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Archive for Advertising – Page 2

Friday Finds: The World’s Largest…

Friday Finds shares a piece of media content I’ve recently experienced.

You may have read my post earlier in the week about my drive across the country, from New Jersey to California. Here is a different type of advertising medium – the old-time roadside attraction to get you to stop in a town or at a store. We tried to stop at all of “the world’s largest…” attractions we could find, and had time for stopping.

The capital of the “world’s largest” things appears to be a small town called Casey, IL. Here we captured quite a few items. Sadly, Casey was mostly closed up on a Sunday afternoon – so while they got us off the interstate, they didn’t make any money from us.

World’s largest golf tee

World’s largest wind chimes

World’s largest rocking chair

A very large pencil

World’s largest mailbox

World’s largest wooden shoe

World’s largest pitchfork

World’s largest birdcage

Another stop was an old Route 66 landmark in Foyil, OK. This is supposedly the world’s largest totem pole – by appearances, by circumference if not by height. This was way off the beaten path and just a piece of folk art rather than bait to shop.

World’s largest totem pole

The world’s largest praying hands are in Oklahoma City, OK, at a likely location – Oral Roberts University. These are aimed more at redemption than retail, of course.

World’s largest praying hands

Perhaps the world’s largest steak giveaway is at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX. A 72 ounce steak and all its fixings (2 shrimp appetizer, baked potato, and dessert) are free – if you can eat ALL of it in 60 minutes or less! We skipped the challenge but we did buy dinner there that night.

World’s biggest steak giveaway

Last to be featured here is the world’s largest pistachio, located on the outskirts of Alamagordo, NM. Sadly, road construction prevented us crossing lanes to get a close-up picture or stopping in their store.

World’s largest pistachio

Time constraints prevented us from visiting other monumental monuments such as the largest quarter (PA) or largest gavel (OH). It leaves me wondering what our town of Scotch Plains, NJ could feature as an attraction. Playing off our name, perhaps something Scottish- the world’s biggest kilt? Bagpipes? Bottle of whisky?  What about YOUR town?

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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A Big Boo-Hoo for Digital Advertisers

illustration of ads on webpageI see from a recent spate of articles that the digital ad industry is quite upset with Apple’s new release of their Safari browser. The bone of contention is an increased emphasis on user privacy. Apple will be adding default settings that will alert users via pop-up notifications when Facebook or others try to collect tracking data, and make it harder to track people using digital fingerprinting techniques.

I’m afraid I shed few tears for a digital ad industry that has put itself in this position through abuse of its relationship with consumers – if you can call it a relationship.

Outside our media and digital industry bubbles, I would say few consumers have a true understanding of how they are tracked. Not only through cookies, which many people know about, but through the more insidious means of digital fingerprinting. This can track users using device information such as browser versions, installed fonts, plug-ins, or even typing habits.

Just because you can get your hands on a mountain of data on consumers, doesn’t mean it’s right to use it. And it only takes a few bad actors to spoil the well for everyone.

The Issues

Let’s consider some of what the industry is complaining about.

  • A reduction in personal tracking data could reduce personalization of content. Alright, I will give them this as a fair reason
  • It could reduce personalization of advertising. You mean the retargeting that hounds consumers for months or years after visiting a website once? Not a convincing reason.
  • Reducing personal tracking data can affect industry systems that ID fraudulent advertising. Why is this the consumer’s problem?
  • It deprives websites of advertising revenue. Again, why is that the consumer’s problem? Find a way to make money that works within what consumers are willing to share.
  • The implementation will require users to respond to a pop-up to allow tracking to proceed as before. This doesn’t seem to be a big price to pay to have consumers opt-in. Laughably, the industry talks about adding to a “blizzard of pop-ups” – and whose fault are all those pop-ups?

Looking at that list doesn’t sound much like advocacy for consumers; it sound more like an industry that doesn’t want to change.

Readers of this blog know I don’t have a lot of love for the promises of digital advertising, promises which go more to serve advertisers rather than consumers. Apple itself has a vested interest in advertising and advancing its own business plans, so its move here is not entirely altruistic – but it’s a breath of fresh air compared to other digital players.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Retargeting my thoughts on ads

picture of target with arrowsAt the recent ARF AudienceXScience conference, targeting ads was one of the key threads running through the conference. There were discussions about its benefits, its problems, Big Data services for it, and legal implications. There was even a quasi-debate about it.

I don’t think anyone disagrees with the concept that targeting more precisely than age and gender demos is generally a good thing. Showing consumers ads in which they are more likely to be interested should be beneficial both to the consumer and to the advertising brand. But past that, there seems to be many different opinions.

Large linear TV networks want you to believe that overzealous digital targeting can create a high proportion of unproductive impressions (which their networks can help one avoid, of course). Data integrators have tens of thousands of consumer segments but serve notice that, not surprisingly, very narrow targets will be challenged by reach. High-end sources of data warn that the mix-and-match data fusions so common in this space are only as good as the quality of the ingoing data. And legally, consumer awakening about privacy issues, and the ripples from GDPR in the EU, may push users of Big Data into more explicit responsibility for, and constrictive uses of, consumer data.

The main villain to arise was not targeting but retargeting. This practice is most recognized as that which continues to send you digital ads for a product you may have bought months or years ago. This practice by itself is enough to put consumers off the value of sharing their data for digital ads, and one I discussed in a previous blog post about Foreverspin Tops.

At least in my experience, maybe one tenth of digital display or video ads I see are anywhere close to relevant to my interests – and most of those are lagging my actual behavior by weeks or months. Currently there is no incentive – if it can even be done – for data aggregators to close the loop on sales, but maybe that’s the next step to take to make targeting really work. As someone who generally shares their data, as of now the benefits seem few.

Which Point of View?

In the debate, the conference audience clearly agreed with the team that argued that we shouldn’t be “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” Targeting has its faults but the concept shouldn’t be shut down because its initial implementation has had its teething problems. That’s true, but looking at it from the media/marketer point-of-view.

From the consumer point-of-view, these drawbacks may create a persistent dissatisfaction that will carry over even once the industry has solved its implementation problems. And if consumers have by then gained more complete “ownership” of their digital data, then targeting may suffer from lack of data.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Quick takes from ARF 2018 AudienceXScience conference

ARF LogoLast week, I attended the ARF’s AudienceXScience (AxS) conference in Jersey City. A new incarnation of the former Audience Measurement conference, it’s one of my two favorite conferences of the year. Here are some highlights from the main keynotes, plus an observation about the conference itself.

The Future of TV’s Currency and Measurement
Linda Yaccarino (NBCU), Dave Morgan (Simulmedia)
Sound bite: The opening salvo in the recurring theme of traditional television being a better value versus digital. Traditional television needs to counter the narrative being driven by digital. The TV industry should not be tied to legacy audience measures or back office systems if they are not in step with the changes occurring in the industry.

Nielsen’s View on Media Measurement
Megan Clarken (Nielsen),  Scott McDonald (ARF)
Sound bite: Continued Nielsen’s recent themes of being open to new approaches and new partnerships to deal with business issues – without necessarily committing to either.

The Future of Media: An Epic Battle
Laura Martin (Needham & Company)

Sound bite: Despite advantages in many business KPIs, the FAANGs will not “defeat” legacy television because of the need for storytelling excellence and creating emotional connections. Their only path to success is acquiring a legacy media company and let it do its thing.

An Evolving Arena: Program Currency and Measurement
Lisa Heimann (NBCU), ‎James Petretti (Sony), Will Kreth (EIDR)

Sound bite: Cross-platform is important for program development and promotion just as it is for advertising sales. But a big part of the puzzle continues to be missing due to some streaming partners refusing to cooperate and share data.

An Agency Perspective: The State of Media
Lyle Schwartz (GroupM), Joe Mandese (MediaPost)

Sound bite: GroupM is asking more from the data but extracting less; research has not evolved to match consumer and business changes. Need to get to a seamless “device-agnostic” measurement, but to do so, marketers will have to reformulate their device-centric planning and viewpoints.

Reach & Frequency Balance: How to Get it Right in the World of Advanced Television
David F. Poltrack (CBS), Radha Subramanyam (CBS)
Sound bite: Ad buyers have always traded off between reach and frequency, but recent years have moved from a focus on reach to a focus on efficiency. This leads to less reach and more frequency, and undervaluing of television. Excess exposures have no value, so advertisers should be converting those exposures to new exposures via TV.

How to Use 6’s – ARF 2018 Primary Research
Paul Donato (ARF), Dan Schiffman (TVision)

Sound bite: Linear TV 6 second ads seem to work at present, but have had some advantages such as being placed in premium primetime content, in short pods, or in favorable pod positions. There are a lot of areas still to explore as these 6s become more prevalent.

Consumers, Cross-Platform & Trust
Bryan Wiener (comScore), Jason Lynch (Adweek)

Sound bite: Wiener sees the audience measurement space as open for innovation, but he did not seem to want to be held back by legacy expectations of quality or accreditation before releasing new products.

Oxford Style Debate: Has Marketing Taken Targeting Too Far?
Arguing for: Gian Fulgoni (former comScore), Radha Subramanyam, (CBS)

Arguing against: Dave Morgan (Simulmedia), Yin Woon Rani (Campbell Soup)
Sound bite: A new format for the conference, and it went pretty well – although it seemed too long since many of the same arguments kept being made. Those arguing “For” focused on the bad experience retargeting gives consumers, and that narrowing the base of consumers exposed to your brand can have a negative long-term impact. Those arguing “Against” said not to condemn a whole concept because of bad implementation; in the long-term, targeting is the right way to go as problems get corrected. As for the result of the debate, a fairly even split in the audience before the debate was converted into a clear win for the “Against” team after the debate.

How Far Can You Go? (before government steps in, that is)
Tim Wu (Columbia Law School)

Sound bite: The European model of GDPR with regards to data privacy is unlikely to gain traction in the USA. Instead, we may see more stringent fiduciary duty defined for those who collect or use consumer data.

Thoughts on the conference itself

The ARF AxS (or AM) conference series has been fighting a battle to maintain relevance over the past few years. Perhaps most notably, its usual dates are now used by both the TV of Tomorrow conference in San Francisco and the VideoNuze Online Ad Summit, siphoning off potential speakers from important digital media firms. Even among the core group of past AM participants (media companies built around TV networks), it seems attendance is down. Media consolidation doesn’t help, and neither do changes in budget or leadership priorities, but…

I often joke about seeing the “same cast of characters” at ARF conferences over the 20+ years I’ve been going to them, but perhaps it’s not so funny. I am a firm believer in the ARF and its mission, but I’m sure the ARF can appear to younger people as a crotchety old uncle trying to enforce dedication to methodological rigor and quality established by the generation of researchers who came up to lead the industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Not that rigor and quality are bad things, but I’m sure it sounds preachy at times, especially to younger industry members who are in companies founded on disruption.

The ARF has made strides in recent years in outreach to younger generations of researchers (Young Pros, for example). Under new leadership, it has refocused its overall efforts in the past year to be more relevant. And I’m sure the ARF tries to get its digital members to participate in AxS.

I Love You ARF, But…

But judging by AxS, the ARF still has a way to go to reflect the diversity in our industry – not only by demographics but also in types of firms that show up for its conferences. If it continues to be mostly older white guys talking about television-centric topics (I’m guilty on all counts, by the way), AxS will continue to lose ground to competitive conferences in the near term — and the ARF its relevance to the next generation of advertising researchers in the long term.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Dangerous Data?

picture of exploding laptopA recent theme in the “premium video” marketplace are calls for creating new metrics – or hybrids of existing metrics – to fill in the perceived gaps in what currency services provide. The most high profile of these has been NBC Universal’s provision of its so-called CFlight set of advertising metrics. However a recent development may throw some cold water on CFlight and similar experiments.

Last week, a judge upheld the right of marketers to sue Facebook over errors in Facebook’s self-published audience metrics. This potential class-action suit comes on the heels of several instances of Facebook misstating its home-grown audience metrics, in some cases allegedly over a period of years. A goal of the suit is to “force Facebook to hire outside auditors and to ‘promptly correct any problems or issues detected by these auditors’.”

While Facebook’s legendary hubris no doubt contributed to this situation – and many others for which Mark Zuckerberg has apologized over the years – there is a warning for other media players as well. If this suit goes forward and is successful, it may mean that the many companies that bypass or put off accreditation for data they publish may end up liable for errors.

The MRC

The presence of the Media Rating Council means there is a 50 year old established organization and framework for accrediting audience measurement methods – and if the MRC has its way in the future, advertising effectiveness methods. Some may feel the MRC is a relic of a declining “traditional” media industry, or accreditation is too slow to match the pace of today’s digital environment. But the fact is working with the MRC provides not only increased confidence in published data but cover against lawsuits such as Facebook is facing.

The MRC emerged from Congressional hearings into the television audience measurement process in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Does the industry really want to again face that sort of scrutiny – and government intrusion – if digital measures begin to face increasing questions?

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Reflections on the MIE Media State of the Union session

family watching TVIn the Industry State of the Union session at the 2018 Media Insights and Engagement Conference, panelists were asked to share with the audience one takeaway from the current circumstances of the industry.

Click on this link to see my summaries of the takeaways along with some commentary, via one of my guest blog posts for the conference – Reflections on The Media Insights State of the Union

Other MIE conference posts

Please note these posts were originally to be posted during the MIE conference itself but are being published on delay by the conference organizers. Other of my guest blog posts from this year’s conference include…

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Co-opting Co-viewing

DATG logoCo-viewing was the topic of a Disney-ABC TV study presentation at the 2018 Media Insights and Engagement Conference. According to the Disney-ABC study, viewing dynamics change when there is co-viewing – there is more live viewing and more viewing on larger screens. Perhaps the most notable finding in the presentation was the concept of “convergent” viewing.

Click on this link to see my notes and thoughts on this presentation via one of my guest blog posts for the conference – Co-opting Co-viewing

Other MIE conference posts

Please note these posts were originally to be posted during the MIE conference itself but are being published on delay by the conference organizers. Other of my guest blog posts from this year’s conference include…

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Exploring the Viewer Data Value Exchange

Turner Networks logoAt the 2018 Media Insights and Engagement Conference, Turner Networks shared some interesting research into consumers’ attitudes towards viewer data value and how consumers can be empowered to share their data in a relationship with a network. The two main areas covered by Turner in their talk were curation and serendipity.

Click on this link to see my thoughts on this presentation via one of my guest blog posts for the conference – Exploring the Viewer Data Value Exchange

Other of my conference posts

Please note these posts were originally to be posted during the conference itself but are being published on delay by the conference organizers. Other of my guest blog posts from this year’s conference include…

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Ad Experiments Sing for NBC

Click on this link to see one of my guest blog posts from this year’s Media Insights & Entertainment conference – Ad Experiments in Musical Sing for NBC.

Please note these posts are delayed due to issues with the conference website; they were originally to be posted during the conference itself. Look for several more posts from the 2018 conference over the next few days – updates via my twitter feed or via the conference twitter.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Foreverspin Tops? More like forever annoying ads!

Apologies for the scarcity of posts this week – the Media Insights and Engagement Conference had trouble with their website, so my stream of posts expected this week from that meeting are still waiting to be put up. So in the meantime, let’s close the week with a small rant…

clip of Foreverspin adIs anyone else being followed around by the digital ads from “Foreverspin Top”? These are showing up on my work computer, home computer, phone, and tablet, and have been for what I’d guess is at least 12 to 18 months. And they represent everything wrong with the digital ad ecosystem.

Google Ads clip

Almost from the time I first saw this ad – and it’s virtually the same ad, if not exactly the same, over this whole time period – I’ve asked Google to stop serving them to me. I report the ad as annoying, or that I don’t have an interest, or that I’ve seen it multiple times. And yet it still shows up like I’m living in a digital ad Groundhog Day.

And how did some Google algorithm select me for the ad? I have no interest in tops, especially “luxury tops” that start at $35. Is it because the tops are made in Canada and somehow Google found out I was born in Canada? Or that I had long arguments about what the spinning top meant at the end of Inception?

And since we’re asking questions: why, if Google is so smart, does its algorithms still serve me ads that I’ve reported not having an interest in at least a dozen or more times?

There are others, but this is the best example of why I laugh to myself at conferences or presentations when people talk about the wonders of Big Data and its ability to personalize and target advertising. Sure, sometimes it works fine; but all it takes is a bad actor like Foreverspin to poison the well of public opinion for every digital advertiser. And this is especially of concern in this age when we want consumers to be more comfortable sharing data with media networks. All the talk of building trust and transparency goes out the window when a little money overrides stated consumer sentiment.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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