Posts Tagged ‘ mobile advertising ’

Campaign Is A Success According to Agency “Not so Much”

Case Study using Adsperity software to monitor ad campaign


A campaign was created for a software company to drive awareness and sign up for demonstrations of the company’s software product. The Adsperity product was used to track results of the campaign and then compare to the agency responsible for placing the campaign. The campaign was flighted across desktop and mobile for the purpose of promoting the software product and ultimately signing users to license the software. This campaign was a way to gain awareness and provide potential clients the ability to engage with the software product team through the website.


A word on success: Ad campaigns can and often reveal several success points. In the case of this software product, one of the key goals was set to get people to fill out a form to sign up for demonstration of software. This particular element relates to customer acquisition while other parts of the campaign relate to awareness. To understand the success of this campaign it is important to distinguish between the two. The definition of conversion and success in this instance is that users will use the form on the website and “request a demo”. While that is not explicitly acquisition it is the step towards acquisition. Moreover, an argument can be made that a potential user may spend some time on the website to gain information and over time will convert to a paying user.

Also, it is noteworthy to discuss pacing. By definition, pacing is the speed at which purchased ads are delivered based on month/day/hour. Although you can find numerous articles written on the skill sets of ad ops and their pacing practices, suffice it to say that more modern ad servers use algorithms to help with this. And even if the particular ad server cannot accomplish this, it’s a fairly simple task. Understanding your product and market render pacing what I call a “so what” checkbox.

For example, most everyone can figure out that the software company ads should not be shown to extreme North America computers at 3am. While you can argue that living in the tundra one may need our product, it is unlikely. Therefore the focus should have been on large metropolitan areas during business hours. And a targeting focus to sites that will engage highly potential users.

DoubleClick for example runs a very extensive algorithm to help ads ops make those decisions on the fly and can change them automatically.

Campaign Solution

It is important to start with understanding of the pricing and impression model of the campaign. First, the campaign had a budget spend of $25,199 to deliver a total of 5,472,426 impressions over the course of 3 months.


Pacing total is 85% (in this statistic pacing is percentage of planned vs. actual not the speed at which the ads are delivered unless you divide by the number of days during the campaign and derive the number of ads delivered per day.)

Top 10


MNI Performance

Targeting Channels and impressions: There were 5 channels that were targeted during this campaign. Of them, the DataPoint Display Audience received the most impressions.


The targeting and impressions are somewhat aligned with the goals at first blush. The list of targeted sites can be seen in the same vein as a target audience. The initial launch of the campaign sees that ads being run to a list of websites on desktop are correctly identified. The pacing and impressions within the campaign can be seen as being as aligned with software company goals. However, Adsperity’s SmartVision tells a different story.


SmartVision- The results from Adsperity’s Smartvision conclude that the overall engagement of the campaign was very low. While users did go to the website. The amount of time spent on the website was low. The graph below shows that the most time spent was on the index page and the about page.


Blog pic case study

TTR and TSR: The time to read the ad ranged from 1 to 1.5 seconds and the time users actually spent reading the ad range, on average, from 0.2 seconds to 1 second. Within the algorithm this statistic indicates the accidental clicks were the majority of clicks. Those that were not in the majority indicate that most of the clicks occurred after the ad had been on the page for more than a minute. Combining these statistics gives us the performance rating, which was very low.

If we combine that with the time on the website we can see that engagement was mostly accidental. Furthermore, those who did get to the website never filled out a form. Just over 6300 pages views during the campaign at 2 filled out the form. Less than 2% clicked through to the website and virtually 0% filled out the form. This data excludes bounce rate, which can be also derived from the SmartVision’s low performance rating.

3 million ad units served, 6300 page views and 2 forms filled out.

During Ad:Tech New York several people indicated that they had seen the software product ad and visited software company booth to check out product which speaks to awareness.

There were two spikes in website and ad activity once at the beginning of the campaign and the second during Ad:Tech New York. Other than those two improvements in activity the ad campaign and website activity stayed at a steady low. As for the ads spiking it is unclear if agency changed the targeting or pacing during this time. With both increasing it is reasonably safe to conclude that there was an increase in engagement to the extent that more visitors were being pushed to the site.


Data points as they relate to success of campaign (ads delivered vs price paid, ads planned vs. actual, CTR) given the data points received from agency, Google Analytics and Smartvision, it is clear that there were some differences in the data. First it was clear through SmartVision that engagement remained low while accidental clicks were the majority. This was different from the “pacing model” that was given by the agency data points. While 2% of the campaign was driven to the website, and it should be noted this is roughly average, the agency data shows a more positive outlook than the SmartVision data. If the only goal was to raise awareness, this still remains the cheapest option to do so. If success also includes CTR and a request for a demo than this may have little impact by comparison to person-to-person contact. While on the subject of CTR, SmartVision concluded that the CTR was mostly false through accidental clicks. But overall the comparison to the agency data, SmartVision was clearly more informative.

Useful data vs. popular data: Most of the data points in the campaign that were provided by the agency were based on Pacing and CTR. While that data is useful to an extent, the reality is that the data is incomplete forcing the data analyst to make “assumptions”. For example the assumption that the ads drove 2% of the views to the website, therefore there was engagement (albeit very little engagement). While CTR has a place, it was very clear given the fact that most of the time click-through happened within 0.2 seconds of the ad appearing. That was not nearly enough time for the animated ads to compete their animated sequences. These assumptions seem to be everywhere in the data. Even the targeting has an amount of assumptions. Over half of the impressions came from retargeting. was the most targeted site during the campaign.

Audience targeting in this campaign may have had some attribution to the poor performance. While one can argue that retargeting allows for more specific audience acquisition, in this case it did not. The list of websites indicates that a few of the sites where the ad ran were outside of purview of Adsperity. In fact, the ads ran on non-English websites. Given that Adsperity is not localized to several languages, this may have had an impact on success. The list of target websites were not what Adsperity would consider viable targets for the campaign. The targeting was somewhat misleading. You can clearly see the areas and target websites (listed above), what is not as clearly evident are the exact pages the ads were shown. SmartVision gave us insight to those pages. For example there are several websites listed but the ads were redirected once they hit the targeted site to “other sites” like, a Chinese martial arts fiction website. Or, an Ethiopian news site. The overall list may have been on the “approved” list, what is not clear is why the other websites made the list. The retargeting data did not specify where the ads were run for retargeting as opposed to targeted websites. Also, there was no indication of the ad servers and networks that our ads ran through. The data from the agency did not include this information. The ad ops for the Adsperity campaign made no indication of how the targeting was done in the reporting.

Lastly, the data from SmartVision and Google Analytics (website) indicate that while there was an increase in visitors to the website during the campaign the time spent both on ads and website were negligible and lacking engagement. Awareness may have had a boost through Ad:Tech New York. Conversely, the agency data, while focused on CTR and “Conversions” shows that the campaign was minimally successful based on those criteria. If 2% is success.

Overall I was very pleased that the Adsperity product produced analytics that really told a different and more accurate story on the success or lack of success with the software company’s campaign. In today’s digital advertising space it is very difficult to gauge success without utilizing new measurement models and techniques. Agencies need to become more sophisticated in what they report. This particular case study really shows the disconnect between what an agency deems success and what the true reality of the campaign is when measured properly. We have many more exciting aspects being added to the Adsperity product and I look forward to continuing to build new case studies.




6 Steps to Success in the Mobile Ad Space

There has been a recent surge in charts and graphs depicting the meteoric growth expected in mobile by 2016. That meteoric growth has been underway for quite some time. Mobile is exploding in every aspect, i.e. traffic, usage, downloads, and eventually in advertising dollars.

You’ve probably seen the chart below, which clearly shows the massive amount of time we spend interacting on our mobile devices, against the ability of advertisers to monetize it. We spend 23% of our time with media on mobile, but mobile only attracts 1% of the advertising dollars.

So what will it take to get advertising revenues at least up to a point where usage and advertising are near the same level? Here are 6 crucial steps to consider:

  1. Create ads for specific devices: Recognize that display/banner ads created for websites cannot be retrofitted to a smaller screen (pretending to be a mobile display ad) as they usually don’t render well on a smartphone. Rather, once you target a specific audience, create the ad for the specific device your audience uses.  There are a few exceptions, but they usually involve video.

Good examples:        


Example of a bad ad, on an iPad (too small!):      


  1. Link your ad to a mobile friendly page:  If you share a link to drive users to a particular website, make sure the website is designed for a mobile device. If not, the end user will get a terrible experience; check to make sure the font is large enough to read and that most of the info isn’t hidden “below the fold”. Also, make sure that all images and links work properly! Create an experience the user on a mobile phone would expect to see.

IKEA France (image link broken):                                       

IKEA Italy

3. Make sure your call to action is easy to get to. Once you create the mobile landing page and it links to a mobile-friendly site, you need your call-to-action to function properly with the particular mobile device.  If you are driving a purchase decision, are you able to link to a well-designed mobile ecommerce experience?  If you included a phone number, does it allow for a quick connection? If adding a request for contact, is there a functional link to house the contact info?

  1. Create a portfolio of different sized ads: It’s difficult to reach multiple audiences using similar advertising across platforms, and usage patterns vary based on age group.  Your ads need to match your audience and they need to function well on the specific device. Also, create both vertical and horizontal versions of your ad, so users receive an optimal experience regardless of how a user is orienting their device.

Examples of different sizes of ad landing pages:      


  1. Provide interactivity in your ad: Make sure all advertising includes elements that go beyond just display with phone number or link; include social media links, potentially gaming elements, video and loyalty aspects. Make the user experience fun and productive.
  1. Satisfy your advertisers with quality analytics: One final suggestion is to make sure you supply quality analytics on the benefits an advertiser receives from their ads.  You want them to feel good about the money they spent on it! Create a dashboard with the most important  results to make it easy for an advertiser to understand the performance of the ad.

To sum it up, there are many variations in functionality of an ad, depending on the device: smartphone, tablet or desktop. Be sure you understand the nuances, as it’s the only way to make a dent in usage patterns versus advertising dollars spent.

Display Ads Don’t Work Anymore: NOW WHAT

I attended several meetings last week in the Bay Area and met with several companies including Google and Pandora.  I’m always energized after spending time with businesses whose sole focus is on the pursuit of digital and the monetization of those efforts.

During the meetings we spent a lot of time talking about the ever changing consumer behavior as it relates to interacting with advertising.  As we all know, display ads are still a major component of most online efforts but with each passing day the advertisers that pay for those ads are asking for more clarity on the success rate.  Jason Del Rey of AdAge wrote a good article on the subject that talked about click throughs becoming irrelevant as a way to measure the success of digital display ads.  Advertisers are starting to talk more about the interaction with the ad which includes hovering over the ad, listening to audio, playing a game integrated in the ad, or other activities.

I am seeing more and more advertisers asking to have their message put into the context of content on the page.  Check out how SAP ad is relevant to content. Advertisers are also asking how social aspects of the content can be integrated into advertising.  Think Facebook.  In other words, the old way of thinking about display ads as relatively static messaging has to change if we want to continue selling to advertisers.

Buzzfeed’s Jonah Peretti  wrote a good article that talked about the importance of moving beyond display ads.  I particularly took note of this quote:

“Peretti sees display ads as artifacts of an earlier Internet era when people went to portals to find content. That era — and its skyscraper and banner ads — has long passed as readers instead turned to search and, more recently, to social networks to find stories.”

I believe the issue of display ads not working as well as they once did is becoming even more critical when you consider the impact of mobile and tablets. Most publishers are seeing desktop page views flattening out and most growth is coming from smart phones and tablets.  Now think about display ads on a smart phone.  It’s a small screen and many advertiser websites are not optimized for smart phones, creating a bad experience.  The answer?  We often create mobile landing pages for our advertisers.

On the tablet, display takes on a whole new meaning.  Using a tablet is an engaging process; consumers are much more interactive using the device. They spend more time, look at more pages, and click on more ads. They are more likely to click on an ad if it takes advantage of the device’s technology, with interactive and social elements. Most advertisers can’t create interactive ads. They need an agency or the publisher to do that for them. Therefore we create tablet landing pages and build interactive and social elements into ads for our advertisers.

So, what’s a publisher to do? Here are some recommendations:

  1. Create mobile and tablet landing pages for your advertisers
  2. Integrate interactive and social elements into ads
  3. Offer advertisers an immersive experience, giving them a role in the content on the page

There are no easy solutions. For anyone. And after sitting with the Pandora execs, one thing I know is no one has it all figured out.  Pandora is doing a great job in getting an audio advertisement to your music station every 20 minutes.  The ad includes a leave-behind display ad.  However unless you have the phone in your hand or you’re sitting at your desktop you won’t see a display ad unless you need to access the screen itself.

And Pandora’s ads are typical display ads that fill the screen on a smart phone, similar to a static display ad. Pandora has a compelling message and audience reach story.  As they evolve in the space my bet is they come up with even more compelling interactive ads for mobile devices.

Everyone has a chance to be successful in the mobile and tablet space as long as they don’t treat it like desktop.  Pandora is making sure they don’t, and my guess is they will be a big winner in selling digital ads for their service.

Google is also really pushing the envelope in thinking about mobile and tablet, but their real knockout punch is still Search.  They are constantly evolving with more progressive advertising on mobile formats and no longer thinking about it as a display ad.

It is going to take a combination of social, display, integrated messaging and interactive elements to win this battle.  My message here is that even the big guys haven’t figured out the secret sauce as display ages and new formats evolve and progress for all our mobile devices.  Keep trying new things and don’t get caught trying to repurpose old formats.

Selling Mobile & Tablet Advertising is Different

Over the past several months I’ve been invited to speak about mobile and tablet pursuits from both content and monetization perspectives.  I’ve also spent countless hours with sales people discussing issues they run into when selling mobile advertising.   Let me lay out the crux of the issue in a nutshell; mobile and tablet page views are growing exponentially, yet ad dollars are lagging far behind.  Why is the rift so dramatic?

I feel the lag  occurs primarily due to the lack of knowledge on the interactive aspect of mobile and tablet advertising and  the ‘newness’ factor of mobile and tablet advertising in general (it’s hard to sell it if you don’t fully understand the worth and growth potential).

Take a look at the following graph. It is clear to see that within mobile media the amount of dollars spent on advertising versus the time users spend with content is dramatically unbalanced compared to  other forms of media.  However, newspapers and magazines have the opposite situation; users spend less time with the content, but the advertising dollars are still there!  It’s obvious to see that traditional media must figure out mobile as well as tablet advertising, and the sooner the better!

Today, the primary advertising sold on mobile is display advertising (banner ads).   Many clicks of display/banner ads are inadvertent due to the small size of the screen and therefore cause the analytics to be rather inaccurate.

The solution to the issue is to create interactive landing pages – user experiences that take advantage of the features of the mobile device.

Take a look at the example below (Kohls landing page built for an iPad app).  Rather than displaying a simple banner ad that runs across a small portion of the screen, we’ve created an interactive full scale landing page with maps, store locator, social media links and deal specifics.  This particular ad received 11x more engagement than a banner ad that carried the same promotion.  The key was building an experience for the end user, something that didn’t act or feel like a static ad.  This landing page ad can still be sold using a CPM basis, but at a higher rate due to customization of the ad.

When considering the iPad (or tablets in general) the job of selling and delivering ads is totally different than selling ads on smart phones.  The biggest reason is due to the engagement factor of people using the iPad.  A typical user spends anywhere from 10-20 minutes with most content products.  A highly engaged audience expects to see advertisements, but these advertisements need to be part of the content experience.  Display ads don’t cut it.  Landing page advertising carries highly visual and interactive elements, tied directly to the promotion.  An even more critical component to this process, is the way it the ad is sold to the advertiser.  The Sales person must convey to the advertiser that the iPad/tablet is more like advertising on TV rather than advertising on a website.  CPM selling doesn’t work here.  Similar to television advertising, tablet advertising is a “share of voice” type of sale. It’s more about a percentage of pages viewed or time spent by the user within the content.  This means that if your product is a highly visual and interactive (with a lot of video); users are going to spend 4x as much time on average, as they do with your web product! This is where I highly suggest you learn how to sell share of voice!  If you don’t, you run the risk of selling everything in a bundle format (with print and web), and consequently undervalue inventory on the iPad.

How do we really get to the bottom of this issue and find a solution to the problem of selling mobile and tablet advertising effectively? The suggestion I have may be considered controversial, but here it is: you must build a separate sales group focused on mobile and tablet.

The majority of traditional media businesses are just now figuring out how to sell interactive on a CPM basis.  This being said, a traditional media sales rep’s plate is already full with selling print, web and other third party products. Then “BAMM!” now comes the duty of selling mobile and tablet as well.  Also, it must be understood that selling mobile advertising requires a lot of hand holding to develop the interactive elements and to create something that will work on small screen.  Also, tablet advertising requires a completely new way of selling and creating ads for advertisers.

Newspapers need to prioritize digital advertising sales if they expect to thrive.” Pew Research Center, March 2012*

If you believe as I do that mobile and tablet represent the largest opportunity on both content and monetization/revenue fronts, you’ll want to avoid adding mobile and tablet to your current sales organization. Rather, you’ll build a separate sales group focused on mobile and tablet.  And, of course consider mobile and tablet advertising as a big piece of the revenue growth required to get back to growing revenues.

Five steps to selling mobile advertising effectively

Mobile traffic is growing at incredible rates and advertising is following suit. A recent report from BIA/Kelsey stated that U.S. mobile ad spend is expected to skyrocket to $4 billion in 2015 up from $790 million in 2010. Who is spending all these ad dollars? According to the same report, by 2015 targeted local ads will account for 70% of mobile ad spend or $2.8 billion. It is anticipated the mobile ad spend will migrate from traditional media but also from standard online display advertising. Read more about the report here. Needless to say, anyone selling traditional or online ads better be prepared to not only sell into the mobile advertising space but also deliver products that generate results for advertisers. Continue reading