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An ad or a show? Some say YouTube Kids blurs the line
Apr22

An ad or a show? Some say YouTube Kids blurs the line

Pop quiz: Which of these are commercials? A video describing what McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are made of. A video showing LEGO toys being opened and assembled. A video in which characters from the Disney movie “Frozen” drink Sprite. All appear on YouTube Kids, a new free app — described as “kid-friendly content” for “curious little minds” — that mixes ad-like videos with traditional shows. On Monday, a Boston consumer group told federal regulators it’s hard to tell the ads from the programming, so YouTube Kids should be subject to federal rules on deceptive advertising. Click HERE for...

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Distracted TV Viewing: A Growing Threat?
Aug14

Distracted TV Viewing: A Growing Threat?

Recent research suggests that nearly 50% of primetime TV viewers are engaging with a second screen during their TV viewing. Advertisers, aware of the growth of second screen usage, are increasingly concerned whether anyone is watching the commercials they paid so much to air. But before we all decide that TV advertising is no longer viable, it’s important to remember that there have always been distractions to draw attention away from the screen when the show paused for a commercial break. It’s not that people are more distracted today, it’s that there are different things distracting them. Decades ago families watched TV together and people often used the commercial breaks to chat with one another. Even when watching alone, viewers would use the time to thumb through a magazine or grab a snack. In fact, despite new distractions and the growth of time-shifted viewing, trended commercial recall data suggests that the average TV commercial is achieving about the same levels of engagement as the average TV commercial 20 years ago. To succeed with a TV commercial, the same rules still apply – you have to have content that people are motivated to engage with. The most engaging commercials have always engaged up to 10 times more viewers than the non-engaging commercials, when media weights and exposure opportunities are held constant. Those who have always believed that the power of an ad campaign rests on the strength of the creative are still right. What has changed? Advertisers now have more opportunities than ever to insert themselves into the distractions. When families chatted person to person, brands had little chance to involve themselves. Now, when individuals pause to chat online, brands can – and do – present themselves. Today’s advertisers have more chances to insert themselves into viewers’ distractions, but consumers are resourceful and prone to decide for themselves what to attend to. The onus is on the creative in new media venues – much as it has always been – to compel people to engage. In old media and new, there is no straight line between exposure opportunities and actual advertising engagement. Advertisers should be cautious drawing conclusions about the strength of a campaign, or the relative effectiveness of different elements in a media plan, if they base solely on OTS (‘opportunities to see’) data or other exposure metrics that don’t factor in the quality of the creative itself. While averages are easier to deal with, consumers don’t choose to engage based on averages. They choose to engage based on content that is entertaining, informative, or worthy of their...

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Amazon’s Ads: What’s In It for Brands?
Mar24

Amazon’s Ads: What’s In It for Brands?

Amazon is on target to sell close to $1 billion worth of advertising this year. Using data from 237 million active customers, Amazon is quickly generating more ad revenue than other online advertising platforms. What is setting the online retail giant apart from competitive platforms like Google, Pandora, and Twitter? The power of purchase. The data that Amazon collects enables the company to see patterns that Google and other rivals could never find. Unlike Google, Amazon captures not only what consumers search for, but also what they buy. With that insight, Amazon can connect the dots between consumer purchases to identify both the products a shopper is looking for and the consistency or repetition of purchase. Additionally, it’s easier to appeal to consumers when they are very ready to buy – as Amazon’s platform allows. With such a strong upper hand, why isn’t Amazon already monopolizing the ad business? The company has been holding off on sharing their coveted consumer data – and will most likely continue to keep it protected to avoid alienating their customers. This has stunted Amazon’s growth in the ad-selling business, but they still made $70.5 billion last year on merchandise. The pressure of transforming into a top ad business isn’t as intense when you’re making money through other channels, and could face concerns with potentially alienating shoppers over privacy matters. Amazon has still been experimenting with ad platforms, searching for advertising strategies that won’t turn away customers. While protecting customer data, Amazon plans to categorize shoppers under headings like “Fashionista” or “Gadget Geek” depending on their purchases. This will create thematic advertising messages, without giving away specific details. The opportunities for Amazon to advertise extend far beyond their website. The company has been developing ads for services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video and Kindle devices (customers get a subsidized rate for devices with ads, and pay more for those without them). These video ads are not jockeying for immediate purchase on the site, but brands like Nissan and Geico are fans of the experimenting they’ve done to this point. These companies, like other advertisers, are constantly on the lookout for new venues that will get their branded content in front of consumers. The advertising opportunity could produce strong results if Amazon provides either better targeting opportunities or the chance to reach otherwise difficult to reach consumers. If advertisers continue to see success on the mega-online retailer’s platforms, the nearly $6 billion expected in US video ads sales, will have a significantly greater portion captured by Amazon. For advertisers waiting for Amazon to begin to disclose their  precious behavioral data, your wait may not...

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