The Standard Advertising Units are meeting new standards, as the IAB releases its new portfolio of Flexible Ad Units, including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and other formats, spanning the latest in social media, mobile video (vertical! 360-degree!) and even emoji.
The biggest change is from fixed pixel sizes to aspect ratios. This may not be a big deal this week, but like the transition from Flash to HTML5 it will be changing our lives very soon.
MediaRadar says more native is being purchased while programmatic spending is down.
This is partly due to brand safety concerns but performance plays in, our own experience suggests.
Print continues to descend – but readers gonna read. It’s not dead yet, especially among the kinds of readers who buy hardcovers.
Giving the people what they didn’t know they wanted.
“It requires a lot of tracking resources, which is not an easy thing to do, but success on the web is not easy either.”
Help them to be watched still more.
Takeaways: Know what your audience knows and use that to tell a story they’ll relate to. (Bonus: spend lots of money.)
Application: Utilize comps, fonts, art, and language to build familiarity, and if possible subvert the viewer’s expectations in a rewarding (amusing) way.
A few words — or even a few dots — can make a big difference. Compliments of a PAMA Facebook post, BookBub’s 8 Book Description A/B Tests You Need to See …
Emma Watson and the Station of Secrets.
Find out how the podcast boom can favor and disfavor diversity in this Columbia Journalism Review article.
Also check out:
Programmatic is like a planet. We live on the thin surface layer but most of the hot stuff is under the surface.
“Facebook just executed what might best be described as a digital advertising coup against rival Google and its DoubleClick empire” by letting publishers use header bidding technology. This could raise ad costs but increase yield, says AdAge.
Or simply find out:
“Until last year, advertisers mostly accepted Facebook’s metrics with closed eyes. However, after admissions that a portion of its ad numbers were being misreported, all hell broke loose.”
Flipboard’s new app is getting noticed. “Rejecting robo-driven ‘programmatic’ advertising [and] using humans to sell premium-priced slots for magazine-style ad campaigns from upscale brands.”
Subversive branding coup? Or an extravagant waste?
A story on firewalls that makes us think about ads on opt-in environments. CPMs may be higher but users truly value the content.
Not always. Here are 6 tips from Facebook for making silent videos speak.
… By year’s end, 75% of online content consumption will be mobile.”
Something to bear in mind when reviewing our ad stats, which often average mobile and desktop together. (Not all CTRs are created equal.)
Tune in to Programmatic with Point 3. A tool to remember as we plan our campaigns.
Maybe that’s a good idea … but maybe not.
These are dark days in America—yet there remain sources of light. You might wonder if that’s a comment on the state of our polarized political discourse and the role books can play in revitalizing our national conversation. Maybe. Maybe not. But it is definitely a comment on the days getting shorter as we approach the first day of winter and raise a glass to the holiday season. Here are some highlights of news we’ve noted this week, shared here as part of our effort to stay on top of current trends and best practices.
The good news is that the programmatic community continues to make headway in combatting ad fraud. The bad news is that is likely to mean a 20% increase in costs. Even with a 20% increase, however, programmatic remains a highly efficient way to reach book readers. Weeding out bad ad impressions is definitely worth a slight increase in CPM. In a separate post, Digiday published five charts that indicate the global outlook for programmatic. Related: you can now gain access to some influencer marketing through programmatic channels.
The 2016 presidential election has created a firestorm around the question of “fake news.” Many are pointing to paid content distribution systems such as Taboola as a major culprit in a world-wide epidemic. Here is Taboola’s thoughtful response. Let’s hope they back it up with action.
In a move that echoes the creation of companies like Fusion and Mic, CNN has hired YouTube star and entrepreneur Casey Neistat to help make news “relevant” for a new generation.
Persona marketing isn’t used much in book publishing, where we value the particularities of every book and honor the uniqueness of every reader. But we ignore it at our peril: it can be a great way to focus in on the target customer in a way that can be applied and tested across a genre. This ClickZ article shows how to think about persona marketing while still understanding that no one reader is exactly identical to another.
Digiday takes a look at the highly public practice of influencer marketing: who’s doing it, how they’re paying for it, and does it work?
Photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
In print. Just saying.
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.
photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis
Whether you’re planning on watching the U.S. Open, mourning and celebrating the life of Gene Wilder, or just sitting in traffic trying to make it to the beach, there’s a lot of news to catch up on over Labor Day weekend. Read on.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED AND FOX NEWS TEAM UP
In an effort to take on sports powerhouse ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Fox News have agreed to an editorial and ad sharing deal across their businesses. According to the WSJ:
“Combined properties operated by Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports brought in about 68 million unique visitors in July, which would make it the second-largest sports publisher behind ESPN, which brought in about 79 million visitors, according to digital measurement specialist comScore.
On their own, Fox Sports ranked third in the sports category in July, while Sports Illustrated came in 10th, according to comScore.”
YOUTUBE GEARS UP TO GO MORE SOCIAL
As the premier video platform sees increasing competition from Facebook and Twitter live video platforms, YouTube is looking to develop more social tools to help video creators interact with their audience. They are calling the new effort, “Backstage.” According to VentureBeat’s Harrison Weber, Backstage’s features will “live alongside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels,” and content posted through Backstage will be included in channel subscribers’ feeds and notifications.”
KNOW YOUR DATA
In programmatic advertising it’s vital to know what kind of data you’re using and whether it’s first, second, or third party. This ClickZ article provides a good primer on the differences and advantages of each.
FORBES JOINS PODCAST ONE
After testing the podcast waters with “Women@Forbes”, the venerable business publication is going all in with podcast network Podcast One.
World's Fair Globe photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis
A new study from ComScore underlines that ads on premium websites—such as the New York Times, WSJ, and various imprints of Condé Nast and Hearst media—deliver better results than ads on non-premium websites. From the Wall Street Journal article on this report:
“The study, which comScore said analyzed the ad campaigns of 15 large brands across a number of advertiser categories, concluded that ads placed on DCN sites were 67% more effective than non-DCN sites. According to comScore, that difference confirmed that ‘premium sites deliver premium performance.’
“The study also found that premium publisher sites were more effective in driving so-called ‘mid-funnel brand metrics,’ which measure consumer attitudes including favorability, consideration and intent to recommend.
“’The primary driver of this increased effectiveness is the halo effect that comes from the value of the contextual environment in which these ads are seen,” the report concluded. Basically, ads perform better when they appear alongside high-quality content.”
This is a value-proposition inherent in the way ads on premium websites are priced—with CPMs often 2-3x as expensive as non-premium sites—and matches with results we see at Verso. But it’s good to have more data backing up our observations.
Google announced that it now can deliver native ads programmatically. The best performing native ads are those that are crafted in the unique voice of a particular website, and that ability is still beyond the reach of Google’s system. But adjusting headline and copy to each website’s particular style is a decent, and more affordable second option.
Amazon’s Prime Day was discussed (and dissed) as an expression of the company’s power, which it was . . . But that doesn’t mean the news was all bad for smaller retailers who took advantage of the “deal hunting” in the communal air to up their own business. In a study of last year’s Prime Day, BloomReach found that traffic to other retailers was up 21% and conversion improved by an average of 57% as a result of Prime Day. It’s a form of the real estate adage, “location location location.” Put your business where the action is, and use the wind as it is (even if you don’t like the source of the hot air) to power your boat.
You knew this was coming, right? Pokemon Go is introducing “Sponsored Locations,” a new revenue stream for Niantic, the maker of the app, and a good idea for marketers, especially if they’re a bricks and mortar retail store . . . or a company that sells its products there.
After Snapchat has declared the rise of vertical video, a new report suggests square video is not only the format needed for Instagram, it’s also proving to be the best performing format for video on Facebook in several head-to-head tests:
“For the past several months, we have started shooting videos for square crop and posting videos in square crop,” said Jason Stein, founder and CEO of Laundry Service. “We are doing this because in executing the media buys for these videos, we found that view-through rate and engagement rate are much higher on square than landscape videos. This is likely due to the larger amount of real estate that a square video gets in feed.”
A new company called Wrapify is allowing any car owner to let their car become a trackable, digitally connected, moving billboard. Spotify and PetCo are advertisers who have tested the technology for their own products. Here’s a link to the AdWeek story.
Photo: Peaches from Union Sq Greenmarket (c) 2016 Martha Otis
DO MEDIA BRANDS EVEN MATTER ANYMORE?
Columbia Journalism Review asks the question at the heart of advertising: In a world where information is coming at you from all sides, does it matter who says what and where? According to study by CJR and the George T. Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism, yes it does matter:
“Readers are less likely to trust a longform story that appears to have run on BuzzFeed than the same article on The New Yorker’s website.”
While CJR is focused on journalism, the implications are clear for contextual advertising as well: it matters where information is coming from. While it’s true that some study members did not notice the media brand—a growing phenomenon captured by the Reuter’s 2016 Digital News Report—those that did notice tended to be older and better read. That is, a better match for the core hardcover book buying audience.
LINKEDIN OPENS TO PROGRAMMATIC EXCHANGES
LinkedIn announced that it is opening its advertising to open exchanges to deliver increased banner impressions on the network. This is good news for anyone wanting to target the LinkedIn audience with a business or self-improvement book, especially those who do not have the budgets to take advantage of LinkedIn’s sponsored content opportunities.
SNAPCHAT DROPS AD MINIMUMS
The minimum buy for a Snapchat campaign is reportedly dropping from $750,000 to $100,000. Book advertisers are likely to be waiting for another round or two before buying ads through the platform’s API. That said, there are co-branded Snapchat opportunities with such partners as People magazine that are workable for bigger book-size budgets. Contact your Verso account executive to learn more.
THE LIMITS OF ALGORITHMS
Facebook announces a new service that curates local events as selected by a team of people, not algorithms. This is good news for Facebook users (and other humans), but less good news for local media players such as Time Out:
“The product is launching in 10 U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The curated program appears to take on local publishers such as Time Out New York and the Village Voice as well as mobile apps like Eventbrite, Like a Local, Scout and Field Trip.”
FOOD PORN MOVES TO SNAPCHAT
“‘As Instagram has really slowed down the last four months or so, you can just see what’s happened on that platform and it’s obviously changing a lot,’ said Andrew Steinthal, co-founder of The Infatuation, a restaurant review site that’s heavily leaned on Instagram to build a following since launching in 2009.
‘Our entire audience is on Snapchat now—it’s the most reactive social network that we have. You can just see the impact on Snapchat and feel it right away right now. People are so deep into Snapchat and reacting to it.'”
While Snapchat requires more hands-on engagement from brands, it’s precisely that hands-on quality that makes it an effective platform.
FOX NEWS DELIVERS FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT
For years, the highly engaged Fox News audience has made the site one of our best performers with digital ads. Readers on the site are hungry not only for news and information you’d expect, but also for high quality commercial fiction, especially thrillers. While Fox News is not the biggest media property, this engagement is translating to superlative response from the brand’s audience on Facebook:
“Fox News had nearly 120 million likes, shares and comments on its page in the first six months of the year, well ahead of digital natives including No. 2 NowThis (80 million interactions) and The Huffington Post (61 million). Mark Zuckerberg himself recently cited Fox News in defending Facebook against charges that it’s politically liberal, saying Fox ‘drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close.’”
As the digital landscape evolves, Fox News continues to draw a passionate, curious audience that loves books. Click here to read the Digiday article.
HOLD THE VIDEO
Columbia Journalism Review reports that social media’s influence on news consumption is growing. While there are more and more social conversations around news topics, the fact that the conversations are taking place on social networks means that Facebook and Twitter are becoming more dominant as brands for news and traditional brands such as The New York Times and The Guardian are beginning to lose some of their traction with readers. One surprising bit of information from the study was the continuing importance of text to news consumers despite the rise of video:
“Platforms and publishers alike have been pouring money into video sharing, such as Facebook Live. One Facebook executive even predicted last week that in the next five years video will replace the written word. But the report suggests that many news consumers are resistant to watching video because it is faster to read an article, and because of the ads that often precede videos.”
Photo (c) Martha Otis