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Events can help media companies balance uneven revenue streams

INMA

When we discuss the direction of the news media industry revenue streams on either a macro or micro level, two predominant revenue streams head to the top of the charts. Traditional print still is king at most news media companies, with online/mobile building momentum in most corners of the globe.

While both of those are and will remain critical to our long-term survival, let me offer a potential third leg of that three-legged revenue stool we all seek: events.

News media companies have dabbled in the events arena for quite some time, but with limited success because they often focus on events not destined to create any significant financial windfall. Cooking shows, for example. Or community events such as runs, concerts, and so forth, which are great for local support and exposure, but offer little in the way of significant financial return.

The return on investment falls far short of what the industry has grown to expect from print and even online ventures. And so the full value and revenue potential of event sponsorship for media companies has become clouded and jaded.

But there is money to be made from events, when handled the right way.

Most event experts say two of the largest expenses are the cost of a venue, and event marketing — two areas media companies excel in. They are well-positioned to pull off their own events and eliminate much of the traditional cost associated with these events, due to their expertise in the above key areas.

Marathons and half-marathons as well as triathlons have been known to make tens of thousands of dollars in profits. Concerts and motivational speakers can do the same. Home shows, garden shows, outdoor shows, fishing or golf tournaments — all still can rake in dollars in a big way.

Bear in mind, every one of these events that enters your market without your involvement does, in fact, impact your bottom line. They can extract valuable dollars from potential advertisers, customers, etc. All of those dollars will no longer be circulating throughout your community.

Factor in the compounding value of a dollar either entering or leaving your community and the impact is significant. For every dollar that leaves your community, you can compound that into five or six dollars subtracted from the community.

You can bet some of those are out of your revenue streams.

Much like a stool that needs three or four legs upon which to stand in a balanced fashion, media companies need more than two revenue legs on which to balance their long-term survival.

Embracing events can add a third leg to the revenue mix (or stool) with little risk and a great upside. You don’t need to hire all new staff; you can dabble in the event arena with the employees you currently have and see how the operation goes.

The key with events, just as with print and/or online and mobile, is to have someone passionate about growing that segment of the balance sheet. It won’t happen by itself. It doesn’t take a whole team of passionate employees. All you need is one employee who is motivated financially and the magic begins.

You won’t be alone. Other media companies are starting to find the magic of events — and turning it into significant revenues in short order.

One in ten digital ads is fake

Warc

More than one in ten ad impressions is fraudulent, but fraud rates vary widely between verticals and reflect their media buying preferences, according to a new report.

The Q2 2014 Media Quality Report from Integral Ad Science, the digital advertising intelligence business, was based on information from the ad tech companies, exchanges and agencies it works with. It found that, overall, 11.5% of ad impressions were fraudulent.

Technology and retail companies suffered from the largest amount of fraud, 17% and 14% respectively, while consumer packaged goods (6%) and telecoms (6%) were least affected. The report suggested the difference was attributable to the ways in which the various verticals bought media.

Those with lower fraud rates were more likely to buy directly from publishers, where just 3.5% of impressions were fake. Higher fraud rates were evident on exchanges (16.5%) and ad networks (10.5%).

“Certainly the direct-response-type advertisers or verticals will look to leverage as much scale as they can,” David Hahn, Integral’s SVP of product, told Ad Exchanger. “That introduces some of the additional risks you might not find if you’re doing smaller scale campaigns purely on publisher direct.”

Other verticals afflicted with higher rates of fraud included automotive (12%), fashion (12%) and education (11.5%).

A mid-range group was comprised of entertainment (8%), pharmaceuticals (9%), insurance (10%), travel 11% and finance (11%). Others at the lower end included quick-service restaurants (6.5%) and energy (7.5%).

As well as fraud, Integral looked at related issues such as viewability and brand safety. Once again buying direct from publishers yielded the best results: more than half (55.5%) of inventory purchased this way was regarded as viewable, while ad networks (45.9%) and exchanges (45.3%) performed less well.

Similarly, buying direct was more likely to produce brand-safe inventory. Just 6.2% of inventory here was classified with a moderate to very high risk, far less than exchanges (9.6%) and ad networks (10.1%).

The report had found no significant change in brand safety levels, but said risky impressions most often landed on adult content (41.8%), reflecting the sheer volume of such material on the web and the traffic it receives.

Sites about drugs (17%), hate speech (13.9%) and illegal downloads (13.4%) were also flagged as high-risk locations.

Pinterest’s interest-following feature could be advertising gold mine

Digiday

Pinterest today made it that much easier for consumers to explore specific interests, and agency execs are already looking toward its potential advertising uses.

Previously, Pinterest curated pins around broad categories such as “outdoors.” Now, when users click on “Outdoors,” they’ll be able to find pins curated to interests as narrow as “ultralight backpacking” and “saltwater fishing.”

Pinterest is in the midst of introducing ads to its platform, but a Pinterest spokesperson said there are no immediate plans to allow advertisers to target users based upon the interest pages they chose to follow. But this being a platform whose only revenue source is advertising, it’s fair to assume that, if interest pages catch on with users, ads will be sold against them.

At least agency execs, always looking to target consumers based upon their interests, hope so.

“All we’re trying to do is go deeper based upon targeting people on interest. The ability to hit them in that context makes a lot of sense,” Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer at media agency Mindshare, said.

Pinterest’s 32 categories — such “travel,” “animals” and “kids” — were too broad to serve finely tuned ads, according to Jill Sherman, group director of social and content strategy at Digitas. Agency execs routinely describe Pinterest image as a visual search engine. Adding interest collections — essentially more-nuanced tags – can only enrich that database.

“It was basically a collection of boards. Now it’s much more: a very deep directory of interest,” Chris Bowler, Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, said.

Interest pages are also a way for Pinterest to broaden its appeal, or at the very least, prevent it from losing users. Pinterest’s user-base still skews female despite its incredible popularity, Providing more pinpointed collections could attract even more users.

“This is where the entire social world is going; niche communities that have much higher receptivity than your broad-based Facebook and Twitter platforms,” Chris Bowler, Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, said. “This is Pinterest’s way of serving a community of rock climbers versus someone creating another online community around rock climbing.”

Bitterman added that the tool would also likely increase the amount of time Pinterest users stay on the platform in a given session, another selling point for Pinterest as it ramps up ad selling efforts. The prediction speaks to the power of catering to people’s interests: it makes Pinterest more appealing to consumers, and more alluring to ad buyers.

Coming soon to Facebook: Video ads that follow you from device to device

VentureBeat

Advertisers on Facebook see the emerging method of sequential mobile advertising as a way to better control their branding message with consumers on social media.

Sequential video advertising allows marketers to place targeted video ads in front of a user when they click an ad on their mobile device. Based on what the person clicks, and what the product or message is, marketers are then able to follow up with similar video ads as they hop from one device to another.

By creating a sequence of targeted ads, marketers can build up a pitch from one video to the next — starting with a “pitch” video and ending with a “sell” video intended to close the sale.

VentureBeat spoke to two sources who requested their names not be used because the information they were describing was based in conversations with Facebook executives.

“Video is where its going,” an advertising executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat. “With unique profile IDs, you have the ability to better sequentially target content for users as they embark on their journey through the social media funnel.”

The same executive added: “Sequential video advertisers gives marketers the ability to place different messages that can build upon each other. This gives you greater control over the delivery of your message.”

Another mobile executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat that advertisers want to better control, and deploy, product messages. But they are content, for now, in permitting Facebook and others obtain user data to target their ads.

For its part, Facebook uses a combination of its own in-house analytics and partners for the task of ad targeting.

Facebook is able to amass tremendous amounts of user data based on information contained in in its users’ profiles as well as their activity. That includes information on who you interact with and where you like to shop, for example. That data is gold to advertisers, keen to take advantage of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users.

“The writing is on the wall. Sequentially targeted ads are hugely efficient and ultimately cost effective. They have greater relevance for advertisers and better targeting,” said the second source, who has knowledge of Facebook’s mobile ad strategy.

“Anecdotally, it’s very promising. Facebook is putting a lot of effort into it,” the same source added.

Indeed, Facebook bought the video advertising outfit Liverail for an undisclosed sum earlier this month. Liverail’s technology optimizes video ad deliveries for mobile devices utilizing bidding and proprietary data. Liverail was considering an IPO this year but threw in its lot with Facebook instead, media reports said.

Read more…

Digital marketing budgets will grow

Warc

More than three-quarters of senior marketers in Asia-Pacific think digital, mobile and analytics will change the face of the industry over the next five years, a recent survey has revealed.

According to the regional segment of Accenture’s global study of 600 CMOs in 11 countries, 39% of its 180 APAC participants also expect spending on digital to account for over 75% of their marketing budgets over the same period.

But even though another 42% forecast that their marketing spend on digital will increase by more than 5% next year, only 23% expect their company to be known as a digital business within five years, Campaign Asia reported.

This prompted Accenture to warn industry practitioners that they need to embrace digital in order to survive.

“To be part of the enterprise digital transformation that every business needs to undertake for survival, CMOs need to extend their vision of marketing and its scope,” the report said.

Patricio De Matteis, managing director of Accenture Interactive for APAC, urged marketers to make best use of digital opportunities while also taking account of the customer experience.

“Senior marketing executives are well positioned to assume this role because the opportunities, as well as the potential, lie in the customer, the brand, the interface with the customer and how the customer is empowered,” he said.

He noted that an increasing number of companies are now hiring staff specifically to manage the customer experience and said “the key to success” is in developing an effective omnichannel experience.

This would appear to be an area requiring improvement because nearly three-quarters (73%) of the survey respondents believe it’s “essential” to deliver an effective customer experience, yet only 61% think their company is doing this well.

Sponsored content is the holy grail of digital publishing. But does it work?

Fortune

People feel deceived when they realize an article or video is sponsored by a brand, and believe it hurts the digital publisher’s credibility, according to a study.

In recent years, a debate has raged on among publishing and advertising industry insiders over “sponsored content”—more recently called “native advertising” and once known as “advertorial”—the sort of advertising that looks very much like editorial content but is, in fact, directly paid for by an advertiser.

The approach has been embraced by newer digital ventures such as BuzzFeed and new digital efforts for very old publications like Forbes and The Atlantic. Industry peers watched and discussed: Is it deceptive? Is it ethical? Does it even work?

Whatever the answers, there’s no denying that the approach is suddenly in vogue. Storied news organizations such as the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times  NYT  have since taken the native plunge. (Fortune has also decided to engage in the practice.) Last year, advertisers spent $2.4 billion on native ads, a 77% jump over 2012. That same year, the Post’s CRO called native ads “a spiritual journey.” (Really.)

Native ads may be popular with publishers, but consumers are not in love, according to a new survey conducted by Contently, a startup that connects brands with writers who then create sponsored content. (Yes, the survey runs counter to Contently’s mission; more on that in a moment.)

Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents said they felt deceived when they realized an article or video was sponsored by a brand. Just over half said they didn’t trust branded content, regardless of what it was about. Fifty-nine percent said they believe that a news site that runs sponsored content loses credibility—although they also said they view branded content as slightly more trustworthy than Fox News.

Publishers and advertisers tend to respond to concerns of confusion or credibility with the same response: “It’s clearly labeled!” Simple disclosure solves all conflicts, they suggest. Readers are smart enough to figure it out, and critics don’t give them enough credit.

To wit: “They get the drill,” said Lewis Dvorkin, the True/Slant founder who led the massive expansion of the Forbes contributor network and its sponsored BrandVoice program, at an event last year. Likewise, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has said the native ads on the newspaper’s website are clearly labeled to ensure there are no doubts about “what is Times journalism and what is advertising.”

But Contently’s findings, based on a survey of 542 people, throw cold water on the notion that readers “get the drill.” According to the study, readers are confused about what “sponsored” even means: When they see the label “Sponsored Content,” half of them think it means that a sponsor paid for and influenced the article. One-fifth of them think the content is produced by an editorial team but “a sponsor’s money allowed it to happen.” Eighteen percent think the sponsor merely paid for its name to be next to the article. Thirteen percent think it means the sponsor actually wrote the article. Even the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is perplexed; a panel on native advertising last year “raised more questions than it answered.”

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IDG Tech Marketing Priorities Survey

Screen Shot 2014 07 16 at 10.35.17 AM IDG Tech Marketing Priorities Survey

Welcome to IDG’s Tech Marketing Priorities Survey. We are conducting this survey of senior marketing leaders to provide better insight into the state of marketing among technology marketers.Your answers are confidential and will be used only in combination with other survey respondents. The survey will take 15-20 minutes to complete.  As a thank you for completing the survey, we will send you an executive summary of the research results so you can see how your company’s marketing priorities align with those of your peers. In addition, we will send the first 200 respondents a $20 Amazon.com gift card. Thank you in advance for your participation.  Your opinion is extremely important to us and we appreciate your time.

To participate, simply click here or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

http://survey.researchresults.com/survey/selfserve/53b/s0064076?list=4

You’re not hallucinating: Ads are getting more intrusive

Digiday

If you think you’re seeing more big, noisy ads cluttering your Web-surfing experience, you’re right. Intrusive ads are on the rise.

The top 10 publishers of so-called “high-impact” ads published 8,989 in all of 2013, according to data Digiday pulled from Moat Pro, a service of ad analytics firm Moat. For the first six months of 2014, publishers ran 4,971 high-impact ads, putting them on track to be 11 percent ahead of 2013.

Moat Pro divides high-impact ads into 11 types, including skins, overlays, interstitials and pushdowns. You know them when you see them, like with this Wall Street Journal home page takeover:

 You’re not hallucinating: Ads are getting more intrusive

High-impact ads are mostly concentrated on sports sites, which are noisy environments to begin with. But many premium publisher sites also are showing significant increases.

It’s not hard to see why. Advertisers are looking to get people to notice their ads in a cluttered media environment and ultimately induce them to buy. The revelation that half of online ads are going unseen has raised the stakes for advertisers, who are now demanding that publishers prove that their ads are being seen for a minimum amount of time. At the same time, big, high-impact units are a panacea for publishers desperate to prop up falling online ad rates.

USA Today publisher Larry Kramer has been pushing high-impact ads on USAToday.com as part of a deliberate strategy to preserve high online CPMs. At the same time, he scaled back the number of ad positions available on USAToday.com and focused the high-impact ads on the home page so people will see them but the interruption is short-lived. Plus, he said, people have come to expect these kinds of ads online, just as they expect to see TV ads.

“It’s the least disruptive place to do it, and it’s not unexpected,” he said. For advertisers, high-impact ads give them a bigger space for their message and are ideal for introducing a new product or service.

At the same time, there’s been a backlash to traditional display ads. The native ad trend has been predicated on the idea that people aren’t paying attention to banners anymore and that people are more likely to respond favorably to ads that mimic the look and feel of the editorial. Some publishers like BuzzFeed and Gawker have aspired to all but end their reliance on display ads altogether and only run native ads.

Read more…

Global Ad Spending Growth to Double This Year

eMarketer

Advertisers worldwide will spend $545.40 billion on paid media in 2014, according to new figures from eMarketer. Total media ad spending will increase 5.7%, eMarketer projects, more than doubling its growth rate of 2.6% from a year ago.

174740 Global Ad Spending Growth to Double This Year

Several factors will drive this year’s growth in total media ad spending—not only the worldwide advertising frenzies attached to the FIFA World Cup and, to a lesser extent, the Winter Olympics, but also the steady increases in online and mobile advertising as consumers globally shift their attention to digital devices.

On a country-by-country basis, the US is by far the leader in total media ad spending. eMarketer estimates that the US will eclipse $180 billion in advertising spending this year, or nearly one-third of the worldwide total. This spending is also the highest in the world per capita; US advertisers will spend nearly $565 on paid media, on average, to reach each consumer in the country in 2014.

By comparison, advertisers in China will spend only $37.01 per person, though the country’s large population adds up to the second-biggest ad spending total in the world. Norway is the second-leading country in terms of ad spending per person, at $538.71. Australia comes next in line at around $504 per person and is the only other country where advertisers will spend more than $400 this year to reach the average consumer.

On a long-term basis, digital channels will continue to drive advertising growth across the globe. eMarketer estimates that digital ad spending will increase 16.7% this year, totaling $140.15 billion and surpassing 25% of all media ad spending for the first time.

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