Native And Viewability; Facebook's Demographic Dominance

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See No Native

When GroupM and Condé Nast announced that the former’s clients would only pay for 100% viewable ads, a lot of people were stunned. But the decision is less radical than it initially appeared. Speaking at Ad Age’s Digital Conference in New York, Condé Nast’s SVP of digital sales, Lisa Valentino, clarified that native ads don’t count. “If one of [GroupM's] clients is doing a huge sponsorship on one of our sites, it may not be 100% in view," she said. "That's not the intention of this relationship." But GroupM’s chief digital officer, Rob Norman, added that 100% viewability is possible. “The publisher community and agency community will coalesce around a very high bar for viewability,” he said, “and it will happen very quickly." Ad Age has more. Elsewhere, Condé Nast reported its “best quarter ever” for digital audience growth, which rose 56% YoY to total 76.7 million adults per month on average.

Facebook Frequency Caps

"Very few companies have the ability to target user demographics with the accuracy that Facebook has,” James Curran, CEO of ad tech firm STAQ, tells CNBC. “I think that they are just going to be ahead of the pack for a long time." Facebook’s got all the demographic and behavioral data to target cross-device, but its ad frequency caps continue to irritate advertisers. "A lot of advertisers want maximum reach," added Laura Martin, an entertainment and Internet analyst at Needham & Co. "Mark is basically saying … he wants to have higher-priced ads to more targeted segments, so that he can both grow his top line – or even keep it the same – but have fewer ads served."

OTT Relearning Linear Tricks

Sony’s digital video service Crackle is debuting more than just new programming at this week’s upfront event. Crackle will change its viewer interface, the WSJ reports. Videos will autoplay, and “the company will now stream video constantly in a linear fashion. Depending on when a person logs onto the app, a different show or movie will be playing.” As part of that constant stream, Crackle is prioritizing growing its ad biz. “Give us your 30-second spots, and you can feel good about them being watched,” said Eric Berger, EVP of digital networks for Sony Pictures Television and general manager of Crackle. “We have elegant ad solutions and no issues with viewability,” he added.

Ad Fraud Still A Plague

Over a third of web traffic is estimated to be fraudulent, which is an ongoing headache for publishers and advertisers. Digiday publishes a roundup of major European news outlets and ad-buying execs’ thoughts on fraud. BBC Worldwide SVP Tom Bowman says ridding the industry of fraud is akin to “getting rid of malaria.” RTE Digital’s commercial director, Connor Mullen, adds, “It’s a bit like chasing drug cheats: They’re always a couple steps ahead.” Collectively, the media buyers and ad tech providers that were interviewed see new metrics taking over to replace CPMs, which they say incentivizes fraud.

Second-Generation Native

When native advertising first rolled around, some publishers worried about preserving editorial integrity. But as readers continue to be nonplussed by the addition of sponsored content to their media diet, more are saying that native is here to stay and will continue to evolve. Adotas notes, “Social media marketing is helping to blur the lines even further.” The question isn’t whether native ads end up traded in an exchange (this already exists), but whether the concept itself becomes standard or another facet of content marketing.

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