ESPN Will Use Fan Data For Ad Targeting; Google’s TV Ambitions Have Hurdles

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Dynamic Display

ESPN will begin targeting ads based on fan preferences, The Wall Street Journal reports. A new product, Live Connect, creates versions of display ads featuring individual players or teams, and then targets them based on user preferences and behavior. Dick’s Sporting Goods saw click-through rates increase more than 50% for ads that reflected the outcome of particular games. “The gloomy outlook on the state of digital advertising is, if you look for a car or a pair of shoes online, that car or a pair of shoes follows you around the Internet in a very creepy way for the next six months,” said Ryan Eckel, VP of brand for Dick’s Sporting Goods. “This is getting closer to a more useful way to use display.” More.

Conflict Of Interest

Google is stepping into TV advertising, but it will have trouble scaling without access to consumer set-top box data. Roku, Cablevision and AMC are among the customers working with Google to dynamically insert ads using DoubleClick for Publishers, Ad Age reports. But some see a conflict with its YouTube business. “On one hand, Google is pushing its ambitions to support the TV ecosystem,” said James Rooke, CRO of Freewheel. “And on the other hand, they are messaging that YouTube is more valuable than television and attacking the TV industry.” Others see Google as a potential black box between advertisers and networks. More.

Hear No Ads

As much as 85% of Facebook’s 8 billion daily video views are played without sound, Digiday reports, citing publisher sources. That’s the ratio cited by both LittleThings and Mic. SugarPop was somewhat lower, at 50% to 80%. This puts buyers in a quandary. “As a paid advertising channel, [Facebook] works sometimes, but it’s so important to have creative that meets the criteria of the platform – otherwise it can be a waste of money,” said one. More.

Building Blocks

An ad-blocking survey conducted by Wells Fargo and Optimal, a subscription ad block solution, estimates 11.7% of display ad impressions were blocked in 2015 and forecasts a net revenue loss of $3.9 billion this year (growing to more than $12 billion by 2020). But perhaps the most discouraging data points come from the question, “Why are you not currently blocking ads?” Roughly 7.5% either don’t want to harm publishers or find ad blocking ineffective, while upward of 70% are either unaware they could block ads, haven’t figured out how yet or plan to soon. More at The Guardian.


The MRC accredited Canoe, an ad insertion company for video-on-demand (VOD) programming that works with cable and broadcast companies. Canoe’s dynamic VOD ads will now count as a “served impression” as defined by the MRC. Broadcasters have been reticent to take these kinds of steps, which equate VOD ads to digital video at large. More at MediaPost.

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