Tag Archives: design

Next to Now: Hot News Edition

WHO’S HOT?

“July’s Most Tweeted Sites” in order: BBC, NYTimes, Mashable, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, NBC, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, Business Insider

via The One Thing Issue 15

#placement

 

HTML5 IS GOING MAINSTREAM

IAB updates the industry standard to HTML5, finishing the job on Flash that Steve Jobs started when he wouldn’t let it work on iPhones. Verso is ready for the switch.

Related: Amazon announces it will no longer accept flash ads on its site, starting in September

#adtech

 

THINK ABOUT *WHEN* YOUR VIDEO IS SERVED

This chart reveals mobile video consumption by daypart. Currently only “6% of US digital video campaigns served on (the Videology) platform during Q1 2015 used daypart as part of their targeting criteria.”

#video

 

THE COLOR OF INNOVATION

is chartreuse.

#design

 

LISTEN OUT FOR NEW SPOTIFY AD OPTIONS

Spotify is changing its privacy agreement to give it more access to personal information. It seems likely that this is in advance of new ad products on the platform.

#audio

 

PROMOTED VIDEO ADS COME TO GOOGLE

Google is testing promoted video ads on the search page. Yahoo and Bing search teams are also developing the technology to make this happen.

“‘What used to be narrowly defined as search is being turned on its head,’ said one digital marketing executive. ‘Google is finally getting away from just having three lines of text. Video ads have taken over mobile, Facebook and YouTube, and Google is thinking about how to integrate them into search.’”

#video #search

 

CAN LOCAL PRINT MEDIA “OUT TV THE TV”?

Print newspapers are using video and platforms like Roku to serve local communities with the news their local TV stations are ignoring.

#video

 

REWIND, AUGUST 2013: “IT’S THE CREATIVE, STUPID”

In the August 2013 MacTaggart lecture, Kevin spacey talked about the changes to the creative industry, and the importance of nurturing emerging talent.

via The One Thing Issue 15

#creativity

 

Next to Now: Good News / Bad News Edition

GOOD NEWS FOR PANDORA LISTENERS . . . AND ADVERTISERS

Pandora’s sponsored listening program leads to higher ad engagement by *decreasing* the frequency of the ads. We think that advertising which helps users get what they want works much better than advertising that interrupts what they want.

#audio

 

GOOD NEWS FOR INSTAGRAM

The opening of its ad platform could well mean that Instagram will make more from mobile in 2017 than Google or Twitter.

#social

 

GOOD NEWS FOR HULU

With all the big streaming news coming from Netflix (on which we can’t yet advertise), you might wonder if Hulu (on which we have run many successful ad campaigns) can keep up. Turns out they’re doing very well, thank you: With brand-new content deals for Showtime (including Homeland, The Affair and Masters of Sex) and getting the Hulu remote app up and running on Apple Watch, they’re continuing to stay ahead of a fast-swimming pack.

#video #streaming

 

 

BAD NEWS FOR BROADCAST TV (lots of it):

Younger demographics are abandoning traditional TV in droves. (via @BenedictEvans)

Also a BI article about the same study. 

The change in TV consumption is in its infancy, but it’s far enough along that we can start to see trends in how it’s developing. Here are some of the ways.

More signs of the switch in TV consumption: For the first time, more people are using Comcast for internet than for TV . . .

Or you could pay up to $200k for a thirty second spot on Caitlyn Jenner’s new show.

#video #probablytechnicallygoodnews

 

 

BAD NEWS FOR “OLD GAWKER”

It hasn’t been a great time to lead, read, or work at Gawker recently. We trust they’ll turn it around.

#media

 

BAD NEWS FOR TWITTER

Bad news for Twitter and its advertisers: A June 2015 study suggests only 3% of Twitter users find ads on Twitter relevant. This is fixable, but will take better work on both the creative and targeting sides.

There was some good news in Twitter’s earning’s call on Tuesday, where it announced higher than expecting revenues, but investors were unimpressed with user growth. 

#social

 

 

THIS THING IS “BAD NEWS” BY DESIGN:

“If a thing is designed to kill you, it is, by definition, bad design”: Mike Monteiro in Dear Design Student.

(via @NextDraft http://nextdraft.com/ )

#design

 

 

BAD NEWS FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALES . . .

“Parents are blowing-off back-to-school shopping.” The article blames this on poor mobile advertising, but we think it is simply more a reflection of larger trends: toward flexibility and buying what you need when you need it, and away from the long-term planning style of household management.

#backtoschool #mobile

 

. . . OR IS THAT GOOD NEWS?

Google uncovers trends and shares advice about reaching back-to-school shoppers based on search trends. Since search interest for “back to school” rose 48% last year, it’s worth giving them a listen.

#search

 

 

GOOD NEWS? BAD NEWS? DEPENDS HOW YOU LOOK AT IT

ClickZ published a useful thought piece about targeting: The more smartphones know about us, the better advertisers (like us) can target ads. Generally, we think this is a positive thing when it’s applied with care and respect for people. But do we want a world where the health tracker on your phone suggests you have indicators of heart disease . . . so you get served an ad for a book on heart disease? Yes and no.

#mobile #targeting

 

 

 

Next to Now: Heart of the Summer Edition

 

It’s alive!

Twitter makes it easier to link your advertising campaign to live events.

#social #live

 

Are interstitials worth it?

Google says they deliver great click-through numbers but also high levels of bad feeling.

#advertising

 

Peep shows, drones, and caffeine-ready concerts.

Check out some early marketing experiments with Perisocope.

#streaming #social

 

YouTube getting VR-ready.

“YouTube launched its first 360-degree video ad yesterday.”

#video

 

Apple gets into the streaming radio business.

“Earlier this year, Apple extended its mobile advertising network to iTunes Radio, its web streaming service that competes with Pandora, through programmatic ad buying.”

#programmatic #audio

 

“I ALWAYS MISSPELL GENIUS SMH! THE IRONY!”

For your next ad, might we humbly suggest an artisanal font made expressly for Kanye? Inspired by Kanye’s tweet, “Sometimes I get emotional over fonts,” Yeezy Display will add a mere $50,000 to your production cost.

(Via Dark Matter Issue 049)

#design #yeezy

 

The return to the couch.

OTT Devices (“Over the Top” boxes such as Apple TV or Roku) are bringing Hulu viewers, and presumably other streamers, back to the living couch—which means TV is regaining its “real-life” social component (because the couch is where we can watch with other people), without necessarily losing its digitally social component.

#video #streaming

 

Email on the fly.

There’s no more question about it, email is majority mobile-first.

#email #mobile #samething

 

The end of Inbox Zero?

It’s probably not a coincidence that the move to mobile with email is happening at the same time as we are rethinking workflow:

“Inbox Zero, while a great concept within the limits of email and paper (“Clean Desk policy”), is a fundamentally authoritarian high-modernist concept. It creates a strong, bright line between profane and sacred regimes of information, and encourages you to get to illusory control (a clean inbox) by hiding precisely the illegible chaos that’s tempting and dangerous to ignore (if you use folders, you likely have one or more misc folders even if you don’t call them that). This is dangerous because you’re just moving unprocessed chaos from a procrastination zone with strong temporal cues (the Inbox) to a denial zone with broken temporal cues (the set of de facto misc folders).”

 

(Via Dark Matter Issue 049)

#email

Mad. Sq. Art: Teresita Fernández

Next to Now: What Do You See on the Horizon?

This week’s feature image is from Teresita Fernández’s “Fata Morgana” up now at Madison Square Park.

Good news for advertisers who need more room to work with on mobile: Phablets on the march. (via Benedict Evans) #mobile

New Pew data suggests the mobile tide has turned: “At the start of 2015, 39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers”

(via Benedict Evans) #mobile

“Brands to Spend More on Original Digital Video but Worry about Its ROI”: This is particularly an issue for book publishers who have tighter budgets than many businesses. We’ve been through the cycle of producing a lot of video but not always seeing the return on investment. Until there’s a cheaper way to do it (and there will be soon, we bet), book publishers will probably be relatively low on the scale of video ad spending, even though video ad performance is always tops. #video

There’s a new Snapchat share feature for Discover. #mobile

Facebook creates “native ad” template that runs “programmatically.” At a certain point these terms become meaningless. #native #programmatic #meaningless

“Are newsrooms going to behave more like advertisers?” They already are (and in some ways, not all but some, this is a good thing). #mobile

Snapchat “Discover” ads down to 2 cents per user. We’re not sure how this Discover platform is working—it started off strong but the numbers fell off pretty quickly—but it’s worth watching. #mobile #social

Updates to Facebook, Snapchat, and Google mobile ad platforms, worth watching. #mobile #social

Type as eye candy! We like. #mobile #design

Next to Now: The Week in Reading Links

The Week in Reading Ending April 3
March 30, 2015

Digital natives would just as soon read it in print. 

March 31, 2015

Mobile messaging apps are the one category of app that retains its users. While current advertising options are beyond the reach of most book publishers. We’re watching this space closely for developments in ad products and lower prices.

Here’s another reason to think about messaging apps:  Over 50% of WeChat and Snapchat users are Mobile Shoppers. So get your mobile commerce on. (Via @PeterMcCarthy)

Here’s an interesting piece in the UK’s Bookseller about the potential connections between video game publishing and book publishing. Its insights about production and marketing are not applicable to all kinds of publishing, of course (no insights are true across a field as diverse as book publishing), but it’s worth thinking through.

As an advertising agency, we’re in the business of knowing as much about the users we’re sending ads to as possible. As an integral part of the book publishing ecosystem, we’re committed to both free speech and privacy.  In both those roles, we were keenly interested in this interview between two brilliant legal scholars with a literary bent. It serves as a strong corrective to the endless praise for Big Data, secret algorithms, and behavior-shaping policies. (via Alexis Madrigal’s Real Future newsletter)

This ad industry news reflects broader trends and also is good news for one of Verso’s ad partners: WPP keeps up the acquisitions, adds to Xaxis’s capabilities with mobile-first company Action X.

Is it time for the ad industry to lose its reliance on cookies?

Media buyers are planning on upping programmatic spend by 21% this year, but media suppliers (web publishers, etc) said they only expected to boost their programmatic sales by 4% this year. Something’s gotta give, and it’s probably the quality of the impression.

The New York Times is ready to boil down the news to one sentence to better fit new devices. How do you write a one-sentence news story, as distinct from a headline and a teaser? That might be a good new class to teach in J-School.

April 1, 2015

You should take notes by hand, not on a laptop. (Via everyone, but we saw it first from @timoreilly)

April 2, 2015

Eric Greitens gives a mid-air reading from his book Resilience, then helps an ailing passenger with techniques from the book. People, this is how you do an event.

Great interview with design star Michael Bierut. Love the 100-day project! (Via Dark Matter by Almighty)

“Capitalism is at its core a diverse, intimate network of human and non-human relations.” Doesn’t sound so bad when you put it that way. Here’s a new perspective on what they heck we’re all doing at work every day from “A Feminist Manifesto for the Study of Capitalism.” (via Alexis Madrigal’s Real Future newsletter)

“I still read the newspapers and scream every morning.” Seymour Hersch thinks we’ll be OK in a world where BuzzFeed and Gawker are the future of journalism. Also, we’ll always have the New York Times.

“A team losing a game is not a ‘disaster.’” The AP Stylebook gets real about hackneyed sports cliches.

Next to Now: A Week in Reading Links

Union Square - Spring Tulips

Links for the week ending March 27, 2015
March 23, 2015

Good piece on designing for how we read. It’s about designing responsive web sites, but has implications for anyone who’s making consumable information (including book ads!). Via @hawkt.

March 24, 2016

How’s your mobile strategy coming? According to this article in eMarketer, “Mobile Will Account for 72% of US Digital Ad Spend by 2019.” They think this will come about because of “consumer usage” (you think?) and better ad formats (an agency can hope!).

March 25, 2015

“It’s go-time for Facebook Auto-Play Video ads.” It’s a great format, but you have to have the chops for it.

Here’s an ad to inspire you. And by “inspire” we mean literally (“inspire: To draw in by the operation of breathing; to inhale”). It’s made out of water vapor you can breathe in, or blow away.

OK, OK, we admit it: this Fran Lebowitz interview is pretty great. (Via everybody on Twitter)

Good thinking on responsive design from the Associate Director of Audience Development at the NYT. I remain a pro-responsive design guy, but his arguments are worth a good think.

Great tips on setting the stage for productive feedback, useful for any creative enterprise, including ads! Via @Almighty

March 26, 2015

A new report on the US Digital Display Market says Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo own nearly half of all digital display ads now, and more to come.

CJR has a good take on Facebook’s move to take control of more news content, and its relationship to Snapchat’s Discover platform. 

The CJR also has a good piece on podcasts that lays out the landscape for producers, listeners, and advertisers:

“But the real reason established media companies are starting to take podcasts seriously has more to do with the nature of their listeners. Podcast consumers, according to Edison Research, listen to an average of six episodes per week. Once they find a podcast they like, they tend to be devoted. The medium feels intimate. Unlike the audience online, which tends to click through and then bounce away quickly, podcasts draw people in for the duration of the episode. They feel a deep, personal connection with the hosts.”

 

Design Notes: Simplicity Rules

By Verso’s Creative Team

#f8981d" title="Simplicity" src="http://www.versoadvertising.com/inverso/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Simplicity.gif" alt="Simplicity" width="600" height="125" srcset="http://www.versoadvertising.com/inverso/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Simplicity.gif 600w, http://www.versoadvertising.com/inverso/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Simplicity-300x62.gif 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

In the age of complexity, we respond to simplicity. This is as true for good ad design as it is for services like Google search and products like Apple’s iPhone. But two forces, one a legacy of print and the other from the bleeding edge of technology, are leading to more and more complex ads, and this is not necessarily a good thing. In a recent article in Ad Age, ad-effectiveness researcher Philip Sawyer observes that declining click-through rates in display ads may be stemming from increasingly complex ads.
Part of the problem is that technology allows creative departments to do so much more now than we ever could before. From expanding boxes to in-banner video to data-intensive flash tricks, it’s suddenly affordable—both in ad cost and memory cost—to produce exceedingly fancy digital ads. There’s a natural temptation to use all the tools at your disposal for every ad—as if a banner that uses 100k memory is somehow necessarily better than one that only uses 20k.  But complexity is often the enemy of communication.
But the other reason for the complexity is specific to book publishing’s history of print ads. Everybody in publishing knows that the right review in the right place can sell books. So it’s only natural that most print ads are driven by review copy—often trying to pack as many glowing reviews into a space as possible. This can be a highly successful tactic that takes full advantage of the print medium’s relatively large space and its audience’s long attention span. But that strategy must shift in the digital sphere, where ads run in a busy, ever-changing context, and where viewer attention-spans are wickedly brief.
In 2005, Sawyer was the lead analyst for a series of online-advertising-effectiveness studies that revealed that most advertisers made similar mistakes in creating online ads, almost all of which boil down to one bit of advice: “Keep It Simple.” Revisiting the survey, Sawyer found advertisers making the same mistakes in 2010 that they made in 2005. Here are Sawyer’s 7 deadly sins of digital ads:
1. They are too complex. 2. They take too long to get to the point. 3. They are ambiguous. 4. They are visually bland — or, worse, ugly. 5. They use Flash for the sake of Flash — not for a clear purpose. 6. They are often difficult, if not impossible, to read. 7. They are bereft of benefit statements.
This may explain why we occasionally see quick-and-dirty static .gifs perform better than labor-intensive flash masterpieces. When there is only one panel to work with, it imposes a discipline that fosters simplicity of approach and directness of message. And this is why some of our best performing ads did not feature quotes, but a simple free offer.
The best digital ads get right to the point, whether it’s an offer, a deal, or even if the point is simply “Critics Rave.”  Leave the details for the click through — no matter how great the adjectives nor (especially!) the lengths the reviewer goes to shower praise.

In the age of complexity, we respond to simplicity. This is as true for good ad design as it is for services like Google search and products like Apple’s iPhone. But two forces, one a legacy of print and the other from the bleeding edge of technology, are leading to more and more complex ads, and this is not necessarily a good thing. In a recent article in Ad Age, ad-effectiveness researcher Philip Sawyer observes that declining click-through rates in display ads may be stemming from increasingly complex ads.

Part of the problem is that technology allows creative departments to do so much more now than we ever could before. From expanding boxes to in-banner video to data-intensive Flash tricks, it’s suddenly affordable—both in ad cost and memory cost—to produce exceedingly fancy digital ads. There’s a natural temptation to use all the tools at your disposal for every ad—as if a banner that uses 100k memory is somehow necessarily better than one that only uses 20k. But complexity is often the enemy of communication.

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