For Holiday Ads, inArticle Video Fills the Bill

It’s amazing now narrowly the discussion of video advertising has focused. Most participants view it merely as placing ads in front of, in the midst of, or at the end of video content. Let’s call that advertising on video.

That’s a real miss for media planners who have video ads they’d like to deploy with greater reach during the holiday sason. There’s a large audience that doesn’t frequent video sites, yet spends much of the day online. Those consumers are READING. They’re getting information about everything from their finances to the weather to what they’re going to give for Christmas, but they’re not getting it from YouTube. Most of these people visit premium sites and tend to be people with more money than the younger people who frequent YouTube. Because they are information gatherers, they also tend to be more educated and they skew a bit older. You can’t reach them on video because they’re busy, but they do keep up with the news, or the ball scores, or the health sites.

To reach those more affluent, more educated consumers, a format like our ZINC InArticle unit is ideal. It displays a video ad  alongside an article the site visitor is reading.  This format deployed over our premium network gives advertisers unduplicated reach.

As you can see, these ad formats are not involved in the discussion of whether TV is dead, is shifting online, or whatever the latest ad tech distraction is.  It is irrelevant whether TV has shifted online, or even if these consumers watch TV at all. These are not ads in video, they’re engaging, high impact video ads in a print environment. They display in standard IAB sizes, and they can be placed wherever you might place a display ad, although they can use content made for TV or video. Because they ARE video, these formats are more engaging. Although they do not auto-play, if the user mouses over them the volume turns on. And if a visitor clicks on the ad, it expands to full screen. It’s ideal for new car launches, financial service products, most luxury goods, and even consumer packaged goods.

Our initial tests of these formats sold through our ZINC platform demonstrate substantially higher levels of engagement and recall. So if you’re looking for a way to reach new customers with existing video ads, inArticle could be your best choice.



ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – October 2013

New Look for ZEDO header!

 We’ve revamped the ZEDO UI header to look and work better.

 It’s more streamlined, more modern, and has more features.

  • Adopted Flat UI guidelines
  • More prominent Search box
  • Focus on usability. The header is now semi-responsive, and will be fully responsive in the near future
  • Reduced Header height to accommodate more content on-screen.

Aside from this project, in the near future, we also have projects lined up to improve the experience of logging in or out, the in-page (body) content – which is of most interest to our users, reporting, and search.

Channel selection for publisher role

 Previously, a Publisher user would get access to all the channels (linked or unlinked) while pulling reports in their account. This was reported by many customers, as other publisher channels were getting exposed to publishers.

 To improve this we have made a few changes to Create Role and Create User pages:

 For existing roles and users, we will have two options –

For new Publisher Role creation – for existing customers

  • The default option (Only Publisher-linked Channels)  will allow them to display only a linked channel to a publisher.
  • Another option (Publisher-linked and Custom Selection) will allow them to select linked as well as non-linked channels to be displayed to a publisher.

For new Publisher Role creation – for new customers

You will not see the ‘Add All Current and Future Channels’ option.

On the Create User page, the channels linked to a publisher will be automatically selected and cannot be removed.

However for the option “Publisher-linked and custom selection ” you can also add unlinked channels to the list of channels that publisher user can see.

Custom Targeting Updates

Custom targeting came out in our last release. Some updates:

  • Added ability to bulk clone Custom Targeted Ads.
  • Custom targeting applied to an ad can now be saved in a targeting template and re-used for other ads.

Page URL and Referrer URL placeholders in Ad Tag

We have added placeholders for Page, Referrer URLs in our ad tags. These are placeholders for other 3rd party ad servers who will be trafficking ZEDO tags in their ad serve and want to track Page and Referrer URLs.


Apple Rollout of Tablets Bodes Well for Mobile Ad Prices

So Apple announced at its most recent events that it has had the strongest iPhone launch ever. The company then went on to say that it has sold 170,000,000 iPads. If that doesn’t tell you something about the value of mobile advertising, nothing will.

Along with the iPad revolution, mobile advertising has also risen dramatically. Although there are still price differentials, they will be made up for in volume.

The newest iPads, which will be available to order in early November, and probably given to everyone who doesn’t already have one as Christmas gifts, are thinner than the old ones. The large iPad is lighter, too, and has been repositioned as the iPad Air — meaning it is expected to replace the laptop even for office users. The Apple workflow software, iWork, which is like Microsoft Office, is now free, which means families will buy their students iPads instead of computers for school, and governments will continue to issue them to employees. The iPad is already the standard issue to employees of the Rwandan government. Oh, and did we tell you that the new iPad mini is available with retina display.

Older models have not been taken out of the lineup, but have simply been offered at a lower price; you can now buy an iPad for $299.

Let’s not even talk about  the other brands, such as Google’s Nexus 7 that are all selling well, but just focus on how Apple has repositioned its products, because Apple may not be the biggest in the market, but it’s the ultimate thought leader in the mobile device market.

When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPads, in an era that now seems like the dark ages but was really April 2010,  he positioned it as the “lean back” device; the device for consuming content. It soon became the way people watched video. And it looks as if TIm Cook has now repositioned the tablet as more than just a consumption device; it may soon be the only computer people in developed countries own, just as the smartphone is the only computer many people in developing countries own. It is about access to content inexpensively and on the move, and access to tools of content production as well.

We saw this in 2010 and began developing mobile advertising formats with our team. The suite of High Impact formats we’ve been selling to agencies and brands through ZINC have become highly successful for us, and the inArticle video format,  has been called game-changing by agencies who have seen it and signed up. InArticle, which appears alongside printed content is a way to expose brands to new audiences that are reading rather than watching video to which you can append pre-roll.

in 2014, we predict prices for mobile ads will rise as well, and will come to an equivalency with desktop ads.

And we’ve been right before:-)



TV Ad Dollars Can Easily Shift Online in 2013

A snarky Ad Age columnist, Dave Morgan, has said that marketers will have a tough time shifting 10-20% of their TV ad dollars online as they’ve said they wanted to:

With the upfront looming, and increasing pressure to be innovative, many advertisers and agencies today are in a headlong race to shift and diversify their TV ad budgets, taking greater advantage of multiplatform-platform “video.” And why not? TV advertising is expensive and campaign reach is declining thanks to audience fragmentation.

However noble and well-intentioned, however, the expectations of many of these advertisers and agencies are unrealistic, particularly those calling for 10% to 20% budget shifts out of TV into digital video. That’s because, you see, 97% of all video viewing in the U.S. still occurs on TV. Yes. Whether the data is from Nielsen, Pew or eMarketer, all agree that only a small fraction of video viewing in the U.S. today occurs on devices other than the TV.

Yes. And no. Because this data is misleading.

First,  reach in the old sense of the word — mass markets — doesn’t even exist on TV these days. To reach the consumers major brands need to reach, they already need to diversify channels and platforms. When they say they are shifting TV ad dollars, they may mean they are going for integrated or converged campaigns across TV, print, and digital. That’s what they ought to be doing, because the new research says recall is much better in converged campaigns, as are conversions.

Second, the digital video audience skews younger and better educated than the TV audience, which means a more powerful consumer is watching video online. And that same consumer might be watching video on multiple screens simultaneously, which Nielsen has just begun to measure.

Third, Morgan may be thinking that creative dollars have to shift. But they don’t. We have high impact formats, especially InArticle Video, that allow advertisers to take standard IAB creative units and insert their already produced TV ads into those units. When a viewer mouses over the ad, the audio begins to play, and if she clicks on the ad, it expands to full screen. This format is the most engaging in the industry today; the statistics on completion and viewability are off the charts.

So a blanket assertion that there is nowhere to advertise with video dollars online, or that its reach is not comparable, is failing to see the forest for the trees. Digital is global, which is automatically greater reach, and it is on 24/7, rather than in a specific time slot. Digital video ads should be as good as TV, they will be as good as TV, and in terms of the old standards of reach and frequency for the dollars, they have TV beat by a mile.


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How RTB Fits in a Brand Strategy

Online media is growing up. Once thought only appropriate for performance advertising, it has now entered many media plans much earlier in the marketing funnel—at the stage of building the brand.
This has made media planning more complex, especially as real time bidding now constitutes almost 40% of ad sales. How does a media planner buy both brand advertising and performance advertising in a real time environment?
You can only do it by viewing the marketing process through the eyes of the CMO, who sees her desired outcome as a somewhat linear progression from the creation of awareness to the creation of demand, and finally to the actual sales. CMOs are on a journey to measurability, and not just in terms of direct sales. They’re getting clearer on their objectives and thus clearer about what works and what doesn’t at every stage.
the relationship between advertising meant to produce brand lift and direct response advertising, which produces immediate conversions, is sometimes difficult to see. RTB allows measurement, course correction and elimination of wastage, but one brand’s wastage may be another brand’s long term vision (as in the example of advertising car brands to children, which is known to create future customers). Every media planner has a unique need–what’s right for an individual brand.
It takes a lot longer to build a brand than to make a sale, and thus advertising budgets should be 60% branding and 40% harvesting the demand created by the branding. Creating demand may be less efficient than direct response but paves the way for it. If you want to think in terms of efficiency, think of branding as creating efficient ways to harvest demand,
In the RTB world, it is too easy to give the entire marketing strategy over to real time bidding and big data and then wonder what happened when we don’t get  conversions. Many things can happen: the targeting can be off, the message wrong, or the data faulty. Big data is not a substitute for the essentials of good advertising, it’s a check and a balance. And real time bidding isn’t a panacea, it’s a way of automating a process that was becoming more and more arduous as sites proliferated and brands went global.
We believe data from RTB should be used to inform brand strategy, which can then be executed either through programmatic channels or direct buys. There isn’t yet an algorithm for the relationship between a buyer and seller who understand each other’s needs.
That’s why we tell our publisher partners to reserve special inventory for our private exchange platform, ZINC, or to sell our high impact formats through direct sales channels. It’s also necessary for publishers in this environment to gather and interpret their own data in order to support their value proposition.
At some point in the near future, we believe big data will be recognized as a support and RTB as a workflow tool, instead of the misunderstood  buzzwords they are today. When that happens, brand and performance advertising will converge in the RTB process

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – March 2013

We continue to work hard on developing great advertising technology solutions for publishers here at ZEDO. Here is a list of the what we have been working on:

Publisher Role Enhancements

We have added the ability to hide Advertisers/Campaigns/Creative and revenue information from your Publisher and Publisher with Ad Trafficking (PAT) home dashboard graphs.

You can manage this in the Admin tab when you are creating or editing Publisher or PAT roles (see below).

Ad Selection in Campaign Navigation bar

This January we introduced a new navigation bar which allowed users to quickly access any campaign from the Campaign tab landing page. We have now added more features to it:

  • A dropdown to select and navigate directly to a specific Ad.
  • A Create option in the Campaign and Ad selection dropdowns, so you can navigate directly to Create Campaign or Create Ad from here.



Apply frequency cap to all channels

You can now apply a frequency cap to all targeted channels at once when you are capping By Channel – this will save time and effort previously spent on capping each channel individually.



Container Ad Enhancements

Added functionality/features to Container Ads

  • Logo
  • Footer message
  • Can make entire Leaf ad clickable
  • Border in between Leaf ads
  • Secure clickthrough URL option
  • Hyperlink capability
  • Options for opaque or transparent ad
  • ‘Enter’ to separate multiple lines of text


Other Ad Server Changes:

  • Replaced the old flash-based date picker in Create Ad with a JS-based date picker. This will load fast and will work on all browsers.
  • Increased the maximum file size limit for VAST ads to 10 mb.
  • Added Backup Ad for Vertical Page Pusher.
  • Removed auto close bar requirement for Horizontal Page Pusher (main and backup ads).

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – February 2013

VAST event report enhancement

Previously, the VAST event report we showed data up to the previous day – you had to wait for another day to check the current day’s event data. We now include the current day’s data in the report, and as it’s updated hourly, you can get the most current VAST events data at any time.

Separate Test Ad for backup ad

You can now test both the primary and back up ads – for all ad types – when trafficking.

VAST Event reporting in Report Builder

We have added VAST events as parameters in the Report Builder – you can now create your own custom reports for VAST events

State/City level data in performance report

You used to have to use Inventory reports to see state and city level data. Now, Performance reports will also show country, state, and city data, even if no ad is targeted to the particular geographic region. This will allow users to run any performance report (Advertiser, Campaign, . . . etc) for a country, state, or metro.

Iframe buster for Slider Ads

This improvement will allow users to slider ads using iframe tags. This was previously possible using JavaScript tags only. Just select the check box as show in the screenshot below:

New comScore Report Underscores Viewability Metric

The new report from comScore, ”The Digital Future in Focus 2013,″ had some surprising numbers about how fast the digital media market is growing.

A staggering 5.3 trillion display ad impressions were delivered in the U.S. throughout 2012, with Q4 seeing the most at 1.4 trillion – up 6 percent from the previous year. Closing out the year with the greatest number of impressions delivered were advertisers belonging to the Online Media, Retail, and Finance categories, led by InterActiveCorp, Netflix and State Farm Group.

The top ten advertisers online were AT&T with 104.8 billion ad impressions in 2012. Microsoft, which debuted Windows 8 and the Surface tablet this year with 47.4 billion impressions, rose several spots from 2011. Experian Interactive ranked third with 45.1 billion impressions. Newcomers to the display ad leaderboard included State Farm (35.7 billion impressions), Weight Watchers (34.2 billion impressions), Walt Disney Company (27.0 billion impressions) and Procter & Gamble (26.7 billion impressions).
In addition to the big advertisers, the election in Q4 turned digital media into the same battleground we saw on television. The Romney campaign delivered more than a billion display ads, while Obama, who began advertising earlier, peaked at 2.5 billion.

And along with the growth of programmatic buying, 2012 also saw the the proliferation of non-standard ad units, especially for tablets and mobile devices.

The following two things stood out in comScore’s research.
1) “The U.S. online video market also shows signs of maturing from a consumption standpoint, but monetization is picking up steam …., while traditional media players are finding success with carrying TV commercial content. With the demand for high-impact video advertising exceeding the available inventory, look for the online video market to continue its strong monetization momentum – particularly as targeting improves.”
2) comScore research also showed that “an average of 3 in 10 ads are never rendered in-view, leading to significant waste, weaker campaign performance and a glut of poor-performing inventory that imbalances the supply-and-demand equation and depresses CPMs.”

ZEDO High impact formats address both of these key points raised by comScore. We define High Impact Formats as a way for the advertiser to give us standard creative (728×90, 300×250, 160×600 or a TV commercial) for ZEDO to serve on the page.

ZEDO’s Full Screen TV Ads address the first key point in comScore research; they are a way to run TV commercials on high quality brand-safe content sites.

This format is not just a small pre-roll format and not confined to the very limited over-priced inventory associated with brand-safe pre-roll. Instead ZEDO serves the ads on the best sites and they are viewed full screen by the viewer – just like TV. The advertisers love this: easy to buy (just send the TV commercial video file), brand safe sites, lower cost and higher reach than pre-roll and it plays full screen.

ZEDO’s InView format addresses the second point in the comScore research. Simply put we guarantee 99% viewability. Brand advertisers love this – and buy as much as they can get.

In An Age of Mobile, the Big Idea Thrives

It was the legendary David Ogilvy who first said successful advertising was salesmanship. His book referred mainly to print advertising (he

Cover of "Ogilvy on Advertising"

Cover of Ogilvy on Advertising

died in 1999), but although much has technologically changed, little has changed in the psychology of the human beings who buy the advertised products. Advertisers are still interested in getting customers to notice them and buy their products, whether that’s on the web, the tablet, the phone, or the TV.

Ogilvy also said good advertising was dependent on THE BIG IDEA. Without it, he said, advertising doesn’t get noticed.  In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, he defines the criteria for “the big idea”:  Did it make me gasp when I first saw it? Do I wish I had thought of it myself? Is it unique? Does it fit the strategy to perfection? Could it be used for 30 years?

In the move to digital, and now to mobile, we seem to have kept the idea of advertising as salesmanship — think performance advertising and pay-per-click — but forgotten the importance of the big idea.

And perhaps that’s why the CPMs have declined so precipitously for most publishers, and the ROI seems to be absent for many brand advertisers. The ad agencies complain that digital audiences don’t pay attention to ads, and are willing to pay less for reach and frequency online. The publishers complain that they can’t survive in the RTB race to the bottom.

We think the answer to this is the combination of innovative high impact formats with big creative ideas that take advantage of those formats. We want to marry our 99% viewable impressions with outstanding creative to produce big ideas that combine the latest in ad tech advances with ideas that will make viewers gasp. Our shuffle ads and sliders draw gasps from publishers and agencies that see them. Now all the agency has to do (a little sarcasm  here) is come up with the great content for those formats, and we can raise the CPMs for publishers and the ROI for advertisers.

Wouldn’t you like to express your brand’s BIG IDEA through our guaranteed viewable impressions? We’re just waiting to partner up to win some awards and make our publishers more revenue.




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How to Get the Most Revenue From Your Premium Site

This is going to be another confusing year for publishers, as the advertising trend shifts to programmatic buying. In most cases, we think this shift is a good thing, because it will simplify and automate many outmoded and inaccurate processes.  We were among the first to launch an automated platform for advertisers, and now we encourage our partners to use as many ad networks as they can in order to best monetize their sites.

But what happens to eCPMs in this process?  They could, conceivably fall further, or at best  stay the same. For example, the New York Times paywall, while is has created an overall increase in revenues and a more stable subscriber base for the Times, has not raised their eCPMs.

This is complicated, because we have to start from the premise that eCPMs are still the right way to charge for online advertising, and it’s becoming more and more obvious they are poor pricing tools. But we have nothing else for the moment, so assuming we’re still going to charge by CPMs, how do we get them higher?

One way is by trying out innovative formats that generate more viewable impressions. During the past year, we’ve developed more than half a dozen high impact formats that generate better viewability metrics. Many of them have tested at 99% in view.  Our full screen video ads generate consistently higher eCPMs and engagement numbers, and when we show them to new prospects they often cause the people we’re meeting with to call the president or the GM into the meeting immediately. That’s how impressive they are.

The second way is by selling these innovative formats directly instead of putting them out with the remnant inventory. We’re a fully-featured ad server for direct sales, but you can sell these formats directly even if you’re not using us as an ad server.

In fact, many of our newest and best technologies are independent of our ad server, so if you already use an ad server and it’s not us, no worries. You can still benefit from the higher prices you will get from our cool new formats. And so far, I think we’re the only people who have them; we’re not seeing them around just yet, except from our own publisher partners.

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