DMPs Could Become The Fall Guy For A Flawed Ad Tech Marketplace

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john-lee"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 John Lee, executive vice president at Merkle.

Challenged by an already short digital marketer attention span, the data-management platform (DMP) is already running the risk of going from today’s front-page news to the “Where are they now?” column all too quickly.

It’s not because there isn’t a lot of value to be had for marketers interested in maximizing their digital media and site personalization dollars. Today, advertisers can onboard valuable first-party segments and develop flexible online models and audiences that can be reached across multiple platforms. The audience creation, campaign management, syndication and analytic insight functionalities are very powerful and are driving measurable lift for some data-driven marketers.

In spite of this, several risk factors obscure the value and contribute to the potential premature demise of this once promising star.

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B2B Publisher Chooses A DMP To Serve Readers And Advertisers Alike

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Cxense Sift MediaSift Media, publisher of such websites as Accountingweb.co.uk and HRZone.co.uk, wanted to use data to create better experiences for the reader and better results for its advertisers. It found its technology match in Cxense, which offers audience data management and analytics geared to the publisher.

“It was the first solution [we came across] that came from a publisher perspective, and not an advertising perspective,” said Ian Robins, head of marketing for Sift Media.

Cxense wasn’t even among the top two finalists during Sift Media’s year-long search for a data-management platform (DMP), said Robins. But when the team finally met Cxense, it was impressed by the platform's ability to apply audience insights to both user and advertiser experiences on its properties. The team was sold and started implementing Cxense about two months ago.

The team started with two initial goals: “First, being able to deliver relevant content to each individual based on what they do on the site. Second, understanding our anonymous audience more, so we can develop a highly targeted advertising strategy that will give our advertisers better results,” Robins said.

On the reader side, Cxense supplies content widgets designed to facilitate deeper engagement with Sift Media content. Based on a viewer’s reading history, it will surface articles that fit with the reader profile, or are logical follow-ups to the story being read. It can also create modules that show top stories.

“Right now, our sites are more interruptive. We want to clean up our sites to create a smaller, more compelling environment. For the brands we work with, that’s a more effective way for them to get higher conversions,” Robins said. In some cases, that will even involve removing ad slots to give a cleaner, less cluttered experience for the reader. Read the rest of this entry »


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Focus On Relevancy, Not Reach

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nicole-monteleone"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 Nicole Monteleone, director of analytics, modeling and business intelligence at Eyeview.

All brands with the basics of a modern marketing plan know an audience that “works” for them.

It’s usually not hard to identify the demographics for this group, which can be as simple as ESPN knowing that male sports fans will click sponsored social content to read the latest on Johnny Manziel. Engaging with the audience you’ve always known is usually a simple, logical process that delivers a better-than-average return on advertising spend relative to any other group a brand marketer targets.

The modern connected world has been great at delivering new channels through which brands can reach their bread-and-butter target group and attempt to expand their audiences. But with new ad technologies and channels seeming to appear overnight, the advertising industry’s “reach” is starting to exceed its grasp. We have more tools than ever before, but we aren’t sure how to use them in the most effective ways.

The most common missed opportunity of modern advertising isn’t neglecting a popular new channel – it’s identifying the obvious core audience that “works” for a brand and stopping there. While targeting broadly relevant demographics like male sports fans will generate positive results for ESPN, this approach is no longer the most cost-effective or smartest way to conduct a campaign. Relevancy, not reach, is the next frontier of advertising. The successful pioneers of this new frontier will be the brands that are willing to challenge their basic assumptions about audiences and targeting.

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Roku: Bringing Brands, Publishers Onboard In a Cookieless, Connected TV Environment

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ScottRosenbergRoku, the first streaming player to translate Netflix to TV, has reached the 10 million-device mark. With 1,000-plus channels ranging from free to subscription (Hulu Plus, Netflix) and on-demand services (HBOGo and WatchESPN), Roku is scaling up its ad-supported vertical.

Bringing publishers and brand partners onboard in a cookieless, connected TV environment comes with its own unique challenges, but as streaming content moves mainstream, buy- and sell-side conversations are increasing.

Programmatic media platform Xaxis, for instance, is actively building a connected TV marketplace that includes early inventory partners such as Roku and Xbox. Broadcast network A&E, too, is building private marketplaces that span desktop, mobile and connected TV supply sources like Roku, Amazon Fire, Xbox and Apple TV.

Scott Rosenberg, VP of business development, content and services at Roku, said it's early days in connecting ad sales with audience data in CTV, but the ecosystem is growing up.

He spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Describe your role at Roku.

SCOTT ROSENBERG: I run ad sales and partner promotions at Roku. One of our big focuses is how to make publishers successful on our platform. My team stewards a partner once they’re on the platform and we run all the promotional tools to help the partner get downloads, subscriptions, transactions, stream counts and one vertical we’ve really started to lean in on is the ad-supported vertical.

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Digital Media Vet Russ Fradin Talks Social, Adify and M&A

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RussFradinRuss Fradin’s been around the ad tech block.

He sold his self-serve ad network startup Adify, since shuttered, to Cox Enterprises back in 2008; he’s on the board at both TubeMogul and comScore; and he served as EVP of corporate development at comScore for four years, starting in 2000, when the then newly launched online measurement company didn’t even have customers.

Now he’s in his fourth year as CEO of Dynamic Signal, the “employee advocacy” company he co-founded in 2010 after staying on to run Adify for a couple of years post-acquisition. Dynamic Signal raised $12 million in Series C funding in August, part of which it used to acquire content marketing cloud company PaperShare.

Fradin agrees that the term “employee advocacy,” Dynamic Signal’s bread and butter, is “probably a bad name for what we do,” but “we haven’t come up with a better one yet.”

Simply stated, it’s about providing employees with the tools they need to talk about the brands they work for on social without any friction. It’s actually not so far off, at least philosophically, from the fundamental idea that underpinned Adify: relationship building, whether that be with target consumers online via paid media or social engagement.

“When we sold Adify, we were watching marketing evolve,” Fradin said. “Advertisers don’t just want to buy ads on niche sites, they want to build deep relationships with these segments.”

AdExchanger caught up with Fradin.

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Plugging The Facebook Leak; AOL Canada Automates Inventory

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Pubs Plug Facebook Leaks

Publishers and retailers are quietly rejecting the Facebook code that tracks users across the internet, the WSJ’s Reed Albergotti reports. Web traffic experts at Ghostery told the Journal that since the spring, they've seen Facebook's code less often on sites like The New York Times, Airbnb, Williams-Sonoma and A&F. Ghostery CEO Scott Meyer said it could be that publishers and retailers want to restrict Facebook’s access to their data. “[Online publishers are] sharing their entire audience back to Facebook and what are they getting for it? I can pretty much guarantee that the value publishers are getting from that is not worth it,” added John Strabley, director of strategy for Quaero. More.

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Connected TV Players Turn On The Programmatic Pipes

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ConnectedLinear TV may not exactly “lean in” to programmatic (yet), but the connected device constituency is proving programmatic TV is more than just futurespeak.

In a series of buy and sell-side discussions at LiveRail’s Video Publisher Forum Tuesday in New York, a number of industry execs agreed connected TV apps, publishers, ad servers and measurement have to come together to further the cause.

“The order goes: connected TV, addressable, then linear,” said Christina Beaumier, VP of product development for Xaxis of the succession of programmatic TV adoption. “We’re actively building a connected TV marketplace that’s not just limited to smart TV, but also includes Roku, Xbox and other over the top devices.”

On the programmer side, A&E Networks 18 months ago approached programmatic “with a great deal of uncertainty,” according to Jason DeMarco, director of yield optimization for A&E. But following a series of early tests to remove sales channel conflict and ensure large-ticket buys still passed through its direct business, A&E is now live with a programmatic private marketplace across desktop, mobile and connected TV apps including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV and Xbox.

“If we look back to the lessons learned from display, I think we can solve the problem [of] overexposure [as] premium publishers by using first party data to find real value,” he said.

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Should Publishers Choose Mobile Apps Or Mobile Web?

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michael-katz-2“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 Michael Katz, CEO and co-founder at mParticle.

Although media consumption has shifted to mobile and mobile apps, publisher dollars haven’t followed at the same pace, according to a recent comScore study. As a result, some have suggested that publishers abandon mobile app development in favor of building for the mobile web.

This type of thinking is not only built on faulty logic, it misses the big picture. The reality is that apps can unlock new and valuable data-driven opportunities for publishers and marketers.

Choosing whether to build a mobile website or a native app is a question that every media and commerce organization must ask itself as it readies for the future. But native apps and mobile web are two completely different consumer experiences. As such, they should be viewed as complementary, rather than competitive.

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Finding Washington D.C.’s Influencers Using Native Advertising

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All Aboard NativeThe Association of American Railroads (AAR) is after the kind of Washington, D.C., influencers who can impact change. But with a limited budget and a potentially boring topic, the organization needed to find a way to tell people about the vital role freight trains play in the economy.

After "a difficult year for freight rail," during which the Department of Transportation filed suit against the AAR for allegedly not giving passenger trains priority over freight rail, the AAR needed to persuade D.C. policymakers about the vital role trains played in the economy, said Dianne Mikeska, account director for the AAR's agency, Home Front Communications. It decided the best way to educate and impact those influencers was through a native advertising campaign on The Washington Post's site.

The organization knew from its media audit and proprietary research that the AAR’s target audience read The Washington Post, said the AAR’s assistant VP, Kristin Smith, at an event for the Online Publishers Association (which rebranded just after the event as Digital Content Next).

The AAR also decided that having the articles appear in The Washington Post would give its campaign additional credibility and impact. “It was the appropriate editorial environment, and was read by politically active members living around D.C.,” Smith said.

The organization and Home Front Communications co-developed more than two dozen posts in June with titles like “The Railroad Jobs You Never Knew You Wanted” and “7 Of The Wildest Things Carried By Freight Rail.” It organized each week around a different storyline: the efficiency and capacity of network, commodities, safety and the workforce. Read the rest of this entry »


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Starcom MediaVest Group And Nielsen Catalina Partner At Behest Of Kellogg And Kraft

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kellogg smg nielsen catalinaPublicis-owned Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) and Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) – a 2009 joint venture between Nielsen Research and Catalina – unveiled a two-year partnership Wednesday wherein Nielsen Catalina’s household-level purchase data will integrate directly with SMG’s optimization system TARDIIS. This deal will ideally let SMG clients swiftly access NCS data so they can better allocate their TV ad spend.

NCS data sets, which combine viewer data from Nielsen with shopper data from Catalina, are designed to let advertisers use purchaser data instead of demographic data to inform their media buys, particularly in television.

“[Our software] lets you better choose shows that are over-represented on your audience,” said NCS CEO Mike Nazzaro. Nielsen Catalina and its clients have been at this for a while, but what’s different here is that Nielsen Catalina has a deal with an agency.

Traditionally, the company worked with agencies but, as Nazzaro said, “it’s a stretch to call them deals. We typically sell our services to the advertiser but the agency is the day to day user on behalf of the advertiser.”

Still, it’s not as if NCS and SMG struck this deal independently from advertisers. SMG clients Kellogg Company and Kraft Foods Group drove the agreement, according to Nielsen Catalina’s VP of product and strategy, Chase Miller.

The benefits of this tighter integration, said Nazzaro and SMG EVP of research Kate Sirkin, is that it eases workflow around accessing and integrating NCS data.
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