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Video Ad RTB Is Poised to Surge -- If Publishers Loosen Grip On Premium Inventory

RTB for VideoWhile it's not surprising that a Forrester report (sign-up required) commissioned by video ad platform SpotXchange suggests that the market for real time bidding for video inventory is starting to take off, the conclusion of the analysts is hardly cheerleading.

The report identifies three things hindering the growth of online video RTB, starting with the lack of consistent technology among major buyers and sellers. Forrester also suggests greater education of non-digital media buyers and sellers about what to expect from online video RTB. Underlying the last point is the sense that there has been some foot-dragging when it comes to publishers, some of whom still regard the acronym as actually meaning "race to the bottom" when it comes to prices for  premium inventory that is mostly sold on a direct basis to agencies and advertisers.

Despite those concerns, there is no doubt that online video -- like display advertising generally -- has started to emerge as a significant segment within the wider RTB universe. Forrester estimates that $387 million will be spent on online video RTB this year, meaning that it will comprise 15.6 percent of U.S. online video spending in 2012. The researcher expects online video to grow to over 20 percent of video ad dollars in 2013 with $667 million in spending.


Bolstering Digital: GfK North America CEO Krajicek Discusses Acquisiton Of Knowledge Networks

GfKIn December, global market research firm GfK announced the acquisition of digital research firm Knowledge Networks. And late last week, the company announced the acquisition's closing. Read the release.

David Krajicek, CEO of GfK Custom Research North America, discussed the acqusition and its implications. What would you say were the triggers for GfK’s acquisition of Knowledge Networks?

DK: There were a couple of things. The first was, as in any acquisition, we had some base hurdles that we always look to clear, and one is a real fit into the strategic direction for the company. In Knowledge Networks (KN), we find that nice fit because it continues to drive us into the digital space: in the online assets that they have, the panel assets that are there, the Dimestore element, as well as some additional synergistic relationships in a few key areas around healthcare, the consumer packaged goods area, the government and academic areas. At its foundation, the real focus on quality that we try and deliver to our clients dovetails nicely or complements with KN, along with the push into digital.

What’s GfK’s view on digital and its opportunity?

Increasingly, what we're seeing is the digitization of commerce. General market activity is used to make decisions about purchase and seek out opinion or influence about brands and situations. We continue to see digital channels as important – and not just touch points, but intermediaries that really start to influence consumer behavior and the consumer cycle.

It's absolutely important that we continue to not just engage with consumers but also understand their attitudes in a digital environment. Additionally, we need to understand how those digital channels begin to impact behaviors and have metrics or solutions in place that begin to address that. When I think about digital, I think about it in terms of how it impacts the brand and consumer dialogue. The interaction is an important evaluator such that it can provide strategic direction to brands.  In understanding that, we get a better idea of how media is consumed, how it's used to make decisions and how purchases are actually made.

Digital is a broad word, but it can be made very tangible in our business when we focus on those areas.


Senior Analyst O'Connell Discusses New Forrester Demand-Side Platform Report

Yesterday, a team of analysts from Forrester Research led by Joanna O'Connell, published a new report, "The Forrester Wave: Demand-Side Platforms, Q4 2011," shining a light on the programmatic buying trend in display advertising, and looking at seven demand-side platforms and their capabilities, in particular. O'Connell begins her team's analysis by stating the challenge for those holding the ad spend: "Today's digital media buyers - whether working in an agency environment or inside a company’s marketing department - face an unprecedented level of complexity in developing, managing, optimizing, and reporting on their media programs." You can currently get a free download of the report on MediaMath's site here.

O'Connell discussed the report with Can you discuss your methodology a bit for creating this report? Did you talk to clients of the DSPs or do buys yourself, for example?

JO: It’s quite a formal process. We start by screening a very broad set of companies/entities who we think might meet the criteria we consider most important in a DSP (in this case, it was around 3 dozen). All those vendors get a lengthy and detailed survey to fill out. Using that information, we then narrow it down to a handful of companies who we find formally meet our criteria for inclusion in a DSP Wave. In the case of this Wave, we were looking for things like focus on RTB, % of impressions that were display, presence of self serve capabilities, etc (the full list of screening criteria are outlined in the Wave report). At that point, we have our list of Wave participants. Then it becomes a very long process of information gathering, which happens in a number of ways – we send a formal set of questions which all the vendors respond to (these ultimately turn into our scoring criteria), we do briefings and demos with all of them, we do very formal interviews with clients (and in my case, I also sent a follow up survey to gather some quant feedback too). There’s also an extensive fact checking process, where we go back and forth with our Wave vendors to ensure we’ve been factually accurate in our evaluations, etc. One important note here: Google declined to fully participate in the Wave so our process with them was a bit different. We had to treat them as a “non participating vendor” (which you’ll see noted throughout the doc). Rather than using the info gathering methods described above, we had to rely on our own knowledge of their product, as well as gathering some qualitative feedback from DSP customers, and using publicly available information to make our assessment.


Ad Spend Going Up Globally In 2012 Due To 'Quadrennial Effect' Says ZenithOptimedia

ZenithOptimediaThe research team at agency ZenithOptimedia is predicting 4.7% ad spend growth in 2012 in spite of global, bubbling economic turmoil. In a post on the agency's blog, ZenithOptimedia's Head of Forecasting, Jonathan Barnard, says, "This acceleration in global expenditure is the result of the 'quadrennial' effect and Japan’s recovery from the effects of the earthquake in March. Every four years the quadrennial events – the summer Olympics, the European Football Championship and the US Presidential and other elections – provide a reliable boost to the global ad market." Read it.

Barnard offered his thoughts on the research in an interview with What leads you to believe that "Advertisers to invest cash reserves to win market share and stimulate consumer demand"? I thought economic uncertainties would leave them less willing to spend, and stay "in cash"?

JB: Many studies have shown that, on average, advertisers who maintain or increase their marketing expenditure in a downturn, increase their market share into their recovery, while advertisers who reduce their expenditure lose market share. This is often ignored, partly because advertisers need to spend less on something to make their payroll or other vital expenditure payments. That's not so relevant now, after advertisers have built up their cash reserves since the last downturn - S&P 500 companies have increased their cash and short-term investment holdings by 60% over the last three years.

What role does "brand" play when emerging from a downturn versus going into one?


Social Signal Informing Traditional Research And Brand At WPP's Millward Brown

Millward BrownResearch agency Millward Brown (part of WPP Group) and Kantar Media Cymfony announced yesterday what it calls "a new suite of online listening solutions merging Kantar Media Cymfony’s analysis of social media and online discussion with Millward Brown’s brand and communications research." Read the release.

Ann Green, Partner, Client Solutions at Millward Brown discussed the new product and why brand marketers should care. Why is there a need for online listening solutions?

AB: I think clients are understandably enamored with social media monitoring tools, because they provide the organic voice of the consumer. What has been lacking or needed is context for this information. In other words, how do I use this information to build strong and healthy brands and manage my communications? The way in which we can do this is to come up with best practice integration of social media monitoring alongside traditional research.

What are some of the important metrics that get tracked with this solution?

I think what you can find out is it provides a lot more texture. So let's say that the image of my brand is declining. Sometimes from a tracking study, it can be difficult to diagnose why that decline is occurring. What social media allows us to do is to listen to consumers at that point in time and in an organic fashion and help us to diagnose - based upon their own words - why imagery might be on the decline.


For Digital Advertising, Affectiva Moving Beyond Survey Questions To Facial Recognition Says CEO Berman

AffectivaAffectiva, a Waltham, Massachussetts-based company which "provides tools for measuring emotion with electrodermal testing & face expression recognition," recently announced a new round of funding with investors that include WPP Group's Kantar unit and Myrian Capital. Read the release. Affectiva's tech grew out of research from the MIT Media Lab.

Dave Berman, CEO of Affectiva, discussed the opportunity he sees for his company in digital advertising. What is the problem that Affectiva solves?

DB: What we provide are unique, new types of data that haven't been relevant before. For example, in an experiment done at MIT, researchers had a bunch of people take a sip of Pepsi in new and different types of flavors. After they took a sip, they'd answer a survey question.

Well, one guy on his fourth sip makes a really funny face like he has heartburn. But, he still marked it 7 out of 10 - that he was pleased with it. Except, when he got about 20 sips in, he started changing his mind.

So, what Affectiva can provide is physiological data faster than you can get through normal surveys. Over time, we think that we can mine this subconscious and physiological information and help advertisers make better, faster decisions. What does the use case look like on data collection?

What happens is that at the beginning of a survey, you hit "allow" to turn on your web camera and then you start watching a commercial, for example.  In real time, your results are aggregated in the cloud. We can give a real time look at how people were feeling while watched the commercial.

For one survey, we were looking at three different metrics: “smile” - are people enjoying it?; the lower eyebrow - a negative look or a confusion; and we measured attention. And then we asked a few survey questions at the end. Literally, in three seconds, we can tell you whether people enjoyed an ad and aggregate that survey across thousands of people. We've got other emotional states that we're in the process of rolling those out, too.

Basically, we can tell if somebody's engaged. Do they like it? Do they dislike it? Are they confused? And we can correlate that to whether that ad is going to be successful in the market.


From Re:think 2011 - The CTR Means Nothing Says HP Researchers Leighton And Satiroglu

ARF Re:think 2011The four-day, Advertising Research Foundation's Re:think 2011 show was up and running in New York City today. And, there were few media buyers and sellers in sight as the analysts and researchers of the media world took over the Marriott Marquis to share notes, agree to disagree, and see if what's in-house is up-to-date.

A forum panel tantalized attendees with its title - "Is My Digital Ad Working?" - and consisted of three different groups of presenters whose answer seemed to be... "not exactly sure." Given what one might imagine about the empirical world of research, it's amazing to see how the ad research business in digital is still wide-open as there are few clear insights or metrics to report the efficiency of online display ad, brand campaigns, in particular.

But, that isn't to say there isn't any data. It's digital, after all, and there's tons of data which can result in many different insights within segments of larger campaigns. The story is clearly ... complex.

Sibel Satiroglu and Suzanne Leighton, European-based ad researchers from HP, led off and presented results from their recent paper which delved into the proper metrics for digital ads and used their company's digital ads for printers as a basis for learning.


Click Forensics CEO Pellman On The Malware And Malvertising Fronts

Click ForensicsThe online advertising world continues to be challenged by ne'er-do-wells as Click Forensics released results from its latest quarterly, deep-dive into the company's fraud detection data. The Company identified challenges with display advertising where "a pop-up or pop-under (...) rotates brand advertisers' banner ads every 10-15 min in an effort to seemingly boost impression figures." Read the release.

CEO Paul Pellman discussed the latest on malware and malvertising. How is the malware scheme you describe reaching websites - through display ads from exchanges, specific ad networks? Any ideas on how it can be prevented?

PP: The Click Forensics Malware Lab has been finding two generic types of malware.  The first, more common version, is actually installed on the visitor's machine as a result of some other seemingly innocent download.  It can be spread via e-mail attachments or through lots of "freeware" that people install on their machines.  Once installed, these Botnets can take control of browser functions or simply open pop-unders to display ads for nefarious ad networks.  The best way to prevent these is for visitors to be diligent and use updated antivirus software from Symantec, McAfee, and others.

The second type is not really malware at all, but is the one more commonly talked about in AdExchanger circles.  Namely, visitors to ad supported sites get served all sorts of ads that they never see, whether in pop-unders, zero-by-zero iFrames, or invisible pages.  The generic term for these schemes is "ad stuffing."  Advertisers can protect themselves from both types of fraud by employing ad verification and/or audience verification platforms.

What IS the malware? Any trends there?


ClearSaleing CIO Goldberg Reviews Attribution Across Digital Advertising Today

Adam Goldberg of ClearSaleingAdam Goldberg is Chief Innovation Officer of ClearSaleing. asked Goldberg about the latest advancements and traction with effective attribution modeling in digital advertising. How does ClearSaleing approach attribution across channels and what are the coming milestones in cross channel attribution? Attribution modeling for an SEM direct response campaign seems pretty straightforward.

AG: Today, we have the ability to perform attribution across any online channel.  We are able to account for the value of a click, a view-thru, an interact-thru, and video on a conversion.  If we can track that an ad, a video, a direct visit, organic visit, etc., was involved in a conversion, we can attribute credit (profit, revenue, sales, engagement) across those activities in a statistically sound manner.

When it comes to attribution modeling specific to SEM direct response, one needs to be very careful here.  It is rare that SEM is the only channel driving visits to a client’s site.  If there are any other vehicles driving traffic and they are not accounted for in the attribution modeling, then the models are based on an incomplete data set, which will lead to decisions being made on bad data.  Attribution cannot be done in a silo.

We are already capable of doing media mix modeling that incorporates not only the online world, but the offline world as well.  As technology enables us to better track TV and mobile, we will be able to get more granular in our reporting and thus create even more effective attribution models that account for the entire advertising universe.


VP Hunter Says Comscore Focusing On Data Effectiveness Not Just Ad Effectiveness

comScoreAnne Hunter is VP Advertising Effectiveness at comScore. She discussed comScore's products and initiatives around what's core to her role - advertising effectiveness - and, in particular, a new product called Campaign Essentials announced in September. Read the release. comScore has been thought of as the company that measures website traffic.  What is the AdEffx offering and how does it fit in with comScore’s place in the market?

AH: comScore Media Metrix is our audience ratings service and flagship product, which is why a lot of people associate the company with audience measurement. We’re trusted as the most reliable source of digital audience because it has been our core competency from day one.  Agencies, publishers and advertisers around the world rely on it to make important business decisions every day.

Advertising effectiveness research is a large and growing component of the comScore’s product offering building on our reputation for trusted digital measurement. Until about a year ago, the majority of our advertising effectiveness work was conducted on a custom basis for clients.  We’ve since developed AdEffx, a standardized product suite for measuring the impact of online campaigns.

Our audience verification product – called Campaign Essentials – is available in the same client interface as Media Metrix, which means clients can log-in on a daily basis to assess a campaign’s performance with digital GRP overnights, as well as verify audience and geographic delivery. Campaign Essentials uses the same people-based methodology as Media Metrix so clients can plan and measure performance using the same data, giving our clients the ability to understand how their topline strategies are driving actual campaign performance. This alignment is critical for marketers who want to understand why a particular campaign is working or which levers to pull when a campaign isn’t performing up to expectations.

If click isn't the right success metric for display according to marketers, what is?