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October 18, 2006No Comments

Is Your Brand Safe?

Are you pro or against working with ad networks?

If you, either through an internal department or an agency, work with ad networks, are you happy with the placements your ads get through ad networks?
Why or why not?

What is your biggest fear about relying on ad networks for the placement of your ads?
How have you tackled this?

Should mid sized & smaller publishers (the interactive ad long tail) be made to categorize their content in an open market place?

If so who should regulate and publicize publisher compliance?

If there were such a service would you pay for membership that helped protect brands through categorization and fine based penalties for non compliance?

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Is Your Brand Safe? via @jpenabickley

October 18, 2006No Comments

The Online Ad Game

There are so many aspects to the online advertising space that confuse marketers and agencies who act as the client advocate in the interactive space. After conducting a number of industry interviews with ad agencies and advertisers I have found that there is market confusion around ad networks and the safety of your brand.

Over the next few posts I thought I would address some high level issues and recruit your feedback and ideas in this forum to begin an open dialog with the best of our industry in order to develop a strategy and possibly an organization that will begin to guide the interactive ad industry in a positive direction that will inevitably lead to larger online ad spending from advertisers for 2007.

Ad Networks
Historically, an organization charged with the representation of advertising space for a group of Web sites for the purpose of maximizing revenue and minimizing administrative costs through aggregation. The role of an Internet advertising network is to transact, serve, track and report the distribution of creative from advertisers to publishers using an efficient, interactive marketplace.

Today they have become sophisticated operations designed to allow advertisers to place their advertising materials in front of selected individuals.  The typical selling proposition of a network is that these individuals are good prospects for the particular product or service on offer. But ad networks differ in several ways, including:

  1. How the your audience or individuals are selected or targeted
  2. The range of publishers' sites on which the advertisements may appear

A network can also be categorized according to the nature of the financial arrangement between the advertiser, the network and the publisher.

  1. The True Network= bases on revenue sharing agreements across a wide range of sites
  2. Arbitrage network = buys unused, unwanted remnant inventory at bargain prices in hopes of repackaging and reselling it profitably
  3. The Broker network = simply manages the transactions and adds little value for advertisers.

The beauty of the Ad Network, dependant on type, business emphasis, organization and approach, is that most networks offer a range of options, including demographic, geographic and dayparting. Many allow advertisers to mix and match various types of selectivity, creating a near infinite range of possibilities for finding specific categories of prospects and serving them targeted messages.

So why do Ad Networks have such a bad rap with advertisers and agencies alike?

One answer could be….
While ad networks offer increased reach ad networks also offer less control for brand advertisers. Marketers placing impressions on an ad network will be challenged to keep tabs on where their advertising appears. Marketers are justly vigilant about protecting their brand -- especially online, where they must inevitably give up a degree of control -- but ad networks can be particularly frustrating.

  1. Who do you hold responsible when you brand shows up on inappropriate content?
  2. How can you hold the agency, ad networks or publishers accountable?
  3. Is your Brand truly Safe without some sort of industry standard categorization of content?

Sound off...

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The Online Ad Game via @jpenabickley

October 17, 20062 Comments

Yahoo! Invests In Right Media, Leads $45 Million Round

Today started like any other but quicky changed its momentum around 9:15 a.m.  The office was buzzing with the news that had hit the streets, Yahoo had made a strategic investment in our open market place, The Right Media Exchange.  It proved to be an exciting day for the company and our clients at Right Media as Yahoo Inc (Nasdaq: YHOO) is leading a $45 million round for a twenty percent stake in Right Media and will become a participating member of the Right Media Exchange.  See our CEO, Mike Walrath's comments here.

Once the news hit the streets my marketing and agency counterparts kept me busy fielding questions and opprotunites... Funny how a bit of pocket change moves industry additudes.

What is Right Media doing with the money?

The investment will allow Right Media to keep building out products and
services that help grow the Right Media Exchange. Over 11,000 companies
are participating in the exchange, and we’ll continue to innovate in
order to help them gain more revenue and efficiency in their online
advertising efforts.

Will the Right Media Exchange stay independent?
The exchange will stay independent. Yahoo will be participating and
competing as any other major client would in buying and selling
advertising through it.

What does this mean for other Right Media Exchange clients?
Yahoo joining the exchange is obviously more advertising inventory
to buy as Yahoo is the largest display advertising property on the web.
Additionally, it should bring more advertising buyers to the exchange
to get access to that inventory, which benefits everyone. The more
buyers and sellers on the exchange, the better off we all are.

What does this mean for Consortium Members?
It further validates the way we can impact positive industy change.

There’s been great blog coverage.  Here are the highlights:

Related Posts:

Yahoo! Invests In Right Media, Leads $45 Million Round via @jpenabickley

October 5, 2006No Comments

ON: 56% of Active Gamers Are Online, 64% Are Women

Among the roughly 117 million "Active Gamers" in the U.S. in 2006, more
than half (56 percent) play games online, and 64 percent of all online
gamers are women, according to Nielsen Entertainment's third annual Active Gamer Benchmark Study, released
Thursday. Moreover, though teenagers still constitute the largest
percentage (40 percent) of active gamers, more than 15 million of those
gamers (almost 8 percent) are now 45 years old or older.

Although women make up nearly two-thirds of all online gamers, men
outnumber women in the overall videogame universe by more than two to
one. And although older females make up the largest percentage of
casual gamers, active gamer teens and young adults comprise a
considerable portion of this market, with more than half playing casual
games an hour or more a week.

The social elements of videogames are becoming an increasingly
important part of the gaming experience, with those in the active
gamers category spending more than five hours a week playing games
socially. Some 64 percent of active gamers play on PC-based systems,
which offer users connected experiences through massively multiplayer
online games (MMOG) that other platforms cannot yet match. Personal
computers also are the platform of choice for players of casual games,
especially among women.


ON: 56% of Active Gamers Are Online, 64% Are Women via @jpenabickley

October 5, 2006No Comments

ON: Google’s Mashup Dance

Google Gadgets
now allows anyone to add them to any page, not just your Google
personalized homepage. Here's a sample; try it out for yourself and get
the code for your blog, MySpace page, or whatever site you have. More
info at TechCrunch.  See below.

ON: Google’s Mashup Dance via @jpenabickley

October 3, 2006No Comments

ON:The Black Dahlia


Entertainment properties are quickly showing a move towards in video ads and a user interface that makes you, the consumer, a part of the movie magic.  I cannot comment on the movie.  but the ads and microsite exude creative hotness and an awesome experience.  Visit the http://webapp1.latimes.com/theblackdahlia/ to jump in to the storyline.

This campaign, launched by Universal and the Los Angeles Times, marks
the first integrated print, online and out-of-home campaign using
actual news stories -- pulled from the Los Angeles Times archives --
about the notorious and still unsolved "Black Dahlia" murder that
stunned Los Angeles in 1947.

Traffic was initially driven to the minisite by Los Angeles Times,
Chicago Tribune and Newsday ad inserts. Ads have also been place on the
latimes.com website driving audiences to the minisite.

ON:The Black Dahlia via @jpenabickley

October 3, 2006No Comments

ON: Converging Channels

I've been reading Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins. It's
brilliant - lots of great ideas and required reading for anyone who works to drive consumers to a brand.

One form of convergence he covers is something I have been evangalizing for years -
the flow of content across multiple media platforms. The  book dedicates a chapter to
The Matrix films as a cross channel narrative.  The story that unfolded across different
platforms.  Rather than there being a film narrative that has spin offs, key
elements of The Matrix story are in the video game, the animations, the
comic books. He argues
that few consumers will be able to dedicate the time required to get
the whole
picture, which is why cross channel or "transmedia" storytelling drives the formation of
communities - communities that share information – and triggers word of
mouth.   I know this to be true as I had a hand in shaping this creative thinking.

That said, i have used the same strategy in some of my most sucessful brand efforts for Jim Beam Brands.  See one of my most sucessful marketing case studies - Knob Creek for an example of this.


Since there are so many elements to the story, every member of the community is
likely to have something to share, some social currency to trade, so communities
form and information is passed around the network.

The model that has held the industry's collective imagination for the last few
years has been media neutral planning. In essence, this is the belief that we
should develop a single organising thought that iterates itself across any
touchpoint.  See another explantion of this in my cross media plans / experiences was the great chase.

Want the formula?  read the book.

ON: Converging Channels via @jpenabickley

September 25, 2006No Comments

ON: Online Video Ad Measurement

As I sit with my interactive peers this week at OMMA and the Wild Fire seminars,
I realize that there are many new young and inexperienced entrants into our
digital universe who are clouding up the simplicity of online reporting and

If you haven't been on a "measurement
task force" or been to at least 10 panel discussions on the subject, then
you just haven't earned your stripes.
 For those of us who have served as interactive account directors or
strategist and were beaten down in the early days due to the confusion that our
offline agency counterparts caused by not understanding the power of
interactivity or a simple way to measure traffic, clicks and behavioral data -
rest assured that same confusion has now found itself at the forefront of every
online video discussion I have had today.

I'm not a video skeptic. In fact just the opposite -I am an interactive video evangelist
and early adopter. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have done wonders
and shown tremendous patience on many of the OLA fronts. It's just outrageous to me, as I
spearhead online video opportunities in my new position that the debate on
measuring video ads has surfaced.

The digital equivalent to sliced bread called online video
advertising is here to stay, and traditional media buyers as well as online
buyers have to take a serious look at how much of it to include in their media
plans. Here is the most common question I heard today

Do we measure online video advertising like an online ad or like a TV ad?

Many advertisers who are still steeped in the offline world just
don't trust or understand online metrics, and they need to be assured that they
can decipher our language.

Ironically, creating ratings points as a form of online
measurement is simpler now than ever. Given the feasibility of taking an online
video unit, in the form of pre/mid or post roll, and doing the math to come up
with rating points would be the great equalizer. (An interesting equation would
be : users viewing divided by users in the universe)

Wouldn't buying video advertising be so much simpler if indeed
it were measured by GRPs (Gross Rating Points) or TRPs (Targeted Rating Point)?

For my
OLA media sisters, GRP is a term used in buying time for TV ads. If an ad is
shown twice, and seen by 10% of people the first time and 8% the second time,
it achieves 18 GRPs. A more specific version of GRPs. In a broadcast media Gross
Rating Points (GRP's) are used in media buying and media effectiveness
analysis. They represent the reach or audience share of your spots or
placements (a function of what stations you buy and when the ads run) times the
Frequency or number of spots (advertisements) run. Each GRP represents 1%.

Over a
period of time and with multiple impressions, the GRP can be 200, 500 or more.
For example a GRP of 100 could mean that you bought a hundred spots with a 1%
reach or that you bought 2 spots with a 50% reach.

Targeted Rating Points are a refinement of GRP's to express the reach time
frequency of only your most likely prospects. For example, if you buy 150 GRP's
for a television spot, but you know that only half of that audience is actually
your market, then you would state your TRP as 75 to calculate your net
effective buy.

As for modeling, you will probably want to use the net effective buy figure or
TRP, particularly if you are including costs to calculate return and sales.

Many networks, publishers and vendors now provide the tools that
make these measurements possible, with one significant difference:

Unlike offline GRPs, online numbers are not based on sample
data. Online numbers are based on actual traffic, and they are even richer when
combined with behavioral data and subscriber data.

Audience accountability is a significant advantage for marketers
when they consider online video advertising. For instance, advertisers can
count actual viewers of video when they are actively watching--not getting up
for a snack. The other advantages are the ability to track completion rates and
geographic data, frequency cap and targeting based on historical behavior,
optimization of spots based on real-time effectiveness--where there's no need
to wait for the focus group; also, with companion units, online video
advertising can offer immediate user interaction.

The holy grail of media measurement has a lot of buzz,
and I welcome the idea of ratings that are universally understood so we can get
on with what we do best: articulating the value of our audience and helping
marketers achieve their communication goals.

ON: Online Video Ad Measurement via @jpenabickley



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