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Harper’s Bazaar Pursues Shoppable Ads With Streamwize

Harpers and StreamwizeFor publishers, the holy grail is to “engage, interact, and convert without leaving site,” according to Gary Portney, founder of Streamwize. Advertisers get their conversion, and publishers keep their consumer on-site.

That’s why ShopBAZAAR, the ecommerce presence for fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, decided to license Streamwize’s “fractal content,” technology which creates browsable boxes on a website for deep in-page engagement with brands.

ShopBAZAAR is “a convergence of pure editorial content and commerce,” described Anne Welch, associate publisher and general manager for Harper’s Bazaar, who focused on the ecommerce site.

In the magazine, items tagged with a “B” signify they can be purchased on ShopBAZAAR. As part of an advertising buy, brands can purchase placements in the print magazine, the digital version or as dedicated boutiques on ShopBAZAAR. These “dedicated boutiques” are sold like advertising for a flat fee, not through a revenue-sharing agreement.

The women’s clothing brand J.McLaughlin was the first to try out the dedicated boutique using Streamwize. Compared to its boutique the previous year without Streamwize, average time on the J.McLaughlin page increased 36% year over year. The increase in page views per entrance, defined as the number of clicks after a user first engages with the Streamwize box, was 80%.


What Yahoo Stands To Gain When Flurry Bleeds Purple 

Mobile BlizzardYahoo has doubled down on its mobile bet, agreeing to buy mobile analytics and advertising company Flurry.

What does that mean for a company that less than a week ago reported disappointing earnings as it struggled with declining CPMs? A company that’s not yet even breaking out its mobile revenue in its earning statements, while calling it “meaningful?”

“Acquiring a mobile-first company that has really honed its expertise in mobile app marketing and analytics sends two key market messages," said Forrester analyst Jennifer Wise. "One, we’re serious about mobile. Two, we have best-in-class mobile app measurement, targeting, analytics capabilities.”

Flurry stands to be the second-largest acquisition so far in CEO Marissa Mayer’s reign. At an estimated $200 million-$300 million purchase price, it’s just a fraction of what Mayer paid for Tumblr, which came in at more than $1 billion, but far above the dozens of small acquisitions Yahoo has made, such as the mobile apps Blink and Summly.

From the perspective of CEO Marissa Mayer, the acquisition is the latest attempt to fulfill her promise to investors: that a turnaround for Yahoo won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.


How Mobile-First Publisher Quartz Measures Native Ads

Joy Robins QuartzNative advertising doesn’t fit into a 300x250 box. But as the category has taken off, so has the need to gather meaningful metrics in a manner similar to standardized display advertising.

So when mobile-centric publisher Quartz developed a special native ad campaign for US Trust touting the bank's sponsorship of the Aspen Ideas Festival, it also wanted to gather intelligence for its advertisers

At Quartz, an Atlantic Media-owned digital publication aimed at business influencers that launched in 2012, native advertising was always part of the plan. Designed as a “tablet- and mobile-first, desktop-second” platform, Quartz was also designed to carry just two ad formats.

One is “Engage,” a large, non-IAB standard banner that’s impossible to miss and often showcases above-average creative. The other is the “Bulletin,” a native ad format that borrows from Quartz’s editorial style, with interactive graphics and opportunities for engagement.

For the Aspen Ideas Festival/US Trust campaign, which was timed to the late June festival, Quartz created two different “Bulletin” units that showcased the credentials of the speakers.


Saving Content Recommendation From A Click Bait Fate

Neil Mody Oliver WellingtonIt goes something like this: While scrolling through the latest coverage on Syria, or doing research on a work project, you reach the end of an article, only to be greeted with the latest tabloid news about Kim Kardashian. With its teasing photo and promise of outrageousness, it takes all your willpower to resist. And you click anyway.

Over the past few years, content recommendation engines have exploded. Players include Outbrain, Taboola, AOL-owned Gravity and IAC-owned nRelate. Their widgets feature a mix of content from their own publishing network, links to other websites and links to advertorials or native advertising. (Read recent AdExchanger coverage of Outbrain and Taboola)

One reason these articles are so clickable is because they hide the fact that there is a transaction involved. Language like “We recommend” or “From around the web” obscures what’s going on. That skirting was enough to draw a ruling against Outbrain in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority.

There’s a growing realization that in order for the field to be sustainable, something has to change.


DoubleClick Puts Publishers, Advertisers On Level Viewability Playing Field

Sanaz Ahari DoubleClickPublishers using DoubleClick platforms will no longer have to rely on agencies to learn if their ads are viewable or not. Google has made its viewability product, Active View, available for publishers in addition to advertisers and agencies.

“We've been hearing from publishers that discussions about viewable impressions with advertisers lack transparency making it difficult for publishers to meet their client's expectations,” said Sanaz Ahari, group product manager for brand metrics at Google. “As in any market, information asymmetry causes unfair advantages. That's why we made the conscious decision to provide access to Active View metrics to everyone at the same time.”

The product will enable publishers to see viewability metrics in reports they pull regularly, “[giving] them a greater understanding of the viewability of their sites,” Ahari explained, adding that the integration ensures their metrics will be the same as the ones advertisers see. (more…)

Yahoo's Display Revenue Falls Again, And Marissa Mayer Is 'Not Satisfied'

marissa-mayer-no-satisfactionIn its second quarter, Yahoo sold 24% more ads compared to the second quarter of 2013, and yet the price per ad went down 24%, suggesting the company has been unable to stem the tide against declining CPMs. (Read the press release.)

CEO Marissa Mayer expressed disappointment in the company's display ad performance.

"Our top priority is revenue growth and by that measure, we are not satisfied with our Q2 results," she said. "Display remains an area of investment and transition. In Q2, we saw display revenue decline, further highlighting the fact that we need to work faster to ameliorate the negative trends. I believe we can and will do better moving forward," Mayer said. "Overall, I remain confident in Yahoo's future, our strategy, and our return to long-term growth."

While display media declined 8%, from $472 million to $436 million, overall revenue decreased somewhat less than that -- 4% year over year -- thanks to growth in mobile, native, and video along with modest increases in search.


Yieldex Extends Publisher Toolset With Help From Ad-Juster  

YieldexIn a bid to simplify forecasting, billing and ad-serving reconciliation for its publisher customers, Yieldex will incorporate Ad-Juster’s ad reporting capabilities within its YieldexDirect platform. The partnership will support unified inventory forecasting and ad-serving reconciliation for the companies' joint publisher customers.

The deal is part of a trend toward wider automation of media sales, said Ad-Juster President Mike Lewis.

“Just because I’ve automated the selling process for the inventory doesn’t mean I’ve automated the billing and delivery of the inventory," he said. "[Yieldex] wants to automate all the way from the sales process to when you get paid.”

Most of YieldexDirect's publisher customers are exploring so-called "programmatic direct" for the first time, according to Yieldex CEO Andy Nibley. The company's strength has been in forecasting inventory availability for publishers.

“We’re particularly effective when they get granular in their targeting, like 18- to 34-year-old left-handed women in Kentucky,” Nibley offered as an example, and “understanding the overlaps in their inventory.”


Tapad Crosses Atlantic, Opens Offices In Frankfurt, London

TapadEuroOn the heels of $7 million in fresh funding, cross-device ad targeting company Tapad has made its first foray across the pond, opening the doors at a location in London and one in Frankfurt, where it will focus on the German and UK publisher market.

Tapad’s overall valuation is more than $220 million following the injection of funds, said sources close to the company. Total funding to date now stands at $20 million. Core investors include First Market Capital, the first institutional investor in Pinterest; Avalon of Zynga investment fame; and Battery Ventures, which has also supplied cash to high-profile marketing-tech software providers, including Marketo and Omniture, eventually acquired by Adobe.

The money was raised expressly with international expansion in mind, said Tapad CEO and founder Are Traasdahl, who first spoke about the company’s European plans with AdExchanger back in February.

The reason for that is clear. According to IAB Europe, a fifth of all Europeans use at least three screens, making the continent a tantalizing proposition for a company with technology designed to help advertisers provide unified cross-screen experiences. (more…)

PubMatic Builds Out Programmatic Direct

rajeev-pubmatic-july2014_edited-1PubMatic had a good spring. The company won top honors in Forrester's sell-side platform shoot-out, acquired a mobile ad server (Mocean Mobile) and hired up to support its product initiatives around programmatic direct.

The macro strategy, according to CEO Rajeev Goel, is to provide a full stack spanning all publisher ad revenue. That means guaranteed as well as RTB, direct and indirect, plus all digital channels including video, mobile and display media.

While it competes in all of these areas with Rubicon Project, AppNexus and Google, PubMatic seeks to differentiate by focusing squarely on the publisher, Goel said. Even so, recognizing the opportunity to earn fees from media buyers, the company has built out solutions for agency trading desks, ad networks and DSPs.

Goel spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What is PubMatic's strategy vis-à-vis programmatic direct or guaranteed sales?

RAJEEV GOEL: Obviously RTB and yield optimization has grown up in the indirect segment of the world. Then we started thinking about private marketplaces and programmatic direct. In private marketplaces, we regularly get feedback from the trading desks and the demand-side platforms (DSPs) that they spend more money with us in the private marketplace environment than they do with any other inventory provider. We're very large from a private marketplace perspective, which is publishers selling direct to advertisers and agencies while transacting over RTB. The next flavor of that is programmatic direct, which I think the IAB is calling "automated guaranteed." Frankly, I think nobody's in love with that term but it'll work for now.

This is truly focused on workflow automation as opposed to transaction automation. That is the next big area of focus within the ecosystem and we're driving that over the course of this year. (more…)

Another Firm Exits Free Ad Serving

adzerk-james-averyFree ad serving might be bad business for all but the biggest players in ad tech.

AdZerk, an ad-selling platform for publishers, sent a notice to its free and self-service customers that it’s shutting down that part of the business to focus on its enterprise clients. The company will complete its exit Aug. 31.

The announcement comes just over a year after OpenX beat a hasty retreat from the self-service ad-serving space, with the abrupt shutdown of its OnRamp offering in February 2013. AdZerk swooped in and said at the time it was seeing self-service customers sign up at three times the normal rate in the immediate aftermath.

AdZerk’s free offering relied on small publishers to tack on premium products and convert into enterprise clients over time. CEO James Avery said the conversion from free to paying customer was disappointing – fewer than 1% of free users were going on to sign enterprise contracts. Avery said he’d hoped to see at least 3% of users convert.