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Forget GDPR: Mobile Ad Spend Will Continue to Grow

As usual, the digital advertising world is about to change. Several factors have caused this next round, and only a minor one is GDPR, which proves to be something we can all get over by checking another bunch of boxes to say we accept cookies.

But companies have invested quite a big in getting ready for GDPR, and they’re not going to let that go to waste, so here are the ways advertising will change again:

1)Some publications are going to re-ignite direct sales, in the name of transparency and brand safety. Although programmatic will continue to grow, we’re already seeing the return of the I/O, which was a staple of the industry. To guard against misplaced advertising, I/Os specify context. This may seem very old school, but there’s benefit in having ads placed next to relevant content. Facebook and Google already know this.

2)Some players are experimenting with the block chain. There are at least three solutions that experiment with the blockchain. The first is the Brave browser and the Basic Attention Token (BAT) a way of paying content providers micropayments for traffic. No one is under the illusion that this will replace advertising, but it may co-exist nicely with fewer ads. There is also a startup called KindAds, a blockchain platform that wants to decentralize online advertising process by connecting advertisers directly to publishers to remove the intermediary service of ad networks.

And  there’s AdEx, which is attempting to boil the ocean.

AdEx is a blockchain-based ad exchange that seeks to minimize advertising fraud by providing a platform for advertisers to connect with publishers. AdEx also wants to solve the problems around lack of consumer consent, privacy concerns, and data misuse. For one, users get a dashboard where they can choose the kinds of ads they want to see, the firm uses blockchain technology to anonymize user data, it creates a data trail to verify clicks/views in ad campaigns

3)Industry groups are promoting transparency. IAB, the industry’s self-regulating body, has released a framework for acceptable ads, as has the Acceptable Ads Exchange initiative of Ad Block Plus, and several other trade associations. The goal of these efforts is to show consumers the industry can and will self-regulate.

In the meantime, we can be sure digital advertising growth will continue, because Mary Meeker has identified a $7B delta between the growth of time spent by consumers on mobile devices, up 29% since last year and growth of mobile ad spend, which is only up 26%.

 

Trends in Mobile Privacy

Mobile advertising has yet to come into its own, perhaps because advertisers are not yet sure what users will tolerate on a device actually held on the body.  Perhaps it seems more invasive because mobile advertising is capable of collecting information about users’ activities across different apps over time to deliver ads to those users based on those activities. It includes retargeting and tracking conversions,  and it may extend to any collection of information on one property to serve an ad on a different property. The data  collected is not tied to an identifiable individual but is tied to an individual device. And users are aware of being tracked across devices.

Lately, just about everyone is collecting user data for cross- device tracking, and users are not happy. The publisher collects user data from registrations and the use of the publisher’s app or site. Demand  and supply side platforms track users through their SDKs installs on the site, or receive user data from advertisers to calculate retargeting or fees. Advertisers also track user data, as do real time bidding (RTB) platforms, by which a user in a certain inventory is sold to the advertiser making the highest bid.

if this sounds awful to you, imagine how it sounds to the consumer who is being tracked for what is known as interest-based advertising. No wonder consumers opt out, forcing the FTC to make advertisers provide enhanced notice and choice.

In the mobile environment, the Digital Advertising Alliance and IAB Europe have determined to self- regulate. DAA has an opt out app that can be downloaded by consumers. There are also protections in mobile browsers to enable consumer choice. But in the EU  there are special considerations for apps and privacy.

The four key data protection risks in the EU include transparency consent, security,  and limitations on both purpose and amount of data that can be collected from an app. It is up to the consumer to control which data processing functions should be permitted: location data, contacts, credit card and payment data, browsing history.

A  company may use information collected across devices through cross device tracking software for content personalization,  interest based advertising,  fraud prevention and analytics.  In the US, opt outs are device specific but users must be provided with notice and a choice if they browsing activity on one device maybe used to deliver advertising to them on another device. In the EU, regulations are stricter: the privacy directive requires prior consent from the user for “storing for accessing information in the terminal equipment of the user.”

In the US, geolocation data can be collected only after the user is told that the data is being collected, and it may not overwrite consumer preferences. Although general geolocation derived from an IP address is not considered  “information”, it should still be disclosed in a privacy policy.

Snapchat and Path both fell afoul of this policy,  and Snapchat had to settle with the FTC over allegations that its Android app transmitted wifi and cell- based data location information from users mobile devices to its analytics tracking service provider in violation of its own privacy policy.

For that reason, although mobile marketing has many possibilities, it is wiser to leave the user in control of her own device marketing preferences.

 

Publishers Re-Designing to Take Mobile Seriously

Publishers who have traditionally felt themselves to be the curators and packagers of news are now re-thinking their roles yet again as consumers switch to mobile. In the days of print, there were one or two deadlines a day, usually morning and evening, at which time a new “package” of news was edited, printed, and distributed. The first switch to digital took those two aggregation points in the day and moved them online. Later, the “home page” emerged, updated more often but still considered the first place a reader would land.  More recently, social media and recommendation engines killed that arrangement as readers came from Google, Facebook and Twitter. And now, mobile has changed things yet again.

Premium publishers are redesigning their sites with less emphasis on the traditional home page and more on the way consumers on mobile “pull” news to themselves — on demand and in context. “Publishers have learned that the smaller smartphone screen has to be treated much differently than the screen of a personal computer. They also are grasping that allowing the consumer to select his or her news preferences has to be a priority,”  writes Michael Barris of Mobile Marketer.  “The big lesson here is that people try to access content where they want to, not where publishers want them to. Utilizing approaches like responsive design—sites that flex to the form factor of the device accessing it—allows organizations to create content once and distribute in as many places as possible.”

For traditional publishers, this has been difficult, as they also have to deal with legacy audiences. The New York Times, for example, has redesigned its site to a long scroll containing all the former sections of the print newspaper on one page to be available to mobile viewers. It has also placed video on the front page,  although not typically “above the fold.”  There are four ad spaces on the home page, all small. The Guardian home page has only a single ad, proving that the publisher feels the editorial experience of a clean home page will be more conducive to getting a reader to click on an internal page. CNN.com, also optimized for mobile, has but a single ad on the landing page.

Why has this changed? Because the “front page” is not how the audience on mobile comes to the publisher. More likely, a visitor will come through an app like Nuzzel, which aggregates all the news your friends are sharing into a simple package of headlines. You, as the visitor, pay very little attention to where the news came from as you click on the headline from the Nuzzel app. That headline leads you to the NYTimes, but not to the site as a whole — only to the article you want to read. On that page are the best advertising opportunities.

This represents a sea change in the way advertising is valued, and also in what advertising will likely work. Ad formats and placements are being swiftly revalued for mobile advertisers, and this along with the growth of native advertising is making for yet another bumpy year in the publishing business.

 

What’s Wrong With Mobile Advertising?

What’s wrong with mobile advertising and the technology providers who make it possible? Everything and nothing it turns out– the way industries that are undergoing big shifts always appear to the uninitiated.

We were at OnMobile 2013 recently, and a panel of “upstarts” from the mobile advertising community spoke about some of the “ridiculous” metrics they have to deal with from the advertising industry. For example, the entire notion of targeting presupposes that a consumer is a target, which is a pretty demeaning name for the person who ultimately pays the bills. Let’s face it, all advertising is a distraction, and most consumers will pay (for a DVR, for a premium version of an app) to avoid the distractions of advertising.

That’s why it is incumbent for a publisher, even if he is selling programmatically, to be the judge of what ads appear on his site. He is the sole judge of whether a given ad is contextually relevant to his audience before that audience sees it.

The next two ridiculous metrics for mobile are reach and frequency.  Reach is irrelevant online, and especially in mobile, where just reaching someone will not convince them to buy a product; rather, it may just annoy her and be thought of as spam. As far as frequency is concerned, that’s even worse. If you ask a girl out twenty times and she says “no,” what makes you think that on the 21st ask she will say “yes”?

And the final ridiculous metric is click-through rates. What’s really important is whether the person buys the product eventually, not whether they did or did not click on an ad. Especially on a mobile device, where either bandwidth or data allotment might be scarce, there are many more mundane reasons not to click on an ad.

The top mobile advertising leaders realize that the best advertising hits users at precisely the right moments, and the future of mobile marketing lies in owning those moments, as Twitter does, or Instagram. It’s all about timeliness and being there when the consumer is paying attention. Because of this, mobile ads can’t be about one-way yelling; rather, reciprocity is the key. You have to add value to those moments, not distract from them.

We can take all these factors into account, but we’re guessing that what’s most wrong with  mobile advertising right now is the inability of marketers to consider it part of the overall ad budget rather than as a separate item, and delegate more of advertising spend to it. We predict that’s going to happen next year.

 

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.

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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Neilsen Study Reveals Mobile Video Growth

The Neilsen Corporation released its quarterly report about TV viewing, and as we can already guess, it’s going down on traditional TV sets. This doesn’t mean Americans don’t watch video, however. They watch more of it than ever, and more and more on mobile. Smartphones are the new portable TVs.

As a result, ZEDO is offering several innovative formats to run real 30 second TV spots on the web.Here are some highlights.

o   After several years of consistent year-over-year growth, traditional TV viewing declined one half of one percent or roughly 46 minutes per month. This may be the result of leveling off after a period of sustained growth, weather and economic factors or of other viewing options.

o   As more homes adopt DVRs and transition to timeshifted viewing, timeshifted TV growth has offset the bulk of live TV declines. Other potential factors include time spent using game consoles, tablets and other emerging devices. The average American watches nearly five hours of video each day, 98 percent of which they watch on a traditional TV set.

o   Although this ratio is less than it was just a few years ago, and continues to change, the fact remains that Americans are not turning off. They are shifting to new technologies and devices that make it easier for them to watch the content they want whenever and wherever is optimal for them

o   As of February 2012, smartphones now represent half of all mobile phones in the U.S3. With improving screens, Internet connectivity and the advantage of being “the best screen available” while on the go, smartphones are increasingly becoming portable TVs.

o   33.5 million mobile phone owners now watch video on their phones—an increase of 35.7 percent since last year. While mobile phones won’t replace other screens anytime soon, they are part of the ever-increasing number of ways in which consumers can and will consume content when and where they want.

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Mobile Ad Serving is just the tip of our ad serving

Earlier this month, we announced our complete set of mobile ad serving tools. This year, we plan to round out our mobile ad server with more granular targeting options, more mobile app support and specialized mobile reports.

Our advertising technology solutions have been a boon to premium publishers, helping them to manage costs, improve margin, protect their bottom line, all while staying innovative in a constantly evolving market.

The ZEDO ad server combines best-of-breed features with a specialized architecture which allows for rapid, reliable ad serving. Our trafficking interface is easy to learn and use, our Executive Dashboards give managerial statistics at-a-glance, and our canned and custom reporting is flexible and fast.

ZEDO’s Ad Operations and Creative Services team is growing faster than ever, to keep up with our growing customer base. Customers around the world find relief and security with our overflow and full replacement ad operations models. Our experienced Ad Operations team can quickly manage your OAS, DFP, APT ad serving setup. While you let your team focus on your core competency, ZEDO can handle the rest, including staffing, training, and ongoing team management.

RevMax – ZEDO’s Yield Optimization service, can perfectly round out your ad serving needs by managing all your unsold inventory, guarantee brand protection through managing advertiser and content blocklists, complete data aggregation, and take advantage of our existing relationships with hundreds of ad networks, where we’ll fight for CPM on your behalf.

And that’s really just the beginning. We offer dynamic ad formats (and development of your ideas into new, innovative formats, I mean, have you seen the IAB Rising Stars?), a self-service plugin module, API access for all your ad serving data, and top of the line, dedicated customer service.

ZEDO Advertising Technology Updates – June

With half of 2011 now behind us, the ZEDO development team continues to produce innovative advertising technology for publishers.  We are most excited about our newest development – ZEDO mobile ad serving!  Read all about it in our latest press release here.

Run ads on mobile devices
Customers will now be able to run ads in the browsers of devices like the iPad, iPhone, and Blackberry, as well as other devices running the Android OS.


Added new COST PER DAY revenue model
Cost per Day [CPD] is a revenue model developed for situations in which advertisers want to pay a fixed price per day of a campaign, and don’t want to pay unless they get “enough” impressions.

The Advertiser can set a number of impressions (“minimum threshold”) below which they are not obligated to pay for a day, and a number of days (“targeted days”) within a broader campaign date range; After the ad has served at least the minimum amount for the number of days targeted, the ad will cease to serve. This gives publishers more flexibility for selling to advertisers.

Added support for tiling:
ZEDO now supports tiled ads. Now, Publishers can ensure that, on a page with multiple instances of an ad size, an ad will never be shown more than once per page view. To set up tiling in ZEDO, first create a Page (a set of the channel/ dimension combinations found on a web page).  Once you’ve set this up, ads of the same dimension that are targeted to that web page will behave as Tiled ads, never showing up in more than one space at a time, even if they’re targeted to multiple channels on that web page.


To learn more about ZEDO’s Advertising Technology products and services just contact us by visiting here.