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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.

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.

A Guide to Creating a Shopper Marketing Plan to Win

9 Nov

In my last blog I talked about how at the Shopper Marketing Expo the focus of digital was overwhelming and marketers are quickly trying to identify ways to use all the data available to create a marketing plan to win. We are still in the learning phase but things are moving fast. I’ll share you with you some of my thoughts and how to effectively use digital in shopper marketing, but like I said the space is moving rapidly, so this is an evolution.

Today Marketing Daily actually had an article on how Shopper Marketing is growing faster than Digital and Social. In the article Matt Egol, who moderated a panel on “Recipes for Success with the Digital Shopper,” talked about how the traditional vehicles have staying power but how consumers are engaging in the digital environment.
A few blogs back we talked about all the technologies and targeting that can be used to drive high ROI for Shopper Marketing initiatives.

I don’t want to devalue other means of driving ROI through shopper marketing; in fact I believe in-store marketing still is driving the highest ROI for CPG manufacturers.

Over the past years I’ve seen a lot of companies talk about capabilities to target consumers based on geo, surf behavior and offline purchase data. Some of it has validity and some it is smoke and mirrors. Some fundamental issues that I’ve seen in these proposals are lack of scale or in some cases even remote ability to show how the targeting really works.

I’ve taken part in numerous digital shopper marketing campaigns and some key learning’s have come out of these programs and I will try to highlight some guidelines as you move forward.
1. Targeting
a. Geo – by creating zip code bundles and in some cases grouping DMA’s we’ve been able to reach large amount of consumers who are more likely to shop at one particular retailer. This is a great way to go broad and deliver scale. We’ve been successful with retailers as big as Wal-Mart and retailers as small as Food Lion.
b. Offline Data – Things get a little funky when thinking about offline data. We have all kinds of companies talking about targeting based on offline data. My recommendation here is use something like Vizu or Dimestore and asks the offline data partner to show you, via a simple question such as “Have you shopped at Target in the past 30 days for food, soda?” or whatever product you are promoting. Offline companies can provide scale but I’ve also seen a lot of these companies lack true audience sizing. Make sure to manage R/F when running these programs

2. Creative
a. Dynamic Ads – I’ve talked about these before but just a refresher. The use of dynamic ads let you pull in appropriate banner stores creative it also can help to deliver creative messaging based on the retail trading area.
b. Personal Retargeting – for brands that have large websites that attract numerous visitors this data can be extremely powerful. For example if you are a large CPG manufacturer and people are visiting a site like Green Giant you can now serve up a Green Giant offering. If they had visited Yoplait now you can serve up a Yoplait ad. Extremely powerful.

3. Publishers and Platform
a. DSP’s – So the DSP’s definitely offer the ability to manage R/F on a global level but the transparency on where the ads run is a little tough to swallow for most CPG companies. The first time you show up on a questionable site you might want to reconsider the DSP angle
b. Networks – Networks definitely provide some control over where you may or may not be seen. Think about scale when trying to determine the right network. Smaller networks will give you transparency but you might be sacrificing scale
c. Publishers – This is the safest environment but most likely the most expensive of all the options. Again thing about scale when running this campaign. Yahoo, Facebook and Google provide some of the largest reach. Figuring out who can overlay 3rd party data or do zip bundles is something you need to figure out. FYI: Yahoo can do both
d. Search – This is probably the cheapest way to reach consumers and obviously you only pay for the click. You will not get scale when you do this but it typically can deliver effective ROI. Today, only Google allows for zip code bundling

By linking the 3 pieces above you can start to create a Shopper Marketing plan that will allow you to learn, react and adjust. Utilizing these 3 areas effectively will put you ahead of the curve of most of the things I’m seeing in digital around shopper marketing.

On a personal note some things are changing for me and my wife, Sara. As some of you may have noticed it’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged. We’ve been extremely busy trying to get ready for our big move. Over the next few months I will be transitioning from Yahoo Chicago to Yahoo Atlanta. I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and some year round golf. My blogs may be sporadic in the coming weeks but I will do my best to continue to share my thoughts.