Facebook disclosed that 10 million Americans saw an ad from a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 election.
- Of those ads, 44 percent were seen before the election and 56 percent were viewed after the election. Another interesting statistic is that 25 percent of the Russia-linked ads were never seen due to Facebook’s algorithm labeling them as irrelevant.
Marketing Executives are bashing the digital marketing industry for its lack of transparency.
- Chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, Marc Pritchard has been outspoken recently regarding his one-year mandate asking its partners to clean up the digital media supply chain. Read about how AdBistro fights ad fraud here.
Marketers are beginning to adopt their own standards, when industry-wide standards are lacking.
- Companies that haven’t seen satisfactory results with digital ads, simply adopt higher standards. AdWeek used HP as an example, as they only pay for ads that are 100 percent in view for five seconds. This exceeds the Media Rating Council’s recommendation of 50 percent in view for 1 second. HP says its higher standard ads have a conversion rate four times higher than the MRC recommendation.
Snapchat struggles to convince Wall Street that it can stay ahead of its competition.
- eMarketer dropped its forecast for the app’s 2017 revenue from $900 million to $774.1 million. The forecast for its U.S. revenue also fell from $770 million to $642.5 million. The company’s stock has been up and down since going public in March.
Publisher National Geographic adds 3 million subscribers to its Snapchat Discover channel.
- While some analysts don’t see Snapchat’s long-term success, other companies are finding positive results with the social channel. By resetting its design and strategy, Nat Geo has been able to quadruple its number of daily users and increased revenue from Snapchat by 58 percent.
M&Ms measures experiential marketing with its social media impact.
- Kristina Monllos, AdWeek’s Senior Editor, looked into how big brands measure the success of their experiential marketing campaigns. In the age of ad blockers and general indifference towards some traditional advertising methods, companies begin to see more value in selling with an experience. While some effects of advertising in person can’t be measured, like the positive feelings a consumer can associate with a brand, social impressions and reactions are easily tracked. M&Ms used Times Square as a setting for an augmented reality experience to launch its new caramel-flavored candy. It saw 26,000 impressions from foot traffic and sparked 2,200 tweets with the hashtag #UnsquareCaramel.
New research from Hulu shows steady increase in binge-watching
- Hulu surveyed over 1,600 viewers to determine whether they prefer to watch episodes on a weekly basis or in larger chunks. It found that ~60% of viewers like to watch multiple episodes of a series in one sitting. 8% will watch an entire season or series in one day. The remaining 32 percent of viewers watched new episodes on a weekly basis. This shows TV has become a dynamic and custom experience, compared to the static and scheduled platform it once was.
GIFs provide great results for digital advertisers
- GIFs recently became easier to make with iOS11. Apple’s new mobile operating system allows users to turn live photos into GIFs. One company that saw success with the new feature is Carlsberg Israel with BBR Saatchi & Saatchi – which promoted the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. According to the brand, the post returned a 13 percent engagement rate, up from its previous record of 9 percent.
Apple’s latest Safari web browser will limit cross-site tracking, where ad networks monitor behavior from site to site. The feature in Safari that limits this tracking is Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). It uses machine learning (artificial intelligence) to pick out trackers and limit their functionality.
Privacy advocates are in favor of the move, but it hurts the advertising industry that funds much of the internet. From advertisers’ perspective, Apple is making it more difficult to serve ads that are relevant and useful to users. Limiting how much a website can track its users will comfort some users. Getting rid of complex targeting that uses tracking, will surely make programmatic ads less effective.
Apple calls its ITP “a more advanced method for protecting user privacy.”
According to W3Counter, Safari users account for about 15% of total web users. That percentage represents both iPhone users and Mac users. Apple’s move may conflict with many industry standards, however the move could help improve internet experiences in the long run. It completely changes targeting abilities, which makes targeting by website a more viable option than by specific users. This move could encourage websites to use more sponsored content, that most of the users would find relevant and interesting based on their interests.
It is an unfortunate reality that advertisers are often forced to comply with industry leaders, like Apple, Google and Facebook. Advertising are looking for ways around Safari’s new tracking prevention. The solution could be for publishers to store the tracking data with their site-specific cookies.
Interactive Advertsing Bureau Weighs In
This excerpt from an IAB Tech Lab article by Dennis Buchheim tells the ad industry how to move forward:
“In addition to considering the summarized short-term options, we urge industry participants to collaborate with partners/vendors to develop new, sustainable, consumer-friendly approaches to identity resolution and management. We also ask interested parties to work with IAB Tech Lab to (1) define and evolve identity standards for the industry as a whole and (2) engage with key players in the ecosystem on effective long-term strategies.”
IBM’s Watson recently introduced the concept of cognitive advertising. The company announced that Watson would be using data collected from The Weather Company to improve its advertising efforts. Users will be able to interact with Watson Ads to ask questions and interact with products.
From the Watson Ads Website:
“The Weather Company and Watson have teamed up to bring you Watson Ads. Now, for the first time ever, you can have an intelligent, two-way conversation with brands in an ad. Your favorite brands can help you prepare a new meal, shop for the perfect shoes, find your dream car…even relieve allergy symptoms. When you chat with Watson Ads on The Weather Channel App or weather.com, you never know where the conversation might go.”
Considering Context For Users
Artificial intelligence gives advertisers more information about consumers at the point of purchase. The user experience is extremely dynamic thanks to artificial intelligence. As a result, companies have a lot to learn from the data on how consumers interact with the ads.
This use of context data makes an advertiser’s jobs more complex, because they must account for the data and optimize their campaigns to it. Ultimately, though, this should make advertising more engaging for the consumers and more beneficial for the advertiser.
AdBistro is excited about this major adoption of new technology in the advertising world. We are working to keep BistroAPI up to date to ensure its compatibility with the latest technology. Getting rid of boring ads in place of interactive, and more engaging ads is one of our main goals. We see a major opportunity to improve digital advertising, across the board, with artificial intelligence.
Vox and Buzzfeed have recently made decisions to use programmatic ads on their websites. Initially, Buzzfeed was quick to write off programmatic ads. However, as ad serving and advertiser practices improve, the platform becomes more beneficial.
Improvements in Programmatic Ad Technology
Programmatic technology has also improved, which is likely contributing to the notable uptick in use. Traffic (that companies may have been in the dark about in the past) is now more transparent. It can be closely monitored by fraud detection services.
One key benefit of using programmatic ads is their specific targeting abilities without high prices, and no need for real time bidding.
Better Ads Still Important
The Coalition for Better Ads has been stressing the importance of a positive experience for web users. Both Vox and Buzzfeed relied on native ads and sponsored content to provide revenue, but it’s possible that they weren’t able to compete with companies using more intrusive display ads on their sites. Programmatic ads may be necessary for monetizing web traffic most effectively. Eventually a climate full of ad blockers will make these ads less effective, and leave sites with no choice but to adopt high-quality native ads or sponsored content.
High-Quality, Verified Traffic
These two media giants are showing that programmatic advertising is, in fact, still relevant. Click traffic on programmatic ads have widely improved thanks to verification from comScore and Integral Ad Science, two of AdBistro’s partners and leaders in ad fraud detection and brand safety.
Facebook, Google and Twitter are a few good examples of companies that have successfully used programmatic. They have shown that it can be both useful for advertisers and relevant for users.
Digital Advertising Is A Must
While digital advertising is even more important for online media brands like Vox and Buzzfeed, it is becoming a necessity for all brands. Adults are spending almost 8 hours each day consuming media, up 9% since 2016. As web use continues to increase, web ads become a more important part of a brand’s consumer interactions.
Vox owns 8 well-known media brands with a combined monthly viewership of 1 billion users. Their switch to programmatic ads, is another positive vote in favor of the platform.
Earlier this week, Slack introduced a new feature called shared channels. Its purpose is to improve collaboration and communication between separate companies. Before, Slack users from different companies had to create guest accounts to join outside channels. This makes communication flow more freely between companies.
AdBistro relies on Slack for much of its internal communications. Slack is a valuable tool in modern work spaces. It is quicker than email and creates a better sense of community at work.
During Hurricane Irma, AdBistro kept in touch, despite the chaos of the storm, using Slack. The Ft. Myers office remains closed this week due to Irma. Maintaining an open communication has allowed us to keep our products running. Read more about Slack’s new products on its blog.
Follow these steps early on in the advertising process to minimize and get rid of fraud early on. Once the bid is placed, advertisers have fewer options to keep their brand safe and their campaigns effective.
Pre-Bid Steps to Avoid Fraud:
- Blacklist sites with poor reputations – look into industry wide resources that detail bad sites. Or refer to groups like TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) for information about safe sites to advertise on.
- Use contextual brand safety segments. According to Marketing Land, “the easiest way for marketers to protect themselves during ad buys is to leverage contextual brand safety segments.” These contextual targeting (or really anti-targeting) segments should be available through your demand-side platform (DSP). This data comes from providers like comScore, Integral Ad Science and others.
- Develop a set of standards to follow and follow them explicitly. Companies are more vulnerable to fraud when they are disorganized or inconsistent, because noticing fluctuations becomes difficult.
- Use an ad verification service like DoubleVerify. It works towards achieving ads that are “fully viewed, by a real person, in a brand-safe environment.” These tools act as anti-fraud services for your brand.
- Audit campaigns often: If you’re using an ad verification service, they will provide the analytics data. This data is useless, though, if you fail to check in and make sure your traffic is legitimate.
- Use whitelists and blacklists. Each of these functions has their own advantages. Whitelisting is best for advertisers with specific domains they want to advertise with. Blacklisting is the opposite, and allows advertisers to avoid specific domains.
- Set specific goals that are more relevant to your business. Campaign efficiency measured based on clicks is more vulnerable to fraud than one measured on specific conversions, like sales or subscriptions.
- Use inventory performance indexes. By tracking key metrics from each site in your inventory, you can blacklist the sites with poor results, which improves your campaign effectiveness.
- Ensure visibility. Audit your ads to make sure they are properly loading and that they show up in the correct spot on the webpage. The more visible an ad is, the more clicks is will receive. It is also a good idea to check in multiple web browsers and on multiple computers to ensure compatibility.
- Verify traffic, using third party tools like comScore and Integral Ad Science
Finally, if you find that you are paying for fraudulent traffic, immediately redirect your funds elsewhere. By continuing to pay for low-value traffic, you are perpetuating an unethical practice that tarnishes the reputation of the entire web advertising industry. It can associate your brand with unwanted installers or malware, which is bad for the advertiser and the customer. AdBistro and BistroAPI are constantly evolving and updating our anti-fraud practices.
Last week our Ft. Myers team took a field trip and visited Palm City Brewing Company. Palm City Brewing, which opened earlier this year, is a new addition to the blossoming brewery scene in Southwest Florida. There are now nine craft breweries in the Ft. Myers area.
Palm City brews dozens of beers, but its four staples are: The San Carlos Proper (Golden Ale), The Hidden Agenda (German Kölsch), The Last Laugh IPA and the GB Porter. AdBistro’s favorite was the That’s What She Said Red Ale, which made for some good laughs.
These adventures are just one of the many employee perks at AdBistro. When we’re not working on ads or the BistroAPI, we enjoy getting out of the office as a team and checking out some local hot spots!
Advertising is mobile. As the internet user base becomes more mobile, advertising follows close behind. This is shown in the recent ad revenue trends. The revenue has moved from almost entirely wired internet to mostly mobile. Because internet users are more mobile, their internet usage tells more about their behavior. This behavioral data gives advertisers the ability to target customers very specifically, resulting in better campaigns.
Types of Targeting
The two main types of targeting that advertisers use are inventory targeting and user targeting. Inventory targeting is when an advertiser serves ads on a particular website because the traffic to that site matches their target market. User targeting is when ads are served to individuals because of their particular interests or behavior.
One of the biggest limitations for businesses advertising online is the frequency of their customer interactions. Customers are already targeted very specifically based on their demographics and interests. Advertisers have such great resources for targeting customers, but they are not able to continuously reach the customers. Meanwhile, targeting is still advertisers’ greatest strength.
Digilant suggests using “lookalike modeling” to find the best customers. This is done by identifying key information about the most valuable customers and then aiming at users with similar characteristics. By examining all the customer data collected with DSPs, and then finding the commonalities among the most valuable customers, advertisers improve their campaign efficiency. Because advertisers can direct ads to segments similar to current customers, the engagement rate should improve. This removes ads that otherwise would have been ineffective. This could also help minimize fraud because it would ignore fake traffic in favor of real, engaged users.
Psychographic information might be buyers’ behavior, hobbies, spending habits or values. Using this data to create your targeting strategy will improve campaign statistics like click-through rates, RPMs and ad impressions.
Targeting With Programmatic Ads
The ability to target customers more directly and efficiently is thanks, at least partly, to programmatic ads. These are ads for which the buying process is completely automated. Programmatic ads make for more efficient buying that otherwise wouldn’t allow advertisers to spend the time specifically targeting each customer. These ads are said to see more fraud, but much of this is getting better as the level of transparency improves. Also, many users have seen great success with this tool. Michael Goldberg of Dun & Bradstreet calls reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time “the true promise of programmatic.”
In conclusion, targeting users is becoming more advanced as mobile internet use becomes more common. Targeting is now based on more factors than demographics, as it now accounts for customer behavior and position on the buying timeline. Advertisers should look for campaigns to become more trackable and thus more effective in the coming future.
AdBistro relies on many tools to deliver the best results and improve its clients’ campaigns. Internally, we adhere to strict standards to give our clients excellent results. Externally, AdBistro relies on resources for campaign reporting, analysis and optimization.
These are some valuable tools and informative resources for minimizing ad fraud:
- comScore improves campaign metrics to tell a more complete story. For example, valuing viewability over other effectiveness indicators can hinder accurate campaign reporting. ComScore provides resources like white pages that detail the latest in the digital advertising field and how industry leaders are improving their results.
- Integral Ad Science (IAS) works to ensure ads are effective by avoiding fraud, emphasizing viewability and making brand safety a priority.
- DoubleVerify offers campaign analysis and reporting. Advertisers can use this information to maximize their ROIs for every campaign. Publishers use this platform to analyze their traffic and ensure that they are delivering their content to real people.
- Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) seeks to create transparency in the digital ad industry. TAG was created by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers and Interactive Advertising Bureau to improve the web advertising industry.
By working with comScore and IAS, AdBistro removes any doubts about the quality of the ads we deliver. Using these tools not only strengthens our digital ad campaigns, but also instills confidence in our advertisers and publishers. Following the lead of IAS, we are able to keep our API, BistroAPI, up to speed.
Investors look to Analytics
Providence Equity has reportedly invested $200 million in DoubleVerify, an analytics player that helps brands determine the effectiveness of their digital media buys. This is further evidence that people are taking notice of the need to minimize ad fraud. Earlier this year, Oracle bought Moat for $850 million. Moat provides analytics but acts most often as an auditor to verify ads are showing up in the correct places. It is encouraging for AdBistro to see companies like Oracle putting resources into the integrity of digital ads.
Watching The Eclipse in Kansas City
The Kansas City team was able to watch from our rooftop at WeWork. It was the perfect spot, and it was fascinating to watch the downtown area turn completely dark for a minute or so in the middle of the afternoon.
We had a quick tutorial in how to watch the eclipse and how to capture photos of it with our smartphones. There was the quick shuffling between watching the eclipse through our glasses and then removing them to take quick photos. The sun was almost fully covered but we were outside the totality zone in Kansas City by a few blocks. We were lucky to avoid the cloud cover when it passed, as the clouds blocked our view of the sun shortly following the total eclipse.
Ft. Myers Team Catches the Eclipse
The team in Fort Myers also went up to their roof to catch the eclipse. It was hot in Ft. Myers today, so they were looking forward to the little break from the sun. Events like this only pop-up a few times in a lifetime so we all had to see it!
It was tempting to ditch the glasses and glance at the sun, while it was nearly completely covered. Now we’re just trying to figure out how to get rid of that dark spot floating around on our computer screens! 😉
AdBistro drives users to your desired landing pages for full page ad monetization. Our direct publishers are certified by third party security companies, including Integral Ad Science and comScore. We have a full service account management team with an extensive suite of tools to manage and optimize your campaigns.