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Geotargeting: Let’s Get Critical

lorrydestainville“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Lorry Destainville, product development director at Glow.

I used to be a geoskeptic. This is an industry term I just invented.

Advertisers used to approach me breathlessly thirsting for geotargeting across their campaigns. I’d ask them with arched eyebrow, “Why? In all honesty, I’m not sure I see added value in layering national campaigns with geospecific targeting.”

What I got to see next were several pairs of disappointed puppy eyes. The puppies wanted to geotarget.

So I asked myself: Why is everyone talking about geotargeting? It was time to dig out my scuba suit and deep dive into the hype.


Amazon Offers Self-Serve; AudienceScience Releases Supply-Side API

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Amazon Automates

Amazon debuted a self-serve ad-buying tool on Wednesday, and VivaKi is the first in training to trial the offering (although the Publicis-owned agency has yet to run a campaign). Amazon plans to extend the tool to "select" agencies, but for the time being it only has eyes for VivaKi. Amazon exec Seth Dallaire tells Ad Age, "We chose them as the launch partner for this exercise because we recognize they have a lot of experience in the programmatic media space.” Both Amazon and VivaKi declined to comment on a definitive timeline for extending the offering or launching the first campaign. Read more.


AOL UK Automates Reserved Inventory; SimpleReach Raises $9M

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Automating Reserved

On Tuesday AOL UK announced that “all reserved inventory” is available programmatically across its owned and operated sites available –through AOL's demand-side platform. This includes The Huffington Post, Engadget, Parentdish and more. AOL UK's managing director, Noel Penzer, said the decision reaffirmed the company's commitment to automation and signaled AOL UK's belief that programmatic advertising will continue to drive digital budgets. Read the press release. As tech gets commoditized industrywide, having exclusive access to inventory may be an increasingly important consideration in choosing an ad or marketing tech stack.


Omnicom Reports Strong Q2, With Assist From Trading Desk

Omnicomq2Agency holding company Omnicom Group reported Q2 revenues above analysts' estimates, due in part to growth in its programmatic buying unit, Accuen, as well as growth in the retail and telecom sectors. Its rival, Publicis Groupe, with whom it once planned to merge, had a weak quarter by contrast.

Omnicom’s global revenue increased 6.4% to $3.9 billion from $3.6 billion in 2013's second quarter, with domestic revenues hitting $2.1 billion.

Paris-based Publicis reported decreasing revenues of $2.37 billion, compared to $2.41 billion in 2013's second quarter. Analysts estimated that Publicis’ earnings would reach $2.53 billion, and the company said negative foreign-exchange movements had a large impact on its sales figures.

Omnicom’s Accuen unit is taking a portion of the media it buys and sells, which the company disclosed to investors for the first time. The company reported $40 million in growth due to its programmatic buying unit, but did not say what margins it takes.

“We’re taking a principle bet,” Omnicom CFO Randall Weisenburger said during the call. “We’re buying specific media and reselling that at hopefully an increased price in most circumstances, since our revenue is based upon the difference between the purchase price in media and the sales price. We then have to provide all of the services, all of the underlying technology, build the platform, do the insights and take all the risk.”


Verizon's Tracking Tradeoff; Purell Bets On Loyalty

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Verizon’s Tracking Tradeoff

Verizon made headlines on Monday with promises to upgrade upload speeds, but also announced an interesting development for advertisers. The company is launching a rewards program centered on tracking data, through which Verizon subscribers can earn points for every dollar spent on wireless services, including on Verizon products and gift card offerings. What's in it for Verizon? Subscribers will have to consent to releasing their location data, which is valuable information for marketers looking to serve targeted ads. Read more at the News & Observer. This is reminiscent of business models such as Enliken’s.


New Native Format For LinkedIn; Facebook Talks Video

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More Native

LinkedIn is coming out of stealth with a new take on native, and Mercedes is behind the wheel to test drive what is described as a new ad format. On Thursday, Mercedes introduced a contest via the professional networking website: “Unlike typical giveaways, users will not enter the contest on their own behalf, but rather will nominate someone in their LinkedIn network.” Read more via The New York Times. Success metrics for the campaign are unclear.


IPG Q2: Digital Spend Exceeds Network Spend For The First Time

IPGInterpublic Group (IPG) on Friday reported Q2 revenue increased 5.4% YoY to reach $1.85 billion.

IPG reported a 4.7% increase in organic growth, with organic growth in global markets exceeding that in the US. Net income hit $103.7 million, a notable increase from $86.1 million a year ago. According to the company, the quality of its agency offerings coupled with strength in high-growth regions to fuel performance in 2014's second quarter.

“Interestingly, this is the first time that digital has exceeded network spend," holding company CEO Michael Roth noted. "We forecast it to overtake all broadcast spend in the next couple years and obviously programmatic buying has something to do with that.”

Programmatic will continue to be an important part of how the company will approach buying, Roth said, particularly on the digital side.

“The efficiencies of automation and programmatic buying are here to stay,” he said during Friday morning’s earnings call. Whether this will translate into public or private exchanges remains to be seen, but he added, “It’s all about data and being responsive to reaching consumers in a more efficient way. We have to be able to invest in that, and we are.”

Programmatic helped fuel IPG’s growth and margins, he said, because it pulled the holding company up the value chain in how it’s able to advise clients.


Facebook Tests A Buy Button; Time's Native Team

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Buying Ad Button

Facebook is testing a new buy button that will appear on in-feed ads and is being trialed by a handful of SMBs in the US. The feature lets users purchase products without ever leaving Facebook. According to a Facebook blog post, the buy button was designed with with privacy and security in mind. "None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases." Learn more.


Nikesh Arora Out At Google

Nikesh Arora, GoogleNikesh Arora, Google’s SVP and chief business officer, will be leaving the company after a decade, according to the company's earnings press release.

He'll join Japanese telecommunications and internet company SoftBank, where he'll be vice chairman of SoftBank Corp. and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media.

Omid Kordestani, a senior adviser to the CEO and one of Google's founders, will be the interim leader of Google's business organization.

Arora tweeted shortly after the announcement, "Thank you googlers for your support and love in the last 10 years. Will miss all of you. Looking forward to the next adventure." He was married in recent days to Ayesha Thapar, CEO of Indian City Properties, at an extravagant multiday ceremony in Italy, as reported by India West.

Arora ran Google's Europe operations from 2004 to 2007, when he added the Middle East and Africa regions. Starting in 2009 he assumed global responsibility for sales, and took charge of all commercial operations as of 2011.
(more…)'s TV Conversion Tracking; Yahoo Ad Problem Musings

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Path-To-Purchase Patent

AOL’s recieved a patent for TV conversion tracking, which the company claims will help advertisers glean if TV spots are sending people to the Internet, to mobile or to stores to make purchases. “Online advertising systems have a problem with over-attribution. They tend to be very good at taking credit for – well – everything! TV has the opposite problem; TV tends to take no credit at all.”  Read the blog post.