Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Viewers Prefer Ads to Subscriptions for Connected TV

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Followers of this blog know that I have been encouraging our industry toward more inspired online video ads. This is because the statistics are already emerging to prove that video will be the most effective form of advertising for online publishers looking to get premium CPMs. And it will be the most effective options for brands wanting to reach and engage customers easily and quickly with their already tested TV ads.

Although we’ve heard quite a bit about how adept this new generation of digital natives is with ad blocking software, they don’t seem to be using it for online TV. A new study by YuMe and Frank Magid Associates tell us that connected TV viewers actually prefer ads to paid models. According to this study 30% of all Internet homes have TVs connected to the Internet, and users of those sets are generally receptive to advertisements.

In addition, “almost 90% of connected TV users reported that they noticed ads on the platform, particularly pre-roll ads. The majority of those users also interacted with ads and nearly one-fifth of users (19%) subsequently purchased a product as a result of an ad they’ve seen.”

This is good news both for online publishers and brands. We do believe that in the next five years, the best advertising will appear either on tablets or streamed to TVs from the Internet. So the entire cable-cutting argument will become moot as viewers will indeed swap cable for Internet. They will use their big TVs as another option for a screen. They will be using a variety of “computers” such as tablets, Roku (a ZEDO customer), video game consoles, phones and set top boxes to connect the TV screen to the Internet.

The message is clear: viewers are accustomed to the traditional model of TV programs interrupted by advertising and are now willing to engage with it as well. In this viewing environment, for our partners in the publishing and advertising industries, ZEDO’s new Full Screen TV ads on the web will prove to be a big moneymaker.

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ZEDO Solves Publisher Problems with New Formats

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Here’s a conundrum we at ZEDO have long been aware of and are working to resolve.

On the one hand, brands want to know they have bought only 100% viewable impressions, and publishers want to sell advertising to stay in business. ComScore has a big viewable impressions push going, and IAB has released a new set of mobile rich media ad guidelines. Nielsen, too, is measuring the effectiveness of online ads with its great Facebook partnership. On the other hand, most brands really want to appear beside premium content; yet these publishers are very aware that intrusive ads turn off users.

If the ecosystem is ever to flourish, everyone has to participate in making the experience of advertising as unobtrusive for the visitor as it can be. Yet they must really work for the advertiser. Difficult?  Yes. This has upped the ante for advertising technology platforms like ZEDO. And we have been excited to take on that challenge and show such great results.

That’s why instead of developing one new format, we’ve developed many. For every site, there is at least one format that will both produce viewable impressions and provide an acceptable or even enjoyable user experience. And for advertisers we don’t ask for new creative, but use what they have already created for the web or TV. It is completely within the realm of possibility to satisfy the needs of both sides of the equation. Think Super Bowl ads: highly sought after by consumers and effective for advertisers.

One of the keys to producing a better user experience is ads that don’t appear unless the user actually does something — scrolls down, mouses over, or clicks. Our InView Formats are 99% viewable because they only appears when a viewer is there to see them. And our On-Page video format appears without sound until the viewer hovers over it — and it offers a full-screen viewing without leaving the original page.

When we talk to a publisher, we always have one or more formats that will fit his particular needs; we’re not a one-size-fits all company. Rather, our developers are constantly iterating and fine-tuning the advertising experience for large online publishers, whether they’ve grown up with print sites, or are “digital natives.”

For the past few years, ZEDO’s main effort has been to create ad formats that will help online be every bit as good as TV advertising, and therefore generate great revenue to the publisher. After all, that’s what happens with Super Bowl ads; they command quite a premium because advertisers like to buy them YET users like to watch them. We are at the beginning of a potential advertising revolution on the web.  You can now step in and join it.

Don’t Confuse ZEDO High Impact Formats with Traditional Rich Media

Monday, August 20th, 2012

For years, ZEDO has led the market toward better online advertising. We think of ourselves as innovators without being risk takers, working to ensure the success of our publisher partners by helping them realize higher CPMs from innovative ads.

At the same time, we help provide brands and agencies a better return on investment with our High Impact Formats. And we do that without requiring that creative be customized, because our
formats fall between standard ads and rich media formats. Our High Impact Formats take advertisers’ existing creative without customization and do more with them. And the formats do work well: users see them and they allow great advertising.

Our vision is a win-win in digital just like the one we are used to in TV. The content provider benefits. And the advertiser benefits.

So we understand why our customers get so excited about our 99% viewable impressions formats. The sales people want to sell them: they get better results and premium CPMs. We know that sometimes the
editorial teams and the UI teams are suspicious that users will react react badly. We can understand that, because publishers also have brands to maintain and build. And we therefore offer 9 different high impact formats AND many settings to control how they look on the site.

Now we’ve been serving these formats long enough to know that users actually don’t mind them – some even like them. We have formats that shuffle, formats that contain video, formats that play full screen video and formats on travel sites that look like beautiful content pieces.

That’s why we call them “high impact formats,” they are fun and cool and people see them. They are not standard, boring old banner ads. We’d be interested in showing them to you and asking your feedback.

Viewable Impressions? We’ve Got Them

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Last week, we took the wraps off the new ZEDO. The new ZEDO is more than an ad server, more than a partner for publishers — it is a partner to the entire publishing and advertising ecosystem, an ecosystem that has been struggling for a decade with disruption.

On the publisher side, content is always regarded as king, but supporting it has become more and more challenging. On the brand side, marketers know intuitively that putting the right message in front of the right customer at the right time increases conversions, but traditional online advertising has an abysmal success record. A year ago, we set ourselves the task of fixing what’s wrong with online advertising — with the goal of making it as effective as TV.

Get ready for viewable impressions. Comscore is starting to talk about them, but ZEDO can supply them.  A well-kept secret is that we’ve been working with Comscore since the early days of AdxPose, and we were one of the first to ensure that our impressions were viewable. And now, with our new high impact formats, we can guarantee 99% viewable impressions. Measurable. Repeatable. No wonder we are excited.

We are rolling out an entire series of high impact tablet, mobile, and video ad formats for publishers to choose from. Many are video, all are optimized for tablets and mobile. They’ve got contemporary names like the Inview Slider and the Shuffle — they dance across the page and attract viewers’ attention with their creativity, rather than their intrusiveness.

The launch of our viewable impressions suite of formats comes before the launch of our new web site and identity for a reason: we want to show you that there’s substance behind our new brand. We’re not the old ZEDO, server of ads since 1999. We’ve been looking at what the advertising industry needs, what savvy marketers want, and we’re creating that for them. Brands don’t want conventional display ads; they know those don’t work. And they don’t want anything that will not be seen.

It’s time to move away from the print publishing metaphors — above and below the fold, direct marketing and branding –and get into the innovative formats our global engineering staff can deliver. We’re in the process of gathering a group of case studies based on the successes of our beta testers.

But wait! There’s more! Subscribe to the blog for updates on ZEDO.

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Are Private Exchanges a Failure?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Over the last year, many publishers–the latest of whom is Hearst– have set up private exchanges, thinking they would be the Holy Grail to raise revenues and solve the problem of selling their premium real estate at more than remnant CPMs.

As yet, most of the private exchanges haven’t succeeded, and now as a group they are
coming down the other side of the hype cycle. Publishers are still missing revenue targets, and the Lumascape just keeps getting more crowded.

One reason is that private exchanges can’t prove to agencies that they’re any more valuable than buying on the open market. Agencies are asked to buy at higher prices yet they are offered very little reach and exactly the same type of inventory they can get in the open exchanges. So agencies seeing more reach and lower prices, just stick to buying on the open exchanges.

Another reason is that private exchanges are still selling commodity inventory but hoping for a non commodity price. They are selling standard IAB sizes on standard types of sites. This is commodity inventory and RTB is forcing it to be more commoditized and less impact.

The bottom line is that publishers are creating private exchanges but no one is buying the inventory or at least not at any decent CPM. ZEDO has invested a lot into its direct pipe platform in co-operation with agencies and publishers. The phrase “direct-pipe” better explains what our product does: create a direct technology channel for agencies to buy premium publisher inventory. A good direct-pipe will include the following:

1. It will need to have programmatic buying capabilities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean auction based pricing. Auctions are for remnant
2. Agencies are more willing to buy if the formats and types of advertising on the exchange are not just standard IAB sizes but great advertising opportunities for their clients. Video is important.

3. They must have enough publishers on the direct-pipe platforms to give brand advertisers the high reach they need.

Publishers tell us your experiences of private exchanges and we we can share ours…

Great Creative Drives Engagement in Mobile Ads

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

People are still confused about the value of mobile as an ad platform. Because consumers are now spending more time on mobile devices than on desktop PCs, it is intuitive to conclude that mobile is a great place to advertise, but most mobile ads aren’t working, and spend hasn’t grown the way it should. ROI doesn’t seem to be there, either. A recent backlash, led by Jean Louis Gassee, a respected American investor, was framed around the hypothesis that mobile might not be such a great opportunity after all.

But a convincing deck by Henry Blodgett spoke recently about the future of mobile as barely having begun. Blodgett and his collaborator point out that mobile advertising does, however, require different approaches, both in format and in creative. That seems to be what people are overlooking, You can’t just translate the desktop to the tablet or the phone, any more than you can translate print to digital — although people have wasted a lot of money trying.

First of  all,  we think the best opportunity for mobile advertising isn’t the phone. Because the phone screen is small, users feel that ads that take up too much screen real estate are intrusive, and brsides,the consumer is on the move. He can respond to a text ad, or perhaps to a location-based special offer, but the phone will evolve to be useful only for performance-based ads, not for brand lift.

On the other hand, tablet owners consume lots of content, usually in a relaxed fashion, and are more willing to tolerate ads in long-form content. Mobile ads on the tablet, especially if they are video or interactive can be very effective for building brand, especially if they are combined with social media campaigns and PR.

We have just seen an ad that we think exemplifies the best kind of creative for a tablet ad that will get results. Last week , the “creative community” (they don’t call themselves an agency) Johannes Leonardo, friends of ours in New York,  brought home the first ever Mobile Cannes Lion of Creativity award. The  winning creative, for Google and Coke, recreated the old theme of buying the world a Coke for the 21st century, allowing the viewer to access a map and choose someone in a foreign country for whom they’d like to buy a coke. The ad, on Google, was video with novel creative and high interactivity.

Why were these guys able to produce such a spectacular ad? Because Johannes Leonardo began as a creative shop with the founding belief that “the consumer is the new medium.” This is a great statement of how new mobile formats and creative must work together.

In the winning ad, the agency gave the consumer an actual task to perform.This mobile ad from Google, which re-imagines a classic Coke spot, is a digital reinterpretation of Coke’s iconic ‘Hilltop’ spot, featuring the song “I want to buy the world a Coke.”

It’s not a banner, and not a static display. Instead, the mobile ad enables viewers to actually buy a Coke for someone in a city of their choice. As he watches the mobile ad, which ran on Google’s Admob network,  a the viewer can pick a city to send the Coke to, attach a text message and press a button that dispenses a drink at  specially designed vending machines in the selected city. The viewer can even watch as his Coke is delivered. An ad like this produces high engagement.

The ad was created as part of Project Re:Brief in which Grow Interactive and agency Johannes Leonardo reimagined classic ads with a digital twistfor the modern day. While Google commissioned it, Coca-cola also signed off on the ad.

We share it with you because we believe this agency is one of the first to embrace the potential of advertising for mobile devices. We hope they will choose to try out some of ZEDO’s nine new mobile formats.

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The phone is a personal a device and users feel that the ads that take up a lot of the screen are too intrusive.

The phone is a personal a device and users feel that the ads that take up a lot of the screen are too intrusive.

Agency Creatives: The Ball’s In Your Court for Better Mobile Ads

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

At last week’s ComScore State of the Internet Webinar, the internet research firm presented data indicating mobile users would surpass desktop users in 2014. So why hasn’t the mobile advertising problem been solved? In fact, why do some tech pundits think that mobile advertising revenues will NEVER materialize, and are only “a mirage’?

We think it’s because most publishers have not applied real creativity to mobile advertising. They’ve been content to take the same performance-based ads they used on the desktop–the ones that they can only sell at low CPMs and the same ones that don’t perform well for brands–and move them to a smaller screen.

This won’t cut it. It’s what drives Jean Louis Gassee to say

Now we have advertising on smartphones, and we’ve fallen into a comfortable, predictable rut: “It’s just like Web advertising on the PC, shrunk to fit.” We see the same methods, the same designs, the same business models, wedged onto a smaller screen.

Mobile needs new formats and new creativity. Throughout the past year, we at ZEDO have created new formats that we refer to as “high impact”: they are the inView, the InView Shuffle Ad, and on-page video. These formats test out as providing 99% viewable impressions, no matter where they are on the page. They’re designed to be viewed on tablets, and even on smartphones. Best of all they don’t require more work from the advertiser – infact they require little or no work from the advertiser. We just take standard “made for TV” commercials and run them on our high impact formats.

These few formats themselves are already starting to become compelling. One TV station website in Maryland sells them at $20 CPMs. Theor sales team loves to be able to show online video ads in a great way so that  the advertising works as well as TV advertising-  or maybe better.

Now it’s time for advertisers to take a good look at these mobile formats and run their best TV ads on them. It does, after all, take a marriage of innovative form and great content to create a compelling ad. While some agencies are already doing this in per-roll video advertising campaigns, these new formats are a great opportunity for most brands and agencies to do what they still love to do best — run some great television advertising that is memorable and effective and has huge reach everyday.

ZEDO-SceneChat Relationship Furthers Social Video Advertising

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

We have always said video is the future of online advertising, So last week we signed an agreement with SceneChat to deliver interactive display ads into the SceneChat network – globally.  The arrangement will enable SceneChat and its its customers to monetize a global base of users creating and sharing interactive social videos.

The SceneChat Social Engagement Platform is the web’s first self-service social video marketing platform. 
The arrangement with ZEDO will enable SceneChat to monetize via ads publishers opting into the SceneChat’s Free, ad-supported usage program.  SceneChat will then serve ads to the engagement bar of select clients. Clients may opt out of advertising by signing up for a paid account.

SceneChat is a simple self-serve flexible solution for marketers looking to increase video engagement and conversions. Marketers can publish and analyze interactive social video marketing campaigns without the need to migrate content to a specialized service, hire video editors, or Flash developers.

The ZEDO / SceneChat combination will provide video companion display ad capabilities that help marketers augment video creative with dynamically driven display advertising.  Marketers can create a more integrated messaging experience for prospects by timing placement of display ads with a specific call-to-action synced to a video. This capability can increase direct response to video campaigns, improve video completion rates and also drive prospects through the marketing funnel from awareness through conversion.

Interactive experiences can be synced to specific scenes within a video, engaging audiences as they consume content. Interactions can be timed messages, polls, graphics, URL links, or multiple choice questions that can navigate a video.

And SceneChat experiences can be broadly distributed via Facebook or Twitter, or directly embedded on a publisher’s site or blog. In addition, the company offers both a WordPress plugin and on-site code that enables experiences to be directly published onto a site.

“We’re very pleased to establish this relationship with ZEDO,” said Shawn Hopwood, CEO of SceneChat. “The ZEDO platform provides a comprehensive display ad delivery platform that meets all our needs and those of our customers. We look forward to rolling out this solution to our growing network of brands, agencies and publishers.”

Do You Have a Tablet Strategy?

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

ZEDO’s tablet strategy, long part of our product road map, has very quickly progressed to the forefront of our offerings, along with our high impact formats and measurable viewable impressions. We think TV advertising is moving online faster than anyone would have predicted, and the impetus for this is the startling success of the iPad.

… one in four Americans used a tablet device in the first quarter of 2012. In April, 16.5 percent of mobile phone subscribers used a tablet, representing an increase of 11.8 percentage points in the past year.

What’s more, tablet users are three times more likely than a smartphone user to view a video, ComScore says. Ten percent of tablet users watch video on their device daily. More than half of tablet users watched video and TV content on their device in April 2012, compared to just 20 percent of the smartphone audience. The larger screen sizes make tablets more favorable to video. In fact, of those viewing video at least once a month, 26.7 percent paid to watch content, highlighting a big opportunity for publishers.

Many companies believe that a separate tablet strategy isn’t necessary, since all mobile strategy can be lumped together. Not so. The smartphone small screen, and the on-the-go experience do not lend themselves to watching longer form video content that can be monetized by advertising. In addition, most smartphone users don’t browse the web unless they are looking for something specific.

Tablet readers, on the contrary, are defined by their content consumption. Whether the tablet is the only screen they’re watching, or one of several (younger people sometimes watch TV with a tablet in front of them and a smartphone beside them on the couch), tablet consumers are prepared to spend watching video, and video ads, too.

Because we started as an ad server, we know how to serve video ads, and we’ve got a high impact in-page video format that is delivers 99.9% viewable impressions. Currently, that high impact video format is selling directly at $20 CPM –a sign of advertisers’ belief in the format’s effectiveness.

As one would suppose, tablet users skewed older than smartphone users, and in a higher income category. This is not surprising, given the fact that tablets are expensive, while smartphones are nearly always subsidized by the carrier.

Nearly three in five tablet users reside in households with income of $75,000-plus, compared to one in every two smartphone users. This is an obvious opportunity for the high-end luxury-goods sector.

We have been saying for a while now that online advertising can be every bit as good as TV advertising. Now, we’re beginning to see the evidence manifest.

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More than Hype: Mobile is Coming Quickly

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Mobile advertising, in the words of people who know it best, is still all hat no cattle. Most publishers don’t have the technical capability to create ads that brands will feel are worthy of them, and thus advertisers give more lip service than budget to mobile advertising.  Advertisers have to know that the new mobile formats can guarantee viewable impressions.But it’s easy to make the change to mobile with good creative and new formats.

Our advertisers want executions that inspire — while we often have to settle for the basics. To be successful in mobile advertising today on the brand side, it takes a bit of imagination. Unfortunately, the big ideas are often held back by brand restrictions and lack of technological investment.

We saw this coming, and that’s why we have spent the last year developing high impact formats that are optimized for tablets and mobile. We think the tablet will be the mobile device of choice for consuming content, although the phone will certainly play a big role in countries where it’s the only electronic device the consumer owns.

High impact formats that produce real, quantifiable viewable impressions are where the puck is going, and we are already waiting there with our InView suite. Publishers can trust us to produce ads brands will find worthy of them, and that’s why we are now reaching out to the advertising side of the industry to show them what we have. We think it will take publishers and advertisers working together to make the shift to mobile worthwhile.

This has to be done quickly, because the consumer is already shifting. This will be the year in which mobile sales outstrip PC sales, and we can see from our publisher clients that content consumption on mobile devices in the evenings and on weekends is growing monthly.

In this same article, the mobile executive points out that to be successful, companies will have to invest ahead of the curve. Mobile is in the hype cycle now, but it will move into broad adoption almost before we know it, because the consumer has already shifted.

The leaders of this upcoming communication revolution will be brave enough to take a short term dip in revenue in order to adapt to a dramatic change in consumer behavior. There will always be a place for desktop computing, but cloud-enabled wireless devices are clearly fast on their way to becoming the dominant choice for consumers.  Faster than any technological shift in our history.

As a technology leader, we DID invest ahead of the curve. Publishers who want to try out the new technologies are brand safe with us.

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