Partner Spotlight: ADstruc

With the transition to automated buying and widespread digital signage, outdoor media is about to explode. IPG Media Lab Managing Partner Chad Stoller was quoted in the New York Times this week, noting “Outdoor is one of the most undervalued media” in the landscape, and MAGNA GLOBAL estimated earlier this year that outdoor would grow 4.8% to a $7.3 billion industry. That’s why we’re particularly excited by ADstruc, a comprehensive solution to out-of-home buys and analysis, which is on the forefront of programmatic outdoor media.

How does ADstruc’s platform work?
ADstruc optimizes outdoor RFPs toward its inventory, which currently constitutes several hundred media networks across the country. That way, a media buyer can scan inventory, calculate an ideal expenditure, and then execute a buy without leaving the desk. For vendors, it’s a totally free marketplace.
It’s not over once the buy is executed, either. Unlike traditional outdoor, which ends once the media goes up, the platform maps your spend and tracks location-based social mentions to determine the media’s effect. Finally, ADstruc’s goal is to be a full-service outdoor platform, so it helpfully interfaces with analytics and billing platforms that media buyers and vendors use.
How can ADstruc change out-of-home media?
Outdoor signage is becoming progressively more digital — it’s currently 32% of the out-of-home market, and will grow as static media gets replaced. Markets like New York are fully embracing outdoor digital: digital media will fund the massive public WiFi project set to take over 10,000 obsolete payphones. And as outdoor becomes more digital, it will become more programmatic. To be able to change outdoor media at a click’s notice — sounds like the future to us.

MRC Lifts Advisory on Viewable Impressions

The MRC has lifted its advisory on viewable impressions, encouraging the industry to transact based on the metric. A recent blog from the IAB has also officially announced the standard for viewable impressions – 50% of pixels in view for at least 1 sec. While it still does not guarantee ad exposure, it does revalue inventory below the fold and makes us consider new proxies for attention. Viewability has been around for quite some time, but the lack of standards would lead to quite a bit of chaos when it came to transacting with the data. The IAB anticipates viewable video to come by this summer but viewability is just the start. I’d imagine we can expect viewability to be calculated based on total time and perhaps priced on a sliding scale in the future.

What Are Native Ads, Anyway?

The term “Native Advertising” has officially lost its luster and its meaning for that matter. As the industry becomes more polarized towards programatic display and custom creative, it appears that every publisher has some form of advertising they are labeling native. A great post from Ad Age mentions the various forms of Native ads from advertorials, promoted tweets, search ads and sponsored content. While they are not all created equal, they will definitely become more prominent in the next year or so. Check out the full story to hear the differences.

Washington Post Research Results in “Superview” Ad Space

If you surf the Internet with any frequency, you tend to know exactly where, on any given page, to find what you’re looking for.  Often that means rapidly scrolling past a wealth of material – and ads.  The Washington Post, troubled by the logic that “above-the-fold” ad space is inherently more valuable, conducted a study to measure user behaviors on a number of page types, finding that in some scenarios, “below-the-fold” ads actually work better than their counterparts higher on the page.  This research led to the creation of a “Superview” unit that follows a user’s viewing window for the first seven seconds they are on a page, before floating back to the top.  This innovation has resulted in viewability increases from 9 percent to 19 percent, with some vendors seeing even greater leaps.  This evaluation of web advertising offers an opening to discuss the future of premium ad space online, and could drastically alter how we think about web advertising.

SkipIt Introduces Pay-Per-Skip Ad Model

SkipIt operates a publisher network that allows users to pay an upfront fee that can be allocated to skip video ads. While their reach is miniscule and the offering a bit expensive, it does introduce an interesting proposition, essentially enabling a hybrid paid subscription model. We’ve seen advertisers enable similar transactions by crediting users through behaviors like sharing or liking content, but never such a direct monetary exchange. As micropayments become more engrained with online services, these sorts of solutions may not appear so farfetched in the future. 

Tumblr Rolls Out Native Ads

A weeks after the Yahoo acquisition, Tumblr is rolling out its native ad product that features brand sponsored posts that appear as any other piece of content on the platform. The posts will simply include a $ sign to indicate paid content and will be integrated within the user’s dashboard stream. The new product has all the pros and cons of native advertising. The custom nature of Tumblr-specific content force brands to get creative about their posts but there are significant cost and time associated as well.

So will the new rollout attract advertisers? So far, Denny’s AT&T, Ford and others have taken part, likely attracted by the 46.5% of Tumblr’s audience that falls between 18-34. The average user–29 million uniques in total–spends 153 minutes on the platform per month as well.

Simple Ad Displays Information Only to Children

A Spanish organization called the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation (ANAR, for short) has created an ad that uses some simple optical trickery to display differently for adults and children.  The top layer of the ad’s graphic is lenticular (you may remember novelty toys that appear differently from different angles, and which have a coarse rough texture) displaying one of two images depending on the angle the ad is viewed at.  Adults, viewing from a standing angle, will see a rather standard public service announcement image of a frowning boy with the caption “Sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.” Children, viewing from a lower angle, will see bruises appear on the boy’s face with an additional message – “If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you,” and a phone number.  The solution is not flawless, given variations in height, and the potential for poor reading skills to affect the ad’s effectiveness, but its use of simple, existing technology is quite elegant and could certainly see a wide array of applications in other types of advertising.

Mozilla’s Cookie Policy Divides Publishers

Mozilla’s decision to not store third-party cookies by default has divided online publishers. Many publishers that have embraced cookie-based targeting available through ad exchanges will suffer as a result of the new policy. On the other hand, the premium publishers that offer direct ad sales will be able to value their content more highly without programmatic buying available for many Firefox users. It will be interesting to see if any other browsers follow suit with Mozilla.

Chartbeat’s Findings Shake Up The World Of Display

Chartbeat is now providing data to publishers and marketers that may radically change how we value display ads. Measuring the amount of engaged time spent on a website is proving that ads below the fold actually increases brand recall more than the top of the page. The moral of the story is that content is still a valuable consideration in an audience-centric marketplace. 

Facebook Acquires Atlas

Facebook has announced that they are purchasing Microsoft’s Atlas Solutions division for a rumored price of less than $100mm. This brings to a close several months of speculation after details of purchase discussions leaked late last year. Facebook is demonstrating that they’re willing to spend the money and resources that are required to expand their ad stack. While they may never achieve their stated ambition of displacing Windows/iOS as the main method of interacting with a computer, there may come a time when Facebook is the primary interface for a brand to manage a digital advertising campaign.