YouTube's Engagement Plans; Programmatic TV Hurdles

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YouTube’s Rules Of Engagement

YouTube is debuting a new format for its TrueView ads. Viewers will still be able to opt out of an ad after a few seconds, but brands will have an additional element aimed at generating engagement: interactive cards that “can contain information about the brand or its products, a list of related videos or playlists from the advertiser and … links to the advertiser's website.” Whether or not it solves a problem for advertisers (engagement is a priority, after all), it definitely solves one for YouTube. The company currently gets no revenue when users skip an ad, which occurs 55% to 85% of the time, but will charge for any ads where the user engages with the new cards, regardless of whether they skip the video. Ad Age has more. Related: YouTube has confirmed plans for an ad-free subscription service. TechCrunch has that one.

Broadcasters Still Wary Of Automation

Two things are stalling programmatic TV, according to former eMediaTRADE CRO Pete Moran: technological hurdles like gateways and connectivity, and the psychology of programmatic. “What we need to hear more of from the folks in the programmatic space is how you are going to drive incremental revenue for me and not disrupt my core business,” Moran tells MediaPost. He adds, however, that programmatic is here to stay and predicts that addressability will take center stage by the end of 2015 or in early 2016.

Ramaswamy’s Mobile POV

Writing for WSJ’s CMO blog, Google’s top ad platform exec Sridhar Ramaswamy says that capitalizing on micro-moments is key to successful mobile targeting. Micro-moments, he writes, are the fleeting, “intent-rich moments where decisions are being made and preferences being shaped.” Whereas “periodic media sessions,” like hit TV shows, used to rule, marketers must now find their consumers while they’re standing in line or checking their phone while they cook. “In these micro-moments, consumer expectations are higher than ever,” he writes, adding that as marketers continue to refine their funnel, they won’t have a second shot if they miss that first moment.

Leaving Rocket Fuel

Rocket Fuel VP of global partnerships Dave Skinner has left the building, the latest in a string of exits that includes CEO George John and former X+1 CEO John Nardone. Skinner, who ran business development at X+1 for three years before Rocket Fuel bought that company, is moving to LA. More on changes at Rocket Fuel.

Commerce Boom

China’s ecommerce market, which has been on a tear for years and neck and neck with the US market, climbed above $2 trillion in 2014, according to data released Wednesday by the China E-Commerce Research Center. That includes a 50%-plus expansion in online retail YoY. The strongest signs may come from mobile, International Business Times reports, where the spread of smartphones and reliable payment services saw web transactions swell by 240% and mobile Internet users grow more than 11%. But for consumers and advertisers, concerns linger. Consumer complaints rose 21%, according to the data, and extreme competition drives up the cost of advertisers and edges out smaller online traders.

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