The Digital Advertising battle increases

Facebook adds header bidding.
The move is effectively a shortcut for Facebook to bring its demand to publishers while taking on Google at the same time. This, of course, is a huge competitive move against Google, whose Doubleclick product dominates much of the publishing industry.

Facebook adds header bidding

Now, as it turns out, publishers like the Washington Post, the Daily Mail and Forbes, have been quietly working with Facebook to introduce this to the Facebook Audience Network. It gives them the ability to receive ads bought through Facebook’s sophisticated data and targeting technology.

So what IS Header Bidding anyway?

Also known as advance bidding or pre-bidding, it is an advanced programmatic technique wherein publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before making calls to their ad servers. Consider that these ad servers are mostly DoubleClick for Publishers (from Google) and you can instantly see the competitive move here by Facebook.

The next question is, of course, “Why is do publishers do this”?

Well, the biggest benefit that header bidding offers is greater yield. Some studies indicate that just a single header bid source can increase yield by 10 %. More, if the publisher combines their whole inventory into a single server-side supply, as they can then sell inventory on a per-impression basis.

While this all sounds great and certainly very cool, there are some negatives associated with the concept. First of all, it is quite complicated to setup and implement. But the biggest risk is the fact It can play havoc with page latency. You see, to make the process of bidding work, special tags need to be inserted into the web pages and every tag – each of the Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) has one ­– potentially adds an additional layer of “lag” to the time it takes to render the page. It simply slows down web pages and that is the main reason people started to install ad blockers. These simply prevent the whole bidding process from happening.

Now, with Facebook joining the fray, things will get interesting, especially as Facebook has a “Mobile First” approach. What it also means is, Mobile advertising will grow even more and probably faster too.

Read the announcement here

Native advertising – some people hate it, some people love it

Native advertising has caught the attention as an effective advertising vehicle. So much so, it even has people convinced it may be “the next big thing”!

So what IS Native Advertising and why is it such a big deal?

Essentially, native advertising is paid content that appears in a consumer’s feed. In other words, it is somewhat “disguised” as regular content, but make no mistake. It is an ad, paid for by the advertiser.

While it is designed to be non-disruptive to the consumer, it can be quite controversial. Publishers routinely DO NOT like it, but advertisers LOVE it, because it gets results.

It gets results because, sometimes, the content can be so well disguised, the consumer does not immediately realize they are looking at an ad. It looks, feels and behaves just like the editorial content that surrounds it. And that can be a problem for the publisher. It erodes their integrity and the consumer’s confidence in the publisher is compromised. After all, if the consumer cannot tell the difference between what is “real” and what is an “ad”, why would they trust the publisher?

Advertisers however, love the results they get. Because the ad is non-disruptive and authentic looking, significant time is spent with the brand being advertised. This can drive purchasing intent up to 3X higher than other advertising!

Today, there are three main reasons native advertising is so hot:

1.Native ads are proven to get higher levels of engagement than traditional, non-native ads.

2.Native ads are an effective way to get around ad blockers.

3.Last, but not least, in today’s growing climate of Social Media, it can be the ONLY way to reach audiences.

All-in-all, native advertising is on the rise and with many publishers keen to grow their ad revenues, we can expect to see a lot more of it. In the US alone, Native advertising is expected to grow to a massive $36 billion market by 2021, according to BI Intelligence Business Insider’s premium research service.

Native ad display revenue
Native ad growth

If you are a brand, agency or advertiser, Native advertising may seem to be a good thing. However, realize that your content has to be up to a hight standard in order to get the attention and engagement you seek.

If you are a publisher, be careful of Native Advertising as it can erode your credibility and editorial integrity. Essentially, advertisers and publishers need to work together in order to ensure both get the results they want.

Some useful links include:

Free eBook on Native Advertising predictions http://offers.nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/23predictions2017

Best practices for ethical Native Advertising http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2014/01/best-practices-for-ethical-native-advertising/

 


If you’d like to know more about Wave 2 and our advertising solutions, please contact Tom Hodges on +44 (0)1344 861133 or email thodges@wav2.com. He’d be delighted to hear from you!

2017 Trends and Ad Spending Predictions

The new year is already one month old and, in case you hadn’t noticed, the month of January was filled with many predictions from research, marketing and analytics companies.
We thought then that it would be good to summarize some of these reports saving you some time.

There are two trends that everyone seems to agree on: Video ads and smartphone use, the latter especially by millennials.

Video Ads
Online video will see a huge growth in popularity. Spend on online video is already up by 114% since 2014 (according to Forrester) thanks to the reach and targeting ability that advertisers, big and small, just love to see.

This trend is expected to grow so much that Google recently announced some new tools for YouTube that promises to give advertisers and agencies new ways to measure their reach and target specific audiences.

You can read the announcement here

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
As you will conclude, after reading the Google announcement, it is all about Mobile. Already, over 50% of YouTube views are on mobile. No surprise then that these new Google measuring tools will be built for this mobile world. The Google article even goes so far as calling the desktop web a legacy technology! Amazing! If there was ever an indication of how fast technology progresses, then that statement certainly proves it!

Annual mobile ad spend and Native advertising
The annual mobile ad spend in the US is now predicted to reach $78bn by 2021, up from $33bn in 2016. That is a 17% compound annual growth rate. These figures come from BIA/Kelsey.

Over in the UK, advertising spend is predicted to grow 3.2% in 2017, despite Brexit. These figures come from the AA/Warc Expenditure report.

Many research companies also predicted a rise in Native Advertising. Native advertising has rather quickly become a hotly debated issue. It is a very controversial issue, but it is highly effective, with some researches claiming it can generate as may as 40% higher click rate than other mobile ads!

We will be discussing Native advertising in a future blog.

If you’d like to know more about Wave 2 and our self-service advertising solutions, please contact Tom Hodges on +44 (0)1344 861133 or email thodges@wav2.com. He’d be delighted to hear from you!

Measuring the effectiveness of a Cross-Media Advertisement

The IAB just released the results of a study that aimed to “To set out to prove whether or not including desktop and mobile ads in a multi-platform ad campaign improves brand impact and if so, by how much”.

The study, conducted by a company called “Research Now”, looked at several live campaigns from major brands. The campaigns ran across five verticals – Automotive, CPG, Retail, Finance, and Media.

The research shows that while digital-only campaigns are effective, when conducted in combination with other media is when the campaigns achieve a better result with regards to brand awareness and impact.

The results obviously varied depending on the mix of channel, but every combination yielded higher results than a campaign targeting a single channel.

Check out the following summary which shows the impact of various combinations of Digital and Traditional channels.

 

Increase in exposure by channel

To see the individual influence of each media channel, see the pie chart below.

 

Contribution of each channel

These results certainly speak for themselves and really confirm the enormous impact a multi media campaign can have on brand awareness, brand consideration, brand familiarity and, perhaps most importantly, the increase in desire to seek further information and intention to purchase.

To achieve maximum increase of impact on brand awareness, the IAB recommends adding at least ONE digital option, such as mobile web, app or desktop, to the mix.

 

Expanding the opportunity to see

It should come as no surprise that the “opportunity to see” (OTS) the campaign ad rises considerably when multiple devices are targeted (as shown in the diagram seen above). It’s quite simple really, the more devices and platforms are targeted, the higher the increase in awareness and, by implication, the increase in Intent to Purchase. Something your brand will certainly benefit from. This research quantifies that increase and by how much how each channel contributes to that.

While building campaigns like this may, at first, seem daunting, a solution such as EasyBuild from Wave 2 Media Solutions can be a life saver! EasyBuild can produce multiple versions of the ad simultaneously, ensuring consistent Look-and-feel, while dramatically bringing down production costs.

If you’d like to know more about Easybuild and our self-service advertising solutions, please contact Tom Hodges on +44 (0)1344 861133 or email thodges@wav2.com. He’d be delighted to hear from you!

The original IAB report can be found here.

Flash is dead – It’s time to transition to HTML5

Adobe’s Flash is dead. It has been on the decline for several years now but some recent events have really driven the final nails that coffin.

It was probably Steve Jobs and Apple that started this when the iPhone (and later the iPad) were released without support for Flash. Not just a lack of support . . Flash simply did not work!

You may ask why? The biggest concern against Flash is that it is insecure. So much so that, one-by-one, Flash support was dropped by all the major browsers such as Safari, Firefox and, finally in December 2016, by Google’s Chrome.

Considering that Google makes its money from advertising, the concern for Flash must be considerable. Undoubtedly, the concern stems from the ability of injecting malicious code into a user’s computer simply by viewing an image that was displayed using Flash. Anything that might cause users not to view or click these images, inherently threatens ad revenue. And that is a bad thing.

The winner, of course, is HTML5, which has become the new default in all browsers. Note however, that there are still websites out there that ONLY support Flash and these are exempted by Google . . for now. Google gives those sites one year to move on. These sites include: Youtube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, Amazon.com, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch,tv and Mail.ru. Which are the top ten sites in the world.

A second recent event that really cliches Flash’s demise, it the release by the IAB of a set of guidelines to transition Video Ads from Flash to HTML5.

Unlike Google, which has provided a 12 month grace period to sites, the IAB is suggesting a transition period of just 6 months. That’s right. By Mid 2017, websites must complete their transition to HTML5 or lose ad revenue! After June 2017, fewer and fewer sites will support Flash and by the end of 2017, all modern browsers will cease to display Flash-based ads!

Thankfully, Wave 2 customers are well positioned for this as all ads created with Easybuild are already HTML5-based. Creative departments that DO NOT use Easybuild might be in for some challenges, especially if their expertise lies in building Flash advertisements.

If you’d like to know more about Easybuild and our self-service advertising solutions, please contact Tom Hodges on +44 (0)1344 861133 or email thodges@wav2.com. He’d be delighted to hear from you!

Transitioning Video Ads from Flash to HTLM5 (and a checklist for Publishers and Ad Agencies) is available for download at https://iabtechlab.com/html5videotransition/

Diversifying revenue: Johnston Press shows the way

Johnston Press is one of many publishers we work closely with. Earlier this year we implemented an all-digital ad production workflow for them, unifying and automating the publisher’s digital and print ad production, trafficking and management (in close partnership with Express KCS).

We know at first hand JP’s dedication to navigating current industry disruption and harnessing technology to emerge stronger and more dynamic. We also recognise the publisher’s commitment to diversifying revenue streams, something we’ve written about in other blog posts – indeed JP’s Digital Kitbag product is a standout offering for local advertisers that we’ve covered a number of times.

With all this in mind, we were intrigued to hear about a new website JP launched last week. Entitled jplocalbusiness.co.uk, it provides a guide to local marketing and advertising services within JP’s own regional titles for local SMEs, along with free marketing advice on key related topics. It embraces all the publisher’s print, online and mobile news brands.

The offering also includes related assistance such as an online chat functionality where users can talk directly to Johnston Press’ sales team, a fortnightly newsletter with hints and tips as well as exclusive content from marketing experts.

In short, it’s a one stop shop to help local businesses market themselves better – be it raising awareness, engaging with customers and, importantly, generating new sales.

As James Adams, director of marketing communications for Johnston Press, said last week in a statement, “jplocalbusiness.co.uk provides local businesses with a full overview of the marketing services available to them within our local titles, along with the skills and knowledge needed to promote themselves effectively.”

Our view? Well, clearly we’re biased, but we’ve always drummed on about the need for regional publishers to diversify themselves and offer marketing services to local businesses. We know at first hand there is a huge demand across every region of the country, both in the UK and US.

It also confirms another trend we’re seeing in newspaper publishing. That of publishers starting to recognise that they are not just narrators of news who happen to sell advertising space, but rather that they are marketing specialists in their own right. It’s true of Nationals as well as regionals.

As if to illustrate the point, the Financial Times also disclosed last week that it has big plans for expanding its own content studio into a full-service ad agency for brands. Jon Slade, the FT’s chief commercial officer, said, “The end goal is to have advertisers regard FT.com as a marketing platform, not a place to buy space.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Both Johnston Press and the FT have recognised that they not only own strong marketing platforms, but that their own expertise and audience knowledge makes them more than capable marketing partners.

It’s a trend we expect to increase markedly as publishers diversify their revenue streams.

Finally, if you’d like to find out more about how Wave2’s automated publishing solutions have helped Johnston Press and how they could do the same for you, please contact Tom Hodges on thodges@wav2.com or call +44 (0)1296 642 880. He’d be pleased to tell you more.

Wave2 partners with MediaValet for cloud-based DAM publishing

We’re delighted to announce we’re partnering with leading cloud-based DAM company MediaValet.

Canadian-based MediaValet is one of the world’s leading SaaS vendors of cloud-based DAM solutions, allowing companies to store, manage and access digital assets effectively as well as reduce operational costs through the elimination of hardware, software and all associated maintenance expenses.

Why are we partnering with them? Well, there are many DAM solutions available on the market but few have the capability of distributing those assets in an automated, streamlined manner. By partnering with MediaValet, our joint end solution is able to accomplish both feats – the management and automated distribution of digital assets.

Our partnership will see us integrate our automated publishing solution, EasyBuild 2 within MediaValet’s own IT architecture framework. The result? A powerful DAM publishing solution that not only stores digital assets but harnesses them for seamless, automated multi-platform distribution.

The major thinking behind this joint solution is that it will offer small to medium sized corporate companies a world-class DAM publishing capability at low entry point. Indeed, as a multi-tenanted solution based in the cloud, clients can set up an account within days – all at low cost because the solution doesn’t demand expensive software, hardware or punitive installation costs.

By being cloud-based, our DAM publishing solution will also be able to be iterated upon seamlessly with any updates instantly available for all clients.

We additionally recognise that the security of data and assets is of prime importance and that is why our solution will be hosted within Microsoft’s Azure framework. MediaValet have an exceptionally close working relationship with the Seattle-based company and we are confident that our cloud-based solution is being hosted within an exceptional framework.

All told it’s a very exciting development for everyone at Wave 2 and MediaValet. By bringing two world-class solutions together the end result is greater than the sum of its parts. In fact we believe our DAM publishing solution to be better than anything currently available for small to medium sized companies – at a price tag that is compelling.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact Tom Hodges on thodges@wav2.com or call +44 (0)1296 642 880. He’d be delighted to provide more details.

Regional press: is curation one way forward?

As a world leader in automated publishing solutions, we keep a close eye on newspaper trends and developments, not least to keep up to speed with all the latest innovations. Indeed, developments are moving at a fast clip across the world as publishers navigate what is a very disrupted media landscape.

On that note, something of deep interest caught our attention earlier this year. An article in leading trade title Journalism.co.uk took a look at Tamedia, the largest media group in Switzerland.

What marks Tamedia out as a pioneer is that eighteen months ago it developed a new digital product that would encourage people to pay for regional news (rather than consume it for free online). It did this by creating an app called 12app which curates twelve existing stories from Tamedia’s portfolio of regional press in one single place. In essence it delivers the 12 most important stories of the day to its readers. And that’s it.

Has it worked in practice? It’s still relatively early days, although eighteen months in today’s publishing paradigm could be thought of as an eternity! Regardless, the app’s performed very well. Priced at 6 CHF (£4.32) per month, the app has attracted 35,000 subscribers and 15,000 daily users. Of course, some of these users take 12app as part of a bundle subscription, but it’s still a very decent uptake.

What is especially innovative about 12app idea is that the app’s success is measured by a ‘yes/no’ button added at the end of each of the 12 stories. This rating metric, as well as story page views, provides a deep insight into the popularity of stories and helps the Tamedia team promote more of the types of stories people would like to read. A sort of virtuous feedback loop. Simple yet brilliant.

It’s clever and in an age where content is ubiquitous and overloaded, the ability of a publisher to curate articles for its readers will become ever more important. As one of Tamedia’s digital specialists says, “It’s more than just an app, it has become a workshop where we are working on the journalism of the future.”

It’s difficult to disagree. It is yet another example of how newspaper media companies are transitioning legacy models and building profitable new revenue streams. For publishers moving forward this is going to be increasingly important, especially with regards to smartphone monetisation.

Print-to-digital targeting gains ground

Transitioning legacy publishing models is at the heart of our AdPortal self-service advertising solutions. We’ve believed for a number of years that those publishers who remove the boundaries between various media channels and embrace multi-channel strategies will be far better placed to navigate today’s market.

Our attention was piqued, therefore, when we came across an article in Digiday which looks at Hearst’s campaign for the new Toyota Prius. It represents the very first time that Hearst is targeting print readers and following them up with digital ads.

How does it work? ‘When someone fills out a (print) subscription form online, that data is loaded up into Hearst’s system and attributes like age, ethnicity and household income from third-party data are tacked on. Hearst can then target those readers across its online sites.’

The Prius campaign is a big one, aiming to reach 50 million consumers this summer with a mix of print and digital across a whole swathe of Hearst titles. It’ll be made up of native-style text and video ads as well as social posts. In short, it’ll pioneer advanced ways of erasing the boundaries between various media channels and putting the Prius message in front of knowledgeable prospects.

This breakdown of traditional boundaries between various media channels has been on the cards for a number of years, but is now a reality. It’s a key reason why we’re helping transition publishers like Kent Messenger Media Group to become fully fledged multi-media concerns in their own right.

It’s also why we believe our AdPortal self-service advertising solutions are so compelling. These solutions offer a wide choice of advertising packages that embrace print, online and mobile in one fully automated setup.

Take for example our AdPortal Display product. This solution targets small businesses that publishers’ sales teams often struggle to reach. This could be because of costs to service the SME sector, lack of resources or inaccessibility to visits from field sales staff.

Whatever the reason, AdPortal Display addresses the problem by allowing SME’s to design, build and book ads with ease, all within one fully automated solution. And because it is fully automated, advertising costs are significantly reduced.

It lets sales teams focus on bigger accounts and allows publishers to capture a hugely lucrative SME market that they might otherwise miss out on.

Whether it’s print-to-digital or digital-to-print, the bottom line is that boundaries are increasingly becoming irrelevant for both publishers and advertisers alike. The challenge is to develop automated solutions that address this and offer reduced production costs, a bigger customer base and enhanced revenue streams.

If you’d like to know more about our self-service advertising solutions for publishers please contact Tom Hodges on + 44 1296 642 880 or email thodges@wav2.com. He’d be delighted to hear from you!

Mobile ad design and placement

Do publishers and agencies know the best designs and ad placement for HTML 5 mobile web ads? Probably not, but in such a fast paced environment, that’s not a criticism. It’s merely a reflection of the current mobile landscape.

Indeed, one of the main issues currently confronting publishers is their lack of HTML 5 expertise. At a time when publishers increasingly need to be ‘multi-skilled ninjas’ and have a basic understanding of HTML 5 right across their organisations, many don’t.

It’s not just publishers either, many advertising agencies are also hampered by their lack of understanding of HTML 5 – they are struggling as much as publishers.

The challenges are multi-fold:

Firstly, there are a number of ways to package up an HTML 5 ad because they are a combination of bits and not a single file. Depending on how you package it up, it may or may not work for the ad server being used. So firstly you have to understand what the options are for packaging up the HTML 5 ad and whether the ad server and ad network can cope with it. This is vital.

The second challenge is the design of the ad itself. A great performing ad on a PC doesn’t necessarily translate well to a small tablet or mobile device – typically it’ll be far too busy when squeezed down into a small screen, both in terms of content as well as any animation used. It certainly won’t encourage a click-through unless it is adapted for mobile.

Responsive ad design therefore needs to be considered very carefully. In fact, fully responsive HTML 5 ads lend themselves to ad templates. We’ve found a lot of success in this area because if you can produce a series of templated ads that adhere to rigorous best practice in terms of general layout and animation for a mobile device, you start to build ads that really perform.

Thirdly, how do you create the ads? Most ad studios are adept at Adobe’s InDesign, Flash etc but there is a whole suite of authoring tools that aren’t particularly simple and need a higher level of expertise to execute. An alternative is to use one of the online services that Google runs but you have far less control and you’re stuck with Google and its limitations on an ongoing basis. Advertising templates written in HTML 5, however, offer a middle way that is proven in terms of ROI, easily implemented and still allows great design.

If you’d like to learn more about our portfolio of automated mobile advertising solutions, including our recently launched AdPortal Mobile Web App which offers publishers a fully optimised self-service advertising solution for mobile, please get in touch with Tom Hodges on +44 (0)1296 642 880 or email thodges@wav2.com. He’d be delighted to tell you more….