Digital Ad Spend Keeps Climbing; Kraft Looks Forward To Addressability

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Digital Spend Inches Closer To TV

The IAB released its Internet ad revenue report on Wednesday, revealing that digital ad spend grew 16% YoY in 2014 to total $49.5 billion. Compare that to broadcast and cable TV spend, which totaled $65.7 billion combined last year. Mobile drove digital growth, increasing 76% YoY, from $7.1 billion in 2013 to $12.5 billion last year. With next week’s NewFronts on deck, advertisers should note that online video grew 17% YoY to total $3.3 billion. Display ads grew less, up 5%, but totaled a sizable $13.5 billion in 2014. “A prominent rise in social [media], a significant mobile activity, is driving growth in advertising revenue as consumers spend more time connected,” said David Silverman, a partner at PwC. Press release.

Kraft’s Road Map

Speaking to iMedia Connection, Kraft Food’s VP of media, data and CRM, Bob Rupczynski, said the CPG firm’s future is addressability, not programmatic. “We look at the future of media as addressability,” Rupczynski said. For Kraft, he added “It’s about understanding consumers at a deep level not just collecting data [and] not just having stockpiles of information about consumers, but understanding consumers, understanding what makes them tick and then being able to address them with the right content in the right moment.” Know thy customer.

Google Does Outbrain

Google debuted a free content recommendation tool that lets AdSense publishers promote their own content on their web pages. Google says the tool, dubbed Matched content, will help publishers promote relative articles to users while also increasing visitors’ time spent on and engagement with content. According to Google’s blog post, “This new feature can help you increase your site's page views and ad impressions, and could increase your ad revenue by making it easy for your visitors to find your content.” Watch out, Taboola and Outbrain.

Tech Firms On The Hill

Tech firms are ramping up their lobbying spend and (no surprise) Google is the biggest spender, with $5.5 million “invested” this quarter. Google has steadily increased its lobbying spend since mid-2011, and “has spent on average at least a million dollars each month in areas both central to its business, such as online advertising and security, and tangential to it, such as international tax reform and drone technology,” according to Techworld. Apple spent $1.2 million in 2015’s first quarter, a jump on its 4Q14 $1.2 million DC bill. Amazon also increased its Washington budget by 14%, spending $1.91 million in Q1. Meanwhile, Facebook cut its lobbying budget by 12% to $2.4 million, and Microsoft’s budget dipped 9% to $1.9 million.

Mobile Video Showing Promise

Take this with grain of salt: YouTube cites joint research with Ipsos MediaCT that claims viewers are 1.4 times more likely to watch ads on mobile devices than on PCs or TVs, and 1.8 times more likely to share videos on mobile. As Re/code’s Peter Kafka points out, this is “not a coincidence: The world’s biggest video player now generates more than half of its traffic from mobile.” But while the problems are apparent – “Ads are the things keeping you away from the stuff you actually want to see” – platforms are eager to seize any data that helps them bridge the gap between rising mobile traffic and lagging mobile ad revenue.

Shrinking The Black Box

Ad firms, and the demand side of the exchange world in general, might start to feel a squeeze from agency partners. The number of vendors servicing agencies has risen dramatically in recent years, but a variety of market pressures may consolidate that space. “Agency executives say it’s growing increasingly complicated and unnecessary to manage that many relationships, and they are now attempting to streamline the number of digital ad partners they work with,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Agencies have long been uncomfortable with the opacity of the programmatic marketplace, and vendors now face powerhouses like Google, Facebook and AOL offering full-service advertising solutions.

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