SQAD POD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – June 2017

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

It’s officially summer and we’re feeling the heat not only when we step outside, but also in the world of advertising. As new forms of media continue to dominate the advertising landscape with quick and engaging content, traditional media groups are racing to join the club. This month, we’re looking at the fusion of traditional and new platforms, the new six-second ad format, the rise of ad blockers, blockchain technology, and more.

1. Oh Snap! Time Warner Seals the Deal with Snap Inc.

In a rapidly shifting media landscape, traditional outlets are living in a constant state of worry about the future – especially in the race to capture the ever-elusive millennial market. Time Warner, in an attempt to reach the youth market, announced it will be investing $100 million in the production of micro-episodic programming and advertising on the social platform Snapchat, over the next two years. Each “episode” is expected to be three to five minutes long to leverage the media viewing trends of millennials. While this is new territory for Time Warner, this isn’t Snap’s first major video deal by any means; it has arrangements with ABC, ESPN, NBC and numerous other networks. An estimate from eMarketer says Snapchat’s ad revenue could jump 160% over last year, and be worth more than $770 million.

2. Fox Aims to Cut the Clutter with a New Six-Second Ad Format

Joining the apparent frenzy to reach the new generation of media consumers, Fox Networks Group is preparing a new six-second ad format for its digital platforms (and eventually traditional TV), mirroring an ad format recently adopted by Google’s YouTube. The ads are scheduled to roll out across digital and on-demand platforms, giving users no option to skip them. Why six-seconds? When YouTube first introduced the condensed ads, they found six to be the sweet spot – long enough to send a memorable message, but short enough for people to stay interested (and not hovering impatiently over the corner of the video waiting for the “Skip Ad” button to appear).

3. Mobile Ad Blocking Is on the Rise and Advertisers Should Be Wary

More and more online platforms are implementing mobile ad blocking, a trend that advertisers should keep an eye on – eMarketer predicts nearly 1 in 10 US smartphone users (9.6%) will use ad blockers in 2018, that’s up almost 8% from this year. The latest to jump on the ad blocking bandwagon is Twitter with a new update that enables users to block ads on mobile webpages opened via its app. This follows Google’s announcement of its plan to place ad blocks in its Chrome web browser next year. To give you a sense of what this means for the industry, predictions from Juniper Research say publishers are set to lose $27 billion by 2020 thanks to ad blockers. While publishers stand to lose out on revenue, you can bet platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter will be cashing in. But, it’s safe to say there is no altruism here; ad blocking by Twitter is probably less about the consumer, and more about who controls the ads you see while using their app. It’s a good bet Twitter’s native ads will still be showing in their application. Only time will tell if this gamble will pay off. We’ll have to see how much of the digital advertising pie these social networks can divert before the content providers push back.

4. Advertisers Harness the Power of Blockchain Technology

As the technology behind crypto-currencies, blockchain is making a splash in the advertising world to help improve the efficiency and transparency of advertising data. What is blockchain, you ask? Think of a massive Excel sheet where data is pooled together by multiple anonymous yet verifiable providers (the brand, agency, publisher, etc.). In this system there is no single, centralized authority to validate the data – it is simply verified automatically by connecting the dots between the participants in the chain. Theoretically it would allow various parts of the industry to collaborate without dependency on one party’s data – ultimately helping to maintain the security and privacy of individual data sources. This sounds like science fiction? Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group recently announced an initiative to develop a “Blockchain Insights Platform”, which will be aimed at improving the efficiency of premium video advertising, with the intent to create better planning, targeting, execution and measurement across screens. It’s a bold new vision of connected advertising. Who knows where this could take the industry.

5. Meredith Speeds Up Ad Loading Times

Slow ad-rendering can be a total pain for advertisers and publishers alike, especially on mobile platforms where long loading times are rarely tolerated and viewers bounce at a much faster rate compared to viewing on desktop. After an audit of its ad coding, the Meredith Corporation decided to cut down on the amount analytics, research, and tracking codes on its webpages, allowing ad-rendering on its sites to speed up by 15-20 percent across desktop and mobile platforms. By increasing the speed at which the ads load to the page, Meredith increased its ad revenue a whopping 20 percent per visitor. In the same code flush, they also scrapped third-party data collectors and heat map products that visualize where users click, taking it upon itself to gather that data internally. With the positive results, we may see other publishers follow suit.