Why Consumers Love Opt-in Video

July 26, 2018 — by Floriana Nicastro0


In today’s media environment, attention is a valuable and increasingly scarce commodity. Consumers are exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day and switch screens as much as 21 times an hour. The average attention span is eight seconds.

In that light, asking a consumer to sit through a 30-second video ad is asking a lot. Consumers know this, which is why they are more open to the idea if they get something in return.

That’s the gist of some new research MediaMath recently conducted with the Mobile Marketing Association and OpenX in a report titled “The Consumer Engagement Crossroads: Getting consumers to opt in, before they opt-out.” The TL:DR version: most consumers prefer opt-in video ads, which reward them for their time and attention. Marketers who aren’t using the format widely might consider expanding their use.

The clear favorite

The study found that 80 percent of consumers are so dissatisfied with digital advertising that they’re considering ad blockers. That’s largely because the ads they’re seeing are irrelevant. Some 67 percent of respondents said the mobile ads they see are never relevant to them or are not relevant very often. When those mobile ads are relevant, they work very well. Sixty percent have clicked on a mobile ad, and some 20 percent of consumers say they bought something in the last week because they saw a mobile ad.

But not all mobile video ads are created equal. While only 12 percent of consumers said interstitial ads are very good and 19 percent said the same of pre-roll, 30 percent liked opt-in ads. Though marketers don’t use opt-in ads as much as the other formats, nine out of 10 agree it provides a better consumer experience than other ad formats; 80 percent say it offers a better ROI.

Why opt-in ads work so well

Opt-in ads originated in gaming. Usually, consumers opted to watch an ad in exchange for a reward or unlocking a new level. Its applications transcend that category, though. Consumers calculate that their time and attention is worth something. As is the case with their personal data, many are fine with trading their attention to get something in return. The research showed that more than 50 percent of consumers would be willing to watch ads up to 60 seconds long for discounts from retailers, premium video content and more. Some 77 percent of consumers would watch a 30-second ad to get a discount from a retailer.

Opt-in ads work so well because they give consumers control. By using the format, marketers communicate to consumers that they recognize that their time is important. The format is a rare win-win in the current media environment that both marketers and consumers find amenable. Combined with effective targeting, consumers may find such ads not only tolerable, but welcome.


Connected TV Plays To Upper And Lower Funnel Metrics: MediaMath’s Fisher

July 20, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Mike Fisher joined MediaMath almost a year ago to head up our video and Advanced TV and video efforts. He recently sat down with to talk about the space and what MediaMath is doing to position itself to capitalize on these channels in the years to come. An excerpt from his interview is below.

While connected TV definitely is the “low-hanging fruit for what we’re doing at MediaMath today,” within three to five years all linear impressions will become one-to-one addressable and targetable through the rise of IP video, “so we want to be well positioned to be able to play in that space as well.”

MediaMath doesn’t buy or arbitrage TV inventory. Rather, it sees itself as the connection point between buyers and sellers, according to Fisher.

“We’ve curated our list of supply sources that we do most of our transactions with down to, say, the top twenty percent of supply sources that drive eighty percent of the meaningful impressions that marketers are looking for,” he says.

Those sources include five network groups and three big virtual MVPD services in a fraud-free environment. “We’re never more than one hop away from the end seller,” Fisher adds.

MediaMath’s pitch to traditional TV buyers is one of reach and frequency and how they can shift a portion of their spend “to the same inventory and the same viewer model and the same screen they know how to buy but doing it in a smarter, more measurable way.”

The company tells the same story to digital buyers but with a twist since they already know how to buy audiences, measurable impressions and retargeted campaigns. “For the first time, a digital buyer has the ability to transact on the biggest most trusted screen in the house in a way that they know how to do and in a way that fits into their business model.”


Ad Fraud is a Problem We Can Solve

July 12, 2018 — by Rahul Vasudev0


This article originally appeared on CMO Innovation

Ad fraud is a major concern in the media industry, being rated as anything between a mild annoyance to the very death knell of programmatic advertising, depending where one sits on the issue. And if you thought this was a programmatic issue, studies show that direct to publisher campaigns also have 12% fraudulent impressions.

In the Asia Pacific (APAC), this is increasingly a critical issue, as the region’s total digital marketing spend is expected to reach $61 billion this year. As the market grows, the need to keep ad fraud at bay remains even stronger, especially when two out of the top five countries targeted by fraud on mobile are right here in the Southeast Asian region – Singapore and Malaysia. As consumers in Southeast Asia spend more time on mobile than any other market, the issue of fraud prevention warrants increasingly more attention.

With advertisers globally expecting to lose $19 billion to fraudulent activities this year, platform providers are certainly taking this issue very seriously. Beyond financial losses, what is even more valuable and can’t be measured is the loss of trust within the industry, which makes it evident that we need to take serious steps to address this issue.

Everyone has a part to play

While regulatory bodies work on achieving a set of common operating standards, ad tech platforms have the power to get on board and make serious inroads into cleaning up the industry.

As part of the industry’s efforts to curb ad fraud, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s ads.txt initiative, for example, gives content owners the power to deny access to fraudulent and spoofing sites. It is even more encouraging to see platform players jump on board and bolster antifraud suits with the addition of ads.txt across supply footprints.

Yet, adoption is still slow. For a publisher, removing part of the market is a potentially costly exercise and marketers ultimately want to reach as many potential customers as possible. The balance lies between a market that is more trustworthy and an industry that has much to gain from optimising buyer experiences.

Leverage data to clean up the ecosystem

At the same time, marketers need to have a strong company-wide position on what constitutes their programmatic strategy. It is incumbent upon marketers to understand exactly who they are targeting, know where to find those consumers and have a clearly defined set of high-quality, target inventory that matches their interests.

The knowledge of who the audience is, what they are interested in and what they’ve browsed recently is today radically enhanced by data from programmatic platforms. The same concept can then be applied to avoid fraudulent inventory, by leveraging algorithms that ensure an ad runs alongside authentic content that is most relevant to a brand and is being viewed by human consumers.

Other examples include partnering up with either blacklist or whitelist providers, or a combination of the two, to prevent the buying of false inventory. For example, marketers can blacklist pornographic, gambling or piracy sites to ensure that their ads are not featured on such websites. On the other hand, whitelists allow advertisers to assess a page and its suitability before placing an ad, effectively minimising the risks of fraud.

Working with programmatic platforms and brand safety vendors, the more the ecosystem pulls in the same direction to curb fraud, the closer the market will come to be a safe place for marketers to project their brand image.

Chase the right goals

Additionally, it is increasingly apparent that inappropriate or irrelevant goal setting can lead to an increase in fraud for a campaign. It’s easy for a bot to mimic a click, generate non-human views to a video with high completion, and drive downloads of an application. However, it is extremely challenging for them to purchase something, or use the application. In essence, bots cannot drive true business outcomes.

The better marketers get at clearly linking media spend to business outcomes, the lower the chances of them getting caught up in the vicious web of ad fraud. This, of course, isn’t easy and requires a lot of effort, but the prize is well worth it.

Education – the way forward

The final piece of the puzzle is education for the ecosystem to understand and address this challenge. There is a need for stakeholders, such as brands, advertisers and agencies, to come together and push for the understanding of ad fraud. As marketers arm themselves with the necessary knowledge, they will then be able to question their agencies on the measures in place to tackle ad fraud.

Ultimately, a multi-faceted approach such as the deployment of ads.txt tools, well-defined metrics, education and ensuring a clean supply chain is the way forward to eliminate ad fraud.


GDPR Was Just The Start: MediaMath’s Rothkopf

June 26, 2018 — by MediaMath0

GettyImages-870253988.jpg interviewed MediaMath’s media and growth channels GM Lewis Rothkopf at Cannes last week. An excerpt is below. To watch the rest of our series on consumer-first marketing, visit this page

Once month after Europe’s new privacy legislation came into effect, the world did not cease to exist—but a good proportion of ad inventory did.

Still, one ad-tech exec believes consumers have every right to expect a rebalancing of their relationship with publishers and advertisers, which the new GDPR law sought to usher in.

“We’ve seen a decrease in available inventory in the European Economic Area since the 25th. But we are not having challenges executing,” says MediaMath’s media and growth channels GM Lewis Rothkopf, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

Rothkpof said MediaMath, which offers a demand-side ad-buying platform and a data-management platform, its supply partners and marketers had prepared for GDPR, which he expects to be replicated in other parts of the world.

But, despite the challenge, Rothkopf doesn’t have a problem with the movement that GDPR represents.

“Consumers deserve a better deal online,” he adds. “The value exchange that we are asking of consumers in exchange for their time and attentiveness needs to be far more in their favor.”


Auction Dynamics and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

June 12, 2018 — by Travis Barnes0


A hypothetical scenario:

Two criminals from the same gang are arrested and imprisoned without the ability to communicate with each other. The prosecutor lacks the evidence to convict either one of the primary crime, so is holding each one on a lesser crime, which has a one-year prison sentence. Each prisoner is asked to betray the other, in which case one will go free and the other will serve a two-year sentence.

If you recognized the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma that has existed as a principal problem in game theory since 1950, then you probably know that rational actors always betray each other in the end, no matter how many scenarios you act out, because good faith cooperation is not rewarded in situations in which two players are not transparently communicating. What the heck does this have to do with digital marketing? A lot more than we usually care to admit, it turns out.

No transparency means no trust

In the world of online advertising auctions, there is almost no direct communication between buyers and sellers—it’s mediated by an exchange. Buyers and sellers are forced to anticipate what the other will do and, just like in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, they are incentivized to dime out each other.

Historically, RTB auctions have been conducted as second- price, or “Vickrey”, auctions, in which the highest bidder pays $0.01 more than the second highest bid or any floor set by the publisher. Second-price auctions incentivize each participant to bid exactly what the impression is worth to him or her. If you would be willing to pay up to $5.00 CPM for a certain impression, you can bid $5.00 in a second-price format and be confident that you’ll never overpay.

Although almost all exchanges nominally operated as Vickrey auctions in which every participant understood the rules of engagement, they really operated more as hybrids of first- and second-price auctions, using mechanisms such as “dynamic floors” to cause the impression to clear higher than it would in a true second-price format.

Advertisers have understood that they are not seeing the full picture about where and why their bids cleared when they did and, therefore, have no reason to believe that a $5 bid that cleared at $3.01 did so because of another $3 bid or an invisible price floor.

Hence, the Prisoner’s Dilemma: since neither the buy side nor sell side knew fully what the true price of the impression should be or what an advertiser was willing to bid, both were incentivized to overcorrect—resulting in less efficient outcomes for both the buy-side and the sell-side transaction participants. Buy-side players are unable to get the best ROI for marketers on media because they are unable to optimize to the true dynamics of a given auction. Sell-side participants, meanwhile, end up blindly raising and lowering floors to try to find the right balance for selling the most inventory at the highest CPM.

First-price auctions encourage transparent cooperation

Advertisers are justifiably suspicious of first-price auctions. But if implemented between the buy side and sell side cooperatively, they can restore some degree of transparency between both parties. First-price auctions provide this transparency by removing the opportunity to dynamically adjust floors on the sell side without letting the buy side know. Some exchanges have announced plans to fully migrate towards a 100-percent first-price format, both for their own interests and to implement the only truly “transparent” auction model available. Vickrey auctions would be more transparent, but in a world without a mechanism for verifying that a true-second price auction has occurred, it is the closest thing marketers can get to price transparency, and they’ll be able to adjust their methodologies for evaluating bids accordingly.

Read more about MediaMath’s study of the trends driving exchanges towards first-price auctions and the impact it is having on advertisers in our whitepaper HERE.


Identity and Measurement: What is Next for Mobile and Omnichannel Advertising?

June 5, 2018 — by Floriana Nicastro0


No matter how many times an advertiser hears that they must run on mobile to reach their audiences, if they can’t measure the output of their investment, it’s a lost cause. In fact, many advertisers are refusing to invest another dime in mobile until the industry finds a common ground to solve for mobile measurement at scale to help quantify real mobile ROI.

The gap between advertiser spend and user time spent

More than 62 percent of user time online is spent on mobile. But a big part of that time seems unable to be monetized; the gap between advertising investment and user behavior still represents a $7 billion opportunity according to Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends report. Advertisers don’t have the right tools to quantify mobile impact and justify investment due to several issues:

  • Accuracy vs scale: the cross-device solution conundrum

As we started discussing last year, with user identity being fragmented between cookies and device IDs, it is hard for advertisers to have a holistic view of customers and execute on a real omnichannel strategy. It is still a real challenge to offer both accuracy and scale. Only 14 percent of marketers can track cross-channel and act on data, according to a report by L2inc.

  • Higher walls in a fragmented identity ecosystem

The online identity ecosystem is highly dependent on Apple and Google, with US mobile browser share of voice a split between 51 percent Safari and 42 percent Chrome, and app browsers split 45 percent iOS and 53 percent Android. These challenges come by way of limited tracking ability to understand how users are engaging in these environments and other channels.

Further, Apple’s Limit Ad Tracking (iOS 10),  Intelligent Tracking Prevention (iOS 11) and SDK app networks and now the ITP update for social and fingerprinting (ios 12) are adding additional restrictions that advertisers need to navigate through to measure the impact of their advertising spend.

  • Attribution models

Thirty-four percent of B2B marketers have no attribution model, and it’s easy to see why. Attribution models and technology are complex. Numerous internal “organizational roadblocks” can make it very hard to convince senior executives of the long-term gains of attribution over the short-term high costs.

Mobile is a key point on your users’ road to conversion, but it is not necessarily the last signpost they hit. You need a multi-touch attribution model to account for all touchpoints before a user converts. Multi-touch attribution is a more ideal model than last-touch because it enables you to better understand true marketing impact. By letting you see exactly what led a customer to convert at all points—both online and off—on the path to purchase, you can immediately act upon what’s working and what’s not and give appropriate credit to advertising partners.

There are steps you can take to shift your business’s mindset on attribution and justify the ROI against the investment in cost, time and expertise. Read our attribution playbook for specific tactics on how to get there.

 What’s next?

If measurement is a market challenge, then the ad tech industry is poised to develop new tools that provide the solution. MediaMath is leading the charge by prioritizing the following areas:

  • Enriched identity

We believe that for advertisers to identify their best customers at scale, they need a neutral, shared device namespace that enables global reach and proprietary value-add. We believe DigiTrust represents this opportunity, which is why we joined their consortium late last quarter.

This neutral, standardized device ID will improve consumer experience by supporting privacy, reducing page load time, increasing the relevance of marketing messages and enabling the diverse ecosystem of publishers and online platforms on which they rely. We also have our own proprietary cross-device and cookieless identity solution, ConnectedID, for which we have long been sourcing deterministic signal directly from advertisers, and will start working with our industry partners to further activate.

  • Cross-device analytics reporting

It is crucial for advertisers to be armed with knowledge related to cross-device multitouch measurement and understand the impact of mobile on their omnichannel outcomes. Demonstrating mobile performance for your campaigns has often been a challenge in digital marketing. MediaMath has been developing several new reports to provide marketers with concrete data and help them with their investment decisions. As trusted advisors for our clients, we wanted this data approach to be consultative and incorporate our analytics service to benefit our clients—we know you still need a human touch.


Greetings from the Front Lines of the Marketing Revolution!

June 4, 2018 — by Joe Zawadzki0


It has been more than 100 years since the marketing pioneer John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  For almost a century, that statement defined marketing as a profession.

Things have changed.  Now, with programmatic marketing and a mobile computer in your pocket, marketing and the technology it uses to connect people to messages is a force so effective and powerful that the public, policymakers, and regulators have taken an intensified interest in what we do and how we do it.  That’s an opportunity.  It requires us to come together to accelerate our maturation in the industry—providing more and more control, transparency, and accountability in our practices even as we continue to innovate in pursuit of outcomes.

MediaMath has come a long way since the birth of the category more than a decade ago.  The vision was to create a single software layer, with data and insights mixed in to make high-quality marketing decisions—which ad to buy, how much to pay for it, what to show people. And then if we could bring in AI, the math part of media, and machine learning to bear to automate those high-quality marketing decisions in real time, in runtime, we could make marketing better for everyone involved.  And we did it.

Here we are, 11 years later, having made digital marketing and programmatic a reality, one in which a CMO can sit in an office anywhere in the world, push a button, and, like magic, immediately change how his or her message and brand are displayed on billions of screens. It’s amazing. And there is so much more to come as we ask this machinery to drive more sophisticated goals, as we infuse creativity and storytelling (back) into platforms.

The moment has arrived for the industry to mature beyond its gangly adolescence, to focus on the consumer experience and respect for digital dignity, to match strength for strength. The stakes are high. In Europe, regulators have adopted data protection and privacy regulation intended to give control over personal data back to citizens. Elsewhere, regulators and legislators are considering whether and how to address these issues. Without the right guardrails on use, we’ve seen marketing technology weaponized to inflame schisms in society, swing elections, reshape economic and trading blocks. This is our opportunity to meet the rising expectations of the society we live and work in to ensure that the engine of the digital economy, data-driven marketing, runs smoothly and takes us to a place we all want to go.

MediaMath was there at the beginning, and we intend to lead the next phase with clear intent and direction, focused on our mission—to make marketing everyone loves. Consumers want to understand and control how their data is being used and why, as well as be able to trust the companies that are using it. Marketers want to know exactly who they are reaching and why, and want trusted partners along every step of the value chain. Everyone agrees that, as an industry, we can do better. It all starts with remembering the human being on the other side of the screen.

That’s why in 2018, we will focus on continuing to further build the infrastructure and software that connect consumers with the brands and companies they love in a way that they love.  Our mandate for this year and beyond is continued transformation. Our product offering will evolve along three pillars: supply chain refactoring, next-generation identity / audience capabilities, and augmented AI. For our clients, this work will manifest in better outcomes—marketing dollars spent smarter, with decisioning powered by unique data sets and AI. For consumers, these initiatives will provide a better experience—brands that consumers know and trust, in an environment that respects them, bringing the whole industry toward a more idealized vision of what advertising can and should be.

We appreciate you joining us on this journey. Together, we are going to make marketing everyone loves. We invite you to challenge our ideas, inject your own, and evangelize with us to make this a reality in 2018 and beyond.


How to End the Marketer Paradox of (Too Much) Choice

June 1, 2018 — by Aaron Lassila0


We’ve all likely experienced the paradox of choice in our lives at some point.

Barry Schwartz’s 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice, posits that making decisions has become complex because of all the options we have, from deciding where to eat for dinner to selecting a new primary care physician. The marketing industry has not been immune to this theory. As advertising technologies have proliferated, marketers are now faced with numerous options for choosing how to run campaigns, manage their data, attribute results, manage identity, and more.

This may seem like a good thing, except that according to Schwartz, “choice overload” can make us over-question our decisions, misalign our expectations and cause self-blame for any failures that result. Eliminating choices, on the other hand, can reduce stress and increase satisfaction over our choices. Any Whole Foods loyalist who has spent time exploring a major supermarket knows the pain of having to browse an aisle of options for one food item vs a more limited, highly curated, selection.

I am not digressing. This is stuff is important to marketing, and here’s why. Advertiser Perceptions, a market research firm that surveys hundreds of brands and agencies to get feedback on vendors, recently released its updated DSP and DMP report that surveyed that surveyed 740 advertisers with an average annual digital spend of $20.8 million USD, with a 50/50 breakout of agencies and marketers. MediaMath was excited to be rated #1 in Net Promoter Score (NPS), an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others, and that is used as a proxy for gauging the customer’s overall satisfaction with a company’s product or service.

This strong NPS score is a leading indicator of future adoption of the MediaMath platform, especially given the 10+ point lead over one of our biggest competitors. But one of the things the Advertiser Perceptions report also highlighted was the average advertiser uses three to four DSPs (up from two to three in the July 2017 report). Marketers are still clearly evolving their sophistication with digital advertising and are gobbling up technologies to navigate a variety of campaign needs, channels and client goals.

It’s hard to think of having to find a single solution to rule them all. And we know that for certain advertisers and campaigns, it can be important. But if you’re really looking to drive outcomes for the long-term, single-channel DSPs and siloed systems are fundamentally not the answer. They might provide immediate gratification in campaign-specific performance upticks, but they won’t move the needle on long-term goals like customer lifetime value. This is why you need to consider consolidating your technologies. Hear me out…

  • You don’t need multiple DSPs to run campaigns in multiple channels. If you do this, you rob yourself of a single source of truth in terms of customer view, budgeting, insights and reporting. A single omnichannel DSP that has capabilities across standard and emerging channels like audio and the ability to ramp budgets up and down and control frequency and sequencing to run omnichannel campaigns gives you the best of both worlds. With a centralized view of performance, you can quickly change tracks in-flight to optimize towards your desired outcomes.
  • An integrated DMP+DSP solution can enable dynamic, granular segmentation, real-time analysis, ingestion of bespoke data and immediate activation of audiences in media. This gives you seamless execution and a feedback loop whereby data informs media and vice versa. Plus, you can still use standalone DMP technology alongside a combined technology to meet your specific business goals.
  • The beauty of a single technology platform—and, yes, one into which you can plug and play other systems via API or integrate other compatible technologies to custom-meet your needs—is that you can go to a single service and support team to address issues, optimize your experience and get consultative advice. You’ll get consistency across how you manage your technology and be able to make decisions that don’t run the risk of breaking one component to fix another.
  • A transparent, open, buy side-aligned platform is good for the long-term. There are big players out there with conflicts of interest in that they keep your data and insights behind walls, with unreliable measurement approaches, and also cater to the supply side and, therefore, might prioritize their own inventory over what’s best for individual marketer goals. Your technology should align with your best interests, and you should be able to look under the hood to understand how it works.

In this world where vendors are often playing both sides of the buy-side and sell-side equation, it is more critical than ever to ask the right questions when exploring potential vendor partners (regardless of which side of the ecosystem you sit on!). As a marketer, please select a transparent offering that takes no opaque position in supply and offers log-level insights into tactics performed via the platform. With brand-safety and fraud issues prevalent throughout the industry, transparency into your provider’s programmatic buying should be top of mind for all parties in the ecosystem. While avoiding “the paradox of choice” can represent a cumbersome decision upfront, those that make the call to consolidate vendors to run their full-funnel programmatic practice will be rewarded handsomely with outsized performance.


Attending Cannes for the First Time During a Season of Change

May 24, 2018 — by Karen Chan0


In just under a month, I’ll descend upon the French Riviera with tens of thousands of other digital marketing professionals, all hoping to be inspired, connect with clients and partners, and network in a gorgeous setting. As the Director of MediaMath’s Emerging Channels, I’m stoked to talk about the innovations unveiling in the industry from both a creative and technical perspective. But if I’m to be honest, I’m also excited to attend Cannes to participate in a dialogue about the challenges that have plagued us these last few years. From women in tech to consumer mistrust of advertising, there has never before been a time when there are huge, thorny issues that we can all come together to help solve, on the ground.

Making marketing people love

First, I’m looking forward to talking to my industry colleagues about how we can make consumers love marketing again, not just by better respecting their privacy and educating on data usage, but also by designing innovative use cases for current and emerging formats.

Formats such as audio and digital out of home (DOOH) can reach consumers in new ways that are more seamless and relevant to their experience. For instance, you can engage with audio when you’re at the gym, on your drive home, or cooking dinner; DOOH, while you’re at a bus shelter, touring Times Square, or the streets of cities like London. These media channels are weaving into the fabric of your life, not the other way around. And the data backs this up. People are 41 percent more receptive to advertising in public places than at home (Tume + IPG Media Lab, 2014). Plus, most DOOH placements have almost zero fraud and 100-percent viewable. I can’t wait to see the different DOOH activations advertisers will reveal at Cannes—everyone ups their game to put ads out in the area.

It’s time to talk

As a woman in tech, I have navigated my fair share of hurdles to get to where I am. I’m encouraged that more women (and men!) are coming together to evolve the dialogue on what it takes to make sure we are represented, promoted and treated fairly in the industry. From MediaMath’s own Women in Tech group to the Time’s Up/Advertising initiative being led by high-level industry executives, we’re starting to tackle these issues. Half of the MediaMathers attending Cannes from our Product team are women—it’s fantastic to have such strong representation to show our efforts to be inclusive and buoy females within our own business.

It’s a sound time, in 2018, to explore how events like Cannes influence the conversations around not just women in the industry, but also issues around transparency, better consumer experiences, and marketing as a force for good. Cannes and other high-visibility, well-attended industry events can be a catalyst for these discussions, and for change. Cannes has lived by a “work hard, play hard” mantra, but this year, the organizers have changed things, from shortening the event to consolidating the award categories, to encourage attendees to take advantage of the actual content in addition to the cocktails and parties.

Our CEO Joe Zawadzki has said in the past that programmatic is in its “gangly adolescent” phase, and it’s clear that events like Cannes are trying to mature along with the industry at large. Now people want to go for meetings and networking, and you must show up with a value-add—whether it’s a brilliant idea, a cutting-edge product, or a strategic partnership proposal. The conversations will evolve, this year and every year after. I’m happy to be a marketer in this season of change to witness the transformation in person.


The Opt-in Video Option for Making Better Mobile Ads

May 15, 2018 — by Floriana Nicastro0


GDPR. Ad blockers. Cambridge Analytica. Consumers have spoken, and their demands are clear: Advertising needs to stop being intrusive and start giving consumers more choice.

Mobile specifically has been suffering from bad advertising creative standards. Ninety percent of users’ time on mobile is spent in-app, yet almost 46 percent of mobile users consider in-app ads to be unacceptable, according to eMarketer. If nearly half of mobile formats are quite unpopular to users, what types of ads should we be making so that we can delight consumers with better experiences?

Opt-in video is slowly emerging as a fan favorite for several reasons. Also known as rewarded video, consumers watch these short video ads in exchange for a reward, such as tokens or unlocking a new level in a game. Mostly used by gaming apps, this format has been evaluated by more than 40 percent of users as the most popular, according to the same eMarketer report. Non-disruptive and non-intrusive, publishers are pursuing opt-in video as the best way to monetize their apps while maintaining a great user experience.

Waves along the programmatic shores

Opt-in video is not new, but it is only now making waves out of ad networks towards the programmatic shores. Historically used by mobile-first clients to drive app performance, this format is now attracting brands that want to boost reach to and engagement with their users. Advertisers are starting to gather all ad network activity under one programmatic platform because it helps:

  • Facilitate the activation.
  • Align their strategy across channels to focus on end users.
  • Provides additional transparency and control.

The underestimation of gaming apps

Traditional advertisers might seem hesitant about the app and gaming environments within which opt-in video is living. These are wrong perceptions the advertising industry needs to address. Here is why and how you should think about incorporating opt-in video into your mobile strategy:

  • Reach your users where they are, not where you want them to be: One-third of the time mobile users spend in-app is on non-monetized apps or in walled garden platforms, and one-third is on entertainment and gaming. Blacklisting gaming apps is saying goodbye to 30 percent of the opportunity to reach your users on their phones. In a mobile-first world, that can be an expensive choice to make.
  • Ask for user choice and they will give it back to you: With completion rates of more than 75 percent, opt-in video is driving some of the best user engagement with brands. Almost 80 percent of mobile app game players confirmed they are open to engage with a video ad for in-game rewards.
  • Control your brand safety and viewability Even if you’re previously considered in-app gaming inventory as not right for your business, opt-in video is proving to be an engaging way to drive outcomes for brands. We highly encourage advertisers to add opt-in video to their strategy and test the impact on their users.

Even if you’ve previously considered in-app gaming inventory as not right for your business, opt-in video is proving to be an engaging way to drive outcomes for brands. We highly encourage advertisers to add opt-in video to their strategy and test the impact on their users.