Tag: advertising

Facebook fluffs its advertising effectiveness

thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566Social notworking site Facebook is in hot water after it was revealed the company vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years.

Several weeks ago, Facebook disclosed in a post on its “Advertiser Help Center” that its metric for the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds. The company said it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem.

Sd agency executives were furious and started digging deeper, prompting Facebook to give them a more detailed account.

Ad buying agency Publicis Media was told by Facebook that the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent. A spokeswoman for Publicis Media bought $77 billion in ads on behalf of marketers around the world in 2015, so it is a little miffed.

Facebook insists that it has fixed its video metrics. and that it did not change billing.

“We have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach. We also renamed the metric to make it clearer what we measure. This metric is one of many our partners use to assess their video campaigns.”

However all this is rather embarrissing for Facebook, which has been touting the rapid growth of video consumption across its platform in recent years. Marketers may have misjudged the performance of video advertising they have purchased from Facebook over the past two years. It also may have impacted their decisions about how much to spend on Facebook video versus other video ad sellers such as Google’s YouTube, Twitter, and even TV networks.


Flash advertising starts to die out

additional-oxford-dodo-bookFlash advertising is starting to go the way of the dodo (pictured).

Amazon has decided to stop accepting Adobe Flash ads starting next month. The move affects not just the company’s website, but its whole advertising platform.

While one supplier, however big, giving up on a platform is not significant it is a wider sign that the buggy platform is dying and the industry is moving to HTML5.

Google began automatically converting Flash ads to HTML5 in February. At the start of 2015, YouTube ditched Flash for HTML5 video by default and last month, Twitch announced plans to do the same.

Amazon’s decision is primarily driven by browser makers stopping what Flash can do. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox and Chrome have limited the plugin.

Writing on its bog a spokesAmazon said:

“Beginning September 1, 2015, Amazon no longer accepts Flash ads on Amazon.com, AAP, and various IAB standard placements across owned and operated domains. This is driven by recent browser setting updates from Google Chrome, and existing browser settings from Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, that limits Flash content displayed on web pages. This change ensures customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience across Amazon and its affiliates, and that ads displayed across the site function properly for optimal performance.”

In June, Google’s Chrome beta channel began automatically pausing less important Flash content to boost performance and battery life. The feature is enabled by default in Chrome beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Google expects to flip the switch for the Chrome stable channel in… you guessed it, September.

For most of the world the death of Flash is a good thing. However in some ways Adobe own management decisions killed the software off early.

In November 2011 the company could not be bothered researching improvements for Flash Player on mobile devices.  In fact it is surprising that after that Flash is still around and pretty important.


Adobe and PageFair moan about adblocking

StoneWall-1Ad-blocking will lead to almost $22 billion of lost advertising revenue this year, according to a  report put together by Adobe and PageFair.

For those who came in late, PageFair is a Dublin-based start-up that helps companies and advertisers recoup some of this lost revenue.

If the pair’s figures are right, then the use of adblocking software has increased by 41 percent during the last year. Levels of ad-blocking activity now top more than a third of all internet users in some countries, particularly in Europe, the report said.

Gaming, social network and other tech-related websites were most affected by ad-blocking software, the report added.

While companies spend billions of dollars each year on these internet marketing efforts, analysts say people often overlook them while looking at online content.

Campbell Foster, director of product marketing at Adobe, said that what was causing grave concern for broadcasters and advertisers is video advertising, which is some of their most valuable content, is starting to be blocked. Whoopee, Campbell.

Almost 200 million people worldwide now regularly use ad-blocking software, the report said. About 45 million of them are in the United States, with almost 15 percent of people in states like New York and California relying on these services. The figures are even higher in Europe, where 77 million people use versions of the software. In Poland, more than a third of people regularly block online ads.

Recently, the focus on ad-blocking software has turned to mobile devices. Smartphones and other internet-connected devices are driving breakneck internet use, particularly in emerging markets, and the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system will allow people to download some form of ad-blocking software.

Currently, only a small fraction of ad-blocking comes from mobile devices, according to the Adobe/PageFair report. But analysts say developers are working on plug-ins for smartphone Web browsers that will allow people to block advertising on their mobiles and tablets.


Ex-Googler wants to disable ad-blocking software

brick-wallA technology war is brewing between those who want to block internet advertising and those who want to stop their software working.

CEO and co-founder is Ben Barokas has founded a company called Sourcepoint which launched yesterday with $10 million in Series A investment funding.

Barokas wants to help publishers by providing them with technology to punch through “all the ad blockers”.

He said that it was important that publishers have a more open dialogue with readers about the transaction that takes place when they consume content. He said that publishers serve ads in exchange for content being presented for free. And that a transaction needs to take place in the first place because content requires investment.

Google did not prioritise ad blocking in its roadmap, and Google CEO Larry Page downplayed the threat of ad blocking. He said that it was instead up to the industry to make better ads that people wouldn’t want to block.

However Barokas thinks Sourcepoint’s technologists have the expertise force users to look at as many adverts that publishers through at them. There are many other “ad blocker blocker” systems but they provide “unsophisticated solutions” that just replace a publisher’s intended ad with a lower quality alternative.

Sourcepoint lets a publisher decide how to present a message to a web visitor that has an ad blocker installed.

The publisher could choose to circumvent the ad blocker and serve the ad, or it could say to the visitor “our ads pay for your content, how about you choose to allow them,” or it could allow the user to choose their advertising experience (three ads for three stories, for example,) or the publisher could ask them to pay to subscribe.

Sourcepoint is working on a number of “sophisticated” subscription options that are designed to take away the friction that usually comes with subscribing to a website’s paywall.

However it still has the problem that advertising departments insist on making adverts so irritating that people want them switched off so they can actually read the content.

For now, Sourcepoint is offering its services to “two dozen top 100 comScore publishers” for free. That not only includes the ad blocker circumvention software, but also analytics tools for publishers to establish their ad blocking audiences.

Barokas is lloking at different business models including a software as a service-type licensing option, an advertising recovery service which would take a cut of ad revenue returned to the publisher, taking a percentage from new subscriptions the publishers sign up, or a mixture of the three.

Of course the ad-blocks will come up with ad-block, blocker blocking software and soon everything will be unblocked again.




You’re trapped by mobile ads

330ogleA frenzy of competition from major vendors for advertising revenue including the mobile market means growth between now and 2020 compared to the conventional advertising market.

That’s the conclusion of ABI Research today, which said in a report the competition is between Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others to push adverts at you through your mobile device.

Growth in the mobile advertising market is set to grow 16 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, compared to the total advertising market at 11 percent.

ABI thinks that mobile advertising will represent over 50 percent of total advertising revenue in the next few years.

Right now, Twitter and Facebook have the largest chunk of the market and so the strongest mobile advertising revenues.

The research company believes that there will be plenty of acquisitions as the different players jockey for position to grow their revenues.

Google is the clear leader in the search advertising sector but it faces increasing competition in the years to come, too.

Cyber criminals steal a quarter of digital adverts

the-great-train-robbery-movie-poster-1903-1020549358Almost a quarter of video ads and 11 percent of display ads are viewed by fake consumers created by cybercrime networks to steal the billions of dollars spent on digital advertising.

A study, by digital security firm White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers, is one of the most comprehensive looks to date at the persistent criminal activity involving online advertising. It looks at the problem of “bots” or automated entities that mimic the behaviour of humans by clicking on ads and watching videos.

The bots siphon money away from brands by setting up fake websites or delivering fake audiences to websites that make use of third-party traffic. Advertisers will lose $6.3 billion to bots next year, the report said.

Bob Liodice, the president and chief executive of the ANA, an organization that represents thousands of brands said that it had been suspected there was fraud in the industry, but it was not known how much was being taken or the reasons it was happening.

White Ops monitored 181 online advertising campaigns by the brands from August to October to determine fraud activity.

Bot fraud has long been part of the ecosystem of low-price ads that cost a few dollars or less. This study revealed, however, that many premium websites and publishers, which charge roughly 10 times more for an ad, are just as vulnerable.

In one instance, 98 percent of video ads at a premium lifestyle site were viewed by bots. The bots are extremely effective of looking like a high value consumer.”

Liodice said the report will help the industry develop an action plan to combat fraud.

Amazon getting into advertising business

amazonOnline bookseller Amazon is getting into the internet advertising business.

The Wall Street Journal has been telling the world+dog that the in-house platform aims to replace ads supplied by Google on Amazon’s own website.

However the plan is to later expand the program to challenge Google and Microsoft advertising business in the future.

Amazon’s system is similar to Google’s AdWords, and is planned to make it easier for marketers to reach the company’s users.

The retailer is also building a tool that would help advertising agencies buy in bulk for thousands of advertisers.

Analysts have been wondering how long it would take Amazon to try to stick its foot in the door of the advertising industry. After all, if you know what a person reads you can target a lot of advertising their way.

Amazon is sitting on a huge consumer data but has so far been reluctant to use it for advertising.

The company already has an advertising service it employs chiefly on its own website but it is extremely low key in comparison to the potential.


Mobile ad spending to hit $40bn by 2018

smartphones-genericA three-fold jump in mobile ad spend over the next five years has been predicted by Juniper Research, up from 2013’s $13bn to in the region of $40bn per year.

All the usual suspects are cited as reasons for this growth, including better use of analytics and more innovative ad formats.

But the report highlights the disproportionately low levels of ad spend on mobile – the one device most people keep with them, or close to them, all day every day.

A historical lack of effectiveness on the part of mobile advertising may have held back any appetite to invest heavily and can be attributed to imprecise monitoring and measuring, according to Juniper. As the means to measure the ends improves, so spending on mobile advertising will become more of a science and less of an art – leading to an increase.

Sian Rowlands, a research analyst at Juniper, the author of the Mobile Advertising Report, explained: When a person is carrying out a task on their mobile device, they are often focussed solely on that task, whereas we see for people who watch TV, they are often multi-tasking, or on their phone at the same time. Furthermore, viewing on mobile devices and tablets is increasingly replacing TV viewing. Due to these factors, we would say that mobile is seeing a disproportionately low ad spend versus TV, and other formats.

By comparison with the $13bn spent on mobile advertising this year, TV annual ad spends are estimated to be between $150bn and $300bn.

“I would say this low mobile ad spend is attributable to the fact that mobile adverts have been, in some instances, quite ineffective,” Rowlands continued. “However, as we move towards a time when targeting capabilities and purchasing mechanisms improve, I believe we’ll see mobile advertising reach its full potential.”

Other Key Findings from the Report Include:

  • The fastest growing region, in terms of mobile ad spend, will be the Indian Subcontinent. Spend here will increase four times from 2013 to 2018.
  • Advertisers can increase conversions by simply adding mobile optimised features, for instance a ‘click to call’ button, or by linking to the correct app store.

The “Mobile Advertising – It All Ads Up” whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website.


Brands eager to adopt ‘responsive design’ ads

tesco-hudl-tabletOne in ten of the UK’s top spending advertisers have built websites that automatically bring up content depending on the device of the end user – otherwise called responsive design.

If a user clicks on a website through a tablet, for example, the ad content will be designed specificallu for that platform, and likewise with a PC, laptop or smartphone. Research from the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau indicates the leading 11 adopters of responsive design are Peugeot, Nissan, Direct Line, Go Compare, Sainsbury’s Bank, Sky, EE, Microsoft, Colgate-Palmolive, the Department of Health and Chanel.

Leading the way per sector are the automotive and tech or telecoms sectors, followed by finance.

IAB senior mobile manager, Alex Kozloff, said in a statement the speed of responsive design adoption is “encouraging” because it demonstrates brand leadership on how consumers are interacting with advertising.

“Responsive design is the next stage in mobile optimisation and represents a multi-platform experience that enables users to have the best surfing experience on whatever device they’re using,” Kozloff said.

And for the rest of us, there’s Adblock.

Mobile ad spending on the up

SmartphonesIn the UK alone, it’s predicted the amount spent on mobile advertising will increase by 90 percent in 2013 to reach £1.6 billion according to a report from eMarketer.

Last year the amount spent on mobile advertising was a comparatively tiny £526 million.Because mobile and tablet adoption rates are so high in the UK, advertisers have woken up to the necessity of spending big on the platform.

Digital ad spending – including traditional online and mobile platforms – will also be up from the same time last year, reaching £6.1 billion in 2013, or a 12 percent increase. Spending on digital ads could be as high as £8 billion by 2017, the firm predicts.

Right now advertisers who investing in search, while eMarketer expects display ad spending will make up a quarter of expenditure in 2013, although increased adoption of video advertising should contribute to further growth. Mobile users can expect to be thoroughly annoyed by video advertising more and more in the coming years – considering

All media advertising should reach £13.98 billion this year, eMarketer forecasts, or an increase of 3.7 percent from the previous year. Although the company notes the poor economic backdrop has slowed growth, the strength of the industry –  backed by online and mobile ad investments – kept it healthy. Digital advertising counted for the biggest chunk of all media spending. Major sporting events such as last year’s Olympics also put the advertising industry onto a solid course for 2013 and are expected to help again in 2014 with the World Cup and Winter Olympics.

Ad market to grow £3 billion, hit £17 billion by 2017

billboardThe UK advertising market is getting a shot in the arm from online operations and it is expected to grow by £3 billion by 2017, reaching £17 billion. According to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) the UK entertainment and media market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of four percent between 2013 and 2017, reaching £65.5 billion, up from £54 in 2012.

HTC smacked on its own patch

Etiquette on the MTRMost disinterested people I have talked to hereagree that the HTC One is really quite a super phone but here in Taipei it’s losing out on the marketing front.

And it’s to South Korean Samsung, which has giant adverts plastered all over Taiwan.

In terms of marketing money, Samsung has incomparably more at its disposal and seems to know how to use it.

It wouldn’t be the first time and no doubt it won’t be the last time that marketing has beat a better product down.

So what’s HTC to do? There isn’t an easy answer to that either. It might try changing its logo – which is a feeble little thing – and talking to journalists more than it currently does.
Samsung advertising in Taipei

Google – the egregious corporation

Google the OgleDoes being the Jack of all Trades and the master of none apply to Google? I fear so. Having oodles of cash has tempted Google into all manner of strange ventures but it’s pretty clear that some of its wacky ideas are way off kilter.

Take the supply chain, for example, and Google’s venture into being a hardware company. The evidence is that it simply doesn’t have a clue about the very complicated infrastructure in Asia – the original design manufacturers (ODMs) need to be cultivated and have learned from the School of Hard Knocks that most of the trouble in the world come from vendors that make microprocessors and operating systems.

To be fair to Google, it has been consistent. It has, like Amazon, destroyed more industries than it’s created.  Bookshops. What are they?  Books? Google will take care of that problem, thank you very much. Google has also undermined the publishing and the advertising industries. You might say that is a good thing, but ask any large publisher what they think of Google and you will hear a torrent of bad language that would make a navvie quake.

Then there’s news. Google News is one of the stupidest concepts on the planet and is well on its way to destroying journalism, with hacks everywhere not bothering to cultivate contacts but simply copying what other hacks have written. So much for investigative journalism – Google News has turned hackdom into a crazy carousel.

The Google search engine is, of course, bloody useful, but it encourages laziness too and the search results are tainted by Google adverts.

Google’s motto about doing no evil implies it is doing evil.  These mottoes invariably turn into their opposites – think of the League of Nations, think of the United Nations.  Any organization that uses the word harmony contains within itself the seed of chaos.  Catchlines are minetraps.  Google is a money making organization and altruism is no part of that.

Don’t let yourself be bullied by Google. Nor by Microsoft or Intel. Rant over.

Small businesses spend peanuts on web ads

coffee-deskSmall businesses don’t appear to be too interested in cheap web ads offered by Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other outfits. Although the ads are very cheap indeed, small businesses in the US are simply not going for them.

The Boston Consulting Group recently worked out that small businesses spend a mere 3 percent of their tiny ad budgets online.

BCG’s survey covered 550 outfits and found that only Groupon and similar daily deal companies are bucking the trend.

In contrast, bigger outfits spend up to 15 percent of their ad budgets online, hence they dominate the online ad space. Small businesses are simply not keeping up and they prefer to spend their ad money on traditional marketing vehicles, like coupons and Sunday circulars.

“Most small businesses operate the old-fashioned way, with little recognition of the internet as a channel or a source of leads,” said Sebastian DiGrande, senior BCG partner and co-author of the article. “Many small-business owners are not even aware that they have an online profile that they could be actively managing on many popular sites.”

DiGrande also pointed out that few small business owners were even aware of the perks of online advertising, such as low prices and free availability of certain services. Other co-authors said they were surprised by the lack of interest, especially in light of the social media boom, which gave everyone a voice on the cheap. The report found that small businesses continue to prefer very traditional ad channels, which might put them at a disadvantage in the long run.

The authors also found that providers or local advertising and marketing services need to learn a few lessons if they want to attract more small businesses. They need to tailor their offers and pricing to better suit their needs and they have to show small business owners some tangible benefits of online advertising.

”Companies that can redirect the billions of dollars of small-business-advertising spending toward digital marketing will unlock enormous value,” the report concludes. “The opportunity benefits everyone: successful campaigns will simultaneously fuel the growth of small businesses and media and marketing companies – if both players can learn to leverage local advertising.”