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

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

It’s time to unbuckle the belt and settle in for the holiday feasts. This time of year, we like to give thanks to the advertising world, which keeps things interesting with hot new trends and revolutionary technologies. This month, we’re talking about the potential for AppNexus to take on the great the Facebook/Google duopoly, the new Twitter Promote feature, Big News from Cheddar, a possible ad-supported version of Amazon’s Prime Video, and the increasing use of web-based virtual reality.

1. AppNexus: Does It Stand a Chance Against the Big Guys?

For the past few months, much of the advertising industry talk has centered around the duopoly of Facebook and Google, with increasing chatter about Amazon being the most viable third player to disrupt the dynamic. However, equipped with higher levels of automation and data science, AppNexus believes it has what it takes to successfully face up against the advertising giants with its arsenal of new ad-buying software. The newly overhauled software allows advertisers to more easily buy digital ads by automating the manual bidding process involved in programmatic buy transactions. In addition to making the programmatic buying process more seamless, AppNexus is planning to more effectively store and process the vast amounts of data that brands regularly collect for their analytics and reporting. From the looks of it, this tech company is coming directly for Facebook, Google, and Amazon as a real contender.

2. Twitter Promote for Small Businesses

Thanks to Twitter Promote Mode, small businesses are now able to more conveniently promote tweets on Twitter. The new feature allows brands to simply toggle between regular Twitter and Twitter Promote Mode with the click of a button. Once it’s activated, the page tweets are automatically amplified to the most-relevant audience. Imagine, a small company selling soaps can turn on Promote Mode, and now their tweet about participating in the local craft market will be pushed into the feeds of possible buyers. While this new feature gives small businesses a “set it and forget it” ad strategy, the simplicity does come with limitations, as the targeting is not as robust as Twitter’s regular ad platform. Regardless, Twitter is looking to Promote Mode to give small businesses with little to no marketing strategies a hassle-free way to get on the Twitter ad bandwagon. With any luck, the ease-of-use for Promote may give Twitter the boost they need to pick up their declining revenue numbers.

Cheddar Big News is Big News

With all that’s happening around the world today, it’s no surprise that news viewership is on the rise… and it’s also no surprise that video networks and platforms are trying to cater to this demand. Cheddar, a business video network, has its sights set on launching another channel to deliver national and world news, seizing on the opportunity to gain a wider audience and increase its ad revenue. The video network says it is on track to reel in around $11 million in advertising-related revenues this year, relying on its ongoing native ad sponsorships that start at $100,000 per month for entry-level, as well as its higher-level customized ads. While Cheddar’s new channel, Cheddar Big News, looks like a direct competition to long-running news networks like CNN, it may point to something bigger: the fight against cable companies like Xfinity that provide CNN. Cheddar is now available for streaming on platforms like Facebook and Sling TV – according to Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg, the news channel will stream in “every OTT bundle available in the U.S” by the middle of 2018. The wide distribution network and ongoing advertising deals will set Cheddar apart from traditional channels, with the potential to transform how people consume news.

Amazon Prime Video… FREE for Everyone? Maybe.

As we’ve been discussing, cord-cutting is the future as more and more consumers reject traditional pay-TV options and move their dollars to on-demand streaming services. For many, one of the big draws for cutting the cord is the promise of commercial-free programming – endless binging without the interruptions from Hidden Valley (trying to convincing you vegetables are still good for you when drowned in mayo and buttermilk). However, Amazon is apparently toying with the idea of a free, ad-supported version of its Prime Video. It’s easy to see the hook: You’re watching “Mozart in the Jungle” and you see an ad for paper towels… one click later it’s in your cart ready to check out next time you’re shopping. As of now, Amazon is negotiating licenses for TV programming and movies that viewers could have access to beyond original shows like “Transparent” and “Man in the High Castle”. Offering an ad-supported version of Prime Video may very well change the game for how advertisers drive purchase habits of consumers with… just… one… click.

Brands Are “Virtually” Everywhere

Thanks to constantly evolving technology, brands have a lot of freedom to discover the most effective way to reach their target consumers. Advances in virtual reality, for example, are allowing brands to introduce consumers to a whole new level of product engagement. The latest to take on the virtual world is the new Jumanji movie. They have worked with developers to create a VR experience without requiring the use of specialized gear (like Samsung’s Gear VR or Facebook’s Oculus Rift). Using React VR, a technology that allows VR to be written in JavaScript, Jumanji’s VR experience is available through most web browsers right within the Facebook Timeline. This shift in accessibility means that virtual brand engagement is not just a fringe technology for early-adopters. From an advertising standpoint, it won’t be long before we’re seeing cross-platform VR content as promoted ads on Facebook, Twitter, and beyond, running side-by-side with traditional content.