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CEO Of Beauty Startup Julep Talks Using Digital Media To Grow Business

Jane Park Founder JulepBeauty startup Julep has grown up in the age of social. The brand uses Facebook, blogs, and surveys in order to interact with customers and encourage them to have a stake in the brand.

“We’re one of the first beauty brands to have grown up post-social media,” CEO and founder Jane Park said.

After all, what customer wouldn’t want to buy an item she crowd funded into production, or a nail polish color she voted on? The brand started out building a chain of nail salons in 2007 but has since shifted focus to its ecommerce line of beauty products as well as its subscription beauty box.

Julep releases 300 products a year thanks to input from its 6,000-strong Idea Lab, a panel of customers who answer surveys to help inform Julep’s product direction. To create its new nail polish applicator, the Plié Wand, it turned to crowd funding, asking Julep’s customers to pre-order the wand in order to fund its production.

Julep also has a subscription program in which members – or “Mavens” – receive a monthly box of goodies and discounts in the ecommerce store. They’re also among Julep’s most loyal, engaged customers.

Julep’s social, collaborative ethos also comes into play with its marketing. Julep creates ads for important moments in the customer’s life, be it a birthday or an engagement, through social ads on Facebook. It’s one of the beta partners with Pinterest as Julep attempts to monetize its DIY-driven audience.

“We want to be the most transparent and collaborative company in beauty at scale,” founder and CEO Jane Park said. The brand is on track to triple its revenue this year, after experiencing similar growth from 2012 to 2013.

The social native brand moves fast and hard into new territory in digital marketing. (“My team is probably going to die if they hear the word 'click-to-install' from me one more time,” Park said about an upcoming app campaign.)

“If you’re a bigger company used to two-year timelines around marketing campaigns, shooting a celebrity on a photo shoot and buying print advertising for it, then it’s really scary to start interacting socially because it cuts against everything you’re doing,” Park said. “We grew up in an era where it was, why don’t we do this? Can’t we build a brand faster without the heavy machinery of more traditional marketing?”

Park talked to AdExchanger at the Summit about how Julep approaches digital marketing in a social media age. (more…)

Rentrak: ‘It’s Hard To Be The Referee And Quarterback At The Same Time’

RentrakMORentrak defended itself late last week against rival measurement firm Nielsen, whose global president Steve Hasker claimed Rentrak “never lets the facts get in the way of a good press release.”

Hasker, in a Friday media briefing regarding errors Nielsen had discovered in its national networks ratings going back to March 2, opened fire on Rentrak: “Rentrak is not accredited and has never been transparent about their methodologies. We believe they measure only about 40% of households in America, so this is essentially a traditional set-top box data deal with a lot of hyperbole thrown in.”

Hasker was referring to Rentrak’s acquisition Thursday of Kantar Media’s US TV business.

Rentrak vice chairman and CEO Bill Livek confirmed to AdExchanger that it redefined the terms of its national and local television measurement services in June and “has been involved in a very long and complicated accreditation process with the MRC (for TV measurement).” Although Rentrak's acknowledgement supports some of Hasker's claim, the company says it was already MRC-accredited for census-based video-on-demand (VOD) and box office ratings.

He declined to take retaliatory shots at Nielsen: “I don’t throw stones at other homes and I don’t think it’s proper to do so. ... We’re a disruptive company and we’re really proud of the change we’re bringing.”

Rentrak’s Reach

While Nielsen has long been television’s de facto measurement solutions provider, Rentrak is making waves in the mobile and multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) space – a category that includes pay TV, satellite and cable television operators.


Wild Mobile; Video's Weak Spot

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Mobile Dimes

In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, Vice CEO Shane Smith called mobile “the holy grail” for media companies. “Mobile is the Wild West,” Smith said. “It's where everyone's scale is coming from, but it's very difficult to monetize right now." New York Business Journal reports that mobile ad spend will jump 83% to hit $18 billion this year, but will only account for about 10% of marketers’ overall budgets. With more time spent on mobile, Biz Journal reporter Ben Fischer writes, “Closing that gap is a crucial goal for any media company, in particular one targeting a young, international audience like Vice.”


Visible Measures Inks SSP Deals To Drive Programmatic Native

VisibleMeasuresVisible Measures has forged a number of supply-side integrations with AdsNative, TripleLift and DistroScale, adding "thousands" of publisher supply sources as a result of the deal, revealed Friday.

These partnerships build on the recent rollout of Fabric, a demand-side platform (DSP) designed to place native ads, used first by Publicis Groupe’s media buying unit VivaKi.

The DSP is primarily a managed service, though VivaKi’s Audience On Demand is developing a self-service capability for the DSP. Fabric can now match advertiser-uploaded creative against relevant publisher specs or formats via the supply-side partner integrations, the company claims.

One of the challenges when bringing native units into an RTB environment, according to Visible Measures’ CEO Brian Shin, is dynamically reformatting placements designed to live in one publisher’s environment so that they work in another’s. Companies like Nativo, Sharethrough and OneSpot are each attacking the issue head-on, which is spurring activity among the buy and sell sides to get into the native exchange-based groove.


Behind The Velvet Rope: Private Marketplaces Suffer Growing Pains

private complaintsThere’s a long line outside the club – but once you get past the bouncer, there’s no one to dance with.

Problems of supply and access have plagued private exchanges even as they grow increasingly popular. There are many reasons for this: Those who want to transact privately using programmatic "pipes" may find little to buy. The technology to access them can be finicky. And some advertisers are experiencing sticker shock when they see the difference in CPMs between these new channels and what they once paid in open exchanges.

“In theory, private marketplaces are great,” said a trading desk specialist for an agency who asked not to be named because he had not received approval to speak. “They offer access to premium inventory but with the benefits of programmatic. But when it comes to execution, it's a laborious process and the technology is still developing.”

Despite the hassle, most of those AdExchanger spoke to expect a greater share of inventory to be transacted privately. As that increases, some of the growing pains should ease.

Both buyers and sellers have expressed interest in growing private deals, which include both programmatic-direct and private marketplaces. These types of direct-to-site deals offer brand safety and other quality assurances for buyers, and higher CPMs for sellers.

Marketers surveyed by AdExchanger Research hope to spend half their digital media budgets on programmatic guaranteed and private marketplaces in the next 12 months. On the buy side, GroupM’s Ari Bluman has gone so far as to say that all inventory should be transacted privately a year from now.

But in the meantime, the industry has struggled to get over hurdles related to the lack of scale in the marketplace. (more…)

Snapchat Ads Coming Soon; Trending Agencies

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Ephemeral Ads

Though valued at a whopping $10 billion, Snapchat has yet to raise revenue. But that’s about to change, according to Bloomberg. Speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed, “People are going to see the first ads on Snapchat soon.” Ads will be… “optional.” In somewhat related news, WSJ reports that Vessel, a soon-to-come online video service founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, is also courting advertisers. It’s autumn, and monetization is in the air.


HubSpot Makes Public Entrance, Strengthens Marketing 'ROI' Pitch

HUBSHubSpot, an independent, Boston-based tech company that built one of the first all-inclusive marketing and sales platforms (at least for the mid-market), began its first day of trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, its share price rising to $33 in early trading.

HubSpot – or HUBS, per its new ticker – was valued at close to $759 million, raising a total of $125 million as a result of its public debut. HubSpot's original price-per-share estimates were in the much lower $19-$21 range, but the company upwardly revised those figures to $22-$24 on Monday. The company on Wednesday priced 5 million common shares at $25 a share.

HubSpot could be classified in the cloud-based, marketing automation category, a tech bucket ripe with public market deals and consolidation. Notably, IBM grabbed email and marketing automation platform Silverpop, Oracle bought Eloqua, LinkedIn snapped up Bizo and Marketo went public.

Although HubSpot (and most of the other remaining standalone MASs) have been the subject of rumored M&A activity, HubSpot's CMO told AdExchanger that HubSpot had long planned for its so-called "independence" by actively ramping up its product capabilities. (more…)

WPP Gets Stake In Rentrak; Rentrak Gets Kantar Media’s US TV Business

RenGroupMWPP Group planted a stake Thursday in Rentrak by acquiring $98 million of the media measurement company’s common stock (12.4% of total shares). In return, Rentrak gets Kantar Media’s TV measurement business in the US.

WPP also made a $56 million cash investment in the company, which, barring regulatory approval, would give the holding company 16.7% total ownership in Rentrak. Rentrak, noted PiperJaffray analysts in a research note, now has “penetration across all the largest media-buying agencies and all the major agency holding companies.”

Through the terms of the deal, WPP’s various companies, like media agency GroupM, will now have access to Rentrak’s local-and-national TV viewing data and measurement to combine with Kantar’s digital media and purchase data.

“Irwin Gottlieb and Rino Scanzoni of GroupM are right on target about how this kind of scaled viewing and purchase behavior data for targeting and measurement is critical for the future of TV ad business as audience fragmentation continues to accelerate,” said Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of venture-funded TV ad targeting company Simulmedia.


Microsoft Gears Up For Programmatic Direct

Colborn MSFTOnce upon a time, Microsoft seemed to be positioning itself as both a publisher, via its network of owned and operated sites, as well as an ad tech provider – sort of like where AOL is today.

In 2007, it bought aQuantive for just north of $6 billion, which included major digital marketing players like the agency Razorfish and the ad server Atlas. Unfortunately, those initial high hopes culminated in a writedown for roughly the value of that acquisition.

Razorfish is now one of Publicis Groupe’s digital agencies. And Atlas just got rebooted at Facebook.

But Microsoft is still a major player in the advertising world, even if its focus in that realm is no longer technological. It’s had the Microsoft Advertising Exchange (MAX), powered by AppNexus, since 2010, and it’s steadily beefed up the quantity and variety of available inventory.

In mid-September, for instance, it added mobile inventory (but didn’t reveal exactly how much). And advertisers can buy ads in the Microsoft Network (MSN) family of websites, the email service and the voice and video chat provider Skype.

And Xbox? Well, not quite yet.

Still, Microsoft continues to build out its capabilities as an exchange and as a programmatic seller. It’s in the early stages of developing programmatic-direct tools, said James Colborn, the company’s direct and programmatic sales manager.

“As we evolved [programmatically], a lot of what people are asking for now - like private marketplaces so they can see what they’re buying on quality impression sources - has meant that Microsoft has become more of a consideration,” he said. “We’ve become a lot more relevant in media buyers’ minds based on what we’re selling. We’re selling programmatically, but not selling anything different.”

Colborn spoke with AdExchanger.

MoPub Makes Native Easier; Blue Skies For Beacons

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Native In The Exchange

Twitter's MoPub unwrapped some features to ease native ad operations for developers, courtesy of the June acquisition of Namo Media. Keek, a social app, is one MoPub client seeing increased ad revenue and user engagement thanks to the tweaks. ”Being able to change the ad targeting and ad location without any app updates means we can experiment with ad placements and ad load without interrupting the user experience,” said Keek’s SVP of monetization, Bill Blummer. “With a few clicks, we can see how our ad revenue and user engagement is affected immediately.” Twitter blog post.