Q2 Mobile CPG Spend Spike Isn’t Just An Aberration

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mobileCPGspendCPG brands are starting to shell out more on mobile programmatic and the second quarter of 2014 seems to be the burgeoning proof.

Mobile ad exchanges Smaato, Millennial Media and Nexage all saw noteworthy upticks in CPG mobile spend in Q2. A report released Tuesday based on global data gleaned from the Smaato exchange found that the food and retail category grew from 8% to 25% between Q1 and Q2 2014, an increase Smaato’s chief strategy officer Ajitpal Pannu attributed, at least in part, to brand advertisers growing more comfortable with spending on mobile.

Smaato Mobile Exchange (SMX) serves about 90 billion impressions per month.

“CPG as a category is a fairly large spender in the overall industry and CPG advertisers have definitely been early adopters of programmatic,” said Pannu, who pointed to P&G’s announcement at the beginning of June that it wants to buy 70% to 75% of its media programmatically by the end of 2014.

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MAGNA Global: Digital Ad Sales Could Outpace TV By 2017

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USspendDigital media could be the No. 1 ad category in the US by 2017 with $72 billion in spend, outpacing TV by about $1.5 billion, according to a MAGNA Global quarterly Advertising Forecast released Tuesday.

The report attributed the shift partly to “the advent of programmatic buying in digital media and the stabilization of cost for premium video inventory,” converting categories of traditional TV spenders (namely consumer packaged goods companies) to digital channels. Marketers are exploring integrations of consumer and sales data to enhance digital media targeting.

Although television revenue was up 4% in the first half of the year, MAGNA lowered its full-year forecast from 8.3% to 6.1% in total growth for that category. Other traditional media categories fared worse in terms of revenue growth: print was down 9.5% year over year in the second quarter, radio was down 4.7% while out of home revenues slowed from a 4.3% growth rate to .9%.

Overall, US advertising revenue is expected to grow by 5.1% to $167 billion this year, a slight decrease from MAGNA’s previous growth estimate of 6%. This was attributed to non-recurrent ad spend generated from Political and Olympic (P&O) campaigns and “softer-than-expected” market conditions related to the economy in Q2.

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How Refinery29 Finds And Sells To Millennial Women

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Destination Refinery29Refinery29 started out as a fashion blog, but it’s since expanded its vision: It plans to be the go-to source for millennials on the subjects of beauty, travel and points of view on subjects ranging from dieting to news coming from Ferguson, Mo.

It's also a high-growth company. The digital publication has 15 million monthly uniques, according  to Google Analytics data as well as its social following. A significant chunk of its traffic comes from what it calls “loyals,” people who visit Refinery29 nine days or more a month; loyals account for 40% of total users. Many of these loyals subscribe to Refinery29’s newsletter, so driving more people to the newsletter is a priority.

The next step for Refinery29 is looking for millennial women across the globe. It plans on opening shop outside the United States in the near future. It’s also expanding its advertiser base. Refinery29’s core of beauty and fashion brands is expanding to travel brands and advertisers like Home Depot, which is pursuing DIY women.

There’s still room for Refinery29 to grow at home, however. The United States has about 40 million millennial women. Refinery29 reaches 15 million of them, according to its visitor statistics, so “there is runway for another 50% growth,” estimated the company's CRO, Melissa Goidel. Read the rest of this entry »


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Innovid CEO: “In-Banner Video Is Not Video”

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ZvikaNetterInteractive video ad tech startup Innovid has changed significantly since its beginnings in 2007, when it had nothing to do with advertising.

Though it has since helped companies like Toyota, Chrysler and Sony Pictures serve up dynamic and interactive pre-, mid- and post-roll video ads, and has worked with both Roku and Sony Playstation to deliver over-the-top ads, it was founded by a group of guys with “no media/ad tech backgrounds whatsoever,” said Zvika Netter, Innovid’s cofounder and CEO.

Innovid’s initial incarnation was as a platform that dissected video content frame-by-frame and extracted metadata. “We spent three years building the platform and interacting with studios such as MTV and CBS to change the whole format of how news, sports, cooking shows (looked in digital),” Netter recalled. “It was a lot of cool, fun stuff, but absolutely no revenue.”

No revenue, however, isn’t a sustainable business model and in 2010, Innovid began its exclusive focus on advertising, working initially on pre-roll ads and now partnering with a number of video ad networks, premium publishers and tech platforms to serve interactive, cross-screen placements.

Netter spoke with AdExchanger for the next installment in a series of Q&As evaluating the video ads ecosystem. Past interviews have included: BrightRoll, Ooyala and SpotXchange. This series will also include Videology, Vindico and more.

AdExchanger: Describe the Innovid platform.

ZVIKA NETTER: Our Atom platform runs pre-roll (interactive iRoll) and other formats across web, mobile, connected devices and we’re extended that into the TV world. We’re not active on the traditional TV dollar side, but we have insight on the digital side, and we absolutely see digital video budgets increasing where we are active with things like addressable, personalized and dynamic video.

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The Client-Agency Balancing Act: Efficiency Without Constraint

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joannaoconnelrevised"Marketer's Note" is a regular column informing marketers about the rapidly evolving, digital marketing technology ecosystem. This week it is written by Joanna O'Connell, Director of Research, AdExchanger Research.  

Agencies are walking a tightrope. On the one hand, they are asked to be innovative and strategic thinkers and lead their clients toward brilliant marketing solutions; on the other, they are told to be lean, streamlined machines, delivering results cheaper, faster.

I was reminded of this recently while speaking with a global account director from one of the leading holding company shops for my upcoming report, “When and How to Take Programmatic Media Management In-House."

He said:

“Nearly all of the RFPs we are going through are procurement-driven. We end up competing on fees, and guaranteed savings from negotiations, and signing up for a customer relationship where there are high expectations and very lean fees."

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Facebook's Cross-Device User ID Solution; Yahoo's Content Recommendation

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nl2Here's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Facebook ID

Facebook is understood to be building a cross-device user ID solution that would be baked into its rebuilt Atlas ad server and provide a replacement for the beleaguered cookie. The Information has some details, gleaned from three unnamed sources. “Facebook has been pouring resources into Atlas in advance of a big new push with the product, expected to coincide with the Advertising Week trade show in late September, according to three people familiar with the plans.” (Subscription required) Pair with this AdExchanger column on Facebook’s and Google’s opportunity to reinvent the ad server with cross-device identity at the core. Read the rest of this entry »


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Amazon Acquires Twitch In $1 Billion Video Landgrab

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amazonAfter committing $100 million to develop original video content this quarter, Amazon has invested a whole lot more in the medium, swooping in Monday with $970 million in cash to acquire the video gaming platform Google had been eyeing: Twitch Interactive. Read the release.

Variety first reported news of Google's interest in May, citing sources claiming it would acquire the streaming video game company for YouTube.

At the time, it reported that "YouTube is preparing for US regulators to challenge the Twitch deal. … YouTube is far and away the No. 1 platform for Internet video, serving more than 6 billion hours of video per month to 1 billion users worldwide." These antitrust concerns could have opened the door for Amazon to swoop in.

Twitch gives Amazon access to live video content and engagement. Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a release: "Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month…and, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old." In July, Twitch counted more than 55 million uniques and more than one billion broadcasters (from individual gamers to publishers) contributing content.

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Inc. Revenue Survey: MediaMath Topped $310M In 2013, DataXu $118M

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inc5000-2014Startups built on programmatic technologies are among  the fastest-growing companies in the United States, as reported Monday in Inc. Magazine's annual 500/5000 revenue survey.

Among the notable entries in this year's list: Demand-side platform MediaMath's revenue in 2013 reached $310.8 million, representing 490% growth over three years. Its competitor DataXu also made significant revenue strides for the second year running, growing from $87 million in 2012 to $118.4 million in 2013. (However DataXu's three-year growth rate has slowed considerably from an almost absurd 21,337% last year to 823% in the current report.)

A few other entries jumped out: Independent trading desk Accordant Media raked in $27.1 million (a 1,663% growth rate), and Integral Ad Science, despite having been around for a while, achieved noteworthy growth of 3,232% to $23.4 million.

Below we've compiled a list of ad tech companies that made the Inc. 500/5000 list, showing 2012 revenues and presented in descending order from highest growth rate to lowest.

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Orchard Platform Applying Programmatic To Loan Market

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matt burton orchardAs the ad tech industry consolidates, some veterans of the space are looking to apply their skills to new fields.

One result is Orchard Platform, founded in November and led by CEO Matt Burton, formerly sales engineer for AdMeld. The platform facilitates direct lending, bringing together institutional investors, loan originators and consumers.

Most of Orchard’s 17 employees have an ad tech background, including eight who worked at AdMeld before it was acquired by Google in 2011.

Orchard closed a $2.7 million seed round in December, and Burton said the company plans to double head count in the next six months while opening an office in Europe. The company boasts more than 100 million assets under management.

Burton spoke with AdExchanger about his move into financial technology (fin tech) and how his ad tech background is helping Orchard approach the lending market.
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Spotify’s Got Audience Segmenting Chops, But Ad Targeting Still To Come

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spotifyWhile music streaming giant Spotify has the capabilities and the insights to offer marketers granular audience segmenting and hyperlocal targeting, its focus on user experience supersedes the development of advertising products, said Gary Liu, head of Spotify Labs.

The user experience is “definitely a primary focus if not the primary focus for our ad platform product,” Liu said. “Our goal has always been to participate in the consumer’s music discovery experience.”

While bombarding listeners with ads might compromise that experience, Liu added, Spotify is still exploring how it can help brands interact with its listeners.

Still, the company’s stance on advertising hasn’t changed significantly from when AdExchanger spoke to its former Europe VP, Chris Maples, a year ago. "Our philosophy is that we will deliver our products and grow our business first and then scale our ad products as well," Maples said then.

The roughly 75% of Spotify’s clientele that use its free service encounter audio ads every five or six songs, or three minutes of advertising for every hour of listening. Beyond that, advertisers can purchase banner ads or homepage takeovers. Read the rest of this entry »


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