Horizon Media, Largest US Indie Agency, Hits Reset Button On Programmatic

By

horizon-donnie-adamHorizon Media, the largest standalone media agency in the US with some $4.5 billion in ad spend across 100 clients, has not been a major participant in the programmatic trend. But that may be changing.

Horizon is rolling out a programmatic division, dubbed HX, to handle its machine-driven ad buys for clients. The initiative, supported through relationships with four demand-side platforms (DSPs), expands on a two-year foray into programmatic that initially supported Adap.tv. However that effort failed to produce the desired scale, as clients resisted trafficking ads on unknown sites.

"We were contending with the same challenges that certain pockets of the marketplace have today. There's still network buying and perhaps limited visibility. You don't necessarily understand where impressions are," said Donnie Williams, chief digital officer. "It felt like we were another network, talking about the value all these tools brought to properties that in and of themselves were not valuable. It was a tough hole to climb out of."

But climb Horizon did. Partly because of the challenges Williams describes, transparency is the rule at HX. The unit charges a flat markup on working media and discloses that margin to clients.

"There is no arbitrage or resold media," according to Adam Heimlich, SVP Programmatic at HX.

HX has formal agreements with Turn, The Trade Desk, Adap.tv for video inventory and Adelphic for mobile and cross-device. Heimlich and Williams say the agency will integrate additional technologies as required by clients.

Despite Horizon's scale, its version of the trading desk has more in common with a small agency solution than it does with the large centralized hubs popularized (or not, as the case may be) by holding companies such as Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe. HX employs just eight employees, with plans to increase that number to 20 this year. It has recruited from the likes of Maxus, Accordant and Publicis-operated VivaKi Audience On Demand. That's tiny by comparison to the hundreds working for WPP Group's Xaxis and AOD, for instance – and a drop in the bucket of Horizon's nearly 1,000 employees.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

Does Online Advertising Actually Work?

By

tim-gough"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 Tim Gough, vice president of media solutions at dunnhumby.

As the IAB announced $11.6 billion in online advertising spending for the first quarter alone this year, the inevitable question arose: How is that working out for advertisers?

There are many factors in deciding whether Internet advertising works. With more marketing dollars funneling into digital advertising, we are absolutely right to question the extent to which it does. We have all of the data we need to quantify that, yet we still leave ourselves open to headlines such as “A Dangerous Question: Does Internet Advertising Work at All?

What’s going wrong? Are we failing to measure digital advertising correctly, or are we not executing it correctly?

Unfortunately, the answer is both. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

Google To Buy Twitch; Advertisers Trading Desk Issues

By

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

More Video Ad Inventory

Google is buying Twitch for $1 billion, VentureBeat first reported on Thursday. Twitch is an aggregation site for streaming video games in real time (think YouTube for serious gaming enthusiasts), where users can broadcast their desktop, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 sessions to online viewers. A quick visit to Twitch will either confuse or thrill you, depending on your interests. But the site is clearly ad-heavy already, and could be a major platform for Google’s programmatic video ad strategy. The San Francisco-based startup hosts more than 50 million monthly users, and the company has raised about $35 million to date. The terms of the deal and official purchase price were not disclosed. The acquisition further expands Google’s video ad inventory beyond YouTube.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

Evolve Media’s Evolution Into Video

By

BrianFitzgeraldLifestyle content publisher Evolve Media is evolving its ad formats along with its publishing assets.

Evolve historically competed with such vertical media and ad services hybrids as Say and Federated Media, beginning originally as a blog network. Over the last 15 years, it has acquired 50 vertical interest and publisher assets (sites like Crowd Ignite and BabyAndBump), according to its cofounder and president Brian Fitzgerald, investing also in performance marketing and publisher technology.

Evolve will likely acquire more content providers generating between $5 to $15 million in revenue, Fitzgerald noted. And it will increase its emphasis on video. In 2011, Evolve Media rolled out an ad-supported video distribution platform and services group, SpringBoard Video. As part of that platform, Evolve is beta-testing a native video ad format, called INgage, with three advertisers. The format launched last Wednesday.

“You have such a march to market by agencies and advertisers to buy and audit on a viewability metric that many are utilizing multiple vendors and they’re asking publishers to be judged by or held accountable to methodologies, measurements and results that are completely independent or unverified,” Fitzgerald said.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

Math For Marketers: Why Attribution Is Upside-Down

By

kevin-geraghty“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 Kevin Geraghty, senior vice president of advanced analytics and decision sciences at 360i.

There’s an old space race story that NASA spent $2 million to develop an anti-gravity pen, while the Soviets just used pencils. The story serves as a reminder that sometimes you just need to look at a complex problem differently to find a better solution.

Marketers face a similar problem with attribution. They are consumed by too narrow a problem – attribution – when they need to rethink the whole equation. The difficulties with attribution extend beyond the commonly recognized issue of a last click getting all the credit. Companies turn away profitable business because they base their media investment strategy on upside-down math.

There is a structural mismatch between how we buy media – partner by partner – and the customer journey toward a purchase, which includes multiple partners and touch points. Determining ROI for each partner or touch point to make better budget allocation decisions is difficult, but it can be achieved through marginal contribution analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

Trouble Shared Is Trouble Halved? Data Co-Op Aims To Help App Developers Stay Ahead Of The Game

By

You don’t have to be good at math to know that if you only get $3 back on a $4 investment, then there’s something painfully wrong with whatever you’re doing.

No one’s more aware of that than game app developers, some of whom spend thousands of dollars on user acquisition daily — though the truly big players shell out way more than that. Take Supercell, creator of “Clash of Clans,” which sinks about $1 million a day on app marketing.

Of course, Supercell can afford it because the math works. Midia Research found that the game company makes $5 million in revenue every day. The more you test, the better your chances are of snagging the right users, and the more you make, the more you can test.

But smaller or mid-size app developers attempting to navigate the murky waters of the app-install economy are often met by a landscape populated by middlemen, unqualified audiences, and bot-infested ad networks.

It’s something Think Gaming co-founder Tim Ogilvie has thought a lot about and it’s the motivation behind the gaming company’s new mobile advertising data co-op, which he says will help game developers pool their experience and share intelligence in the ongoing quest to find the most valuable users.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

The Buy Button Buy-In

By

fb twit buyWhat’s the hottest new digital toy?

If you’re Facebook and Twitter, it’s the buy button. To recap: Facebook published a blog post explaining its experimentation with a buy button – currently with select small and medium-sized businesses – with which users can purchase goods directly through the Facebook platform.

This announcement followed Twitter’s own dalliance with ecommerce. In July it released – likely by mistake – a semifunctional buy button designed to enable purchases directly from an online retailer called Fancy. It also performed tests with Amazon in which customers could respond to tweets featuring products with #AmazonCart in order to add those products directly to a shopping cart.

This isn’t the first time advertising and ecommerce have come together. Google has its  product listing ads (PLAs), though, as many sources point out, these ads differ in that they feed off search data and the consumers clicking on them are typically looking for the products they advertise.
Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post

Do Digital Media Agencies Have a Plan?

By

Chris-O-HaraData-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 Chris O’Hara, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Bionic Advertising Systems.

Digital agencies used to get paid for unpacking an incredibly complicated digital landscape for marketers. Faced with all kinds of new marketing opportunities, advertisers turned to savvy digital agencies to figure out where to spend their money, and how much of it to dedicate to display, mobile and social channels.

The dingy little secret was that the agencies didn’t really plan much of anything. The way it worked was that agency planners would make an Excel template, create an RFP document, instruct the media owners to send back all kinds of creative ideas and fill out the media plan template. RFPs sent publisher teams spinning into action, churning out exciting-looking PowerPoints with screenshots and suggested spending levels.

Not much of this was scientific. Publishers often promised more inventory than could be delivered, knowing they would never get the full budget allocation. Agencies asked for various “budget levels,” knowing they would allocate only $50,000 per publisher – but asking to see $200,000 plans to get a better sense of where CPMs might be negotiated.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post


LinkedIn Endorses Native; Yahoo Vocabulary Lesson

By

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

LinkedIn Endorses Native

LinkedIn is growing its native ad strategy, with a new option for brands to personalize and test news feed content. LinkedIn's calling it "Direct Sponsored Content," and the offering aims to help brands improve the relevancy of their content. Brands can now bypass posting promotional content to company pages, and can publish the ads directly to the LinkedIn news feed. Also noteworthy, brands specify audience segments in order to send personalized in-feed messages. Read the post.

Read the rest of this entry »


Email This Post Email This Post