Future of Media blog

Why the Digital Advertising Industry Needs to Stop Complaining 

For far too long, the digital advertising industry has been griping about how it’s an afterthought for brand marketers. I think I’ve heard it all. “We deserve brand budgets.” “We should be getting television dollars,” and “We’re not getting our fair share based on time spent…” The reality is we haven’t earned brand dollars.

As an industry, we’ve spent the last 10 years creating a direct response focused, non-brand friendly ad eco-system. From the creative formats, to the measurement, to the pricing structure – we’ve consistently valued all the wrong things for brands.

The good news is that a paradigm shift in media consumption can give us a fresh start. Social and mobile apps—the fastest growing segment of media consumption— offer marketers exactly what they’re looking for when it comes to brand advertising. Within apps, we can deliver 100% viewable, relevant and impactful ads. No more buttons. No more text links. No more auto-play, in-banner video ads. No more below-the-fold remnant inventory bought through ad exchanges.

Most of us aren’t in this business to service direct response marketers. So let’s stop acting like it. Below are some ideas that will help us all get a shot at those highly coveted brand advertising dollars.

Ads must be 100% viewable.

I’m calling for us all to adopt viewable impressions, which will force the industry to stop commoditizing digital ads. I can still hear Wenda Harris Millard’s words from 2008 when she said, “We must educate one and all about the value our digital offerings provide marketers and not trade our advertising space like pork bellies.” Amen. But this is still an issue today, some four years later, with a glut of premium and remnant inventory running through ad exchanges.

The rise of social and mobile apps can fix this issue and ensure all ad placements are viewable. Think about it. Have you ever seen below-the-fold ads on a social game or mobile app? That’s because they don’t exist.

High-impact, cross-platform ad placements are a must.

Apps (particularly games) also deliver a new canvas for marketing messages where brands get 100% share of voice. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 60 percent of smartphone owners and 72 percent of Facebook app users prefer to see immersive and integrated ads versus static banner ads. These results unveil that consumers are asking for ad formats in apps and games. As an industry, we must deliver.

What’s more, consumers are increasing their app and game usage cross-platform, all the while delivering a massive and engaged audience to marketers. Since people are consuming media this way, a brand’s ad campaigns must also run cross-platform and across devices.

Let’s (finally) ditch the click.

With viewable, high-impact creative ad placements available via apps and games, we need to develop new standardized brand metrics. The industry must take the emphasis off of impressions and clicks (true direct response metrics) and find other ways to measure how brands translate value through digital advertising. Let’s standardize our own tangible metrics for brands such as the GRP, reach/ frequency and other top-of-the-funnel metrics including time spent, engagement and viewability.

Ari Brandt is Co-founder and CEO of MediaBrix



Frictionless Sharing 2.0 

We focus on multiplatform convergence, fragmented attention, and precise audience targeting when we talk about the future of media, but frictionless sharing is quietly becoming one of the biggest forces dictating the future creation, consumption and spreading of content.We’re seeing the beginnings of frictionless, passive sharing on Facebook apps like Spotify and The Washington Post Social Reader. We cede control of curating our content feed, and anything we consume on these sites is automatically broadcast to our social network. Rather than choosing and sharing the best song we listened to on any given day, we’re passively sharing the hundreds of songs that we heard instead. While it’s beginning to grow in popularity as other media sites adopt it en masse, it’s the next wave of frictionless sharing – harnessing mobile, geolocation and multi-device technologies – that will really change the game.

For one, imagine a frictionless Foursquare, where every restaurant, bar, event or lecture you experience is automatically logged and broadcast. No longer do you need to manually write a recommendation for a good tapas joint – the fact that you’ve been to one thrice speaks for itself. Once TVs and eReaders get in on the action, we’ll be passively broadcasting everything we watch, read and listen to, everywhere we go – not just content, but our behaviors. Ultimately this means a lot more noise and clutter that marketers are going to have to pierce through. How to choose from the dozens of videos or hundreds of articles my friends consumed today? We’re starting to see the reaction from content creators, in the form of conflated, sensationalist titles tacked onto every piece of content, desperately clamoring for our attention. “The One Thing You Must Know Right Now” or “This Is the Best Photo of All Time”.

As we continue moving towards a future even more saturated with media, the way we package and promote our content becomes even more important. Content curation, either from algorithms or from brands we trust, is going to play an even larger role. Consuming content will be more and more about finding the best filters.

Victor Pineiro, Senior Strategist, Big Spaceship 




The world's gone mobile; it's time advertisers followed 

For the last two years, there have been more mobile phones shipped in America than there were desktops and laptops combined. And yet, the mobile ad industry has struggled keep up. In 2012, the mobile ad spend is projected to be only 4% of the total digital ad spend.

There’s a clear disconnect here. Consumers love their smartphones and tablets. As for mobile advertising – not so much. People are not interacting with mobile advertising. Advertisers are not seeing returns from their mobile advertising dollars.

This is because most mobile advertising models have directly been borrowed from the online world. Click-based banners that take up prime real estate on a small mobile screen and lend themselves for accidental clicks are an example of mobile ads that don’t work.

If mobile advertising has to grow and keep pace with the consumer adoption of smartphone and tablets, the ad industry has to develop ads that are native to the mobile user experience. There has been a lot of innovation in the mobile space in recent months. The next year will see us arrive at advertising models
that are native to the mobile space. Here are three characteristics that they will share:

1. They will be local: A report released by Google recently said that 94% of people in US use smartphones to search for local information, whether it be for a coffee shop, local attractions, a nearby movie theater. In addition, 66% actually visit the business they’re searching for. New local ad extensions for search ads that allow users to call a business or see how far away they
are from a business. Local businesses like BrownHub and SalonDeals use mobile signup ads to connect with consumers in their areas.
2. They will be in-app: Consumers use apps to consume content on mobile media – as opposed to computers where they browse for content. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the iPhone 5 keynote that the average iOS user has more than hundred apps on their smartphone. Mobile ads that work in the future will deliver a seamless and non-disruptive experience within apps.
3. They will be integrated with email and social media: More people check Facebook and Twitter from mobile devices than they do with online media. A study by ExactTarget found that 88% of American check emails on their mobile device at least once a day. A good mobile ad will extend the conversation with the customer beyond the first point of contact into email and social media.

It’s still relatively early days in mobile advertising. There’s a lot of dust in the air. I look forward to watching it settle in 2013.

Zephrin Lasker, CEO of Pontiflex


You Say You Want A Revolution 

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

In 1968, John Lennon wrote this anthem, Revolution, as the world was changing around him. Today, I reflect on his words and think they apply perfectly to the radical digital transformation of the media industry and how it impacts our communication.

This radical digital transformation is changing the way we communicate and can launch a movement, influence our discussions, and educate a community.

Launch A Movement:

The “Arab Spring” in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East heavily relied on the internet, and social media and technologies such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in the early stages to accelerate social protest.

In 2011, Wael Ghonim, the head of marketing in the Middle East for Google, became internationally recognized by energizing the pro-democracy revolution through a Facebook page, "We are all Khaled Saeed.”

This digital media movement was probably the most explosive example of the power of social media changing the world…and being radical.

This is just the beginning of digital media transforming the way the world works. New technologies are going to make the world a better place and allow voices to be heard. Digital technology can bring us together and help us transform. More movements will be enabled, and discovered, thought digital and social media. And the impact will be earth shattering.

Influence Our Discussions:

Digital media is driving the conversation. It can be serious or funny, or a little bit of both. And digital media will continue to evolve our discussions with the new technologies being developed from Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley.

Think about it, in less than a few hours, the chair, or @InvisibleObama, had more than 60K followers after Clint Eastwood talked to him at the Republican National Convention.

Even Obama himself got involved tweeting a photo of his chair, saying, “This seat’s taken.”

Our discussions are mobile, and digital, and will only get more so with the new technologies coming. They will be more niche, or more global, but they will most strikingly be digital.

In the classic movie “Network,” Albert Finney, yelled out of a window, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” If that movie took place today, Finney’s character would have tweeted that line. And then everyone would have joined in on Twitter, not yelling out the window. Perhaps, if you will, the screaming out the window was an early beta of Twitter.

Educate a Community:

Cities are using digital media to communicate with their constituents. In Santa Monica, they text and tweet the weekly street closings.

After a mild earthquake in Beverly Hills, the Los Angeles Fire Department, tweeted that there was no significant damage.

Even traditional media, such as the local NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates, provided primers of how to use social media for Hurricane Irene. It educated the community on how to reach FEMA, and the Red Cross, as well as teaching newbies how to use Twitter, Facebook and SMS to stay in the know during this emergency. In this case, digital media and traditional media worked hand-in-

And in 2011, Mayor Bloomberg, created NYC Digital to “realize New York City’s potential as the world’s leading digital city.” NYC Digital focuses on initiatives including Access to Technology, Education, Open Government, Engagement and Industry. This is all detailed in a Road Map to the Digital City. A road map—is there anything that says digital media development, more than a
road map. Love it and love what it brings to the city, as a community.

So back to the song, Revolution. Lennon wrote that “Don’t you know you can count me out (in).” Well, just count me in, and let’s make this world a better place. Let’s create radical change, and develop better, bigger and bolder digital media platforms and technology for the good of the universe and for the greater good.

Brendan Condon, the CEO of REVSHare, is an industry-leading executive who has specialized in all aspects of media including Video, Web Display, Mobile, and Ad Serving, - across portals, 3rd party ad networks, vertical publishing houses, social networks and emerging technologies. Prior to REVShare, he spent 25 years at Time Warner in a variety of global executive roles working in
digital at AOL, in national print with Time Inc., and cross-platform media for Time Warner Cable. He can be reach at Brendan.Condon@Revshare.com.


The Future of Radio 

If the past can be helpful in predicting the future, then there’s one thing we can expect from radio: consistency.

Since the early days of crackling static and living room theaters, radio has heard audio challengers come and go. Yet throughout all of these technological advancements and innovations, radio remains one of the most powerful and yet intimate ways to reach mass audiences—a truly unique combination. And radio has proven time and again its resiliency and transformational power to deliver itself as a marketing solution that advertisers demand.

To ensure its continued vibrancy and significance, the future of broadcast radio will rely on growth in several areas.

In the sales arena, radio is already evaluating Shazam-like technology, which will greatly enhance radio’s accountability. This will allow radio to close the “performance” loop and enable advertisers to distribute additional “bonus” programming, coupons, video and other messaging to smartphones while providing key performance metrics. Radio is gearing up to compete in two new areas of revenue, mobile and display dollars, through its growing cache of registration data and larger streaming audiences. In addition, multi- and crossplatform campaigns will become the norm, drawing from radio’s 13 channel offerings to produce truly customized, comprehensive and cohesively integrated marketing solutions.

And to better quantify AM/FM’s impact, new technology is currently being developed by Arbitron that will allow Audio Beacons to be deployed throughout leading retail locations and automotive dealerships.

With these tools, radio will be able to empirically demonstrate its impact on increased foot traffic and sales to advertisers and agencies.

Looking ahead, radio will continue to focus on enhancing the one quality that truly sets it apart from all other audio options—live on-air talent. Radio personalities will play a larger and more important role at many stations as educators, entertainers and trusted guides in the daily lives of listeners. As we move into an increasingly digital world, the power of one-to-one personal connections will become even more valuable and important. In addition, it’s likely that Talk programming options will multiply in the coming years.

Finally, radio will expand its focus on leveraging its exclusive onsite, feet-on-street capabilities in every metropolitan area throughout the U.S. Radio stations possess the unique ability to offer advertisers the opportunity to have consumers directly touch, sample and interact with their products. And to a greater extent, broadcasters will work to enhance and bolster their event and promotional capabilities to execute complex, local, multi-market event, “experiential” and “sampling” efforts.

The AM/FM and audio landscape of tomorrow is not necessarily a linear extension of today. But as a medium, radio has weathered decades of competition and has evolved with the times to remain current and relevant for today’s advertisers and, more importantly, today’s consumers. It’s a safe bet that radio will continue to be the most important audio source, regardless of how its content is distributed, for most Americans for years to come.

Bob McCurdy is the president of Katz Marketing Solutions, the national marketing unit of the Katz Media Group, a division of Clear Channel Communications


Consumers Not Technology 

A common belief is that technology will shape the future of media. I’d argue that the consumer, and how consumers harness that technology, is what really drives the future of media.  Take, for example, geo-location services created in the early 00s. It was years before consumers adopted the technology – because they weren’t ready. Now look at Foursquare and its 10 million-strong community of users. The takeway? It’s all about how a technology satisfies consumer desires that make it hit.

Our relentless research into our audiences’ attitudes and behaviors makes one thing abundantly clear:  there has never been a better time to be a fan – be it of Snooki, SpongeBob or Stephen Colbert.  Viewers have a powerful desire to have relationships with their favorite shows and brands – to interact, to share and to make their voices heard. Because they can.

Today’s fans follow shows and characters 24/7 on Twitter, watch clips online, download apps to play games, “like” talent on Facebook…and the list will only get longer. The velocity of change in consumer behavior is keeping us on our toes, driving us to create richer, seamless cross-platform experiences. At this moment in time, we’re seeing our viewers turn to smartphones and tablets for more of their favorite content – and we’re meeting them there with apps like MTV’s WatchWith. While this means that TVs have to share eyeballs, mobile devices are actually providing a complementary experience through these apps and second-screen experiences, bringing our fans closer to their favorite brands than ever before.      

The future will bring even more appetite to personalize and expand the relationship fans have with their favorite shows.  And we’ll keep listening to them to build those relationships.  That’s where it all starts – by knowing our audiences inside and out – kids, guys, millennials, adultsters, boomers, moms. Our consumer insights drive everything we do -- the programs we make, the tone we take and the experiences we create. So what is the future of media? Just ask your audiences – they’re more than happy to tell you. 

Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP and Chief Research Officer, Viacom Media Networks


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