Monthly Archives: July 2016

Next to Now for July 28


Smart, clever, informative native ads are one of the most exciting growth areas in advertising. Digiday walks us through the process that has brought significant improvement to Slate’s native efforts. In addition to bringing a more Slate-style voice to the content, the new native ads are more transparent about the sponsorship. This is very important point with native advertising, and it’s worth underscoring: don’t try to trick the reader, be upfront about your sponsorship and s/he will be more open to the content of what you’re saying:

“Most people spend their time trying to avoid ads, but Slate found that on its more explicitly labeled ads, the click-through rates were three times higher than the previous units (though Slate wouldn’t disclose the CTR). The publisher also contends that average time spent on the new units doubled, to 4 minutes, 15 seconds.”

#native #slate #transparency



With over 100 million users worldwide, Spotify is the leader in a battle for listeners among Pandora and Apple Music. As advertisers, we have found that Pandora’s deep sets of user data and targeting mechanisms, not to mention their flexibility on price, has made them our go-to for book advertising. But with Spotify’s latest announcement, it might be time to reconsider Spotify for book ads. As reported in Adweek:

“The music streaming service announced today it will start offering programmatic advertising for the 70 million people using the free version of its platform. The Swedish company launched private marketplaces in partnership with AppNexus, Rubicon Project and The Trade Desk for buying both 15- and 30-second audio spots.”

More good options are always better for book advertisers. We are happy to have some new ways to target the Spotify audience.

#spotify #streaming #audio



The Guardian debuts a “surge news” ad product that’s similar to surge products from the New York Times and Washington Post. Given that surging news could be everything from the weather to a terrorist attack, it’s good that they are allowing advertisers to set keywords for any topics they don’t want to appear against. But for the right title, it could be a great way to be adjacent to the most relevant stories of the moment.

#targeting #guardian



The long tail of the weird, the wild,  the passionate, the hand-made is alive and well on emails thanks to services like Tiny Letter. With 100% opt in subscribers and open rates greater than 70%, these are audiences advertisers should reach for niche products—and there’s non nichier than most books. In the old days of the Internet we reached this audience via blogs through channels including the Verso Reader Channels. Now we get them via emails.



Hudson riverfront photo (c) 2016 Tom Thompson

Next to Now for July 21


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.

Here’s a link to more detail from report from AdWeek. And here’s Niemen Lab’s take on the same study. 

#targeting #data #performance #ripepeachestastebest



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.

#native #programmatic #google #everypeachisdifferent



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.

#primeday #amazon #local #localpeaches



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.

#pokemongo #geotargeting #peacheeoto



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.”

#video #creative #uprightpeaches



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.

#digital #outdoor #peachesforeveryone


Photo: Peaches from Union Sq Greenmarket (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Suivant Maintenant: Bastille Day

In honor of Bastille Day, the advertising news this week is centered around freedom and revolution.



In a time of bitter political and racial divides, one thing is bringing Americans together this summer: Pokemon. In the many stories about Pokemon Go (It’s good for depression! It’s getting kids outside! It’s stupid!), there are several with the marketer’s take. Here’s Click Z’s article on what Pokemon Go means for local marketers. Here’s a longer piece from GeoMarketing. This Business Insider interview with Niantic CEO, John Hanke, is a very interesting insider’s view of the development of the product—and how long term vision can lead to an overnight sensation. Our take: Pokemon Go has the perfect mix of new technology and nostalgic sweetness that mix together to make a summertime hit. And like most hits of summers past, it will likely fade—especially since the AR is *very* clunky and will surely be bested soon. But it is worth enjoying a happy meme in a troubling summer, and doffing our Ash Ketchum-style baseball hats to marketers everywhere who are bringing local flavor to a nationwide trend. It’s a timeless tactic, and will continue to evolve as the hits and misses change over the years.

#geotargeting #local #freedomtocatchemall



A new study suggests more than half of Americans want to unplug on vacation . . . but few do. As marketers, it is incumbent on us to notice when there is a gap between what people want and what people do. Perhaps it is not a surprise that eBook sales continue to drop even as devices become more prevalent—as the AAP has noted, declining “9.7%, with eBooks now making up only 17.3% of the trade book market.” Perhaps it’s time for an industry campaign along the lines of “Declare freedom from your device.” A campaign featuring regular people in real world situations enjoying being away from the stresses and anxieties that come through a 24/7 digital life could be just the thing to promote book reading.




Twitter is in talks with major sports leagues to obtain rights to stream their events. This could be a boon for non-cable-subscribing sports fanatics (such as your humble correspondent), and the advertisers who want to reach them for less than the astronomical ad rates major sports events command.

#twitter #sports



In AdAge, Adam Kleinberg from Traction writes about the challenges and opportunities with Snapchat advertising. As with any newish platform that has gained passionate popularity with one segment of the population, there will be backlash as the community goes beyond the core members (that is, assuming anyone over 30 will ever figure the platform out), and as ads are introduced into what was previously an ad-free environment. It strengths are almost a perfect match for its pitfalls.




Photo of statue of Marquis de Lafayette (c) Martha Otis, 2016

Next to Now for July 7


The Wall Street Journal reports that Snapchat is getting older—with 14% of US smartphone owners over 35 years old using the app. While they don’t use it with the same frequency and velocity we see with teenage users, the aging of the user population is a sure sign that the platform is going to give bigger rivals such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter a run for their money.

#snapchat #social



As part of that maturing process, Snapchat introduced “Memories”—a way to save your own Snapchats for future sharing.




On Digiday, Copyranter asks the question “Does advertising even work anymore?” Then answers it: No! Then qualifies: Kind of. Then flips back to “No!” Then shows you how to sell to advertising-averse Millennials. See what he did there?

#advertising #millennials



With their new “My Activity” page, Google is bringing together what they know about users from Search, Mobile, Browsing and more. This has everything to do with the advertising data wars and their fight with Facebook for supremacy.

#google #data #targeting



The New Republic does a deep dive into Tumblr that shows how the platform remains vital for teens (and, thus, vital for YA marketing strategy).

#tumblr #teens #ya



The Village Voice looks at whether or not the new LINK NYC systems are good for the city. For sure, they’re good for advertisers in general and Google in particular. Data collected at the kiosks from browsing history will tell advertiser a lot about the demographic profile of the outdoor audience and make for the best targeting we’ve seen from outdoor advertising yet. As consumers though (and we *are* citizens as well as advertisers), it’s worth remembering the internet adage: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” And it’s worth thinking through the “devil’s advocate” position on ad targeting if we’re to do our jobs as advertisers and citizens equally well.

#outdoor #google #targeting


photo (c) Martha Otis