This Week in Ad Ops: The Viewability Debate Continues, Plus Facebook Goes Big with Mobile

The Weather Outside is Frightful, but Sonoma Is So Delightful

And we’ll be letting it flow rather than letting it snow! The cold temperatures of Silicon Alley have much of the AdMonsters team huddled against our SAD lamps, dreaming of the greener pastures to come when we head to Sonoma for our next Publisher Forum. But we’re also dreaming (weirdly) about our speakers! A lot of the topics we’ll be covering at Sonoma have made a splash this week in our digital advertising news feeds, so it’s been hard to escape our agenda.

RTB has been a hot topic this week, and a Mediapost article predicts that RTB will be more frequently coupled with traditional media in the coming year, as it has the potential to really change the TV landscape - for the better. In Sonoma, Forbes’ Michael Smith will take on the topic of programmatic preparedness, while the Weather Channel’s Richard Lowden will explain the reality of real-time digital strategy. We've also added Tribune's Molly O'Keffe to our stellar lineup of speakers. 

So, we’ll have barrels of wine, interesting speakers, and relevant topics at our Publisher Forum. You might actually learn something! But, we’ve almost got a packed house, so book your ticket today!

The Facebook Mobile & Search Explosion 

The biggest news of this week in advertising comes from Facebook. The company released its quarterly report this week, logging an impressive $64 million in profits in the last quarter of last year. The company’s total revenue grew 40% to $1.585 billion, and Facebook boasts over a billion users, more than half (680 million) on mobile devices. 

Mobile has unquestionably become central to Facebook’s strategy and profits. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Today there is no argument Facebook is a mobile company.” And it’s true. Mobile advertising brings Facebook over $3 million in revenue per day ($306 million in the fourth quarter), a number that will continue to grow as the company’s mobile base widens and its mobile advertising continues to sharpen. 

Todd Sawicki, former CRO of Cheezburger and startup world bigwig, breaks down the benefits of native advertising, leveraged by Facebook, in an exclusive interview with AdMonsters. Todd will be headlining our Publisher Forum in Sonoma this March, offering his advice to publishers about how they can successfully implement native advertising on their own properties.

Also, Facebook’s Graph Search has begun to pop up on more and more accounts across the country. Dave Williams, CEO of Blinq Media, writes in Ad Age that he believes that Graph Search, largely because of Facebook’s partnership with Microsoft, has the potential to “dethrone” Google Search and to fundamentally change the way that people search.

All Eyes on Viewability

Viewability is yet another one of those ad-operations buzzwords. As technologies change, and consumers get more clever, the relative guarantee of the impression model is swiftly crumbling. And, what's more, brands and companies want results – true and measurable results from their advertising. 

Our U.S. Editor, Gavin Dunaway, dove into the viewability fray as moderator for a panel at last week's Digital Brand Forum in New York last week, where the number one lesson seemed to be metrics (or the lack thereof, as of right now). With a hodgepodge of contrasting measurements and an even larger variety of figures and results, viewability is hardly nearing maturity; in fact, the move towards viewability is very much in its infancy, and the panel discussion made it known. 

“It’s easy to get behind – viewability has a lot of momentum right now,” Yieldex Cofounder and CSO Tom Shields said. “But the technology does not currently exist to measure viewability consistently. In addition, none of the solutions agree with each other.” 

But, even with standardization on the horizon, is viewability even worth all the brouhaha? Not according to some, who argue impression-based CPMs already take into account unseen impression. And, does the digital-ad industry really need yet another metric?

And, while digital advertisers and publishers continue to ride the viewability back-and-forth, digital-video ad company Adap.tv is all in. The online video ad company introduced what it calls 'Certified Viewability,' a new feature that allows video ads to be independently verified in real-time, ignoring unseen impressions. 

A first in the industry, Adap.tv is undoubtedly trying to bolster confidence in advertisers and brands, who have to contend with the fact that more than 30 percent of online ads are never seen. Although Adap.tv's latest feature may be a veritable win for online video advertisers, time will tell whether or not 'Certified Viewability' truly helps Adap.tv's bottom line. 

While the outcome of viewability is far out into the future, the debate over its utility (or futility) is heating up with fervor. And, GLAM Media's VP of Global Operations Systems, Wendy Mazzoni, will be on hand at AdMonsters' Sonoma Publisher Forum to break down the various arguments and nuances of viewability. 

RTB: A Touchdown for TV?

This Sunday marks that one day of the year when all Americans become purveyors of advertising. We tune into the Super Bowl and scrutinize Volkswagen's latest spot as much as we scrutinizes the Harbaugh brother's mid-game plays (full disclosure, I'm not at all a big football fan, but stick with me).

Viral appeal is a natural component of Super Bowl commercials. Today, you can watch them online well before the game itself; your friends are probably dishing on their favorite spots on Facebook; and, they'll surely be on the evening news after the big night. That said, conventional TV metrics for commercials aren't adequate on their own to measure and define the success of an ad spot today, according to DG MediaMind's George Musi

“We should recognize the potential power (and important role) of social media and online video (which are increasingly becoming an integral part of the Super Bowl marketing mix),” Musi said. “And, no longer only rely on the historical bias of measuring big game ads mostly by media metrics...” 

And, the importance of moving away from conventional metrics lies in the second screen. From desktops to tablets, consumers are supplementing their TV watching more and more with the online experience – and with that comes a whole new take on the ad impression. 

MediaPost's Chris Hansen discusses how online RTB can help supplement TV advertising in a recent article. The conundrum of popular shows and dwindling cable subscriber base, means targeting TV lovers off the small-screen – and on the smaller one. 

“This may be the golden age of TV, where everyone has an opinion on the big shows, but fewer young consumers are subscribing to cable,” Hansen said. “The ability to communicate a brand message has to happen online.”

RTB is going to be a hot topic at this year's Publisher Forum in Sonoma. And, Richard Lowden (Weather Channel)'s session on real-time strategies is sure to cover the balancing act of leveraging a campaign across multiple platforms -- a growing trend among digital advertisers. 

Related Event: 
Publisher Forum XXIX


Joining the AdMonsters' team in December 2012, Joshua has a creative knack for writing, and an even deeper love for learning new things -- including the world of digital advertising. Formerly an editorial assistant at TheRoot.com, a leading online, African-American news website, Joshua spends his time scouring for the latest and most influential news on ads and ad-operations for AdMonsters. In addition to his tenure in the editorial world, Joshua spent a year trampling over pitches and press releases while part of a D.C.-based lifestyle PR firm. 

Hailing from Texas, Joshua spent his most recent years in the nation's capital., graduating with a master of arts from Georgetown University, before packing up and trekking to Brooklyn, N.Y. When off the Clock, Joshua enjoys gallery-hopping  and wallowing in the fresh-cut grass at Central Park's Sheep Meadow. 

Follow Joshua on Twitter: @admonstersjosh 


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