Next to Now for November 23

Next to Now is thankful for . . .

 

Improvements in Mobile Ad Targeting

Nielsen reports that the ability to target specific demos on targeting has increased to 60% of mobile ad impressions (up from 49% a year ago). This indicates that post-Cookie targeting capabilities are improving.

#mobile #targeting

 

Facebook Working toward Measurement Transparency

Related: We’re also glad we never migrated to Atlas ad serving because they’re shutting it down. 

#facebook

 

The End of Black Friday as a Stand-Alone Event

Let’s spread the wealth among a few days and stop the stampede.

#blackfriday

 

Ad Agencies Waking Up to What People Are Really Aspiring To

Ad agencies rethink data and recruitment post-election. 

#data

 

Snapchat Spectacles

Especially that they’ve opened a pop-up store near us in time for Christmas.

#snapchat

 

 

Next to Now for Nov 17

What’s the best way to use hashtags on every social network?

Facebook is not Twitter is not Instagram is not Snapchat. This Click Z post helps you craft your voice to the social network you use.

#social

 

10 Creative Exercises That Are Better Than Brainstorming

Creativity is crucial to advertising (duh). But classic brainstorming methods don’t always bring out the best in your team. Especially if you have a good number of super creative introverts in the room (cf. Susan Cain’s Quiet). Hub Spot posted several good and different ways to generate new ideas.

#creative

 

LinkedIn Opens Up In-Mail Targeting

Combining LinkedIn’s targeted business readership with the power of email marketing makes the new in-mail targeting option a very interesting one for reaching the business audience.

#business #social

 

Facebook Continues to Reveal Problems with Its Reporting

Caveat emptor: campaign data is crucial if it’s accurate, but there remains a good amount of question about how accurate the numbers are. The most powerful companies in the world also have a worrying tendency to be walled gardens re: their data. “Just trust us” is not a line that should go very far with any responsible media buyer.

#facebook #data

 

Speaking of Facebook: Ads Are Coming to Messenger

We saw this coming. And despite our concerns about measurability (see above), we welcome ads that reach readers wherever they are—and a lot of people are using Messenger.

#facebook #messaging

 

Photo of this week's Union Square Subway Station post-election post-it wall (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for November 4

 

PUBLISHERS RETHINK TABOOLA AND OUTBRAIN

They were supposed to be the next big thing in advertising: a kind of native advertising you could book and run programmatically. But the New York Times reports that those “Promoted Stories” style ads with rows of photos and links beneath articles are falling out of favor. While we’re fans of native advertising when it’s executed with an authentic voice, real content affinity, and true transparency, we’re not big fans of “native programmatic”—a concept that seems like an oxymoron at best. As readers continue to complain and high end website continue to notice how poorly click-bait headlines look on their pages, we expect to see less of this kind of advertising going forward.

#programmatic #native

 

IS “PROGRAMMATIC” DEAD?

OK, that headline is a little click-baity. Programmatic is livelier than ever, responsible for as much as 89% of overall banner ad  buying by some counts. The question is really: has the word “programmatic” out-lived its usefulness? This “Op-Ed” by 360i’s Kolin Kleveno argues that the term is being used so frequently that it’s becoming meaningless. He argues that the true use of the term should point to two factors in a campaign—data-driven and automated—but it’s being bandied about by every ad tech vendor under the sun. That said, even if we limit the term to those two factors,it doesn’t narrow usage down much these days. With everything from applying an optimization algorithm to running ads in emails only when they’re opened, what’s *not* data driven and automated?

#programmatic

 

REDDIT UPS ITS AD OPTIONS

Reddit, the online community of communities, is introducing a new ad option that lets advertisers target users by the groups they frequent most. As Reddit is a passionate community, this is a great way to target users by interest. Because many Reddit users are also outspokenly anti-advertising, the company is wisely providing an “opt-out” option for all users. No advertiser wants to launch their product in the face of someone who would likely turn around and trash the product, just because it’s being advertised to him or her.

http://digiday.com/agencies/op-ed-time-retire-term-programmatic/

#reddit

 

RADIO STILL RULES

A post on eMarketer suggests that listeners still turn to radio for music, followed by owned music, and then by streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. While radio doesn’t offer the campaign metrics of streaming services, it remains a great way to reach a broad and engaged group of people.

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#streaming #audio #radio

 

INSTAGRAM V. SNAPCHAT

Instagram and Snapchat are the two most popular apps for Millennials and Gen Z. But how do they fare mano a mano? Adweek compares the two based on polling and finds that they’re neck and neck. Instagram doing a little bit better with ad recall, but Snapchat ahead by a nose in quality of features and perceived “coolness.”

#instagram #snapchat #millennials

 

HOW DO SILICON VALLEY DIGITAL DARLINGS MAKE A STATEMENT?

In print. Just saying.

#slack #apple #microsoft #print

 

BUT PRINT IS GOING TO NEED A LOT MORE STATEMENTS . . . AND QUICK

Columbia Journalism Review points to the massive decline in print ad revenue at major papers such as The Wall Street Journal—and how we’re seeing the real effects of those declines now.

#cjr #wsj #print

 

photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for October 28

YOUTUBE VIEWING HABITS

YouTube is getting longer term views. The average viewing session on YouTube is now 40 minutes. That data point comes from a Google post about winning the customer over before s/he enters the store. While it’s written for larger brand advertisers—make-up, CPG, and cars—there are good takeaways for book advertising from the post.

#youtube #video #streaming

 

ON DATA AND “THE GIRL”

This isn’t advertising, but it’s such a rich analysis of book trends that anyone who loves books and data will find it irresistible: Acclaimed novelist Emily St. John Mandel writes a clever and nuanced post for Five Thirty Eight on publishing’s recent obsession with using the word “Girl” in titles. She looks at how many of the eponymous girls are actually girls (and how many are women), how many are written by women, how many are missing or lost or undead, and reports that we not yet reached peak “Girl”:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gone-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-on-the-train/?&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gone-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-on-the-train/?&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

 

HOW’S YOUR CAMPAIGN DOING? ASK A BOT

There has been a fair amount of press on how brands are starting to use bots to buy pizza, call an Uber, or book a flight, and a good bit more about the potential for new advertising platforms using bots on messaging apps like Kik and What’s App. Now, an article in Marketing Land points out new bots that help you measure advertising campaigns by integrating directly with such platforms as Facebook and Google or with existing third party servers such as Media Math and Sizmek.

#bots #AI #metrics

 

IAB STANDARD UNITS ARE DEAD. LONG LIVE IAB STANDARD UNITS.

Once upon a time, the IAB tried to tame the Wild West of internet advertising by introducing three standard units that would work across most sites: 300×250, 728×90, and 160×600. For a few years, all was well in advertisingland. But the advent of tablets and the new dominance of mobile devices soon began to mean more and more sizes. Then the native ad boom kicked in and things got wilder than ever—to the point where a single campaign can require more than ten different size ads, each with its own maximum file size, preferred file type, and timing. Even the IAB can see that it’s time to revisit the standard unit. If you want a say in what ad sizes are next, the public comment period is now open. 

#iab #standard

 

…OR ARE CUSTOM BANNERS THE NEW FUTURE?

On the other hand, an article on Digiday looks into the proliferation of custom units on such sites as the New York Times and Quartz, and wonders if the days of the standard banner are truly numbered. There’s a tension between the custom banners that perform better than the standard units, and the need for standard units to function with programmatic platforms.

#custom #iab

 

 

 

Fall tree photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for October 21

NEW SPOTIFY VERTICAL VIDEO ADS

Spotify announced a new product — Vertical Video Ads — which allows advertisers to sponsor playlists. Users agree to watch the full video in exchange for thirty minutes of free listening. These kinds of ads are wins for the advertisers, the users, and the platform. At launch, the branded moments are based around six categories: chill time, workout, party, dinner, focus and sleep—each of which could work well for books from novels (chill time) to cookbooks (dinner) to lifestyle (workout). As with any newly launched ad product, the initial minimums are too great for any but the largest brand budgets. But with time, costs will come down, making this an initiative to watch.

#spotify #audio #streaming

SNAP TO UNLOCK: A NEW FUTURE OR THE NEXT QR CODE?

The first outdoor ads targeting Snapchat users for movies are running now in subways in NY and DC:

“Universal Pictures, a longtime Snapchat advertiser, is among the first to test the Snap code marketing for its new movie ‘The Girl On the Train.’ Mysterious billboards will be showing up around subways in New York and Washington, D.C., and in parts of Los Angeles, according to Doug Neil, exec VP of digital marketing at NBC Universal.”

While the premise may induce a painful deja vu for marketers who went through the great QR code marketing hype of a few years ago, the fact that Snapchat is already being used and recognized by a sizable audience makes all the difference. For genres such as YA, a Snap to Unlock campaign could make a delicious teaser.

#snapchat #outdoor #YA

 

WHAT MAKES A GREAT MOBILE AD FOR TEENS AND TWENTIES?

A new study of teens and people in their twenties shows that users in this age range care about content that can be saved and accessed later and expect ads to be relevant to their interests. Here’s more from eMarketer on the survey. 

216997 #mobile #millennials

 

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO SHOW ADS?

A new study suggests that more users are inclined to engage with an ad in the middle of the day than at other times during the work week. While ad exposure is valid throughout the day, mid-day is when more users are taking breaks from studying or working and so more apt to click on an ad.

#time #engagement

 

 

Apples at Union Square Market (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for October 7

THE NEW YORK TIMES GOES ALL-IN WITH FLEX

For the past year, the New York Times digital team has been testing a “Flex frame unit” that works seamlessly across devices and integrates more smoothly with the reading experience—including several tests with Verso clients. The overwhelmingly positive results of those test has led the New York Times to begin phasing out standard display units in favor of  the Flex frame unit. This does not signal the death of the standard IAB ad unit—300×250, 728×90, 160×600—yet. But it does signal that sites and platforms need to continue to evolve the best way to show ads to readers in ways that inform and delight. Here is the WSJ on the story.   

#nyt #flexframe

 

“HOW ADVERTISING WORKS TODAY”

A recently released study from the Advertising Research Foundation, “How Advertising Works Today,” investigates best practices for advertising across TV, print, radio and digital in 45 countries. Here are the key takeaways cited by Marketing Land: 

  • “Spending across multiple platforms delivers greater ROI than investing in single platforms.” For example, a campaign across two platforms generally delivers 19 percent more return on investment than on one platform. For three platforms, it’s 23 percent more; for five, 35 percent.

  • “There is actually a “kicker effect” when television is added back to digital spending.” Digital plus TV, the report found, can increase ROI 60 percent.

  • “This is also true for millennials who consume both traditional and new media.” Even for consumers aged 18 to 24, for instance, the optimal mix was found to be 71 percent traditional media (TV, radio, print) and 29 percent digital (including video, display and paid search). In other words, it’s not just mobile.

  • “’Silo investing’ in some digital formats too heavily can have diminishing returns and even cause sales to decline.” However, this finding was derived primarily from banner desktop ads — not exactly the most engaging format.

  • And the most impact for creative comes from an approach that is unified/connected across platforms, but tailored to each platform. “When campaigns are unified [creatively] across platforms,” ARF SVP Dr. Manuel Garcia-Garcia told the audience at the presentation, “memory activation is enhanced.”

While book publishing budgets do not often allow for including TV in the ad mix, it’s worth noting the bolded bit again based on the 5,000 campaigns included in the study: “The optimal mix was found to be 71 percent traditional media (TV, radio, print) and 29 percent digital.”

#data #research #mix

 

“CAPTIVATE VERSUS AGGRAVATE”

The same article in Marketing Land points to a study conducted by mobile ad firm Kargo together with neuroscience research firm MediaScience called, “Captivate vs. Aggravate.” The study looks at performance of common mobile units—the Adhesion Banner, the In-Stream Banner, the Interstitial—as well as a unit proprietary to Kargo called the Sidekick. It found that of the three common units, the Adhesion Banner had “fewer people [looking] at these banners for less time. Interstitials were considered the most “annoying,” drawing attention mostly from people looking for the X to make the ads go away. In-Stream Banners got the most positive results for time spent looking at the ad as well as for feelings about the product.

#mobile

 

CAN A NEWS BRAND GAIN TRACTION ON INSTAGRAM?

A report from Digiday suggests that Fox News is taking advantage of Instagram’s recent approval of longer video clips to gain a major audience on the platform.  With over 3 million comments, likes and regrams in September—growing faster than Business Insider, Washington Post and BuzzFeed, and out performing such stalward social news powerhouses ads the New York Times, BBC and CNN. Digiday notes a similar success for the brand on Facebook, and we would add that this report is consistent with the high engagement we’ve seen with ads across Fox News platforms. If you provide content that appeals to the conservative audience, a digital campaign on Fox News is one of the best ways to reach them.

#instagram #fox

 

CELEBRATING AMARO

We are thrilled to welcome into the world a bouncy bundle of bitter joy, AMARO: The new book that gives you a delicious introduction to  the bitter liqueurs known as Amaro by drinks expert, Ten Speed author, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Director of Culinary Marketing, Brad T. Parsons. Here’s a link to the New York Times piece on the book. A book authored by a Verso client at one esteemed publishing house and published by another? That’s AMARO. Cheers!

#amaro #drinksforeveryone

 

Photo taken under the stars in Brooklyn during a celebration for AMARO's publication (c) 2016 T. Thompson

Next to Now for September 30

NEW IAB MOBILE STUDY

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a report this week on the mobile shopping experience, “Mobile Commerce: A Global Perspective”. While the global payment system is of less concern to U.S. book publishers, the ecosytem of research, engagement and purchase is critical to book buyer’s experience and offers relevant insight even when ads are not directly linking to a buy page. Top results include:

  • 76% of mobile purchasers say they have engaged with an ad in the last six months.
  • 51% of mobile users bought in a store after researching on mobile (this is a good argument for the discovery and research function of ads)
  • Top frustrations with mobile purchasing: Too expensive, Too slow, Hard to use, Previous bad experience, Unstable network

#mobile

 

MOBILE USERS SPEND MORE TIME IN APPS

An eMarketer study released in September suggests that “more than 80% of smartphone internet time was spent with apps” as opposed to the mobile web.

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If you are intent on reaching the mobile user, keep in mind that most of your audiences is using apps. The mobile app versus browser debate has been active since the first iPhone, with convincing arguments made at different times for each. But analysts at Gartner suggest the end of the debate is in sight—as the development of bots and Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) threaten to dethrone apps as our mobile device go-to.

#mobile #apps #bots #VPA #gartner

 

NEW VIDEO TIPS PLATFORM BY PLATFORM

This New York Times article reveals the great splintering of video standards and best practices in a world where some platforms (such as YouTube) are watched with full sound and some (such as Facebook) tend to be watched with the sound off. Do we have to cut a different video for every platform now? Well, if you want to optimize engagement for each platform, then the answer is yes.

#video #social

 

TWITTER RELEASES VIDEO STATS

Speaking of video best practices, Twitter released an infographic with insights into the best performing  video ads on the platform. Details include who’s watching, what they’re watching and responding to, and what types of video get the best results.

#video #twitter

 

SNAPCHAT UPS ITS VIDEO GAME

As Snapchat changes its company name to Snap, Inc., the company’s wider play for video content comes in focus. From distribution deals with Saturday Night Live to the expansion of the Discover channel to the launch of the company’s new hardware “toy”, Spectacles, Snap, Inc. is positioning itself as one possible answer to the question, Where does everybody go after TV?

#snapchat #video

 

Photo of Bruce Springsteen heading into his reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (c) 2016 by Martha Otis

 

Next to Now for September 23

THE FT: “HOW THE MAD MEN LOST THE PLOT”

In the FT, ad strategist Ian Leslie goes to battle with the notion that legacy media is dead and digital hypertargeting is the savior. Leslie cites the study that showed Pepsi’s decision to forego traditional advertising for a social media campaign delivered a large number of clicks and comments but very few sales. The FT goes on to talk about Byron Sharp’s provocative book, HOW BRANDS GROW:

“Sharp’s first law is that brands can’t get bigger on the back of loyal customers. Applying a statistical analysis to sales data, he demonstrates that the majority of any successful brand’s sales comes from “light buyers”: people who buy it relatively infrequently. Coca-Cola’s business is not built on a hardcore of Coke lovers who drink it daily, but on the millions of people who buy it once or twice a year. You, for instance, may not think of yourself as a Coke buyer, but if you’ve bought it once in the last 12 months, you’re actually a typical Coke consumer. This pattern recurs across brands, categories, countries and time. Whether it’s toothpaste or computers, French cars or Australian banks, brands depend on large numbers of people — that’s to say, the masses — who buy them only occasionally, leave long gaps between purchases and buy competing brands in
between.”

Not many book publishers have enough followers to employ retargeting, but for those that do, this article is worth reading to consider if retargeting is the best use of your limited marketing dollars. While all good marketing starts with the core audience, if you want to turn a predictably solid-selling book into a blockbuster, you need to reach beyond passionate, existing fans to a wider potential readership.

#retargeting #oldschool #mass

 

“ONLY DEAD FISH” REANIMATES THE ZOMBIE PLOT

On his blog, Only Dead Fish, Neil Perkin picks up Ian Leslie’s thread and runs with it in his commentary on a “Google Firestarter” event in London, along with reports on talks by Tom Goodwin and Tracey Follows. Worth a read for a dose of what advertising strategists are thinking these days: invisibility, authenticity, and bio-integration.

#onlydeadfish #googlefirestarter

 

PANDORA INTRODUCES NEW SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

In an announcement that included improvements to their paid model, Pandora also announced changes to their ad supported model: with opportunities for brands to sponsor more playbacks and skips. Pandora continues to lead in the business of offering listeners value in exchange for their attention. They have proved a strong partner for book advertising in the past, and this announcement makes it clear that they intend to stay that way in the future.

#pandora #streaming

 

ADIDAS SAYS SNAPCHAT USER ENGAGEMENT IS “INSANE”

Adidas has seen much more engagement from their Snapchat videos than they have from YouTube. Here’s Business Insider with more details about what’s working for them on Snapchat, from experiments with Stories to Geofilters.

#snapchat #sports

 

ARE VIDEO ADS WORTH IT?

New surveys from various video measurement companies—including Nielsen and Limelight—suggest that 52% of U.S. users skip pre-roll whenever possible, and a majority do not like video ads at all. In fact, nearly 27% of users surveyed in the U.S., Australia, UK and Canada say that without an option to skip pre-roll they’d abandon the video they’d wanted to watch. So, while video engagement remains strong, it may be that paid ad resources are better put to other outlets.

#video

 

FACEBOOK ADMITS TO INFLATING VIDEO METRICS

So if pre-roll isn’t the answer to getting people to watch your video, is Facebook? While the social network has touted itself as the premier advertising platform for video, Facebook recently revealed that it has inflated its users’ average time spent watching video for the past two years. Here’s CNET on the controversy. 

 

#facebook #video #metrics

 

TEENS ALL IN WITH YOUTUBE

A new poll from the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft suggests that many more teens use Gmail than use social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat—and even more (91%!) use YouTube. Here’s the link to eMarketer’s story about the findings.

#teens #youtube #social

 

Photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis: A view from the Park during the fall PAMA event sponsored by Goodreads, and hosted by PAMA president Christian Toth

Next to Now: Sept 16

MIC REIMAGINES SPONSORED POSTS

The Wall Street Journal reports on how the millennial news platform .Mic is rethinking video sponsorship. Mic is allowing advertisers to sponsor their highly popular videos on Facebook:

“Instead of selling…ads based on content genre or audience demographics, Mic is putting its editorial videos into categories, such as clips that elicit emotions or videos that celebrate innovation—two popular genres that typically incite people to share, and letting advertisers run ads next to these types of videos.”

While this kind of sponsorship is not useful for any book that needs time to tell its story, it could be very interesting for a book with immediate appeal to millennials with a high education and relatively high HHI.

#mic #facebook #news

 

GOOGLE DISPLAY BENCHMARKS

Have you played around with Google’s Display Ad benchmark tool recently? It can be very useful for setting expectations. Click-through rates seem to be going down across the board. If you set it for U.S. Book ads, the display CTRs range from .04-.6% depending on the size. Mobile only sizes such as 320×50 fare a little better with a .18% CTR. While this is certainly the case for the industry as a whole, Verso’s own click-through rates continue to beat industry averages—ranging from about .10% for desktop to twice that for mobile.

#CTR #Google #data #benchmarks

 

OUT OF HOME GAINS AN EDGE WITH DIGITAL

Long a staple of advertising plans for all manner of products, out-of-home advertising has gained a new edge with digital billboards. Digital capabilities mean advertisers can move much more quickly on campaigns instead of having to plan six to eight months ahead for each iteration. As CMO magazine puts it:

“The integration of data and technology means advertisers can tap into OOH like never before. ‘And it’s really shifting into bringing back the things that digital has kind of lost–the sensory experiences, feelings, and interactions.'”

There’s a reason spending on out of home advertising continues to grow.

#billboards #OOH #digital

 

ESPN BRINGS LONGFORM SPORTS JOURNALISM TO PODCASTS

As part of IAB’s recent podcast upfronts, ESPN announced that it’s bringing it’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series to podcasts. With in-depth reporting about sports news, 30 for 30 videos appeal to sports fans of a more thoughtful bent . . . which is to say, sports fans who might be inclined to buy books on a subject in an effort to go deeper than in-game color commentary or talk show style chatter.  For book publishers who might not be able to afford a :30 ad on ESPN, running mid-roll on a podcast might be a highly targeted ad solution.

#sports #podcasts #espn