50% of Brands see Video as Key Driver of Further Programmatic Investment

The ability to connect with audiences via programmatic video advertising is seen as a key driver of further investment in programmatic advertising by 49 percent of advertisers, compared to 19 percent last year. The data was release today in IAB Europe’s ‘Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising’ report which highlighted several other changing attitudes, showing that advertisers and agencies are becoming more aware of programmatic trading’s benefits beyond targeting efficiency, programmatic stakeholders are increasingly keen to take programmatic in-house, and most players are quickly adopting new metrics to measure their programmatic campaigns.

IAB Europe’s report surveyed over 700 participants from a mix of advertisers, agencies and publishers to gauge their views on programmatic advertising. Targeting efficiencies have always been reported to IAB as the dominant drivers of programmatic investment, and this remains the case this year with 71 percent of advertisers and 78 percent of agencies listing it as such. For publishers, client demand remains the highest motivator for investment, with 71 percent of publishers calling it a key driver. But this year’s results showed increasing awareness of other benefits of programmatic across the board. Brands are much more positive about programmatic video’s potential than last year, positivity that has followed a 155 percent increase in programmatic video investment in 2016. More brands and advertisers than last year listed campaign flexibility and reduced media wastage as key business impacts of programmatic trading, and more publishers than last year cite increased control of inventory and increased media value as key impacts.

While the report listed brand safety as a dominant barrier to investment, it is still not the primary concern despite its prominence in the news. Lack of talent, cost of technology and fee transparency were all listed as barrers by more brands than brand safety was. Meanwhile more agencies are worried about lack of talent, the difficulty of training people adequately, and quality of data than are worried about brand safety.

Whatever barriers do exist though, they’re not preventing high levels of investment as 88 percent of advertisers, 93 percent of agencies and 88 percent of publishers are planning to increase their investment in programmatic advertising over the next twelve months.

As investment increases, companies across the board are increasingly taking their programmatic trading in-house. This is most evident among advertisers where 23 percent now say they handle programmatic operations in-house, compared to 16 percent in 2016. This trend is set to continue too, as 56 percent of publishers and 46 percent of advertisers that don’t already have an in-house strategy state that they are planning to develop one in the next twelve months. The biggest barrier here remains a staffing one; both sectors list hiring people with the rights skill set and training people adequately as the top two challenges of an in-house strategy.

read more here: videoadnews.com

What advertisers expect from online video in 2018

Despite placing great faith in online video as a means of connecting with audiences in the near to mid-term future, marketers are largely unsatisfied with their advertising strategies in the space thus far.

A survey released today (November 28) indicates that only 6% of marketers would currently characterize themselves as “innovators” when it comes to their use of online video. Albeit the vast majority want to improve their efforts in the space, with 80% of correspondents reporting that they will increase their video advertising efforts in 2018.

The report, entitled “Where are Brand Marketers Taking Their Video Strategy in 2018?”, was conducted by video adtech outfit Innovid along with Brand Innovators and queried 140 marketers on their attitudes around their own brand’s video advertising strategy. This included: their attitudes around data integration; how they assess their success; as well as their video advertising plans for 2018.

Participants in the survey cited three principal reasons for their comparative company’s lack of leadership in the video advertising space, primarily a lack of: budget; in-house expertise and prioritization across the wider organization.

Marketers cite funding as the gating factor in video advertising volume for the vast majority of marketers, although 79% of participating companies will increase their video advertising efforts in 2018.

Facebook and YouTube currently dominate when it comes to advertisers’ video ad spend, while OTT video platforms – such as Hulu and Roku – currently account for 9% of video ad spend. Ad spend on such formats is expected to increase “significantly” in the 12 months to come.

The survey also found that interactive TV ads are currently underutilized because there is a general lack of knowledge about the capabilities that current video advertising technologies provide, according to the findings.

It also found that 90% of marketers understand the value of using digital key performance indicators (KPIs) when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of an online ad campaign, as opposed to using more traditional KPIs.

However, 35% of marketers rely completely on their media agencies when it comes to online video advertising expertise, according to the study. It also suggested that marketers are largely are uninformed about the costs associated with deploying customized video ads, with 45% reporting that they don’t believe that creative can be customized into hundreds of variants for less than $20,000.

Beth-Ann Eason, Innovid, said that brands need to select partners with expertise in video marketing strategies in order for them to solve real business problems through data-driven creative campaigns with concrete measurement and results.

Eason stated: “Many marketers seem to be coming down hard on their own video marketing efforts, but it is also clear that there is so much untapped potential and optimism about video marketing and its impact on consumers to be harnessed in the year to come.”

read more here: www.thedrum.com

Voice Increasingly Replaces Swiping and Typing

Roughly one-third of US households own a Smart Speaker, according to a new study from ThinkNow Research. And it seems that the longer they own them, the more likely they are to use them for tasks previously accomplished through typing or swiping, per research from Invoca.

Adoption Higher Among Multicultural Groups

ThinkNow’s research unsurprisingly finds that Smart Speaker ownership is higher among 18-34-year-olds (42%) than 35-64-year-olds (24%). But there are also differences on a racial/ethnic basis, too: Asian-Americans (36%) and African-Americans (35%) are more likely than Whites (29%) to own a smart speaker.
While Hispanics are somewhat in the middle in terms of adoption, they show the highest purchase inclination, with 26% saying they’ll purchase one during the holidays.

Previous comScore research has found much more limited adoption of Smart Speakers, at 8% of connected homes.

Voice Replacing Typing and Swiping?

Invoca surveyed 1,000 people in the US who own a living room voice assistant, such as an Amazon Echo, or Google Home. The results showed that an impressive 89% talk to their voice assistants every day, including one-third who do so more than 5 times per day.

The research also demonstrates that the longer they own their assistant, the more comfortable these owners become with it. Almost two-thirds (64%) claimed to be using their voice assistant more frequently than when they first bought it.

Invoca argues that as this comfort grows, people are generally using their voices more: 58% accomplish tasks they used to do through typing or swiping; 44% use their phone-based voice assistant more; and 40% talk more in general.

A cure for smartphone addiction? Half of Millennials say they’re looking down at their phone less since using a voice assistant.
There’s plenty of room for growth, though: 62% would use their voice assistant more often if it sounded more human. For the time being, three-quarters say their assistant doesn’t sound very human.

Implications for Brands and Advertisers

About 1 in 4 smart speaker owners say that they’re making more phone calls to businesses now, and they estimate that more than half of their communications with businesses over the next 2 years will be voice-based.

The Invoca study cites statistics demonstrating that voice now fuels 1 in 5 Google searches, and is expected to drive half of Google searches by 2020.

Search is in fact the predominant driver of voice calls to businesses, according to the report: 47% of calls running through Invoca’s system come as a result of mobile search, and another 25% from desktop search.
Vertical search & review sites are also a growing area of note for brands: 8% of calls come from social review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. As such, these sites are now the third-largest driver of calls to businesses, whereas they were 8th just a couple of years ago.

Marketers investing in search to take advantage of these voice trends will be encouraged to know that people using voice assistants are comfortable making purchases using them. Almost three-quarters report having made a purchase directly through their voice assistant, and 39% said that an interaction with a voice assistant had influence a purchase in the prior month.

A prior study from Edison Research and NPR found that well over half (57%) have ordered an item through their Smart Speaker.

read more here: www.marketingcharts.com

Study: Ad Insertion Placement Costing OTT Publishers Big Revenue

Over the Top (OTT) streaming services offered up by subscription and advertising video on demand (SVOD & AVOD) companies risk significant revenue seepage as a result of a poor advertising experience, new research has found.

New research by Stable Research of 1,000 consumers of streamed video content in Australia found almost 46 per cent of viewers would switch off as a result of poor ad serving; with a further 28 per cent saying they would only tolerate poor ad insertion if the show were something they were desperate to watch. Only eight per cent would tolerate poor ad serving.

The research was commissioned by OTT streaming technologies, Australian-based Switch Media, which late last year expanded into the US market off the back of keen interest from global OTT players.

Switch Media co-founder and CEO, Christopher Stenhouse, said while streaming services have taken off throughout the world, the research shows that consumers are unhappy with the way advertising is served across the variety of services on offer.

“Four in 10 respondents had advertising insertion as one of their major complaints of streaming services,” Stenhouse said. “The only issue that was cause for greater complaints was buffering.

“The dissatisfaction is something we believe is a universal problem particularly where client-side ad insertion is used. With this insertion method, the latency often results in an ad being served too late or too early.

“Server-side ad insertion, such as our AdEase technology, delivers a seamless, TV-like experience that defeats ad blockers and provides a more reliable play out of complete ads, therefore eliminating much ad-frustration by consumers.

“The research is clear; if consumers are frustrated by the way advertising is inserted, they will switch off and, as a result, broadcasters will be forgoing significant revenue.”

The results also showed:

Only one-in-five consumers are opposed to advertising being shown on streamed services, with 43 per cent saying while they don’t like advertising, they tolerate it;
And most consumers (61 per cent) preferred advertisers to play longer advertising as opposed to a number of shorter adverts.

Stenhouse said Switch Media’s breakthrough AdEase technology avoids the need for a client’s ad enabled media to be re-ingested into Switch Media’s system before delivery to the viewer’s device, unlike other server-side solutions in the market.

read more here: www.bandt.com.au

VidMob Wants to Make Human Creativity Scalable

VidMob, a video creation marketplace which announced this week that is has raised $7.5 million in funding, is seeking to make the process of video creation easier for marketers. The platform connects brands to people with skills relevant to video creation, and its founder and CEO Alex Collmer believes it meets a demand from agencies and brands to be able to produce high volumes of video content in a short space of time. While some companies are experimenting with using AI to create multiple variants of one piece of content, Collmer’s platform attempts to tackle the problem of mass video creation by making human creativity more scalable instead.

Brands and agencies who upload their brief and assets onto VidMob’s platform choose individuals from a curated list take on the various aspects of the brief. The chosen participants are effectively then hired by the brand or agency, and will work with the client through a workflow interface to create a video ad to their standards. The platform is also available through an API available for ad tech partners to include in the creative services they offer.

Collmer says VidMob was a response to what he sees as a change of the internet from being a text-based platform to primarily video based, requiring brands to create video ads on a much larger scale than they had previously, while retaining a high level of quality. “Our view was that brands were not going to be able to create emotionally resonant, effective video communications algorithmically, but ultimately that was still going to have to be a human based endeavour,” he told VAN.

Vidmob steers clear of the competition model used by similar video creation platforms whereby creators compete to win a brief; instead clients choose from a curated talent pool, based on their previous work and VidMob’s recommendations. Collmer says this process allows his company to perform a sort of incremental quality control, constantly assessing the capabilities of the talent pool, which allows creators to specialise in certain areas and improves the efficiency of the system.

Much of the talent will specialise in optimising content for a particular social media platform. Demand has been heaviest for social video, with brands looking to optimise their content for different platforms, and VidMob’s partnerships with platforms like Facebook and Snapchat allows it insight into best practices for creating content these platforms. “We work as partners with agencies where they’re still going to make a singular, beautifully produced asset, and then they turn to VidMob to take that asset and turn it into 20 testable variants on Facebook,” explained Collmer. He says that his company creates more video ads for Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter than anyone else in the world, and that around 50 percent of the work done for Facebook and Snapchat is turned around in 48 hours or less. This demand is largely driven by platforms sending advertisers Vidmob’s way, but as GroupM’s UK marketing forecast outlined earlier this week, brands might soon be incentivised to make their content ‘fit for platform’ over the coming year as digital ad costs look set to rise.

These partnerships with social media platforms also give VidMob access to analytics data, which can then be used to monitor which ads are performing well, and react to data in real time. Collmer believes we are entering a world where “the asset becomes a liquid experience that evolves over time.”

read more here: videoadnews.com

Power to the old people (the ones with a smartphone)

More than 8 in 10 US adults (82%) own or have ready access to a smartphone this year, up from 70% a couple of years ago, reports Deloitte in the US edition of its Mobile Consumer Survey [pdf]. While penetration is broadest – at 90% or higher – among 18-44-year-olds, overall increases in adoption are being driven by older Americans.

This year, two-thirds of respondents ages 55-75 reported ownership or ready access to smartphones, up from a slim majority (53%) in 2015. And more than 8 in 10 adults ages 45-54 now have access to a smartphone, up from 65% a couple of years ago. The compound annual growth rate in adoption from 2015-2017 is highest among these two age brackets, each at close to 8%.

It’s worth noting that these figures seem fairly aggressive compared to others: last year, the Pew Research Center found that despite growing adoption of smartphones, ownership remained in the minority (42%) of those ages 65 and older. The discrepancy may owe to Pew’s research being fielded roughly 18 months ago – and their results being among a more senior demographic (65+ rather than 55-75).

Most Older Americans Use Their Smartphones Every Day

The Deloitte report reveals that as smartphone penetration grows, there’s consistency in usage across age groups. About 9 in 10 smartphone owners in each age bracket report using their device on a daily basis, ranging from a low of 88% among 25-34-year-olds to a high of 94% among 18-24-year-olds.

Not only are older Americans using smartphones, but they’re also active users of their smart watches too. In fact, Deloitte’s study indicates that daily use of smart watches is highest among the 55-75 demographic, of whom three-quarters use them daily. By comparison, just 58% of 18-24-year-olds use theirs daily, as do 60% of 25-34-year-olds.

Emerging Tech Adoption Grows

These results are based on small sample sizes, though. For the time being, 13% of US adults own or have access to a smart watch. That’s a limited increase from last year (12%), but represents a much greater jump from 2015 (4%). Earlier this year the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reported a 4% increase in household penetration for smart watches.

Meanwhile, adoption of fitness bands has reached almost one-quarter (23%) of respondents, up from 17% last year. Among emerging technologies, wearables represent the most mature market, per separate CTA research.
That same CTA study indicated that virtual reality devices are poised for strong growth – with a projected 79% increase in unit sales this year. Deloitte’s survey results suggest that 1 in 10 adults now owns a virtual reality (VR) headset.

Interest in wearable technology seems to be on the rise: 69% are interested in at least one of the 6 wearables identified in the report, up from 59% a couple of years ago. Indeed, the study’s results suggest that interest in ownership has increased for each of these devices, led by smart watches (32% interested) and fitness bands. Close to 1 in 5 also express interest in smart clothing (18%) and VR handsets (18%).

Connecting With the Always-On Smartphone User

Separately, Deloitte’s study shows that Americans continue to check their phones frequently throughout the day, an estimated 47 times on average. While various frequency estimates have tended to diverge wildly from each other over the years, what’s notable is that there hasn’t been a measurable increase from previous Deloitte studies.
Nonetheless, the vast majority report looking at their phones within an hour of waking up (89%) and within an hour before preparing to sleep (81%).

Connecting with these mobile device owners requires an understanding of how and where they’re using their phones.

read more here: www.marketingcharts.com

YouTube suspends Channel Over Child Exploitation Video Concerns

YouTube is facing a fresh brand safety crisis as a number of brands have suspended advertising on the platform after it emerged their ads were run against content showing exploitation of young children. Brands including O2, Which? and Dropbox have suspended advertising on YouTube after The Times and The Sun flagged a series of ad enabled videos showing children in pain and distress. YouTube responded by removing one of the offending channels, and removing or demonetising the videos highlighted by the two newspapers.

YouTube has spent the year recovering from previous brand safety concerns, where advertisers found their ads were playing alongside extremist content, leading around 250 companies to stop advertising on the platform. Many have since returned, convinced by YouTube’s efforts to tighten its content filtering, but now doubt is being cast again on its ability to control its content as large channels featuring monetised disturbing content involving children have been pulled into the spotlight.

The Times singled out a channel called Toy Freaks which has run since 2011 and drawn over seven billion views where a man posted videos of pranks he pulled on his two young daughters, causing them pain and distress, as well as bizarre footage of him and his daughters crawling around and spitting liquid on each other. The Sun described some of the videos, which have since been taken down, where the man filmed his daughters screaming in distress at frogs and snakes being placed in a bathtub with them, and crying after being spoonfed baby food. YouTube analytics specialist SocialBlade estimates the channel could have earned anywhere between £544k to £8.7m per year.

Belinda Winder, a forensic psychologist and head of the sexual offences unit at Nottingham Trent University told Times that some of this content is designed to appeal both to children and to adults “who are not simply paedophilic but who also suffer from sexual fetishes involving pain and abuse”.

YouTube has now taken down the Toy Freaks channel and blocked or demonetised similar disturbing content on other channels, and says it will redouble its efforts to filter out and remove this type of content. “We take child safety extremely seriously and have clear policies against child endangerment” it said in an official statement. “We recently tightened the enforcement of these policies to tackle content featuring minors where we receive signals that cause concern. It’s not always clear that the uploader of the content intends to break our rules, but we may still remove their videos to help protect viewers, uploaders and children. We’ve terminated the Toy Freaks channel for violation of our policies. We will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert Trusted Flaggers.”

read more here: videoadnews.com

63% sports fans reluctant to sign-up for live streaming

Phenix, a provider of global, end-to-end real-time video solutions, has released its The Streaming Wars: Sports Report that found nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of consumers (who watch sports on TV) have come to expect bad service during live games.

The study, conducted online with third party research firm YouGov, uncovered not only the consumer perceptions and expectations during live sports streaming experiences, but how they want to see those streaming experiences improve over time.

Phenix’s report found 63 per cent of sports watchers are reluctant to sign up or re-subscribe to sports livestreaming platforms in 2018, with more than one in three (34 per cent) reporting they would think about cancelling the service giving them an issue.


Latency is a clear factor contributing to the frustrations plaguing consumers and ultimately resulting in significant business impacts for the franchises, broadcasters and platforms delivering the streaming experience. During live game-time streams, sports watchers cite the following latency issues:

– 64 per cent expect buffering
– 42 per cent expect delays
– 32 per cent expect poor picture quality
– 30 per cent expect loss of service

Latency issues have the potential to genuinely impact streaming businesses’ bottom lines. Not only are sports watchers expecting streaming disruptions; they are frustrated by them, worried about spoilers, are switching services and wondering if they’ve wasted their money.

It’s apparent the ‘live’ streaming industry is fundamentally broken and latency issues are becoming a big, loud problem,” said Jed Corenthal, Chief Marketing Officer of Phenix, whose previous experience includes positions at the NFL, AVP Pro Beach Volleyball and more. “Sports is always going to need to be watched in real-time, but outside traditional broadcast mediums, the industry is still unable to offer it at scale, as evident by recent issues during livestreams of major sporting events.

The good news is sports fans aren’t going to stand for this and have the potential to be the primary voices calling for the industry to rethink what it means to truly deliver a game in real-time. They’re considering cancelling their subscriptions or just not signing up for new ones at all next year. Hopefully, these findings will serve as a wake-up call that finally convinces streaming platforms to solve the latency issues plaguing the market.”

Capitalising on Real-Time Potential

With a number of high profile sporting events on the horizon (more than one in three, 36 per cent, of sports watchers anticipate issues streaming this year’s Super Bowl) there’s ample opportunity for the streaming industry to not only solve the latency issues it faces, but use real-time capabilities to elevate the sports fan’s overall experience.

– More than one in three (36 per cent) want to gain insights into player stats and information
– More than one in three (36 per cent) want to stream more than one game on different devices, demonstrating the proliferation of the multi-screen experience
– Nearly one in three (30 per cent) want the ability to watch in virtual reality (VR) to view the game from different angles
– More than one in five (22 per cent) want to see updates from the locker room/sidelines
– More than one in five (21 per cent) want to feel like they’re a journalist and have an insider view into press conferences
– One in five (21 per cent) want to talk to/interact with players and coaches in real-time
– 17 per cent want to engage with other viewers
– 16 per cent want access to excusive social media “stories”
– 15 per cent want to be able to participate in score/play predictions

read more here: advanced-television.com

The pivot to reality for digital media

Forget the pivot to video; the pivot to reality is in full swing in digital media.

The culprits are well-known. Google and Facebook have an iron grip on digital ad revenue. Publishers are trying to save themselves by making wholesale shifts in their business models, but they can’t transition fast enough. Last week brought an avalanche of the results: BuzzFeed and Vice reportedly missed revenue goals for the year; Mashable was sold for a fifth of its one-time valuation; and Oath, the Verizon unit containing Yahoo, AOL and HuffPost, laid off more than 500. The list goes on.

There are a number of things going on. At a high level, digital publishing has failed to diversify, having put all its eggs in the advertising basket. Then, the platforms came for advertising. Most digital ad spending today is going to a handful of tech companies, leaving just a few scraps for publishers to fight over. Facebook has hurt in other ways, cutting back the referral traffic it sends publishers, and has only started to help publishers monetize their content there. Publishers that took a distributed approach, thinking the revenue would follow, have found otherwise.

But it’s too simplistic to say this is simply a story of the big, bad platforms. What’s happening now is more of a correction than an upheaval. Just a year ago, Mashable took a round of venture capital at a $250 million valuation. Selling for a fifth of that price a mere 12 months later says more about the expectations venture-funded digital media eagerly embraced when capital was cheap and plentiful.

“It’s a story about runaway valuations for content startups,” said Todd Sawicki, CEO of Zemanta, a programmatic native ad platform. “If a startup had been valued based on more traditional methods and multiples, many of these valuations would never have happened.”

When it came time to build a sustainable business, many of the publishers that were adroit at spinning rosy growth scenarios on paper were less successful. The now-lampooned pivot to video is a case in point. It’s easy to talk about audiences moving to mobile, expertise in “snackable” content and distributed media strategies built around millennials. It’s quite another to execute those strategies profitably.

Take video. Too often, publishers create the video but don’t design their sites with it in mind, cramming pages with other ads that compete for attention and bandwidth, said Brian Rifkin, co-founder of digital video player company JW Player. Then, there are all the things to get right on the sales and ad operations side, such as matching the right video format to the right device and making sure the ad meets the advertisers’ specs for viewability. Success in digital media is about nailing the details, not getting the headlines.

“A lot of it is the grind-it-out execution,” Rifkin said. “We’ve been through a lot of advertising executions, and this one is the most difficult. How many times have you gone to a website and clicked ‘play’ and bailed out? The business is there. Publishers need to create good content, make sure there’s intent to watch, focus on the user experience.”

Many digital media companies with sky-high valuations based on a bad set of assumptions also hungrily eyed TV deals, where the real money supposedly is. This looks increasingly like a Hail Mary strategy. In most cases, the production costs for doing TV shows are pretty equal to licensing costs, and unless you have a syndication deal, the profit is fairly low, said Bernard Gershon, president of GershonMedia, a publishing consulting firm. There are also lots of studios already quite good at making TV programming. The only thing digital media companies would bring unique to the table is strong brands, but even there, much of digital media has outsourced its connection to its audience to platforms.

Rich Antoniello, CEO and founder of Complex Media, looks at the current pivots to video as rushed and reactive. The men’s lifestyle publisher took its time introducing video, starting in 2012 and getting to 65 percent video over five years and emphasizing long-form shows that are better at building a brand than short clips that blur by in people’s newsfeed. “You have to condition your audience and the advertising community,” he said. “You can’t just say, ‘Hey, we’re in video now.’”

read more here: digiday.com

Connected TV Advertising is Surging

It’s no secret that connected TV devices have made huge gains in the U.S., with penetration at 60% of homes or more depending on the research source. But whereas these devices were initially used mainly for streaming Netflix and other ad-free SVOD services, evidence is building that viewers are also now using these devices to watch ad-supported video, in turn driving a huge expansion of ad inventory.

For example, Roku has been saying for a while that Netflix’s share of overall Roku users’ watch time has been steadily decreasing, with ad-supported channels gaining. And today, Beachfront Media, a video supply-side platform, said that it saw a huge jump in CTV ad requests to over 2 billion in Q3 ’17. Beachfront works mainly with mid-tail and long-tail video providers like WatchMojo, Newsy and Crunchyroll.

Beachfront’s CEO and founder Frank Sinton told me in a briefing that the company has seen completion rates of 97% and viewability of 100% on CTV inventory, the 2 main performance indicators buyers focus on. Measured CPMs are also 3 times higher on CTV than on mobile video and aren’t showing any signs of softening as CTV inventory continues to be in short supply relative to demand.

While CTV combines the best of the big screen experience with the best of digital targeting, Frank said it’s not yet clear to him which budgets CTV spending is coming from, TV or digital. However, he did say that anecdotally he’s hearing more and more interest in CTV and that 2018 is shaping up to be a strong growth year.