Archive for the ‘Paul Bowlin’ category

Pre-roll Video Advertising Industry Standards Approved

January 8, 2009

new-iab-logoRealizing the need to have standards approved by all industry stake holders, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) formed the IAB’s Digital Video Committee (DVC) in October 2007. In the past 15 months, the IAB’s DVC has written and has submitted 4 major standard initiatives that have been approved for preroll video advertising. Any standard developed by the IAB must go through a public comment phase in order to allow non-IAB members, non-Committee members, agencies (American Association of Advertising Agencies / 4A’s), advertisers (The Association of National Advertisers / ANA), etc a chance to review before it becomes a full standard.

With the standards now approved and in place, marketers and agency buyers can include preroll video advertising in their media plans and have accountability just as they would for traditional media. Preroll video advertising can now be evaluated on an apples to apples basis with television on both a national and local level.

When compared to television advertising, all preroll video advertising purchased through SpotXchange will give the buyer much more accountability in the following metrics:
1) how many unique viewers were reached
2) frequency capping for each piece of creative by viewer
3) real time optimization by creative by site based on ad playrate, ctr and conversions
4) re-targeting viewers based on their interaction or lack of interaction with the ad
5) target in-market buyers for auto’s, home goods, consumer electronics and many more product categories.

As a contributing member of the IAB’s DVC, SpotXchange would be happy to review all standards with you and answer any questions you may have. Here are brief descriptions for each of the 4 major standard initiatives and links to the full document.

1) A Digital Video Advertising Overview
This document serves as a high level introduction to the digital video ecosystem and defines in-stream(pre-roll), in-banner and in-text ad units.

2) Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines and Best Practices
This document defines the creative sizes and advertising specs that video sites can offer advertisers. These guidelines simplify operational aspects of creating and delivering pre-roll ads.

3) Digital Video In-Stream Ad Metrics Definitions
This document defines additional non-currency in-stream metrics such as playrate and completion rate for all sites. This will allow buyers to receive common reporting metrics from multiple media partners that are consistent.

4) Digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)
VAST establishes a standard way for ad servers to respond to video player ad requests. VAST supports linear video ads, non-linear overlay ads, and companion banners, thus matching the formats specification previously released.

Happy New Year to you!


IAB sets online video ad standards

May 7, 2008

Today is a banner day for online video advertising. Pardon the pun, but with the IAB’s release of the “Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines and Best Practices“, the reporting standards needed for this medium are finally in place.In addition to the 145 companies on the IAB’s Digital Video Committee, many others participated in preparing the guidelines, from advertisers to agencies to Web sites to research to ad serving technology companies. The goal in producing the standards is to define the common metrics that need to be reported for in-stream video advertising by individual sites. This in turn makes planning this media much easier knowing that consistent information will be reported.

When all sellers of in-stream video advertising are reporting on 1) view, 2) video click-through, 3) completed play, 4) time spent viewing, and 5) percent complete metrics, planners will be able to compare apples to apples. When the planner is trying to move budgets from other media to in-stream video advertising, their clients will view the recommendation more favorably now that industry-approved guidelines are in place.

Now it is up to all in-stream video advertising sellers to implement the reporting guidelines and evangelize the guidelines back to the media planners. I was in a meeting today with an interactive media director that works for an agency that buys television time for multiple Fortune 500 companies. One of his goals is to move television budgets over to our media. This document is a step in the right direction to make that happen.

The guidelines can be accessed at,

IAB Marketplace: Network and Xchanges

April 7, 2008

The IAB’s inaugural Ad Networks & Xchanges event was held in NYC on March 31st. IAB President & CEO Randall Rothenberg kicked off the day by introducing the theme, “Teach me now, teach me how.” Attendees learned about the growing importance of exchanges and ad networks at panels and sponsor-presented breakout sessions.

The best explanation on the differences of exchanges and ad networks came from Christine Cook, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s SVP, digital advertising sales during a panel discussion.

“Exchanges are increasingly interesting because it allows the publisher to set the CPM bar. We are still in control of our inventory. The ad networks do not offer that model,” said Omnimedia’s Cook.

William Morrison, an Equity Partners’ analyst, made the point that “hyper-fragmentation on the Internet presents challenges for marketers. Marketers are interested in video, blogs, RSS, mobile and social networks and they are asking the question, how do I work with them?” Exchanges/ad networks are bringing efficiency, reach and targeting to the media buying process and the exchanges/networks “that can give you transparency and control” are the best to work with.

Morrison also addressed the commodity issue that some parties associate with ad networks and exchanges. “Commodity markets show that porkbellies have increased in price seven percent annually during the past 20 years. There is definitely volatility in pricing but the overall trend is price increases.”

Carat Group Media Director Steve Ustaris said, “Ad networks and exchanges are revolutionizing the way media is purchased. Exchanges/ad networks allow you to reach a high volume of audience across multiple placements from one source. Ad networks, with the ability to segment audiences across multiple content verticals, are great for testing creative. Plus you can include the thousands of long tail sites.”

Ustaris noted potential benefits:
• Greater control of ad placement
• Determine true value of inventory
• Address cross-site duplication
• Greater understanding of site level performance

He feels the current challenges for media buyers include:
1. Risk versus reward: how many top tier pubs will participate and how much inventory will be available?
2. Current lack of understanding and infrastructure on the agency side to manage the new exchange system.

“Who is going to actually buy and manage the media? The jury is still out if it will benefit the agencies to use exchanges. Testing will tell us,” said Carat’s Ustaris.

The question of ESPN’s recent decision to stop working with ad networks came up through out the day. One publisher panelist thought the decision was interesting, “they must have determined that having control over all inventory by their internal sales force made the most financial sense.”

Later, Michael Kelly, Eyeblaster’s digital media advisor, investor and chairman of the board, mentioned that he had not spoken to anyone at ESPN but speculated that they feel “they can sell out all of their cross-media opportunities” with their internal sales force. He went on to say that “ad networks and exchanges are now growing fast and this is important.”

As our industry continues to evolve, the ad networks/exchanges will satisfy advertiser needs such as the audience scale issue. They will also drive the growth in efficiency-not lower CPMs, but ease of use. A media buying/selling process that is simplistic “will lead to growth. We need to simplify a process that can be very inefficient,” said Eyeblaster’s Kelly.

ANA’s TV and Everything Video Forum

March 6, 2008

The ANA held its inaugural “TV & Everything Video Forum” on February 28th in NYC. This loaded topic drew the largest audience the ANA has seen at any of forum to-date. Leading advertisers, agencies, content producers, research organizations and media sales organizations converged to review the paradigm shift taking place in the industry.ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice kicked off the day by talking about television as the dominant media for brand building. He also noted the declining effectiveness of the thirty second spot.

“Advertisers are looking at marketing accountability and integrated marketing communications platforms in their overall marketing plans. Those plans are being closely scrutinized and challenged at the C-suite which is demonstrated by the median 23 months that CMOs’ are averaging in their positions,” said Liodice. Clearly there is intense pressure on both advertisers and their agencies in evaluating the effectiveness of their marketing plans to reach the desired consumers.

The “10 Issues in 50 Minutes” panel moderated by Jonah Bloom, editor of Advertising Age, addressed the effectiveness issue. Donna Speciale, MediaVest president of video, investment and activation, noted that her clients’ media plans are shifting to a holistic view of video and reaching the consumer at all distribution points. In regards to TV ratings, strides were made in 2007 with the introduction of the Nielsen C3 ratings.

Speciale said, “C3 ratings showed that people were not watching commercials as we had thought.” The next step in bringing more granular information to planners will be when the “pod” ratings are introduced. The majority of attendees at the forum collectively felt that pod ratings, which are brand specific and are currently available in Europe, will be introduced in the U.S. within 3 years.

Karen Crawford, director, media advertising & relationship marketing at Nestle USA, said she is looking at the total consumer experience across all media. Whatever avenues get consumers talking about brands is key to her. DVR penetration, audience fragmentation, and increasing media costs demand that media companies be evaluated based on accountability and that ads are indeed viewed as reported by the research companies. She said that pod ratings had to be introduced in the near future to let advertisers know their media budgets are being spent wisely.

With respect to how the research companies are reporting broadband video audience data panel members agreed that the reported data is not consistent across the different services and that needs to change. TV and the Internet offer a powerful video advertising combination to reach audiences and more accurate measurement is needed for both media.

SportsBusiness Journal Staff Writer John Ourand, moderated the “Sports-The Challenges and Opportunities” panel. Live sports continue to be one of the few TV programming areas that is not DVR time-shifted. The ratings for the major sports leagues have been pretty consistent over the past decade and the advertiser demand in 2007 was very strong.

ESPN and ABC Sports Customer Marketing and Sales President Ed Erhardt stated that his programming is available across all three screens so consumers can access when they want to and on whatever devise they are using.

General Motors Executive Director, Advertising and Media Operations Betsy Lazar said that ESPN is one of the best networks in providing cross-media applications. She is a big digital video buyer who likes to test early, test often and grow the positive results that she finds in this media.

CBS Executive VP of Sports Sales and Marketing John Bogusz noted there is still a lack of inventory for the cross-media buys that he offers buyers. Bogusz said, “We will have around $500 million in TV advertising versus $22 million with online advertising for the NCAA March Madness.”

Johnson & Johnson VP-Worldwide Media Kim Kadlec gave the afternoon keynote. She asked the audience, “Who has the best insight into how consumers think: advertisers or the media?” She thinks that the networks know more about the consumer than the marketers and implored the networks to share that data. She uses the 360 model for all of her brands.

Kadlec said, “The Internet is the sweet spot and in 3 to 5 years Internet spending will exceed TV.” All media should do their best to share as many case studies as possible with advertisers so the best media plans can be implemented.

Forrester Research VP, Principal Analyst James McQuivey presented “The Future of Television Advertising”, based on a joint ANA/Forrester Research survey. National advertisers were asked about their attitudes towards TV advertising and the future impact of how new video distribution platforms will affect their TV advertising budgets.

McQuivey said, “The Web is giving advertisers what you want and you understand it: measurement, accountability and targeting. Budgets will move out of TV and the number one medium to get those budgets is the Internet.”

Mark Kaline, Ford Motor Company’s global media manager and chairperson of the ANA’s TV Advertising Committee coordinated this inaugural event. Other presentations included:
• Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch VP of global media and sports marketing and president and CEO of Busch Media Group said, “Today’s consumers are elusive and tough to reach with advertising. A-B uses cross-media to effectively reach them.”
• ANA Chairman and Liberty Mutual Group SVP of Communications Steve Sullivan said, “…accountability is the holy grail. Advertisers’ need it from the media, and CEOs needs it from their CMOs.”
• TVB President Christopher Rohrs, NAB CEO David Rehr and Hearst-Argyle Television CEO David Barrett addressed “The Digital Transition” for analog broadcast television that takes effect February 17, 2009.
• Microsoft Corporate VP of Global Marketing Jeff Bell presented “Gaming- Consumer Insights and Lessons for Advertisers” which clearly showed that millions of consumers of all ages are online and offline playing games.
• The Convex Group Founder Jeff Arnold spoke about integrated cross-media platforms and their effectiveness.

All of the presentations were very good and addressed the future of video. I am sure next years event will be even larger than and as insightful as this year. See you there.

The end of advertising as we know it

January 4, 2008

The recently released “The end of advertising as we know it” executive brief written by IBM’s Global Business Services addresses the current paradigm shift that is taking place within the advertising industry. With television audience erosion, fragmentation and measurement shortcomings the advertising executives in the study recognize that consumers are in control of how they interact with, filter and block marketing messages. They also state that advertising will increasingly be purchased through open, Web-based platforms that deliver real time metrics.

The brief shows that,
1) personal PC time now rivals linear TV viewing time and consumers are exercising control over how they view advertising in this multi-channel world;
2) lower cost advertising content (ads) is arguably as appealing to consumers as versions created by agencies and this trend will continue;
3) advertisers are demanding more individual-specific and involvement-based measurements that will put additional pressure on the traditional mass-market model;
4) advertising inventory will increasingly be bought and sold through efficient open exchanges and within the next five years, 30 percent of all advertising expenditures will be purchased through exchanges.
With audience erosion continuing in television’s primetime and early morning/6pm/11pm newscasts, advertisers are following their audiences online. In 2008, the online exchanges that can aggregate sizable audiences and target them based on content vertical and/or subchannels within individual video sites will meet the advertiser’s need for reaching their desired audiences.

The entire brief can be accessed here.

Inside Digital Hollywood–Thursday, Nov. 1

November 3, 2007

ibm.jpg “The End of Advertising as We Know It” is an IBM study that will be released next week, per IBM Global Media & Entertainment Leader Karen Feldman. Karen and I were on the same Digital Hollywood panel, Advertising Innovation! Broadband, OnDemand, In-Game, Social Networks, RSS, Blogs, PODs & Mobile, at Digital Hollywood on Thursday. The study’s control group was 2,400 demand-side global consumers. It will address media consumption and advertising preferences by age group along with revenue models for both paid premium and ad-supported content. For media buyers in the control group it is determined that ad marketplaces, like SpotXchange, will see increased adoption by agencies over the next three years and 30 percent of their total ad spend will be placed through the marketplaces. It was also recognized that online marketplaces across all media are needed to bring both efficiency and transparency to the media buying and selling process. This sentiment was given by former CNN Sales & Marketing Director Larry Goodman in his October interview with SpotXchange CEO Mike Shehan (

Another hot topic (that I noted in Wednesday’s blog entry) was that budget allocation is still not based on consumers changing media habits that heavily favor Internet usage. Driven by broadband penetration, shifts can be noted both at home and in the workplace. Issues challenging the shifts include digital rights negotiation during ad production along with the length of the ads which prevents agencies from moving television budgets to the Internet. This will be addressed during the 2008 creative process. With improved standards for measuring and delivering video ads across all access points budgets will start moving into the broadband channel. This all will ultimately help speed up “The End of Advertising as We Know It”.

Inside Digital Hollywood—Wednesday, Oct. 31

November 2, 2007

Broadband Advertising: The Power Surge took center stage at Digital Hollywood on Wednesday as a panel moderated by 360i Director of Emerging Media David Berkowitz addressed the multiple tactics that can be employed around broadband video postings/advertising.

Media-Screen Managing Director Josh Crandall set the tone by showing his company’s research on U.S.broadband audiences. The Netpop Report (Trends: Online Activities among U.S. Broadband Users, 2006 and 2007, http:// showed that modern, influential online consumers share opinions with their online circle of friends and the Web community at large. Broadband is clearly out of the early adopter phase and into the mainstream with 127 million consumers at least 13 years and older accessing it. When it comes to product purchase decisions consumers are spending 2.6 hours online versus 2.2 hours offline gathering information before making purchases.

Deep-Focus Media Director Eric Druckenmiller described how broadband allows the consumer to have a richer online experience with brands. For his entertainment clients Eric employs multiple tactics like video postings, search and publicity targeted to niche audiences to build a viral ground swell before reaching a much broader audience. Jason Klein, Special Ops’ co-founder/CEO, takes a similar approach targeting loyal consumers who recommend the brand to their social circle. It is all about building buzz for a campaign before a national launch. The entire panel endorsed using the social networking tactic for entertainment brands to facilitate viral distribution of the brand’s online message.

Josh wrapped up by stating that based on what is influencing purchase decisions he is amazed that brands are giving online such a small slice of their marketing budget versus T.V. and radio. Clearly online budgets would increase if the allotment was based on the consumers’ media habits, overall audience reach and the ability to build brand favorability among consumers.