2011 Trends: Future of Online Ad Buys

NOVEMBER 30, 2010

Developments in real-time bidding and audience targeting

Real-time bidding, which heated up the display ad market in 2010, will continue to gain share in 2011 and become an increasingly significant force for advertisers, publishers and ad networks.

For this type of ad buy, marketers bid on impressions based on the site, the location of the ad, the number of impressions desired and any potential cookie data they can use for retargeting or other segmentation. Publishers “auction off” ad inventory in real time, automatically looking at the bids made by advertisers for various ad slots and which ad should be served based on the user currently visiting the page.

For advertisers, real-time bidding helps them buy audience instead of inventory. For publishers, the process of real-time bidding promises the greatest possible revenue on their remnant inventory, bringing it closer to premium pricing. This in turn means real-time bidding will also have an effect on the position of ad networks, which publishers often turn to in order to fill remnant inventory. Currently, according to Q3 2010 research from STRATA, more than four in five US ad agencies buy online ads through networks, while fewer than half buy direct from publishers.  

“The display advertising market is showing continued intense growth, with a projected 14% increase in 2011,” said David Hallerman, eMarketer principal analyst. “That gain will be partially due to real-time bidding, which will make monetizing more pages easier for publishers. Furthermore, the growth of real-time bidding is also partially due to brand marketers’ increased interest in buying display advertising.”

In addition to choosing between buying from ad networks and publishers, advertisers will increasingly be faced with another choice. On one side is classic ad targeting based on a site’s content, or the characteristics of its visitors, and on the other side is the idea that audiences matter but sites don’t, that marketers should follow their target audience wherever they go.

The techniques marketers use for ad targeting can, depending on circumstances, be employed either to advertise on particular sites or reach audiences across multiple sites. For instance, demographic data—the targeting used by the largest share of respondents in a Collective survey—can be used to identify the best way to advertise in either method.

In many ways, the battle between targeting tactics is a battle between web publishers and advertising networks about who owns the  data. And from the marketer perspective, the battle affects whether their ad targeting is more effective at particular sites with particular demographic groups, or whether it’s more effective when advertisers buy specific audiences found across multiple sites.

For more information… contact BCD.

Radio’s Loss Is Pandora’s Gain

OCTOBER 14, 2010

Online radio a clear favorite with teens and young adults

If young people are the voice of the future, then terrestrial radio is in trouble.

The Edison Research report “Radio’s Future II: The 2010 American Youth Study,” sponsored by Radio-Info.com, highlights the shifting sands of media usage among US teens and young adults, and the results are striking. 

Waking up to the radio was a routine for 12- to 24-year-olds a decade ago, but the number who do so has sharply dwindled since. As many young people have given up their music and newspaper habits, the internet has replaced much of that activity. In 2000, 71% of US teens and young adults listened to radio in the morning, in 2010 just 41%.

The same trend is observable in total time spent with various media. In 2000, teens and young adults were spending close to 2 hours and 45 minutes listening to the radio each day. By 2010 it had fallen to an hour and a half. Time spent online had risen from an hour a day to almost 3.

Radio penetration remains almost universal, but a number of alternative music listening services have also emerged. In 2010, 36% of consumers surveyed by Bridge Ratings ages 12 and over had listened to online radio in the past week; 17% had listened to a podcast.

Pandora is the clear front runner among online radio services, according to online listeners surveyed by Vision Critical in March. Pandora was cited as the favorite by 27%, and 42% had listened in the past year. No other service garnered more than a single-digit response.

Women Feel Need to Be ‘Always On’


More than a third of young women have fallen asleep with their PDA

Research from the Oxygen Media Insights Group shows that many young women are staying close with friends, family and presumably work around the clock.

A June 2010 Burst Media survey found that while internet users across age and gender divides felt attached to their technological gadgets like smartphones and netbooks, women ages 35 to 54 were most likely to say they would feel disconnected without them.

Women tend to use their mobile phones & the internet not just to communicate for fun but also to organize the lives of their whole families. According to December 2009 research from BabyCenter.

Live TV Losing Younger Adults

Web users ages 18 to 35 spend nearly a quarter of viewing time online

As timeshifting and web viewing have both increased in importance in recent years, live TV has generally lost out to what viewers consider more convenient media. According to a report from market researcher Morpace, nearly three in five US consumers watch at least some video on a device other than a television.

Further, Morpace found 52% of total TV viewing time consisted of live TV. Among younger adults ages 18 to 34, that proportion fell to 41%. Adults 55 and up watched live TV almost two-thirds of the time, but even Gen Xers and younger boomers were evenly split between live TV and several timeshifting methods.

 Online was the most popular alternative to live TV, with about half of consumers using some online source for viewing video content, and a further 23% using a streaming video service like the one offered by Netflix, which can allow viewing on a computer, iPad or TV.

Adults ages 18 to 34 were more likely to use either online video format than older consumers, though their consumption of video from DVDs or DVRs was similar.

 A February 2010 study by Retrevo found adults under 25 were heavily involved in online video, with 29% saying they watched all or most of their TV on the web.

eMarketer estimates that about 85% of 18-to-34-year-old internet users watch online video at least once a month, but that includes both long-form professional content like television shows as well as short user-generated clips. Among older internet users, penetration is much lower; fewer than 44% of 55- to 64-year-olds and fewer than 26% of seniors 65 and up watch online video monthly.

Biggest Flop of the Fall TV Season

The biggest flop of the new fall TV season wasn’t Fox’s Lone Star or ABC’s My Generation.
It’s Google TV.

The engineers at the search goliath appear to have pulled off the double whammy of disappointing the technorati and alienating the broadcast networks—two constituencies crucial to getting Google TV off the ground.

Currently, NBC, CBS, ABC and Hulu are blocking full-length episodes from being accessed via the platform. Per insiders, those nets are unlikely to budge anytime soon, in part because of Google’s arrogant yet naïve attitude when it comes to the network TV business.

Google execs, who declined comment,  irked several representatives from the big three networks from the start by dismissing their concerns about protecting the lucrative network business model—and dependent relationships with affiliates and cable providers. One official compared Google’s stance to the quote often attributed to Henry Ford: “People can have the Model T in any color—so long as it’s black.”

“The ecosystem in TV pays for the content,” said one media executive. “I’m not sure Google gets that. They are approaching this as if it’s an academic MBA project.”

Even though the broadcast networks provide access to full-length episodes of their top prime-time shows on their own sites and, in the case of ABC and NBC, on Hulu, they clearly view streaming video on a TV differently. Beside the obvious metrics/sales challenges (Nielsen ratings versus online video views), Web video is far less lucrative for the networks.

Plus, the networks don’t like the idea of giving up control of their site experiences. Nor are they inclined to boost Google. “Why help them grow their business?” asked one exec. “It’s incumbent on networks to control user interface and their own distribution,” said Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, the media marketing company. “There is too much money at stake.”

For its part, Google’s official stance is that it doesn’t see network TV as being vital to Google TV’s success—since the product’s reason for being is to bring the whole Web to TV, not just shows.

Many don’t buy that positioning. “The reason people want the Web on TV is Hulu,” said Nilay Patel, managing editor, Engadget. “It’s a great site, but nobody wants to look at Engadget on a TV.” Patel is one of several tech luminaries to deliver harsh reviews of Google TV, calling it “incomplete” and “disappointing.”

Others were even rougher. MSNBC.com’s Technology called Google TV “nowhere near ready for your viewing enjoyment.” A major complaint among bloggers is that Google TV is hard to use for a dubious payoff. “It’s very complicated, and there was 35 minutes of set-up time,” said Patel.  Plus, one of Google TV’s long-term

promises is apps; yet the dearth of ready-made apps makes it feel “half baked,” argued Gizmodo editor Jason Chen.

Still some are cautiously optimistic about Google TV’s appeal. Jen Soch, svp activation director advanced TV at MediaVest, theorized that younger demos may see a Web/TV hybrid as more of a natural. “It depends on how you grew up,” she said. “For teenagers, this could be all about short-form video.”