability to keep continually ahead of where the market is going. We have an engaged and inspired development team that scans the horizon of the quickly changing ad tech field and makes product tweaks almost in real time.
This week  ZEDO, introduced a new video player compliant with both the  VAST 3.0 and the VPAID 2.0 IAB standards. In the future, this player will be used for all ZINC’s new video formats, including  the popular inArticle video. The team was also  able to make few changes to the  InArticle technology using the new player that made it even better.
The changes to inArticle include faster and better running  for desktop browsers in version 3.1. Although this new product won’t be launched formally until later, the preview version is VAST 3.0 compliant and supports passbacks.
ZINC video formats now also support passbacks for VPAID tags. We all know that video ad networks don’t fill every impression that is sent to them,  and many of our customers also do client side RTB, through which they bring down a file that runs on the browser and send a request to a few more ad networks asking if they have further inventory.
Many of the requests sent to these ad networks just return an ad error message because they also don’t have a video ad to serve.We used to lose those opportunities for our clients, but now ZINC video formats can catch the AdError event thrown by  the VPAID tags and pass it back to  the next ad network in line and hence try to  monetize that opportunity instead of wasting it. This will also be part of the formal launch of the product.
One of the most impressive features of the inArticle format, is its leave-behind. In this new version of the format, we’ve increased the leave behind from 130×75 to 160×120 pixels, which is a 505- pixel increase in surface area.
And we’ve done some bug fixes as well.
Although the formal launch of this technology won’t come until later in spring, we’d encourage you to talk to sales@zincx.com.

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – December 2014

Support for VAST 3.0

Features included:

  1. Skip event
  2. Progress event

Note: ZEDO Players are not VAST 3.0 compatible yet

Please refer to the knowlegebase for more details.

 
Passbacks for VAST Tags

ZEDO’s Passback feature can be used with VAST Compatible ad formats. There are times when Advertisers do not want Impressions from every user, so they just return empty responses. But you can use ZEDO’s Passback Tag feature to monetize Impressions that are not filled by your advertiser.

Please refer to the knowledgebase for more details

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – November 2014

Reach Report by Channel/Country

In addition to the existing Campaign and Creative Reach Reports, customers can now pull a Reach Report for a particular 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 help you analyze how effective your reach is for a specific Country and Channel.

reachbych

Coming Soon:

Upgrade to VAST 3.0

We will upgrade our VAST 2.0 compliant ad server to VAST 3.0, which will include the following features:

  • Skippable ads
  • Skip event tracking and
  • Progress event tracking

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.