Lack of Digital TV Stream Ads Reveals Marketing Blind Spot

ESPN digital TV stream of college football championship had more logo than logic

ESPNESPN

If 700,000 people view something and there are no ads, does it make marketing sense?

Monday night’s college football championship game between Clemson and Alabama was viewed by more than 700,000 people on an ESPN digital stream, a record for the Disney-owned network and a 21 percent increase over last year’s game. And yet despite the numbers, during several of the prolonged periods between breaks, viewers were prone to watch images of the ESPN logo in the place of advertisements or commercials.

The prevalence of ESPN’s logo on Monday night digital stream is proof of a marketing blind spot.

Logistical obstacles remain, such as ads differing across digital and linear; local ads don’t typical load into the network’s digital stream; or it would cause interference with the ad load already committed to national advertisers.

Inserting ads into digital streams can become complicated, and there is technology that exists to make it happen; case in point: YouTube and Facebook. However, these platforms, according to Benjamin Hordell, Partner at DXagency, are more cost-efficient.

“When it comes to driving views and impressions for video, advertising opportunities offered on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are a far more cost-efficient – and therefore more attractive – option for advertisers looking to reach fans who would be watching the Clemson and Alabama game,” Hordell said. “Whereas ESPN may require advertisers to pay a fixed CPM (cost per thousand impressions) that often averages near $30 per thousand impressions, larger online video platforms such as YouTube or Facebook might guarantee advertisers 30-second video views among those same die-hard college sports fans for as little as 5 cents a view.”

There are network streaming services such as, CBS All Access (2 million), Showtime Anytime (2 million) and HBO Now (800,000) that have created platforms capable of playing ads into their content, yet these services do not live stream events.

Beyond the improved selection of streaming services, more and more customers are being seduced by the lower costs that come with cord cutting. While 2016’s numbers have yet to be release, in 2015, 385,000 people decided to cancel their standard TV packages, according to Nielsen.

In fact, ESPN and its subsidiary channels, lost seven million subscribers over the past two years.

“As more consumers turn to cord-cutting options and streaming video online, content providers may one day hope to regain the ground they once had when the marketplace was TV-only,” said Hordell. “They will, however, have a lot of catching up to do in strengthening their digital infrastructure, offering advertisers more depth and insight into how viewers are consuming digital ads, and lowering the barrier to entry for smaller advertisers looking to reach viewers online.”

If the sports-network giant wants to continue to appeal to marketers, they should really consider creating a digital stream where marketers can benefit.

Tips to optimise your Facebook advertising campaigns

For most startups, Facebook ads can be a confusing affair. Here are some tips for how startups can go about their ad campaigns on the world’s most popular social network.

Startups have always had a love-hate relationship with Facebook ads. But while you may hate them, you certainly cannot ignore them. Sometimes, Facebook advertisements work wonders, and at other times, they end up burning a lot of your hard earned money without much ROI.

Several startup folks new to advertising on Facebook end up making really basic mistakes, as a result of which they get overcharged and underserved.

Here are some basic things that must be kept in mind while implementing a Facebookadvertising campaign:

  • Content and Creative is King

Several startups have told us their advertising CTRs (click through rates) were very low and that they were paying a very high per engagement cost. On changing the creative aspect, however, CTR’s went up by at least two to five percent and the Cost per engagement could be brought down to even less than Re 1. Choose a bright creative with bold text. Do not necessarily sell, just make something interactive and interesting.

  • In most cases, Cost per engagement works better than Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

If you are implementing a Facebook advertisement, in 90 percent of the cases, CPC (cost per click/engagement) works at least three times better than CPM. In the case of CPC, you get charged when someone engages with your content (clicks, likes or comments), but in CPM, you get charged when your ad appears on the timeline of 1,000 users. Many startup folks have, in the past, questioned me as to why their ads were just burning money. All I did was change their campaigns from CPM to CPC, and their ROIs doubled.

  • Divide your overall budget into smaller budgets and experiment with different types of ads

It would be foolish not to try the newer advertisement formats that Facebook has introduced. Your best bet would be to split your budget into three parts, invest the first two in the well established ones like Boost post and Website click, and keep the third one for experiments. Canvas and Carousel are two such famous new ad formats that several brands have been using. But keep in mind that everyone ultimately finds their own best performer.

Harish Aswani, Lead – Marketing Manager, says, “Canvas ads work better than Carousel ads as the former are more impactful due to a closed ecosystem of information provided on mobile. FB video performs better than YT on targeting and impact.”

  • Unconventional targeting definitely helps in getting a lower cost per engagement

This is the most common thing that people do. If they are putting up an advertisement for say, a washing powder, they would target “interests” as “laundry, washing powder, housekeeping, detergent” and end it there. However, it is proven that if you dig deeper and identify who you are targeting and what those people like, and then target based on that, CPC costs come down by a big percentage. Again taking the example of washing powder, you may also target magazines that your target audience may like, say Womansera or Femina, and also fashion brands/items  they would like to follow, such as brands like Lifestyle, Myntra and Abof, or products like jeans, kurtis and sarees.

One such interesting insight was shared by digital marketing agency owner Nitesh Sharma. He said, “Interestingly, targeting job roles gives precise results. For example, you can get great results for a logo design contest by promoting it among graphic designers. One of my friends saw an advertisement ‘Dont fear, nair is here’ for a tshirt; his surname is Nair.”

These were some of the basic tips that I and some of my marketing friends have learnt from experience with Facebook advertisements. I hope they help you in your marketing pursuits.

How Visual Advertising Will Change Marketing In 2017

Today, digital advertising is expected to grow to an annual spend over $335 billion by 2020. The industry is booming, taking over search ad spend at #1 in 2016. However, with constant increases in ad volume and spend, what’s happening to returns?

The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats and placements is a miniscule fraction of a percent: 0.06%. Even of this small amount, over half of mobile ad clicks are reportedly accidental—and that’s if you can reach the user in the first place.

Conversely, ad blocking tools are growing explosively, with usage up 41% on the year globally. The number is even higher among younger generations:  nearly two in three millennials report using ad block software.

Some predict an advertising Armageddon stemming from cheap or fake impressions, especially considering that Methbot, a Russian ad arbitrage fraud bot was amassing $5 million dollars in daily earnings. Others harp that the future is in engaging, rich content aimed at millennials seeking authentic brand experiences. However, neither is correct—entirely.

When real-time bidding (RTB) for ad inventory went mainstream in 2011, programmatic ads began their half-decade, exponential climb to domination. In 2016 alone, over 96% of advertisers reported using programmatic advertising, with over half of the digital ad market traded via programmatic exchanges.

Advertisers have now grown use to the ability to making automatic, data-based decisions with programmatic and buy at-scale from a virtually infinite ad inventory.

That’s a long way from when Advertising.com—then known as TeknoSurf—announced (what is credited with being) the first cost-per-click (CPC) model for digital advertising, in 1998, virtually inventing performance-based marketing. Prior to this, most Internet advertisers had simply adopted the age-old CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model used by print.

This created a dichotomy that has persisted for decades in digital marketing strategy: brand advertisers generate widespread awareness paying for low CPMs, while performance/direct marketers engineer sales funnels to fuel with CPC traffic.

Over the years, many corporations divided the roles into separate silos. It seems intuitive. Let PR and creatives handle brand messaging while sales focus on optimizing funnels and bidding. But this isn’t 1998. Since then, human attention spans have dropped by over half, despite a five-fold increase in average daily information intake.

Many of today’s youngest consumers grew up with the luxury of having digital content their whole lives. Avid Internet users are effective and unforgiving skimmers who demand high-quality content constantly.

IAB Members Offer Native Advertising Predictions

More than 20 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) members have offered native advertising predictions for 2017. The predictions come from members of the IAB’s Native Advertising/Content Committee.

Participating executives came from companies including AdYouLike, AOL, BBC Storyworks, Bidtellect, Centro, Flipboard, GumGum, IDG, InMobi, Lonely Planet, Meredith, Merkle, Pulsepoint, and Sharethrough.

Native Insider chose four highlights to share from the predictions:

Kayla Wilson, Head of Programmatic Partnerships, InMobi:

“We thought 2016 was going to be the year of in-app native buying, but DSPs [demand-side platforms] were quick to de-prioritize when they realized this year was actually all about their clients wanting in-app video.

Results from our recent programmatic survey sent to InMobi buyers showed that video will see the largest increases for in-app mobile spending, immediately followed by native for the remainder of this year. This means DSPs will need to prioritize supporting in-app native buying in order to allow their clients to run this demand.

With a large desire for mobile in-app video from buyers, we predict native display ad formats will also be used as native video placements, in order to extend video supply.”

Angelina Eng, VP Media Platforms & Ops, Merkle:

–Eng predicts increased spend by 2x to 3x in native advertising in 2017.
–Also to come: the ability to cross-device-target native ads.
–Clients will create more content for native ad experiences.
–Ad servers such as DoubleClick will be able to “ad-serve” native ads responsive within the ad server platform.
–Google Adx will be a prominent supplier of native ads.
–Animated/video native ads will be in demand by marketers.

Aaron Tabas, Director, BBC StoryWorks:

“The most important aspect of native content is that it effectively delivers on client goals and objectives. In order to do so, it must be accurately measured, flexible in format, and engaging, above all. In order to maximize engagement, native content must reach the right people, in the right environment, and create the desired emotional impact.

As such, I see the following trends for 2017:

–A continued focus on channel-specific content strategies—the same story told in multiple formats across Facebook (with no audio, text overlay); Instagram (highly visual and less than 60 seconds); Snapchat (vertical format).
–Increase in 360 video and virtual reality, as costs begin to decrease.
–Focus on greater content engagement and performance analytics for both publisher-owned and third-party platforms.
–Year-over-year increase in overall investment in native content.

Laura Brown, Senior Product Manager, Lonely Planet:

Measurement: The ROI of native advertising continues to be difficult to prove. Data benchmarks for success are hard to measure in any sort of context, and proving brand lift and real-life results are even more difficult without the help of time-intensive and expensive third-party surveys. Publishers are faced with the task of taking the available data and making it look compelling, but advertisers are increasingly seeing through this.

Scale: Publishers will struggle to provide organic scale to native content. In order to hit advertiser targets, traffic often has to be acquired through paid social or content discovery tools, which often dilutes the publisher’s unique audience. Additionally, how many pieces of native content can a publisher promote at any given time before they begin to cannibalize performance?

Integrity: Questions like these continue to be important: Where do you draw the line with advertisers in order to protect editorial integrity and also provide a branding opportunity for the advertiser? How do we create a native product that protects our publisher brand, when other publishers have less stringent guidelines for advertiser input?

Cost: Native is costly. Advertisers pay a high price and publishers have high overhead for content production and traffic acquisition. At the end of the day, the resulting piece of content can be beautifully written and integrated, and still not justify the expense — at least, not in the sense that native is going to save the digital publishing ecosystem.

Facebook is Soaring Profits But Growth is Still a Concern

Facebook Inc., now on pace to reach $27 billion in revenue this year, is defying the slowdown in growth that usually comes with increasing size.

The social media giant said Wednesday that third-quarter revenue soared 56% to $7 billion and its quarterly profit nearly tripled to $2.38 billion, as it reaps the spoils of its dominance in mobile advertising.

Facebook’s top-line growth rate is double any other U.S. company with revenue of $20 billion or more, excluding those growing through acquisitions, according to data from Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ

Yet Facebook said that it can’t maintain its current pace. Starting in the middle of next year, Facebook will stop showing users more ads in their news feed, the tactic it has been using to juice revenue growth for the past two years, the company said Wednesday. As a result, advertising growth will “come down meaningfully,” Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner said during a call with analysts.

Facebook now expects a “much smaller contribution from this important factor going forward,” he said. He added that Facebook expects to power growth by adding more users and boosting the amount of time they spend on the social network. Video is key to that strategy.

“The growth rate has to be slower; it’s a law of large numbers, if nothing else,” Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser said. “Nobody was expecting the company to grow at the same rate.”

Facebook’s stock price was down more than 7% in after-hours trading because of the caution about advertising growth. Facebook also plans to spend more on data centers and hiring engineers next year.

Facebook’s growth outstrips its only rival in online advertising, Google parent Alphabet Inc., which last week said quarterly revenue grew 20%.

Programatic Ads – New Trend for Flipboard enabled by Rubicon

Flipboard is turning a new page and will begin selling programmatic display and native ads.

The mobile app known for offering users a sampling of stories from around the web will offer ads through a private marketplace enabled by Rubicon Project beginning next month. Brands will also be able to utilize Flipboard’s targeting capabilities that allows it to reach users based on their reading interests and demographics.

According to Nicole McCormack, Flipboard’s head of sales strategy, the move will expand capabilities beyond direct sales to allow the more than 10,000 advertisers who have access to the Rubicon Project marketplace to reach the app’s 90 million monthly users. Top advertisers already on Flipboard include Intel, Toyota, Lexus and Bank of America.

“One of the things we bring to the programmatic space in a mobile environment is a really high quality audience and a premium one,” McCormack said.

Through Rubicon Project’s exchange API, advertisers will be able to utilize the exchange that was built specifically for mobile. According to Joe Prusz, head of mobile for Rubicon Project, the exchange API allows Flipboard to be flexible with how it prioritizes deals.

Flipboard already generates more than 300 million impressions in the U.S. each month, which makes up around 25 percent of the company’s overall global impressions. Along with opening up inventory for a broader network of advertisers, part of the move to programmatic is to offer existing advertisers buying in a more automated way.

“The curation of both audiences and inventory is an ad tech marriage made in heaven between their audience and our ability to sell it programmatically to high quality advertisers,” Prusz said.

Flipboard, which began allowing advertising in 2010, already has hundreds of advertisers on the platform in industries such as automotive, financial services, tech and fashion. Programmatic video ads are also in the works. McCormack said she is pushing to have those introduced by the end of the year.

“The growth, the explosion in mobile video and programmatic video buying is not unnoticed by us,” she said.

Europe: “Mobile ad blocking” plan of Three blocked by Berec

Mobile operator Three had hoped to roll out a network-wide ad blocking system that would prevent the appearance of up to 95 percent of adverts has been shot down by a European regulator.

Citing net neutrality, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) says that Three’s plans were incompatible with providing an internet access service. The decision comes despite the fact that Three’s ad blocker would have been optional for customers.

Berec said that telecom companies “should not block, slow down, alter, restrict, interfere with, degrade or discriminate advertising when providing an IAS (internet access service)”. This does not, of course, prevent individuals from installing ad blockers of their own, it just means that companies providing internet access should not be permitted to block ads server-side.

Three has already experimented with blocking banner ads and pop-ups, but says that it does not want to completely wipe out advertising:

Our objective… is not to eliminate mobile advertising, which is often interesting and beneficial to our customers, but to give customers more control, choice and greater transparency over what they receive.

Customers should not have to pay data charges because of advertising, mobile ads should not access handset data without explicit consent, and phone owners should only see advertising that is relevant and interesting to them rather than obtrusive and untargeted information.