2016: a Banner Year for ZEDO

For ZEDO, 2016 was the year  the ZINCbyZEDO Innovations Suite of video formats pulled out to lead the market in both completion rates and viewability. It was also the year we became known for our ability to outperform much bigger competitors, even those who offered customer incentives we didn’t match. At the end of the day, results count, and in head-to-head trials, we almost always emerged the winner. You can imagine how excited we are about 2017.

While ZEDO has long been known as one of the largest independent ad servers, ZINC is a relative newcomer to the scene. ZINC is a division of ZEDO that we launched three years ago for the express purpose of providing a secure, end-to-end platform for both advertisers and publishers to combat the obvious problems associated with programmatic buying: lack of viewability, downright fraud, and malware.

ZINC’s first attempt to penetrate the market came with the Inview Slider, a tasteful display ad that only appeared when a viewed scrolled down the page. It was very well received, but we knew we had to keep innovating, and last year, we were first to market with the inArticle video format, which we developed before out-stream was a “thing.” In fact, we called it “InArticle” because we felt that best described where it appeared and there was no other category. We think we actually invented this category.

And then a Nielsen Study found that when ads are viewed in an outstream format rather than as pre-roll, even skippable pre-roll, purchase intent is increased by 50% for the advertised product. Most important, outstream increases purchase intent by 74% among those critical millennials. Outstream also produces 60% brand recommendation on the part of millennials. This format overtook most other attempts to provide video advertising, because 44% of millennials felt it fit naturally with other content and made ads more likable.

Our own experience proved that outstream could be good for both brands and publishers, and it quickly caught on. Soon we were in a very competitive landscape, in which other companies also sold outstream. But ZINC’s outstream ads showed their advantage over competitors.  We saw 70% completion rates, very high for the industry, and certainly higher than the 8-12% for skippable pre-roll.

We also delivered scale, because we have 18,000 publishers in our network. We delivered 109 million monthly uniques and 80 billion monthly impressions, even after we spent most of the year purging our network of publishers we felt were not brand safe or appropriately premium.  Our CTRS were among the highest in the industry, between 1.25 and 1.3%.

Half way through the year, we launched a mobile FLIP ad unit, and three variations of a SWIPE up format. And we introduced a self-service platform.

However, one of the things we are most proud of is that we made the Online Trust Alliance’s Honor Roll for the fifth year in a row, having demonstrated that our policies with respect to privacy, data security, and native ad serving were aligned with the highest standards in our industry.

Bring on 2017!







ZEDO Launches ZINC Self Service Ad Buying Platform

This week ZINC by ZEDO announced its new ZINC Self Service platform, which allows advertisers and agencies to buy ZINC’s unique advertising. For the advertiser or media buyer who buys on Facebook or Google but who wants to also try something that will stand out more, with the same creative, this self-serve offering will be a real help. Because there is no lengthy process and no contract, the advertisers can even be a small restaurant or a micro-enterprise. This is the first time that the many advertisers that buy on Google and Facebook can also run their existing video or display ads on unique formats that are 100% viewable and really will be seen by users.

ZINC is a better and cost efficient way to build brand on digital because it is 100% viewable and 100% fraud free and only needs existing creative and ZINC innovation in the delivery of the ads.
The new self-service platform makes it easy to buy advertising and pay using a credit card – without wasting time. Once a campaign is set, the buyer receives regular reports of performance. The reports are updated in real time – every fifteen minutes.

The ZINC platform allows buyers to target ads to the IAB contextual categories of publishers. Targeting is determined by the text content of the page on which the user is seeing the ad. The buyer can set a daily budget, or a lifetime budget, and target a specific geography. She can also add a title and description to the ads to give users more context, which attracts the right users to see or click on the ad.  Further precision targeting is offered through choices that include banner or video formats running on mobile or desktop, delivered like native ads to improve the campaign’s performance and provide a higher ROI.

ZINC Self Serve provides the same safeguards to the advertiser’s brand, ensuring ads are always served on 100% bot-free brand safe environments, that we provide to our large clients. We are the first choice of advertisers who are already buying on Facebook, because with little effort they get advertising that really makes them stand out from their competitors.

We Lead in Outstream for a Reason

S1The biggest complaint in the advertising industry as we drop further into Q4, its busiest season, is the lack of video inventory. Everybody wants to run video ads, because video completion rates are higher than the CTRs on banner ads. Especially on mobile, consumers seem to have more patience with video ads than display ads. However, when they speak about video inventory many brands still mean content on high-trafficked video sites like YouTube on which they can run pre-roll. There is indeed a scarcity of that.

However, pre-roll is not the best way to achieve results with video ads, as many other companies have already discovered. The unfortunately- named “outstream,” video ads on text sites are the best performers.

In this department, ZINC is the market leader, having been the first to market with this format.  We launched what we called inArticle video almost three years ago, before the term outstream even existed, and we also initiated the term “polite” for these ads, because they only came into view only when a reader scrolled down to them, and they were also easy to close or scroll past. As  a result of the precautions we take, our ads are not intrusive.

Not only that, we never have used auto-play sound, another reason we feel comfortable calling these ad formats “polite.”

We constantly win buys away from our competitors (and there aren’t many), because we get higher viewability scores with resulting higher rates for publishers. Even the competitors are asking us how we win so many good buys.

Here’s how: we have a better format, better technology, and a better premium publisher network. We have tested our viewability with third parties, and we’re at 93%. To be a market leader, you not only have to be a technology leader, you also have to be cognizant of consumer attitudes, and you have to run on only premium publishers. That’s us.

Yes, this is a self-serving post. Every once in a while we have to sneak one in, because not enough people know what we do.



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.


Video Ad Buyers Seek More Reach

Publishers: if you are not already a ZEDO partner, you may be missing a valuable opportunity to sell inventory to major brand advertisers who want to increase their video reach on sites that run more than just pre-roll. If you are a publisher who wants video ads on your pages, you’re someone who ought to be getting the higher eCPMs that video ads deliver. Here is what our ZINC division promises its agency and brand partners. If your premium site can deliver this, you’re an ideal partner for ZEDO.

ZINC sells publisher inventory

Our ZINC division brings buyers for your inventory

Mobile Video Advertising Takes Off in 2014

It has taken a long time for advertisers to accept that video could be bought like television rather than on the basis of click-throughs, the antiquated metric they were accustomed to in display advertising (and which doesn’t work anymore anyway).

What does this mean? For the industry, it means that digital video advertising has finally come of age. For ZEDO, among other things it means we’ve developed an SDK for our ZINC clients that will allow a video ad to play when a user closes or minimizes an app. It’s an entirely new format that won’t interrupt the use of the app itself, but will be a new form of in-app, or perhaps better called “after-app” advertising, and it will be acceptable to new privacy standards because when a user chooses the free version of an app he or she  implicitly consents to view advertising.

ZEDO’s new SDK can also layer on location-based information to make the targeting more precise, and further layer on contextual data. including negative keyword exclusions. The format delivered is a highly targeted, non-interruptive mobile video ad for our ZINC buyers, who are letting us know that they want something beyond pre-roll — something that will let them contact an audience that isn’t viewing video sites. They’re blown away when they see these new formats.

For the past year on both the ZEDO and the ZINC sides we’ve focussed all of our R&D on video and mobile video, because there are many problems left to solve in the mobile video advertising arena before video advertising becomes as exciting and effective as TV advertising has been for the past fifty years. I’ve often reiterated that I thought online advertising could be as good an experience for the viewer as TV, and 2014 is the year in which this will come to fruition.

However, I’m not sure I predicted the speed of the shift to mobile. The Consumer Electronics Association’s December survey revealed that 80% of new buyers opt for a smart phone.

In the mean time, on the ZINC side, we have launched an “automated buying” platform, through which agencies can buy automatically without buying “programmatically.” There’s a real difference between those two ways of buying, and while programmatic buying often means a loss of control, automating the buying process can be a time-saver for media planners and still let them keep control of where and how they buy.

It is going to be a super 2014, and we’re ready to get back at it.

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:-)



Business Insider: Mobile Exploding


To answer the call for an industry leading technology in the ad space ZEDO has invested resources in the ZINC High Impact product suite. Our leading platform provides the technology to make an impact on the right audience on web and mobile. ZINC is fostering an environment for effectively reaching consumers on mobile devices – a goal that many have attempted, but none have successfully achieved. A new study conducted by Business Insider puts ‘mobile usage at an all-time high’ sharing that ‘we’ve reached a usage tipping point’ as ‘mobile was the only media type to grow in total U.S. Consumer minutes spent per day from 2010 to 2012’.

ZINC is differentiated and gaining prominence among brand marketers and high level agency execs because of the highly visible nature of its mobile video formats. ZINC is able to connect with consumers while they are engaged with the most personal device they own – their phone. The ability to adapt, create, and innovate in this space is dependent on the ability to understand how consumers use mobile smartphones. ZINC presents brands the opportunity to expand mobile reach and engage at the most intimate level with consumers.


Because ZINC provides game-changing video formats that are both non-intrusive and highly visible, and plugs into a network of Tier 1 publishers who are part of ZEDO’s customer base, advertisers can gain immediate access to the “right” global audience with the reach and frequency they need to get their messages out.

ZINC Keeps Your Brand Safe on Mobile Devices

In the days since the first messages were sent out over the internet, our expertise with technology has continuously encouraged us to do things with our new capabilities that perhaps we shouldn’t. We’re moving toward a world in which everything connects, for better or for worse, even the refrigerator and the thermostat in your home. Eventually, the rising number of connections will create systemic risk, and systemic risk is something we can’t mitigate. We can only prevent it by exercising extreme care in what we do online.

For people who are concerned about security in the advertising and publishing worlds  we are at the beginning of yet another massive shift that, in the worlds of Mary Ann Davidson, Oracle CSO, will create problems similar to those every other technology innovation created before. From mainframe to client server to thin client to mobile, each wave of new technology has been open to misuse.Mobile is no exception. While we are all wrestling with how to make money with mobile, we must also keep in mind brand safety across multiple global programmatic buys, consumer privacy concerns, and proliferating transactions.

You want to get results with your ad campaigns, but you want the quality of your brand maintained.That’s why it’s important that you assure yourself that your ads are seen only on trusted sites with premium content, served by a company that understands mobile security and consumer privacy issues.

Clearly, the American public is beginning to understand the perils and risks of technology.We live in a world in which the  good guys are being out-innovated, and the attackers are winning, and the only way to ensure brand safety is with trusted partners.

At ZINC, we know who we’re dealing with all the way from the brand to the publisher. Your ads are placed on ZEDO’s premium network, and served through ZEDO’s ad server. Even though you buy programmatically, you are going to buy safe, scalable, and effective impressions.

Our high impact formats will help you achieve your brand’s results without endangering your reputation. We can scale without compromising the quality of your impressions, because of the size and quality of our premium publisher partners.

Pair premium sites with increased security and high impact formats, and you get a winning combination even on mobile devices.




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What Are ZINC’s High Impact Formats?

We’ve been talking about high impact formats for over a year now, long enough to occupy most of the first page results on Google. However, the term probably needs a more specific definition, especially the way we use it at ZINC.
Our high impact formats emerged from a challenge I issued to our team over a year ago to develop some formats that could help readers engage more with ads, since standard display ads were clearly not working as well as they used to. Out of that challenge came a suite of eight truly different unique formats, which we’ve offered through the ZINC site to agencies for campaigns that really demand high visibility, and can be used for both brand building and performance. These ads, sold either by us or by our premium publishers, consistently outperform traditional display ads, although they come in standard units. We’ve tested some of them with comScore and they’ve been found to be consistently 99% viewable.
The highlights:
ZINC InView Display: Our InView Display ads provide a customized user experience in standard formats, and require very little work on the part of the buyer to implement. In ads like these, the user may be accustomed to ad units in certain locations on web pages,  but ZINC ads create a customized experience by reacting to the consumer’s behavior. As the visitor scrolls down a page, the ad is triggered to appear in the right rail in a subtle sliding motion. The motion of the unit gets the consumers attention, resulting in increased brand recognition and higher  CTRs. The InView slider, the most popular of these, has been tested 99% viewable.
These ad formats can run video as well. We have perfected techniques for getting these campaigns live very quickly, as they can accept all standard existing creative. These are not like traditional rich media ads that demand special creative before they can run. They get a great reception from viewers, because they’re unusual, and they only appear when someone is there to see them. Our patented scroll technology allows for subtle effects that don’t cause editorial departments to wince.
ZINC InArticle Video: Engaging an Engaged Viewer
In the past year, video has taken the ad world by storm, probably because consumers will watch video ads in greater numbers than will watch standard banners. As a result of the consumer shift to video consumption online, especially on mobile devices, the best sites quickly run out of pre-roll inventory. Our answer to that is InArticle, a video format that runs on an uncluttered premium web page that is already being read by an engaged visitor.
As the user slowly scrolls down the lines of text, a large canvas opens up and  a high quality video ad begins. The  curious user clicks on the ad, and the brand’s message expands to fill the entire device screen, creating the closest experience to TV on digital at the highest point of engagement. It’s a fresh way to reach a desirable audience, and at a scale that is compelling because of our premium sites.
Almost every time we demo these formats, an agency gives us an insertion order. You can learn more about these exciting advances in online advertising at ZINC’s special showcase site.
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