Tag Archives: News

Next to Now: December 2

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.

#taboola #fakenews



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.

#news #youtube #video



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

Next to Now: Sept 16


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



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



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



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


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.