R.I.P. Joseph Jacob: ZEDO CTO Killed in Head-on Collision

Joseph Jacob Dies in HeadOn Collision

With great sadness, ZEDO announces the death of its friend, collaborator, and the Chief Technology Officer of ZEDO, Inc., Joseph Jacob, 41, in a car accident on February 1st, 2013 in LaDue, Mo. Joseph had gone there to celebrate his birthday with a friend. We are all shocked and grief-stricken over the loss. Jacob’s friend Melanie Michailidis and the driver of the other car also lost their lives.

Jacob was named CTO of ZEDO in 2009, and was a visionary technologist responsible for all ZEDO’s ad serving and ad exchange product. He oversaw the design, development, and operation of ZEDO’s technology platforms and its 5 software development centers in the US, Russia and India. He was known for his innovative ideas and ability to consistently get things done.
Prior to joining ZEDO in 2000, Jacob worked for the Mobile Computing and Workstation Technology divisions of Hewlett Packard. He also previously worked at the X Consortium in Cambridge, MA and for Everest Consultants of Portland, OR in various software development capacities.

Jacob held a Masters degree in Computer Science from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Engineering from Kerala University.

Roy de Souza, CEO of ZEDO and long-time friend of Jacob, will assist the family to claim the body and return it to Kottayam, Kerala, India; where the services and disposition of the remains will take place. Memorial services are being planned in San Francisco and Mumbai.

“Joseph was a brilliant engineer who grew into a strong and respected technology leader. He was my close friend and trusted partner as we built ZEDO over the last 13 years. Everyone at ZEDO will miss him. This is a tragic loss of a brilliant professional mind and a great friend. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family.” said Roy de Souza.”

Notes From the Changing Digital Media Industry

Isn’t it fun being in the digital media business? Whether you are advertising side or the publishing side — and as a provider of high impact formats for premium publishers to sell direct and brand advertisers to buy, ZEDO is on both sides of the table — you know that once again we’re undergoing rapid changes.

The biggest change, of course, is the move to mobile. AOL announced last week that it is redoing all of its content sites for mobile. (Last year we gave ZEDO’s own site a responsive design facelift). Ad Age says

AOL is planning to redesign all of its content sites with responsive design — an approach intended to optimize a site’s layout across devices with different screen sizes — during the coming months, according to Jay Kirsch, president of technology and entertainment at AOL.The change in design is meant to streamline the ad sales and display process, Mr. Kirsch said, speaking to a reporter during a dinner at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Responsive web design will let AOL serve ad space on its mobile and desktop websites from the same portal rather than sell mobile and desktop display separately.

In a different, but related move, the New York Times’ internal agency Idea Lab has begun working on interactive formats that make new use of the banner ad. One, for GE, involved a Google Hangout that a viewer could watch through a banner at on the Times.

With mobile and desktop merging, interactive ads and high impact formats become more important. For example, there’s ZEDO’s new shuffle ad format, which shuffles among two or three different ads. The animation in this format keeps engagement high. Best, this uses normal ad sizes and is really simple to use even if ZEDO isn’t your ad server. You don’t need to change the page layout, and you still get extra impressions and revenue. No site release is required. The format can double or triple your ad impressions; since the animation keeps the performance (CTR) high, you will make money from the first day.  And you can serve Shuffle Ads above or below the fold and for any creative dimension.


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What’s Wrong With Digital Ads?

The key to better online advertising results and higher eCPMS is more compelling creative in formats that can be seen. One cannot  happen without the other.

There, we’ve said it again. We keep saying it. Although we’re a technology provider, we know our products work better with more relevant ad content. Perhaps this year we will marry the creativity of Madison Avenue with the technical expertise of Silicon Valley and produce some ads that truly work for brands. We’re open to any publisher, brand, or agency that wants to partner with us to tip the scales on digital ads.

As Brian Wax has said,

Scale is only achieved once richly researched, carefully strategized, brilliantly created and carefully placed custom content — formerly known as print and TV ads– are distributed by media companies.

And the mechanical solutions that the platform guys offer in pursuit of marketing scale are frequently naive and irrelevant to effective and engaging campaigns. Advertising is not an automate-able, scalable craft. (In fact, craft is not scalable by definition.)

At meetings I’ve attended where the big platforms promote brand pages, promoted tweets, promoted stories, etc., my fellow ad veterans — both traditional and digital — have listened politely, only to return to creating campaigns that focus on their individual client’s brands, and in the process, they have effectively ignored the platform pitch. That’s why most campaigns from creative agencies do not depend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, Path or Friendster as important tools — yet.

But the big agencies are beginning to be attracted by high impact formats  like full-screen video and the InViewSlider that produce 99% viewable impressions and command a premium. We need to combine these formats  with great content in order for them to become as successful as we know they can be.

That’s why this year we are not only talking to publishers, to whom we offer these formats for direct selling, but also to large agency holding company who want a brand-safe, effective way to marry technology with creative.

2013 will be the year in which a new kind of marriage takes place: the marriage of ad formats with superior creative. Does anyone want to produce award-winning ads with us? We’re ready for you.


Happy Holidays From Your Friends at ZEDO

Run TV Ads on Mobile to Raise Campaign Impact

ZEDO‘s new click to full-screen video high impact ad formats allow advertisers to run the same TV ads on mobile devices that they run on TV, with little implementation challenge or work. So?

Why is it important to run your TV ads on mobile?

Because most people who watch TV do it with another screen in front of them. We thought this was just an amusing quirk of the youth market, but a new Nielsen report shows that it is not age-related anymore.

While tablets and smartphones offer the freedom of mobility, close to 40 percent of Americans now use their tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day, and twice as many do it at least once a month.  Modernity, in its new form, enables myriad content access points. It’s a fact of which Americans are taking full advantage. These devices are omnipresent, and not just among the youth.

There have also been tests done by major brands that show the effectiveness of brand campaigns  This is from Google’s research:

  • Cross screen research conducted in Nielsen Media Labs proved that for groups that saw a Volvo ad across all screens -TV, PC, smartphone and tablet – the brand recall jumps dramatically to 74%. (vs. 50% for TV only).
  • Reebok experienced over 131% lift in brand response conversions after extending its video creative across all digital screens – PCs, mobile phones and tablets – to promote RealFlex.
  • Delta Air Lines successfully targeted business travelers across mobile devices and networks with interactive mobile video units. The campaign doubled awareness, consideration intent and association with business elite services.
  • The adidas’ “All-In” campaign video, featured above, generated over 2 million views by adapting their video creative for engagement across PCs, smartphones and tablets.

So we’ve invented a high impact format the brings the power of TV commercials to the browsing experience. We put it in our Inview Slider, where we already know we will have 99% viewable impressions, because we’ve been testing for a year. The slider keeps your ad in view as the viewer scrolls, and since it plays without sound there’s a compulsion to mouseover it to get the audio playing. The viewer can also click and get it to full-screen. And once the ad is done, it goes away. So advertisers would be smart to play their best commercials in this new high impact format.


99% in view.

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Agencies: Become Accountable With Direct Pipe

We have begun to offer agencies our “direct pipe” platform product, which gives them a white label platform from which to buy  our high impact formats. We are offering this because we see big changes coming in the relationship between publishers and brands. This is also a great opportunity for agencies – to have a direct pipe to their best publishers to better execute in buying high impact media that excites brands.

A survey by Avidan Strategies  of 1900 executives is quite revealing:

Clients are being asked to deliver more with less and are seeking a “better, faster, cheaper” attitude from agencies.

The proliferation of media choices has brought about a fragmented advertising marketplace as well, says the report. Many clients have upwards of 20 agencies and marketing service firms, creating rosters of “microspecialist” agencies. As specialization continues there is a need for coordination through integration.

Most marketers would like their agencies to lead integration between all brand communication partners, but when asked about agencies’ ability to execute, 72% of marketers report that agencies are “inconsistent and need to improve”, and 24% say that, “agencies are falling short and not doing a good job.”


If I led an agency right now I’d be looking for premium publishers who offer high impact formats that are guaranteed to produce viewable impressions or high impact formats that incorporate video. We’ve been on this train with our publisher partners for over a year now, and the ones who participate with us are seeing more accurate measurement, more visibility, and higher eCPMs. This translates to better advertising for agencies, and a big “bang” for the advertising buck.

We are especially proud of our ability to offer our partners click-to-full-screen video. Agencies, feel free to talk to us about how to execute consistently in buying these formats. And publishers, as always, we’ve got your back.


Publishers: Examine Your Content to Increase Revenues

If you are a publisher and you want to get the best rates for your display advertising, you can no longer begin with the amount of screen real estate you devote to ads, or the price and format of the ads. In print, readers are disgusted with newspapers that have lost their “news holes” to advertising, and online Google has moved away from permitting too much advertising on a site before a viewer gets to the content.  You must now start by examining the content of your site, and making it attractive to visitors. Once you do that, the increased advertising rates will come, because advertisers are  buying content,  when they are actually generating it.  They want  “brand lift,” –the association of their brands with brands of similar strength.

That’s a huge shift for newspapers, magazines, and most old-line publishers, although it is easier for publishers that began by being digital — sites like Yahoo, Match.com, and About.com. From the beginning, they understood that by creating content users want to view, advertisers will come. In the old days, you had an editorial calendar that may have stretched an entire year in advance. Advertisers bought against the calendar. Now, editorial calendars shift in a minute, and ads are served by companies like ZEDO.

A great example of how this shift should be playing out in your business is The Huffington Post , which was started as a “social product,” not a “newspaper.” As a result, it undergoes a continuous process of rigorous experimentation in how to improve the product. Its editors are its product people, and  Huffpo’s “products” are content created by those editors. And how do the editors do it? By constantly keeping in touch with readers to find out what they want to see.

Advertising on Huffington Post’s home page is scarce; in fact, there is only one ad, as I write this. Same with Match.com. But those ads are not display ads; they are video ads. More and more advertising on successful sites will be video in the future, especially since both Nielsen and Comscore have developed technologies that test for  and measure the actual viewable impressions of an ad.

That’s why we’ve developed formats like full-screen video, which is especially effective on mobile devices. This new high-impact format is already a favorite of our leading publisher clients, along with the InView slider, another format that has been measured consistently at 99% viewable impressions.

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Full Screen TV Ads on Tablets Work Well for Advertisers

Studies on the effectiveness of tablet advertising are beginning to proliferate. Unlike the garden varieties of online ads, tablet advertising seems to work very well.

This week, Dell released the results of a month-long multi-platform campaign it ran to promote its educational technology products that ran across Web-connected TVs, the desktop Web, and mobile devices. The campaign goal was to track individuals across the three platforms to “correlate the impact of one channel with the other two.” Dell noticed a 68% lift in the amount of time an individual who saw the ads on more than one platform spent on its mobile site.

Dell’s experience follows closely on another study that shows most viewers are watching TV with their tablets in their laps, and they are evenly divided among those who concentrate most on the TV, those who concentrate on the tablet, and those who split their attention. Moreover, 28% of tablet viewers used the tablet to look up more information about something they saw advertised on TV.

These two studies should be incredibly good news to people who already advertise on TV. They can get better results by using their TV ads on tablets. In the past, that wasn’t possible, but with ZEDO‘s new high impact formats, brands can seamlessly run the same  :30 spots on the tablet that they produce for TV.

Full Screen TV Ads offer web users a TV-quality experience without intruding on browsing. The full-screen video ads expand when the viewer clicks on them, reinforcing the impact of the TV ad. Even better, there’s no reformatting necessary. These ads fit into normal ad units on high-traffic sites. Here’s how they work:

On page load, a small version of the TV ad starts playing, without audio. Audio starts on mouse-over and stops on mouse-off. A click opens the ad in full screen mode.  When the video ends, the ad shrinks to original size, with an option to open the advertiser’s landing page in a new tab.

The experience of Dell should mean more advertisers will be integrating these Full Screen TV Ads into their campaigns.

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