Tag Archives: exchange

Facebook, Attribution and Cookies

I thought I’d put this out to the community since I would love to engage in conversation around this.

At the agency, we have recently seen significant positive performance on a FBX campaign; performance as measured by an online sale (lets keep it vague).

I have been thinking about this and emailing with a few folks about why we might see such stellar performance.

I think I know the answer but want to run it by all of you, to help me think it through.

Facebook is used by over one billion people.  Many of the users of Facebook keep it open in a browser tab all day but it might not be “in view” most of the time.  However, there are consistently six ads in the right rail, all of which consistently update (and theoretically, drop cookies).   Using Ghostery, I see that DoubleClick has a tag on my Facebook newsfeed as I write this.

Is Facebook the new AOL Instant Messenger or Pop Under where it persistently is refreshing cookies all day long and taking credit for conversions?

Triggit recently ran a study where they converted 36% more re-targeted users than Google Display Network, Rubicon, Admeld or Pubmatic.  Is this because they have 36% more reach (I’m not sure if they do, I’m not logged into comScore at the moment).

In a world that is using last view/click attribution, then this could be a real issue for measurement.  If you are using a more advanced attribution method thru VisualIQ, Adometry or Encore Metrics (amongst others), hopefully it get teased out.

Just thinking out loud- lets discuss.  Leave a comment or email me thru the contact form.


Advertising For Startups: Day 1

This post is part of a 5 day series where we lay the groundwork for a startup to generate advertising dollars from agencies or brands.  Note:  while this is focused on startups, it could apply to any company of any size.  The first post that sets up the series is located here and it’s based on this presentation.

Day 1:  Understanding the ecosystem of ad technologies and the two ways to approach agencies for ad dollars

The advertising technology ecosystem is very complex.  If you’ve never seen the Luma Partners (Terry Kawaja) slide, then I highly recommend you print it out and study it as it’s used pretty much by all the bankers, vcs, and industry folks as it’s one of the most comprehensive.  But how do you navigate this?  How do you understand the differences between demand side platforms, trading desks, sell side platforms, data management platforms, audience extension partners, search re-targeting partners, etc?

Luckily, you do not have to… at least for now.

If you are a startup who is looking to generate advertising dollars, you basically have to make a choice around what types of units to offer.  If they are IAB/OPA standard units, then recognizing revenue immediately shouldn’t be too much of an issue as the industry is built to scale quickly there.  If you are building unique units that are proprietary to yourselves, then this is OK too, but you’ll have a harder time finding your first couple of advertisers because you’ll need to educate the industry based on these units.  More on this in forthcoming days.

Whether or not you use ad technologies now, you need to at least understand that you will need to know it in the future.  You can staff up around it or outsource it eventually.  Again, it’ll be covered in a day or two’s post.

2 Ways to Approach an Agency

Historically, there was really one way to approach an agency.  It was by picking up the phone and calling and arranging a meeting.  You’d meet in person, present your wares, and if lucky, you’d be brought back and become RFI/RFP’d.  From there, you’d potentially make the media plan and all would be rosey.

Now, there’s a whole other way to make it into the agency and that’s thru the agency trading desk/demand side platform.  By doing this, you now have access to a smaller amount of money that you can get from calling the agency, but it’s growing significantly and will become the advanced media buying way for standardized units.  In just 3 years, over $200MM is spent via trading desks of major agencies and it’s probably increasing at a significant rate.  Instead of a typical sales rep calling on the trading desk, it’s much more of a business development conversation with technical integration.  Varick Media, Cadreon, VivaKi, Dataxu, Accuen and others are the major respective trading desks.

Remember though, an unhappy client can’t call a server or algorithm and have it apologize.  It will always take people to manage and oversee these campaigns.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss where to start:  do you hire a rep firm, outsource to an ad network, or sell media directly.    Very timely as Mashable just separated from Federated Media.

Short vs. Long Term & Incentives

I’m taking que from Seth Godin and keeping my posts shorter and more succinct and hopefully this will spur more frequent updates.  Let me know your thoughts if you get a chance.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the issues around short vs. long term vision and incentives and the interplay between them.  Let me start out by stating my position:  I think we have really screwed this up.

What’s best for the business is relative to the time frame that you are speaking/inferring.  Employees may make really solid short term bets and sacrifice the long-term vs. passing on a great short term oppty to focus on the long term.

What spurs this?  Without any scientific proof or really any research, I’d have to assume that “incentives” play into this.

Let me play this out with a real world example that hits home to many readers of this blog.

At “work,” I’ve created the evolution of the data, targeting and media industry with the belief of demand side platforms and their role out within the big marketing & services holding companies.

In order for DSPs to work across biddable inventory, publishers have to put their inventory into an “exchange” of sorts (I use exchange loosely).  Because many of the exchanges are part of media companies that are also representing inventory and have direct sales team, there is inherent sales conflict.  This sales conflict makes the long-term vision of the industry harder to attain because people go for short-term gains.  The rationale?  I’m assuming that the sales staff of these organizations are incentivized to beat quotas; and looking-out for the long term does not put food on the table today.

So how do we fix long vs. short-term thinking and re-align incentives throughout entire organizations?

Right now, it’s screwed up.

To RTB or Not RTB, That is the Question

This is an unbaked opinion piece.  Please comment to keep the conversation going as this will certainly provoke some commentary.

I’ve been participating in many conversations (conferences, panels, articles, journals, meetings, etc) about Real Time Bidding and it’s potential affect on digital media.  There are very few true real-time-bidding inventory sources today and only a few Real-Time Ad Platforms (i.e. AdNexus).    Without revealing too much information from our day to day in the office, we see that less than 25% of our inventory is coming through Real-Time Bidding.  According to conversations with our peers, this is fairly consistent with the industry.

The big question is not whether RTB is coming (or here), but rather if you (as a marketer) need to harness it.

Demand side platforms (DSP) build/buy/partner with RTB-enabled platforms
If the big agency holding companies have their way (note: I’m part of MDC Partners), then the majority of standardized display will be running through these platforms.  If these platforms and capabilities are RTB enabled and the processes and procedures are in place to run in Real-Time, then there can be a very large demand (liquidity) for RTB enabled inventory.  This means that the Supply Side Platforms need to on-board enough inventory to be sold in Real-Time.  I include data (& audience) within the “inventory” label.  1st, 2nd, and 3rd party data (& audience) needs to be RTB enabled as well.

You need both the Demand Side and Supply Side to be real-time enabled to make this happen.

This theoretically seems easy, but how many “big-name” publishers are real-time-transaction enabled?  The majority of RTB inventory is long-tail today… and this needs to change to really attract the significant dollars to this space.  The Supply Side will either aggregate at large exchanges or use Supply Side technology to make this happen.

If you do not buy in real-time, can you exist in the future? Simple:  yes.

I know people in the marketing space (including myself) are trying to draw parallels to the financial markets and I’ll continue to do so here.  There are many financial brokerages that have access to transact very quickly and they do.  But other brokerages and buyers are able to transact (with significant dollars) in near-real-time (or less than near-real-time) and still be in solid financial positions and the ability to move markets.

Speed does not guarantee success in markets: finance or marketing.  The art of orchestrating the sciences is where the men are going to be separated from the boys. You can give me access to AdNexus tomorrow morning and just because it’s fully RTB enabled, does not mean I’ll be any better than buying site direct or thru a non-RTB network.

Unless the algorithms and the “view” of real-time inventory is exactly the same, no two RTB platforms will perform exactly the same.

Have I convinced you that you do not need real-time bidding to be successful today?

Now the contrary:  The faster an RTB platform can operate (in milliseconds today), the more inventory it has access to.  This is a big deal.  If you are building models to predict the future, then you want to see as many impressions as possible to have access to pick from.  Some say buying clout does not matter but does it?  A question to ponder.

The net/net:  RTB is a buzz word today and many people are talking about this space.  I believe that where there is smoke there is fire, thus, there is something to take note about RTB.  With the opportunity to value individual impressions and data with the ability to go the last mile and action it, potentially ahead of competitors, RTB does have an edge to those who can use it.

I believe that the long term winners in this category will not be the scientists, but rather the artists who know how to apply the processes, procedures, and strategies for their clients.

Please comment to keep the conversation flowing.  Would love to hear your perspective.

NY Times People & Accounts of Note

NY Times Header

Varick Media Management, New York, was formed by MDC Partners, Toronto, whose holdings include Crispin Porter & Bogusky and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Varick is being formed to provide digital media management services for online exchanges. Varick opens with the Media Kitchen media agency, part of Kirshenbaum Bond, and its client roster. Darren Herman was named president at Varick; he is a technology executive and blogger who has held posts at companies like IGA Worldwide.

Got a nice shout-out today in the NY Times Webdenda newsletter.  For those who did not see the initial release because of all of the Olympic hoopla over the past few weeks, you can read it here and a bit more in-depth with MediaPost’s coverage.

More about Varick Media Management over the next few weeks.

Shrinking The Web Down to 2 Players

Or not.  A Sanford C. Bernstein analyst has written a 310 page report entitled, “U.S. Internet: The End of the Beginning” to be published in the next week or so.  HipMojo has provided some analysis on why this report may be wrong and I’d agree with them.  Reuters coverage is here.

I don’t think that the web will shrink down to just two players – competition is healthy and companies will continue to innovate.  In the report, it says that Google and Amazon are the two companies that survive and that eBay is a merger target in the near future.  Google has not found a way to really generate comparable revenue to the search business yet, though, I feel that one of it’s next big revenue drivers will be the DoubleClick AdExchange in the next 3-5 years.  Google is significantly positioned as a potential leader in the exchange space as advertisers and publishers continue to use the DART serving (DFA/DFP) platform and as Google releases new advertising opportunities across games, radio, television, print, etc- and it all becomes available online.

The web is too large a playground for just 2 players.

Gift Cards & Certificates – Arbitrage Opportunity? Pearlman, Speak Up

Plastic JungleWhen I go to the movies, I don’t just watch the characters on the screen, but I have an interest in figuring out how it was made.  The special effects, scenery, and other ingredients that go into the movie are extremely fascinating and I love trying to piece them together.

I apply the same thought process to retail.  When Sherri and I went down to North Carolina to buy furniture, we went to FLS (Furniture Land South) which is a 1,000,000 sq. foot showroom of furniture.  Whilst walking around, I thought of about a half dozen easily implementable ideas that would create efficiencies and in turn, save them money.

I’m always thinking… and the same occured today.  Sherri and I met my grandparents at Bloomingdales (White Plains) to return some gifts that we had received for the wedding.  Even though we had the gift receipt, Bloomingdales refused to give us cash back for the value of the item(s).

Card AvenueOver the past few months, we’ve racked up quite a few gift cards of significant value to Bloomingdales.  Yes, both of us shop at Bloomingdales and we’ll probably use the cards over the course of the next year or so (some handbags, a new watch, jeans, etc), but what if we wanted liquidity today?  What if I wanted to take that money and go and use it towards a lease payment on our car or to pay this month’s credit card bill (you get the point)?

While standing in Bloomingdales, I thought to myself, there has to be a liquidity market for gift cards and gift certificates.  So, this evening, I googled “gift card marketplace” and came up with the following listings:

SwapAGiftIf you see the sites above, you’ll notice that I wasn’t the first person to think about this.  There have been some articles written up by Wired, ABC News, and other periodicals on this industry.  Looks like 2005 was a breakout year for these sites as the media coverage picked up.

As their popularity continues to rise, retailers can expect to see a surge in gift card sales this holiday season. The fourth annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Gift Card Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that gift card sales will total $24.81 billion this holiday season, an impressive $6 billion increase over 2005 when gift card sales hit $18.48 billion. Furthermore, the average consumer will spend more on gift cards than they did last year ($116.51 vs. $88.03 in 2005).  Article Link

That’s quite a market to establish the buying/selling/trading of cards and certificates.

I was looking through PlasticJungle and saw that you could purchase a $76 L’Occitane gift card for $60 which is an excellent return!  eBay even has a HomeDepot card that has $471 worth of credit selling for $420.

This could be a lucrative maketplace if done correctly…arbitrage anyone?