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Do Advertisers Even Care About Viewable Ad Impressions? Not Yet

3 Jan

Finally advertisers are recognizing that a high percentage of their online ads are not being seen by consumers. So of course they will demand that all impressions will need to be 100% viewable, or will they?

In August of last year adweek reported on an adsafe study that was done around viewable impressions. Most of you have read or heard of this study, but in it they said a few things.

– 51.1% of all ads are never seen in the entirety on the screen
– 58.8% of all ads running on ad networks are never seen in entirety on the screen
– 59.7 for the same numbers when buying through exchanges

Using the same requirements above and then adding an in-view window of :15 seconds the stats go to as follows:

– 78.9% of ads never seen across all publishers
– 83% of ads never seen on networks and exchanges

This explains why you see reports of online video growing at 50% for the coming year, and the CPM’s are justified.

In the past 2 months we’ve been talking to numerous advertisers about plans for 2013 and working to create marketing solutions for those advertisers. A handful of these marketers told us they were buying mostly ad networks and exchanges. This came as no surprise based on the research I had done on moat.com

As we were talking through some of the marketing challenges we discussed eCPM’s and as I expected our solution was a little more than double the eCPM’s they were paying with ad networks and exchanges. So our solution is unique in the fact that we have 100% viewable impressions and our ads run close to :15 seconds in rotation. We aren’t the only company out there guaranteeing viewable impressions, USAToday.com announced this last year.

So as I explained that our eCPM, with 100% viewable impressions, actually delivered a more effective advertising program, I received a few comments that were concerning. One comment made reflected the thought that it must be everyone else running on ad networks not being seen because our ads are always seen. Later that week I did see this advertiser’s ad, and it was on the bottom of a publishers homepage, and no I did not send a screenshot to them. Apparently only the other advertisers on the ad networks and exchanges are not being seen. The other answer was even a more disturbing was that this advertiser need to keep their CPM’s at these levels regardless of viewability.

One of these advertisers does last view and last click attribution, which means you have platforms where people are never seeing an ad, and taking action, and these ad networks are getting credit.

As I sat back and thought about these responses a couple things come to mind
– How many of these people were able to move up the corporate ladder by driving price down and delivering perceived value
– Do they fully understand the impact on marketing in regards to viewability
– Should I just dump a ton of ads that are unviewable to drive down my eCPM (Would never do this, not fair to our partners)

I realize 2 advertisers is not a strong sample size, and I hope they are the exception to the rule, but it got me thinking what will advertisers do if CPM’s spike based on viewability. Are they going to demand the same rates? Maybe they can demand the same rates based on the amount of impressions available.

I do believe banner commoditization has occurred, and you must have unique differentiation to have any chance of selling banners at a premium. Our company continues to move to more native experiences but banners have shown to play a role in effecting consumer behavior.

The first chapter is being written on ad viewability and I look forward to seeing where the story ends. I selfishly hope that all publishers are forced to have 100% viewable impressions from advertisers because this can only help marketers at the same time rewarding companies like ours who are doing right by advertisers.

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Why I left Yahoo to join Solohealth

17 Jul

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked in the past 3 weeks why I’m leaving Yahoo or where are you going, I’d be a little wealthier. That being said, figured the easiest and fastest way to address this is to add it to the blog.

First, if you came here to read about the skewering and downfall of Yahoo you can stop reading. That is not what this is. Yahoo provided me with opportunities and education that I’m not sure I could have gotten elsewhere. I’ve met some of the most intelligent people in the digital space over that time and established friendships that will last forever. I’m not naming names because honestly it would take too long. Sure, Yahoo has it challenges but a lot of companies are envious of the position Yahoo is in. This was about the opportunity that presented itself.

I’ve been working in digital media sales since 1998, and because of this my phone rings quite often from recruiters. I’ve had people reach out for opportunities big and small. Major social sites, gaming sites, content creation and others have expressed interest. I decided that when/if I moved I wanted go to a real small startup that provided me an opportunity to grow, be challenged and utilize all my interests.

Solohealth fit that criteria, plus a few others.

The things I was seeking in the next company were as follows:

  1.  Is the product uniquely differentiated
  2. Can it cause disruption in the market
  3. Is it focused

So for those wondering what Solohealth is, I will do my best to sum it up after 1 week.

“We help businesses engage consumers with precision targeted media and content integration, through various health assessments that occur inside retailers stores.” (Yes, it needs work, but that is where I’m at) Consumers are literally logging onto the web at stores like Wal-Mart, Publix, Sam’s Club, CVS and others I can’t mention, and doing health assessments on areas like BMI, Blood Pressure, Vision, Pain Management and others.

Anyone that knows me understands my unique interest in working with CPG manufacturers. I’ve always said half the battle is getting the consumer into the store; the other half is to get them to buy. Well we’ve eliminated the first barrier and depending on the studies you read 65-75% of all purchase decisions happen inside the store.

This solution can help so many businesses ranging from OTC, Pharma, CPG and even companies like Subway and McDonald’s which operate restaurants in Wal-Mart as well as I’m sure a 100 other categories I haven’t thought of yet.

The other thing that appealed to me was our ability to actually work with businesses to integrate content and questions right within the assessments. I can go on and on about the opportunities but that is for another post.

I’ve enjoyed the startups I’ve been part of before, going all the way back to Citysearch in 1998 or when we opened the WebMD office in Chicago. My passion for product development, sales, true measurement at retail, building a team from the ground up has all come together in this role.

I don’t doubt challenges are ahead, I’ve seen a few, but the team at Solohealth is amazing. When you can sit down with the VP of Product and give some feedback and he takes the feedback and starts to think how to implement quickly is an awesome experience. The team is all working, with passion, towards the same goals. They’ve accomplished so much the past 6 months and I can’t wait to help keep the pedal down as we grow quickly. I’ve got a team to build across the country and a lot of people asking to be part of the national rollout.

My tweeting has slowed and my FB surfing will be cut back, but I can’t wait to look back in 2-3 years and see how far we’ve come and think about where we started.

I couldn’t do any of this without everything I’ve learned from my first days at Citysearch to the last 6 years at Yahoo. It was hard to leave Yahoo, it was a part of me, and always will be, but I’m excited to be part of something special at Solohealth.

Imbalance Creates Opportunity – It’s the Year of Mobile and…..

30 Mar

Yesterday I had the opportunity to join eMarketer for a discussion around “Digital Ad Trends: What’s Behind the Spending Boom.”  David Hallerman provided great insight and some good discussion followed.

It should come as no surprise that the growth is happening around video, mobile and social at a much higher rate than display ads.  A couple interesting things did come to light during these conversations that I thought I’d share

1. 64.4% of all mobile dollars are consolidated between iAds, Google and Millenial Media

2. In 2002 72% of all digital dollars were spent with the top 10 ad selling companies, the number in 2011 was 72%

3. In 2011 banner advertising made up 62.2% of online investment, in 2016 banner advertising will make up 47.7% of the market

So as a marketer, publisher or entrepreneur imbalance creates opportunity. 

From a marketer standpoint advertisers should be looking at ways to own the mobile marketplace, put an early stake in the ground and be a leader.  I realize this is a blanket statement, and obviously each advertiser must look at the goals they have and identify the best way to do this.

The other thing advertisers need to be thinking about is how to engage audience in new ways.  The early days of the internet we all touted how online was the most measurable media, I think many of us are regretting that to some extent.   Digital does offer other unique opportunities.  Look at opportunities that a company like Solve Media is providing, where you can engage audiences in new meaningful ways.  Even here at Yahoo we have evolved to where advertisers can now contribute to content, to give you scale you can’t get from your own site. Imagine taking your content from the 1-10 million users you reach on your site to the 174 million consumers Yahoo reaches ever month.

As a publisher you have to be thinking about how to grow mobile audience and drive share.  The fact that 3 publishers own the space tells me we have a lot of growing up to do here.  It shocks me that publishers haven’t been investing here.  I mean how many years have we been saying that this is the year of mobile.

Having been in online advertising 14 years I’ve seen tremendous change on how consumers engage with content and how advertisers leverage that engagement to reach potential customers. The pace of change will not slow, thank goodness, embrace the change, find opportunity in change, and use data to drive these decisions. These simple things will provide success.

In the coming weeks I will touch on some of the additional things that we discussed in the meeting.  Such as:

–          Programmed media vs. sponsorships and other media

–          Are we all in the media business today?  The evolution of content creation and advertising

–          Social, what is it to those of who are not in the media industry

–          What major disruptions could slow the growth mentioned above – Cost of Data?