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Exponential Receives New Accreditation by the Trustworthy Accountability Group

Recognized for combatting ad fraud with Certified Against Fraud Seal

EMERYVILLE, Calif - (November 1, 2017) - Exponential Interactive, one of the largest digital advertising companies globally reaching over 700 million users monthly, has been accredited by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) with its “Certified Against Fraud” Seal. The accreditation follows TAG’s ‘Certified Against Fraud’ Guidelines, and was achieved via an audit by an independent third party approved by TAG, BPA Worldwide. As required by the TAG guidelines, Exponential also works in compliance with The Media Rating Council’s Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration Guidelines (MRC IVT Guidelines).

To achieve compliance, Exponential has demonstrated its methodology is in accordance with TAG’s guidelines for its certification against fraud. Exponential employs multiple tools and controls to protect advertisers from invalid traffic, including regularly updated whitelists and blacklists, proprietary activity-based detection checks and manual invalid traffic checks, partner qualification controls for publishers upon being accepted into the network and ongoing process and transaction auditing for publishers. Exponential also employs a thorough compliance process with dedicated compliance and data quality officers and strict processes for handling invalid traffic complaints.

“Exponential is working alongside TAG to combat ad fraud. As an advertising intelligence company, we fully understand and recognize just how important it is to be vigilant about fraud,” said Tim Sleath, VP of product management, Exponential. “The industry is in a new era of digital transparency. It’s vital that companies work to prevent fraud and ensure brand safety. We are proud to play our part in making online advertising a safer, cleaner place and hope other companies follow suit.”

About Exponential

Exponential is a technology-driven advertising company, that enables brands to drive consumer engagement and performance across display, video and mobile.

When you have the right balance of people and technology, amazing things can happen. Exponential uses big data and machine learning to understand consumer interests in real-time, and delivers innovative creative experiences designed to trigger emotions that drive affinity and spend.

For more than 15 years, we have delivered superior advertising products and services that consumers embrace, agencies recommend, brands select, media providers prefer, and our employees are proud of. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Media Contact: Kara O’Donnell for Exponential kara@kitehillpr.com

Portrait of a travel-minded consumer

Portrait of a travel-minded consumer There is new data that paints a picture of what consumers are doing online in the days and weeks leading up to travel. This is what marketers need to know. When consumers travel, prepping isn't only about best airfare or the cheapest hotel - not even for those who are traveling for work. Of course, marketers know that travelers will be looking into restaurant and hotel information, but the new data out from Exponential, focused on travelers to Las Vegas, breaks that information out into time frames that could give marketers a great chance to engage and convert those consumers. For example, people who are traveling for extended stays in an area begin packing for their trips about 90 days before leaving; during this time frame, the consumer is most interested in package deals - so hotel/airfare combinations, or meal packages are likely of interest. Then, at about 60 days out, consumers will begin looking at events - concerts, local interest hangouts, sporting events. This is the point when business people, especially, begin booking hotel stays. "Travelers are some of the most valuable audiences for marketers. To help better understand their decision making, we explored behaviors that travelers exhibit before arriving at a popular destination such as Las Vegas. We found four types of visitor, each with a unique sequential pattern, that serve as a blueprint for marketers looking to reach these traveler segments," said Bryan Melmed, Vice President, Insights, Exponential. For restaurants and comedy clubs, targeting consumers who are about 45-30 days out of a trip is important because this is when traveling consumers begin making their actual decisions about entertainment and dining for the trip. Then, for retailers, about 15 days pre-travel, consumers will begin looking at local shops to plan their shopping visits. While this information doesn't guarantee that marketers will engage traveling consumers, knowing what these customers are looking for prior to leaving for their destination can go a long way toward creating a sense of engagement.

Exponential’s Jim Johnson Featured on Advertising Week on How To Persuade a Generation of Marketing Skeptics

Gen Z & Brand Loyalty: How to Persuade a Generation of Marketing Skeptics Generation “Z” comprises of people born generally between 1995 up to 2010. Although there is little agreement on that specific date range (or even the term Gen Z itself), the one thing that’s certain is that these individuals are unlike any other demographic grouping we’ve seen in history. Most obviously, they’ve all grown up within a technologically driven world where any information is a quick search away, lending itself to instant gratification. They are also the most ethnically diverse cohort in the U.S., with an estimate from Frank N. Magid and Associates putting the makeup at 55% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 14% African American, 4% Asian, and 4% multi-racial. For marketers, the challenge remains the same; capture attention and demonstrate that your message, product or service is worth it. What’s changed are the rules around how to engage, maintain loyalty, and ultimately provide some value in exchange for that engagement and loyalty. How can this be done with this new emerging group? I outline some ideas below. Keep in mind that the COPPA Act restricts data collection and marketing activities aimed at children under the age of 13, so all of the recommendations here assume that this has been taken into consideration. 1. Mobile + Location While millennials are often mentioned as a mobile-first generation, it’s really Gen Z who grew up not knowing what a busy signal meant. All they’ve known is texting, messaging and instant access to the world in the palm of their hands. It’s all a double-edged sword for marketers, really. On one hand, you have access to a group of people who are always connected in some way, either via apps, mobile web, messaging services or even streaming audio. On the other, you have a group of people who have become accustomed to tuning out marketing messages regardless of device. The trick is to use their mobility as the key to strike up a conversation, offering some value exchange in return. Location based mobile providers offer insight into the places they visit, how often they frequent them, and how long they stay there. This context is hugely powerful in understanding the physical world Gen Z lives in, and marketers can take advantage by encouraging them to return to those places they frequent, inviting their friends along, or sharing their experiences in exchange for monetary or loyalty based incentives. Even in the absence of any incentive, knowing that this generation prefers sharing experiences over consuming goods (similar to millennials), a simple reminder of their good times can be enough for them to return in the future (think of Facebook’s “On This Day” meets retargeting). 2. Gen Z is More Fiscally Conserative: Marketers should respect their experiences Although they are young, they are not without life experience. Gen Z grew up with 9/11 and the subsequent “War on Terror” altering their sense of security and safety at home. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 had them watching their parents struggle through the housing crisis and its economic aftermath, that in many ways is still felt today. This manifests itself in how they view money and spending. Lincoln Financial Group goes so far as to compare them to the “Greatest Generation” that grew up during the Great Depression, further mentioning that their top three priorities are getting a job, finishing college, and safeguarding their money. Without delving deeply into the impacts of lower consumer spending on deflation, it’s clear that the economic stakes are high and that marketers have their work cut out for them in convincing this group to part with their hard earned money. In recognizing their life experience, we also need to consider their consumer experience. Understanding these key factors is vital to recognizing the need to add value to a product or service wherever possible, which brings me to my next point… 3. Aim for 1:1 Connections Omnichannel Marketing promises to deliver a consistent and seamless consumer experience at every touchpoint, regardless of channel and device. While there are some technical hurdles for marketers to overcome in order to correctly identify a consumer for a true 1:1 conversation, one way to clear these hurdles without getting bogged down in cookie or device matching is to segment consumers based on need. At each stage of the purchase decision making process, a consumer will need additional information about your product or service, and will expect to find it via your website, social media pages or search. Customer journey mapping will help you better understand the signals your customers are sending you at each stage, enabling you to meet them halfway with pull marketing tactics such as content that provides answers to FAQ’s about your products and services, or customer testimonials to highlight your top product and service benefits. Since Gen Z are digital natives with their smartphone as the centerpiece of communication, offering this information in a mobile friendly way is a must (ie. social media channels, mobile video, or opt-in SMS and email marketing vs. traditional whitepaper downloads). 4. Think Creatively and Sparingly Gen Z, not unlike every generation of kids and teenagers before them, tend to view the world as the “grass is greener somewhere else”. Media consumption offers an escape from the everyday drudgery of suburbia, school and siblings, and advertising should do the same. Millward Brown’s 2017 AdReaction study not only mentions the fact that Gen Z is “significantly more likely to skip ads, (is) turned off by invasive, interruptive formats, (and is) highly discriminating and more averse to advertising in general.” They also note that they “prefer short content and the opportunity to interact with ads” as well as recommending that “the best ways to engage them are through music and humor.” Interestingly, the same study found that they are more open to ads appearing in traditional media formats over digital, likely due to their status as “digital natives” and the tendency for some less tasteful publishers and marketers to overload the digital ecosystem with poor user experiences in favor of profits. 5. Have Something to Say Marketers may understandably be a bit gun-shy about making social commentary or borrowing from current events in the face of increasing consumer backlash across social media channels (think Pepsi and its Kendall Jenner spot), but Gen Z is especially attuned to social causes and the brands that support them. After all, they may be young, but they’ve already lived through some major historical moments, ones that will shape how they purchase and consume products and services over their next 40 to 50 years. The brands that respect and honor the world they live in will be the ones who ultimately gain their loyalty.

Exponential’s Director of Creative Strategy Jason Bercovici published in Advertising Week on Short-Form vs. Long-Form Video

Short-Form vs Long-Form Video: The Answer is Sometimes Both For marketers, deciding between short-form and long-form video has been challenging. On one hand, consumers have short attention spans, and on the other, studies have shown that longer video can perform better. Both short and long formats have value. When deciding between the two, marketers should first consider the goal of the campaign. Goals for video campaigns can vary from upper funnel brand discovery to lower funnel clicks. Determining performance on marketing-based goals can be a bit complicated to pin down. So, advertisers often look at video completions and clickthroughs when measuring video campaign effectiveness. Clickthroughs are supposed to represent interested people who visit a site or social pages and then ingest more information about offerings. If site perusal is your goal, short video is best. Not only do short videos offer more scale, but there’s an inverse relationship between clickthroughs and longer viewing. Why produce a long video when you want people to click away rather than watch? The most popular metric for video ads is completion rate. In theory, completions represent people who attentively watch your entire video. But confirming viewers’ attention is complicated. One important variable to consider when measuring attention is whether the viewer can skip the video. Standard 15 and 30-second, non-skippable pre-roll ads have average completion rates around 70%. But formats like YouTube’s skippable TrueView or Facebook’s easy to scroll past video ads average less than 30%. Are so many more people really paying attention to non-skippable ads? Or are they tuning out while the ads play?

Considering Short-Form Video

When considering the two most popular metrics for video campaigns, short-form seems to be the clear winner. They make more sense for those with clickthrough goals. And most video vendors recommend shorter videos because they perform better on video completions. This is because as video length increases, so does viewer drop-off. Scale is also a big consideration. Most in-stream ad inventory doesn’t allow for long-form ads. Especially non-skippable inventory, where the completion rates are highest. This is likely a big reason why, even though people have been predicting for years and years that long-form video is the future, the majority of video ads are 30 seconds or shorter. Look past the completion rate and short-form isn’t the clear choice. With most videos, viewership drops off precipitously in the first several seconds. YouTube introduced 6 second Bumper ads last year to combat this. But it’s hard to tell a story in 6 seconds. This is where long-form video can excel.

Considering Long-Form Video

Long-form video is often touted as a better way to engage consumers, with greater emphasis on entertainment and story. Since people need to opt-in to view long-form content, it’s easy to put it out there, but hard to get it watched. This puts it at a disadvantage compared to non-skippable standard length ads, which on the surface seem to perform better on viewing metrics. However, this is where goals come into play. What are the goals of the campaign? Is it just to drive clicks and completions? Or are there longer-term ambitions like trying to build brand affinity, which require true viewer attention. Long-form video can be very effective at capturing attention. Here’s a comparison of similar short and long-form videos from the same major national advertiser. With the standard 30-second commercial, 2/3 of viewers dropped off after 10 seconds and 16% completed the video. The long-form video was slightly over two and a half minutes long. Here, it took 39 seconds for 2/3 of viewers to drop off and 13% completed the video. The long-form video delivered significantly more attention to more people than the shorter ad.

Using Short and Long-Form Together

A big reason the longer video worked is that the brand was seamlessly integrated into the video. Advertisers are competing with a glut of high quality content that is available on demand. Whether short or long, authentic stories captivate people. Including clumsy brand references and salesy messages detract from authenticity. Savvy content creators know that plastering logos everywhere doesn’t resonate with today’s consumers. If you want people to pay attention to your video then it should look like content and not like a commercial. You can tell people a story in 30 seconds or 3 minutes and they’ll watch both as long as the story is good. Typically, between 2-6 minutes is the sweet spot for long-form videos. It’s best to choose brevity when possible, including only those elements essential to your story. But regardless of video length, some viewers will drop-off quickly. It’s often recommended to front-load messaging and quickly get your takeaway across before people leave. But this can be difficult to do well and often interrupts the flow of your story. Instead of stuffing brand messaging in the first 5 seconds just make the ad 5 seconds. Otherwise make the first 5 seconds more interesting. This way more people will choose to watch. And then, by focusing on the story, those people will watch longer. Factoring in viewing drop-off and creating your ad for the people who stay will maximize the value of your long-form video. You can always reach those with short attention spans or take advantage of short-form inventory sources with edited-down versions. A 3-minute video can always be trimmed to a 60-second version for Instagram, a 30-second pre-roll, and a 6-second blast. But that perfect 3-minute cut offers storytelling and engagement opportunities, often with your most interested and valuable consumers, well beyond those of the typical short-form ad.

Exponential’s Director of Creative Strategy Jason Bercovici featured in Huffington Post on Short-Form vs. Long-Form Video

Short-Form vs Long-Form Video: The Answer is Sometimes Both For marketers, deciding between short-form and long-form video has been challenging. On one hand, consumers have short attention spans, and on the other, studies have shown that longer video can perform better. Both short and long formats have value. When deciding between the two, marketers should first consider the goal of the campaign. Goals for video campaigns can vary from upper funnel brand discovery to lower funnel clicks. Determining performance on marketing-based goals can be a bit complicated to pin down. So, advertisers often look at video completions and clickthroughs when measuring video campaign effectiveness. Clickthroughs are supposed to represent interested people who visit a site or social pages and then ingest more information about offerings. If site perusal is your goal, short video is best. Not only do short videos offer more scale, but there’s an inverse relationship between clickthroughs and longer viewing. Why produce a long video when you want people to click away rather than watch? The most popular metric for video ads is completion rate. In theory, completions represent people who attentively watch your entire video. But confirming viewers’ attention is complicated. One important variable to consider when measuring attention is whether the viewer can skip the video. Standard 15 and 30-second, non-skippable pre-roll ads have average completion rates around 70%. But formats like YouTube’s skippable TrueView or Facebook’s easy to scroll past video ads average less than 30%. Are so many more people really paying attention to non-skippable ads? Or are they tuning out while the ads play?

Considering Short-Form Video

When considering the two most popular metrics for video campaigns, short-form seems to be the clear winner. They make more sense for those with clickthrough goals. And most video vendors recommend shorter videos because they perform better on video completions. This is because as video length increases, so does viewer drop-off. Scale is also a big consideration. Most in-stream ad inventory doesn’t allow for long-form ads. Especially non-skippable inventory, where the completion rates are highest. This is likely a big reason why, even though people have been predicting for years and years that long-form video is the future, the majority of video ads are 30 seconds or shorter. Look past the completion rate and short-form isn’t the clear choice. With most videos, viewership drops off precipitously in the first several seconds. YouTube introduced 6 second Bumper ads last year to combat this. But it’s hard to tell a story in 6 seconds. This is where long-form video can excel.

Considering Long-Form Video

Long-form video is often touted as a better way to engage consumers, with greater emphasis on entertainment and story. Since people need to opt-in to view long-form content, it’s easy to put it out there, but hard to get it watched. This puts it at a disadvantage compared to non-skippable standard length ads, which on the surface seem to perform better on viewing metrics. However, this is where goals come into play. What are the goals of the campaign? Is it just to drive clicks and completions? Or are there longer-term ambitions like trying to build brand affinity, which require true viewer attention. Long-form video can be very effective at capturing attention. Here’s a comparison of similar short and long-form videos from the same major national advertiser. With the standard 30-second commercial, 2/3 of viewers dropped off after 10 seconds and 16% completed the video. The long-form video was slightly over two and a half minutes long. Here, it took 39 seconds for 2/3 of viewers to drop off and 13% completed the video. The long-form video delivered significantly more attention to more people than the shorter ad.

Using Short and Long-Form Together

A big reason the longer video worked is that the brand was seamlessly integrated into the video. Advertisers are competing with a glut of high quality content that is available on demand. Whether short or long, authentic stories captivate people. Including clumsy brand references and salesy messages detract from authenticity. Savvy content creators know that plastering logos everywhere doesn’t resonate with today’s consumers. If you want people to pay attention to your video then it should look like content and not like a commercial. You can tell people a story in 30 seconds or 3 minutes and they’ll watch both as long as the story is good. Typically, between 2-6 minutes is the sweet spot for long-form videos. It’s best to choose brevity when possible, including only those elements essential to your story. But regardless of video length, some viewers will drop-off quickly. It’s often recommended to front-load messaging and quickly get your takeaway across before people leave. But this can be difficult to do well and often interrupts the flow of your story. Instead of stuffing brand messaging in the first 5 seconds just make the ad 5 seconds. Otherwise make the first 5 seconds more interesting. This way more people will choose to watch. And then, by focusing on the story, those people will watch longer. Factoring in viewing drop-off and creating your ad for the people who stay will maximize the value of your long-form video. You can always reach those with short attention spans or take advantage of short-form inventory sources with edited-down versions. A 3-minute video can always be trimmed to a 60-second version for Instagram, a 30-second pre-roll, and a 6-second blast. But that perfect 3-minute cut offers storytelling and engagement opportunities, often with your most interested and valuable consumers, well beyond those of the typical short-form ad.

Exponential CEO Dilip DaSilva featured in Adotas on Transparency

Is Transparency The Answer To Achieving Accountable And Effective Marketing? The Answer May Surprise You Recently, Proctor and Gamble called on the media buying and selling industry to get its act together and demanded transparency into the whole supply chain. When I buy Proctor and Gamble’s products, I don’t ask them for transparency into their supply chain. In fact, I buy their products knowing that I will get high quality products at competitive prices because I can choose between many competing brands. Ad tech is also a competitive space, so why is our industry the only one where customers need supply-chain transparency? I believe the reason is that marketers and their agencies have often chosen to believe that efficiency will drive better results. A focus on efficiency means investing all your marketing through a single partner, like a trading desk or DSP, to reap the benefits of tactics such as execution simplification, deduplication, frequency control, viewability, and cost transparency. The argument for consolidating all spend through a single platform is that by eliminating waste you drive higher ROI and better results. But can focusing too much on efficiency result in less effective marketing? The tradeoff when focusing on efficiency through consolidating spend via a single platform is that you end up with less competition, slower innovation and complacency. With fewer partners, it is harder to compare partners against each other and keep them accountable. Agencies and marketers who choose efficiency over competition may have short-term gains, but will eventually regret that decision in the long-term. For example, several years ago, Proctor and Gamble decided to leverage Audience Science as their single platform, yet they recently abandoned the single platform strategy for multiple platforms. Agency holding companies like WPP decided to acquire their own tech stack, but it became challenging to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation from many ad-tech startups . All agency holding companies have used efficiency to rationalize consolidating spend with a reduced set of platforms. This may benefit the agency holding company, trading desk or DSP, and the cost-saving arguments may seem compelling to a marketer, but is it the most effective strategy for consistently driving the best results for a brand? Competitive Marketing Will Consistently Beat Efficient Marketing To remain top of mind and gain market-share over competing brands, brands need to constantly innovate. Innovation in ad tech moves quickly and how a partner performs depends on their evolving tech, algorithms, data and people. A partner that is a top performing partner one quarter may fall behind in subsequent quarters and others that may not have performed in the past may develop new algorithms or add new data to improve their performance significantly. And there are always newcomer partners with unique offerings that could drive better results. An agency that leverages the full breadth of competitive partners and startups to create a dynamic, competitive environment for the brands they represent, will consistently drive better results than an agency that focuses on efficiency and restricts their competitive environment. Achieving A Competitive Marketing Environment Leveraging partner competition to create a highly effective marketing machine requires creating a competitive environment that is both fair and transparent. By fair, all partners are measured on a level playing field, with a marketer clearly defining their objectives and selecting an attribution vendor that can accurately measure which efforts are directly impacting the brand’s desired end results. The attribution model is paramount. For example, an attribution model that does not align well with desired outcomes means that partners may focus on strategies that appear to drive results, but are not as effective. A common example is last-click attribution, which is notorious for rewarding partners who focus on lower-funnel retargeting strategies over upper-funnel prospecting strategies. Creating a level playing field means all partners have the same setup with regard to leveraging first-party data for optimization and targeting, and all partners are driving both lower-funnel retargeting strategies and upper-funnel prospecting strategies. When some partners are chosen for lower-funnel retargeting strategies, and others for prospecting, it results in an uneven playing field and undermines a key goal of creating a competitive environment. Competition is further enhanced by providing transparency to partners into how they are performing relative to other partners. Providing all partners a daily or weekly scorecard that compares partners on end result performance along with details on budget, impressions, and other metrics will go a long way towards ensuring all parties are accountable and working as hard as possible for the brand. In an ideal competitive environment, a marketer leverages four to eight partners and splits the total campaign budget into a test budget and a top-performer budget . The test budget is dedicated to testing all partners with an evenly split budget. The top-performer budget is allocated to one or two of the partners in the test pool that are consistently performing the best. If a test partner does well in a month or quarter, then they can participate in the top partner pool with their total spend incrementally increasing to ensure that they continue to drive similar performance at higher scale. The worst performing test partners should be rotated out and replaced by new partners. It is important to resist the temptation of reducing all spend to one or two top-performing partners. Although this may produce better short-term results, it reduces competition in the long-term, and does not provide a benchmark to constantly keep the top performers accountable and working hard to drive the best results. I believe that the unusual requirement for supply-chain transparency in our industry is a result of agencies and marketers placing too much emphasis on efficiency. With a reduction in partners, marketers are unsure how to keep their partners accountable and hence, the need for transparency. Yet, does transparency equal accountability? Instead, marketers should singularly focus on driving end results, and can run a far more effective and accountable marketing strategy through leveraging a dynamic, competitive environment. If any partners are inefficient, serving too many impressions or non-viewable impressions to each consumer, or are taking too much margin, their performance will suffer relative to other partners. Competition is the most effective means to keep partners accountable, so why not leverage it to consistently drive the best results?  

Exponential’s Tim Sleath is Featured in Response Magazine on Google’s Ad Filter

Ad Blockers Not Concerned With Google Ad Filter; Marketers More Wary MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google’s announcement of its coming ad blocker for its Chrome web browser (the most-used web browser in the U.S., with a 44.5 percent market share) is spurring comments from ad blocking companies and marketers. The Wall Street Journal has reported several ad-blocking companies say they won’t be replaced by Google’s efforts. But some marketing insiders are viewing Google’s move more warily, with trepidation to the growing power of Google. Preethy Vaidyanathan, a senior vice president at Tapad, told Direct Marketing News Google’s foray into ad blocking is a conflict of interest. “This is Google’s monolithic attempt to write the rules to ad blocking, while simultaneously circumventing its own policies to ensure publishers and Google still get paid,” he said. “What marketers can learn from Google’s ad blocker launch is the importance of personalization and creativity in attracting consumers. Brands that solidly understand who their ideal customers are will be able to pivot their advertisements to provide informative, engaging and educational utility.” Udayan Bose, CEO of search marketing company NetElixir, told Direct Marketing News budgets and focus may shift toward in-app advertisements due to GoogleFilter. “Once the ad block feature gets implemented, the majority of users would not have to go for a third-party software to block ads,” Bose said. “This will effectively reduce Google’s dependency on software like Adblock Plus, and result in significant revenue growth for Google.” Bose added he believes the ad blocker will not make a big impact on AdWords/DoubleClick display ads. “In fact, the market share may marginally grow as smaller advertising platforms with borderline ad practices, like text-link ads and interstitial ads, apparently will be thrown under the bus,” he said. Direct Marketing News also spoke with Tim Sleath, vice president of product management at Exponential. He said the marketing world is seeing “the friction as the internet develops from something open into a collection of very large walled gardens – walled jungles? – with the open part of the internet increasingly marginalized – and that should give everyone pause.” And Rich Sutton with Trusted Media Brands told Direct Marketing News he supports Google’s move. “It’s in everyone’s best interest, including Google’s, to improve the audience experience and eliminate advertising that is unreasonably interruptive,” Sutton said. “This industry shift allows the ad tech ecosystem to be held accountable for creating experiences that are truly consumer-friendly.” Google says the technology is expected to arrive early in 2018 with the aim is to help publishers shift to less intrusive ad formats.

Exponential’s Tim Sleath Weighs in on Google’s Ad Blocker

Four Marketing Experts Weigh In on Google's Ad Blocker When Google announced it would launch an ad blocker for its Chrome web browser in a blog post last week, consumers who bemoan the overuse of pop-up ads likely breathed a sigh of relief. However, the marketing world viewed the move more warily, with trepidation to the growing power of Google. Currently, Google and Facebook dominate the digital advertising industry; the two companies reportedly accounted for 89 percent of all digital ad revenue growth in 2016 according to the IAB. And antitrust experts and media industry leaders are concerned about any move that would give the tech conglomerates even more market power. Google Chrome is already the most-used web browser in the US, with a 44.5% market share. According to the blog post, Google's ad blocker will be turned on by default, screening content and flagging advertisements that don't conform to standards laid out by the industry trade group Coalition for Better Ads. If a website consistently violates these standards though, the filter will then block all ads on that website. In addition to the ad blocker, Google also announced the introduction of a tool called “Funding Choices” that will allow publishers to ask readers to either disable ad blockers or pay to view content without ads — and Google would get a cut of the payment. It's this tool that has those in marketing questioning the approach, as well as, the overwhelming power the ad blocker would give Google. Here's how the marketing world responded: Preethy Vaidyanathan, SVP Product at Tapad Consumers dislike intrusive advertising, so a filter to weed out the industry's bad actors is seemingly good in theory. Advertising, however, fuels a free internet. Google's new ad blocking Chrome extension is a conflict of interest. This is Google's monolithic attempt to write the rules to ad blocking, while simultaneously circumventing its own policies to ensure publishers (and in turn, Google) still get paid. Google is writing the rules of what an "intrusive" ad means, setting up Google payment platform workarounds; they are both building the walls while collecting admission to view the gardens. Instead of acting as consumer advocates, with this extension consumers will no longer dictate the rules to content. Consumers will not be able to access certain publisher content without paying. Google's payment platforms will become the new shepherd to the internet, with the Google Chrome ad blocker creating a gated marketplace. What marketers can learn from Google's ad blocker launch is the importance of personalization and creativity in attracting consumers. Brands that solidly understand who their ideal customers are will be able to pivot their advertisements to provide informative, engaging and educational utility. Udayan Bose, CEO of search marketing company NetElixir It could mean the rise of in-app advertising. Budgets and focus may shift towards in-app advertisements due to GoogleFilter. Once the ad block feature will get implemented, the majority of user would not have to go for a third party software to block ads. This will effectively reduce Google's dependency on software like Adblock Plus, and result in significant revenue growth for Google. The ad blocker will not make a big impact on AdWords/DoubleClick display ads. In fact, the market share may marginally grow as smaller advertising platforms with borderline ad practice like text link ads, interstitial ads apparently will be thrown under the bus. While this step is definitely pro-consumer, we believe it also helps Google extend its already substantial influence and control on the industry. There are two important trends that support this step – a) extensive use of ad blockers by millennials and GenZ b) Mobile has displaced desktop as the first screen. Both these trends will only grow in the future and Google wants to increase its influence and reach therein. Tim Sleath, VP, Product Management at Exponential On the one hand, I can only applaud the move to fewer, better ads and acknowledge the Coalition for Better Ads are involved in deciding what constitutes a “bad ad”. I will shed no tears for the impact this has on Eyeo's self-appointed judge, jury, executioner approach. However, I can only lament that the option to go “ad-free” requires users to pay via Google Play…and, therefore, be logged in to transact using Google. We are seeing the friction as the internet develops from something open into a collection of very large walled gardens (walled jungles?), with the open part of the internet increasingly marginalized – and that should give everyone pause. Rich Sutton, CRO Trusted Media Brands Since the industry starting buzzing about Google's solution, I've been in favor of it. It's in everyone's best interest, including Google's, to improve the audience experience and eliminate advertising that is unreasonably interruptive. This industry shift allows the ad tech ecosystem to be held accountable for creating experiences that are truly consumer-friendly. Marketers will be challenged to incorporate more human interaction alongside their technology solutions. They'll be challenged even more so now to think like a consumer and produce experiences consumers would want to interact with. Most importantly, marketers will be challenged to develop new and innovative campaigns that engage a consumer in an authentic way and run on brand safe platforms. Google will be the driving force behind all of us to adapt our strategies and ultimately win the loyalty of the consumer.

Exponential’s CEO Dilip DaSilva featured in MediaPost

Havas Programmatic Dashboard Is A Step Toward Transparency by Tobi Elkin Marketers are clamoring for more transparency into the process of buying digital media. An important part of that is the need for more clarity into the murky process of buying programmatic media. In an attempt to meet marketers’ needs, Havas, the French agency holding company, launched what it’s calling the Client Trading Solution. Havas claims the customizable dashboard will enable marketers to track and monitor their programmatic campaigns and fees across demand-side platforms (DSPs) and exchanges in real time. Havas said the system will enable clients to watch agency traders negotiate rates with vendors, create targeting strategies, and optimize campaigns in real-time. Marketers will be able to see the specific costs of media and data. Depending on vendor contracts, they will also be able to manage fee negotiations. If the system delivers on that promise, it will be a step in the right direction for an ecosystem cloaked in mystery, smoke, and mirrors, that it can be incomprehensible even to people in the business. Havas, it should be noted, requires programmatic training for all its employees. The Spanish telco Telefónica is using the product, along with another client Havas said is adopting the system. It will be interesting to see what marketers have to say about the product once they use it. Meanwhile, Dilip DaSilva, CEO of Exponential, weighed in: “The reason there is pressure for transparent platforms in programmatic buying is to counter the erosion of trust between client and agency. However, providing transparent access to track programmatic spend, as seen by a trading desk or DSP, is only one peel of the onion.” DaSilva continued: “There are many players in the supply chain, and simply providing access to the price paid doesn’t expose all the other ways in which an advertiser’s trust can be eroded. "The issues stemming from a lack of trust and transparency can be eliminated when marketers focus on results and create a competitive environment where multiple vendors are compared fairly based on performance. If any vendor, DSP, or trading desk is operating in a way that’s not aligned with the client’s best interests, this will be clear in the results. "The fact that transparency has become a requirement is an indication that clients haven’t set up a competitive environment where multiple players are competing to drive results for their brand. A highly competitive environment should be the requirement, with transparency delivered as an add-on. Still, this platform is a step in the right direction."

Exponential Taps Offline Location Data via Partnership with Cuebiq

Insights based on geo-behavioral data allow marketers to more accurately reach target audiences and evaluate campaigns.

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (May 10, 2017)Exponential Interactive, one of the largest digital advertising companies reaching over 700 million users monthly, has partnered with Cuebiq, the largest provider of accurate and precise location data in the U.S. The partnership is twofold. First, it provides advertisers the ability to target users based on their offline and online activities by combining Cuebiq’s offline location-based audience profiles with Exponential’s online interest-based audiences. Second, it allows advertisers to measure campaign effectiveness by using Cuebiq’s attribution capabilities. 

“As advertisers constantly work to achieve better accuracy and stay connected with their consumers, it is essential to obtain a complete view of the consumer, based on both their offline and online behaviors,” said Antonio Tomarchio, CEO, Cuebiq. “We are thrilled to work with Exponential to provide advertisers this kind of data and intelligence needed to drive campaigns forward.”

In a recent campaign for a top automotive brand, Exponential used Cuebiq’s Attribution solution to test the effectiveness of Exponential’s proprietary video VDX ad format. The test analyzed footfall and time spent at the dealerships for consumers who were exposed to the ads.

The analysis showed the VDX video advertising units led to a 68% footfall uplift against the unexposed control group, which when compared to the 24% uplift for IAB standard banners, shows how much more effective the VDX units are at driving footfall into store. In addition, 71% of consumers exposed to VDX formats visited a dealer within seven days of seeing the ad and 32% of users spent over 30 minutes at the dealership.

“This partnership enables us to harness a more complete view of consumers, both online and offline. The success of our advertisers’ campaigns, like the one for the auto dealership, speaks for itself and we see only positive gains for our advertisers by partnering with Cuebiq,” said Tim Sleath, VP, product management, Exponential. “We look forward to continuing our work together and building our data, which allows us to measure our campaigns more effectively, reach the right audiences and to draw them to physical locations like dealerships and stores.”

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way audiences interact with brands across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and performance. Creativity, data and audience insights form the foundation for building smart and relevant brand engagement and brand performance solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

About Cuebiq

Cuebiq is the largest provider of accurate and precise location data in the U.S.  Its leading data intelligence platform analyzes location patterns of 61 million monthly active U.S. smartphone users on over 180 mobile apps, allowing businesses to glean actionable insights about real-world consumer behaviors and trends.  Cuebiq provides clients geo-behavioral audiences for cross-platform ad targeting, the industry's only SaaS based real-time campaign optimization and footfall attribution tools, and offline location analytics.  Cuebiq does not collect any personally identifiable information. Its privacy-sensitive methodology has earned the company membership status with the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), the leading self-regulatory industry association dedicated to responsible data collection and its use for digital advertising.  Cuebiq is headquartered in New York with offices in Chicago, Italy and China.

Exponential’s Tim Sleath featured in DMNews on Google Chrome and Adblocking Software

Google Chrome to Ride Shotgun on Unacceptable Ads How offensive or annoying is that? That's a real question for those in the business of assessing what types of ads viewers might consider beyond the pale: Especially now, when ads that don't make the cut may be blocked before any human sees them. Ad blocking software is what many people rely on to stop annoying popups and noisy videos that play online when they want to watch or read something. However, those extensions required downloads and sometimes fail. They could prove far more effective if they are integral to the browser. Google has plans to do just that in Chrome, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The standards Google would apply would be based on the research of the Coalition for Better Ads. Its Initial Better Ads Standards drew on over 25,000 consumer ratings of digital ad experiences in North America and Europe, this past March. Marketers who ignore the standards, thinking that it will only affect some of their ads, may suffer unanticipated consequences. According to the Journal, Chrome may keep out “all advertising that appears on sites with offending ads, instead of the individual offending ads themselves." Like the one bad apple, one bad ad can spoil the entire marketing barrel, which is a very high price to pay for poor judgement. What do marketers think about Google getting into the ad monitoring act? Some admit that ads can be very intrusive, and they serve neither the marketer nor the viewer when they create bad experiences. If marketers don't reign themselves in, then someone else should do it for them. That's the view of Rich Sutton, CRO at Trusted Media Brands. He says: "It's in everyone's best interest, including Google's, to improve the audience experience and eliminate advertising that is unreasonably interruptive. With such a large portion of Google's revenue reliant on advertising, it makes sense the company would want more control of ad blocking options. It may be that Google is taking preemptive steps to help solve a problem that no one in the industry benefits from - a poor, intrusive advertising experience on the web." Sutton accepts that it makes sense for Google to be involved because it benefits from ad revenue directly. It also pays fees to Eyeo, the brand behind AdBlock Plus, to keep its ads unblocked. Tim Sleath, VP, product management at Exponential, points out: “Given they already pay into Eyeo's ‘acceptable ads program,' disintermediating that player and controlling the user experience makes sense." He also believes the ad guidelines will result in a better experience that ultimately, would benefit all involved (with the exception of Eyeo, of course). However, Sleath also points to a potential pitfall: “Google's big problem is making itself the judge and jury (and yes, potentially executioner) for this – it's definitely on the EU's competitiveness radar. Google will have to be scrupulous about only applying the CBA's rules completely impartially.” Along the same lines, Kate O'Loughlin, SVP of media at Tapad raises the “walled gardens” issue that she expects would be exacerbated by allowing “Google to close the ecosystem under its opaque control.” The potential to fall into the “nefarious pay-to-play model” that ad blockers apply to let only certain ads through could end up corrupting the objectivity the standards supposedly stand for. O'Loughlin is not completely pessimistic about it. She does see it forcing marketers to make necessary adjustments, “to create better ads that engage with consumers in more authentic, non-intrusive ways.” More effective ads are the result that Brian Baumgart, CEO and co-founder of Conversion Logic  anticipates as the Coalition for Better Ads extends its rearch to “provide a deeper understanding of” what appeals to customers. That discovery “could provide insights for marketers' to achieve 1:1 marketing,” he says. Just about all of us would agree that annoying ads don't do anyone any good. But the question is whether or not we will trust Google to censor them out for us. That's something that not everyone would likely agree on.

Exponential’s CEO Dilip DaSilva featured in Exchange Wire

The YouTube Boycott & Brand Management in the Age of Trump This recent incident of hundreds of brands boycotting YouTube and Google is very different from anything we have seen before. The situation all seemingly started with an article breaking the news of video ads appearing alongside extremist videos and, within a week, hundreds of brands decided to boycott YouTube. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Dilip DaSilva, CEO, Exponential, asks whether this is an orchestrated event. These brands are likely not talking to each other and collectively deciding to pull out. Yet, this situation has snowballed fairly quickly, which leads us to scratch our heads wondering why. We are all puzzled, because I don’t believe this response is about brand safety alone or even about supporting terrorist organisations, as described in the initial article. I believe something else is going on and it would be helpful to understand the context. After Trump was elected, a global grassroots movement developed to boycott publications that post or support hate or fake content. Groups like Sleeping Giants have sprung up and have made it their mission to spot and boycott brands that support certain publications. No brand wants to be called out and boycotted by this grassroots movement, as it can have a major and immediate impact on their revenues. And it can have a lasting negative impact on the brand. Breitbart was the first content site that was targeted and now over 1,000+ brands have banned advertising on the site. I believe people contacted the brands to let them know they would boycott their products if they did not stop advertising on Breitbart. This grassroots movement developed and grew via social media and is global. People are fired up. It is the same movement that saw massive protests during the Women’s March in cities across the world; and is the same movement that’s flooding the phone lines of every representative in congress. People within this movement are contacting the brands and the press. Google continue to serve adSense ads on Breitbart, as they want to take a neutral stance and leave it up to the advertisers to decide where they run. Google have taken a similarly neutral stance with YouTube. The company believes that allowing advertisers to better choose on what content they run is the way they can navigate this situation. This grassroots movement cannot boycott a publisher like YouTube or Google and have much of any impact on the publisher’s bottom line. However, they can threaten to boycott the brands that support YouTube and Google. I believe this is how hundreds of brands ended up boycotting YouTube in a matter of days. Brands are clearly highly sensitive to being caught on the wrong side of this movement. It may also be possible that this grassroots movement is punishing Google because they continue to support Breitbart. In a time when power has tilted too far in favour of large corporations and the government, Trump’s presidency has become a catalyst for activating a large group of people who have just started realising how to flex their muscles. We have already seen this with people boycotting Nordstrom for carrying Ivanka’s brand and a similar boycott of Under Armor and Uber because of their CEOs’ support of Trump. Now this movement seems to be going after Google for supporting Breitbart. Given this perspective, it seems that adding better filtering to avoid inappropriate content is not going to end the boycott. As the saying goes, with all free products like YouTube, if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Google make money by attracting consumers to their content and then getting advertisers to pay to display ads to those consumers. Consumers have little power in this dynamic and Trump’s pro-business position tilts the balance even further in favour of corporations. However, the Trump presidency has activated people around the world, and consumers are connecting with each other to fight this new world order. As they fight back with their wallets, brands are having to react. What is different now is that consumers are banding together around a shared initiative and brands have to figure out how navigate this shift in power towards consumers. Google are in a tough position. They would rather not have to censor content and leave this to the advertiser. They will have to weigh whether continuing to support content like Breitbart is worth the cost of the boycott. And should they cut off Breitbart, it will only further embolden this grassroots movement. For the first time, Google have to face this new shift in power created through consumers banding together on social media. In the case of brands, they will need to be much more agile and make sure they do not get caught on the wrong side of this movement. In the past, it might have been safest to remain neutral and avoid controversy. However, with consumers who are activated and banding together, some brands may have to decide whether they need to take a position that demonstrates that their own values are aligned with the common values of this movement.

Exponential’s CEO Dilip DaSilva Talks The Youtube Boycott & Brand Management in the Age of Trump to ExchangeWire

The YouTube Boycott & Brand Management in the Age of Trump This recent incident of hundreds of brands boycotting YouTube and Google is very different from anything we have seen before. The situation all seemingly started with an article breaking the news of video ads appearing alongside extremist videos and, within a week, hundreds of brands decided to boycott YouTube. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Dilip DaSilva, CEO, Exponential, asks whether this is an orchestrated event. These brands are likely not talking to each other and collectively deciding to pull out. Yet, this situation has snowballed fairly quickly, which leads us to scratch our heads wondering why. We are all puzzled, because I don’t believe this response is about brand safety alone or even about supporting terrorist organisations, as described in the initial article. I believe something else is going on and it would be helpful to understand the context. After Trump was elected, a global grassroots movement developed to boycott publications that post or support hate or fake content. Groups like Sleeping Giants have sprung up and have made it their mission to spot and boycott brands that support certain publications. No brand wants to be called out and boycotted by this grassroots movement, as it can have a major and immediate impact on their revenues. And it can have a lasting negative impact on the brand. Breitbart was the first content site that was targeted and now over 1,000+ brands have banned advertising on the site. I believe people contacted the brands to let them know they would boycott their products if they did not stop advertising on Breitbart. This grassroots movement developed and grew via social media and is global. People are fired up. It is the same movement that saw massive protests during the Women’s March in cities across the world; and is the same movement that’s flooding the phone lines of every representative in congress. People within this movement are contacting the brands and the press. Google continue to serve adSense ads on Breitbart, as they want to take a neutral stance and leave it up to the advertisers to decide where they run. Google have taken a similarly neutral stance with YouTube. The company believes that allowing advertisers to better choose on what content they run is the way they can navigate this situation. This grassroots movement cannot boycott a publisher like YouTube or Google and have much of any impact on the publisher’s bottom line. However, they can threaten to boycott the brands that support YouTube and Google. I believe this is how hundreds of brands ended up boycotting YouTube in a matter of days. Brands are clearly highly sensitive to being caught on the wrong side of this movement. It may also be possible that this grassroots movement is punishing Google because they continue to support Breitbart. In a time when power has tilted too far in favour of large corporations and the government, Trump’s presidency has become a catalyst for activating a large group of people who have just started realising how to flex their muscles. We have already seen this with people boycotting Nordstrom for carrying Ivanka’s brand and a similar boycott of Under Armor and Uber because of their CEOs’ support of Trump. Now this movement seems to be going after Google for supporting Breitbart. Given this perspective, it seems that adding better filtering to avoid inappropriate content is not going to end the boycott. As the saying goes, with all free products like YouTube, if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Google make money by attracting consumers to their content and then getting advertisers to pay to display ads to those consumers. Consumers have little power in this dynamic and Trump’s pro-business position tilts the balance even further in favour of corporations. However, the Trump presidency has activated people around the world, and consumers are connecting with each other to fight this new world order. As they fight back with their wallets, brands are having to react. What is different now is that consumers are banding together around a shared initiative and brands have to figure out how navigate this shift in power towards consumers. Google are in a tough position. They would rather not have to censor content and leave this to the advertiser. They will have to weigh whether continuing to support content like Breitbart is worth the cost of the boycott. And should they cut off Breitbart, it will only further embolden this grassroots movement. For the first time, Google have to face this new shift in power created through consumers banding together on social media. In the case of brands, they will need to be much more agile and make sure they do not get caught on the wrong side of this movement. In the past, it might have been safest to remain neutral and avoid controversy. However, with consumers who are activated and banding together, some brands may have to decide whether they need to take a position that demonstrates that their own values are aligned with the common values of this movement.

Exponential’s Tim Sleath featured in Digital Marketing Magazine on Brand Safety

Brand Safety Management Requires the Human Touch It's not often issues such as 'programmatic advertising' and 'brand safety' make the BBC national evening news, however, that's exactly what happened last month thanks to the ongoing furore surrounding brand ads appearing alongside inappropriate online content. The recent crop of big name brands withdrawing ad budget from Google/YouTube follows on from the controversial ANA report in the US last year, which flagged up the very poor levels of transparency in the programmatic advertising industry and the very high levels of mark-up being applied by media buyers. When Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) chief brand officer Marc Pritchard recently made a speech characterising the current levels of transparency in the advertising supply chain as “murky at best and fraudulent at worst”, he sounded last orders on the outdated practices of many media buyers. In his address to the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in January, Pritchard told his audience that P&G had “come to its senses” and would no longer continue to invest in a media supply chain that was complicated, non-transparent, inefficient and, potentially, fraudulent. The global superbrand has given its agencies and media suppliers a year’s notice to clean up their acts – or else. For many, then, the game is up. Fortunately, for those intent on delivering the value, transparency and brand safety that advertisers such as P&G will increasingly demand, there is a ready-made answer in the form of machine learning. It’s ironic that while much of the media coverage of machine learning to date has positioned the technology as an existential threat to media buying firms and the jobs of those employed by them, in light of Marc Pritchard’s comments, Machine Learning may be the one thing that can actually save the beleaguered industry and restore its reputation as a valued partner to the business sector. In fact, I would argue that the capabilities of machine learning point the way forward for media buyers on how to deploy their human resources to best effect. Let me explain why. Rise of the machine – and the human The use of programmatic technologies within the delivery of ad campaigns over the past few years, has risen drastically. With this use of automation expected to increase within the next year or so, we can anticipate that it won’t be long before its influence crosses paths with the planning of campaigns, whereby machine learning will be able to displace a considerable amount of the manual time and effort involved. The reason? No human planning team of any feasible size can ever hope to replicate the capabilities of machine learning, which can quantitatively evaluate millions of individual customer journeys every hour, producing insights into consumer behaviour at a level and depth that’s never previously been attainable. The insights provided allow the machine to automatically identify and target audiences with relevant ads or messaging and deliver these at a frequency tailored to every stage of the consumer's individual journey. If media buyers are struggling to resource and execute on planning or delivery, therefore, machine learning can help. However, for the planning and delivery elements to work successfully, it is vital that they are underpinned by a solid foundation of strong supply chain management. We’ve argued before that trusting machines for planning and delivery of online ad campaigns can free up human resources to dedicate to customer experience and data strategy, but, equally, given the current industry emphasis on brand safety, machine learning can also be applied to support the processes and tasks needed to run in brand safe environments. Only human Machine learning certainly has a role to play with brand safety, but only providing you have set up a safe environment for the machine to work in. This, in practice, requires manpower. The current generation of media agency managers must decide for themselves where machine learning can be deployed successfully and which elements of service delivery require the human touch and the comprehension and intuition that only human experience can provide. For example, personalisation of marketing is one area where machine learning can help deliver a finely tuned user in real time. Leveraging multiple data points to iterate creative or landing pages is an effective way to ensure the most relevant and helpful path to purchase. However, other elements of marketing that should not be automated are the brand story and promise, the vehicle that brand message is delivered in, and the context in which that brand message appears. We know that the art of persuasion is inherently human, and no machine can replicate the emotional level in which we make purchase decisions - that ‘gut feeling’. The creative or delivery mechanism in which we bring our message to the user must respect their privacy and their sense of security in a non-intrusive way, and the message must be delivered in a context that makes sense so that all elements a brand’s consumer outreach are in perfect accord. The best way to ensure this is through having a human oversee the emotive aspects of marketing, its creative design, and, crucially, its ultimate placement on media channels that complement the original message. We can rely on machines to help us gather data and make rational decisions, but true persuasive balance is struck when we inject those elements that make us human into the mix and come up with a message that it at once both practical and provocative. If you are a client of a media agency, like Marc Pritchard of P&G, it’s time to challenge your agencies and vendors to embrace the benefits of machine learning and redeploy human resources to help deliver the brand safety, transparency and value for money you need.  

Exponential’s Tim Sleath’s Feature on Brand Safety in Digital Marketing Magazine

Brand Safety Management Requires the Human Touch It's not often issues such as 'programmatic advertising' and 'brand safety' make the BBC national evening news, however, that's exactly what happened last month thanks to the ongoing furore surrounding brand ads appearing alongside inappropriate online content. The recent crop of big name brands withdrawing ad budget from Google/YouTube follows on from the controversial ANA report in the US last year, which flagged up the very poor levels of transparency in the programmatic advertising industry and the very high levels of mark-up being applied by media buyers. When Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) chief brand officer Marc Pritchard recently made a speech characterising the current levels of transparency in the advertising supply chain as “murky at best and fraudulent at worst”, he sounded last orders on the outdated practices of many media buyers. In his address to the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in January, Pritchard told his audience that P&G had “come to its senses” and would no longer continue to invest in a media supply chain that was complicated, non-transparent, inefficient and, potentially, fraudulent. The global superbrand has given its agencies and media suppliers a year’s notice to clean up their acts – or else. For many, then, the game is up. Fortunately, for those intent on delivering the value, transparency and brand safety that advertisers such as P&G will increasingly demand, there is a ready-made answer in the form of machine learning. It’s ironic that while much of the media coverage of machine learning to date has positioned the technology as an existential threat to media buying firms and the jobs of those employed by them, in light of Marc Pritchard’s comments, Machine Learning may be the one thing that can actually save the beleaguered industry and restore its reputation as a valued partner to the business sector. In fact, I would argue that the capabilities of machine learning point the way forward for media buyers on how to deploy their human resources to best effect. Let me explain why. Rise of the machine – and the human The use of programmatic technologies within the delivery of ad campaigns over the past few years, has risen drastically. With this use of automation expected to increase within the next year or so, we can anticipate that it won’t be long before its influence crosses paths with the planning of campaigns, whereby machine learning will be able to displace a considerable amount of the manual time and effort involved. The reason? No human planning team of any feasible size can ever hope to replicate the capabilities of machine learning, which can quantitatively evaluate millions of individual customer journeys every hour, producing insights into consumer behaviour at a level and depth that’s never previously been attainable. The insights provided allow the machine to automatically identify and target audiences with relevant ads or messaging and deliver these at a frequency tailored to every stage of the consumer's individual journey. If media buyers are struggling to resource and execute on planning or delivery, therefore, machine learning can help. However, for the planning and delivery elements to work successfully, it is vital that they are underpinned by a solid foundation of strong supply chain management. We’ve argued before that trusting machines for planning and delivery of online ad campaigns can free up human resources to dedicate to customer experience and data strategy, but, equally, given the current industry emphasis on brand safety, machine learning can also be applied to support the processes and tasks needed to run in brand safe environments. Only human Machine learning certainly has a role to play with brand safety, but only providing you have set up a safe environment for the machine to work in. This, in practice, requires manpower. The current generation of media agency managers must decide for themselves where machine learning can be deployed successfully and which elements of service delivery require the human touch and the comprehension and intuition that only human experience can provide. For example, personalisation of marketing is one area where machine learning can help deliver a finely tuned user in real time. Leveraging multiple data points to iterate creative or landing pages is an effective way to ensure the most relevant and helpful path to purchase. However, other elements of marketing that should not be automated are the brand story and promise, the vehicle that brand message is delivered in, and the context in which that brand message appears. We know that the art of persuasion is inherently human, and no machine can replicate the emotional level in which we make purchase decisions - that ‘gut feeling’. The creative or delivery mechanism in which we bring our message to the user must respect their privacy and their sense of security in a non-intrusive way, and the message must be delivered in a context that makes sense so that all elements a brand’s consumer outreach are in perfect accord. The best way to ensure this is through having a human oversee the emotive aspects of marketing, its creative design, and, crucially, its ultimate placement on media channels that complement the original message. We can rely on machines to help us gather data and make rational decisions, but true persuasive balance is struck when we inject those elements that make us human into the mix and come up with a message that it at once both practical and provocative. If you are a client of a media agency, like Marc Pritchard of P&G, it’s time to challenge your agencies and vendors to embrace the benefits of machine learning and redeploy human resources to help deliver the brand safety, transparency and value for money you need.  

Exponential’s Tim Sleath featured on Marketing Tech News: Solving Transparency

I am often asked these days about our stance on transparency – the subject comes up in RFPs and has become the subject du jour in the same way as engagement, attribution and viewability. Solving Transparency: what do you mean by 'transparency'? As with these other trends, the term has been forced to carry more baggage than it was originally intended to. Let’s recap on the transparency debate. It stems from the ANA Transparency Report of May 2016, which was specifically about advertisers being misled  by agencies who may not be acting in their best interests. This was when the fire started. However, it’s important to note that there was smoke long before this as far back as May 2011. Cost and measurement This fire ignited the need for agencies to be able to be transparent to their clients. The initial requirement was to prove you were not spending money with companies that you own unless you can demonstrate its providing equal or better value than all other options. This has morphed into getting our suppliers to granularize and explain everything, so we can either overload our clients with data or find gaps where we can hide our own revenues and margins. In other words, there was no mandate for agencies to break down costs of independent vendors, yet that has been the focus of most of the pressure. Added to the mix has been the topic of measurement transparency that largely originated from Facebook’s careless approach to video metrics. Both cost and measurement transparency were seized on by Marc Pritchard in his now-legendary address, which fanned the ANA’s flame and dumped a load of lighter fluid on for good measure. Relying on the duopoly of Google and Facebook to tell you how much you owe them and how well things are working based on their numbers, when they account for 80% of ad spend, feels surreal to the point of being hallucinatory. But that is where things have been for several years. MRC accreditation and openness to 3rd party measurement is an overdue step – it’s surprising the ANA and 4A’s didn’t require this long ago. Proving genuine value Implicit in measurement transparency is the very reasonable request to know the domains where ads have been served, primarily for fraud and brand safety concerns. The tools to solve this are the same as those above, although the reporting is more substantial. In a future where firms are TAG Anti-Fraud accredited (again triggered by Mr Pritchard’s intervention), my assumption is the need to see actual log files will diminish. Transparency has effectively been a quest by clients to ensure they’re not being ripped off and it’s very hard to argue with that. The scope has expanded as agencies have passed on some of that pressure to their partners. In addition, there are other requirements which have been lazily conflated into the transparency bucket, as they do not relate to the financial standing of advertisers. Often “data transparency” or “model transparency” is also added to the list. For instance, what is being used to power a performance campaign. This has 2 roots, either a desire to dissect something that works to try and replicate (or even sabotage) it, or to be sure no data is being used that shouldn’t be. Finally, and much less frequently, “user transparency” is raised. This is a complex subject in its own right - but it has nothing to do with how advertiser money is spent. While the industry has made progress on providing greater clarity to consumers on the implicit deal they are making for a free internet (i.e. using their data and showing them ads) I don’t think anyone would claim this has reached a conclusion. With the GDPR and ePrivacy regulation arriving next year affecting EU citizens, this will need to be further addressed by major players and it remains to be seen if initiatives such as DigiTrust can provide a meaningful solution. Transparency has become a broad subject, but what we should be focusing on is simple: proving genuine value for money to advertisers.

Exponential’s Tim Sleath Featured in Marketing Tech on Transparency

Solving Transparency: what do you mean by 'transparency'? I am often asked these days about our stance on transparency – the subject comes up in RFPs and has become the subject du jour in the same way as engagement, attribution and viewability. As with these other trends, the term has been forced to carry more baggage than it was originally intended to. Let’s recap on the transparency debate. It stems from the ANA Transparency Report of May 2016, which was specifically about advertisers being misled  by agencies who may not be acting in their best interests. This was when the fire started. However, it’s important to note that there was smoke long before this as far back as May 2011.

Cost and measurement

This fire ignited the need for agencies to be able to be transparent to their clients. The initial requirement was to prove you were not spending money with companies that you own unless you can demonstrate its providing equal or better value than all other options. This has morphed into getting our suppliers to granularize and explain everything, so we can either overload our clients with data or find gaps where we can hide our own revenues and margins. In other words, there was no mandate for agencies to break down costs of independent vendors, yet that has been the focus of most of the pressure. Transparency has effectively been a quest by clients to ensure they’re not being ripped off  Added to the mix has been the topic of measurement transparency that largely originated from Facebook’s careless approach to video metrics. Both cost and measurement transparency were seized on by Marc Pritchard in his now-legendary address, which fanned the ANA’s flame and dumped a load of lighter fluid on for good measure. Relying on the duopoly of Google and Facebook to tell you how much you owe them and how well things are working based on their numbers, when they account for 80% of ad spend, feels surreal to the point of being hallucinatory. But that is where things have been for several years. MRC accreditation and openness to 3rd party measurement is an overdue step – it’s surprising the ANA and 4A’s didn’t require this long ago.

Proving genuine value

Implicit in measurement transparency is the very reasonable request to know the domains where ads have been served, primarily for fraud and brand safety concerns. The tools to solve this are the same as those above, although the reporting is more substantial. In a future where firms are TAG Anti-Fraud accredited (again triggered by Mr Pritchard’s intervention), my assumption is the need to see actual log files will diminish. Transparency has effectively been a quest by clients to ensure they’re not being ripped off and it’s very hard to argue with that. The scope has expanded as agencies have passed on some of that pressure to their partners. In addition, there are other requirements which have been lazily conflated into the transparency bucket, as they do not relate to the financial standing of advertisers. what we should be focusing on is simple: proving genuine value for money to advertisers Often “data transparency” or “model transparency” is also added to the list. For instance, what is being used to power a performance campaign. This has 2 roots, either a desire to dissect something that works to try and replicate (or even sabotage) it, or to be sure no data is being used that shouldn’t be. Finally, and much less frequently, “user transparency” is raised. This is a complex subject in its own right - but it has nothing to do with how advertiser money is spent. While the industry has made progress on providing greater clarity to consumers on the implicit deal they are making for a free internet (i.e. using their data and showing them ads) I don’t think anyone would claim this has reached a conclusion. With the GDPR and ePrivacy regulation arriving next year affecting EU citizens, this will need to be further addressed by major players and it remains to be seen if initiatives such as DigiTrust can provide a meaningful solution. Transparency has become a broad subject, but what we should be focusing on is simple: proving genuine value for money to advertisers.

Exponential featured in Digiday: Domain Spoofing Remains an Ad Fraud Problem

Because programmatic advertising has automated so much of media, more and more marketing dollars are underwriting fraud without advertisers’ knowledge. One major trick unscrupulous publishers are using is domain spoofing. While not exactly new, domain spoofing is getting into the public eye thanks to the rise of fake news.

Domain spoofing remains a huge threat to programmatic, by Yuyu Chen

Because programmatic advertising has automated so much of media, more and more marketing dollars are underwriting fraud without advertisers’ knowledge. One major trick unscrupulous publishers are using is domain spoofing. While not exactly new, domain spoofing is getting into the public eye thanks to the rise of fake news.

The recent “Methbot” scheme — which spoofed more than 6,000 premium publishers in the U.S. and generate as much as $5 million in fraudulent revenue per day — was the first public display of this risk. The way it works is that a buyer may see the URL for reputablewebsite.com (be it CNN or Huffington Post or any number of sites out there) but, in reality, is buying from a completely unrelated site, disreputablewebsite.com.

“Methbot was just one form of domain spoofing. It was unfortunately treated as a one-off incident, and industry attention subsequently died off,” said Rick Abell, vp of global publisher development for ad intelligence firm Exponential. “There are many more Methbot-type bots out there that have not yet been detected or reported on that are causing just as much damage.”

Since a publisher creates the bid request by itself, the publisher can put whatever URL, location and content on the page it wants, explained George Levin, CEO and co-founder for ad tech firm GetIntent. But domain spoofing isn’t just about fake news. It is one of the major underlying problems of programmatic, according to people interviewed for this article.

“I see lots of inventory from our 55 supply-side platform partners that has mismatched domain information and page information,” said Levin. “SSPs should have an algorithm to detect this problem, but many flow it to demand-side platforms. SSPs and DSPs can keep their eyes closed and feel comfortable because clients don’t know this anyways.”

Brands typically don’t receive log-level data from their agencies, so they don’t know what they are buying, said Mike Driscoll, CEO for analytics firm Metamarkets. For an advertiser, it boils down to how closely it works with ad partners who are connected with the end publisher, said Exponential’s Abell.

Publishers put their inventory up on an ad exchange, letting hundreds of parties bid for that impression. If an SSP wins the impression, it usually doesn’t serve ads directly by itself — it optimizes yield by letting hundreds of ad networks, other SSPs and DSPs bid on this impression. Then an ad network could put together a site list and includes all sites through that SSP, and then passes it off as its own site list, saying that it represents those sites. This ad network might resell the impression to another ad network and on and on until someone finally serves an advertiser into the impression, he explained.

“If any of those parties along the way misrepresent their inventory, domain spoofing could happen,” noted Abell. “The more hops there are, the more risk that one of the partners along the way is doing something unsavory. This also means their tag is nested in several iframe layers deep.”

Blacklists and whitelists — used by advertisers to block undesirable sites — wouldn’t help because those approaches can hardly verify an impression. Since a bid request has to go through many hoops (a tag within a tag within a tag), it is difficult for even verification vendors to catch fake domains, he said.

Stuart MacDougall, chief technology officer for performance marketing firm SourceKnowledge, thinks that fake domains are more of human negligence than an engineering problem.“Sometimes people just don’t check,” he said. “Brands outsource programmatic to agencies. Agencies are going through trading desks and buying a bunch of ad traffic without looking carefully because the supply chain is just too long.”

If people cared, the industry would have done a lot to improve ad fraud and fake news. But buying cheap media at scale is still what everyone is looking for today.

Exponential listed #1 on AllAdsNetwork’s Top 10 CMP Ad Networks 2017

Exponential is one of the largest CPM advertising networks known for their huge customer base and premium quality ads…the network is brand safe and the innovative ad platform delivers a great ad experience to the right audience. Exponential ads drive a good user engagement and action.

Top 10 CPM Ad Networks in 2017

For most of the online publishers, CPM Ads are the major source of making money. Unlike CPC ads, CPM ads are most preferred choice by publishers because in CPM ads, your every ad impressions counts. Before I begin discussing about the Best CPM ad networks, please be noted that I would not be including Google Adsense or any other PPC ad network. I would also not be listing any of those revenue share ad networks which often claim to be paying high CPM rates but they are basically a CPA network, so spare me RevenueHits. In this listing, I would also not include any new network which is less than 6 months old and hasn’t made sufficient ground in CPM advertising industry. All in all, I would be only listing the Top 10 CPM networks and no other CPC or Revenue Share networks. Please also be noted that as always this article is not affiliated to any ad network. There are no referral links and all the feedback is based on my own experience with the network. CPM means cost per mile or simply put Cost per thousand ad impressions. CPM ads are always a preferred choice over CPC ads because in CPM ads, you don’t have to worry about the CTR. You get paid for how many times the ad has been displayed on your website. Unlike CPC ads where you must get clicks to get paid, CPM ads doesn’t bother much on that. Unless you have a high CTR on your website, always go for CPM ad networks. Depending on your traffic volume always chose the best CPM ad network for your website. As the advertising industry is facing banner blindness, your chance of getting clicks on your CPC ads are almost negligible. I have seen many site earn better with CPM ads rather than Google Adsense too. How much can you make using CPM ads? It Depends! Earlier, a good CPM used to be anywhere between $3 to $7 per 1000 ad impressions. But because advertising industry is very competitive and every next two days a new ad network pops up, the CPM rates are drastically down. Not to discourage you, but a top cpm ad network would still pay you anywhere between $1 to $3 per 1000 ad impressions which even is a good rate. A good CPM rate depends upon the geography of your traffic as well, i.e your traffic origin. Traffic from Tier 1 countries such as US, Canada and UK receive higher CPM rates than the Tier 2 or Tier 3 countries.

1. Exponential

Exponential is one of the largest CPM advertising networks known for their huge customer base and premium quality ads. CPM rates are really good and are highest as per the standards. Talking about the ad quality, the network is brand safe and the innovative ad platform delivers a great ad experience to the right audience. Exponential ads drive a good user engagement and action. Ever since it was founded in 2001, Exponential has delivered trillions of ads impressions. The ad network is big and has locations in 22 countries worldwide. To get approved from Exponential publisher program, you would require a minimum of 500,000 unique visitors per month. If you have a website or blog with such a huge traffic, you would love to work with Exponential. Getting accepted is not as easy as it seems unless you are an online Brand.

2. Index Exchange

Index Exchange (Earlier Casale Media) not only offers you a high CPM rate but also allows your to choose your own CPM rates. They are the pioneer in online media technology. Index Exchange was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in New York city with 5 regional offices. The network is led by a team of 220 most experienced and innovative minds in the advertising industry. The requirement to join is not as high as Exponential, as for Index Exchange you would need around 50,000 unique visitors per month to get accepted in their program. The powerful dashboard is really easy to use and has a lot of real time data.

3. CPX Interactive

CPX Interactive is one of the largest CPM ad networks. What started as a small team of ad tech staffs, CPXi is one of those major name in ad industry. To get your website approved for their publisher program, you would need to have atleast 30,000 or more unique visits per month. But even then it may be tough if the site doesn’t meet their standards. Once you are accepted , you will have the option to also choose third party networks such as CPC, CPA and CPL ads. With more than 120 billion ad impressions per month, CPXi takes a lead in major CPM networks around. The CPM rates are flexible ranging from $0.2 to $3, but that depends based on various factors and traffic quality.

4. RhythmOne

RhythmOne is an online ad company founded in 2004 and headquartered in San Francisco. The network connects digital audiences with brands through premium content on desktop and mobile. They acquired Burst Media network in 2015. RhythmOne ad platform offers one of the largest supply in the industry. Their traffic requirement is pretty much less but their acceptance rate depends upon the quality of your content. To get accepted into the publisher platform, you would need to have at least 5000 monthly visitors or at least 25,000 page impressions per month. They support for Video Ads, Rich media ads, distributed content, sponsored ads.

5. Advertising

One of the trusted and popular ad network that pays high CPM rates is Advertising.com. The ad network is owned by AOL. The ad network controls everything about the ads that are being displayed on your website and displays the most relevant ads. The traffic requirements are pretty high but that’s because they are brand safe network and they work on a large scale to deliver quality ads to the best audience. If your blog has got good volume of traffic, definitely go for Advertising.com and make some Money.

6. Meridian Sovrn

If you already know Federated Media and Lijit, then Sovrn is just that network. The ad network was founded in 2014. Sovrn has a great track record and Quantcast has named it 4th largest ad network in the industry today. The ad network serves ads to more than 20,000 publishers worldwide. The ad platform is one of a kind and the the analytical tools lets you know how engaging your ads are on your content. If you have a good content website, then Sovrn will be right option for you. As a publisher you can set your desired eCPM rate for ads on your website.Sovrn is also a good network for smaller publishers as their requirements are pretty low and the minimum payout is only $25.

7. Conversant Network

Conversant Network (Earlier Value Click Media) is one of those ad networks that started during internet boom. The ad network was started in 1998 and since then they have gone a long way in the ad tech industry. You might have heard of Commission Junction, largest affiliate network; well they are the same company. There are very less traffic requirements to get accepted into the network but for your website to get approved, you would definitely need good quality content. Generally they approve website with minimum traffic of only 3000 visitors per month. The network works on all the verticals. Payment are made on Net 60 basis which is quite a lengthy term.

8. Adtegrity

Adtegrity was launched in 1999 and since then the ad giant has served trillions of ad impressions on Mobile advertising, Display advertising, video advertising as well as social advertising. The ad network has one of those strong ground in the advertising industry and accepts only quality sites with huge amount of traffic. Adtegrity is a public company with employees anywhere between 100 to 200. If you have a blog with around 5,00,000 page views per month then you can easily get approval on Adtegrity. The traffic requirements are really high with Adtegrity. The minimum cashout is $50 with PayPal or check.

9. AdCash

AdCash is one of those ad network that tests your traffic very ingeniously and blend the ads with CPM, CPA and other ad types. With the twist of CPA+ CPM + CPC + CPA + CPV ads, you get high eCPM rates based on your traffic. The minimum payout is €100 via PayPal, Payoneer, Wire Transfer and Skrill. I have personally worked with AdCash for many of my website and was generating quite a large income. As far as I know there are no minimum traffic requirements because every site of mine was accepted by them. This makes me to tell you that they do not accept incomplete website, free hosted websites, illegal content or infringing sites. AdCash is no doubt one of the fastest growing ad networks that have more than 100,000 websites under the control.

10. Pulse point

ContextWeb or Datran Media; if you know these two names, then you would have known PulsePoint. Pulsepoint is a new platform by ContextWeb and is headquartered in US. Pulsepoint serve more than 3 billion ad impressions per day. For publishers, there are no specific traffic requirements. They accept sites easily provided you have good quality content and quality traffic. There is a big difference in CPM rates if you have traffic from US. The CPM rate are high for US traffic and low for other countries. The one problem about Pulsepoint is the fill rate. You don’t get 100% of fill rate; the fill rate is very low for websites with low traffic volume. But you can always use backup ads if you don’t have Pulsepoint ads for your website. PulsePoint interface is very intuitive and easy to use. The ads load very fast on your website. The payment cycle is Net 45 with minimum payout of $50. Conclusion: This brings us to the conclusion of the Top 10 Best CPM Ad Networks for 2017. All these ad networks are huge in size with respect to ad impressions volume, customer base. If you have in mind any other CPM ad networks as large as above networks, then write them in the comments below and I will update the list if it meets the criteria. Note: This article was not sponsored by any ad network unlike other bloggers who make the top list based on sponsorship. So, if you liked the list, make sure to share with others in your circle.

Machine learning and the customer journey

Machine learning and the customer journey by Doug Conely

As we dive into 2017, the marketing industry conversation around big data has evolved into a discussion on the growing use of machine learning and the inevitable disruption this will create among planning and campaign delivery teams.

Over the past few years, those working in manual campaign delivery have already felt the impacts of programmatic technologies. Over the next twelve months and beyond, we can also expect automation to extend its reach into manual campaign planning, thanks to the widespread adoption of machine learning. In fact, as the benefits of machine learning become more widely understood, brands are likely to demand a change of their agencies.

The reason? Machines can quantitatively evaluate the consumer journey of millions of individual customers more quickly, efficiently, and effectively than any human planning team could ever hope to replicate, producing valuable insights into consumer behavior at a depth and level of detail that was never previously possible. These insights, in turn, can then be used by the machine to automatically deliver relevant messaging to consumers at a frequency appropriate to their stage of the consumer journey.

Machine learning will displace audience planning and manual campaign optimisation thanks to its ability to automatically adjust delivery based on the consumer journey, driving higher frequency messaging to high intent users and delivering lower frequency to users showing enough interest signals to justify targeting with brand awareness messages.

For many agencies, the main barrier to the adoption of machine learning will be internal skepticism about the ability to automate campaign planning and optimization activity in a sophisticated way. Others may initially reject the introduction of machine learning simply because they don't understand the process involved.

What's more, my organization's own journey with machine learning has shown us that, as the algorithmic complexity increases and results improve, it can get harder to explain why the automated decisions are being taken, further mystifying the subject for many.

For this reason, here are few conceptual steps to help explain the way that machine learning works in practice.

Machine learning can expose the breadth and depth of consumer passions and needs

Ad platforms can access a range of anonymised audience data including demographics and location but we find the most useful, or predictive, are user interests. Manual planning processes most often look at subtle differences between high-level interests, like sport or cars, but online interests can reveal the true depth of passion or need. For example, an interest in "football" is more insightful than "sport," while interest in "Manchester United" or even "Jose Mourinho" exposes real passion that is a stronger signal for brands. This increases the range of interests available from dozens to tens of thousands, making automation necessary.

We can build an anonymous picture of a person's interests and needs

For an individual, these interests can be associated with their anonymous device profile. At a given point in time, the profile describes their observed breadth and depth of interests and needs. A newer profile, a result of newer cookies or devices, will be relatively sparse, but older profiles will contain a range of interests where the recency and depth of interest indicate current passions and needs. New needs show up in real time while old interests fade away.

The consumer journey for each brand plays out through their changing interests

For a given brand, we have seen how these consumer interests and needs can evolve over time, as consumers move from awareness to consideration to intent, from "low lift" (or "low probability to convert relative to the average") to "high lift" for the brand as the interest signals increase in depth.

For instance, take a last-minute booking for a hotel break. The first time a hotel brand might be alerted to this is from a search or visit to their site. However, underlying the booking is a consumer need that is identifiable (such as the desire to attend a nearby concert or exhibition) and the machine can identify such triggers and use them to include individual anonymous consumers into a "consideration" set.

Machine learning can understand the relevance of the brand to each person

At this stage, machine learning can now consider the entire observed population and map it against buckets of intent from "high" to "low" for an individual brand. This shows how likely each user is to buy from your brand in the next 30 days relative to the average.

Crucially, though, people move between the buckets in real time. So, in aggregate, people will move up into higher buckets as display new interests but also move down as interests wane. This is the aggregate picture that the machine sees for the purposes of delivery. At this point, the machine doesn't care about causation (why the user is doing something), just correlation (the fact that statistically they are more interested and therefore the advertising is more relevant to them).

In this way, machine learning allows brands to create a responsive, personalized ad delivery strategy for literally thousands of individual customers simultaneously and in real time.

Machine learning can automatically deliver against the brand audience

By delivering at a higher frequency to your most likely prospects, you ensure that your brand's message is prominent as the customer reaches the critical decision point and not the message of your competitors. Where these audiences are scarce, the machine will look for lower lift audiences to stay on pace and on budget. Thus, the campaign is exposed to a broader reach with lower lift to consumers with some potential to make a purchase in the future. This, of course, is the object of most branding campaigns in the first place, so that fact that machine learning can provide this automatically means that the writing is on the wall for manual planning and optimization teams.

Working through the stages outlined above, therefore, is the automated equivalent of the traditional ad campaign planning process, but with results that are faster and more cost-efficient, as well as insights that are far deeper, more complex and potential far more commercially valuable than anything human planners could ever produce.

If you are a client of a media planning and buying agencies, it's time to challenge your agencies and vendors to embrace the benefits of machine learning, deliver on the promise of programmatic and automation, and free up their human resource to concentrate on customer experience and strategic data management.

Ask The Experts: New Year’s Marketing Resolutions

Ask The Experts: New Year’s Marketing Resolutions by Gillian Ingram

As January draws to a close and we look to the year ahead, we asked our expert partners to name their “New Year’s Marketing Resolutions”, to find out what marketers should be looking out for, and focussing on, in 2017.

Simon Heyes, Director of Social, 8 Million Stories

“The ground-breaking political changes of 2016 had a profound impact on content and social media, which led to hundreds of users leaving Facebook and Twitter, and the topic of fake news drifting ominously into 2017. So a New Year’s Resolution for the industry? Become more authentic. People interact with people, so brands need to become more human, and make people care about their brand and their content. Within authenticity and personability we’ll also see the growth of influencer marketing, with audiences looking to their blogger and vlogger peers for recommendations and advice. Lastly, with the increasing accessibility of new technology such as drones, 360 degree cameras and VR headsets, expect a shift towards more interactive forms of content. Maybe a 2017 New Year’s Resolution is to finally wave goodbye to flat, static content.”

Christine MacKay, CEO, Salamandra Design & Digital Ltd

New Year, new you: “It shouldn’t only be your target market that influences the way you convey your brand. Your company ethos and attitude needs to impact your voice too. Relationships with brands are built on shared values, so what better way to show who you are than visually? That’s why we suggest you follow the trends and incorporate visuals and videos in your marketing this year. There is no better outlet to get your voice heard and understood than social media. So get social. And once you have distilled your essence into visual and video over social media, you need to sweat those assets.”

Doug Conely, Chief Strategy Officer, Exponential

“In 2017 we will continue to champion machine learning, and we believe it will address a number of key industry challenges, including effective retargeting and ad blocking. It will lead the way for the next stage of programmatic. The majority of ad blocking has been the result of consumers feeling mistreated due to either poor accessibility or poor user experience. With this in mind, we want to ensure 2017 is the year we continue placing the user experience at the centre of campaigns to ensure audiences are receiving relevant content and advertising experiences.”

Joe Friedlein, MD, Browser Media

“All my new year’s marketing resolutions revolve around the need to consider the needs and interests of your customer, above all else. Yes, I want to use video more in 2017 and yes, I want to explore new ways of using data to inform our marketing strategies but there is a real risk that new technologies / tactics can get in the way of putting your customer at the centre of everything that you do. I also fear that over-hyped technology can stifle creativity and I would love 2017 to be the year that raw creative genius is celebrated once again.”

Neil Collard, Managing Director, e3

“2016 saw a seismic shift for the entire world, and that change was felt within the digital marketing industry. Consumer behaviour has seen a drastic shake-up as millennials redefine sectors with their demand for ‘experiences’ over ‘things’. It was the year where Artificial Intelligence stopped being a sci-fi myth and started becoming non-fiction. At e3 we’re cutting ‘one size fits all’ digital from our diet and helping our clients e-focus on more personalised, sincere and relevant experiences for the changing practical consumer. Our new hobby is going to be finding and mining data for reusable purposes and expanding the future through innovative practice with AI and chatbots.”

Danielle Haley, Co-director, FSE Online Ltd

“In 2017 we’ll be making greater use of web data and user behaviour analysis to develop a more focused content strategy that targets more specific market segments. The aim here will be to increase media relevancy and engagement to better satisfy customers’ needs (and deliver a better overall ROI). We’ll also be heavily promoting the importance of investing in onsite technical SEO. Due to the ways in which Google’s algorithms are involving, onsite factors are playing a much more prominent role in determining which websites deserve to occupy those all-important first page organic positions. Making key improvements to the website from a structural or coding perspective will also often enhance the overall user experience, so the benefits to this are two-fold.”

Roy Jugessur, Vice President, UK and Northern Europe, Selligent

 Think Consumer-First not channel first: “With increasing opt-out rates and lower engagement across the board, traditional marketing models need to change from being channel-centric to consumer-centric. In 2017, marketers need to enhance every customer-brand interaction by looking beyond individual touchpoints, to create a seamless and holistic journey that focusses on the critical moments that play a huge part in adding depth and meaning to consumer relationships. From birthdays to changes in the weather, if marketers can capture the attention of consumers by being contextual and relevant, we can reach new levels of engagement, conversion and loyalty.”

Andy Tabberer, Senior Project Manager, Reckless

“We need to adopt a more agile mind-set across the agency.  This means we seek the truth, accept and respect others, show humility, be patient, revel in self-discipline and sow commitment. Building on this will be adopting more of a product focus with our clients, promoting smaller, ongoing releases rather than the big bang. Finally, everything we do works towards a better shared understanding with clients. This will create stronger relationships and ensure greater consistency across our delivery.”

Trump won. Polls lost. So what have we learned for our own data collection processes?

Trump won. Polls lost. So what have we learned for our own data collection processes? by Bryan Melmed

Bryan Melmed unpacks how every poll conducted around the presidential election failed to come to the correct conclusion due to the results being systematically biased in Clinton’s favour.

Just days after the shock result of a Trump presidency, a few pundits had already completed their analysis of how it happened. Wouldn’t you know, these conclusions validated everything they were saying all along, and the companies they represent were obvious solutions to whatever problems were identified.

That isn’t analysis, it is rationalisation. Fellow marketers, let’s leave that sort of thinking to politicians.

To actually understand what happened, much less how it should change the way things work, will take some time. And actual thinking. As Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said to Nate Silver — if anyone thinks they have the answer right now, they’re just guessing.

For those of us working in the data sciences, there’s a strange sense of shared responsibility for the polls that lead so many people to believe that Hillary would be the president-elect. In the days after the election, I fielded more questions about surveys and modelling than I encountered during the entire campaign.

As Obama might say, this is a teachable moment. Let’s unpack what we know so far.

The polls were wrong

There is no avoiding the fact that almost every poll conducted during this election came to the wrong conclusion. Even the Trump campaign, until a week before the election, thought they had a one-in-five chance of winning.

Then again, we should expect that any survey with a low response rate is probably wrong. People more likely to respond are also more likely to answer one way or another.

Pollsters try to adjust for this by weighing responses differently. One extreme example comes from the USC poll, where the preference of one young African American was considered 30 times more important than the average panellist.

Weighting can work if demographics or other observed characteristics are highly correlated with preferences. But as marketers know all too well, demographic information is less useful every year. And if you can’t compare your assumptions to what actually happens – well, you’re just making assumptions.

Pollsters should have realised this sooner. Trump’s data team did, with only a few days to spare. They considered an alternate scenario where it was rural voters that flooded the polls. Even then the model only gave them a 30% chance of winning, but it pointed them in the right direction.

After the election, we learned the right approach was to overweight whites without a college degree, who were both less likely to answer a survey and more likely to show up at a voting booth.

Still, let’s not exaggerate the problem. This was a very close election. Trump won the delegate count by as few as 107,000 votes and lost the popular vote. Polls this year were about as accurate as they were in 2012, when they underestimated Obama’s appeal.

The failure of polling was not in the margin of error, but that results were systematically biased in Clinton’s favour. It wasn’t a statistical problem that researchers could easily control for, or even recognise. This was data in a bubble, without regard to other information that might have alerted researchers that something was off – the enormous crowds at Donald Trump rallies, for example.

Do marketers make the same mistakes with data collection? All the time

FiveThirtyEight 2016 Election Forecast put Clinton clearly in the lead.

Not only do we assume our data is unbiased – it’s shocking how little testing is done – but we also rely on shortcuts to gauge the impact of our efforts. If the truth is more expensive or even just more difficult to understand, truth never wins. Truth never even sees the light of day. The inevitable result is millions of dollars wasted on bad assumptions and empty promises.

Here’s one example. We know that video advertising targeting a highly qualified audience costs more, has fewer engagements and registers less time spent. Most agency balance sheets would consider that a loss. At Exponential, we’ve recently completed research that shows this careful targeting is still far more effective than finding eager viewers who have no likely path to purchase.

It’s hard to understand probability

Most people weren’t following the polls anyway, but the predictions based on polls. There were many of these, the most popular being the New York Times Upshot and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. They all favoured Hillary Clinton, giving her a chance of winning somewhere between 65 and 98 per cent. The betting markets had settled around 80 per cent.

Even a model with a 98 per cent chance of Clinton winning, courtesy of the Huffington Post, is just a prediction. The same model finds a two per cent probability that Clinton loses. That’s low, but not so low that it will never happen. If there was a two per cent chance of an earthquake today, most of us would be cowering in a corner somewhere. Of course this Huffington Post model was wildly optimistic, not considering that the polls might be systematically biased, as described above.

Another aspect of probability is that some models were bound to predict the election correctly, but only by chance. In other words, some predictions were wrong, but in the right way. That USC poll is one example. It is getting attention because it predicted Trump winning – but it showed Trump three points ahead in the popular vote and the methodology behind the poll is even more questionable.

Marketers need to brush up on these lessons as well.

For example, we’re often given case studies where the vaunted outcome is simply a coincidence. Look closely and there aren’t enough people considered to arrive at a statistically significant result. If you’re wondering how this is sustainable, consider that in our industry an effort that arrives at a different answer is easily swept under the rug.

Few people were thinking this through

From the moment Trump slowly descended on an escalator to announce his candidacy, we were continually amazed by this unpredictable election. The only predictable thing was how Trump would prove everyone wrong. And still, we put our faith in the old truisms on how this would all play out. Practically the entire Clinton campaign assumed that a ‘ground game’ and a data-driven strategy would again be the deciding factor. It wasn’t.

Marketers rarely make this mistake – and if they do, they don’t last very long.

If anything, we’re too focused on the next big thing. I’m old enough to remember being asked what our strategy was for Second Life. Now I see publishers rushing to create video content, collectively racing towards a low quality, oversaturated market. Even Verizon’s go90 couldn’t force this strategy. Internet video is going to be the Atari of our day.

The sad thing is that we are missing out on better ways to monetise page-based content, specifically with opt-in video advertising. Why not meet consumers where they prefer to be?

Marketers are in a better place

Pollsters still rely on snapshots of attitudinal behaviour. These aren’t always predictive and age quickly. In contrast, today’s marketer can observe real-time consumer behaviour. And, because the business cycle moves a lot faster than every four years, we have ample opportunity to test our data and improve the models we work with.

Our biggest risk is complacency.

When asked what lessons the election held for marketers, Dr Joseph Plummber from Columbia Business School replied: “Don’t get too in love with data . . . and use your own sense of what makes sense.”

The Clinton campaign had too much faith in their data. Strategic decisions relied on a secret algorithm that the campaign planned to unveil after their victory. ‘Ada’ ran 400,000 simulations a day to identify which battleground states were likely to tip the race.

In an article from data scientist Cathy O’Neil that wasn’t focused on the election, she points out the inevitable result. “Even when they are doing their very best, data scientists can end up with an algorithm that’s got a questionable definition of success and is trained by data that has cooked-in biases… The problem is the blind faith; people are turning too much power over to the algorithm.”

Clinton didn’t make a single visit to the ‘blue wall’ state of Wisconsin. It was “nothing short of malpractice” said Democratic pollster Paul Maslin.

Are you making the same mistake with your campaigns?

Pre-Inauguration Anxiety By the Numbers – How President Trump is Affecting Consumer Sentiment

Pre-Inauguration Anxiety By the Numbers – How President Trump is Affecting Consumer Sentiment by Bryan Melmed, VP Insights, Exponential

A dramatic political transition is mesmerizing the nation. It’s not so much that things are changing, it’s that the change was entirely unexpected -- and when it comes to uncertainty, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving.

As a result, a significant percentage of the U.S. population is exhibiting signs of heightened anxiety. We see it in our data, in the aggregate, across millions of anonymous user profiles, and almost entirely in Democratic areas.

In heavily Democratic areas such as New York and San Francisco, traffic on sites offering support for anxiety is up 32.7 percent. We see 21.1 percent more users are looking for relief from insomnia. Interest in other mental health issues is up 12.2 percent. (This is especially telling as interest in most health conditions has fallen; people anxious about external issues tend to ignore their health.) In Republican areas, these indicators are all flat to negative.

It’s a challenging environment in which marketers will struggle to stay positive, seem relevant, and somehow capture the attention of a restless populace. Here is some advice.

Consumers will stick to their routine

For most individuals, anxiety isn’t readily apparent. Low-level anxiety can simply keep people in their routine. That’s a problem if you’re in the business of changing consumer habits.

We found that anxious consumers are 23.1 percent less likely to change their phone plan and 2.9 percent less likely to consider a new credit card. They are even more likely to stick with familiar television shows and same music, being 32.9 and 50.3 percent less likely to try something new, respectively.

Seeking control

Another common response by anxious people is a focus on what gives them a sense of control. For example, our data shows that debt reduction planning jumped 25.6 percent in Democratic areas, but remained flat in Republican strongholds. Content related to home cooking and DIY projects were up 22.3 percent and 12.7 percent respectively. Readers fled from issues they couldn’t control -- a range of topics that included politics, the weather, and even hair loss.

Avoiding risk

Anxiety makes people especially averse to risk, and consequently they avoid new commitments. After the election, interest in moving dropped 43.1 percent. Content on university courses saw 16.9 percent less traffic. 25.3 percent fewer people resolved to quit smoking.

The impact on relationships was especially stark. Dating sites had 17.1 percent less traffic and there was a 52 percent drop in wedding planning. Content on new pregnancies was down 18.1 percent. (Conversely, there was a 23 percent jump in birth control topics.)

Acting modestly

In a time of anxiety, conspicuous consumption is clearly passé. Interest in dining and nightlife in Democratic areas fell 16.7 percent, even as it grew slightly in Republican areas. New car content was 12.1 percent less popular. Coverage of high fashion fell 32.5 percent, 16.9 percent fewer people were interested in luxury handbags, and there were 13.1 percent less jewelry buyers. Some of this money shifted to discreet indulgences including spa visits, sleepwear, and home audio equipment.

Lessons from the past

We are witnessing a sudden but not unheard of shift in consumer sentiment. Marketers should be forgiven for feeling whiplash, especially in that these events have a personal impact as well. Unfortunately, many of our instinctual reactions are wrong. Consumers want practical solutions, not emotional reassurance. Cutting ad spend weakens market share and prolongs an eventual recovery. The best strategies involve adaptive positioning, clear messaging, and even more careful targeting.

The good news is that what we are going through is hardly unprecedented and by international standards not even that severe. Still, it’s a sober moment that should command your attention. The turbulence of the next few months will serve as a test that puts some marketers ahead and leaves others far behind. 

2017’s five biggest marketing challenges and opportunities

2017's five biggest marketing challenges and opportunities by Neil Davey

2016 represented an exciting leap into new pastures for the marketing community. Augmented reality broke into the mainstream thanks to the extraordinary success of Pokémon Go!, opening marketing minds to the possibilities of AR and virtual reality. At the same time, artificial intelligence also had a break out year thanks largely to chatbots in the service space, but marketers too were able to start capitalising on AI’s maturity, courtesy of its application to the likes of semantic analysis and segmentation.

It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, of course. Ad blocking became more of a problem for the industry, while, in Europe, there was a growing understanding of the implications of the impending General Data Protection Regulation. But all in all, an exciting – if challenging – year to be a marketer.

Can 2017 top it? What fresh strategies, technologies and platforms will emerge in the coming 12 months? MyCustomer spoke with a number of experts to predict where the biggest opportunities and challenges may lie.  

Machine learning

Two of the biggest challenges facing today’s marketers are ad blocking, and wrestling with vast and varied streams of customer data. With the potential to tackle both of these problems, and more, it is little wonder that machine learning could be a saviour for modern marketers.

“The new Zeitgeist is all about machine learning - using intelligent machines to segment audiences and then make predictions for their future purchasing behaviours. It’s about taking data from the past and applying it to the present to predict the future,” says David Bowen, head of product at Episerver.

“While talk of artificial intelligence (AI) and “future forecasting” may sound closer to science fiction than fact, in reality many of the biggest brands are already jumping on this trend, investing in AI and the latest predictive analytics software to get their foot in the door early on.

“The ultimate aim of marketers is to anticipate behaviour and customer intent, but there’s also great value in automating the delivery of better customer experiences and highly individualised interactions online. That is the direction that today’s marketers need to go in, and it’s a process that we expect to see a lot more of in 2017.”

Doug Conely, chief strategy officer at Exponential, agrees that machine learning will further establish itself in the coming 12 months. But he emphasizes its applications in the advertising arena. He notes: “Machine learning will continue to disrupt current ways agencies and brands plan and buy online display and video ads. Whilst, the industry needs to further educate itself to embrace this technology, I believe we will see more and more marketers utilising machine learning and automation to plan and optimise their campaigns.”

“In 2017, we can expect machine learning to be a tool used to combat a number of key industry challenges, such as complex planning and buying processes, ad blocking, overexposure to re-targeting and will enable the next evolution of programmatic.”

However, Daniel Telling, managing partner at Bench, sounds a word of warning about machine learning. He explains: “The next few years will see organisations start to get to grips with what cognitive computing can offer. While there is much fascination with the potential for cognitive, there is still an element of nervousness from many organisations, especially when it comes to A.I. This is not unfounded, as A.I. has not yet reached the point where it can run without careful human monitoring. 

In 2017, we can expect machine learning to be a tool used to combat a number of key industry challenges.

“There are still fundamentals to be worked out to achieve true machine learning where the machine is fully responding and recalculating on changing inputs without any programming from a human party. More fundamentally, though, businesses need to look beyond a ‘gimmick-led’ application of these technologies and instead investigate how it can be applied to actively improve personalised customer experience.” 

Nonetheless, he too expects it to be a big trend in the coming year. “The concept of cognitive computing and AI has been much discussed recently, in the same way that real-time marketing was a few years ago. While there have been a limited amount of practical applications of this technology to date, there is no doubt that the concept is set to dominate the landscape for some time. All the big players such as Adobe, Salesforce and IBM are vying to take the lead here, with IBM’s Watson in particular making waves in the industry.” 

Voice as a channel

Audio voice control is an increasingly mainstream gateway to digital applications. Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortana), Google (Home) and Amazon (Alexa) are spearheading the technology, while the likes of Facebook are already working on their own offerings.

“The adoption rate of this technology has been rapid because it offers what customers want – a simple and easy user experience,” notes Clint Poole, CMO at Lionbridge.

And from the marketers’ point of view, the technology is interesting because it creates a frictionless customer experience, removing all barriers to activity. Poole continues: “If a customer can easily make purchases directly through voice command, they are more likely to purchase more products at greater frequency and avoid the distractions that prevent purchase completion on traditional digital channels.”

But it also raises a number of questions for marketers.

“It’s hard to imagine that voice recognition isn’t going to have a big effect on marketing. I have Amazon Echo and the new Dash button, and the impact on my shopping habits is fairly profound,” says Martin Harrison, head of strategy at Huge.

“Many brands never got to grips with a search page that had ten results - how will they get to grips with a machine that gives a single answer? It’s important because the opportunity for brand choice and switching reduces. If I’m scanning my empty tub of butter to order again, other butter brands are going to have a very hard time getting in my basket.”

It’s hard to imagine that voice recognition isn’t going to have a big effect on marketing.

John Watton, EMEA marketing director at Adobe, agrees that there are some major questions that need answering. “Without a traditional screen, how will the major search players respond to marketers and advertisers who have historically relied on ads and clicks for their promotional tactics? It will be fascinating to see how this new channel can be used for effective marketing.”

However, at a technical level there are still obstacles to overcome, if the technology is to become truly mainstream. As Poole notes: “The challenge in 2017 will be getting the technology to work flawlessly. The current systems work best with direct requests and often fail with highly contextual language. However, with major tech players investing a great deal in research and development, we’ll continue to see vast improvements and breakthroughs in the technology over the next 12 months. We predict this will be done on a global stage as consumers’ preferences for using voice interaction crosses most cultures.”

People-based marketing

Efforts to deliver truly personalised marketing have tended to come up short. In a multichannel, multi-device world, companies are failing to create a single view of the individual across every channel or a complete data set of behavioural data that can be fed into decision engines and truly personalise the consumer experience.

However, the need for marketers to target consumers with precision is leading them to explore people-based marketing. This strategic marketing discipline leverages authenticated, first-party data about customers to serve them targeted communications on an individual level, rather than targeting a cookie or device ID.

And in a study of 358 senior North American brand marketers and agency media buyers by Econsultancy last year, 92% of media buyers said their clients will be accelerating their people-based media buys.

“Targeting and personalisation will still be at the top of the agenda for brands as consumers continually expect more.  To create lasting, engaging relationships with consumers, brands need to increase the rate of identification,” says Nick Keating, director EMEA at BounceX.

“The crux of creating this high level of engagement is delivering the “right message to the right person at the right place and time”, and this means not only understanding who your customers are, but what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. People-based marketing, the approach to marketing whereby a business identifies and targets single individuals as they engage across every device, every browser and every channel both on and off the website, will mark a significant shift in the way marketers engage with visitors online during 2017.

“Cross device identification combined with behavioural profiling will enable marketers to target medium and high intent visitors to deliver incremental revenue and a substantial return on ad spend (ROAS).”

EU GDPR

If 2016 represented the year that European marketers woke up to the implications of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 2017 will be the year that the hard work towards compliance begins. With the regulation coming into effect in May 2018, there is much work to be done.

“Over the coming year, one of the biggest challenges facing marketers will be the implications of the new GDPR,” says Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA. “Those not preparing for the new legislation – in whatever exact form it takes – are risking the very lifeblood of their future business. As well as protecting consumers, the marketers that take action now will be better placed to take advantage of the economic opportunities that digital transformation and big data will offer in the future.”

The year ahead for businesses will be focused on tackling the questions raised by the GDPR.

Lindsay McEwan, VP and managing director EMEA at Tealium, adds: “The year ahead for businesses will be focused on tackling the questions raised by the GDPR ahead of its enforcement in May 2018. Businesses will enter a period of uncertainty and a degree of data lockdown, with some misconstruing the regulation as requiring a total replacement of their technology stack. But this won’t be necessary, and better-informed businesses will realise that they simply need to implement a centralised point of control to coordinate and command their actioning of data wherever it is stored – rather like an air traffic controller.”

While there will be much focus on compliance, smart organisations will realise that the process of GDPR compliance could also be used as a catalyst to change the entire way they approach customer interaction and engagement.

Email strategies

The process of GDPR compliance will also have implications for email marketing – and indeed could lead to a resurgence.

Andrea Wildt, CMO at Campaign Monitor, predicts: “The importance of email will be re-established this year as rule changes, such as new ad formats and the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continue to limit the potential of  marketing tools, such as programmatic, audience targeting on social media and look-alike display. But while the likes of Google and Facebook continue to acquire and monopolise these different marketing channels, no one “owns” email. Social media, programmatic and display advertising will continue to be a crucial channel for marketers, however the editorial independence that email offers retailers will be more valued this year.”

Keating believes that this resurgence will also be characterised by new email marketing strategies.

“In 2017 I think we will see a step-change transformation in email marketing strategies,” he notes. “As consumers acquire additional devices, cross-device identification becomes more important in creating next-gen customer experiences. In order to truly own their audience, brands will have to strategically capture email addresses at the moment of highest intent to create a compelling ROAS for both paid spend and owned channels. Email marketing is not dead, but the current tactics of unintelligent email capture and uninformed messaging are killing it.  A behavioural email strategy will emerge as a critical success factor.” 

What can we learn from the younger generation’s Christmas spending?

What can we learn from the younger generation's Christmas spending? by Bryan Melmed

The winter holidays are known as a time for families. But what about young adults without children, or new families without established holiday traditions?

We’re talking about the marketer’s favourite target audience, 18-30 year olds. As one would expect, this demographic have their own take on the holidays.

We pulled up data that Exponential collected in December 2015 describing the activities and interests of 18-30 year olds during the Christmas break.

After viewing the data through a few different lenses, we found that the family dynamic – specifically, whether these individuals are single or married -- was the biggest differentiator for their holiday plans.

Most surprising was how easily this behaviour fit old stereotypes about gender roles. Wasn’t this demographic supposed to have moved past that by now?

Travel

Younger generations love to travel, and travel peaks during the holidays, so it’s no surprise that 18-30 year olds are all over this – in fact, they’re more likely to travel in December than any other demographic. While a few go upscale, the vast majority are likely to be in the budget travel category.

When it comes to heterosexual married couples, women are usually the ones making plans. (We even saw that they were the most likely to be checking the weather during the trip.) They prefer to book directly, being 23% less likely to consult a travel agent.

Those with children are interested in family-friendly destinations, such as Orlando and San Diego, but most families with children will travel less than 100 miles. Married couples without children favour Las Vegas and resorts in Mexico.

Single 18-30 year olds, as well as gay and lesbian couples, aren’t likely to hit the road – they are 27.7% less likely to rent a car during the holiday. Instead, these individuals take to the skies.

Australia is always a top pick for this demographic, and in December it serves as a destination for both leisure and family visits. Other popular vacation options include Spain, Thailand, and Brazil.

Gay and lesbian couples are especially interested in Cuba. Other single 18-30 year old's struggle to choose a destination, which may help explain their interest in group tours with a cultural or educational theme.

A lot of singles break out their winter sports gear and head for the mountains. On the slopes you’ll find about a third more young singles than married ones, even after adjusting for population.

Gender plays an even larger role. Men are 41% more likely to exhibit an active interest in snowboarding and 49.8% more likely to be actively interested in skiing. It’s still hard to find any sport equally appealing to both sexes, and this is especially true in winter.

Of course, many of those who are single visit their parents for the holidays. Interestingly, single men are more likely to do this than single women – for those with Indian or Chinese heritage, more than twice as likely.

Even some married individual within this demographic will visit families overseas, on their own. We see high interest in off-season travel to northern Europe, especially Ireland, Finland, and Sweden. There is also a spike in travel to Asia, with Japan and Indonesia being especially popular relative to travel volume.

Entertainment

Younger generations are known to favour experiences over material things, and the trend continues during the holidays. They are more than twice as likely to purchase entertainment than other consumers – everything from music concerts to movie tickets to sporting events.

We even see a few single women pick up knitting, as hard as it may be to think of it as entertainment.

The major difference, this being the holidays, is that 18-30 year old’s spend even more on food. They are 64.4% more likely to be frequent restaurant goers, 77.2% more active on restaurant review sites, and proportionally spend more on eating out than any other group. As with travel, this demographic tend to go high or low but are rarely in-between.

Single men favor educational toys and Star Wars figurines. (Then again, they may be buying for themselves.)

They are 2.56 times more likely to visit an expensive restaurant, but 26.4% less likely to head to a casual chain. Fast casual restaurants such as Chipotle, Panera, and Five Guys continue to be staples, of course. Carbs are still out – even given their urban location, they are 22.1% less likely to eat pizza.

Electronics

Interest in electronics spikes during the holidays. Even egalitarian individuals fit old stereotypes here -- the category is dominated by single men and avoided by married women, with the former 77% more likely to be interested than the latter.

Last year headphones were generating a lot of buzz (no pun intended) and we expect the same in 2016, especially now that Apple has officially given up on the headphone jack. But while Apple generates more interest from younger generations than any other brand, it may show comparatively little benefit this December.

New MacBooks will be on offer, but the only laptops this demographic show interest in are lower priced Chromebooks. (This generation simply doesn’t consider computers when thinking about holiday gifts. Productivity software is the only thing that fared worse with younger people during the 2015 holidays.)

There’s no interest in the Apple Watch, either. The iPad, at least, is still coveted by married women – but other tablets barely register.

One surprise from 2015 was that there was sustained interest in gaming consoles, and all indications are that the same will be true in 2016. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are three years old now, but remain popular options as media centers in addition to gaming. Virtual reality glasses for the PlayStation may reinvigorate the category -- although we know that with tech, heightened interest doesn’t always translate to actual sales.

Gift Buying

Children may be shocked to hear that presents are not a huge priority for 18-30 year old’s during the holidays. In many cases, gift giving seems like an afterthought.

If you look at consumers who spend the most in the last few days before Christmas, this generation are more than twice as likely to be there. Conversely they are less likely to be looking for deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, even though in general this demographic are 92.1% more likely to shop online.

Who is dashing through the snow on December 24th?  Single younger men. We found they are far less likely to be gift planning than their married counterparts.

Of the 94 shopping categories we considered for this article, just 11 had more single men than married men, and these were the most predictable gift categories – including perfume, chocolate, and inexpensive collectables (or tchotchkes, if you’re in New York). Single young women are the least likely to be shopping at last minute, and if so they rely on gift cards.

Women in this demographic often consider the holidays a time to splurge on themselves.

And why not? Singletons show heightened interest in boots, spa treatments, and cosmetics. And women who are half of a doubleton (yes, that’s a word) will buy themselves jewelry, fashion accessories, and hair treatments. Both sets agree that December is a great time to buy handbags.

The stereotypes continue when this generation wander into a children’s aisle. Women are 77.2% more likely than men to buy a Barbie doll, while men are 51% more likely to buy a train set. Single women are especially interested in doll houses.

Single men favor educational toys and Star Wars figurines. (Then again, they may be buying for themselves.)

Missing the trees for the forest

This data can be so neatly packaged that it seems like a gift in itself - a useful way to leverage generational differences to understand your consumers.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that we’ve aligned thousands of behaviours to fit an artificial concept that is about as reliable as horoscopes. As interesting as this angle can be, there are even more exceptions that prove fascinating.

In fact, the only stereotype of 18-30 year old’s that really holds true is that they are more varied and individualistic than any generation that has come before. And Generation Z looks to be even less predictable.

So fellow marketers… happy holidays? It’s a good time to enjoy what you have.

From Pokemon Go to GDPR: Four megatrends that shaped marketing in 2016

From Pokemon Go to GDPR: Four megatrends that shaped marketing in 2016 by Neil Davey

MyCustomer spoke with a handful of experts and took a step back through this year’s news to share the four marketing stories and trends that characterised the last 12 months. What have we missed?

Augmented reality

Pokémon Go was one of the sensational stories of 2016, becoming the most popular mobile game in history. It garnered rave reviews from gamers. It attracted more daily users than Twitter and was used on more Android phones than Tinder. And it drove Nintendo’s share price up 70% in the week after launch – its biggest jump in over 25 years.

But its lasting legacy may not be its popularity, but the fact that it brought augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream. What’s more, it also validated AR as a potentially valuable platform for digital marketers.

Previously adopted by sectors such as retail, which allowed shoppers to scan shoppable windows, and the car industry, where the likes of Ford had allowed users to preview cars via AR apps, Pokémon Go demonstrated that AR could be part of everyday. And Pokémon Go developer Nianatic was capitalising on this by selling ‘sponsored locations’ to advertisers. 

There was certainly evidence of how it could generate business. Slant Marketing, for instance, surveyed Pokémon Go users to see the impact that it had on customer engagement with businesses while playing the game. Some of the most interesting findings, included: 

  • 51% of players had visited a business for the first time because of Pokémon Go.
  • 71% of players had visited a business because there were PokeStops or Gyms nearby.
  • 56% of players reported visiting local businesses while playing as opposed to national chains.

But while businesses were falling over themselves to capitalise on the latest craze, there were words of warning.

“A phenomenally successful launch has secured plenty of attention for Niantic and Nintendo…But monetising the user base is a different challenge and one that will probably involve a fair amount of testing and learning before it starts to generate significant revenues for brands, if indeed it ever does,” warned Jens Nielsen, MD of NetBooster.

“The brands that straight away sign for sponsored location-based advertising or similar deals, will probably not receive a quick boost in sales as a result. Of course, for many this won’t matter. To be able to communicate with even a fraction of the number of users the game currently has is still a phenomenal opportunity. Especially, if those users - the younger die-hard fans - happen to be your core audience.

“However, the brands who get seduced by the sheer numbers involved without properly thinking through why they’re choosing Pokémon Go, could waste significant marketing dollars without seeing much of a return on their investment.

“As ever, it comes down to relevancy and understanding your own customers and their behaviours – what drives their attention and their spend. What’s right for a hip young fast-fashion brand won’t necessarily work for a luxury watchmaker, and vice versa.

Pokémon Go was the surprise augmented reality hit of 2016, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AR.

“Once Pokémon Go’s sponsorship features kick in there are brands which will rush in to take advantage of this game-changing moment. Many will succeed but others may look out-of-place and, even worse, out of touch with their core customers. There are definitely opportunities here but Pokémon Go is only one, very early part of the AR story, and brands need to treat it as such when planning their digital marketing strategies.”

Nonetheless, early days or not, 2016 will be remembered as the year that AR was taken seriously by the marketing fraternity – and more than a little thanks should go to Pikachu and his friends at Nintendo.

“Pokémon Go was the surprise augmented reality hit of 2016, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AR technology’s upside,” suggests Katie Penfold, managing partner at BEcause Experiential Marketing. “In 2017, we can expect to see many, many more examples of blended realities, with reality blending increasingly with fiction and fantasy in both advertising and media.

“Faux campaign ads for House of Card’s Frank Underwood have already outshined real-world political candidates by becoming a top trending topic on Facebook and Twitter during CNN’s recent presidential debate, while highly controversial imagery to promote Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle caused quite a storm in New York City’s subway system after trains were covered in symbols to launch the show.

“These blended reality forms of advertising rely heavily on the intelligent consumer being able to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fictional. But as entertainment continues to blur these lines, marketing, advertising and media will follow suit and our surroundings are likely to become even more surreal, with live creative technology central to this.”

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence may have been generating considerable buzz in the customer service sphere, thanks to the rise in prominence of chatbots, but it was also coming to the fore in the marketing discipline too.  

“In 2016 we saw the rise of artificial intelligence making a much bigger impact on our lives than ever before,” notes Blake Cahill, global head of digital and social marketing at Philips. “AI is being used across all industry sectors to improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase revenues and boost customer satisfaction and 2016 has been a very interesting year. Large tech companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon all have their own versions of smart assistants on the market and marketers will quickly have to learn how predictive analytics, chatbots and customer service will all be effected as the technology is increasingly used to connect with and benefit their customers. 

“Machines have gotten better than us at recognising images and recognising speech and numerous brands are experimenting with machine learning to construct a persuasive two-way conversation with a wide variety of audiences. They will have the intelligence to deliver many convincing messages, replies and retorts in real-time, and we’ll need to learn to manage these systems and use the data they produce wisely.”

So how is AI being applied in marketing? In a nutshell, it’s making marketers lives easier via:

  • Semantic analysis. Semantic analysis is a part of artificial intelligence in digital marketing that is already used in spell checks, social media analysis, sentiment analysis, fact extraction, summarisation and more.
  • Segmentation.
  • Search and filtering. From RankBrain answering your search queries and Facebook’s Deep Text creating your newsfeed to Klevu’s smart ecommerce search, neural networks and machine learning are changing the way online search works.
  • Website recommendations.
  • Website optimisation. Self-designing websites are actually a thing now thanks to artificial intelligence in digital marketing. Although Grid still hasn’t officially launched, the idea of a self-designing website is pretty amazing. 

Boomtrain’s Tara Rachel Thomas explains: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning can understand human behavior to the extent where not only are Big Data sets analysed, segmented and filtered, but meaning is also derived from them.

  • Which customers hate receiving your emails and delete them as they hit your inbox? 
  • How can I make sense of all this data I have on our campaigns?
  • Which customer would like a particular product?
  • How can I personalise the user experience and make it ‘sticky’?

“Using artificial intelligence in digital marketing can not only help answer marketers answer these questions, in some cases it already is. This gives back marketers time to innovate and grow their brand, rather than worry about how to automate emails to millions of customers at a time.

“AI in digital marketing not only exists, but it has started making the lives of users and marketers easier already. From texting to visualising business insights, the merger of big data, machine learning and AI is creating smoother and smarter experiences every day.” 

Jason Hemingway, chief marketing officer at Thunderhead, believes that AI has been a significant trend in the past 12 months – but will become something even more important in the coming years.

“Advanced intelligent technologies (such as predictive analytics, machine learning and natural language processing) are becoming more important in marketing,” he notes. “This trend will continue and brands will become better at integrating them, transforming their ability to understand and serve their customers better. The tendency so far has been to use this technology to try and manipulate customers’ behaviour, particularly through digital marketing and advertising. In 2017, the emphasis will be put on understanding customers – a change for the better.”

Ad blocking

“This year saw the industry wake up to the reality of ad blocking and the impact it is having on ad campaigns,” says Doug Conely, chief strategy officer at Exponential.  “Ad blocking has largely come about due to mistreating the consumer, either through poor accessibility or overall user experience, and in order to combat it the industry needs to work together to enhance the user experience by delivering relevant content to consumers in a non-intrusive way.”

Data from eMarketer suggests that 16.6% of the entire UK population already block ads, and this is set to rise dramatically over the coming 12 months due to widespread recognition of software availability.

"There's no doubting that ad blocking is now a very real issue for advertisers. Next year, over a quarter of the people they're trying to reach will be wilfully making themselves unreachable," says eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. "The good news is that numbers like this have forced those within the industry to think long and hard about what it is that they need to do better in order that this practice doesn't become an epidemic."     

So how are marketers responding? Neil Joyce, managing director EMEA at Signal, believes that while it’s still early days in the ad blocking battle, with the landscape and technology changing quickly on both sides, advertisers can start taking steps in the right direction to prepare. He suggests that marketers:

  1. Understand the full impact of ad blockers on your ads or content. Advertisers and publishers need to pay close attention to how their content and advertising is rendering both with and without ad blockers. Ad blockers aren’t fool-proof: they can block non-ad content by accident and break the user experience. Make sure you understand what your users are seeing.
  2. Be more relevant. The more relevant the advert, the more likely it is to be valued by consumers. This is where people-based strategies, which identify customers across devices and channels, and tie the data back to a user-level profile, become crucial. Real-time, always-on technology for collecting, matching and activating data within milliseconds can empower you to engage customers like David from Torquay at the exact moment they’re in market for your product.  
  3. Pursue a diversified strategy. Not everyone is using ad blockers yet, but they are having a significant impact. Make sure all your messages can’t be wiped away with one software application, and explore in-app ads, native ads, and whether you can be doing more with email marketing.

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been four years in the making, and up until now it’s been a waiting game for most businesses as the finer details of the regulations have been ironed out by the European Union. But in April, the European parliament finally voted through the new rules. 

“GDPR was created to update previous data protection regulations in Europe, which, interestingly, had been put in place well before the internet became important to business operations,” explains Rick Powles, regional VP, EMEA, at Druva. “The updates within GDPR were designed to bring data protection regulations up to speed with all the new ways of doing business that have developed over the past few years.”

Based on guidance from the Information Commissioners Office, consumer rights under GDPR include the following that directly affect marketers:

  • Right to be informed – this covers any gathering of data by companies, and consumers must be informed before data is gathered. Consumers have to opt in for their data to be gathered, and consent must be freely given rather than implied.
  • Right of access – this provides consumers with the right to request access to how their data is used by the company after it has been gathered.
  • Right of rectification – this ensures that consumers can have their data updated if it is out of date or incomplete.
  • Right to be forgotten – if consumers are no longer customers, then they have the right to have their data deleted.
  • Right to restrict processing – consumers can request that their data is not used for processing. Their record can remain in place, but not be used.
  • Right to data portability – consumers can get a copy of their data, which can then be moved to another provider.
  • Right to object – this includes the right to stop processing of their data for direct marketing. There are no exemptions to this rule, and any processing must stop as soon as the request is received. Similarly, this right must be made clear to consumers at the very start of any communication.

“The EU GDPR passed into law earlier this year and will come into force in May 2018,” adds Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA. “The new rules offer consumers greater protection by changing how businesses hold, process and deal with all customer data. For brands, the legislation will also help protect their own reputations by building long-term relationships with customers based on transparency and trust.”

With a text in place, focus shifted from what the regulation comprises to what it would take to become compliant in time for the 2018 deadline. But some confusion was created with the surprise result of the UK’s EU referendum.

“The result of the EU referendum in June means that the UK will leave the Union, which has led some marketers to believe that the GDPR will no longer impact their business,” continues Aldighieri. “However, leaving the EU is going to take time and event once the EU has exited, any company doing business in Europe with any European citizen will need to be compliant with the GDPR, even if UK national laws change following Brexit.

The events of 2016 should pave the way for better transparency between consumers and organisations.

“Data is increasingly at the heart of everything marketers do to engage customers, which means the announcement of the GDPR has certainly been one of the biggest events of 2016. However, in a survey of marketers we conducted earlier this year, when asked about the GDPR a third (30%) of those that took part believed their company to be ‘unprepared’ for the new rules, while 42% believed their marketing efforts will be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ affected by new rules - highlighting the need for marketers to continue to prepare for the GDPR in unrest over the coming years.”

Lindsay McEwan, VP and managing director EMEA at Tealium, believes that the long-term impact of EU GDPR will be positive for customer relationships – particularly following another year that has been characterised by privacy concerns.

“In 2016, a series of high-profile customer data breaches sent shockwaves across the media from reputable UK brands to global corporations. Customers questioned not only the ability of organisations to adequately protect their personal data, but why organisations were storing and trading it in the first place,” she notes. “

The devastation caused by data breaches finally gave businesses the wake-up call they needed to start taking data privacy and governance seriously. Combined with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the events of 2016 should pave the way for better transparency between consumers and organisations, significantly improving the data value exchange – and customer service – in the process.” 

Exponential Launches Face Filter AR Ad Unit

Exponential Launches Face Filter AR Ad Unit by Alex Spencer

Digital ad company Exponential Interactive has launched a Face Filter ad unit with AR (Augmented Reality) functionality.

Part of its its VDX video advertising offering, the ad unit uses facial recognition and head tracking technology to overlay virtual objects – such as glasses, make-up or hats – onto live video taken from the device's webcam, similar to Snapchat's Lens feature.

Face Filter is available on display and in-stream advertising, but is currently limited to desktop in its AR form. However, there is a mobile version which doesn't use live video, but instead overlays the products onto an uploaded photo.

“With more and more interactive ad experiences penetrating the market, and webcam adoption at almost 80 per cent, Exponential is excited to unveil the VDX Face Filter,” said Ittai Shiu, VP of creative strategy at Exponential. “Whether the goal is to engage and interact with an audience or forge a stronger bond between a product and a prospective buyer, Exponential is the first to offer a scalable augmented reality solution.”

The VDX offering has also recently added live stream and 360° video, as Exponential pushes towards more interactive video. A study by the company this April found that interactive video ads 'significantly impact a viewer’s brand perception and increase purchase intent' when compared to standard banner and pre-roll video ads.

Rise Of The Machines: Why Marketers Need To Place More Trust In Machine Learning

Rise Of The Machines: Why Marketers Need To Place More Trust In Machine Learning by Jason Trout

The ad tech industry has been on a journey; applying more technology to their audience targeting and optimisation strategies than ever before. Developments in technology, such as sophisticated machine learning, have changed the process of data collection and analysis, enabling it to grow massively in the last few years and shifting from a predictive approach to a cognitive one.

The advanced programmatic technology that machine learning provides is improving campaign effectiveness, insights, relevance and refining brand strategies for today’s marketers. Yet, many within the adtech industry are still hesitant to embrace this technology within their campaigns. Marketers who don’t use these machines to uncover new insights are in danger of missing valuable opportunities to find new audiences and gain more customers.

Audience Discovery

A key challenge for marketers is finding the right audiences for their campaigns. It goes without saying that placing your ads in front of the wrong people is a waste of time and money. For decades marketers have been relying on intuition and assumptions when it came to targeting the right audience. However, as audiences connect through an ever-growing variety of devices it has become increasingly more difficult to keep track of who you are addressing.

Machine learning is able to provide the industry with real observations on how people are going about their digital lives. This enables them to analyse their audiences in more detail and gain more insight into their interests and passions.

Machines are able to analyse and evaluate more web pages in a minute than a human can in a week, so it would seem to be common sense to let the technology do the work for you.

Can A Machine Be Creative?

Critics have claimed that a machine is not capable of learning the spark of creativity that marketing demands. However, last summer a partnership between M&C Saatchi, Clear Channel and Postercope made progress as they launched what they called “the world’s first ever artificially intelligent poster campaign”.

Whilst the campaign didn’t silence critics, it no doubt left some temporarily muted. Using Kinect technology to read audience reaction, the poster was able to adapt itself accordingly. It could then assess the success of each displayed ad and continue creating copy and selecting images for the next.

The ad wasn’t without its flaws and with many pointing out the randomised text, it’s safe to assume that copywriters and art directors’ jobs are secure. However, the technology demonstrated is a step in the right direction. Rather than machine learning completely replacing the creative, we should look to utilise the technology to work alongside it in order to better the audience experience.

Machine Learning And The Battle To End Ad-blocking

Within the last two years the ad tech industry has seen a dramatic increase in the rise of ad blocking. A recent report by IAB/YouGov found that it has increased by 22 per cent within the UK. Furthermore, the report found it is highly popular amongst 18-24 year-olds, with 47 per cent using them.

These figures can look disheartening to those within the industry. Of course, for a customer who is being constantly bombarded by the same ads on their devices, ad blocking may seem the only option to stop this. But if marketers embrace machine learning they will gain a richer understanding of when to buy impressions to prevent their ads from becoming annoying to the user.

Machines can help stop poorly placed and repetitive ads that might annoy the user and instead draw down targeted and personalised ads. This might be through optimising what product mix to display when retargeting, or what ad copy is best suited to a particular demographic.

Machine learning has the ability to understand nuances of a page and the context of recent events to judge what ad should appear and how. The result of this is that audiences become less inclined to use ad blocking because the ones they see are of more relevance to them.

Looking Ahead

In recent years machines have changed the ecosystems of advertising, and machine learning promises to go further. Not only will machine learning ensure audiences are receiving hyper-targeted ads and less wastage – these machines have the ability to run without human assistance, ensuring that when a marketing team is out of the office, their campaigns will still be just as efficient in driving engagement to their brand.

If machine learning is used more and more, then the future of advertising will be faster, more efficient and more bespoke, resulting in an improvement of ROI for advertisers and driving a better online experience for all users.

Is the UK’s display viewability really in decline?

Is the UK’s display viewability really in decline? by Oliver Hayward

Earlier this year, ad solutions provider Meetrics released a report that looked into the current state of online ad viewability in the UK and claimed it was at its lowest level in 18 months.

The study suggests that online ad viewability levels took a drastic slump from 54% to 47% in the second quarter of 2016; leaving the UK lagging behind other European countries.

Many analysts and industry leaders have cited that an increase in programmatic buying of ads has been a significant cause of the decrease in viewability levels.

But is the UK really falling behind when it comes to viewability and how can we address this issue to ensure higher levels of viewability?

It may be higher

By simply looking at our own data we have seen that display campaigns in the UK came out higher than the rest of the industry by more than 38%.

Using Integral Ad Science’s recently published H1 benchmarks as a comparison, over 40 million impressions were analysed and we saw the UK campaigns achieved an overall viewability level of 79%.

This is an increase from 2015, when viewability levels were at 58%.  

Based on this data and Integral Ad Science’s Media Quality Report 2016 which states “the overall trend highlights that there is improvement in viewability from 2015”, we would have to argue that the UK’s level of viewability isn’t in decline and we’re sure there are others with their own data which would point in the same direction.

The UK needs to continue to work together as an industry to work on improving organic viewability levels whilst still achieving the right results for their clients

European viewability rates have long thought to be below par for some time.

However, the industry is working towards improving this as more and more publishers are starting to re-design their sites to make them more viewable.

As more publishers lean to adopt this approach we could see viewability levels increase upwards for the industry as a whole.

'At a crossroads' 

However, despite what Meetrics’ research suggests, I don’t believe the viewability levels for the UK are in decline as we continue to see digital campaigns achieve high levels of viewability.

Yet, even if some are experiencing a decline in viewability levels, the industry is currently at a crossroads with how much emphasis is placed on it as an overall KPI.

Whilst it is currently one of the most prominent methods of showing a client ROI, the debate of engagement versus viewability rages on; a debate that is only intensified by the lack of ability to measure engagement.

So how can the industry work together to ensure the levels of viewability don’t decline in the UK? The Meetrics report found that Austria in particular was seeing high levels of viewability which could be down to their recent agreement by many publishers to move to billing by impression.

So it’s hardly surprising that there has been a surge in viewability following such a drastic move.

Whilst this initiative seems to be working, it seems unlikely that the UK would adopt this method in the near future due to publishers’ hesitation and unpreparedness.

Instead, the UK needs to continue to work together as an industry to work on improving organic viewability levels whilst still achieving the right results for their clients.  

Inside Events: Exponential’s EMENA Brand Summit 2016

Inside Events: Exponential's EMENA Brand Summit 2016 by Mark Jones Advertising intelligence and digital media solutions provider, Exponential, led their annual 2016 EMENA Brand Summit in picturesque Ischia in Italy last week. The two day event provided a unique learning experience, offering the select few of industry experts in attendance with insights from thought- provoking speakers and game-changing thinkers within the digital media industry. Bryan Melmed, VP of Insights; Melissa Biddison, VP of Performance strategy and Jason Trout, UK Managing Director, headed discussions covering data-driven themes to inspire the 30 advertisers and marketers in attendance to effectively embrace data and technology within their marketing. One attendee, Helen Keable, Group Head of Media Tools at Annalect, described the event as “a great trip both educationally and socially”. Viewability remained a key focus for the Brand Summit as Exponential continued exploring whether the industry can unite on viewability and how it can align itself with the user experience. Additionally, the Summit also explored a number of key industry trends and shifts within the industry including the rise of machine learning, the ever-evolving landscape and the change of consumer behaviour in times of anxiety. Exponential’s VP of Performance Strategy, Melissa Biddison, explored the changing landscape of performance marketing and aligned this to the changing landscape of her home town Baltimore, Maryland. During her talk, Melissa referenced the hit crime drama television series, The Wire, to demonstrate how diluted and duplicated data can have a negative effect on performance marketing campaigns. She also talked about the ideal or ‘Home-Run’ set up for performance campaigns and the importance of pixels in gathering the right data for your campaign. Exponential’s VP of Insights, Bryan Melmed, discussed the importance of intelligent advertising during periods of anxiety, commenting: “The initial reaction in times of crisis is to pull an advert. However, our data is showing that consumers look for more communication from brands during a time of anxiety and during this time it is key to continue advertising efforts.” Using real life examples of consumer behaviour from both before and after the Brexit vote, Bryan demonstrated that in times of a crisis or uncertainty marketers need to keep advertising. Jason Trout, Exponential’s UK Managing Director, looked at the importance of machine learning and how marketers need to place more faith in machines. Jason comments: “Machine learning has evolved significantly in recent years. If we look at weather prediction, it once took six weeks to predict just six hours of weather. However, with the help of machine learning we can now accurately predict seven days of weather. If we apply this technology to marketing, we can see the importance of placing more trust in the machines to optimise campaign performance and achieve maximum ROI.

For marketers, Brexit is already here

For marketers, Brexit is already here by Bryan Melmed

Many advertisers overlook the impact of uncertainty on their customers.

Bureaucrats in London and Brussels will struggle to negotiate Article 50 for months to come, but for marketers Brexit is already here.

Few events in recent history have changed consumer perception as dramatically as the vote on 23 June. With no assurance of what will happen, the most pervasive effect is heightened anxiety about what might happen. This has already triggered a familiar pattern in various economic indicators, especially in a weak exchange rate and plummeting confidence indicators. Still, many advertisers overlook the impact of uncertainty in the minds of their customers.

It’s not as if Britons have stopped leasing cars, planning vacations and buying smartphones. It’s that they are doing so with different emotions and priorities that marketers must adapt to. Pervasive anxiety will impact almost every perception and decision a person makes.

We see abundant evidence of consumer anxiety in Britain through behavioural data collected through our publisher network. At the risk of sounding dismissive, we’ve seen this happen before. There was anxiety in Edmonton during the Fort McMurray fire. There was anxiety in South Africa when the respected minister of finance was suddenly dismissed. And in Miami, we see evidence of anxiety now that the Zika virus has made it to the mainland US.

Fortunately, our data also helps inform a strategy for how advertisers can respond to an uncertain time. Brexit feels unprecedented and overwhelming, but a few simple guidelines derived from previous crises can guide the way forward.

Narrowed perception

It is more difficult for your message to break through during a period of anxiety, but not for the reason you might think.

Marketers often imagine that their messages are somehow "crowded out" by the avalanche of news and opinion that follows an unexpected event. If anything, the media environment is more favourable to marketers now that the initial shock has worn off. Demand for content remains high while some advertisers pull back, making for real bargains when it comes to placement.

The reason that it is more difficult to break through lies with consumers themselves. In a time of anxiety, people embrace routine and tune out distractions, including most advertising. This is a defensive mechanism baked into our biology – even rats default to established habits when under stress.

Narrowed perception is clearly evident in our study on British consumers after Brexit. They exhibit 39.2% less interest in trying new bars and restaurants. They are 22.9% less likely to plan a wedding. They are even 18.5% less likely to explore divorce. (This may sound awful, but it’s the same concept as Maslow's hierarchy of needs.)

These reactions have a significant economic component as well, which helps explain their magnitude. Other responses we observed seem entirely influenced by heightened anxiety. In the month following the vote, Britons became 36.2% less likely to be interested in new music. They were 19% less interested in losing weight and 14.9% less interested in dating. We also see consumers increasingly tuning out decisions that could save them money, such as changing cell phone plans or finding a low interest rate credit card.

Smart marketers employ a strategy to accommodate this response, rather than desperately try to override it with larger and more intrusive advertising. Britons are still doing what they did before, but with a much narrower focus. In this environment, advertisers need a precise alignment of the timing and content of their message to specific customer profiles. To remain visible in narrowed perspective, targeting is key.

Luckily data is here to guide the way. Consumption of online content offers a clear signal to what people are thinking about, concerned with, and considering to purchase. We know that anxious consumers respond to advertising against leisure sites and leisure states, when they are most open to new ideas and experiences. Anonymous user profiles allow advertisers to shift their message to these moments, rather than be forced into a cluttered environment where there is content specifically about their products.

Approach versus avoidance

We like to think that people band together to offer emotional or material support in times of adversity. That can happen, but unfortunately it isn’t very common. The Brexit itself was, in a way, about establishing distance. And most stressful events drive people apart, even if they are as expected and slow-moving as the US presidential election.

To fully understand how consumers react, one has to allow for both approach and avoidance. Anxious people approach controllable aspects of an event, as they simultaneously avoid issues they have no influence over. The nature of any crisis is that there is more to avoid than to control, but marketers are wise to respond however they can to offer consumers a greater sense of autonomy and independence.

Almost anything that offered consumers a sense of control or reassurance had a positive shift in the weeks after the Brexit vote. Interest in insurance, the most obvious example of a product offering security, saw a four-fold jump. Britons were 6.8% more interested in bespoke services (such as couriers or interior designers), and content covering home cleaning products topics saw a 5.3% increase in traffic. Interest in finance and business topics increased significantly but almost entirely from personal concerns – the share related to macroeconomic issues dropped almost 40%.

Britons turned away from anything uncertain or ambiguous that might amplify their heightened anxiety. They were half as likely to start a home project, 8% less interested in personal loans, and 4.4% less likely to quit smoking. Even after adjusting for the shift in news topics, traffic for content detailing environmental and global health concerns fell by at least 25%. Britons were also less likely to consider mental health counseling, medical checkups, retirement planning and adult education.

Marketers should recognise that empowerment, not coddling, is what consumers demand in an anxious moment. Even simply offering detailed information as part of the advertising experience can make an enormous difference. During the Asian financial crisis, 62% of consumers preferred informational advertisements and 59% had a negative reaction to image heavy, emotional pitches. More recently, one of our user experience studies found that the ability to explore detailed content was the most appreciated feature of our interactive VDX ad units.

Myopic strategies

Fellow marketers – consider yourselves as well, as you are a part of this equation too.

Too often, when anxiety hits, budgets are cut and campaigns delayed. This short-term, impulsive reaction has long been proven wrong. Advertisers that maintain spending through a crisis emerge with stronger brands and greater market share. This was the conclusion of a metastudy by Gerard J. Tellis and Kethan Tellis at the University of Southern California, who after reviewing ten primary empirical studies found "strong and consistent evidence that cutting back on advertising during a recession can hurt sales during and after the recession".

A recession can be nothing but hidden opportunities.

Bryan Melmed is vice president of insights at Exponential.

Can viewability measure the effectiveness of online video ads?

Can viewability measure the effectiveness of online video ads? by Jason Trout

In late 2015, the Drum published an article within which the author stated that over the next 12 months, viewability would re-emerge as a key industry issue and that digital video would be a key driving force behind this.

With more brands focusing their ad budgets on digital video over traditional television ads, the importance of being able to track their performance and effectiveness has thrust viewability to the forefront of discussion.

The general consensus within the industry when it comes to viewability is that due to differing standards and methodologies used to measure impressions, it alone isn’t enough to act as a KPI.

The benefits of online video are clearly invaluable when it comes to user engagement 

The global standard definition for viewable impressions was introduced by the Media Rating Council (MRC) in June 2014 as 50% of the ad’s pixels needing to be in view for a minimum of one second for display ads.

In addition, for video ads the MRC defines a viewable impression as 50% of an ad’s pixels in view for a minimum of two seconds.

With this the global standard and advertisers shifting their budgets to utilise more online videos, can viewability truly measure the effectiveness of an online video campaign?

Perhaps...

Exponential recently carried out a piece of research to find how audiences engaged with online video. The study found that, using a combination of eye-tracking, facial coding and survey questions, users paid attention for twice as long when presented with interactive online videos. In addition, they also produced a higher ad recall, intent to purchase rates and boosted brand perception.

In addition, 40% of those interacting with the ad did so for more than 60 seconds.

The benefits of online video are clearly invaluable when it comes to user engagement and finding new ways to reach your audience. However, measuring engagement is much more subjective than viewable impressions.

This can present a significant challenge when speaking with a client who wants to see tangible results on the effectiveness of a campaign. This is why viewability has become such a prominent topic of discussion.

Nevertheless, with the standard definition of a viewable impression for video being just two seconds, can this be described as an effective impression?

Furthermore, whilst viewability is able to measure whether a video ad has the opportunity to be seen, it does present a number of questions. Did the user pay attention? Were the brand messages communicated before the user clicked away?

But what about sound?

Another fundamental hurdle when using viewability to measure the effectiveness of an online video ad is audio. Through viewability you aren’t able to tell if the user had the sound switched on their device for the duration of that ad. Therefore, automatically becoming ineffective if that particular advert relies heavily on sound.

A study conducted by Google in 2015 looked into the effectiveness of video ads and found that users exposed to YouTube ads that are only heard still retained 33% recall rate compared to if the ads hadn’t been experienced at all.

However, those ads would be classified as non-viewable due to not appearing on screen.

Unfortunately until the technology to measure viewability evolves further, there isn’t one set solution to measure the effectiveness of an online ad. Many within the industry adopt a number of methods to measure a campaign’s impact and of course the responsibility lies within the industry itself to continue creating content that is both targeted and engaging to its audience.

By creating responsive content we are putting ourselves in a much stronger position to ensure that a campaign delivers relevant impressions and maximum effectiveness.

Unmasked: The mystery of the Trump voter

Unmasked: The mystery of the Trump voter by Bryan Melmed

This year’s election has broken so many rules that it barely resembles a political process. Few predicted that Donald Trump would be the last Republican candidate standing, let alone that the Grand Old Party would subsequently rally around him.

Setting politics aside, any marketer has to admire his intuitive read on the American electorate. Trump recognised a deep unhappiness that the pollsters and politicians somehow missed. Part of Trump’s strategy has been to ignore the data that powers all our marketing campaigns. It may seem foolish to ignore the power of data, but let’s not fall into the trap of underestimating “The Donald” - he is redefining what it means to be a Republican voter.

But what can data tell us about Trump supporters and the characteristics that define them? And should Trump evolve his strategy as we approach the general vote? At Exponential, we used data to analyse the profiles of traditional Republican supporters and compared them to those likely to vote for Trump. Interestingly, of the 13,059 statistically-significant characteristics that define a Trump voter, only 40.1% share the direction and strength of Republican loyalists. It’s enough to make Trump a Republican, but not enough to have most Republicans support Trump. 

Here is a comparison of some traits between Trump voters and Republicans.

So how should we understand a Trump voter?

Two key themes dominate this profile: uncertainty and pride.

Uncertainty

The strongest (and most sobering) pattern for Trump loyalists is a pervasive sense of uncertainty. It is a stark contrast from the lives of the traditional Republican voters, who are well-established and comfortable.

Trump appeals to those struggling with economic uncertainty. His core supporter has poor credit, earns less than $15,000 a year and owns a home worth less than $50,000. Trump voters are 52% more likely to be unemployed than the average American. Understandably, they postpone most discretionary purchases and frequent off-price and dollar stores, as well as Wal-Mart.

Their sense of uncertainty extends well past income. Trump voters are 31% more likely to need car repairs, 2.4 times more likely to suffer from insomnia, and three times more likely to seek marriage counseling. Stress is evidenced by high rates of drinking, smoking and use of diet pills.

None of these patterns are evident in traditional Republican profiles. These people earn more, have larger homes, drive more expensive cars and still manage to save for retirement. Traditional Republicans can be found shopping for jewellery, cosmetics and luggage - behaviours that almost don’t exist in the Trump camp. Loyalists are 3.7 times more likely to consider adding a swimming pool, an investment that can cost as much as a Trump supporter’s annual income.

Pride

For Trump supporters, American culture is prized and this is reflected in favour of American cuisine, especially a barbeque. They read about American history and visit American historical sites. They prefer cars with American brand names, like Jeep and Ford. And they listen to country music.

Cultural interests offer an easy shortcut to find Trump supporters. For example, Zac Brown Band fans are 1.9 times more likely to have voted for him, as are viewers of Two and A Half Men or The Bachelor. Negative targeting is just as useful. Infrequent behaviours include interest in imported cars such as Audi or Acura, or music preferences in hip-hop or K-pop.

Trump voters are two times more likely to drink beer than Republican loyalists, who conversely are two times more likely to drink wine than Trump core voters. Trumpsters follow football, while Republicans prefer baseball. And, perhaps most tellingly, Trump voters tend to live alongside significant minority populations, while loyalists live in areas that are overwhelmingly Caucasian.

We are already seeing these voter profiles change now that the primaries are over. Trump supporters today, growing in number as he brings in reluctant Republicans who had favored Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, make his audience look more and more like traditional Republicans. Does this mean Trump needs to change his views on data?

I would argue that, in the general election, data remains as important as ever. As successful as Trump has been in commanding attention and engendering passionate support from his core audience, he’s been rallying the opposition as well. Obama won his elections by identifying and activating Democrats in Republican areas without awakening the opposition - action without reaction, if you will.

Instinct may have gotten Trump this far, but the latest polls suggest he still has a lot of ground to cover if he intends on winning the election. At the very least, this will involve a sustained get-out-the-vote effort that targets individuals with custom advertising messages based on their known preferences and characteristics. He is sure to stumble without the deep knowledge and precise targeting that data can provide.

How we did it

To determine these profiles, Exponential profiled residents of US counties where Trump led the primary vote by more than 20 points. This study covered roughly 100 counties and 18,248,560 user devices on the Exponential network. To validate the findings, Exponential also modelled the preferences of Caucasian males in the United States that had a high-school education and were working in agriculture, labor, or unskilled positions. About 71,080 users were considered in this approach.

Why marketers need to learn to trust the machines

Why marketers need to learn to trust the machines by Jason Trout

City A.M. previously published an article titled “Why marketers need humans behind the programmatic steering wheel”.

The author highlighted how automation has transformed the marketing industry, and argued that for marketers to achieve successful automation, humans need to lead as machines lack the ability to predict or detect subtle changes or circumstances that make consumers respond to ads.

It also argues that ads that are designed solely by machines won’t perform as well due to their inability to produce creative ideas.

Whilst humans undoubtedly need to be part of the ecosystem, machines deserve much more credit within the digital marketing process. Of course the technology isn’t perfect and if used incorrectly, will result in negative results.

There is good and bad practice and most issues surrounding poor creativity, poor context and poor content are the result of bad practice. Whilst the technology may not be perfect, it does have its undeniable benefits for marketing professionals.

Re-targeting your audiences

Re-targeting continues to present a significant challenge for marketers. On one hand, it is universally accepted that re-targeting customers who have expressed interest in a particular product is beneficial.

Machines may not be completely accurate all of the time but due to amount of pages they process, they are vastly more reliable for making judgements

But one of the most frequent complaints when it comes to adtech is the 'pair of shoes that follows me around the internet' and there have been incidents in which customers are targeted with the same ads even when the product has already been purchased.

Of course, this can be irritating for the customers who are essentially being spammed with the same messages. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that it is not the technology at fault.

It is simply doing as it has been instructed. This means that either the company that provides this product-level retargeting hasn’t bothered to set up effective frequency caps or their statistics show the ad does yield a better-than-average return regardless of whether it is irritating a small number of people in the process.

Can machines make sound judgements?

Ensuring ads don’t appear against the wrong kind of content would seem like something humans would outperform machines at. The ability to understand nuances of a page and the context of recent events to judge whether an ad should appear seems an inherently human task.

However, this is not the case. When operating at internet scale, automated page-level processing is the only way to understand what each page is about and handle the content accordingly.

Humans can, and do, make mistakes. Machines may not be completely accurate all of the time but due to amount of pages they process, they are vastly more reliable for making these judgements - particularly when it involves making millions of decisions each day.

With the evolution of programmatic technology, marketers are able to track audience behaviour in real-time and cross examine a number of their interests for intelligent targeting.

As the industry continues to serve millions of ads per day, there has been very few reported examples of bad placement which is a testament to the improvements in both execution and technical implementation.

While one cannot disagree with the overall thrust of the City A.M. article, I think it is guilty of misjudging the relative importance between man and machine in the advertising technology industry. The article concludes, “Machines and algorithms have a crucial role to play, but we still need skilled drivers to win in this race.”

To emphasise just how fundamental, and successful, machines are in operating the internet economy, I suggest this would be better phrased as “without machines and algorithms, there’d be no race – but humans still need to set the rules of the race".

Striking the Balance Between Viewability and User Experience

Striking the Balance Between Viewability and User Experience by Jason Trout

It’s not new to say that the advertising industry has made a monumental shift towards putting viewability at the forefront of campaign goals, however, the impact on user experience is increasingly being called into play.

The IAB Europe’s 2015 white paper reported that 84% of brand advertisers stated that they were moving towards viewable rather than served impressions. A growing concern is that some advertisers are focusing too much on pursuing the former, to the extent that it is having a negative impact on the overall experience of the user.

In addition to this, some leading news publications are redesigning their sites to be 100% viewable. These sites, that focus on in-view ad percentages, are ignoring both the consumer and the effectiveness of each ad individually. Web page layouts prioritise ad banners rather than the content featured, but at what cost to the overall user experience when visiting that particular site?

With this in mind, publishers need to ensure that they are presenting online ads in a format that can remain viewable, without being intrusive to the audience. They need to be prepared to maximise better practices to accommodate their desire for viewable impressions.

The increased focus on delivering viewable ads results in agencies supplying publishers with ads taking up ever greater file sizes. Not only do these data consuming ads slow down a user’s experience, their performance on mobile devices also proves challenging as the size of these heavily loading ads result in them not having adaptability. With the increasing shift of consumers using their mobile devices as computers, this inconsistency is surely having an impact.

User-initiated ads

So how does the industry tackle address this balance? Viewability is a big enough challenge on its own, but disruptive ads are not the answer to achieving a 100% viewable goal. User initiation has a massive part to play; if a user chooses to actively engage with an ad, by initiating it to load or expand, then advertisers can confirm that that ad is viewable. Brands need to shift their focus from grabbing the interest of their audience immediately, to enticing further interaction. If a brand can achieve this, it doesn’t matter where their ad appears on the publisher page, that user initiating will deem it viewable. User-initiated ads are the key to achieving viewable impressions with a good user experience at the heart of it.

In order to address this, brands need to think of ways to achieve viewable impressions without compromising the user experience. With the evolution of programmatic advertising, it’s easier than ever to produce a series of creative ads delivered to targeted individuals across multiple devices. Using programmatic techniques, brands can ensure that these ads are delivered at times when those individuals are most likely to be receptive to their messages.  

User engagement is a fundamental goal for advertisers and that it is time to focus more on the overall user experience than just delivering an ad that has the opportunity to be seen. Brands and publishers need to address viewability with consumers at the centre of importance, research has shown that poor user experience, even with enhanced viewability will likely not yield desired outcomes.  Fewer, high quality, appropriate interactions has to be the long-term goal.

Rich, interactive content

The increase in online video and interactive ads has certainly helped to change the focus of the user experience. Many research studies have shown that there is a higher level of audience engagement with richer, more interactive content. A recent study by Yahoo found that 61% of consumers prefer ads that are 30 seconds or less, proving that smaller more concise ads can have a significantly more positive effect on a user’s experience and levels of engagement. With today’s audiences consuming information at a faster rate, users expect advertising to be engaging and more targeted to them.

According to a CMO Council survey, 43% of marketers said personalisation led to more conversions. Ads that are personalised to consumers will drive better results, improving response rates and increasing brand loyalty and drive engagement.  Yet marketers are still focusing on viewability percentages rather than their consumers responses to their ads. Most consumers receive ad banners that are irrelavant to their needs and interests. If marketers and publishers used more data tools to gain more insight and understanding of the needs of their customers, they would be able to provide users with better experiences and boost engagement  through the personalisation of content.

Will the adtech industry be able to put an end to fraud?

Will the adtech industry be able to put an end to fraud? by Tim Sleath

The adtech industry is not without its daily challenges. However, some challenges present themselves as significantly more prominent, complex and influential than others. In particular, fraud has remained a constant problem.

A report by the Association of National Advertisers in the United States revealed that advertisers will lose $7.2 billion in 2016, a jump from $6.3 billion in 2015. In an industry that is estimated to be worth £19.6 billion in 2015 in the UK, are we investing enough money and resources in tackling what could be seen as one of the industry’s most prominent threats?

Furthermore, ad fraud can also be closely connected to some other big issues that are disrupting the adtech industry. In particular, viewability has arisen as one of the most divisive industry trends. The standards for measuring whether or not an ad was viewable is crucial for the industry to move forward. However, viewability itself can also present an opportunity for fraud to occur. Understandably advertisers want their ads genuinely to be seen by an engaged audience. But with the influx and evolution of bot-related fraud, it remains a topic that baffles the industry.

When online ad fraud was first recognised, it was known as Non-Human Traffic (NHT). This is a combination of benign and malicious bots which can inflate impression counts across the internet and therefore can blur the effectiveness of viewability. There has been some progress since NHT was first acknowledged with the New York-based Media Rating Ccounil (MRC) stating that vendors should remove NHT before assessing viewability. 

The MRC has gone a step further by renaming NHT Invalid Traffic (IVT) and issuing definitions which outline two fundamental types of bots that create fraudulent impressions. Firstly, there are the easier-to-spot General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) bots. Then there are the Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) bots which are more difficult to detect and require a number of methods to identify including analytics and human intervention. 

With both types of bots, the MRC has set guidelines stating what should be removed before assessing viewability. The guidelines state that all vendors must remove GIVT and are encouraged to remove SIVT, or at least encourage the buyer to use a separate SIVT filter. While this is not yet a set industry standard, it is a crucial step in improving the quality of the advertising campaign and user experience.

With marketers spending more money on digital advertising, these bots are becoming more commonplace and ad fraud continues to grow. So how can the industry work together to combat this threat and where does the responsibility lie?

The industry has allowed ad fraud to develop either through ignorance or laziness. The pace to create processes and capabilities to tackle the issue is increasing and I predict those staggering calculations of fraud could prove a high-water mark which we will one day refer to with amazement. However, if the industry tries to increase awareness of the problem, it will spur interest in technologies designed to audit ad campaigns. Already, we are starting to see a number of companies which are in the beginnings of developing the technology to do this and attempt to stop fraudulent traffic at its source.

While this has been slow in the UK, the recently-launched anti-fraud initiative of the Trustworthy Accountability Group is the US industry’s approach to putting the squeeze on fraudsters by ensuring effective knowledge sharing between and use of best practices by reputable companies.

There has been some progress in tackling fraud in the UK with ISBA, IAB and the IPA setting up the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) to establish good practice and guidelines to reduce the risk of fraudulent ads. In May 2016, the committee announced it would provide certification to companies who were actively trying to reduce the risk of fraudulent advertising. Publishers, agencies and ad tech providers will be assessed against six key principles to determine their certification.

In addition to reducing fraudulent ads in the UK, the Project Creative Initiative, run by the City of London Police and JICWEBS, collate an infringing website list of sites known to infringe copyright. The list is the first of its kind to be developed with an up-to-date list of sites, identified and verified by the creative industries and City of London Police to have infringed copyright. While fraud and theft of copyrighted works are separate issues, it is a step to clean up the digital ecosystem as a whole and therefore has an important part to play. 

Although all this progress is a positive step in the right direction and offers a level of transparency, the underlying problem of ad fraud still remains. As with other challenges that have presented themselves within the advertising industry, the companies who look ahead and are able to adapt are the ones likely to come out on top.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no silver bullet remedy for tackling ad fraud. Instead, it is up to the industry to continue raising awareness around the issue as well as investing more money in coming up with a solution - and bracing themselves for the road ahead.

Does the ad tech industry need to refocus on viewability?

Does the ad tech industry need to refocus on viewability? by Jason Trout

Viewability is still a divisive subject within the ad tech industry. Whilst its takes into account when an ad has appeared in front of a user, it doesn't determine whether that user engaged with it and whether that user is your target audience.

So what use is a viewable ad if it isn’t engaged with? Perhaps the industry needs to re-align its focus on viewability.

With the rise of bots and ad-fraud becoming a more prominent challenge, the general consensus is that viewability goals alone aren’t enough. Many would agree that engagement is the most important goal for advertisers, particularly in an ad-blocking world. 

Should the industry thus be investing so much time and money on viewability when ultimately, conversions are everyone’s end goal?

The introduction of viewability does come from a place of good intent. After all, advertisers need to be able to show the reach of their campaigns. However, it seems counterintuitive to spend so much time to make sure an ad is viewable to a consumer if we know that the impression won’t convert. The industry needs to look beyond ads that are viewable, but are engaging as well.

The number of differing viewability standards can also increase the challenge for advertisers and publishers as the landscape becomes more confusing and muddled. Is 50 per cent of an ad’s pixels in view for one second long enough for the user to actually engage with the ad? For this reason, I believe the industry needs to make a shift from viewability to refocus more on engagement.

A recent study by Exponential, in partnership with research firm EyeSee, was carried out to test the level of engagement of our Video Driven rich media ad formats (VDX) against standard pre-roll ad formats. Using a panel of 500 internet users and combination of eye-tracking, facial coding and survey questions, the study found that VDX units held customer attention for twice as long. They also produced higher ad recall, intent to purchase rates and boosted brand perception. In addition, 40 per cent of those interacting with the ad did so for more than 60 seconds.

So what would an industry more focused on engagement mean for publishers and trading desks? 

It would simply mean they’d have to be able to access and leverage sufficient data to effectively perform against an engagement goal. Demographic targeting and buying frequency isn’t enough to deliver what the industry needs. Audience-based targeting of users “in-market” can provide a much more prosperous approach that allows trading desks and publishers to charge on a “cost per engagement” metric.

Viewability will continue to be a prominent subject in the ad tech industry and with time there will be further developments to improve its measurability. However, in its current state being able to track whether engagement occurred on a viewable impression is still a significant hurdle. There are many ways to engage with customers beyond making something visible. Perhaps it is time for the industry to shift its focus from viewability to engagement because ultimately, if a user actively engaged with an ad, then it must have been viewable.

Jason Trout is UK managing director of Exponential.

Are we missing the point on online ad viewability?

Are we missing the point on online ad viewability?

Viewability is still a divisive subject within the ad tech industry, but while the benefit of a viewability goal to advertisers is that it ensures their ad has appeared to a user, it doesn’t determine whether that user engaged with it and whether that user is your target audience. So what use is a viewable ad, if it isn’t engaged with? Perhaps the industry needs to re-align its focus on viewability.

With the rise of bots and ad-fraud becoming a more prominent challenge, the general consensus is that viewability goals alone aren’t enough. Many would agree that engagement is the most important goal for advertisers, particularly in an ad-blocking world. Should the industry be investing so much time and money on viewability when ultimately, conversions are everyone’s end goal?

The introduction of viewability does come from a place of good intent. After all, advertisers need to be able to show the reach of their campaigns. However, it seems counterintuitive to spend so much time to make sure an ad is viewable to a consumer if we know that the impression won’t convert. The industry needs to look beyond ads that are viewable, but are engaging as well.

The number of differing viewability standards can also increase the challenge for advertisers and publishers as the landscape becomes more confusing and muddled. Is 50% of an ad’s pixels in view for 1 second long enough for the user to actually engage with the ad? For this reason, I believe the industry needs to make a shift from viewability to refocus more on engagement.

A recent study by Exponential, in partnership with research firm EyeSee, tested the level of engagement of our video driven rich media ad formats (VDX) against standard pre-roll ad formats.

Using a panel of 500 Internet users and combination of eye-tracking, facial coding and survey questions, the study found that VDX units held attention for twice as long. They also produced higher ad recall, intent to purchase rates and boosted brand perception. In addition, 40% of those interacting with the ad did so for more than 60 seconds.

So what would an industry more focused on engagement mean for publishers and trading desks? It would simply mean they’d have to be able to access and leverage sufficient data to effectively perform against an engagement goal.

Demographic targeting and buying frequency isn’t enough to deliver what the industry needs. Audience-based targeting of users ‘in-market’ can provide a much more prosperous approach that allows trading desks and publishers to charge on a ‘cost per engagement’ metric.

Viewability will continue to be a prominent subject in the ad tech industry and with time there will be further developments to improve its measurability. However, in its current state, being able to track whether engagement occurred on a viewable impression is still a significant hurdle.

There are many ways to engage with customers beyond making something visible. Perhaps it is time for the industry to shift its focus from viewability to engagement because ultimately, if a user actively engaged with an ad, then it must have been viewable.

Jason Trout is UK managing director of Exponential

The Triple Threat Of Ad Blocking, Viewability & Fraud

The everyday challenges of marketers are constantly changing – from the introduction of new technologies to the shifting habits of consumers. Yet, there are some major challenges that have been sticking around and including viewability, fraud and ad blocking. How can marketers adapt?

Viewability

Viewability is mainly a question of pricing. The tools marketers can use to assure good viewability, and the inventory to deliver it, do exist, but for a price. This question of pricing will take some time for players and customers to adjust. The greater challenge we face is the old issue of trying to serve two distinct masters – optimizing for good cost per acquisition (CPA) and good viewability when the two things aren’t directly linked. There are rumblings about the need for a viewability/CPA combined metric, although it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit for that.

Fraud

Although it’s not necessarily a new trend, fraud is a huge concern for marketers. Fraud is a question of constant vigilance, but for most in the value chain, it’s already addressed by viewability. If you’re buying viewable, you should have already taken out non-human traffic – this is the standard of both JICWEBS in UK and the Media Ratings Council (MRC) in the USA.

Since only humans can truly “see” ads, high fraud leads to low viewability and in siphoning off revenue, fraudsters have brought about poor user experiences that contribute to the rise of the next obstacle – ad blocking.

Ad Blocking

2016 has already become the year of ad blocking. Even though it’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, all invested parties will come out better off. Consumers will end up getting better experiences and publishers will get fair revenue via fewer, better quality ads. This will be facilitated by the twin strategies of publishers blocking ad blockers (short term) and rationalization of the supply chain (longer term) to focus on the partners adding value, rather than just another pixel call that slows down pages, soaks up bandwidth and results in user frustration.

Marketers realize that ad blocking is a problem – it has been discussed and debated by seemingly everyone in the industry. Most recently, the IAB launched its D.E.A.L. program, which is meant to facilitate a clear message around the value exchange between users and publishers. Namely, consumers must either view the ads or pay the publisher money for the content. Content cannot be consumed for free.

But it remains to be seen if the IAB’s DEAL and LEAN programs (and also the TAG registration initiative) will have the desired effect of cleaning up the industry and user experience.

So, what’s a marketer to do?

Which one of these challenges is more of a threat? That depends on whom you ask. For a publisher, viewability is an opportunity, while ad blocking is a threat, especially given the uncertain future and continued adoption. For vendors, viewability is a short-term challenge, unless the vendor has a strong direct publisher relationship, which would allow them to adapt.

Fraud and ad blocking, if uncontrolled, represents a threat to the larger ad tech industry and so warrant more attention in the months ahead.

Brands and advertisers should expect a high level of service, especially when it comes to viewability and fraud levels; however, they and their agencies should adopt the industry standards for such criteria.

For example, the MRC has issued standard guidance on viewability, but there’s still a sense of one-upmanship of some parties wanting increasingly strict limits. This fragmentation of standards in this nascent field ultimately makes it harder to clean things up across the board. Equally, advertisers and agencies should accept that while every interested party will tell you their version of the truth, there is always discrepancy, oftentimes considerable discrepancy, between them.

Unfortunately, marketers still don’t have a tight grasp on these challenges. While it would be good to see more consistency from buyers, there has been reasonable activity and progress made industry-wide. The IAB is promoting good standards, however, that does not always result in everyone being on the same page.

It seems like just yesterday that these topics were barely a concern but, as we move further into 2016, it’s apparent that ad blocking, viewability and fraud are here to stay. Similar to most other trends and evolutions throughout the years, it’s the companies that are able to adapt who are able to come out ahead.

Most problems, especially those as pervasive as these three, cannot be solved with just the flip of a switch. Rather, it’s up to those in the industry to prepare for the obstacles they can see and brace for those not yet visible.

As VP, Product Management, Tim Sleath oversees the development of Exponential’s platform strategy and data analytics capabilities as well as the networks quality to assure brand safety and appropriate data protection for clients, publishers and Internet users.

Exponential Interactive Named Finalist for sfBIG’s BIG Star Award

Exponential recognized for its data report on Republican primary voters by the sfBIG panel of judges

We are excited to announce that Exponential has been named a finalist for sfBIG’s BIG Star Award in the category of “Best Use of BIG Data.” The submission for this category included an audience insights brief on which celebrities and musicians held the greatest sway with Republican primary voters, and how advertisers can use this type of data to connect with target audiences. For example, the brief found that GOP voters are 13.5 times more likely than the average internet population to research Mindy Kaling. While Republican voters’ attraction to the first-generation, American-Indian comedian is not immediately obvious, the fact that she revealed her desire to own a handgun and described both her parents as conservative Republicans may shed light on this appeal. Likewise, GOP voters are 9 times as likely to research Robert Downey Jr. than the average Internet population. Downey’s onscreen superhero bravery and valor align well with the Republican Party’s rhetoric and value system. Additionally, Downey has attended events for both Democratic and Republican parties in the past: a fundraiser for President Obama at George Clooney’s home and a Minneapolis Republican Convention in 2008. Other celebrities that were found to resonate well with GOP voters: Kate Upton, U2, Sandra Bullock, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. Read the full brief here. “It’s wonderful to be recognized by sfBIG for our data, especially given the caliber of fellow ad tech companies in the Bay Area,” said Bryan Melmed, VP, Insights Services at Exponential. “We’ve focused so much effort on providing detailed, relevant insights for advertisers and marketers, and welcome that big data is recognized as a powerful tool for any business objective.” Exponential has a dedicated Insights Services team that gathers and analyzes data points to provide insights for marketers, brands and advertisers. In addition to optimizing campaigns and improving targeting, Exponential uses its data to derive conclusions and insights about audiences and consumer behavior. Winners will be announced at the 2016 sfBIG’s BIG Star Awards April 21st at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco. More info on the event can be found here.

Exponential Study Finds Interactive Video Units Outperform Standard Banner, Pre-roll Ads

Eye tracking and facial coding technology measure emotional, physical reactions to interactive ads

EMERYVILLE, CA (April 13, 2016) – Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, reaching more than 700 million users each month, has released its study titled The Power of Video-Driven Experiences: What Attention, Emotion and Perception Can Tell Us About Good Advertising – which finds that interactive video advertisements are significantly more impactful than standard banner and pre-roll video ads.

Exponential commissioned EyeSee, a market research firm, to investigate the effectiveness of interactive video. The study compared VDX interactive video ad units to 30-second pre-roll units and standard banner units, focusing on three key KPIs – attention (length of browsing and interaction time), emotion (type of emotion and strength of emotional reaction) and perception (impact on brand lift). These KPIs were evaluated via eye tracking and interaction rates, facial expression and surveys, respectively.

The study found that interactive video ads are more effective at seizing attention, provoking emotion and driving brand impact. Key takeaways and statistics include:

  • Interactive video impacts purchase consideration. 17 percent of users who viewed an interactive pre-roll video ad and 19 percent of users who viewed an interactive rectangular video unit stated they “definitely will” consider purchasing the brand in the future. That statistic was only 13 percent for the standard pre-roll.
  • Interactive video advertising units generate positive brand perception and make a lasting impression. Compared to standard pre-roll units, video-driven units held attention for over twice as long, produced higher ad recall rates and boosted brand perception.
  • An invitation to engage with video advertising is more than just a gateway to a compelling experience; it can be valuable real estate in itself. 69 percent of users spent over five seconds looking at the interactive teaser compared to just 11 percent who viewed the standard animated banner of the same size. Interactive teasers are also 3x more likely to stimulate a positive emotional reaction (particularly ‘Focus’). Further, 82 percent of those who viewed the teasers reported “favorable” or “very favorable” brand perception on the surveys compared to just 68 percent of those who viewed the standard banner.

“This study validates what we’re seeing every day – that interactive video is a powerful digital vehicle for brand impact,” said Bryan Melmed, VP, Insights Services, at Exponential. “The choice of ad format has huge implications for marketers and advertisers; advertising focused on engagement delivers more compelling, memorable experiences.” 

Methodology In the study, a sample of 500 panel-recruited participants were asked to browse a series of realistic mock websites how they would naturally – at home and using their own devices. Throughout exposure, users were monitored via their webcams for their facial expressions, visual gaze, and navigation while surfing the pages. After users finished browsing, they were then exposed to an additional mock webpage with generic editorial content and additional dummy advertisements. To assess brand lift metrics, users were presented with a seven-question survey assessing recall and brand perception.

The study can be found here.

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Exponential Interactive Appoints Ittai Shiu as Vice President Creative Strategy

Former General Manager of Video Promoted to New Leadership Role

EMERYVILLE, CA – April 5, 2016 - Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions reaching more than 700 million users each month, has appointed Ittai Shiu to the position of Vice President Creative Strategy, a new role. Shiu, previously General Manager, Video, is tasked to handle the go-to-market initiatives of its brand engagement products. He is based in Exponential’s Emeryville, CA office.

Shiu’s new role was developed to lead and operationalize Exponential’s creative product suite and emerging formats – including the company’s proprietary multi-screen mobile, in-app and video ‘VDX’ solutions.

“Ittai’s appointment comes at a time when market demand for engaging, user-centric ad formats is significantly increasing – yet ad blocking and consumer tensions with advertising are also prominent,” said Doug Conely, Chief Strategy Officer at Exponential. “This tells us that there’s a need for a creative solution to bridge the advertiser who wants to run a data-driven, high-impact advertising campaign with the publisher who wants to monetize their audiences – all while respecting the user experience during the campaign. Ittai’s in-depth expertise in Exponential’s creative best practices and data-driven approaches to design and optimization makes him the ideal candidate to deliver these solutions to advertisers, publishers and consumers.”

Prior to his new role, Ittai served as Exponential’s General Manager, Video, where he was responsible for the overarching growth and business operations of the company’s video products. He also spearheaded the development and global adoption of mobile, display and video creative ad format solutions as the Executive Director of Product Strategy and Operations.

“Since its founding, Exponential has been dedicated to creating consumer-first, engaging advertising experiences that power campaigns for brands and agencies. This vision has not only allowed us to flexibly adapt to an ever-changing industry, but to also thrive and lead the market with our products,” comments Shiu. “Exponential is set on an impressive trajectory. I’m honored by the opportunity and excited to help shape the future of our brand engagement solutions.”

Shiu is an industry expert with more than 15 years of experience in the areas of online media and operations. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

# # #

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way audiences interact with brands across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and performance.

Creativity, data and audience insights form the foundation for building smart and relevant brand engagement and brand performance solutions for advertisers and publishers.

Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Exponential launches AERO technology in EMENA

Exponential launches AERO technology in EMENA by Will Corry

Applies interest-based audience modelling directly to ad decisions; increases campaign performance by an average of 24 percent

Exponential have announced the expansion of its brand performance offering into new markets across the EMENA region. Exponential’s performance offering is enhanced by AERO, an innovative algorithm that transforms the performance of online campaigns by optimising them in real-time using transparent interest-based audience models.

The technology, Audience-Efficient Real-time Optimisation (AERO), scores each impression for each campaign for best fit, including the audience lift or probability for an audience to convert, leading to greater performance and efficiency.

After its many years of success in providing performance solutions for advertisers in the US, Canada, UK, APAC, India and South Africa, Exponential is expanding its performance offering  into Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the MENA region.

The launch of  performance and AERO in EMENA builds on Exponential’s already well-established video-led engagement business in this region, which is driven by their scalable video ad format offering, VDX (Video Driven eXperiences), enabling premium video campaigns to be deployed across any screen.

Richard Pook, Exponential’s Managing Director of EMENA, explains: “Our multiscreen video engagement campaigns have been very successful over the past few years across EMENA. The addition of our new performance product and optimisation technology AERO now enables brands to run even more impactful performance and branding campaigns.”

Tests using AERO increased campaign performance by 24 percent and conversions by 82 percent, on average. The success is built around the concept of “interest-based audiences” – groups of users with shared interests based on their online behaviour being assigned to one of some 50,000 different topics. These audiences are modelled against an advertiser’s customers to predict how likely the new user is likely to convert.

“Most traditional optimisation relies solely on test and learn methodologies to find best performing placements.,” explains Pook. “Because of this, campaigns are exposed unnecessarily to users, annoying them and wasting advertiser budgets.”

“However, AERO’s transparent interest-based audience model means campaigns can be optimised right from the outset in real-time to users most likely to convert, reducing waste. An added benefit of people seeing more relevant ads is a reduced motivation to block them.”

Further tests across 30+ advertisers has proven that AERO is 471 percent more accurate at determining likely converters and 6x more efficient at eliminating media waste.

Pook notes: “Having transparency about how our audience profiling and modelling works gives advertisers a level of trust they can’t find in ‘black-box’ technologies for behavioural advertising.”

Exponential launches performance offering in EMENA using AERO technology to transform online campaign performance

Applies interest-based audience modelling directly to ad decisions; increases campaign performance by an average of 24 percent

23 March 2016 Exponential Interactive today announced the expansion of its brand performance offering into new markets across the EMENA region. Exponential’s performance offering is enhanced by AERO, an innovative algorithm that transforms the performance of online campaigns by optimising them in real-time using transparent interest-based audience models.

The technology, Audience-Efficient Real-time Optimisation (AERO), scores each impression for each campaign for best fit, including the audience lift or probability for an audience to convert, leading to greater performance and efficiency.

After its many years of success in providing performance solutions for advertisers in the US, Canada, UK, APAC, India and South Africa, Exponential is expanding its performance offering  into Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the MENA region.

The launch of  performance and AERO in EMENA builds on Exponential’s already well-established video-led engagement business in this region, which is driven by their scalable video ad format offering, VDX (Video Driven eXperiences), enabling premium video campaigns to be deployed across any screen.

Richard Pook, Exponential’s Managing Director of EMENA, explains: “Our multiscreen video engagement campaigns have been very successful over the past few years across EMENA. The addition of our new performance product and optimisation technology AERO now enables brands to run even more impactful performance and branding campaigns.”

Tests using AERO increased campaign performance by 24 percent and conversions by 82 percent, on average. The success is built around the concept of “interest-based audiences” – groups of users with shared interests based on their online behaviour being assigned to one of some 50,000 different topics. These audiences are modelled against an advertiser’s customers to predict how likely the new user is likely to convert.

“Most traditional optimisation relies solely on test and learn methodologies to find best performing placements.,” explains Pook. “Because of this, campaigns are exposed unnecessarily to users, annoying them and wasting advertiser budgets.”

“However, AERO’s transparent interest-based audience model means campaigns can be optimised right from the outset in real-time to users most likely to convert, reducing waste. An added benefit of people seeing more relevant ads is a reduced motivation to block them.”

Further tests across 30+ advertisers has proven that AERO is 471 percent more accurate at determining likely converters and 6x more efficient at eliminating media waste.

Pook notes: “Having transparency about how our audience profiling and modelling works gives advertisers a level of trust they can’t find in ‘black-box’ technologies for behavioural advertising.”

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way audiences interact with brands across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and performance.

Creativity, data and audience insights form the foundation for building smart and relevant brand engagement and brand performance solutions for advertisers and publishers.

Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Exponential’s Oscars Prediction Data Featured in VentureBeat

For the past three years, digital advertising firm Exponential has correctly predicted the winner of the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards using a model built from its treasure chest of big data on consumers.

That would be interesting in most years to film nerds like me. But it’s particularly interesting this year, as the ceremony is engulfed in the #OscarSoWhite controversy that has drawn attention to the lack of diversity in nominees.

Why? While the prediction model is incredibly complex, drawing on thousands of statistically significant behaviors (more on those in a moment), the prediction for Best Picture also comes down to using all that data to make one, sad, stark determination: Which nominee is most preferred by older white males?

Of course, the reason that formula works is because it essentially describes the makeup of the group that nominates and selects the winners of the Oscars each year.

“The resulting profile of the Oscar voter is deep enough to support an hour-long presentation,” Exponential says in its report this year. “We know he (and it is a ‘he’) is a frequent traveler, invests heavily in home theater systems, follows baseball and tennis, is concerned about privacy and Social Security, buys expensive watches, and drives a European luxury car.”

In other words, Straight Outta Compton never stood a chance of getting a nomination.

You can see Exponential’s predictions for the three years it has done this modeling herehere and here. And in case you’re curious, I’m purposely holding off on revealing their prediction for this year until further down, just in case you don’t want to see a spoiler. (If a prediction can be considered a “spoiler.”)

Of course, if Exponential is wrong, then the company hypothesizes that voter behavior was possibly affected by the controversy. On the other hand, the slate of eight nominated films are each whiter-than-rice in their own way. So it could be hard to know for sure where the model went wrong.

In any case, here’s a quick breakdown of the profile of each film and who it appeals to in terms of consumer behaviors, according to Exponential:

Brooklyn: This mediocre snoozefest is set in the 1950s and features lots of famous people speaking in phony Irish accents. According to Exponential, Brooklyn has the oldest audience among the nominees, with an average age of 67, and also the “most prominently Caucasian” audience. The problem is that this audience doesn’t like film that much and would prefer to watch PBS or the BBC. In fact, they are 80 times more likely to watch Downton Abbey than the average person.

Bridge of Spies: Another mediocre snoozefest, this time set in the 1960s, it stars Tom Hanks as “Tom Hanks,” uttering tons of obvious lines about freedom and liberty. And it was directed by Steven Spielberg, which used to matter. The problem, according to Exponential, is that fans of this movie are interested in the armed forces, support lower taxes, want a freeze on immigration, are “13 times more likely to have considered emergency preparedness,” and are more likely to cook red meat at home than eat at a restaurant. In other words, they are not Hollywood liberals.

The Martian: This eminently predictable film stars Matt Damon as “Matt Damon” and ends exactly they way you knew it would the moment you saw the first trailer. People who like this movie are quite likely to be looking for an apartment to rent or installing solar panels on their home, have a lot of graduate degrees, and work in higher education or IT. In other words, they are too smart to be Oscar voters.

Mad Max: A relentless two hours of car chases through the desert by post-apocalyptic refugees who can’t seem to find food and water and gasoline but have amassed a bottomless supply of leather outerwear. Basically, these fans include a lot of fussy architects and contractors who drive Subarus and Mazdas but would rather be at a music festival (dressed, no doubt, in copious amounts of leather!). In other words, they are people willing to ignore the film’s lack of anything resembling a plot because it’s neat to look at. Side note: Also most likely to support Donald Trump!

The Revenant: This 2.5-hour orgy of male torture porn is the cinematic equivalent of lying in bed while someone places a pillow over your face and slowly smothers you to death. People who like this are “too conservative,” according to Exponential. They are religious, likely to listen to Glenn Beck, are number two on the Trump-support list, and are likely to drink bourbon and go hunting, own a truck or SUV, have a power saw, and work in law enforcement.

Room: The main character is a woman, and this is the favorite among women. Two strikes and you’re out, Oscar-wise. Also, as Exponential notes of this film’s fans: “This is also the wealthiest and most charitable audience, a pattern we do not find among Oscar voters.”

Spotlight vs. The Big Short: This is where it gets tough. And as you’ve probably figured out by now, (unless you have the intelligence of someone who liked The Revenant), the previous six are not the predicted winners.

One of these movies is about crusading white reporters who remind people that newspapers used to be a thing and that they mattered. The other is about a bunch of white guys who get wealthy while reminding people that big banks are crooked and the financial system is rigged against the little guy.

So it comes down to two movies with very similar profiles consumer-wise. According to Exponential, the fans of these movies share “95 percent of the 10,116 behavioral indicators we have identified.” I bet you didn’t even know that humans have more than 10,000 behaviors!

So which one does Exponential favor?

The Big Short.

Why? Men love it, and it’s the movie most preferred by Caucasians, after Brooklyn (which has too many other factors that rule it out). The Big Short is also super popular in Los Angeles and New York City, which, as we all know, are the only two places that really matter in the U.S. The rest of the country is pretty much just scrub brush and trailer parks at this point.

Also, Big Short fans match most of the Academy behavior profiles mentioned above, with a few minor tweaks: They like basketball more than baseball, and they prefer luxury cars from Asia to those from Europe.

So, there you have it. If Big Short wins this weekend, (and frankly, even if Spotlight wins), it’ll be directly attributable to the overall racial makeup of Hollywood and the Academy. Yes, we pretty much knew that already. But it’s never much fun to have your worst suspicions confirmed.

The Big Short to win Oscar, indepth analysis shows

The Big Short to win Oscar, indepth analysis shows

A digital marketing company which has used predictive modelling to successfully forecast the past three Best Picture Oscar winners is staking its reputation once again on this year’s winner, while claiming its system would be highly beneficial to brand owners.

Exponential Interactive has analysed the web surfing habits of people with similar demographics to Oscar voters and predicts The Big Short – which tells the story of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis -will win the Best Picture Oscar, narrowly beating Spotlight. The Revenant and Room are the next most likely.

The company, which used a technique called “look-a-like modelling” to analyse the behaviour of 32,000 people working in the Los Angeles film industry with similar characteristics to Oscar voters, claims the same techniques are ideal for marketers.

Bryan Melmed, Exponential’s vice president of insights, said: “While this is a bit of fun and mainly of benefit to people who fancy a wager, it provides marketers with an important illustration of the power of look-a-like modelling to predict consumer behaviour.

“It identifies groups of people with shared interests which can be modelled against a brand’s customers to find new people who are most likely to convert. This improved targeting minimises wasted ad budgets and serves people more relevant ads, which reduces a motivation to block them.”

Exponential Interactive Appoints Jessica Batt as New Global Marketing Director

Former APAC Marketing Director promoted to new global role

EMERYVILLE, CA - Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions reaching more than 700 million users each month, has appointed Jessica Batt to the position of Global Marketing Director.  Jessica, previously Marketing Director APAC, joins the Global Leadership Team to work with the company’s country managers across its 22 locations around the globe. 

In her new role, Jessica will be responsible for developing and overseeing the trade and event marketing strategy and initiatives for Exponential across the Americas, APAC and EMENA.  She will take responsibility for driving market awareness of Exponential’s proposition and position as a high- performing brand engagement and brand performance digital advertising company.

John McKoy, Chief Revenue Officer at Exponential, said: “Jessica has been instrumental in leading our trade marketing and communication abroad, creating a ‘voice’ for us externally.  She will continue to be pivotal in positioning Exponential as a true global leader in the digital space globally.” 

“Elevating Jessica to the global role was an easy and logical choice.  She is highly respected across the company and has been an outstanding member of our team. Our confidence in Jessica’s ability is reinforced by our decision to promote someone from Australia to run a global business unit.  It also reinforces how Exponential values its employees and is willing to promote the best individual no matter where they are based.”

“Since joining Exponential in 2013, she has been an essential and integral part of our team.  We are delighted that her talents have been recognized and Jessica is being rewarded with the global marketing role.”

Jessica Batt commented: “I jumped at the opportunity to work with the global team at a critical time as we continue to set ourselves apart from the competition. I am excited to apply some of the successes we have experienced in APAC and have a positive impact on the business globally.”

A strategic marketing professional with over 15 years' experience both in Australia and the UK, Jessica most recently worked with Adconion as Marketing Manager; and Pacific Magazines as Trade Marketing Manager.

She will be based in Exponential’s Melbourne office.

/Ends

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way audiences interact with brands across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and performance.

Creativity, data and audience insights form the foundation for building smart and relevant brand engagement and brand performance solutions for advertisers and publishers.

Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Exponential hires VisualDNA exec to drive programmatic growth

London – January 2016 – Jon Hewson has been appointed as UK Sales Director at digital advertising solutions company, Exponential Interactive, to strengthen its sales infrastructure as it rolls out its new programmatic offerings in 2016. Hewson joins from VisualDNA where he developed their commercial proposition into a market-leading programmatic data source. He will run Exponential’s sales team and report into UK Managing Director Jason Trout. Prior to VisualDNA, Hewson was at US digital entertainment tech giant Rovi, where he built the EMEA advertising division from scratch. He also held senior roles at GCap Media and Border Television and co-founded GMG Radio, which became one of the UK’s largest radio groups. Trout said: “Jon brings a wealth of experience from across the UK media landscape – digital, TV and radio. He’s an experienced sales leader and skilled at growing senior level trade relationships which is crucial as we roll out our programmatic offering." Hewson added: “I’m joining a company with great proprietary technology, data and a track record of delivering strong ROI for clients. Joining the programmatic party now means they have had the advantage of watching its evolution to develop a very compelling programmatic proposition – at a time when the market is reviewing its ad tech partnerships and looking for more robust solutions.” In a related appointment, Paul Islam joins Exponential from Specific Media as UK Regional Sales Director to drive advertising partnerships and expertise with agencies beyond London. He also reports into Trout. Islam said: "Exponential has 15 years of ad tech DNA and it’s great to be joining at such a pivotal time in advertising and to help agencies outside London drive growth through programmatic for their brand clients in both video and mobile." Prior to Specific Media, Islam held management roles with Microsoft Advertising, Guardian News and Media, and Immediate Media. Exponential has offices in 22 countries and has helped transform the digital advertising industry since 2001.

ENDS

Press Contact: Alex Burmaster, alex@meteorpublicrelations.com, 020 3544 3570

Jason’s photo. Paul’s photo.

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way audiences interact with brands across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and performance.

Creativity, data and audience insights form the foundation for building smart and relevant brand engagement and brand performance solutions for advertisers and publishers.

Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

MediaPost features Exponential’s Bryan Melmed: Is Your Data Telling the Truth?

Everyone lies at one point or another -- especially when they are asked to describe themselves. Marketers tend to rely on surface demographics such as age, gender and income, but unfortunately, people even fudge these for a multitude of reasons. How can advertisers be assured that the data they’re receiving is accurate? One way you can be more confident in the data is by looking at its origin. Some sources are simply better than others. Let’s take a look at a few that should be approached with some skepticism. Dating sites Many free dating sites make the bulk of their money selling user information to advertisers, ignoring the fact that a dating site is hardly the best environment to glean the truth. In fact, a University of Wisconsin study found that about 81% of people who are dating online are lying about at least one physical attribute -- height, weight or age -- all factors that an outside party could notice right away. If that many people are lying about something easily observed, how many are willing to lie about things that are not so obvious? If you’re the one purchasing this data, be cautious -- as if you were on a first date with a stranger. Entrepreneurship-oriented Sites Entrepreneurs have lofty ambitions, and generally fall somewhere between wildly optimistic and delusional.  Entrepreneurship-oriented sites are good places to spot “liars” online, especially when the truth is a barrier between an amazing idea and its next round of venture capital. According to our research, even personal income data from self-styled entrepreneurs is significantly inflated. For example, users on venture capital sites are 8.55 times more likely to over-report their income, closely followed by funding sites (8.51x), franchise sites (7.73x), and startup content (7.42x). Job and Career Websites Another place where users tend to overstate their current or most recent salary is on job and career sites. Our research shows that income data from users on these sites is 6.28 times more likely to be inflated. This makes sense, as users here are likely presenting an ideal professional persona to make them more attractive to recruiters -- and more worthy of a higher salary at their next gig. But this is not good news for advertisers who gather income data on these sites. Loan Management Sites On the other side of spectrum, there are places where people are actually underestimating their income: loan management sites. According to our data, people are 8.56 times more likely to underreport their income on student loan sites, and 9.75 times more on general debt sites. Debt can be such a heavy load that it skews perception about all financial matters.  So unfortunately, income data here is also misleading. What’s the solution? Yes, people lie -- but an understanding of the psychology of why is half the battle. If your customer feels burdened with debt, that’s now your reality. Advertisers need to meet claims about data with a wary eye. Approach your data with discretion instead of blind faith or wild assumptions. You may just have your most successful campaign yet.

Exponential Appoints Luke Donkin as Commercial Director, Australia and New Zealand

Newly Created Role Reflects Regional Growth

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 20 January 2016 Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, reaching more than 700 million users each month, today announced the appointment of Luke Donkin as Commercial Director, Australia and New Zealand.

In this newly created position, Sydney-based Donkin will be tasked with overall sales strategy and overseeing strategic agency, brand advertiser and trading partnerships and will report to Exponential’s Managing Director APAC & South Africa, Ben Maudsley.

Donkin brings over 12 years of digital and adtech experience at key players within the industry, joining Exponential after four years at open ad management company Sizmek (formerly MediaMind) most recently as Commercial Director overseeing the company’s strategic agency partnerships that saw Sizmek enjoy significant share within the technology platform market, and grow their presence on the ground in additional markets. Prior to that he spent four years in account management at News Digital Media and News Australia as well as time at nineMSN and Overture (Yahoo! Search Marketing). He began his career in the UK at start-up, Gumtree.com.

Donkin commented ‘We are in an incredibly dynamic and ever fragmenting marketplace, yet Exponential continues to evolve its suite of products so their clients are always ahead of the game. Consequently, I jumped at the opportunity to join the company at a pivotal time in its evolution as it continues to set itself apart from the competition with a focus on high quality products, client transparency and accountability.”

Ben Maudsley, MD of APAC & South Africa, said “As we continue to grow our client base and expand our product offer to agencies and brand advertisers across Australia and New Zealand, it is the right time to bring on board a seasoned adtech veteran who can help elevate our sales strategy to the next level. Luke’s expertise in the ad tech and programmatic space will serve Exponential well as we evolve our solutions and embrace new platforms.”

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

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For more editorial information please contact: Sue Ralston Einsteinz Communications T: (02) 8905 0995 E: sue@einsteinz.com.au

Exponential partners with Flipkart for the Big Billion Day sale in India

Flipkart to be the first advertiser in India to use Exponential’s new proprietary VDX ad formats

Delhi, India: 15 October 2015 – Exponential Interactive is involved with Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale that is currently sweeping India to celebrate the festive season. Flipkart, one of the largest e-commerce advertisers in India, has been using Exponential’s in-stream products throughout 2015, experiencing considerable high performance for their advertising activity. To support the Big Billion Day campaign, Flipkart are using Exponential’s new VDX products and is the first client in the country to use a VDX blend across devices.

Abhijit Bhattacharya, Associate Director – Marketing and Head, Media at Flipkart commented, “We are happy to partner with Exponential’s VDX blend of innovative and interactive rich media products across their online platform for the Big Billion Day campaign, which also happens to be one of our largest media campaigns.”

Exponential’s VDX ad formats are the most innovative, user-initiated video ad units available. They allow advertisers to take full advantage of online video and reach their most relevant audiences when and where it matters most, across desktop and mobile. Through the VDX ad units, Exponential provides Flipkart with a single video brand experience across multiple channels to ensure full brand immersion and consistency.

Anshuman Saha, Head of Sales India at Exponential said “Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale is of high significance to Exponential as they are the exclusive and first client in India to use the new VDX suite of video ad engagement products. Flipkart have been a long term client but have ramped up their online digital activity with this campaign to support one of the biggest online shopping events of the year. We are excited to partner with Flipkart and deliver strong performance with our new VDX ad units.”

To experience Exponential’s Big Billion Day sale VDX ad units please click any of the below.

VDX INBANNER

VDX INSTREAM

VDX MOBILE AND TABLETS

The Big Billion Day sale will be applicable across millions of products in all categories from over 40,000 sellers.

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Media Contacts:

Mansi Maheshwari / Cherie Loh

Rice Communications for Exponential in Singapore

E: exponential@ricecomms.com

T: +65 3157 5687 / +65 3157 5684

Exponential Interactive Strengthens Footprint In Thailand With Increased Investment In Talent And Digital Solutions

Bangkok, Thailand (October 14th, 2015)Exponential Interactive, one of the largest global providers of digital advertising solutions, today announced the appointment of Aimme Pancharee Sitthisenee as Sales Director, Thailand, a move to strengthen the organisation’s presence in Southeast Asia.

With a reach of over 7.8 million unique visitors per month*, Aimme will lead the team in Thailand to drive awareness and growth of Exponential in the Asia-Pacific region. Renewed efforts are in place to bolster engagement with publishers and partners within Thailand to increase reach and opportunity across display, mobile and video. At present, Exponential are the second largest network in Thailand in terms of reach (behind Google), and have consistently been amongst the top five networks in the country since commencing operations in 2011.

Kelvin Tan, Exponential’s general manager, Southeast Asia and North Asia commented, “Thailand continues to present an incredible opportunity for Exponential in Southeast Asia as one of the largest markets in the region. Aimme is the perfect candidate to cement our renewed commitment to drive growth in the video and ad engagement market in Thailand. She brings a great depth of knowledge and experience in developing and delivering strategies for advertisers, coupled with her passion about all things digital.”

Exponential has successfully positioned itself as one of the leading global providers of digital advertising solutions. Through its proprietary interest-based audience datasets, audience modelling technology, page-level contextualisation engines and VDX product suite, Exponential helps clients better achieve real-time marketing goals. Specifically Exponential’s unique page-level contextualisation classifies each page within their network of over 2,000 sites against a taxonomy of 50,000 different topics and interests, optimising the degree to which campaigns are targeted to the right consumer. 

On her new role, Aimme said, “There are huge opportunities within the digital marketing space in Thailand and I am thrilled to be able to support the growth of Exponential at such an exciting time. I look forward to working with the team to increase our footprint in Thailand.”

With both agency and in-house experience, Aimme has worked with companies such as the Publicis Groupe and Wunderman, overseeing key accounts and working closely with several leading brands to develop integrated digital communication strategies.

Earlier this year, Exponential combined its display, mobile, and in-stream divisions and introduced their proprietary, scalable video ad formats VDX. Through the introduction of VDX, Exponential provides advertisers with a single video brand experience across multiple channels to ensure full brand immersion and consistency.

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About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

*comScore August 2015

Media Contacts:

Amala Manoj Naravane / Cherie Loh

Rice Communications for Exponential in Singapore

E: exponential@ricecomms.com

T: +65 3157 5681 / +65 3157 5687

Exponential Appoints Gerard Lechau as new Commercial Director

Singapore (October 1, 2015)Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, today announced the appointment of Gerard Lechau as Commercial Director, Southeast Asia and North Asia, effective 1st October 2015. In this newly created role, Gerard will spearhead strategic business partnerships with key agencies, brands and publishers in the region reporting directly to Ben Maudsley managing director APAC and South Africa. 

Commenting on the appointment, Ben Maudsley said, “We have a strong bench of talent at Exponential and Gerard’s appointment is a significant move as he brings the leadership capabilities that will help drive Exponential’s successes in the years to come. Having someone of his calibre on board will cement our commitment to existing clients and partners, as well as propel the development of value-added solutions.”

Gerard brings with him over eight years of experience building and establishing growing businesses in the region, including five years spent in Vietnam. Gerard joins Exponential from Outbrain, where as Head of Account Strategy he was part of the original team that kick-started the business in Southeast Asia and India, directly managing advertiser and publisher relationships.

Over the years, Exponential has successfully positioned itself as one of the leading global providers of digital advertising solutions. Through its proprietary interest-based audience datasets, audience modelling technology, page-level contextualisation engines and VDX product suite, Exponential helps clients better achieve real-time marketing goals.

Specifically Exponential’s unique page-level contextualisation classifies each page within their network of over 2,000 sites against a taxonomy of 50,000 different topics and interests, optimising the degree to which campaigns are targeted to the right consumer. 

On his new role, Gerard Lechau said, “We have maintained many successful, profitable partnerships in recent years and I look forward to working with the team to bolster the company’s reputation as the trusted strategic partner within the digital advertising space. I am excited to join Exponential’s team in Asia to enable both agencies, brands and publishers gain greater transparency into how the right audiences are engaging with their ads.”

Earlier this year, Exponential combined its display, mobile, and in-stream divisions and introduced their proprietary, scalable video ad formats VDX. Through the introduction of VDX, Exponential provides advertisers with a single video brand experience across multiple channels to ensure full brand immersion and consistency. In October 2015, the company also announced the appointment of Aimme Pancharee Sitthisenee as Sales Director, Thailand, in a move to strengthen the organisation’s presence in the Southeast Asian country.

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About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Media Contacts:

Amala Manoj Naravane / Cherie Loh

Rice Communications for Exponential in Southeast Asia

E: exponential@ricecomms.com

T: +65 3157 5681

Exponential Interactive Partners with MOAT to Guarantee 100 Percent Viewability Through VDX Video Ad Formats

Digital Advertising Provider Announces Viewability Solution, Proprietary Pricing Model to Drive Ad Engagement

EMERYVILLE, CA (September 9, 2015)Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, reaching more than 600 million users each month, today announced a 100 percent viewability guarantee for its proprietary, scalable video ad formats, VDX.

To bolster their efforts and provide transparency, Exponential has partnered with Moat, a Media Ratings Council (MRC)-accredited independent SaaS analytics firm, to measure viewability for brands and advertisers using its VDX ad formats.

Exponential’s new VDX formats, launched in April, guarantee viewability when bought on a CPME basis at a time when advertisers and brands seek assurances that their campaigns are actually being seen by target audiences. VDX delivers a single video experience across multiple types of media – from in-page display, to mobile (tablet and phone) and in-stream – and provides the same brand experience across these devices to ensure full brand immersion and consistency.

“With digital usage growing rapidly, brand marketers must figure out how to make digital work for their branding needs,” said Jonah Goodhart, Co-Founder and CEO of Moat. “Viewability has become a top-of-mind issue for marketers as an ad that does not have an opportunity to be seen has very little value. We’re looking forward to partnering with Exponential to help drive the needed shift to a viewable-impression world.”

Exponential’s VDX formats, including VDX in-stream, VDX in-page and VDX mobile, supports viewable ads through an unrivaled combination of:

Quality inventory: Exponential’s network of premium publishers gives its customers access to unique inventory selected for in-view placements.

Attention-driving creative: Designed to drive engagement while respecting the user journey, Exponential’s VDX formats capture measurable consumer attention that is entirely opt-in.

Pricing solutions: Exponential’s flexible pricing model – viewable CPME (vCPME) – works by charging a CPM for teaser impressions that are 100% viewable and a competitive CPE for teasers that result in an engagement by the viewer.

“vCPME is a hybrid CPM and CPE model we implemented specifically for video to provide the optimal blend of engagement and viewable impressions for brands and advertisers,” said Doug Conely, chief strategy officer for Exponential. “The importance of consumer engagement using video has never been greater, therefore offering 100% viewability and supporting it with adaptable pricing solutions through our VDX formats is top priority.” 

Examples of Exponential’s VDX ad formats can be seen here.

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Exponential releases insight on defining, applying and measuring ‘engagement’ for brands and advertisers in latest whitepaper

Whitepaper to provide tangible tips for driving ‘active attention’ amongst consumers

EMERYVILLE, CA (August 25, 2015) – Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, reaching more than 600 million users each month, today released their whitepaper that discusses the significance of ‘engagement’ – and why the lack of understanding around user engagement leads to misaligned incentives, dissatisfying results and wasted dollars.

The paper titled, “Engagement: Not Just a Buzzword, The Art of Driving Active Attention with Your Next Consumer,” discusses how prioritizing engagement positively affects ad campaigns, including the five points below:

  • Engagement should be discussed in terms of capturing conscious active attention – by looking at the brand as a learned behavior and attention as the allocation of mental resources to visible or conceptual objects.
  • Big data is ultimately insufficient without effective application of engagement tactics because data by itself may be too convoluted, overvalued and intrusive.
  • Emphasizing engagement is not only cost-effective, it aligns incentives for advertisers, publishers and vendors alike.
  • Opt-in user interaction is best enhanced through video advertising and rich media – particularly with optimal use of the teaser and brand consistency in interactive elements.
  • When measuring brand impact, advertisers should look at cognitive, emotional and physical engagement on a spectrum that is well-tailored to the specific campaign. This includes larger, brand awareness metrics such as purchase intent, sentiment and intent to seek more information to more physical metrics including conversion rate, dwell time and interaction rate.

“Our industry has used the term ‘engagement’ liberally for two decades, with little consensus on what it means. Instead, we turn around and optimize our advertising campaigns towards simplistic metrics that reward high-volume, low-involvement content,” says Bryan Melmed, vice president, insights services, for Exponential. “This isn’t working for anyone, especially brand advertisers. We need to think critically about why engagement is important in the first place and what metrics we can use that truly capture active user attention.”

The whitepaper can be found here: http://exponential.com/engagement-whitepaper/.

About Exponential

Exponential Interactive delivers innovative advertising experiences that transform the way brands interact with audiences across desktop and mobile. Exponential’s platform fuses one of the largest global digital media footprints and proprietary data with user-centric ad formats designed to drive engagement and action. Creativity and audience insights form the foundation for building smarter, more relevant solutions for advertisers and publishers. Exponential was founded in 2001 and has locations in 22 countries. For more information, please visit www.exponential.com.

Exponential launches proprietary video formats to provide single brand experience across multiple screens

Exponential unveils ‘VDX’, a first look at scalable video formats producing ad experiences aimed to drive deeper, authentic audience engagement EMERYVILLE, CA (April 22, 2015) – Exponential Interactive, one of the largest leading global providers of digital advertising solutions, reaching more than 600 million users each month, today announced the launch of their proprietary, scalable video ad formats, VDX. VDX was developed with the ultimate purpose of building upon the advantages of television and video ads and enriching them with the benefits of digital advertising – namely, the abilities to target consumers who are most relevant to a brand, and for those consumers to choose to interact with the brand through an immersive video-centric experience. With the proliferation of digital devices, advertisers have struggled to connect with consumers at scale via video on these devices. Solving this for the first time, VDX is made available across multiple types of media – from in-page display, to mobile (tablet and phone) and in-stream – and provides the same brand experience across these devices to ensure full brand immersion and consistency. Examples of Exponential’s VDX formats can be seen here. “Video is the most powerful vehicle to communicate a brand’s message.” said Doug Conely, chief strategy officer for Exponential. “However, when consumers lean forward and choose to engage with a brand’s video messaging, it is a much more positive, influential experience than the passive, lean-back experience that is typically associated with forced, non-interactive, one-way TV ads or pre-roll video.” Further, VDX is built on top of Exponential’s audience platform, which introduces a hyper-granular level of audience targeting that had never been associated with TV or pre-roll ads. Its platform ingests over 2 billion user events per day, aggregates and segments consumers based on their interests in over 50,000 topics, and uses this data to build look-alike audience models to reach consumers who are most likely to become receptive customers of the brand. With VDX delivering a single video experience across multiple channels, Exponential has decided to combine their display, mobile and in-stream divisions – formerly known as Tribal Fusion, Firefly Video, Appsnack and Adotube. With over 14 years of experience providing high-impact rich media formats and proprietary audience targeting solutions, Exponential is uniquely positioned to deliver VDX at scale across several media: 2001: Exponential begins with legacy display advertising network, Tribal Fusion. 2010: Firefly Video is launched, a digital video advertising solution that delivers the active attention of advertisers’ target audiences to drive engagement and brand lift. 2011: Exponential’s e-X advertising Intelligence Platform ingests 2 billion user events per day and allows for building powerful audience models to reach audiences that are most relevant to a brand. 2011: Adotube is acquired, an in-stream advertising technology and services provider for the multiscreen video industry. 2012: Mobile solution Appsnack is launched to help brands and their agencies build rich, engaging, app-like creative experience. 2013: Intensive tech integration completed, fusing together all platforms to ensure flawless ad delivery across multiple screens and formats. 2015: All components united to deliver a complete multi-screen video engagement solution delivered to the most relevant audiences for a brand.

Exponential and XE.com announce two-year exclusive partnership for mobile web, in-app monetization

Leader in advertising intelligence and engagement monetizes in-app inventory for leading foreign currency and rate exchange resource EMERYVILLE, CA (November 12, 2014) – Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, today announced an expansion of their exclusive partnership with online foreign currency and rate exchange resource XE.com, enabling XE to monetize their in-app and mobile web inventory globally. XE.com’s app, XE Currency, was launched in 2009 and has received over 30 million downloads, establishing it as the world’s most popular foreign exchange app. Exponential’s SDK (software development kit), offered through its mobile engagement division, Appsnack, has been implemented into XE Currency’s iOS and Android properties. Since the September launch, XE Currency continued to illustrate unprecedented global success. Major traction was centered in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, United States and Canada – which saw 6.5 million, 4.4 million, 4.3 million, 3.3 million and 2 million unique visits respectively –equating to over 25 million total visits. “The impressive results that we experienced last month alone are indicative of the sophistication and ease of use that Exponential’s SDK provides us,” said Kit Purdy, executive vice president, XE.com. “We have maintained a successful, and profitable, partnership with Exponential for years and are excited about moving forward with a new exclusive deal that will make our swift transition to mobile more efficient and streamlined.” Rick Abell, Exponential vice president, global publisher development, said: “The campaign results convey the importance of partnering with an integrated, comprehensive solution provider to simplify the ad serving process and increase revenue. We’re happy to collaborate with XE.com as they advance their mobile monetization strategy.” Using Exponential’s platform, publishers gain transparency into how audiences are accessing their properties – whether in-app or mobile web – providing valuable insight to help manage and optimize traffic effectively during advertising campaigns. Prior to this two-year agreement, Exponential and XE.com have had a five-year exclusive partnership to optimize online display campaigns, which, by 2013, resulted in a 256% increase in revenue.

Exponential releases audience engagement study on Millennial Moms

New research provides marketing insights to help brands connect and engage Millennial Moms EMERYVILLE, CA (October 9, 2014) – Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, today announced the results of its “Marketing to Millennial Mothers” study which identifies specific behaviors, interests and trends of modern moms ages 18-32 to help brands and advertisers engage with one of the largest growing audience segments. For the study, Exponential analyzed audience engagement data across its advertising network, which evaluates user behavior – at the page-level –of over 4,000,000 Millennials, 2,300,000 of which are parents and 1,130,000 of which are Millennial Mothers. The ‘big data’ on this segment offers powerful insights extending beyond demographical stereotypes associated with the Millennial generation. Bryan Melmed, vice president of insights services, Exponential, comments: “Marketers are now challenged to evolve their thinking. Millennials are growing up and having families, and in doing so, have shed some of the stereotypes we’ve relied on to understand them. The Millennial Mom, with her increasing purchase power and influence on modern culture, is a consumer marketers can’t afford to miss.” Overall, the study found that trends and purchase behavior are strongly impacted by increased spending power, globalization, blended families and social media. At a purchase-level, for instance, Millennials are more interested in investing in lifestyles, and therefore products, that promote socially-conscious living, convenience and overall health once they enter motherhood. Findings in the “Marketing to Millennial Mothers” study address marketing takeaways that provide guidance for advertisers attempting to reach and engage this emerging consumer powerhouse. A few industry-specific examples include:

  • Food, dining and CPG: Though Millennials are known to have an adventurous palette, Millennial parents demonstrated greater likelihood to be interested in comfort foods that reflect their regional heritage. For example, Southern Millennial parents have an increased interest in barbeque and American fare than those who are not parents; they also have a lower interest in a variety of ethnic cuisines such as Chinese, Thai and Indian. Online behavior also shows that others are trading diverse food ‘experiences’ for health, price and familiarity when it comes to their children’s meals.
  • Health, beauty and fitness: Working Millennial Mothers have large purchase power and spending potential in the beauty, fitness and health sectors. They are 9.1 times more likely to research eye makeup and 9 times more likely to be interested in lipstick compared to stay-at-home Millennial Mothers.
    • Hispanic Millennial Mothers are 8.6 times more likely to be interested in women’s clothes and 7.7 times more likely to research dieting than general-market mothers in the same age group.
    • Corporate-working Moms are more interested in fitness compared to stay-at-home Millennial Moms. For example, they are approximately 4 times more interested in yoga and 2 times more interested in running, respectively.
    • Hispanic Millennial Mothers are 8.6 times more likely to be interested in women’s clothes and 7.7 times more likely to research dieting.
  • Do-it-Yourself (DIY) products: Millennial Moms are 11 percent more interested in DIY compared to Millennial women without children.
“By analyzing audience data across our network, we’ve developed a comprehensive view of Millennials, and specifically Millennial Moms, for our clients,” says Melmed. “Millennials are a notoriously challenging group to understand. This insight gives our partners the opportunity to shape their brand engagement campaigns and apply our data to their specific vertical for maximum results.” Data for the Millennial Mothers study was collected using the e-X Advertising Intelligence Platform, Exponential’s proprietary contextualization engine that collates, aggregates, and organizes over 2 billion daily user “events” occurring across its network of premium publishers and sites. With more than 450 million visitors globally, Exponential is one of the largest digital advertising providers in the world. The full “Marketing to Millennial Mothers” study and its findings can be accessed by clicking here.

Exponential’s audience engagement divisions launch range of new video-enabled ad formats for brand engagement across media and device

Firefly Video’s ‘Blaze’, Adotube’s ‘Ad Engage’ and Appsnack’s ‘Video Snackbar’ bring the best of video and TV advertising content to engagement units across display, video and mobile. EMERYVILLE, CA, (July 30, 2014) – Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions has launched a range of video-enabled engagement ad formats through its display, video and mobile audience engagement divisions Firefly Video, Adotube and Appsnack. All three of the new units represent perfected video ad formats that expand on user interaction. ‘Blaze’ from Firefly Video is an expandable ‘billboard’ video format, ‘Ad Engage’ by Adotube expands within in-stream video players, and Appsnack’s ‘Video Snackbar’ is an expandable ad for mobile devices. “The key to successful video advertising is not thinking about it like TV advertising, which the industry seems intent on moving towards. In fact, these new units are what video advertising should have been if it hadn't been invented more than 50 years ago,” says Doug Conely, Exponential’s chief strategy officer. “The aim is to get viewers to spend as much time as possible engaging with your brand, but this isn’t possible if you think like TV. Firstly, it must be opt-in, then draw the viewer in gently, give them options and set their expectations. If you don’t do these, people will drop out quickly or won’t engage in the first place." Firefly Video’s ‘Blaze’ is a billboard video format that expands in different stages – firstly to a full-size video then to a complete page takeover, depending on how the viewer interacts with it. Results have shown that viewers are far more likely to expand and spend more time interacting with content using Blaze than other Billboard display formats. Adotube’s ‘Ad Engage’ is a pre-roll ad featuring a “peel-back” option enabling viewers to interact with the ad in different ways, such as accessing additional video and product information. Internal A/B testing revealed viewers are 20x more likely to expand this format than other interactive units and spend 50% longer with the brand than normal pre-roll ads. Appsnack’s ‘Video Snackbar’ format for mobile devices enables advertisers to play a specific ‘teaser’ part of their video at the bottom of screens, which transitions to a full-page video ad if the viewer interacts with it. Conely concludes: “Forrester reveals that marketing expenditure on video ads will reach $3.6 billion in the US, but it should really be growing faster than this. These improved formats should help accelerate it by helping advertisers to engage much more cleverly and successfully with consumers, whether it’s on PCs, tablets or mobiles.”

Adotas has featured Scott Kellstedt, general manager, Appsnack, and his byline on three ways advertisers should leverage mobile ad networks.

Adotas has featured our own Scott Kellstedt, general manager, Appsnack, and his byline on three ways advertisers should leverage mobile ad networks. Check out the Adotas article. Can ad networks really be ace players in the mobile space? While buyers and sellers alike are busy navigating the mobile ecosystem, mobile ad networks are facing a perception problem. As more vendors appear in the growing mobile space, mobile ad networks are often perceived to be there to simply fill in campaign gaps – whether that is for reach, scale or cost. A recent guest piece by Roi Chobadi even covered the “battle” between ad networks and supply side platforms (SSPs), and Chobadi suggests that, when it comes to “targeting and optimization, ad networks lack advanced technology to programmatically optimize or target specific audiences sophisticatedly.” Yes, ad networks, in the simplest sense, bring together inventory to make it easier for advertisers and agencies to buy online ad impressions. By doing so, they allow the buyer to be more efficient and to buy faster than they would in separate engagements. Yet, too often, the ad network’s role is boiled down to simple aggregation. In reality, a quality mobile ad network should have evolved beyond that to offer advertisers three key advantages: Direct publisher relationships. When executing a mobile campaign, advertisers can flex the muscles their ad network partner has already built. Mobile advertisers can leverage an ad network’s legacy relationships with publishers. Direct relationships are important in two ways:

  • Quality inventory from passion sites: Having enough inventory is important for scale and reach, and having quality sites is important for audience targeting and engagement in the mobile web. Mobile ad networks not only have the ability to connect advertisers with enough inventory to achieve scale, but they also have direct connections to publishers – relationships that have been nurtured over the years. These one-to-one relationships are key for an ad network’s ability to offer advertisers the audience they want to reach – the consumers who are receptive to the brand.
  • Transparency: This hot-button industry issue can be broken down to describe viewability (the security in knowing your ad is seen), verification (the security in knowing your ad is seen by real people, not bots) and brand safety (knowing that your ad is seen by real people on brand-safe sites). Quality ad networks already offer transparency within their very nature of working directly with publishers.
Depth of technology and creative capabilities. Mobile environments seem to be both a blessing and a curse, in that consumers are intimately engaged with their devices, but the screen size poses a challenge when it comes to getting – and keeping – the user’s attention. This opens the door to a vast toolbox of high-impact creative formats that invite users to interact with the ad. Every marketer understands that the high marketing potential in mobile is exciting, if not intimidating. Mobile ad networks smoothly ease advertisers into mobile marketing by offering them technical and creative capabilities they have already developed.
  • Advanced technology powers granular targeting capabilities. Even though every mobile advertiser is challenged to find their target audience in a cookie-less environment, quality ad networks are ahead of the curve – especially if they have contextualization engines that have been built to assess content across sites for years. This allows them to reach audience segments based on the content they are actually consuming, their interests, and their intentions.
  • Ad networks that offer in-house creative capabilities have the ability to work with advertisers to develop highly-compelling creative that entices users to spend time engaging with the brand. Couple this with advanced targeting technology, and you have an effective mobile campaign.
These technical and creative capabilities will be the ad networks’ core differentiators. Consider that the space features hundreds of ad networks and SSPs that may say they offer similar capabilities. As the number of players continues to climb, a mobile ad network’s audience targeting, as powered through proprietary technology, along with its in-house creative abilities, have become ever-more critical in offering complete mobile solutions to advertisers. From buying to selling, mobile ad networks should offer a one-stop shop. Quality ad networks are here to stay – and will evolve. At the core of it, good ad networks offer what demand-side platforms, data management platforms and supply-side platforms say they offer all under one roof – only they also provide proprietary technology, transparency and in-house creative capabilities. This decreases the number of vendors advertisers must work with, which increases efficiency, transparency and consistency. Though they may face a perception problem, mobile ad networks are far from being eradicated from the industry. In the next several years, as we progressively navigate this space more expertly, mobile ad networks will only continue to advance their capabilities on the inventory, transparency and technology fronts.

Adweek features Exponential’s own Senior Director of Insight Services, Bryan Melmed, where he presents his Study: ‘Americans Love Soccer More Than Nascar’

Exponential’s our own Senior Director of Insights Services, Bryan Melmed, is now featured in AdWeek discussing hidden marketing and advertising opportunities behind soccer in the United States. In the article, Bryan covers our audience insights data (garnered from the e-X Advertising Intelligence Platform) on soccer enthusiasts, and how those insights reveal a rapidly growing fan base that marketers should focus their attention on. Check out the Adweek article. [grve_divider line_type="line"] Not often considered a leading American sport, soccer now trumps Nascar in terms of popularity among Americans—with 22 times the number of people watching online, according to advertising intelligence and research firm Exponential. In its study—intended “to reveal what hidden marketing opportunities there are” behind soccer in the United States—the company offers a granular view of the American soccer fan and shows how the sport has grown to even pass Nascar, which senior director of insights Bryan Melmed noted “has an outsized cultural identity” compared to fútbol’s more fractured fan base. While Melmed admitted to a “disparity in media consumption” between fan bases (Nascar watchers aren’t big Internet users) that could be hampering Nascar’s social spread, it’s still good news for advertisers looking to soccer as a new playing field. McDonald's, Samsung, Adidas and Budweiser are among brands expected to make sizable pushes during the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off on Thursday. “In the U.S., soccer is generally perceived as being further down the totem pole in terms of popularity, with Nascar holding a more favorable position,” Melmed said. “As you dig deeper and look at the actual behavioral and trend data, however, it becomes clear that soccer’s fan footprint domestically is much stronger than believed—and growing.” Soccer’s seemingly quick rise in popularity stateside may not be altogether surprising in a World Cup year (this week’s Data Points infographic delves into the sport’s swelling fan base in the U.S.), but some of the other data collected via Exponential’s network audience of 450 million users reveals other surprising trends in politics and preferences.

  1. They’re young. Millennials in the U.S. are 16 percent more interested in soccer than any other age group. This helps make the World Cup a major social event.
  2. No other type of sports fan in the U.S. has a bigger interest in video games and intellectual/indie movies.
  3. No other sports fan has a bigger interest in education.
  4. They have money. American soccer fans are 4.6 times more likely to have an income above $250,000.
  5. They belong to a bifurcated audience, with large populations of Caucasian fans filling northwestern cities and Hispanics living in densely urban areas.
Exponential also found (perhaps not surprisingly) that the young audience boosting soccer’s popularity in the U.S. is progressive and more liberal. But it may be more than just the politics of youth, according to Melmed. “As for why liberalism and soccer have any sort of association, it stems from the ‘60s and ‘70s, when soccer’s popularity in the U.S. ballooned as a counter-culture response to football’s traditional all-Americanism,” he said. “[The] counter-culture championed a more global view and soccer was certainly a global sport.” In terms of global marketing significance, Melmed noted that 46.4 percent of the world’s population tuned in for at least a minute of live coverage during the last World Cup, “easily making it the most watched event around the globe.”

Advertising Age features Exponential’s own Senior Director of Insight Services, Bryan Melmed, where he presents his ‘Six Ways to Make Your Data More Human’

Check out the Advertising Age article. [grve_divider line_type="line"]

Big Data Is Great, But Marketing Still Needs the Human Touch

There is no doubt that data has fundamentally changed the nature of marketing. Not only are we able to target audiences with increasing precision, but the shift to data-driven methods has transformed our ability to understand consumers. We can deliver more, and are expected to deliver more, making work in this industry both exciting and daunting at the same time. Sadly, this data revolution has been so hyped that we risk thinking it is the answer to everything. Data has been hailed as a way to predict terrorist strikes, cure cancer, or even solve the age-old problem of knowing which half of your marketing budget is wasted. But data is neither omnipotent nor infallible. For a start, it takes people to design the systems that collect and organize data. It takes people to understand the limitations and biases of these systems; and it takes people to focus data on the right questions that can lead to meaningful and actionable insight. Ultimately, data that comes from people has a human quality of its own. Insights driven by people, not machines, are essential to making data actionable. But as marketing becomes more reliant on automation, and programmatic responses are increasingly easily to implement, so is the temptation to write off that human touch. With this in mind, here are six ways to keep your data "human."
1. Use human insight to frame the problem.
Data doesn't ask questions. In many ways, the first few steps of any inquiry are the most challenging. The wrong choice of variables, poor instrumentation and measurement, or an imprecise question come with a high cost. No amount of automation can correct these missteps.
2. Remember that bigger is not always better.
Massive amounts of data defy the limits of human analysis, which is why machines are essential to understanding large amounts of information. But increasing the volume of data is only useful if it serves to improve the ratio of signal to noise. More data also means a greater risk of finding false correlation, or conclusions that aren't relevant or actionable. A machine can find any number of answers, but it takes a human to discern treasure from trash.
3. Know that everyone is lying.
To put it more gently, people are masters of self-deception. Unlike weather patterns or traffic data, information that people volunteer is always biased in some way. People distort the truth about all kinds of things -- sometimes directionally, as in how much they earn, and sometimes in unpredictable ways, such as how they feel about a product they know others like. This is yet another problem a machine can't solve, but experience and human judgment can. It is also why passive observation is often the best way to gather data.
4. Understand that context is everything.
The events that are captured and recorded in our data are almost impossible to understand without knowing the context in which they were collected. The same action, even by the same person, can mean wildly different things. Purchase of a children's toy at a supermarket or drugstore often indicates a child is present -- unless it is December, when the holidays play havoc with shopping patterns. The same product purchased online is usually bought by an adult without children. And if the toy is purchased in a store outside a consumer's home area, there is likely to be a guilty parent traveling alone at the register.
5. Embrace the idea that data forces us to abandon stereotypes.
This one almost works backwards. Robots struggle to recognize patterns, while the human brain revels in the process. That's not always a good thing. Our minds adapt to poor or incomplete data by filling in the blanks with shortcuts and assumptions. With better data, the machines are practically begging us to abandon stereotypes like "soccer mom" and respect that each person has a unique cross-section of interests and characteristics.
6. Realize that a robot never told a great story.
In reducing people to what data can measure, we leave out that most human of attributes -- emotion. Emotions are marketing's primary currency. People literally make decisions from the emotional center of their brain, which is why smart marketers use narrative, context and feelings to tell stories that resonate. A story created by a robot is a story devoid of human emotion, which is one more reason why effective marketing, even in the data-driven era, will always need the human touch.

Act Your Age: Why Online Video Buying Should Not Be Like TV

By Tyler Greer, Director of sales, Australia & New Zealand, AdoTube The recent arrival of Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) tracking across digital video is steering digital video down a path that more strongly reflects TV buying models. How publishers and networks respond will be interesting. Sure, taking traditional gross rating point (GRP) thinking into the online realm demonstrates how digital is finally straddling the offline buying world. But it may come at a cost. GRP is a way that TV has traditionally been bought. It is calculated as a percent of the target market reached multiplied by the exposure frequency, the idea being to obtain the highest possible GRPs at the lowest possible cost. And while several factors have led to its introduction to the digital video world, the main one is undoubtedly the coming together of screens into a single strategy, which in turn allows TV buyers to take a holistic view around how video is bought, run and measured. With TV being the largest pool of money supporting the digital video expansion, it’s not an unreasonable expectation. But is it the right one? TV is the mother of all wide broadcast tools. Its access points have rationally been limited to a few stations, owned by a handful of bodies. Relative to most other media, it is expensive and access has been limited to brands who can stump up not only the money for a decent campaign spread, but also for the creative required to do so properly (notwithstanding the weird inversion by which the cheapest and most horrible TV commercials are often the ones that are the easiest to recall). Consequently, reach has overwhelmingly been the name of the game. Yes, the buying model will revolve around a target audience and the bookings made amongst the most likely programming. But the programs themselves are even more expensive to produce. Again, this means they must attract a wide audience by which more expensive advertising can be sold around. This is quite different to what we know about the Internet. Whilst major publishers increasingly pursue content that will draw in the largest possible audience, the great majority of Internet usage is dominated by mid- and long-tail sites — special interest content that draws in user seeking a specific topic. It is a natural audience filter. What does all this mean? For a start it means that by examining the consumption of users we can form a picture about the kinds of consumers they are. We can determine their interests, their needs, what they are in-market for, what drives them to certain considerations at the top and at the pointy end of the consideration funnel. It tells us what kinds of people are attracted to certain categories and brands. And it is utterly different to buying against GRPs. So from where I am sitting, moving away from a system that tracks the fundamentals of digital video to a model that is based on pure reach runs a very real risk of being incredibly wasteful for some brands. The truth is that people do not always act their age (look around your office). In fact, they have never been less likely to do so. People in their 40s attend music festivals (as my Facebook feed photos from friends in Coachella a few weeks will attest); grandmothers buy cars designed for young girls; people in their 20s actually do care about their superannuation. Media therefore needs to seek out its audience by behavioral traits, not just by demographics. Age and gender may once have been enough to consider when planning a campaign. But the consumer world is now too large, too fragmented, and too in control of its own consumption for this to be an adequate model for determining a target audience. As we move towards a model in which buyers only pay for an audience that slot into the parameters of a GRP buy, we are discounting all those outside that group who would otherwise be open to a brand message. In the age of Big Data, which promises, and is beginning to deliver, more granular detail to better help brands connect with their audiences than ever before and at a time when digital marketing is hitting its mainstream stride, should we really be adopting the “me too” approach that panders to the status quo, or as an industry should we be investing in our own meaningful measurement? I know where I’d rather put my money. Article originally published on ADOTAS.

MediaPost features Exponential’s own VP of global publisher development, Rick Abell, where he presents his five tips on how to safeguard against traffic fraud

Check out the MediaPost placement. Or read the full article below: [grve_divider line_type="line"] Publishers: Five Tips To Keep Zombie Bots At Bay Whether you’re in advertising or publishing, scale is the Holy Grail. In a digital environment, dollars and cents really mean clicks and impressions, or traffic to your site. But traffic quality is quietly being degraded and devalued -- by zombies. That’s right. "The Walking Dead" isn’t just a TV show; we’re living it every day. According to security firm Solve Media, just under 30% of all global display ad traffic is driven and maintained by bot networks. Botnets are hordes of zombie users nefariously controlled by third parties via code. They cleverly simulate impressions and clicks, but are certainly not human. The point, of course, is to defraud advertisers into paying for phony users and user activity. And it works. In 2013, fake traffic and bot-led “engagement” ultimately cost advertisers $11.6 billion. And it will only get worse as programmatic growth continues, with less human oversight across buying and selling – the trade-off for ever-greater scale. To this point, most have focused on how bots impact an advertiser’s bottom line. But what about publishers? Bots can water down their inventory. They make scale, a once infallible metric, suspect. With this in mind, here are five tips for digital publishers to safeguard against traffic fraud.

  1. Know your traffic sources. This goes without saying, but it’s always the first step. Publishers need to understand their traffic sources intimately. It’s necessary for conversations with advertisers, but it can also help in identifying any traffic source aberrations, possibly driven by botnets. Anything other than organic and search traffic brings some level of risk. Sometimes, even when the traffic is organic, there are bots out of your control that may crawl your site.
  2. Invest in analytics technology. You can’t fight a pack of zombies on your own. You need tools and weapons. Publishers need site analytics tools that enable them to measure all of their traffic partners’ metrics. Beyond that, publishers need to employ mechanics in-page to verify real audiences.  Publishers should also have their audience metrics validated by third-party vendors to create neutral benchmarks for measuring advertising engagement.
  3. Know your marketing metric. To understand traffic vulnerabilities, publishers need to go beyond top-funnel metrics like clicks or impressions and consider downstream data. It’s at the top-of-the funnel where metrics can often be gamed with ease. But by analyzing marketing channels, you get a better sense of bounce rates (high = zombie), engagement metrics (low = zombie), and overall odd patterns of behavior. These numbers speak to traffic quality and can indicate non-human actors.
  4. Avoid buying traffic. Admittedly, this one is difficult for most publishers. Even premium publishers are known to purchase traffic in some form. But consider the risk of ceding scale to an external party that is strictly incentivized to deliver quantity on your behalf. Quantity can dilute quality, with outsourcing leading to fraud. As a result, sites with poor-quality users and suspect traffic can encounter serious monetization problems. Being added to the blacklists of third-party verification companies can put a publisher in eternal purgatory where they can’t receive brand budgets from ad network partners. Even if the site avoids blacklist denotation, some networks will optimize premium dollars away from sites showing suspicious patterns and low-quality traffic. It can then be hard to right this ship, so the risk is huge.
  5. If you buy, buy smart. Buying traffic inherently increases risk for the publisher, and buying non-organic traffic could drive drastically disastrous results. However, if you find yourself needing to increase inventory to deliver the expected impressions for the advertiser, per comScore, be sure to “ask the third-party traffic providers how they are generating traffic for the site.” If they deliver a credible, clear explanation, that’s a good sign. If not, it’s best to stay away. Recently, the IAB put together a series of questions for digital publishers to consider when buying non-organic traffic. It’s worth a look if you’re committed.
If we’re smart, it’s very possible for us to stave off the zombie apocalypse. But as automated systems take hold in the industry, we’ll need to work that much harder to ensure traffic’s legitimacy.

Exponential Interactive appoints Doug Conely as chief strategy officer

VP of product strategy and operations promoted to help activate advertising intelligence and digital media solutions across media and device. Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, has promoted VP of product strategy and operations, Doug Conely, to the position of chief strategy officer. In his new role, Conely will be responsible for helping to shape the company's go-to-market strategy as the owner of product strategy and operations. He continues as a member of Exponential's executive management team alongside CEO and founder Dilip DaSilva, CFO John Rettig, CRO John McKoy, CMO Philip Buxton and Steve Jones, chief strategy and operations officer at Adotube, the in-stream video advertising business that Exponential acquired in 2012. DaSilva commented: “Doug has played an increasingly significant role as we’ve streamlined our messaging, products and operations across our media divisions. He has taken on increased responsibility for our go-to-market strategy and the operational side of our products. Meanwhile, his insights team has collaborated with marketing to significantly increase the visibility of our data and intelligence." Conely said: “We build our own technology at Exponential so one of my main tasks is to ensure my team works closely with our engineers to ensure we focus on creating products that continue to help advertisers and publishers be more effective in digital advertising.” Prior to Exponential, Conely worked as a strategy consultant and investment banker before joining Yahoo’s European Strategy and mergers and acquisitions team. During his four years at Yahoo, he became increasingly involved in its display advertising strategy and led the integration of behavioral ad network Bluelithium in Europe. He then moved into ad product strategy where he was responsible for behavioral targeting and building Yahoo’s data partnership with Nectar. He has a Masters in Engineering from Cambridge University. Conely will continue to be based in Exponential’s London office.

Exponential announces appointment of six regional vice presidents

Exponential Interactive (www.exponential.com), the leading global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, today announced that it has appointed six regional vice presidents of sales throughout the United States as a result of the continued nationwide demand for its offerings and services across display, video and mobile. The new executives will report to Exponential’s chief revenue officer, John McKoy. McKoy comments: “Our unique combination of advanced audience targeting and optimization solutions enables us to deliver compelling, engaging and effective ad experiences across display, video and mobile, making Exponential an increasingly attractive partner for advertisers and agencies. This powerful team of seasoned sales experts brings the experience and vision needed to drive our continued success domestically as we look to expand and fuel further growth in 2014 and beyond.” The six sales vice presidents will be responsible for retaining and growing revenue across Exponential's audience engagement divisions – AdoTube, Appsnack, Firefly Video and Tribal Fusion – in their respective regions. Northwest Vice President of Sales, Northwest for Exponential, will be held by former Account Director for AOL Advertising – Huffington Post Media Group, Taylor Murphy. Murphy joins Exponential with over 15 years of experience covering West Coast clients and their respective agency partners. Prior to AOL, he also held sales and management roles at Ziff Davis, U.S. News Media Group and Go Network. Murphy is based in Exponential’s headquarters in Emeryville, CA. Southwest Vice President of Sales, Southwest for Exponential, will be held by former Director of Sales, Southwest Danielle Cravatt. Cravatt brings over 12 years of media experience to the role, with a consistent track record of exceeding sales goals, increasing market share, and building strong performing sales teams. Prior to Exponential, she shepherded sales teams and advertiser success at Tribal Fusion and Specific Media. Cravatt is based in Exponential’s Los Angeles office. Central Vice President of Sales, Central, Exponential will be held by Jason Wolf, who holds more than 15 years of digital media experience. Wolf brings a wealth of knowledge covering sales and all areas of digital advertising. Prior to Exponential, Wolf held roles leading the sales and business development teams at BizRate, Shopzilla and Like.com. He is based in Exponential’s Chicago office. Eastern For the Eastern Region, Exponential appointed former Directors Chris Litchfield and Evan Kramer. Litchfield holds 12 years of experience and originally joined Exponential’s Tribal Fusion division in 2009. Prior to 2009, he led sales at Forbes Media and Ziff Davis. Kramer holds more than 14 years in the digital media space, providing a vast understanding of the online advertising environment. Prior to Exponential, Kramer held sales roles at Nielsen, Traffic Marketplace and Lucid Media. Litchfield and Kramer are based in Exponential’s New York office. Southeast Vice President of Sales, Southeast for Exponential, will be held by Randy Rains, who holds over 15 years of experience in the online space. After a 12-year career at America Online, where he was a President’s Club recipient and an American Business/Stevie Award-winning Sales Director, Rains joined Exponential in 2010, fueling sales growth in the South Region. Rains is based in Exponential’s Atlanta office.

XE.com implements Exponential publisher platform, streamlines operations and sees 256% revenue increase

Publisher case study shows cross-platform optimization a ‘must’ in online display cross-device operations. Emeryville, CA, December 9th 2013 In partnership with global provider of advertising intelligence and media solutions, Exponential Interactive, online foreign currency and rate exchange resource, XE.com, saw an unprecedented 256 percent increase in online advertising revenue after implementing the Expo9 publisher platform. “Our relationship with Exponential is a testament to the sophistication their platform offers. It’s easy to use and enables us to provide advertisers several ways to reach consumers across our online and mobile properties. Exponential provides us with everything we need to maximize our revenue in one seamless system,” said Kit Purdy, executive vice president of XE.com. Exponential’s Expo9 platform, coupled with long standing advertiser relationships, enables publishers to run premium CPM advertising on their properties. Beyond seamlessly monetizing across a wide range of platforms, clients also benefit from Exponential’s full service capabilities including: ad operations, trafficking, campaign management and billing. Rick Abell, vice president, global publisher development, Exponential commented: “The results demonstrate the importance of including an integrated platform into their publisher serving strategies to maximize revenue. This is especially significant since inventory and brand consumption increasingly span cross-device, challenging publishers to stay competitive, accessible and viewable across various media.” XE.com has maintained a four-year, exclusive relationship with Exponential. About XE.com Inc. XE.com Inc. is one of the last remaining independent first-wave Internet companies. Founded in 1993, it is a privately held Canadian company focused on facilitating global commerce. Billions of dollars have been processed through its XE Trade money transfer service, launched in 2002, and thousands of clients around the world rely on XE's Currency Data Feed Service for foreign exchange rate updates.

Exponential Interactive appoints APAC managing director John McKoy as Chief Revenue Officer

McKoy sets his sights on continued growth for Exponential, bringing more than 15 years of digital industry experience to the table. Emeryville, Calif. – October 29, 2013 - Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, today announced John McKoy as Chief Revenue Officer. Formerly the managing director of Asia-Pacific, McKoy transitions into his new role from within Exponential Interactive to manage all of Exponential’s revenue producing, external facing teams in the US and globally. “By combining some of the most advanced audience targeting and optimization solutions with compelling and engaging ad experiences across display, video and mobile, Exponential Interactive has separated itself in the advertising intelligence space. Now the mission is to take those solutions to advertisers and agencies so they can gain the maximum benefit. It's an enormous challenge in such a competitive and complex landscape, but one that's a privilege to take on,” said McKoy. As CRO, McKoy will be responsible for retaining and growing revenue across Exponential's products, which cover audience discovery, modeling and targeting, as well as audience engagement in display, video and mobile through in-stream video specialist AdoTube, mobile engagement provider Appsnack, display video platform Firefly Video and performance display division Tribal Fusion. Dilip DaSilva, founder and CEO of Exponential, said: “We are thrilled to have John join our senior executive team. His significant experience and understanding of our clients’ needs will prove extremely valuable as we continue to expand the take-up of our technologies and solutions worldwide.” With more than 15 years in media experience, seven years specifically in the digital space, McKoy brings a breadth of knowledge covering all areas of advertising including television, print, agency, media buying and creative. Prior to Exponential, McKoy held roles leading the sales and business development teams at ninemsn, Sensis and Sensis Mediasmart. McKoy will be based in Exponential’s Melbourne office.

AdoTube launches initiative enabling brands to execute video campaigns across multiple media at no set-up cost

NEW YORK, NY —September 12, 2013 — AdoTube, the Exponential-owned in-stream advertising specialist, today announced it will offer select customers the option to run its superior in-stream ad units on any media network or publisher at no additional cost. The business decision reflects a booming industry demand for ad transparency, standardization and affordability, according to Steven Jones, chief strategy and operations officer of AdoTube. AdoTube’s new initiative will bring immediate efficiencies by:

  • Eliminating production costs, set-up costs and greatly reducing ad serving costs.
  • Maximizing branding opportunities and driving engagement by enabling advertisers to run rich interactive in-stream creative across all platforms.
  • Providing measurement and insights for all metrics in and outside the AdoTube publisher network.
“The biggest challenge and opportunity advertisers face is elevating their video advertising to drive brand awareness, engagement, intent, and even conversion…all while maintaining cost efficiency,” said Jones. “Brands, customers and creative teams are facing increasing mark-ups on ad serving and creative costs which takes away from the dollars spent on media. We are in a unique position to offer rich media solutions in a more effective and cost conservative manner than advertisers have grown accustom to.” AdoTube customers utilizing the new initiative will have access to the following in-stream video units, which are all IAB compliant (VAST & VPAID):
  • Ad Selector
  • Inside-Out-Roll™
  • In-Stream Skin™
  • In-Stream Takeover™
  • Overlays (i.e. Video-in-Video)
  • Polite Pre-Roll®
  • Snipers
Jones comments: “Our clients have been taking advantage of this service for years, and we are excited to extend the offer beyond our own network to help marketers focus on the true value of their targeted media impression. It’s simple; without added campaign costs, agencies can place their creative where they want and reallocate those dollars back into what they were meant for: The media.” The offer, available to all current and future premiere US AdoTube customers, is effective immediately.

Appsnack announced as finalist in Digiday’s Mobi Awards for “Best Mobile Branding Campaign” and “Best Mobile Ad Network”

Appsnack, in collaboration with Richards Group, selected as chosen few based on strong performance of Ulta beauty campaign that exceeded benchmarks by 400% Emeryville, Calif., (September 10, 2013) – Appsnack, the Exponential-owned mobile advertising provider that launched a year ago, today announced the company was selected as a finalist for “Best Mobile Branding Campaign” and “Best Mobile Ad Network” Mobi award presented by Digiday. The Mobi Awards honor overall excellence and breakthrough achievement in mobile media, marketing and advertising in the last year. Appsnack is chosen among a very elite few, as only three or four finalists are selected for each category. Appsnack worked in collaboration with Richards Group, whose beauty brand Ulta sought to generate awareness with the W18-54 target audience through their “21 Days of Beauty” event. Over the course of the month-long campaign, Appsnack delivered 1MM total engagement + impressions, delivering an impressive 7.7% overall engagement rate – exceeding the Richards Group benchmark by 400%. Furthermore, the highly engaged audience spent an average time spent of 17.9 seconds, and drove a highly efficient cost-per-engagement of $0.10. Additionally, 30% of the users interacted with the “Find A Store” or “In Store Events” sections, indicating purchase (or in-store shopping intent). Sandy Shanman, founder and general manager, Appsnack said: “We are honored to be recognized as a Mobi Award Finalist for both categories. Since launch, our objective has been to deliver rich, engaging app-like creative experiences across a premium brand-safe network for Fortune 100 companies and the agencies that represent them. The engagement performances of our campaigns have radically exceeded our expectations, and we're humbled by the volume of high caliber brands that are embracing, and consistently renewing, the Appsnack solution.” In the past year, Appsnack has built the back-end technology to offer the top global advertisers the ability to deliver new compelling and engaging brand experiences directly to their customers via the browsers on their mobile phones and tablets. Appsnack now boasts a presence in 12 countries. Appsnack was also recently named Next Big Digital Start-up by the San Francisco Bay Innovation Group (sfBIG). Finalists will be judged by a panel of industry executives and the winner will be announced on October 9, 2013 at the Mobi Awards Gala in New York City.

Exponential Interactive adds business director in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, ASIA – August 14, 2013 – Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions to brand advertisers, today announced the appointment of Jason Tsang as business director, Hong Kong. Jason joins Exponential with a wealth of sales experience including five years in online media. He has previously held the position of media sales and partnerships manager for Travelocity Asia / Zuji, working across travel and non-travel clients in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Jason was also previously the media sales team director at Aktiv Digital, successfully growing their digital media advertising business in Hong Kong for corporate clients and advertising agencies. Jason will be responsible for Exponential’s business operations in Hong Kong. With his extensive sales strategy experience in the media industry, he will now lead the region to deliver growth across the company’s direct and agency clients. Welcoming Jason to the Exponential team Kelvin Tan, country manager, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Jason to Exponential. His forward-thinking brand knowledge and cross-channel marketing expertise will continue to push us toward building a strong presence in Hong Kong’s dynamic market.” “Exponential’s positioning, market leadership and direction makes it a very exciting place to be and I am delighted to be a part it,” said Tsang. “I am confident that Exponential will continue its strong progression with its solutions for advertisers to engage and connect with their target audiences across media and device".

Exponential LatAm launches new divisions, Appsnack and AdoTube, in Mexico City

Leading digital advertising company expands global presence; introduces new mobile and in-stream video solutions to Latin American market Mexico City, Mexico – July 31, 2013 - Exponential, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, today announced the launch of its mobile and in-stream video divisions across Latin America. With the launch of app-like mobile creative specialist, Appsnack, and in-stream video division, AdoTube, the Exponential team will now be offering even more ways to meet the needs of specific target audiences across video and mobile. Appsnack and AdoTube already serve clients in the US, Canada, UK, Asia and Australia. Federico Carrera, managing director, LatAm, comments: “There has been massive industry shifts in recent years as digital and mobile devices increasingly dominate Latin American markets. Regional brands, agencies and marketers alike are challenged with the adoption of new products and even more creative freedom to reach and target their audience. Appsnack and AdoTube will offer solutions to help local marketers better adapt to these rapid changes.” Furthermore, the growth of mobile and video demands more evolved metrics across device – with interaction and engagement positioned as the next major key deliverables. Appsnack will allow advertisers to build rich, engaging, app-like creative experiences that reach Latin American audiences at scale across mobile to tablet. Appsnack’s leading Snackbar creative – which automatically formats itself to 10% of the screen’s size, achieves 4.5 times higher interaction rates than standard IAB units. In May, Appsnack was named Next Big Digital Start-up by the San Francisco Bay Innovation Group (sfBIG). AdoTube provides the opportunity to boost brand creativity and increase consumer engagement via in-stream video formats, including pre-roll ads, which run before online video content in a similar way to TV ad spots.  Recent examination gleaned from AdoTube's latest Global Format Index report shows that interactive pre-rolls drive the highest click-through rates (CTRs). “With Mexico leading the Latin American region by 13.9 percent for all web-page views consumed beyond personal computers, mostly by smartphones and tablets*, it is increasingly clear there is a need in the market for mobile and video solutions, like Appsnack and AdoTube,” continues Carrera. “These two solutions will assist Mexico City advertisers in broadening their reach and delivering high-impact campaigns across the media and devices that consumers increasingly spend their time with.” Exponential’s Mexico City office currently offers solutions from Tribal Fusion, the global advertising display provider, and Firefly Video, an engagement video advertising platform. All audience engagement divisions are powered by Exponential’s e-X Advertising Intelligence Platform to help agencies and advertisers find and reach their perfect audiences with highly relevant and compelling creative campaigns. The e-X Platform aggregates and contextualizes two billion online events a day to populate a 50,000-attribute topic tree that advertisers can use to discover, select and model their online audiences based on their real online interests and intentions. Exponential will unveil its latest solutions and keys to regional success, including engagement strategies, audience insights and precise consumer targeting, at IAB Conecta 2013. * According to the 2013 Latin America Digital Future in Focus’ Report from Comscore * Appsnack Q1 2013 findings report * *AdoTube 2012 Global Format Index Report

Appsnack trend report finds adaptable mobile ads outperform standard units with seamless integration; high share of screen

Findings reveal size, device and type of media play significant role combating banner blindness Emeryville, Calif., (July 17, 2013) – Appsnack, the Exponential-owned mobile advertising provider, today released its trend report, aggregating Q1 mobile results globally from 37 various advertisers and more than 12 verticals. The results indicate mobile marketing success metrics are dependent on ease of ad implementation, size, placement and type of device. Appsnack’s report highlights the ad profile of their Snackbar unit, which launched early in Q1. Snackbar is the first ad unit of its kind to provide brands the opportunity to single out their advertisement, ensuring 100 percent visibility on any mobile screen. Findings revealed that Snackbar outperformed standard IAB ad sizes with 49,053,108 views compared to 8,121,942 views for IAB and 1,204,528 clicks compared to 51,737 clicks for standard IAB unit. By achieving 4.5 times higher interaction rates than standard IAB, Snackbar’s performance indicates future trends toward the success of brand awareness campaigns in the mobile marketplace. Additional Q1 report highlights:

  • Size matters – but how? For rich media, small sizes reign supreme. 300 x 250 was the highest performing ad format of all IAB for rich media campaigns with 38,174 clicks. For non-expanding campaigns, the bigger the banner the better. 728 x 90 was the best performing standard IAB size with 4,236,123 views.
  • Curiosity key for tablets; engagement strong for smart phones: Tablets slightly out performed smartphones for standard banner interactions with 602,264 clicks as well as Snackbar banner clicks by .09%. Tablet users also possessed strong brand curiosity, with a higher propensity to log onto the brand site after viewing an ad compared to those on smartphones by 2.75%. One assumption for this behavior is tablets are more accessible for online shopping and purchasing. However, smartphones users showed higher engagement rates in rich media by 3.28%, including higher expansion rates with Snackbar over tablet users by .67%. Smartphone users have a higher propensity to interact with rich media due to the brief, precise messaging; exactly what a consumer is looking for on the go.
  • Rich media is truly loaded: Though the mobile marketplace continues to rely heavily on clicks, the findings revealed that rich media campaigns garnered more expansions than standard banners did clicks by 1.43%.The rising trend of rich media expansions can also be found with Snackbar, achieving higher rates than standard Snackbar interactions by .92%.
Most unique to Snackbar is the size of the ad unit. Instead of using specific measurements, differentiating itself from the industry’s IAB standard units, Snackbar automatically populates to 10% of a screen’s size, adapting to different mobile devices. Designed specifically for mobile devices, Snackbar appears as a single teased ad anchored at the bottom of a screen.  As the only ad to appear, Snackbar ensures advertisers a high share of voice and reduces ad waste for publishers. “As digital device usage increases and budget gets shifted more toward mobile and tablet, we are just beginning to define what ‘success’ means in a mobile campaign,” said Sandy Shanman, general manager, Appsnack. “Our Q1 results reveal which ad units work, where they work and why they work – indicating that we should shift focus more toward brand awareness campaigns. As our industry evolves, mobile ads are discovering more ways to boost overall impressions, encourage consumer engagement and ultimately provide brand value.” Appsnack helps brands and their agencies build rich engaging app-like creative experiences reaching audiences at scale across mobile and tablet. It is a division of Exponential Interactive, the global digital advertising company that also owns global display advertising provider Tribal Fusion, engagement video platform Firefly Video and in-stream video advertising specialist AdoTube. Exponential is headquartered in Emeryville, California and offers its solution in 26 countries worldwide.

Renault selects Exponential to launch a cross screen brand awareness campaign to promote new Clio

Display, video and mobile campaign generates more than 65,000 consumer interactions with new Renault Clio Madrid, Spain – 3 June, 2013 Renault has chosen Exponential, a global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions to brand advertisers, to deliver a cross-digital campaign aimed at driving consideration of the new Clio. The campaign, which ran over a three-week period in February, aimed to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the Renault website. To impact the prospect audience and achieve campaign goals across multiple devices, Exponential has launched via its audience targeting platform “Ex Advertising Intelligence” a campaign across its 4 division. Campaign included video teaser ads and engaging micro site on Tribal Fusion (network that delivers fine-targeted display ads at scale to drive audience impact), Firefly Video (video engagement platform that delivers the active attention of advertisers’ target audiences to drive engagement and brand lift), Adotube (in stream video audience network that offers interactive pre-roll to drive user engagement and audience awareness) and Appsnack (platform that builds rich, engaging, app-like creative experiences that reach audiences at scale, across mobile and tablet). The campaign generated over 65,000 consumer interactions across PC, smartphone and tablets via 4 million impacts delivered which mean an average engagement rate of 1.62% with the video teaser ads. On PC, the average time spend in units (o dwell time) was 15.6 seconds and the CTR inside the micro site 7.29%. The campaign also drove high click-through rates on mobile, for both the smartphone and tablet micro site, produced by Exponential’s Appsnack division, 7.3% of people who interacted with the ad clicked through to the Clio website. The average video dwell time on mobile devices was over 17.2 seconds. “We’re always looking for new and effective ways to reach customers,” said Sagrario Carrasco Digital Account Director at OMD who booked the Renault campaign. “Our activity with Exponential enabled us to showcase Renault’s new version of a very popular model across multiple devices and successfully target as larger an audience as possible”. “Renault was after an audience that consumes media and advertising in an increasingly fragmented way so we were able to run a campaign that reached this audience across the different digital formats in a whole new way,” added Jérôme Massebeuf, managing director Spain and Italy for Exponential. “In an increasingly crowded market place, brand awareness is vital and the ability to make real connections with consumers means cross-digital campaigns should be the minimum brand advertisers are looking to create.”

Exponential appoints pioneer ad network specialist to lead business in Thailand

Bangkok, June 18, 2013 – Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions to brand advertisers, has announced Sapanna Pitisookdanont (popularly known as Nan) as business director, Thailand. Nan will be reporting to Kelvin Tan, country manager, Exponential for Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. At Exponential, she will be responsible for developing and executing on the company's growth strategy in Thailand and bringing Exponential's advertising intelligence and digital MEDIA solutions to advertisers and agencies in the region. She will scout for fresh business opportunities for Exponential and its four audience engagement divisions – AdoTube, Appsnack, Firefly Video and Tribal Fusion - and will also be managing existing associations for the company in Thailand. Nan joins Exponential with more than eight years of industry experience during which she worked with Innity and another regional digital media network, Komli Media, formerly AdMax. She began her career as an account executive with Asia City Publishing, a leading regional publisher of lifestyle and entertainment publications. On her new job role, Nan said: “Exponential has set a benchmark in South East Asia as far as offering innovative digital media solutions to advertisers is concerned. The company's distinctive positioning - allowing advertisers to identify their audiences and then reach them across display, video and mobile media, is indeed promising for a developing market like Thailand.” “I am excited to join Exponential and look forward to helping grow their position in the market,” Nan added. Commenting on the appointment, Kelvin Tan, country manager, Exponential for Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, said: "Nan’s rich experience in digital sales will play a vital role in realizing the scope of digital advertising in Thailand. We believe that her experience will work as an asset in providing the best innovative and engaging online marketing solutions to brands in this region and help us drive the market forward.”

Exponential partners with the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

For the first time, Exponential Interactive will be partnering with the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The festival, celebrating its 60th birthday this year, will see over 12,000 delegates from around the world gather to discuss and celebrate some of the best advertising from all disciplines across the world. Exponential will have a strong presence at the festival with CEO and Founder, Dilip Da Silva, COO, Marv Tseu, chief technology officer, Alex Saldhanda and chief marketing officer, Phil Buxton all attending, as well as our general managers, regional managing directors and many country directors with an array of clients. Our marketing team has worked on a significant presence at the festival. To enjoy the full magic, download the app Aurasma before coming to Cannes from Google Play or the Apple Store and look out for our Exponential team in front of The Palais, as well as in the harbour behind it. If you’d like to arrange a meeting with any of our Exponential representatives, please email us or drop in and see us at ExpoCentral. BIMA Exponential will be hosting BIMA ThirstDay on Thursday 20th June form 5p – 7pm on ExpoCentral in Cannes Harbour. Usually held once a month in a local London bar, BIMA ThirstDay brings together the leading players in the digital industry in a laid-back social setting where useful connections and conversations can happen. Places are strictly limited so if you’re passionate about digital and want stop by, please email events@bima.co.uk MMA Exponential will also be partnering with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) who are hosting the Mobile Circus at Cannes. There’s a full agenda of presentations happening at the Big Top, which has free entry. Paul Berney, chief marketing officer at MMA, will also be sitting on our mobile panel on Thursday 20th June at 2pm. If you’d like to come along to our mobile panel, please email us at cannes@exponential.com

Introduction to Exponential’s publisher newsletter

Welcome to the premier edition of the Exponential publisher newsletter. In the coming months, our newsletter will be a helpful resource for our publisher partners. We will offer insights into the many exciting projects we are working on, as well as updating you on developments in the industry and providing advance notice on upcoming monetization opportunities. By now, many of you are very familiar with Tribal Fusion – the second largest online display provider – driving sales for many of the world’s top brands by helping them learn about, reach, and engage online audiences more effectively. However, some may not be as familiar with Exponential, Tribal Fusion’s parent company. In addition to Tribal Fusion, Exponential owns engagement video platform Firefly Video, in-stream advertising specialist AdoTube, and mobile advertising solution Appsnack. Exponential divisions, including Tribal Fusion, are powered by Exponential’s e-X technology platform to help brands find and reach their prospective customers and connect with them using highly engaging creative messaging across display, video and mobile. As a publisher, your world is incredibly complex. You no longer need to worry only about how you’re going to monetize display inventory, but also need to figure out how your users are accessing your properties through mobile phones, tablets and perhaps even TV or other connected devices. Each of these devices have multiple formats – such as in-stream video, in-app display, branded wraps, etc. – that need your consideration. Solving this problem for one country can be very daunting, let alone solving this for your inventory across the globe. However, with Exponential, you can put all these considerations in one basket. We have solutions for all major devices, and a presence in over 26 countries and growing. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the Exponential suite of services; ask your account representative, or email us. Thanks for reading, and we looking forward to continuing our partnership together.

Exponential Interactive expands global leadership, appoints Ricardo Novaes as country manager in Brazil

São Paulo, BRAZIL – March 25, 2013 – Exponential Interactive, the global provider of advertising intelligence and digital media solutions, today announced Ricardo Novaes as country manager, Brazil. Novaes is primarily responsible for delivering innovative digital marketing solutions in the growing Latin American marketplace. Novaes joins Exponential with 13 plus years in the online media market. Most recently, Novaes worked for computer software giant Microsoft, where he managed their online advertising sales to strategic agencies. He specializes in several service areas including vehicle electronic media, advertising and promotion, business development, marketing enterprise software and the negotiation of commercial space in major digital portals and websites. A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Ricardo holds a degree in Advertising and Marketing, and a post-graduate degree in Sales, from Escola Superior de Propaganda and Marketing. Novaes comments of his appointment in Latin America: “We’re seeing Latin Americans rapidly, and enthusiastically, adopt various digital technologies. Digital is projected to only get bigger and better, so brands need to keep up strategically to stay not only competitive, but relevant. However, that’s easier said than done as the industry keeps getting more cluttered and competitive. I am excited to leverage Exponential’s proprietary audience data and technology to help brands make smarter, better-informed marketing decisions that will intelligently streamline this process.”