Comscore and Microsoft Plotting The Digital GRP; The Secondary Channel For Publishers; Akamai On Behavioral Ad Network Acerno

The Digital GRP Starring Comscore and MicrosoftHere's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Digital GRPs for Brand Marketers

Comscore and Microsoft announced today that they are "develop[ing] a digital media planning solution, named the Reach and Frequency Planner (RF Planner), which will allow brand advertisers to predict reach, frequency and audience composition at the ad placement level." Is this the move toward GRPs that Comscore and Microsoft have been talking about separately in the blogosphere, lately? (Chairman Gian Fulgoni on the Comscore blog. Microsoft's Young Bean Soft on the Microsoft Advertising blog.). Diabolical! Nevertheless, a solution that makes brand marketers more comfortable with digital purchases and mirrors a traditional system might work in bringing the almighty brand dollar online. The release notes, "The RF Planner will generate a series of optimized digital media plans that forecast target reach, frequency and gross rating points (GRPs) at the ad placement level."

The Secondary Channel Cometh

Rob Beeler of AdMonsters discusses strategy for monetizing inventory which includes developing a secondary channel of inventory beyond the proverbial "premium" and "remnant." Read more. With AdMonsters upcoming conference in Portland, this subject will likely be important for attending publishers.

Acerno Meets Akamai's Ecommerce Clients

Akamai reported Q2 2009 earnings yesterday. Though profit was up, shares fell. A common Wall Street theme as good news is never good enough to overcome market expectations.

Acerno, the behavioral ad network purchased late last year by Akamai, was discussed several times on the conference call with analysts yesterday. In Q4 of 2008, Acerno drove 1/2 of a sequential increase in revenue. According to CFO J.D. Sherman, the Acerno momentum is expected to continue as Akamai leverages Acerno with its Ecommmere clients. From the Seeking Alpha call transcript:

"I think that Acerno is going to drive part of the sequential increase again this year now that it’s part of ADS (Advertising Decision Solutions) and part of our ecommerce vertical. It’s because that business – 40% of their business of the year comes in Q4. So I think that will be an important part. Remember we only had two out of the three months of Acerno, and that’s a growing business."

Later, CEO Paul Sagan discussed the opportunity with existing Akamai clients (pre-Acerno purchase) and Acerno:

"Introducing, if you will, the acerno business was the predictive and the behavioral targeting advertising into our customer base of ecommerce customers where acerno had almost no penetration, and we are having the very same conversations and hopefully lining up some of those larger offline commerce customers to be strong ADS customers in the back half of the year when they open up their advertising budgets."

Interesting to see that Akamai believes seasonality and, consequently, strength in the upcoming 4th quarter lies ahead in spite of lingering concerns about recessions, depressions and media-inspired, wholesale deprivation.

CEO Paul Sagan commented on prospects for making coin with online video services:

"The monetization models for these new businesses are still in their earlier stages. You’ve undoubtedly heard the sentiment from a lot of people that the business of online video has not yet become as profitable as it needs to be for many companies. The discussions we are having with many customers these days reflect this challenge. They all want to talk about how to scale their online efforts for the surge and demand that they see coming. At the same time, they also have a very real near-term budget constraint that aren’t going away. These budget constraints aren’t going away fast enough in this recession."

Playing Web Games With Ads

PaidContent's Tameka Kee digs into the details of an eMarketer forecast (here on AdWeek... stay with me now) which says that advertisers believe Web Games are a great place for their messages. eMarketer estimates $258 million in spend going up to $511 million in 5 years.

eMarketer on Games

Yahoo! + Microsoft = ???

The fallout of yesterday's Yahoo!/Microsoft search partnership continues in the press. Alarm:clock says that Microsoft "outdealt" Yahoo and their CEO Carol Bartz:

"Considering that Yahoo owned 19 percent of the search market, more than double that of Microsoft, we would have thought that the big talking CEO Carol Bartz would have been able to broker a better deal with the smaller search rival. And it doesn't help that Ms. Bartz had previously said that any deal would require “boatloads of money”. Where's the money Bartz?"

Ouch. Read more here.

AdAge's Michael Learmonth and Abbey Klassen cover the story, too, and noted that Bartz said on the conference call yesterday that she abandoned an upfront deal "in favor of a sweetened percentage of search revenue and cost savings over the 10-year deal." Not very sexy for shareholders in the near term, and we'll have to see if it works out over the long haul. Overall, if there is a downside, it's that this deal is going to take FOREVER to close - up to 2 years - with Microsoft providing search infrastructure for Yahoo! going forward.

Where is advertising going to be in 2 years? Will this deal even matter anymore?

On the display front, in spite of all the rumors, it seems that for now, the two companies have no plans to integrate display. No mention of how search retargeting will evolve but it would seem that Bing will eventually become the new database for display ad search retargeters. The only display nugget from the Microsoft release, "Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force."

Bartz added on the call that the deal "allows us to focus on other aspects of our business like growing the users, growing the audience, and growing mobile, growing display."

Can't Get Enough of AOL News

Time Warner reported second-quarter results for 2009 yesterday. As Zach Rodgers notes on ClickZ, display advertising, as well as search, took hit and partially explains why Tim Armstrong suggested a few days ago that layoffs are possible in the next 60 days. On the conference call with analysts yesterday according to Seeking Alpha, Time Warner CEO said:

"Advertising revenues continued to experience pressure across display, page search, and the third-party network, falling 21% in the quarter. AOL media, which includes both display and page search, declined 19%. Display was down in line with our overall advertising revenues due to continued pricing pressure as a larger proportion of inventory was purchased through lower priced sales channels compared to a year ago."

More Earnings, More Acronyms - IAC

Barry Diller's InterActive Corp reported earnings for Q2 yesterday, too. It was a profitable quarter, better than Q1, but still less than Wall Street expected. On the earnings call, Diller commented on some of the recent ad-related news saying he believed the Yahoo!/MSFT was good for all parties and that Tim Armstrong seemed like a good choice for AOL.

Boats and Exchanges

Cory Treffiletti chimed in on ad exchanges from his MediaPost pulpit in an article link-baited (I fell for it!) with the title, "Why Ad Exchanges Miss The Boat." I think he misses the boat and is thinking micro rather than macro. This new exchange trend is about the underlying ad exchange model which is allowing advertisers and publishers to optimize their buying and selling, respectively. From the demand-side perspective, new buying platforms drive ROI and eliminate waste whether they are buying from exchanges, ad networks or directly from publishers. Ultimately, it's all about driving towards a "true value" in advertising to which the exchange model will lead the digital advertising industry.

(Cory's a smart guy. I get the feeling he actually knows all this and is blowing smoke while he runs toward the exchange, buying platforms and a better deal for him and his clients. We're on to you, Cory!)

Buying Digital In The Grocery Store

From the digital out-of-home world...

According to a release, Grocery Shopping Network's reach has now expanded to "6.2 million consumers monthly and over 75 million impressions per month in the 'grocery shopping' category. This is up from just 1 million a year ago."

SoCo And The Digital Lime

From AdAge, Southern Comfort is going digital. Sure, it's not a huge budget (under $10 mil), but it's a strong brand (rim shot!) and another indication of digital gaining traction with brand marketers. AdAge reports that SoCo will be advertising on "Facebook, Spin, Fader, Pitchfork, Thrillist and Hulu."

 

Add a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>