The Fight Over Ad Blockers

mobile-698624_1920Technology has provided the advertising industry the means for reaching a global audience. But in today’s culture of constant and disposable digital content, advertisers must fight for their clicks. The clash of advertisers, tech companies, and ad blockers created palpable tension at a panel discussion about ad-blocking at Mobile World Congress. Whether you are a consumer, or a large brand, your experience with ad blockers will inform the future of digital ads.

The panel included executives from Google, Shine, Nestlé, AOL and Yahoo who spoke to marketers about consumer behavior and their use of mobile ad blockers. The conversation lead to recommendations pertaining to the quality of online ads, but the main focus of the discussion was Shine, a mobile ad blocker. Shine is actively working with carriers like the Three Group, a European carrier, and Digicel, a Caribbean telecompany. Customers can opt to use their ad blocking technology, which does not “whitelist” a fixed roll of publishers. This means their technology can block all mobile ads.

Shine’s technology is the cause of much debate in the realm of digital marketing. Roi McCarthy, CMO of Shine, is quick to defend the products and it’s importance to the average consumer. As a member of the panel he stated, “Every individual using a mobile handset, smartphone or desktop is being abused by ad-tech—that’s not selective, that is 100 percent. We’re talking about military-grade tracking, targeting and profiling. Consumers do not have the ability to protect themselves.” While both sides of the debate are ready with a defense, there are tech giants like Google, AOL, and Yahoo caught in the middle. These web portals are the platforms for millions of digital ads, and publishers rely on them heavily for revenue. These publishers are not at liberty to provide their content for free, or without the fair trade of ads.

While the tension may feel uncomfortable, this could create a positive change in the world of digital ads. Companies will have to find solutions informed by consumer opinion and sentiment. Additionally, companies will have to establish transparency with consumers, in order avoid any feelings of encroachment. The problem may not be ad blocking software, but the way ads are placed and presented. Reframing the challenge could lead to innovative solutions that will benefit consumers, brands and publishers. For about the fight over ad blockers, continue reading at AdWeek.

Snapchat To Grow Advertising Possibilities

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In 2013, Snapchat nearly became one of Facebook’s many acquisitions, but CEO Evan Spielgel, who was just 23 at the time, turned down Facebook’s nearly $3 billion offer. Facebook saw the value in the popular messaging app, even though at the time of the aforementioned offer, Snapchat had no sales or business model. Today, Snapchat is up against Facebook in the fight for advertiser’s dollars. Snapchat is looking to create advertising success similar to Facebook’s advertising integration with social media.

The team at Snapchat has several plans to develop ad business and mirror Facebook’s success.  One of these strategies includes enhancing ad targeting based on a user’s history through Snapchat’s Discovery portal. They would also take into consideration the user’s browser and search history outside of the app. Snapchat is eager to entice advertisers, so they will provide solutions for independent verification to assure companies that they receive what they pay for. Snapchat will also have executives working with brands to reinforce the independent verification. Additionally, there will be a content section that will incorporate paid priority content. Snapchat will also allow advertisers to target ads in publishers’ channels. These ads will be relevant to the specific content users are seeking out. This will benefit advertisers and allow them to direct their ads efficiently, based on content interest rather than general channel interest.

In addition to strategy development, Snapchat is also looking for technical solutions. Snapchat is working an advertising application programming interface (API) to allow third-party advertising and marketing tech companies to create computer programs to buy Snapchat ads. This API strategy is used by other social media giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Ad-targeting solutions like this API can drive the prices of Snapchat ads, because advertisers are willing to pay more for effective ads. Facebook gains advertisers because of their ability to track an ad’s performance, so Snapchat will have to build improve their tracking technology if they want to take some of those advertisers.

For Snapchat to make the most of their advertising opportunities, they will need to establish a Snap-ad standard. Snapchat is collaborating with Moat, an analytics firm, to have viewership of ads independently fact-checked. Currently, Snapchat counts a view every time a user sees an ad, even if they tap to skip it in less than second. Without verifying the effectiveness of their ads, Snapchat will be unable to have advertisers confidently purchase the exposure. While things may be working on a test-and-learn basis for advertisers, Snapchat will have to standardize their ad experience if they want to gain the ad business seen on other social platforms. To read more about ads on Snapchat, click here.

 

Start Up Launches First Digital Advertising Authentication Platform

ipad-820272_1280Authenticated Digital is only a year old, but this new company just launched an authentication platform for digital advertising. Based in New York City, Authenticated Digital was formed in 2014 by entrepreneur Damon Reeve and venture capitalist Scott Switzer, co-founders of OpenX. The new software focuses on transparency and claims that it will be able to authenticate 90% of digital ad impressions.

Damon Reeve, who serves at Authenticated Digital’s CEO explained to Adweek that  brands often purchase ads for a specific site, but ultimately end up paying for an appearance on another site, due to misrepresentations of available inventory. The new software, which is already being used by companies like CafeMedia and Axonix, will determine if an ad appeared on the correct Web page. It was alsoidentify ad impressions generated by bots. Authenticated Digital has already started pitching the new platform to publishers, and has focused on data for leverage. The company is telling publishers that with data, they can affirm buyers that their ads are placed properly, and therefore charge a higher cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate.

The system works by having marketers include a JavaScript tracker to the content on either the demand-side platform of the ad server. Once a Web page requests an ad, the JavaScript tracker will travel with the ad. The ad will load and then the tracker will gather information about the ad, the page or app it is on and then process the information within Authenticated Digital’s servers. The system will then create audit including information about the suppliers and data providers associated with the transaction. This data will be generated into reports that users can view via a dashboard provided by Authenticated Digital.

This new groundbreaking software will bring transparency to online video ads, as well as display and mobile ads. Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that the digital advertising industry has lost a total of $8.2 billion because of ad fraud, bots and ad blockers. When CafeMedia tested Authenticated Digital’s new platform, they found that a quarter of their inventory was displayed on the wrong sites. Their VP of data science, Patrick McCann said that using Authenticated Digital helped clarify 80% of misrepresented data. He told AdWeek, “Authenticating ads allows us to offer a better quality product, both in what we offer on the open market and in any audience extension efforts we engage in there.” CafeMedia is joined by 18 other companies currently using program, and Authenticated Digital will announce more in the coming weeks. To lean more about Authenticated Digital’s new platform, check out AdWeek’s piece here.

 

Advertisers Spend the Most On Millennials

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As Millennials begin to shift the behavior of consumers, advertisers have started to invest the money to reach them. Turn, an advertising technology firm based in Silicon Valley has analyzed advertiser’s spending, and found they are now spending nearly 500% more to reach millennials. This spending breaks down to four times as much spending on display, four times as much on social media, four and a half times as much spending on mobile, and six times as much on video advertising targeted at millennials than all other age groups combined, as reported by Adweek. The industries most actively targeting millennials includes financial services, travel, autos, health, and electronics, amongst others.

According to Adweek, there are 75 million millennials in the U. S. Turn compiled their research based on buying habits and interests of millennials across various backgrounds including: income level, political affiliation, lifestyle interests, entertainment interests and homeownership. From their research, Turn was able to break the large millennial group into four different groups.

  1. The first group, the “Struggling Aspirationals,” emcompasses the majority of millennials, about 57%. The Struggling Aspirational millennial is “green, healthy, and fit,” according to the Turn. He or she seeks bargains and good deals, and is an excellent target for promotions and limited-time offers. Currently, the food industry and the auto industry is spending the most on Struggling Aspirationals.
  2. The second group is designated as the “Successful Homeowners,” and includes 18% of millennials. Those with the highest income among millennials, and individuals most likely to be homeowners, fall within this group. These millennials are the prime audience for “high-impact media,” and video advertising, since they are “ready to spend.” Companies within the financial services industry, as well as the telecom industry are spending the most trying to reach Successful Homeowners.
  3. The third group, the “Active Affluents” includes millennials who are have families, or are new parents. They are typically athletic foodies who enjoy leisure travel. This group is most accessible through mobile campaigns, and is the target for many electronics and financial services companies.
  4. The final and smallest group, the “Comfortable TV Watchers” love TV, no matter the genre. They are currently the target for many auto, food, and travel companies.

 

Millennials have become a valuable target for advertisers, and the research compiled by Turn reflects their importance in the digital advertising realm. The shift in their behavior is a call to advertisers to change their strategies and reach this indispensable group of influencers.

To read more about Turn’s findings, visit their site, here.

To read more on Adweek, click here.