This Week: March 27th-April 3rd

This Week: March 27th-April 3rd

Happy Friday, Bidtellectuals! We are going to try something different – a weekly update on the industry since it’s ever-evolving. 

First things first, Sales Director DJ Virtue offers messaging suggestions for brands in this new climate.  Bidtellectuals share their favorite recipes and I offer some advice to work from home.  Oh, and did you see Midwest Director of Sales Janelle Watanabe made the Chicago Tribune for her block party workouts with neighbors? What an inspiration.

This week, a record 6.6 Million Americans sought unemployment benefits (WSJ). Roughly four billion people – half of humanity – have been ordered to stay home Friday (NYT).  Between the weeks of 3/12 to 3/19, Verizon saw web and internet traffic climb 20% (CNET). Still, according to IAB, digital ad spend is down 33% and traditional media is down 39%.

In good news, sweatpants have now been declared a major fashion trend according to WWD, as sales surge. “Will I Ever Wear Pants Again?” asks The Cut. Maybe not, but here’s inspiration for “Zoom Ready Tops” from Vogue so you can look fabulous on top but comfy on the bottom (no one has to know). For some culture, SXSW announced that its entire 2020 film lineup will stream for free on Amazon Prime Video, according to AdWeek, and here’s a list of 13 uplifting documentaries coming to Netflix from the New York Times

The State of the Industry:

  • Digital ad spend is down 33% and traditional media is down 39% (IAB)
  • 24% of buy-side decision makers paused advertising spend while 46% adjusted it for the remainder of Q1 and Q2 (IAB)
  • Adjusting for the new COVID-19 impact, eMarketer expects US total media ad spending to increase by 8.7% in 2020, and US digital ad spending to rise by 16.7% over the same period. (eMarketer)
  • The majority (63%) of advertisers have already changed the messages they are touting in-market (IAB): 
    • Mission-based marketing (+42%)
    • Cause-related marketing (+41%) 
  • More than a third (35%) of advertisers are adjusting their in-market tactics (IAB):
    • Audience targeting (+38%)
    • OTT / CTV device targeting (+35%) 

Investment Shifts Across Verticals:

  • Verticals Seeing an Increase in Ad Spend (PubMatic):
    • News: 52% Increase
    • Hobbies & Interests: 31% Increase
    • Technology & Computing: 14% Increase 
  • Verticals Seeing a Decrease in Ad Spend (PubMatic): 
    • Political Ad Spending: 72% Decrease
    • Travel: 65% Decrease
    • Sports: 40% Decrease 
  • 83% of respondents within the travel and transportation industry have either freezed hiring or laid off employees.  (Candor
  • 77% of respondents within the retail industry have either freezed hiring or laid off employees  (Candor
  • Forrester has a webinar The Impact of COVID-19 on Financial Services on April 7th. 

Publishers Feel the Burn of Coronavirus Blocking:

  • “As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate news cycles the world over, advertisers have been quick to add terms related to the virus to their keyword blocklists to avoid any potential brand safety fallout from appearing adjacent to grisly articles. But entire news-site homepages are also inadvertently being blocked as a result — which is even interfering with inventory that was directly sold by publishers’ internal sales teams.” (Digiday)
  • “New data reveals how a major company’s COVID-19 ad keyword blocking starves the news media during a global pandemic.” High Block Rates have been reported across news sites like Business Insider and Buzzfeed News; reporting by Integral Ad Science saw 36% block rate in March on the New York Times; The Guardian saw 50% total block rate on their site in March. (Buzzfeed

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Shifting With the Times and How Brands Can Help

Shifting With the Times and How Brands Can Help

People worldwide are caring for loved ones, experiencing financial distress and making sure their families are safe and provided for.  Corporations have transitioned their workforces to the homes and apartments of millions across the globe. At the same time, marketers are tasked with ensuring the future health of their business. When thinking about brand messaging, there’s a fine line between engaging consciously and pushing an agenda. The answer isn’t to ignore the problem, but work within this new world.  

The Realities of the Current Media Landscape:

Traditional advertising channels that brands normally use to engage simply won’t reap the same reach and results due to current events.  OOH is challenged with stay at home mandates and major live TV events are being cancelled globally. As millions are getting used to this new reality within their homes and apartments, digital and internet connected devices have become the farthest reaching and most consistent avenues for reach.

Looking at the digital advertising industry holistically, we see two key changes happening:

(1)  A surge in traffic due to increased internet usage, creating more overall digital ad supply.

(2)  A decrease in ad buying demand as travel, entertainment, sports, airline, hotels, hospitality, and tourism digital spending seemingly grinds to a halt.

Major Internet service providers like Verizon are reporting huge spikes in device and internet usage thanks to home office work and social isolation. Between the weeks of 3/12 to 3/19, Verizon saw web and internet traffic climb 20%, streaming services increase 12%, and online gaming skyrocket 75%, while social media usage didn’t change compared with the prior week. (CNET).

As more inventory becomes available and fewer brands are competing to drive prices up, this creates a unique price efficiency situation within digital and programmatic ad buying channels. Bidtellect ran an analysis of the publisher inventory accessed and bought across 30+ SSPs:

From February 2020 to March 2020 alone, we’ve seen a 9.59% decrease in average impression cost. When Comparing March figures to January, that decrease jumps further to 17.1%.

Looking back at 2019 was a different story, where we saw a 15.79% increase from February to March.

Comparing March 2019 to March 2020 we see a 10.6% decrease in impression costs.

Meanwhile, comparing February 2019 to February 2020 we saw a 40.35% increase in impression costs, which can be attributed to overall increases in demand for programmatic media and shifts from 2nd price to 1st price auctions.

This means: While seasonal and monthly trends usually play a role here, there is certainly an uncharacteristic drop in cost when looking at February to March MoM & YoY – most logically due to an influx of total impressions and decrease in total demand. While digital ad investments will certainly go further today, how do marketers go about messaging in an ethical, brand-safe, and impactful way?  

How Your Messaging Can Weather the Storm

How do marketers go about messaging in an ethical, brand-safe, and impactful way? There’s a fine line between engaging consciously and coming off as insensitive or product pushing.

(1) Think of Your Employees & Brand Advocates First 
Is your brand currently helping its employees through tough situations (Kohls), helping schools (Zoom) or citizens nation-wide (AT&T/Comcast)? People today view brands as living, breathing entities, so sharing earned or owned content that demonstrates how they’re doing their part to support, inspire & help can go a long way towards building brand equity.

(2) Create Valuable Content
The internet is oversaturated with COVID-19 messaging. People are actively looking for positive and helpful content to consume and share. Can your financial product save people money to support their families? Can your B2B solution provide efficiencies for companies that are hurting right now? Distribute effective and timely digital content across Native formats, while OLV and CTV are excellent avenues to drive engagement with helpful video content.

(3) Refresh Your Creative
Ensure the tone of creative messaging and imagery is one of empathy. Are you taking into account the thoughts and struggles of the everyday American? Can you succinctly communicate how you can help them or provide value during this uncertain time?

(4) Brand Safety
Ensure brand safe and contextually relevant publisher environments.  Companies like IAS/Admantx offer natural language processing technology that has the semantic intelligence at the page URL level to understand and block undesirable contextual environments. Remember not to go too far in blocking. Almost every news site is reporting on coronavirus right now.

(5) Plan for the Future and a World Beyond COVID-19
While the health and economic impacts on individuals in countries across the world cannot be downplayed, one thing is certain: this too shall pass. eMarketer is “cautiously optimistic” in their latest COVID-19 forecast that a potential global economic downturn could also be short-lived, mitigating negative impacts on the worldwide ad market on a full-year basis.

BOTTOM LINE: The brands that will make the greatest impact and weather the storm are those that can get positive, educational, and valuable content in front of people. Content that will educate them on how they can improve their current and foreseeable financial situation, provide stability for their families, improve their business- and professional lives, positively enhance their health and mental state, and empower them to excel in these uncertain times.  

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5 Key Takeaways from Bidtellect’s 2019 Report

5 Key Takeaways from Bidtellect’s 2019 Report

The important trends of 2019 to prepare you for a successful 2020.

Bidtellect’s Native Report was created to provide advertisers with important insights and trends in the digital advertising industry – specifically, Native Advertising.

Check out our 5 Key Takeaways

To download the full report, click here

1. Dynamic Goal Setting Leads to Highest ROI

Dynamic, multiple goal setting for maximum optimization consistently led to highest ROI.

Multiple Goal Types (measured as a goal type itself) Outperformed CTR by 32% in 2019

Multiple Goal Types’  average revenue increased 38% from 2018 to 2019 and increased 40% from Q1 to Q4

2. Contextual Targeting is More Than an Answer to Privacy: It’s a Performance Tool

Contextual targeting – long part of Bidtellect’s capability wheelhouse – is gaining value for more than a privacy solution, but a tool to close the engagement gap.

One client saw 88.3% VCR using contextual targeting.

Bidtellect announced a deepened partnership with Just Media, emphasizing the use of contextual-driven decisioning to reach decision-makers. 

3. Video Ad Revenue is Growing Steadily

 

Use of video – and its revenue – is steadily growing.

Completion Rate (Video) as a Goal Type increased in revenue by 19% from 2018 to 2019.

Video held a top revenue spot across all four quarters in 2019.

4. Creative Assets Are KEY According to Whopping Request Growth

 

Greater value is being placed on creative assets that factor in art + data to increase performance.

From 2018 to 2019 creative requests to Bidtellect’s in-house creative team, [b]+studio, increased by 134% in 2019 

Education – the vertical with the highest growth – increased by a whopping 446%.

Best practice tip: Always Bring Value. Make sure a “call to action” is in your copy description.

5. Don’t Forget About Handheld Devices

 

Meaningful, prolonged engagement across devices stayed consistent and comparable over 2019, proving the equal importance of content consumption across devices.

Average CTR for Tablet jumped to an average of 0.35% in 2019 – up from 0.28% in 2018.

Mobile’s average CTR from 2018 to 2019 didn’t change: it stayed the highest of any device at 0.35%.

Download the Full Report here.

About the Report:

Bidtellect’s platform processes over 55 billion Native auctions daily across 58 million distinctly targetable placements, and this number continues to grow quarter over quarter. We analyze data from the start of an auction through post-click consumer activity including but not limited to the metrics captured in this report.

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Tips to Work from Home Effectively

Tips to Work from Home Effectively

As the world settles into a new uncertain existence, many are now working from home (or working from “quarantine”). A new normal, yes, but infinitely luckier than the thousands who face unemployment due to business closures. This piece is for those lucky enough to still work even from home, eager to maintain productivity, meet their professional goals, and maintain a semblance of normalcy. Thanks to fellow Bidtellectuals, below are tips to “work from home” effectively from wherever your new isolated office space is. 

1. Keep a Regular Schedule 

While it’s easy to wake up when you want, saunter over to your laptop, start work in your pajamas and never take them off – it could also mean you never really “turn off” your day if you never actually signal its beginning. Work to wake up at the same time every day, change into work clothes (there are some different opinions on this, but most agree that changing clothes signals “work time” and helps motivation, not to mention video conference meetings), and maintain your regular work schedule including meetings, check-ins, even lunch times. Schedule in time for a walk or break if you are able to get outside for some fresh air, or a home workout video to get your body moving. At the end of the day, close all screens and perhaps light a candle or put on some music to signal the end of your day. Many in quarantine in China mentioned the difficulty of never “turning off” since you can technically continue working if everything is there, but your brain needs a reset to maintain productivity in the long run.

2. The Car is a Great Place to Make Call

 

Live with a partner? Roommates? Young children? Bidtellectuals recommend finding a quiet space right in your driveway – your car. A new space could refresh the mind, provide some new views of the outdoors, and it also encourages focus during conversations free from interruptions or distractions. Other recommendations included a tree house (really!) or if you’re in a city apartment, try your bathroom or bedroom. Why not! Take a fresh and open approach to meeting and working in general – it will make it a lot easier than beating yourself up or making it all a drag. 

And while we’re at it about being positive about working from home, be positive in all communication in general. As CTO Mike Conway says: “I like succinct and clear messages, but I know that the less face time I have with people, the less they know how to interpret my tone in writing. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji :D.”

3. Set Space Boundaries

 

This was a great tip from the New York Times. Make sure you create a designated office “space” in your home or apartment. If you have a home office, spruce it up (even if it’s just a quick clean) and ensure your WiFI is up-to-speed and all video conferencing capabilities are ready. If you and your partner share a home office, determine if you’ll be sharing it at all hours, what to do if the other has a call, or if you want to create a separate space for each of you. If you don’t have an office, it’s especially important to designate a desk or workspace in your home. Keep your laptop there, make sure it’s clean, and it will signal “work” time for your brain. Similarly, when you take a break, try to find a new space in your home. Consistency is key.

4. Plan Breaks and Virtual “Happy Hours”

Virtual one-on-one lunch? Virtual group happy hour? These are the new normal and YES you should schedule them! Social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak (and working from home in general) can cause a dip in mood if you don’t combat it. Actively schedule breaks or social time like you would a work commitment. Use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime (or Skype or any other free video conferencing tool) to catch up. Maybe dress up a little or put on some music to make it fun. Who says pouring a happy hour cocktail (or mocktail!) at home has to be boring? Check out this piece in the New York Times on how to throw a successful virtual happy hour. One key takeaway: too many people makes it tough to hear – now is the time for fun intimate catch ups!

5. Plan Cultural “Outings” Once a Week to the MET or Buckingham Palace

Craving some time outside? Or a taste of life before quarantine? Theaters, operas, and museums may be closed, but many are offering virtual tours or streaming. Tour Buckingham Palace in London, the Frick Museum in New York City, or the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. This piece in House Beautiful offers a list of wonderful homes and museums to virtually tour. The Metropolitan Opera will begin streaming encore presentations from their award-winning Live in HD series on the company website for the duration of their closure. All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will remain available via the homepage for 20 hours. Read more here on Gothamist.

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

Bidtellectuals Share 10 Recipes to Brighten Your Day

In this uncertain time with many now working from home, Bidtellectuals share recipes to brighten your day and make it a little easier.

Shifting With the Times and How Brands Can Help

How to adjust your digital advertising strategy to COVID-19 and the new “buyer’s market.” Education and valuable content will ultimately help brands succeed.

5 Key Takeaways from Bidtellect’s 2019 Report

Bidtellect’s Native Report provides advertisers with important insights and trends in the digital advertising industry. These are the Top 5 Takeaways.

How Contextual Targeting Puts Privacy First While Closing the Engagement Gap

How Contextual Targeting Puts Privacy First While Closing the Engagement Gap

Too good to be true? It’s not. Here’s why you need a platform that incorporates contextual targeting into your digital advertising strategy.

We’re Living in a Privacy First World

It started with GDPR. CCPA soon followed. Then Apple released its new Intelligent Tracking Prevention (IPT) in Safari placing restrictions on cookies. And most recently, Google made headlines when it announced it was doing away with third-party cookies altogether. 

Consumers are getting greater control and transparency into how their data is used. And not just once a year on Data Privacy Day – the trend of personal data empowerment is here to stay. 

Since GDPR became enforceable, the number of third-party cookies used per webpage declined from about 80 in April to about 60 in July, and the number of third-party cookies found on news websites (major advertising publishers) in Europe declined by 22%. According to a recent report by eMarketer, 30% of US companies currently comply with CCPA and 27% will be compliant sometime in 2020 (eMarketer, 2020)

But this doesn’t mean the end is in sight for real-time bidding (RTB) and all of programmatic. 

It does mean this is the beginning of a new era in digital advertising.

Contextual Targeting: More Than A Privacy Solution – A Strategy

If you’re not using a platform with contextual targeting capabilities, you’re behind. Bidding platforms can use contextual targeting to determine the value of the user and placement in the bidding process based on the information on the page, rather than the user. Understanding that we have enough information about ad space without user information means the industry can face the future of the industry with consumers’ privacy at the center of advertising strategy.

Not only are data protection standards changing, so are brands’ and clients’ unique goals. Contextual targeting – that is, targeting based on the information available of the site of the ad space, rather than user data – covers both. It’s possible to determine a unique ad space’s location, the time of day, day of the week, the size and location of the ad on the page, the site it’s on, the page of the site it’s on, and even specifics about what content is on that page. The look and feel of every single ad placement is unique, and can be correlated even more closely with user behavior.

Consider the recent announcement of the deepened partnership between Just Media and Bidtellect. Just Media initially noticed gaps in the B2B market, with DSPs often unable to penetrate the Native Advertising space and offer tangible analytics on engagements and conversions. With Adblocking and “banner blindness” becoming increasingly prevalent, content advertising with strong contextual-driven decisioning offers an alternative to close the engagement gap. 

“Intent has become an important part of our B2B campaigns across clients,” said Kathryn Nassar, Media Account Manager at Just Media. “Most of the data segments that judge intent do so by monitoring content registration, downloads, views and general consumption against certain topics. With Bidtellect’s contextual targeting we can strategically deliver ads next to the content helping to power that data, complementing our other intent strategies and delivering deep engagement with our content.”

Bidtellect’s contextual optimization capabilities enabled content to go beyond where standard banner and display ads can reach: in front of the eyes of decision-makers like CTOs and CIOs for meaningful engagement.

Consider this case study: a major university used contextual targeting to reach students, ultimately landing 88.3% VCR for the month. Contextual targeting allowed them to target based on location and categories like news and business, and science was ultimately the best-performing contextual category.

The value of contextual targeting cannot be understated. Context-driven optimization capabilities combined with post-click engagement measurement, creative services, unapparelled scale in consumer-friendly ad environments were all developed to drive performance for advertisers – without the reliance of traditional cookie-based advertising approaches. 

The result? Advertising intended to provide value to the end consumer. Not annoy them. 

It’s Data Privacy Day: So What?

It’s Data Privacy Day: So What?

Happy Data Privacy Day! This is a very real day with a very real purpose: to shed light on data protection and privacy. Today the industry unites to empower users and businesses to implement better standards for data usage and processing. Here’s what it means.

What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day began as Data Protection Day. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe officially signed it into existence in April of 2006 to be celebrated each year on January 28th. 

Why the January 28th? It commemorates the January 28th, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

According to The Council of Europe’s official website,

This date corresponds to the anniversary of the opening for signature of the Council of Europe’s Convention 108 for the Protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data which has been for over 30 years a cornerstone of data protection, in Europe and beyond.

Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called the “Privacy Day” outside Europe.”

While data privacy may be in the news constantly today, at the holiday’s first inception the everyday person still didn’t fully grasp how their data was being used and to what extent.

The aim of the Data Protection/Privacy Day is to bring awareness to consumers about this process: how their personal data is collected and processed and what their rights are with respect to this processing. Not to mention risks from unfair usage to completely illegal processing and selling.

Now, it’s an international effort to empower individuals and business to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust.

How Is the Industry Measuring Up?

Today, data protection and privacy is at the forefront of all digital conversations. Here’s how recent enforcement like CCPA and GDPR have encouraged change:

A November 2019 Egress survey found that 93% of US IT decision-makers said they had at least taken some steps to comply with privacy regulation such as CCPA or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (eMarketer, 2020)

At least half of respondents said they had taken steps like improving their use of existing security technologies, investing in new technologies and improving their data handling practices (Egress via eMarketer, 2020)

30% of US companies currently comply with CCPA and 27% will be compliant sometime in 2020 (eMarketer, 2020)

59% of US IT Security decision-makers improved teh use of existing security technologies in and 56% improved data handling practices in 2019.

Since GDPR became enforceable, the number of third-party cookies used per webpage declined from about 80 in April to about 60 in July, and the number of third-party cookies found on news websites (major advertising publishers) in Europe declined by 22%. (eMarketer, 2018)

What Can You Do?

For digital advertisers, it’s impossible to ignore the effects of greater privacy measures. It has and will continue to affect the digital advertising industry and encourage new strategies to take hold.

According to Forbes’s 2020 predictions for Content Marketing: “Privacy and limiting personal consumer information will play an even greater role in 2020. Delivering relevant, high-value content can no longer be reliant on personal data and cookies alone; sophisticated tools like contextual targeting will become invaluable. Understanding that we have enough information without user information means we can face the future of the industry with far less fear. – Lon Otremba, Bidtellect CEO.” (Forbes, 2020)

A side note on Contextual Targeting and Digital Advertising

Bidding platforms can use contextual targeting to determine the value of the user and placement in the bidding process based on the information on the page, rather than the user.

Understanding that we have enough information about ad space without user information means we can face the future of the industry with consumers’ privacy in mind.

The digital future is privacy-minded. Today we celebrate users taking back their data. 

 

Read more:

What You Need to Know About CCPA

Bidtellect’s Brand Safety and Fraud Protection