The Rise of ZINC

Things at ZEDO and in the ad market are so exciting. For a while now we’ve been working on our new division, ZINC, hiring people, moving to a Madison Avenue office in New York, and re-branding as way more than an ad server. In the last month things have continued to accelerate.

This has really been an amazing week for ZINC. It’s as though we have unlocked a pent up desire on the part of media planners for something online that will engage visitors and not violate them, and all we have to do is show up, give a demo, and we get an insertion order. Our sales teams have never been so welcome in the offices of media buyers.

Admittedly, some of our other high impact formats, like the slider and the shuffle, have always done well. They’re easily measured as 99% viewable, and they are visible without being obtrusive. They only appear when a viewer is there to see them, so they can be placed below the place formerly known as the fold. We’re certainly not complaining about their performance; the company has grown revenue about 20% this year (unusual for a company that’s not a startup), and it’s been mostly because of them.

But the icing on ZEDO’s cake, and what makes it seem like a startup again (but with huge resources), is the ZINC division’s new large canvas InArticle video unit, which is not a standard ad space, but so much more. When you hover over the ad, the video begins to play, and the sound goes on. And if you click, the video expands to full screen. People who see it are blown away. Auto brands are using this format to reveal their new models, TV networks to tease their new shows, and CPG companies to show their products. And small agencies across the country buy directly from our online platform:

What’s even better? We always had a network of premium publishers to place these ads with, but now the publishers are more willing than ever to get on board with us. When we show up with an insertion order from a major brand, we no longer have to wait for the contracts to be signed.

What’s missing from this picture? We can’t hire fast enough. We need enthusiastic people who want to be in the advertising business and sell to major brands, entertain agency clients and take meetings with studio heads, and do all the exciting things the ad business is known for. We’re looking for people who have just a bit of experience in digital media or sales, but it’s the energy we really  want, and the willingness to learn and create what advertising will look like in the future.And if sales is not your forte, we also need account reps to take care of these agencies and brands once they’re on board.

Video Advertising Will Be as Effective as TV: Update

About two years ago, I wrote about my belief that  high quality publishers could make Internet advertising work at least as well as the best TV advertising. At the time, that was a pretty lonely position. In a world of banners and remnant inventory,online advertising was heading toward commoditization. Yet I continued to believe that we could make Internet advertising work brilliantly for high quality product launches and brand building and also that we wouldn’t always be stuck with text based CPC ads.

This year, with the launch of our ZINC high impact formats, we’ve begun to show that the best sites can indeed run fantastic graphic and video ads that sell great products. Agencies are buying those ads for quality brands.

We’ve been validated by a marketplace that seems finally to have discovered the value of online ads for brand building purposes. The convergence of mobile and video has made that happen; more online video ads are watched than TV ads. According to the Pew Research Center,

tablet ownership in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past year, with 34% of American adults owning a tablet, up from 18% a year ago, according to the Pew Research Center. With 56% of these tablet owners living in households that earn at least $75,000 annually, publishers are pitching brands on reaching affluent audiences.

Fortunately, we had already developed our suite of high impact formats, including the InViewSlider, the Shuffle, and our full screen video. These formats have been tested and deployed by premium publishers in the US, Europe, and Asia. They are getting great results and making agencies very happy. Needless to say, the increased revenue makes our publisher partners happier, too.

I’m still looking toward the day we measure something besides CTRs, an irrelevant metric for brands. Viewability should be a more important metric than click-through rates; think of the traditional billboard along a highway — you don’t do anything when you see it, because you’re driving. But it might make you take action later. That’s brand lift.

Another new measure for video advertising might be engagement, or how much of the video ad did you actually watch. There’s no substitute here for great creative that can keep a visitor watching through to the end of the ad.

It has taken a while for brands to get comfortable with online advertising for brand awareness, but with the combination of new formats like full-screen TV ads on the web and better creative, we’re heading in the right direction.

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Publishers Must Help Advertisers Buy Video

Recent tectonic shifts in the advertising ecosystem have left all parties reeling and reaching for something firm to hold on to. In the past two years, You Tube, where dancing babies and talking heads once prevailed, has become the home of major celebrities. The online content world has shifted from text to video almost overnight, and audiences have shifted with it, from TV to tablets. Advertisers know they have to play here, but they’re still not sure how.
What’s holding up the growth of online video ad dollars? Media planners don’t know how to buy, and publishers don’t know how to deliver value in familiar terms. By familiar, I mean a term like “GRPs”, the traditional way TV is bought. GRP is a difficult metric to apply to online video, but it’s the common currency of the advertising industry and a $450 billion industry doesn’t shift overnight.
In addition, most media planners are thinking of online as a “second” or “third” screen, part of an integrated campaign that begins with TV and includes online, and that raises the question of attribution modeling. How to tell which part of the campaign was the most effective? There are many questions.
So when advertising and online video people get together, as they did recently at OMMA Europe, what do they talk about?  Metrics. Everyone is trying to figure out how to measure the effectiveness of online video so they can decide what percentage of their budgets to shift.
The uncertainty means that ad dollars are indeed shifting to online video, but not nearly as quickly as audiences are. The industry, which used to be about stirring emotion (see Mad Men for details) has now been taught to rely on data. But we don’t yet know how to interpret the data generated by online video viewers.
Indeed, when we talk about the worlds of second and third screens, we don’t even know with certainty who in the family is watching on that iPad. Mobile devices don’t allow cookies, and devices are regularly passed from spouse to spouse and parent to child. So how do we track response?
This is made more complicated by another shift: from performance advertising, which characterized the old world of display, and was easily tracked, to brand lift — the specialty of TV, but a more amorphous metric.TV is about brands and uplift, but where in the marketing funnel does online video play?
Not much brand language is coming out of the digital video industry, at least not language that can help media planners learn how to buy video intelligently, The industry has to find a common currency that plays across all media.
Old school planners only recognize GRPs, the traditional TV measurement. This makes it hard for niche publishers to position their value propositions, especially as RTB takes over.
More relevant metrics might include viewability, a first step, and engagement, measured by how much of the video a viewer watched. You can’t have brand uplift without more than just viewability. This number could be a proxy for engagement. Audiences are being validated by Nielsen and comScore after the fact, but what do you buy on?
It’s time for all of us in the industry to quit talking geeky jargon and start helping advertisers feel comfortable. We know the audience is online; now let’s work together to help the advertisers get there.


Agencies Love Our TV Ads on the Web

ZINC Sells High Impact FormatsZinc offers agencies and advertisers premium high impact formats across pc, mobile and tablet. Many of Zinc’s high impact units are guaranteed 99% viewable by comScore, making them the best branding vehicle in the market.
ZINC was founded by ZEDO, the world’s largest independent ad server, pioneering leading digital ad solutions for over 13 years.

In 2007, we announced the launch of  ZincX, a place where advertisers could buy guaranteed premium inventory. Six years later, we are expanding the concept. The main activity of ZINC is to help agencies bring their TV to the web with our  high impact formats.

During the past year, we’ve developed several ways in which advertisers can take their TV creative straight to the web — without adapting it. We have four different formats:

1. InView with video
2. Full Screen TV Ads. 300×250
3. Double video. 300×250
4. Rotating screen shots. 300×250

Our TV Ads on the Web give higher performance and more great inventory.  They are easy to buy and execute: agencies can just email us their TV commercials.

ZINC  has always been different and better than other companies. ZINC  offers only high-visibility, premium advertising positions on high traffic sites. ZINC’s web based interface offers real-time management of campaigns, instant reporting access at any time, and aggressive pricing that allows advertisers to maximize their media budgets. Inventory availability is clear and transparent  and agencies see real-time inventory and actual pricing.

To schedule a demo, or to find out more, contact lana(at)

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ZEDO Announces the ZINC Exchange!

There are many ways that publishers and advertisers can sell and buy ad space. Today, the easiest and quickest way for advertisers to buy is with an Ad Exchange. Advertisers like exchanges because they are more transparent than ad networks and are easy and fast to use. For advertisers, there are no more sales calls from publishers or network sales reps. Instead, they choose to buy on their time in a quicker and easier way than our industry has ever seen before. They also remain in complete control. Exchanges are a great source of efficiency for agencies and advertisers. ZEDO, as you may have read today, is launching ZINC Ad Exchange.

ZINC is now in private beta and will soon be open to use by any advertiser. ZINC is different and better than other ad exchanges. Other exchanges sell remnant non-guaranteed impressions on a mixed bag of sites. The ZINC Exchange features only premium, guaranteed inventory – you choose and buy the inventory you want. There isn’t any remnant inventory. This is because the only advertising inventory you’ll find on ZINC is high-quality sites such as newspaper publishers from across the country.  The ZINC Exchange will offer only high-visibility, premium advertising positions on community and metro market news websites. ZINC’s web based interface offers real-time management of campaigns, instant reporting access at any time, and aggressive pricing that allows advertisers to maximize their media budgets. Inventory availability is clear and transparent – agencies see real-time inventory and actual pricing.

ZEDO CEO Roy de Souza stated in a recent press release that, “The ZINC Exchange offers an easy way to see prices, create a media plan, and instantly buy high quality, brand-safe ad space. The ability to do guaranteed buys with even delivery across the campaign is attractive to brand advertisers and agencies. I am excited to launch the beta today.”

We are thrilled to announce this new way to buy advertising directly from sites, specifically newspaper sites. Please contact us if you want to join the beta at

P.S. Come see ZEDO at ad:tech in San Francisco April 11-13 to learn even more about Zinc Ad Exchange: Meeting Room MR9 (Expo Hall level 2).


Click to buy guaranteed placements on newspaper sites.