RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Creative’ Category

OneSpot Turns Earned Media Into Targeted Ads

Matt-CohenThe chances of finding a company website that does not include a blog or other form of earned media is rare these days.

While most companies understand the value of promoting their brand through earned media, many stumble when it comes to driving audiences to that content. The Texas-based startup OneSpot is tackling this issue by helping brands turn their content into targeted ads.

To produce the ads, clients give OneSpot access to their RSS feed or other source of content and, using a template, OneSpot creates ads that include a headline, image and a few lines of information. The company then sends a link to the ads for the client to approve or edit.

From there, OneSpot’s machine-learning system comes into play, explained OneSpot's president and founder, Matt Cohen.

“At the heart of our company is a system that predicts the likelihood of engagement with an ad and the value of that engagement,” Cohen said. “To do that we use thousands of variables to help us accurately bid for inventory.”

The company builds profiles of users based on cookies, IP addresses and other data points that it targets the ads against. OneSpot works with the “usual suspects” in ad exchanges, according to Cohen, such as DoubleClick, Microsoft Ad Exchange, Facebook’s Exchange and AppNexus.


Cannes Post-Script: Is The Creative Agency Becoming A Point Solution?

creative-cannes-featureOnce upon a time, ad agencies were masters of data. Which is to say, research.

Before the internet, firms like Leo Burnett and The Martin Agency wielded – and still wield – sizeable research budgets, which they used to uncover demographic opportunities and strategic consumer insights. These insights were turned into big ideas and placed at the heart of ad campaigns. For a big CPG marketer worried about how to deal with shifting consumer tastes or new technology, the first call often went to the creative agency partner.

No longer.

As big data has reduced the stature of the creative agency, the big idea has yielded ground to the "always-on" campaign. As a result, the creative "services layer" now finds itself at risk of being supplanted as the crucial marketing partner to large brands. Who is doing the supplanting? The list includes consulting firms (McKinsey, IBM, Accenture), enterprise software stacks (Adobe, Google, Oracle,, digital agencies (SapientNitro, AKQA) and media agencies.


Quote: Think Like A Media Company

hubspot"The key thing to realize is that you don’t find customers anymore. They find you. To make that happen more often, you need to think like a media company and produce the content that people want to consume.

We get about 10,000 leads a month from our blog and 30% of those leads came from a blog post that was posted that month. I could fire my blogging team and our lead gen would only drop 30% the next month. If I fired my entire AdWords team, that lead gen would go down 100%."

-Mike Volpe, CMO of HubSpot, in remarks at SugarCon 2013.

'Big Data' Needs Intuition, Says Goodby ECD Christian Haas

haasThis week, San Francisco-based Goodby Silverstein & Partners announced that it has decided to take the New York plunge and open its creative agency offices in downtown NYC. Read the release. AdExchanger spoke to ECD Christian Haas about the new base as well as technology and creative.

AdExchanger: New York is often viewed as the capital of advertising, but it feels like Goodby, based in San Francisco, hasn’t thought that way in its history.  Why the change?

CHRISTIAN HAAS: It's actually very simple.  It's because of talent.

Like you said, we've been a San Francisco agency for pretty much 30 years and apart from the Detroit office that we opened a couple of years ago to serve Chevy, we've always been in San Francisco and we kind of always wanted it to be that way.  We wanted to be a network of one, and serve everyone.


Scanning Display Ad Creative With The Media Trust

The Media TrustThe Media Trust is a company that verifies the placement of ads relative to what the buyer originally intended. Sounds like the ad verification space popularized by companies like DoubleVerify, AdSafe and ComScore's AdXpose, right?  Well, it's not.

Though the pitch seems similar, according to CEO Chris Olson, the concept isn't about brand safety metrics of the page. Rather it's about quality checks on the ads themselves and serving a target market of publisher and ad network clients.

So - are the  geographic and behavioral targets of a campaign ad correct? Was a rich media ad unit running, or was it a backup JPEG doppleganger? And along the way, The Media Trust malvertising “watchdog” product is sniffing for trouble.

To deal with the voluminous data challenges, Olson says the company has physical infrastructure in 42 countries and approximately 370 cities today.  Yet, eight year-old The Media Trust has only 40 employees with its main office in McLean, Virginia.

AdExchanger spoke to Olson last week about his company...


Storytelling Is Yesterday's News, Authenticity Counts Says Brunner

Robert Brunner, Ammunition GroupConnecting with an audience begins with an idea - a product or service.

Robert Brunner of product design firm Ammunition Group discusses his company's approach in what makes great design - and ultimately a successful business outcome for his clients.

Brunner will speak at AdExchanger's upcoming Human Centered Automation conference on September 20.

AdExchanger: Can you talk a little bit about what Ammunition does and your role in the company?

ROBERT BRUNNER: At its core, Ammunition is a design and development company. What we do is work with clients and partners to create new things and bring them to market. We’re also taking a more broad viewpoint about what the idea is, what's important about it, what matters to people, and how do you bring that out and into peoples' lives.


The Heart Of Great Tech Is Creativity, Says Lean Startup's Ries

Eric RiesThe Lean Startup isn't just a method for your favorite, angel-funded startup to build a product and raise another round. Its author, Eric Ries, has helped catalyze a way in which great product is created whether you're in a startup or a Fortune 100 company.

On September 20, Ries' will share his ideas at AdExchanger's Human Centered Automation conference in New York City.

AdExchanger spoke to Ries last week...

AdExchanger: How did you come upon the “Lean Startup” approach and the success you've had with it?

ERIC RIES:  No one is more surprised than I am by how it all came about.  I was a computer programmer by training and thought that I would be working in technology companies my whole life.

It turned out that I kept working in start‑ups - some of which I founded - where the technology worked great, but the company failed. I kept trying to fix it and believed better and better technology would solve the problem, and then I learned about marketing and thought about hiring a superstar marketer, and then I thought about hiring the best VPs in the world, and so on. But, I kept having the same results over and over again – and I wasn't alone.


'Context' Returns As Fotopedia And Jetsetter Target The Retina

fotopediaYour retina is starting to make demands.

As the display of your favorite device amps up its pixels per inch - such as Apple's retina display for its iOS product line - so too are the visual requirements for content providers. And that means higher expectations and resolution for ads. This focus on content and context may seem counter to the digital audience buying and selling business. Yet, Fotopedia founder Jean-Marie Hullot knows that certain audiences like his company's stuff.

Hullot's original idea for Fotopedia was a Wikipedia for photos, but he knew there must be a revenue model beyond an annual campaign drive by a founder. Paris-based Hullot tells AdExchanger, "We were already building Fotopedia in 2010 and then came the iPad. We had millions of great pictures, but we didn't have the right package so that people could enjoy it. With the iPad, I said 'OK, we have our consumer story.'" -and the iOS version of Fotopedia was born, which today includes 12 million users and 200 million page views a month according to the company.

Hullot, who served as NeXT CTO and Apple Apps CTO under Steve Jobs for five years until breaking out on his own in 2006, says the advertising component (see examples) of his high rez entertainment business emphasizes the content as a proxy for audience, "We do targeting based on what people are looking at. And, we try to avoid having any advertising that is irrelevant to what users are currently reading. The difference on mobile is that you don't have the attention of people for a long time. What we have decided to do is grab the user's attention and get the 'wow' effect where the advertising is very relevant to what they saw before. In the best situation we can get above 10% CTR for some of the ads."


Cannes Postscript: Marketing At The Crossroads Of Data And Creativity

The ad sector's creative apparatus has a good deal of work cut out before it wraps its head around data to the extent media and digital agencies have. But to hear some tell it, analytics - or "insights" as many prefer - has begun to permeate campaign ideation.

In Cannes last week, AdExchanger talked with dozens of folks from all corners of the ad ecosystem, and the conversation often turned to how measurement (not to say "performance") thinking can be married to creativity without cramping the "big idea."  Read on for excerpts of those discussions.

Creative Analytics

Some performance-minded execs inside big creative agencies – yes, they exist - are working to extract business value from brand metrics, and then feed that back into the creative process. One such person is Marc Schwartz, who came up through digital agency SapientNitro to become global performance director at old-line agency McCann Erickson.

Here's how he describes his approach:

"Previously everything has been evaluated by channels, and optimized for channels, but the customer experience isn't within a channel. It's amongst and throughout the channels. We realized this years ago in the digital space; the interrelationship between display and search is really clear. [So too] the interrelationship between paid and social conversation.

It's trying to take it to a different level and say, what are the influencing KPI factors that actually drive the total brand experience. That's where we as a creative agency can drive differently and uniquely.

I don't want to do media mix thinking. I want to do brand performance architecture thinking. I want to do attribution at the broadest level of that definition. I don't really care about channel. I care about message, and content, and experiences. It takes multiple experiences to create conversion, not just multiple channels."

Schwartz is among a comparatively tiny group of execs at creative agencies tasked with demonstrating brand value across channels and messages. Of course the analytics tradition is better established within the creative departments at digital agencies. At Organic for instance, data frequently informs creative, and sometimes even learns from it.

Steve Kerho, Organic's SVP strategy, media and analytics, puts it this way:

"Between analytics and creative and strategy, there's this nice trifecta. We've had times when someone on the analytics team comes up with an idea for a campaign, and the creative team will run with it. And the creative team has come up with some great analytics measures, ideas for new models, and the analytics team runs with that.

Over time the creative team has finally learned that the analytics team is not there as some overlord, judging and taking the bad idea out of the mix. There are lots of times where, we come up with two campaigns and present them to the client, and the creative team feels very passionate about one of the ideas. The client decides to go with the safe one. Then my team will come back and say, "Let us take 15 percent of the impressions. We'll create this campaign on our own dime. Let's define what success looks like, and you just agree if we run this for a couple days, and this one's performing better, you'll let us go with that."

That symbiosis between the idea makers and the information reapers is easier with an iterative marketing project, such as a website or app, than it is with a cross-channel ad campaign propelled by a big idea. Indeed, many "traditional" creative leaders frankly reject the idea that measurement should factor heavily into what they do.


In Shift, Ad Technologists Flock to Cannes

Cannes LionsAd platforms are coming to Cannes in force this year, and AdExchanger will be there to observe how the ad tech ecosystem plays in the Cote d'Azur.

Tremor Video, Mojiva, Turn, Velti, AppNexus, Simulmedia, and Vibrant Media are among those planning a presence at the Cannes Lions advertising festival (officially the "international festival of creativity"), which kicks off Sunday. Many are going for the first time, attempting to join digital stalwarts Google, Microsoft and Yahoo who have prioritized the event for years. They'll mingle, sponsor beachside cocktail mixers, and in some cases, deliver coveted presentations to the event's 9,000-plus creatives (plus a few hundred media agency and client-side execs).

Also this year, Cannes has introduced new formats for digital content, including an all day mobile mini-conference hosted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and a series of "Tech Talks" with execs from PubMatic, Break Media, Brand Regard and others.

Whether they can speak the same language as Joe Creative (or Sven, as the case may be) is an open question.

Why Now?

Colleen DeCourcy, CEO of Socialistic, is a digital agency vet with six years at Cannes under her belt. (She chaired the Cyber award jury in 2008, when she was chief digital officer at TBWA Worldwide.) She sees a range of factors causing ad tech to surge at the festival, including the embrace of its vernacular by mainstream tech blogs like AllThingsD and TechCrunch. There's also the growing presence of client-side marketers at the festival.

"The clients are flocking to see what the winning work is," she says. "They're meeting with vendors. They're doing the peripheral business around the creativity. There's lots of opportunity for someone to get seen, and have someone say, oh that's an interesting technology."