Friday, April 26, 2013

Repost of Google's Offering in the Ad Viewability Space

Google's offering in the ad viewability space has scored third party accreditation from the Media Ratings Council.
Google joins others who have wended their way through the MRC's approval process – the respective viewability products from comScore, Double Verify and RealVu have been approved – so Google is not standing alone. But given its expansive relationship with marketers, agencies and publishers, the MRC's nod at its viewable offering is likely to spur more usage of this tool.
"Viewability is the first critical building block – no other metric matters, from a brand's perspective, if the ad wasn't seen by an actual human being," said Neal Mohan, Google's VP of display, in an interview with AdExchanger. "Anything that we build on top of that, such as brand lift, as we announced with our Google Consumer Surveys product, follows from that first step of knowing if an ad has been viewed."
Publishers are wary of the trend. Traditionally, sellers have benefitted from the mystery around what has been viewed and what hasn't. Google argues there's a silver lining in that ads "below the fold" may be undervalued. The promise of viewability is that, since more and more users find content through search or social media, the idea of placing content and their attached ads in places other than the top of the homepage means that placements that were once considered out of the way could command higher CPMs.
"Viewable impressions inherently command a much higher price," Mohan said. "By giving brand advertisers more confidence, we grow the pie, rather than trying to grab dollars from somewhere else. This is how we crack what I call the '$200 billion nut' in brand spending for online."
As a sign of how important Google values viewability, ActiveView will be more fully integrated into ad management systems for both buyers and sellers. Instead of using it for after-the-fact reporting, Google intends ActiveView to be "real-time and actionable." It will be baked natively in all of our ad platforms, into its buy-side ad servers like DoubleClick For Advertisers and its sell-side tools like DoubleClick For Publishers, and so it won't require any additional work by Google's clients on either side, Mohan said.
But how much does MRC accreditation really matter? A lot, according to Brian Hughes, SVP, Audience Analysis Practice Lead for Magna Global.
"We take MRC accreditation very seriously – it means that the methodology has been audited by a neutral third party (such as Ernst & Young or PwC) and deemed to meet the standards established by the MRC and agreed upon by industry stakeholders," he said. "Think of it as the 'Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval' for media research."
As for viewability – it’s important because it’s possible, Hughes said. "To this day, we don’t know whether TV viewers are in the room 100% of the time when an ad runs," he said. "While not foolproof, viewability in digital media allows us to at least know whether the ad was visible on screen, and we can pay for only those occurrences… The idea is to eliminate waste."
Meanwhile WPP Group's Neo@Ogilvy says the significance of viewability varies depending on the campaign goals.
For brand clients, the brand message is key, therefore viewability will continue to be a hot button, according to managing director Bradley Rogers. For direct response clients where media cost is commonly linked to a direct action, it is of lesser importance.
"The topic relies heavily on identifying consistent methodologies in which to accurately track and measure viewability in order to understand the impact on the impressions being sold," Rogers said. "With publishers already finding it difficult to create content and monetize that content, any factor that could potentially impact their profitability will likely meet with a slow adoption rate.
He added, "While agencies and clients will continue to push the agenda, Google's success in this area will be tied to this adoption curve."
Andrew Shebbeare, chief strategist at Essence Digital, was also cheered by ActiveView's accreditation. Still Essence, hasn't been all that focused on external accreditation to date; the company's been using viewability as a diagnostic metric more than a buying filter. But as the notion of viewability as a metric to buy against gains traction, he expects Essence's stance will change accordingly.
"As I've said before [on AdExchanger], I'd love to see viewability metrics available from ad servers at the impression log level," Shebbeare said. "It feels like Google is paving the way to impression-level viewability within the same measurement context as conversions and exposure will make our brand lift and attribution models considerably more powerful -- leading to better, faster decisions."
Google's analysis of the strong correlation between viewability and clickthrough rates is interesting, Shebbeare adds. In particular, he agrees with the idea that viewability can demonstrate "gold below the fold" -- a reminder that simply being at the top of a page can no longer be equated with viewability.
"It's hard to make fair comparisons since buying ads often carries a tradeoff between placement and targeting, which itself might entail a trade-off between viewability and CTR," Shebbeare said. "For example retargeting ads will generally have higher CTRs but might be less viewable on average than "premium" ads - it's hard to compare fairly. We find one of the more interesting relationships to be the one between viewability and brand lift. Here we repeatedly see powerful correlations -- so much so that viewability has become a proven first-pass optimization metric for brand campaigns."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Re-Post / That's Progress

That's Progress! More Fake Reviews Coming

It can’t have been long after the first cavemen offered up grunts of approval or disapproval that someone had the bright idea of paying for good reviews. It’s cheap, it’s efficient, and best of all: it’s dishonest! Sure you’re basically lying to consumers, but tricking the gullible is half the fun, isn’t it? Movie marketers have elevated the fake review to an art form.
Needless to say, social media has taken the fake review phenomenon to the next level. According to a report from Gartner titled “The Consequences of Fake Fans, ‘Likes’ and Reviews on Social Networks,” “enterprise spending on paid social media ratings and reviews” (that’s a nice way of saying “fake reviews”) will increase over the next few years: by 2014, the research outfit predicts that 10%-15% of all online reviews will be fake.
Jenny Sussin, a senior research analyst at Gartner, stated: “Many marketers have turned to paying for positive reviews with cash, coupons and promotions including additional hits on YouTube videos in order to pique site visitors' interests in the hope of increasing sales, customer loyalty and customer advocacy through social media ‘word of mouth’ campaigns.”
There are, of course, some legal questions which arise when marketers hire people to pose as ordinary, unpaid reviewers. Gartner also predicts that at least a handful of Fortune 500 brands will probably run afoul of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by 2014. The FTC decided back in 2009 that paying for positive reviews without disclosure constituted deceptive advertising, which can be punished with fines.
In August 2011 I wrote about software created by four Cornell students to identify fake online hotel reviews. The students described their efforts to combat “opinion spam” in a report titled “Finding Deceptive Opinion Spam by Any Stretch of the Imagination.” Overall, the Cornellians claimed their software is able to spot fake reviews 90% of the time, versus just 50% for human subjects, focusing on fake positive reviews and irrelevant comments which, say, post links to other Web sites for promotional purposes. With this focus in mind, the authors said roughly half of all online hotel reviews are fake -- four times the proportion guessed by human subjects (who estimated fake reviews as 12% of all reviews).

Read more:

My Comments:  Chris Verzello

Having spent 3 years @ Technorati in the early years of blog marketing, it was always very apparent that positive posts were "For Sale".  Izea, formerly Pay Per Post was at the top of the heap, when it came to a straight transaction payola and media coverage.

The whole reason blogs became important in the first place, was the bias reporting of Fox, and other pro RNC publications / media companies, who essentially moved the White House agenda forward, making it "fact" through the media channels.  Blogs like Huffpo became famous by offering an independent voice to the media channels.  Trust was formed with independent journalists / bloggers & readers.  Now, this is the biggest sham.  Seems like brand dollars have the most influence, and the independent journalist is just a voice for hire... What a shame on bloggers. 

I have never really believed in paid blogger outreach, and feel that is has corrupted what was once pure.  Shame on all those blogger who "whore themselves out" for a few bucks.  I think the going rate is around $5-20 per paid post.  Not a lot of money to sell our for...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Natural Born Clickers - Your audience does not click on ads!

Coming from the iMedia Brand Summit, a few GREAT quotes that are very much in line with the theme of my blog:

If Not The Click, Then What?
“A click means nothing. A click earns no revenue and creates no brand equity. Your online advertising has some goal –and it’s surely not to generate clicks. You want people to visit your website, seek more information, purchase a product, become a lead, keep your brand top of mind, learn something new, feel differently, etc. Regardless of whether they clicked an ad or not, the key is to determine how that ad unit influenced a consumer to think, feel, or do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

”John Lowell, SVP Director, Research & Analytics, Starcom

"By measuring the last ad seen or clicked by a converter, they focus entirely on a brief time span at the bottom of the funnel. Evaluating only a single point of advertising contact oversimplifies the delivery and performance of any media channel"

Microsoft’s Atlas Institute

Ad-exposed non-clickers account for the vast majority of Internet users = 85% of all online users.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SEO and Social Media Measurement

Great blog post on Resource Nation related to SEO and Social Media Measurement. The concept of measuring how effective your social media is performing tied to SEO.

Links, Traffic, and Influence of the media landscape is measured in the same way that Google measures "Page Rank". Genius!

Technorati was an early pioneer in looking at the real time social map to understand influence. The Technorati top 100 became an iconic measurement of a blogs success, and for many years the measuring stick of influence.

Today influence is more complex, and really needs to be examined in more detail... yes in a similar way to how Google looks at Page Rank. Or in a better way, why Google will place one site over the other within a search result page. Relevance to the keyword, and relative influence to that keyword or key phrase.

This measurement is really quite standard across all media... correct? It's all about how relevant, authoritative, and influential the content is to the search query. So SEO is guide to success for all forms of media, from mainstream, marketing, to social.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Linked In IPO

Lots of chatter on the LinkedIn IPO from "is this another dot com bubble?" to "is now the right time to buy?", to "how can they support an $8 Billion valuation if they plan to lose money in 2012?".

Jeff Weiner appeared on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange this morning with CNBC, and was asked all of these questions and more. He simply said... "the market will pick the value, and we're just focused on the three core business'." They have 3 lines of business including advertising revenue, recruiter services, and subscriptions for advanced services by indv users. I think the big win for LinkedIn over time will be the recruiter services, and in-house recruiting tools they're offering to business'. With recruiter fees being very expensive, many companies are seeking lower cost, efficient tools to help them staff up.

Being a bull, I feel the economy is on its way to recovery, and thus hiring will be a huge pain point for business in 2011 - 2015. LinkedIn helps to reduce this pain point, and thus will benefit from a robust economic recovery. (even a modest one).

So, if you believe that LinkedIn is a strong investment, as I do, how do you buy. Well, hindsight will be best, but my IPO experience tells me to buy during the "quiet period", which is historically 30 days following the IPO date. Shares tend to drift downward after the first day of trading, and usually land somewhere near the strike price. (in this case $45).

So, buy LNKD @ $45 per share if you like the company.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who Clicks, Why, and Does It Matter

This is even more proof that clicks are not the intended measure of web advertising, and will likely go the way of the 468x60 banner. (Yes, I Occasionally see a random 468x60 out in the wild, and makes me chuckle a bit - I further digress to around 2002 @ SF Big party where Scott McLernon came to the front of the room with a casket for the dead ad unit size - "The Official Death of the 468x60" was declared!

Campaign measurement and performance is critical to understand the investment in ad spend. Many advertisers have become much more sophisticated and savvy with regards to understanding the impact their online advertising has for driving brand health metrics, or ROAS.

We're heading in an interesting direction here at BuzzLogic, and working to help brand advertisers to understand organic brand lift metrics within the conversational media space. Specifically, we're finding that when advertisers place media within dense conversations which are relevant, influential, and authoritative to the marketing communication strategy... we're seeing significant organic, positive lift. To me, this tells an insightful story for the brand which a click simply can't.

I'm glad to see that our organization and the industry in general is looking towards new solutions and advanced analytics that will hopefully power our industry to get off the "click-through-rate" reporting methodology.

The first step of change is simply to identify there is a problem... Love the MediaPost post this morning as it's further validation that the industry does indeed have a problem.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Munchies and Media: Delivering Insights That Matter Through Social Med...

John Donahue is a very amazing mind in media today... Having spent hundreds of hours of time discussing media targeting, analytics, and insights, it's very apparent that something special is cooking in his mind, and shown on his blog. JD aka Godzilla, nails the concepts and summarizes the struggles and opportunities that exist in targeting consumers. Many current models are indeed flawed or at the least somewhat limited in their ability to deliver context and audience. One of the key industry problems we're solving for at BuzzLogic. Here's his latest post, and some really interesting perspective to chew on a bit. Munchies and Media: Delivering Insights That Matter Through Social Med...: "My last post ended with talking about data slices that are relevant to the consumer segment you are trying to detail through some social med..."