Tag Archives: Yahoo

The Changing Face of Performance Display – the rise of Ad Exchanges

The digital media landscape is changing rapidly. “Why” I hear you ask? Well the short and simple answer is the economics of supply and demand, meets technical and mathematical innovation. Combined this with clients increasingly demanding more accountability out of their media spend, with increased knowledge about campaign performance metrics of post click and post view conversion attribution and we have a major force driving change.

The Industry’s answer to this is the advent of digital media exchanges which is in itself a major game changer, but more on that later.

Lets start of the supply side of the digital market. Anyone in the know, understands that the amount of amount of digital impressions available, is now almost infinite. This is due to a number of factors, but principally the explosion of social media where supply is endless and behavior is sticky. Think Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Tweet image sites like YFrog .com, Flicker, YouTube etc etc the list is endless. Secondly the major publishers struggle to have 100% impression sell through rates via their traditional sales channels and you have a considerable amount of unsold remnant impression inventory. So in simple terms over supply.

With infinite inventory and limited demand, the value of an impression is fast approaching zero. Not a fact most major publishers generally want the industry to know.

Up until now most of this low value high volume inventory has been sold at next to nothing rates to the traditional Performance Networks, that package up “Performance Solutions” where they factor the amount of impressions required to hit a client performance guarantee like a CPC pr CPA. Most of the CPA deals though are heavily weighted towards post view conversion metrics somewhere between 95% to 99%, which in itself is questionable from a true DR perspective. These buys are also “Blind” where a client has little or no choice on the sites their ads appear on and there is no transparency across higher performing parts of a network, so effectively not allowing a client the opportunity to optimize and refine their performance media buy and minimize wastage and cookie spraying.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is most of these Performance Networks are firstly focused on maximizing their yield, where they mark up the remnant inventory they buy by a significant multiple. This allows publishers to monetize their unsold inventory at albeit a very low rate, they can hide behind a performance network and not devalue their otherwise premium inventory. Further this allows a traditional media agency the opportunity to blend performance metrics with low cost inventory, claim questionable conversions and support in some cases their otherwise ineffective digital media buys that support commissions and other high yield volume rebates.

All in all, not a very pretty picture for the advertiser.

Now the demand sides of the equation. Enter DME’s or Digital Media Exchanges. Globally we are seeing the rise and rise of the DME that allows a site owner or publisher to make freely available an amount of inventory to an ad exchange (think stock market here), where advertisers can compete and bid real time for the ability to serve an impression to a user. This can be behaviorally targeted as well (Site retargeting, Search Retargeting etc). This market mechanism allows an advertiser to rationally price the cost of digital media based on what conversion value it creates for them (CPA, ROI, ROAS, CPC etc). With the right technology, business rules of post click and impression attribution and performance conversion metrics reporting an advertiser can now maximize what parts of a network or what ad format works best for them on their terms due to complete network and performance transparency.

2010 looks like it will bring major change to the digital media landscape. In the USA, Google is starting to push their DoubleClick network heavily with real-time bidding and an API due for release we believe before June. Yahoo! is starting to push RMX (Right Media Exchange) a little harder too. Early indications are the exchange based media buys are resulting in a 50% cost reduction in the eCPM advertisers have been achieving, compared with the traditional blind Performance Network buy, with increased conversion based value metrics as well. The exchange mechanism is also starting to extend beyond the traditional IAB approved ad formats with reports of video ad exchanges also launching in the USA.

Now, I’m not pretending this is the total solution in the digital media landscape. There is still a roll for premium based CPM buys as part of a digital brand campaign. I see Ad Exchanges as an extra digital DR element to compliment premium buys, drive the economics of digital performance harder and gain incremental impressions and conversions for the advertiser in a transparent, rational, data driven way. It is the power of search maths applied to display markets.

Double Click

Yahoo!'s Right Media Exchange

A view of the Australian Ad Market..

AU accessible digital inventory

Any of you who know me, understand how passionate I am about this with my strongly held belief that this will be the dominant media buying mechanism across all media in the next 3 to 5 years, particularly around the burgeoning IP TV markets.

In essence the power is shifting from media and network owner to advertiser with the benefit of:

  • Complete transparency across network performace
  • Complete transparency across post click and post view conversion
  • Rationally priced media, based on the value it actually creates – not how it supports commission deals, incentives etc
  • Performance based media buys with prime media cost savings in the vicinity of 50%+

Downstream Marketing in Australia is launching the country’s first biddable display capability in conjunction with Efficient Frontier in California, using their seats on the ad exchanges to access the available inventory targeting AU based eyeballs across sites globally including AU based site inventory.


Economics of the Superbowl & Search Marketing


We all know the Superbowl is famous for advertising, it is the single biggest event or forum where the great North American ad agencies can flout their talent strategically and creatively to a reported audience of over a billion people. Clients like Pepsi, E-Trade, Sony Pictures, Budweiser and Audi (to name but a few) spend upwards of USD$3M (AUD$4.651M) a spot to engage an audience and create an impact for their brand or product. With an audience of well over 100m alone in North America, cost (think USD$3M+ for the TVC, plus media) and you’d think in today’s world of integration every brand would be seeking to leverage the event and extend the engagement potential of such an expensive and potentially high yield opportunity…yes?

Well unfortunately the answer is NO for some of the brands that took part in the Superbowl. Some major brands missed the opportunity to drive people on-line and extend the brand experience from TV to digital, one of the easiest forms of integration that delivers a significant punch for an advertiser.

A cost of entry in the “Big Ideas” business is a micro-site these days, at least a 2 second URL at the end of the TVC, or if you’ve woken up to the consumer of the 21st Century maybe even a Search program with a simple keyword that relates creatively to the idea.

The benefits:

  1. Extended brand immersion / experience / time with the brand
  2. Extension of the creative idea into a more personal self directed environment
  3. A captured profile, conversion or viral element etc – you choose
  4. A proxy for the effectiveness of the media placement / creative idea (i.e. what % of the audience did you engage within 24 / 48 / 72 hrs etc)
  5. An amplified campaign with a greater ROI for a marginal increase in investment.

Adage reports only one in five (circa 20%) of advertisers directed viewers with a specific call to action in the TVC, miraculously the highest in the past five years. Conversely, Gartner reports 65% of advertisers did construct specific Search strategies to leverage the opportunity (up around 20% on last year).

The reported Search integration winners included E-Trade, Cash4Gold, Frosted Flakes, CareerBuilder, Diet Pepsi Max, GoDaddy and Pepsi. The losers; Budweiser, Chase Bank, Denny’s, Pixar, Vizio, “Year One,” “Angels & Demons,” Taco Bell, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Heineken, “Transformers 2” and Coca Cola, they missed it by a mile.

Here’s how Super Bowl advertisers ranked based on the change in Daily Reach on Super Bowl Sunday.


Download the full TNS report on Superbowl effectiveness here.

In simple terms the failure to think of constructing a Search strategy around a specific creative idea / execution had a high probable  opportunity cost. Think of driving just 0.5% of your available audience on-line – 500,000 users @ est. $0.45 / click is a small additional marginal investment of $225k. Maybe less than 2.5% of the total TVC program cost.   Scale this at 1%, 1.5% and the opportunity cost is significant and the potential ROI is off the chart. The equivalent cost to generate that audience through traditional digital media would be 20 to 40 times the cost.

Here in Australia, this level of thinking hasn’t even yet started to permeate advertiser or agency thinking. Connecting Search to ATL activity is seen as bleeding edge, let alone including a specific keyword as the CTA in an execution. Google’s research indicates on average only 2% of consumers can recall a campaign URL as a CTA , vs. 55% from a specific keyword. Good news is there is a massive first mover advantage in this space.

View the winners & losers below and just think how easy it would have been to construct a great Search program & maybe even incorporate a keyword as a CTA. Lets hope we see this soon in Australia.

Brands that hit it!

Cash for Gold


Frosted Flakes



Brands that missed it!



Movie – Angels & Demons

Bud Light


Economics of site design

Today it seems every integrated campaign has a micro-site, as it should. Having a great digital experience that consumers can navigate to increases brand engagement, understanding, preference, consideration and should provide entertainment or a compelling experience that enhances a brand or products success. On-line success can be defined by a multitude of different metrics or on-line success events. The real question is how to create a disproportional impact from a creative idea, media budget or campaign mechanic.

What I find surprising though today are the number of sites that can’t be found by consumers through Search engines. The offending culprit all to often is bad site design, a lack of understanding in how the Search engines index and rank sites and more often then not a digital creative directors complete obsession with flash, justified by “creative priorities” outweighing effectiveness goals. The truth of the matter though is creativity and consumer experience does not have to preclude a sites ability to found and indexed.

Why is Search so important?

Like it or not, Search is the primary way consumers choose to navigate the web. In Australia more than 90% of consumers find new sites through Search engines, not expensive banner ads or sponsored emails with very high CPC’s and low CTR’s. Having to rely on expensive, low yielding digital media makes a campaigns life span finite and limits reaching the heights of ROI.

Search engines are also the easiest point of interaction for consumers, “I see an ad (TV, print, outdoor, on-line content, work of mouth – WOM etc) and I go straight to a query box and get exactly what I asked for. Search engines provide engaged, relevant results for engaged consumers when they are actively seeking out specific information. Search (both SEO & SEM) is also the lowest cost channel to engage consumers. Effectiveness studies, has proved time & time again that Search is 10 to 15  times more cost efficient and creates more value than digital display or other types of digital media.

Even if the channel planner has been insightful enough to include paid Search (SEM / PPC) the campaign will suffer from a low quality score as the site will not be able to be spidered, indexed etc and this leads to a poor quality scores from the Search engines. This then results in artificially high CPC’s and will burn budget very quickly. The whole quality score issue though is a topic for post, so more on that later.

The Answer

Ensure any new site build is built in a HTML with flash elements embedded within site. Also make it a mandatory for the site have a full HTML back up version for non flash users (even though flash penetration is 97%+). Also ensure all sites have HTML site maps the spiders and bots can read and index.

This will allow:

  1. Site to be indexed properly for natural Search purposes, if it is full flash it NEVER will be indexed. Take advantage to the low / no cost traffic available. Remember around 70% of consumers click on natural Search rankings and 90%+ of all consumers use Search engines to navigate the web. You do the math, this is a big audience you can’t neglect through bad process, development skills, creative priorities and decision making.
  2. Better SEM / Paid Search results as the site will be awarded a positive quality score – your budgets will go considerably further, resulting in larger more engaged audiences and better ROI for your total campaign. Great for effectiveness case studies and your client will think your working in their best interest, not yours or the media agency’s.
  3. Take advantage of the massive trends in mobile device web surfing. As devices such as the iPhone get better and better, penetration increases and mobile data costs fall more consumers will be both Searching and visiting sites away from the desktop. Complete flash sites can’t be read on any mobile device currently. Take advantage of this huge consumer trend and don’t neglect your traffic.
  4. You to justify larger creative / development budgets because your campaign will be more effective. Break the 80/20 rule where the majority of a client budget goes into costly inefficient media. The fact is you can probably do an even better job with 50% of the budget going into performance media and Search, while allocating the remainder to a better more engaging site.

Great examples of Campaign Micro-sites

Optus Broadbandmenu.com

Optus Broadband Menu

Optus Broadband Menu

Optus Broadband Menu

Optus Broadband Menu

What the Search Engines can see

Optus Broadband - Search Engines can index content

Optus Broadband - Search Engines can index content

Macquarie Bank - Platinum Credit Card

Macquarie Bank - Platinum Credit Card

Macquarie Bank - newformofcurrency.com

Macquarie Bank - newformofcurrency.com

Macquarie Bank – discoverable by Search Engines

What the Saech Engines can see

What the Search Engines can see

Room for Improvement

The Lynx Effect

Search Engine – Google Snipett (no site description)

Lynx - Googles page description

Lynx - Googles page description

What we see

The Lynx Effect

The Lynx Effect

What Search Engines can see & index

Lynx Effect - Search Engines see nothing

Lynx Effect - Search Engines see nothing

Rexona Million Balls

Search Engine page description



What the Search Engines see

millionballsmission.com.au - Invisable to Search Engines

millionballsmission.com.au - Invisible to Search Engines

You be the judge on what makes more sense from a marketing ROI perspective.