Commentary

From Yandex To Russia With Love From VivaKi

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Complexities in multichannel advertising between offline and online kept the ad industry from bridging the gap sooner. Not until recently did search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo learn how to use member log-in identification codes to target ads across television, desktop and mobile. But the world of tech continues to turn, taking consumers along for the ride.

That ride spans across North America into Eastern Europe. Yandex began rolling out a tool, Digital Eye, developed with help from Publicis' VivaKi to target online display ads to users based on the time and the content they consume watching television. Russia's search engine built the ad targeting product on its Crypta technology.

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The ad targeting tool initially becomes available to clients of VivaKi group agencies in Russia, but Yandex plans to expand the product and look for new partners. VivaKi, the holding company that develops tools and systems, oversees Publicis media shops such as Starcom MediaVest Group, ZenithOptimedia Group, and Digitas.

This type of ad-targeting technology gives a whole new meaning to crossing the Continental Divide. Rather than the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans, the divide becomes the black hole between television and Internet ad targeting. Finding the connection between what consumers watch on television and what they search for online becomes the key to cross-channel marketing and targeting.

Tablets and smartphones in the hands of those glued to the TV could also provide clues, if technologists in the ad industry can connect the dots. comScore is releasing a study on Friday that connects TV consumption with tablets. More than half of tablet users watched video and/or TV content on their device in April 2012, compared with 20% of the smartphone users. Some 18.9% tablet users watched video content at least once a week, and 9.5% watched video nearly every day on their device.

Equally important, search engines and agencies have begun cultivating opportunities to build some interesting bridges for brands across offline and online media -- not just platform providers such as BlueKai, which in May rolled out Audience Insights, software that allows marketers to collect customer data online without tags. On Thursday, Google and digital agency GroupM Next launched a series of events in the United States focused on specific markets and verticals, geared toward the agency's clients. The Spark day sessions will explore technology, branding and how to utilize the resources of the Web and mobile work for large companies.

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