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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. 

Expliquer la programmatique avec humour

Depuis lundi 9 janvier, une campagne sociale satirique inédite explique l'Ad Tech en bande-dessinée et par l'analogie. Avec "C'est un peu Com'", Exponential France tente un pari de vulgarisation. Avec l'ambition de faire changer les mentalités.

Expliquer la programmatique avec humour by Eric Espinosa

Tout a commencé avec un teaser impromptu, publié deux jours avant Noël sur le compte Facebook d'Exponential France. En promettant de décomplexifier l'AdTech, le post présente un dessin au style inspiré des mangas japonais. Il met en scène une grand-mère qui s'apprête à sabrer le champagne tandis que discrètement, avec l'agilité d'un danseur étoile répétant ses pointes, un costard-cravatée à lunette tente de filer à l'anglaise. La légende éclaire sur l'intention iconographique: "Le trading-desk, c'est un peu comme si au lieu de passer tout un diner de noël avec tes grands-parents, tu pouvais juste prendre l'apéro et partir avant le fromage." L'analogie est amusante et originale. Le 9 janvier, la campagne sociale "C'est un peu Com" a remis le couvert, comme annoncé trois semaines plus tôt.

Avec une volonté d'auto-dérision assumée et rafraichissante pour le landernau du programmatique et de la pub en ligne, "C'est un peu Com'" prend le pari de la bande-dessinée et du sarcasme. Pensée et conçue par Récit, la nouvelle offre jumelée des agences Zagett et Dixit, la campagne ambitionne de "désacraliser la technologie, les termes compliqués et les outils du quotidien de la publicité en ligne", nous explique Fabrice Leclerc, DG France d’Exponential. Chaque semaine pendant six mois, un nouveau dessin légendé sera publié sur le compte français Facebook de la société américaine, créatrice d'expériences publicitaires innovantes grâce à des solutions créatives et de datas propriétaires sur laptop et mobile. Les contenus sont également visibles sur LinkedIn et Twitter.

Pour la première fois sur le marché français un acteur de l'AdTech prend donc le pari de la vulgarisation par l'humour et le cynisme. Sur la forme comme sur le fond, c'est inédit. "L’objectif est d’interpeller, de prendre du recul sur nos métiers. Et pour ce faire, quoi de mieux que des analogies simples sur un ton décalé", assure Fabrice Leclerc. Dans une récente tribune publiée dans INfluencia, il justifiait son coup de com' en dressant un état des lieux critique de la pub, du programmatique et des médias.

Un verbiage compliqué pour noyer une certaine incompétence

Alors que L'AdTech est aujourd'hui mal maitrisée par ceux qui ne la font pas, surtout les annonceurs, cette campagne ambitionne-t-elle de combler cette lacune ? "Il est impossible d’expliquer brièvement un secteur en pleine mutation, mais nous pouvons détendre et déculpabiliser. Notre ambition est d’expliquer que les grands principes sont simples à comprendre, en revenant au bon sens dont les annonceurs ne sont pas dépourvus. Nous jetons un regard moqueur sur ceux qui vendent la technologie comme une finalité car elle doit rester une solution d’optimisation. Il ne faut surtout pas complexifier les modèles au point d’embrouiller le message positif que nous offrent les évolutions technologiques", répond Fabrice Leclerc.

"Qui n’a pas essayé d’expliquer à ses proches notre métier sans y parvenir ? Quelle en est la raison ? Nous utilisons un verbiage compliqué afin de noyer une certaine incompétence ou défaillance de produit. Il faut donc que nous apprenions à expliquer simplement des notions qui peuvent s’avérer complexes. Dans cet objectif, le décalé et l’humour restent les meilleurs catalyseurs", poursuit le DG d'Exponential France.

Derrière l'audace de l'inédit et le risque de taquiner quelques susceptibilités, il y a l'ambition de changer des mentalités et la culture sémantique d'une industrie qui se complet pour l'instant dans la complexité. On regrettera donc qu'après avoir suscité la curiosité par le sourire, la campagne ne soit pas prolongée sur une autre plateforme avec un contenu complémentaire.

Le SSP, c'est un peu comme Tinder, tu sais combien te coûte la soirée mais tu ne sais pas chez qui elle va finir

Programmatique : tout ce que je sais, c’est que je ne sais rien tandis que les autres croient savoir

Dans un contexte chaotique, la pub en ligne fait face à des enjeux cruciaux alors même que les annonceurs, lassés de trop engrosser le mammouth programmatique, haussent le ton et demandent l'extension de la loi Sapin à la pub digitale. Il est temps de faire un état des lieux sur les coulisses de la pub, du programmatique et des médias...

Programmatique : tout ce que je sais, c'est que je ne sais rien tandis que les autres croient savoir by Fabrice Leclerc

Une téléportation au siècle de la data, celui de la fausse transparence de la connaissance, ne dépayserait pas Socrate. Quelques semaines de ses enseignements publics nous feraient même carrément du bien. Malheureusement, déjà dépourvus d'autodérision, les médias et la pub ont besoin de questionnement et non plus de leurs fausses certitudes, finalement trop incertaines pour être assumées par ceux qui profitent du grand méchant leurre. Avec la mutation de deux industries en pleine réinvention et la transformation digitale générale de notre société, le marché cherche encore à vraiment comprendre ce qui lui arrive. La perte de ses repères modifie tout mais conforte un seul postulat : l'homme reste un fou pour l'homme.

Brexit, Trump, sondages en folies, un président qui, pour une fois, reconnait ses échecs avant les suffrages : le monde devient-il fou ou évolue-t-il trop vite pour que nous puissions intégrer chaque étape pour en faire des atouts décisionnels ? En média aussi nous perdons tous nos repères et cela va en s’accélérant avec les évolutions technologiques. Des annonceurs de la distribution scandalisés par l’existence de "rebates", des agences se plaignant de manque de transparence et devenant des régies, le monde de la stratégie achetant des acteurs média, l’automation et l’intelligence artificielle présentés comme l’avenir des médias mais avec un contrôle de l’homme : décidément il est loin, très loin, le temps où le skyscraper était une révolution dans les formats. Dans ce contexte chaotique, la pub en ligne fait face à des enjeux cruciaux alors même que les annonceurs, lassés de trop engrosser le mammouth programmatique, haussent le ton. Ils demandent l'extension de la loi Sapin à la pub digitale.

Comme avec l'informatique dans ses débuts, les experts proclamés de la programmatique prennent un malin plaisir à compliquer la sémantique et à rendre très difficile toute vulgarisation. Même contraint de s'y mettre, le marché publicitaire reste donc globalement dans le flou. Les annonceurs sont encore dans la révolution du tout digital. Ils doivent non seulement intégrer les changements au sein de leurs propres organisations, mais aussi implémenter les moyens qui leur permettront d’atteindre leurs objectifs. Pour cela, mieux comprendre l’achat de la programmatique et l’ensemble de ses subtilités est une condition sine qua non.

La programmatique : un eldorado mal organisé

La programmatique est encore un eldorado mal organisé. Il est complexifié par une accumulation d’acteurs proposant sans cesse de nouvelles solutions en ajoutant des sur-couches technologiques. Même s'ils comprennent les notions principales et le schéma global au sein de leurs problématiques (datas, DMP, SSP, DSP…), les annonceurs sont donc encore très loin d’une maîtrise totale de l’outil programmatique. Ils ne savent pas vraiment nécessairement quand et comment l’utiliser et donc encore moins comment l'intégrer dans la créativité. De plus, ajouter de la techno à la techno a un coût qui se répercute sur le volume d’achat final et crée également et paradoxalement, une perte de valeur pour les éditeurs.

Le problème des agences, c’est qu’elles sont justement le reflet de l’offre mais surtout des besoins et demandes des annonceurs. Obtenir les données essentielles à la conception des campagnes publicitaires fructueuses reste encore un parcours du combattant pour les têtes pensantes créatives des agences de taille diverse. Le cloisonnement entre les marques, les agences médias et les créatifs empêche les trois acteurs principaux du marché d'exploiter au mieux ces si précieuses données qu'ils ne partagent pas. Ou mal.

Dans le même temps depuis deux ans le "Rich Media" renforce le poids des promesses de la programmatique sur le marché de la pub online . Et malgré le flou, cette dernière continue de fourbir ses armes. Trois chiffres révélés récemment par une étude Quantcast/EBG assurent que 67% des annonceurs et agences l'utilisent pour leurs achats display online; que 79% se déclarent satisfaits de leurs campagnes et que 69% l'utilisent désormais dans un objectif de branding.

Sur la jetée cannoise pendant la Grand-messe publicitaire des Lions, les nouveaux riches de l'Ad Tech ont remplacé les anciens nantis du contenu. Le message est ostentatoire : bienvenue dans la pub digitale et programmatique du futur. Les médias et les agences doivent-ils en avoir peur ? La question peut paraître gratuitement angoissante mais elle ne fait qu'interroger sur les dangers de l'ultra-concentration d'un marché dont seront bien trop dépendants les éditeurs d'ici à cinq ans. Il faut, comme l'a fait le patron de Smart Ad Server dans INfluencia, dire clairement les choses : sans régulation politique ni prise de conscience urgente des éditeurs, le spectre d'un Big brother de la programmatique pèsera comme une épée de Damoclès sur les têtes des médias.

Pour les régies de pub TV, la menace Facebook et Google pointe aussi à l'horizon. La poussée du trading desk dans les agences accroît la pression sur les régies pour répondre à une nouvelle demande. La programmatique dans la TV linéaire, c'est pour demain. Le défi est de taille : la nouvelle offre doit permettre aux régies de créer le package obligatoire des expériences digitales et linéaires capables de façonner un dispositif global réunissant toutes les ventes. Jusque-là elles se faisaient en silos.

Bref, le digital est le territoire des génies où chacun dans son domaine est un expert qui détient LA vérité. On parle, on se montre, on se gausse des échecs des autres, on vante les mérites des vainqueurs, on valide après coup. Mais finalement qui est sûr de quoi ? En réalité, chacun prêche pour sa paroisse en précisant, au nom du bien commun, que les autres sont dans l’erreur. Nous n’avons rien à envier aux religions. Nous n’inventons rien, nous nous adaptons en bombant le torse. L’homme est homme et le restera. C’est bien notre seule certitude.

La programmatique est encore un eldorado mal organisé

En obligeant les trois acteurs majeurs de la pub - annonceurs, agences créatives, agences médias - à partager leurs données pour mieux customiser les campagnes, la publicité programmatique pose un défi majeur au marché. Et si c'est un eldorado, il est encore mal organisé et surtout mal compris par les créatifs des plus petites agences.

La programmatique est encore un eldorado mal organisé by Benjamin Adler

Même devenue incontournable, la programmatique reste pourtant dans le flou artistique et sa pratique laisse beaucoup de professionnels perplexes. Pour bien comprendre ce qui se trame autour de cet univers, le Syndicat des Régies Internet a donc sorti en début d'année un lexique intitulé, Le pense pas bête de la programmatique. L'outil est d'autant plus utile que plus la programmatique grandit, plus elle rime avec problématique. Début mars, INfluencia posait sa loupe sur l’extension par NBC Universal de la programmatique dans sa télévision linéaire, avant de s'interroger pendant les Cannes Lions 2016 sur le spectre d'un Big brother de la programmatique posée comme une épée de Damoclès sur les têtes des médias. Quid des agences ? Une nouvelle étude réalisée au Royaume-Uni par Turn constate les difficultés que rencontrent les créatifs pour maîtriser le concept de publicité programmatique.

Obtenir les données essentielles à la conception des campagnes publicitaires fructueuses reste encore un parcours du combattant pour les têtes pensantes créatives des agences britanniques de tailles diverses. Le postulat énoncé par Turn pointe du doigt un problème majeur de cette programmatique en plein boom : le cloisonnement empêchant les marques, les agences médias et les créatifs d'exploiter au mieux les si précieuses données. Concrètement l'étude démontre que 35% des créatifs britanniques estiment que les marques ont du mal à partager leurs données, 29% avançant la même lacune chez les agences médias.

Pourtant 88% des sondés assurent avoir besoin ou trouve une utilité aux données pour réaliser des publicités vraiment personnalisées. Ils sont deux tiers (65%) à avouer que qu’au moins la moitié voire la totalité de leur boulot nécessite l'exploitation de données pointues dans l'enrichissement du message publicitaire pendant sa phase de création. En même temps, mauvais partage synergique oblige, seuls 11% des créatifs de petites agences estiment maîtriser la programmatique alors qu'ils sont 59% à en connaître les principes dans les plus grandes agences. La problématique cruciale exposée par l'étude de Turn est-elle la même en France ? Pour répondre INfluencia a sollicité l'avis de Fabrice Leclerc, DG France d'Exponential, acteur mondial incontournable de la programmatique.

INfluencia : les résultats de l'étude réalisée par Turn au Royaume-Uni vous surprennent-t-ils, et peut-on partir du principe qu'ils peuvent s'appliquer à la France ?

Fabrice Leclerc : ces résultats ne sont pas surprenants car avant d’associer totalement créativité et programmatique, il faudrait que les organisations aient complètement ingéré les forces et atouts du digital, ce qui est loin d’être le cas. Les annonceurs sont encore dans la révolution du tout digital et doivent intégrer les changements au sein de leur propres organisations et les moyens qui vont leur permettre d’atteindre leurs objectifs : mobile, data et maintenant comprendre l’achat de la programmatique et l’ensemble de ses subtilités. Même si tout le monde est conscient et sait parfaitement que c’est important et primordial pour l’avenir, chacun va à sa vitesse en agence ou chez les annonceurs. Par exemple, les gros annonceurs TV pourraient aujourd’hui optimiser l’impact de leurs campagnes en créant une vraie relation avec les internautes, via des formats interactifs intégrant déjà la créativité. Ces solutions, qui apportent un véritable bénéfice aux marques, existent et sont très simples à installer. Pourtant très peu d’annonceurs les utilisent. Pourquoi ? car cela sort du cadre et beaucoup de paramètres nouveaux sont à intégrer rapidement et en même temps. Du coup, de là à intégrer la démarche programmatique dans la création -process et technologies qu’ils ne maîtrisent absolument pas- reste très compliqué à mettre en place.

IN : le constat est là, mais que doit donc en déduire l'industrie publicitaire ?

F.L. : le problème des agences, c’est qu’elles sont le reflet de l’offre mais surtout des besoins et demandes des annonceurs. Si les annonceurs ne challengent pas les agences, elles ne le font pas, faute de temps et de moyens. Pourquoi passer énormément du temps à éduquer son client sur des concepts nouveaux alors que le temps est précieux avec des impacts importants en terme de marge ! La programmatique est encore un eldorado mal organisé car complexifié par une accumulation d’acteurs, qui proposent sans cesse de nouvelles solutions en ajoutant des sur-couches technologiques que seuls les experts peuvent comprendre. Même si les annonceurs comprennent les notions principales et le schéma global au sein de leurs problématiques (datas, DMP, SSP, DSP…) ils sont encore très loin d’une maîtrise totale de l’outil programmatique. Ils ne savent pas vraiment nécessairement quand et comment l’utiliser et donc encore moins comment l'intégrer dans la créativité. De plus, ajouter de la techno à la techno a un coût qui se répercute sur le volume d’achat final.

IN : peut-on donc déjà distinguer des types d'adeptes ?

FL: oui, en l'occurrence deux. Primo les testeurs, férus de Test and learn qui n’ont pas peur de prendre des risques à la marge. Ce sont des avant-gardistes. Ils ne vont pas hésiter à intégrer la créativité dans la programmatique et pousser les agences à utiliser à plein les possibilités qu’offrent certains aspects de la programmatique. Secundo, les suiveurs, qui sont plus frileux et finiront par y venir pour faire comme tout le monde, mais avec un temps de retard. Temps qui permettra aux agences de former toutes les strates et spécialités en agences.

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 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.

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.