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More Than Half of Digital Advertising Spending in the US is Now on mobile

Posted April 28, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:15 am

Advertising dollars are being gobbled up by ten mega sites with traffic numbering in hundreds of millions

digital marketing

Total spending in digital advertising in the US was $72.5 billion in 2016 per the advertising revenue report released by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) based on a study by PwC. In 2015 the total spending on digital advertising in the US was $59.6 billion which means that in 2016, advertisers spent 21.8% more on digital advertising than what they did in 2015. In keeping with the trend, spending on mobile increased by a remarkable 15 percentage points in 2016 as compared to spending in 2015. Spending on mobile was $36.6 billion in 2016 accounting for 50.5% of the total expenditure on digital advertising; in 2015 the spending on mobile was $20.7 billion accounting for about 35% of spending on digital advertising.

David Doty, EVP and CMO at IAB, said, “Mobile is the driving force in digital media and marketing throughout 2016, and that’s because of a simple reason: Consumers are on their phones, their mobile devices all the time, so marketers with their brand dollars are following them.”
Over the last couple of years, the bulk of this money has gone into the coffers of 10 leading companies. There has been no official communication about any of these 10 companies and neither has IAB disclosed their identities. However, it is common knowledge that Google and Facebook along with a few other leading social networking and ecommerce sites are the preferred platforms for digital advertising and it’s not difficult to figure out why this is so. These are huge platforms with millions and billions of people actively using them every day. In fact it has been confirmed by a report from eMarketer that most of the digital advertising dollars go to sites like Google and Facebook and on a smaller scale, to sites like Yahoo, Twitter, Snapchat and Amazon.

According to the IAB report, “Despite the emergence of a few heavyweights in internet advertising publishing, the concentration of top 10 revenues have remained relatively unchanged over the past 10 years, fluctuating between 69 percent and 75 percent.”

Filed under: Digital

Ads on Washington Post Will Now Load in Less Than Two Seconds

Posted April 26, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 6:01 am

The Post’s chosen ad-tech application Zeus is the new wonder tool that making ads more acceptable to viewers than ever before

Viewability of ads on the Washington Post has increased by 100% compared to the industry average since every ad loads in under two seconds, according to the Media Rating Council. On mobile devices, the increase in viewability of ads on the Post from using Zeus is a robust 40%. There has been an increase of 32% in click-through rates for Zeus-enabled ads on the Post. No wonder, Zeus is the X-factor for the Washington Post which smartly utilized this amazing tool to get its ads to load faster.

It was in September last year, that the Post began testing its Zeus application for speeding up load time and cutting down data-heavy ads on mobile. The initial results were so successful that Zeus was chosen to power all the ads of the Post on desktop, mobile and apps as it could now claim that the ads will load in two seconds or less. Zeus addresses industry problems like viewability, fraud and latency using internal resources instead of outsourcing the tasks to vendors. RED (Research Experimentation and Development) is a 10-person group that develops ad-tech for the Post and Zeus is a part of this group.

Jarrod Dicker, head of ad product and technology at The Washington Post, said, “The web is slow, there’s a lot of latency that comes to how things load across desktop and mobile and no one wants to seem to fix it. The biggest complaint all along has been advertising—internally, a lot of newsrooms will blame the advertising part of the business and say, ‘Ads are slow, java script is slow’ and so forth.” However, Zeus will know how fast a visitor is scrolling and so will load ads only when they’re on the verge of appearing on the screen. It won’t load the ad if the visitor scrolls too fast. “We’re only delivering these things based on how the user is experiencing our site,” explained Dicker. Zeus usually shows an ad that doesn’t gobble up data from the visitor’s phone as it is able to detect ads that are too heavy to load.

Filed under: Digital

Advertisers Now Prefer High Precision Interactive Ads on Streaming Platforms

Posted April 24, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:53 am

The aim is to target not just the audience but optimize the communication and offering to specific needs that offer value to viewers

Will the rise in streaming platforms change their strategies if viewers leave the room when ads appear on traditional TV? Advertisers are doing all they can to keep up with changing viewer behaviors even as technology around TV keeps advancing and evolving. How about targeted and interactive ads for viewers to engage with rather than ignore? There are companies like BrightLine and true[X] that have tried to solve the problem by creating such ads. During the 2016 NewFronts presentations, BrightLine announced a major partnership with Hulu, the Walt Disney backed video-on-demand service that is based on subscriptions. BrightLine specializes in creating interactive and targeted advertising for a cable streaming audience that uses Apple TV, Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV, and other smart TV options.

What exactly are targeted ads anyway? A targeted ad will consider a viewer’s location and the prevalent weather conditions there to present the viewer that s/he might be most interested in at that point of time. So, if the weather is hot and sunny the ad will present sunscreen; similarly, if the weather is humid, the ad that pops up could be for a frizz control shampoo. There are also other types of ads that BrightLine has created. For instance, a BMW ad it created was configured for certain smart TVs. Here’s how the spot plays – in the lower part of the screen, viewers have the option to toggle between different colors of a BMW X1.

Advertisers are increasingly opting for this kind of precise communication that adds value to the viewer’s experience rather than walking him up the garden path only to disappoint him with something that he’s least interested in. Peter Naylor, SVP of ad sales for Hulu, has a very clear opinion about viewer experience and how advertisements can enrich it. “One of the great promises of data informed targeting isn’t just increased efficiency for the marketer, but a more relevant experience for the viewer. Whether you’re a streaming service or in the traditional cable business, delivering relevant ads is key. Viewers don’t hate ads, they hate irrelevancy.”

Filed under: TV-Video

Coca-Cola Focusing on Healthier Drinks with Its Traditional Soda Fast Loosing Fizz

Posted April 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 2:34 am

Coca-Cola Now wants to be known as a ‘Total Beverage Company’ even as it reduces sugar in 500 drinks and develops other beverages

Coca-Cola has been forced to transform its profile from that of the world’s biggest soda drink maker to one that is now making soft drinks with much less sugar and even adding a range of beverages that would be considered healthy. Coca-Cola’s compulsion arises from what every marketer, howsoever large and powerful, fears – consumer rejection of its products, especially its signature product. The largest ever beverage brand has been witnessing steady and growing rejection of its sugary soda by an ever more health-conscious market which now favors healthier alternatives that offer some tangible benefit. This stark reality was acknowledged by none other than Coca-Cola’s new chief designate, James Quincey, who hasn’t wasted time in altering the megabrand’s business strategy that balances a new marketing message with newer and healthier products to suit consumer preferences.

Coca-Cola’s soda sales in the US dropped for the 11th consecutive year in 2015, and fell to a 30-year low which alarmed the incoming head of the beverage major. He now believes that the future of his company rests on its ability to quickly transform itself into a “total beverage company.” Earlier this year, he introduced “Coke’s Way Forward,” plan which includes expanding offerings like organic tea, coconut water, dairy, coffee, juices and water, globally. Coca-Cola owns brands like Dasani, Smartwater, Minute Maid, Honest Tea and Fairlife milk among many others in different parts of the world. This portfolio non-soda healthier drink is expected to increase in time and this is how Quincey sees the future.

Even though Coca-Cola’s “traditional sparkling” soda makes up 70 percent of the company’s value, the new market trend with consumers bypassing soda drinks for healthier alternatives is fast pushing that percentage downhill. This segment of the business is growing at a meager 2-3% while other newer segments like water, juice and tea are growing much faster. Katie Bayne, SVP of global sparkling brands at Coca-Cola, said, “We’re organizing the company to be the leader in every one of those categories.” The beverage major is now reducing sugar in more than 500 of its drinks, and it’s investing serious money to carry this message across to its audiences across the world.

Filed under: Brand Marketing

It is Important for Brands to Leverage the Potential of Smartphones in the Evolving Mobile Marketing Environment

Posted April 19, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 1:30 am

Today, many brands are struggling to figure out the best ways to reach their audiences with consumers increasingly using smartphones while at the same time expecting more benefits from their phones. Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America said, “We cannot be ham-fisted anymore as a brand. It’s unacceptable and really diluted. It’s not only if you don’t have a strategy, it’s actually negative and dilutive to your brand when you’re not taking advantage of just the basic table-stakes technology that’s out there and how consumers expect you to behave.”

Customers are increasingly shifting toward paying their bills via mobile instead of the plastic credit card and businesses have begun discussing how the shift to mobile is affecting their brands and how they need to start evolving with it. In a world dominated by mobile phones, credit cards are evolving fast and are now hardly looked upon as the ‘plastic money’ that had overwhelmed the market. Rather they are seen more as tech products offering smoother and faster payment solutions. Kim Kadlec, senior vice president, global marketing platform, Visa International, views legacy tech and telecom companies like AT&T, GE and IBM among others as the likely source of inspiration for her brand.

Kadlec said, “Mobility has become a much broader concept. And I think at the end of the day, creativity in any of those formats is important, and certainly from a user’s perspective, enabling seamless payment technologies is our game. And that’s what we’re focused on. Through your appliances, through your Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant), running shoes—those are all things we’re working on.” However, DDB’s Clark reminds marketers that brands will increasingly begin to appear out of touch with the people they’re trying to reach if they don’t realize the importance of contextually targeting consumers demographically or on the basis of their interests. She spoke of a baby products brand targeting her even though as someone in her forties, she had no use for such products.

Filed under: Digital

America’s ‘Transaction Alley’ – Atlanta

Posted April 13, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:06 am

The city’s fintech companies hold the lion’s share of online payments processed in North America

When 70% of all digital payments in North America, not just the United States, are processed in Atlanta, it’s not surprising to see it being called the ‘Transaction Alley’ of America. There are around 100 small and big financial technology companies in Atlanta out of which around 66 are engaged in processing payments made via credit cards and other online modes from all over North America. ATPC or American Transaction Processors Coalition estimates that, of the $4.4 trillion in online payments processed in North America, about $3.08 trillion are handled by fintech companies in Atlanta. ATPC was set up by the city in 2014 to lobby and advocate for fintech at the state and federal level.

Accounting for about 60% of the industry in America the fintech companies in Georgia including Atlanta generate annual revenues of more than $72 billion. That places Georgia at a creditable third after New York and California, in terms of total revenues generated by any state in the US. Many of the biggest names in fintech such as Pindrop, Bitpay, Worldpay, NCR, InComm and Global Payments have moved to Atlanta. And the list is growing: Merchant e-Solutions, the Brazilian payment-processing firm which had its US headquarters in Silicon Valley, recently announced that it is moving to Atlanta with 140 jobs.

The fintech sector has been a boon for Georgia in general and Atlanta in particular for the number of jobs it created. Atlanta alone has around 30,000 to 40,000 people working in the fintech industry right now in addition to employing around 80,000 people indirectly in transportation, infrastructure, construction and technology support among other jobs. Add to that the growth potential, and you have a dream scenario for people with the right skills and experience to make the most of it. Atlanta of course, is not new to the celebrity club as No. 1 – its Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. It would be unfair to completely ignore this as a factor that made Atlanta irresistible as the topmost fintech destination.

Filed under: Digital

Pepsi Finally Decides to Withdraw its “Live for Now Moments Anthem” Ad After Massive Criticism

Posted April 12, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:39 am

If anybody had doubts that “customer is the king” PepsiCo, whose global turnover equals the GDP of many mid-sized developing countries, has decided to respect that motto and pull out its latest ad themed “Live for Now Moments Anthem,” which stirred a huge controversy. Importantly, this was a timely course correction before the damage to Pepsi’s reputation could take a serious and unnecessary turn. A statement issued by the brand clarified that, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further roll-out. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

This two-and-a-half minute ad was created by Pepsi’s in-house design team, Creators League Studio and it was released toward the end of last month. It wasn’t long before the digital media picked it up and Pepsi began facing a relentless blitz of adverse criticism for releasing this ad. The ad tried to leverage the present environment of discontent across the country against the government, showing Hollywood icon Kendall Jenner getting mixed up with protestors. Most people felt the ad was in poor taste as they thought Pepsi was trying to ride piggyback on protest movements of marginalized people.

Pepsi ad campaign was seen by many as ‘trivializing’ the protest movement with an own value proposition that most people thought was in poor taste. The protest movements are trying to convey a serious message to the government and for those participating in the demonstrations across the country such ads are all but sensitive. PepsiCo didn’t clarify anything more than the apology note and neither is there any information about what this huge embarrassment would mean for Creators League Studio’s future.

Filed under: Brand Marketing

Pepsi Makes a Grave Mistake by Walking into Uncharted Territory of Politics

Posted April 6, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:57 am

Pepsi’s latest ad campaign starring Hollywood icon, Kendall Jenner, tried to play with the politics of the day and is ending up in a mess

If politics is not what you do for a living, it is better not try and use it for non-political gains because it is a double-edged sword and can cut both ways. This is what beverage major Pepsi is learning the hard way after it ran its latest campaign starring Hollywood icon Kendall Jenner getting mixed up with protesters. The protest movements has a seriousness of their own for those participating in the demonstrations across the country and Pepsi’s attempts to what many see as ‘trivializing’ the protest movement with its own value proposition didn’t go down well with most people.

The campaign did push up digital content engagement around Pepsi sharply by 366 % just within a day but most of it came in with a torrent of negative reactions – around 43% spoke of the way it supposedly affected the Black Lives Matter movement, while 31% were blunt enough to label the ad as “tone-deaf;” And about 10% of the reactions were outright hostile, tagging it as the “worst ever” they saw. There are all kinds of reactions in relation to different aspects of the ad that seems to have upset a cross section of people but out of all this, one aspect is coming across quite clearly – Pepsi shouldn’t have underplayed the seriousness of the protests.

How did Pepsi land up in this mess? Needless to say that it overlooked some basics of the issue it sought to leverage. Feminista Jones, writer, social worker and activist, observed, “Pepsi should have consulted people who have actually been on the front lines of protests these recent years. The organizers, protesters, educators…all of those who have been instrumental in bringing about these recent movements for justice. Brands should never make light of social issues related to people’s suffering; they should, instead, focus on selling their products in ways that don’t exploit the pain and suffering of marginalized people.”

Filed under: Brand Marketing

Snapchat’s Enhanced Search Function Pits it Against the Likes of Facebook

Posted April 5, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 2:39 am

It has given the much-needed firepower to Snapchat to become the most popular platform for watching real-time content

Snapchat recently announced that it is restructuring the way its users search for stories like the daily photos and videos that individuals and brands post to their accounts. The ‘camera company’ which is how Snapchat classifies itself officially, also announced that it will be opening up a new advertising revenue stream. The app launched a search feature for stories that includes photos and videos that users collected at events and locations that appear for 24 hours and allows people to look up more than a million stories that were publicly shared on the platform.

The search function in Snapchat is presently the only way for finding accounts on the platform. You can either find the friends you interact with most, or search by account name for new people to follow. You can be a little more precise with the new search as it will allow you to search for accounts to follow or stories to watch, depending on the topics you choose which could be “Halloween masks” or “Thanksgiving trends.” Snapchat has launched the search feature for stories comprising the vast range of photos and videos. You can use the search bar at the top of the app to type in the keywords and see what people are sharing.

That’s not all because Snapchat also collects professional stories on its own. Recently Snapchat and Turner collected over 30 March Madness stories at different colleges. This is good news for you if you are a user as it offers you a new way to find information you are looking for, whether it’s something in your locality or any event across the country. For advertisers this offers newer places to display content. Snapchat hasn’t started allowing ads in search results but it won’t be long before it decides to do so. It could sponsor stories in the same way that Google does with its sponsored links in search results. Snapchat recently mentioned in a blog – “We’ve built a new way to understand what’s happening in Snaps that are submitted to Our Story, and to create new Stories using advanced machine learning.”

Filed under: Digital

Food Delivery Service, Seamless Works up New Yorkers’ Appetites with its ‘Melting Pot’ Ad

Posted April 3, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 12:20 am

The Ad is part of the ‘How New York Eats’ campaign designed by BBH, the Ad agency for Seamless

When New Yorkers think or talk about ‘Melting Pot,’ they not just refer to the cosmopolitan nature of their city but also praise it for the diverse food options that are available in every borough of the city. Seamless, the food delivery service has always spoken about the availability of great food all across the city but also underlined the long queues for restaurant tables in its ads, indicating that it has the answer to this problem. In its latest ad, Seamless tells New Yorkers about the best fresh pasta in Manhattan and delicious shawarma in Brooklyn and also that, they needn’t queue up outside a restaurant for that. They can get what they want without leaving home.

You are most likely to find piles of Seamless food bags lying in wait for hungry workers if you happen to walk into an office lobby in New York around noon on a weekday. The food delivery service, Seamless, has gone pan-America, across college campuses and workplaces in major cities including New York City, where folks are continuously moving around, working up serious appetites and looking around for good delivery services that can bring them their choice dish right where they are stationed. In the ‘Melting Pot’ ad, New York’s local flavor becomes obvious at the end of the spot, when the camera slows down on a city dweller, who in typical New York style, complains that it’s just too difficult to get a table at a good restaurant.

Seamless is easily accessible on its website and through a suite of apps and it is gaining in popularity with every passing day. In 2015 BBH New York was chosen by Seamless to handle its creative communications for its NYC business. Prior to that, Seamless used to manage its communication internally but as business prospects grew, the food-delivery company decided to focus more on its core function which was to deliver choice food to its customers. Soon BBH started the ad blitz across billboards and subways and bus kiosks all across Manhattan and before long New York came to think of Seamless as an essential part of its cuisine accessibility.

While talking about leveraging NYC’s cultural and culinary diversity, Dave Brown, creative director at BBH in New York, said “We always try to hit on some sort of cultural conversation that’s happening in New York City, and I think there’s an important one happening right now around diversity. We look at that and how we can express that and add that New York flavor to it.”

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

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