TV Ads + Pre-roll Ads = Better Engagement

Google recently conducted a study exploring the effectiveness of Youtube pre-rolls compared to TV ads, the results of which are summarised in this video:

As has been found in other studies, pre-rolls and TV ads are complimentary and achieve greater engagement when used together.


Predictions for 2012

Millward Brown recently predicted some digitla trends for 2012, which can be found here. Some interesting thoughts mixed in with what has been spouted for a while now (as always, mobile is predicted to grow more).


1)    Gamification unlocked: Big Brands become more playful
‘Gamification’ is a simple idea: engage people by applying game mechanics to non-game situations. Points, level progression, badges, achievements, virtual currency & puzzles. The principles of gamification may be simple, but effective execution is not. People’s motivations and approaches vary. Crude forms of gamification such as Foursquare-style badges and points-based rewards is mere ‘badgification’ – a one-size-fits-all solution to a far more complex problem.

Gamification is inherently social – so which brands will succeed? I could unlock my Super Dad achievement for purchasing Pampers five weeks in a row (earning me a 10% discount), get 50 points each time my friends and I buy Special K in the same week (worth 50p), and level to Master Environmentalist (giving me access to green offers) for reducing my car’s weekly mileage and refuelling with BP.

2)    Just tap it! Wide spread adoption of the ‘mobile wallet’

We take our mobile phone everywhere – just like our wallets – so what if we combined the two?

In 2012, we will see the rise of the ‘Mobile Wallet’ with exciting technology developments like Near Field Communication (NFC), enabling data transfer between two devices in close proximity.

Don’t fumble with cash, simply pull out your phone, tap it on the reader and you’re done. Mobile phones are becoming ‘the hub and centre’ of our lives. We’ll be using phones as identification – licenses, passports, passes; as keys to unlock our belongings, as boarding passes and tickets – all from a tap.

Brands will need to pay attention to mobile payments and leverage them to connect with consumers in compelling and meaningful ways.

3)    ‘Virtual Togetherness’: TV and Social Media fuels an explosion in tools and technologies for interaction and research

Social tools and technologies that enable people to interact with TV programs will explode in 2012. Innovations will emerge that allow people to engage with shows in ways we haven’t thought of.

The explosion of social media will see TV becoming an even bigger echo-chamber for interaction and engagement.

Throw in Twitter, a backstage blog, a handful of hash-tags and an interactive app and TV will be on social steroids. Social media will allow users to interact with TV shows in innovative ways and TV producers will use this data for creative inspiration.

Services such as Bluefin Labs/Zeebox indicate traditional TV ratings may be augmented by ‘social ratings’ as advertisers will no doubt be keen to understand how well a show is travelling beyond the TV audience.

4)    Online Video Invades the Living Room 
In 2012, video consumption will evolve. As the adoption of increasingly consumer-centric home entertainment technology catches on, video that had previously been consumed online will “reverse-migrate” to the living room.

BoxeeApple TV and Google TV are all attempting to bridge the internet and the living room. But only a few have begun to scratch the surface of a truly immersive multimedia experience. Barriers to widespread adoption remain – lackluster demand, technology, and licensing agreements.

As companies innovate toward the quintessential multimedia hub, you can bet that content agreements, distribution channels, and strategic partnerships are being created behind the scenes.

5)    Mobile marketing will become more social and local than ever before
The future of mobile marketing will be intertwined with social and location-based marketing (SoLoMo). Successful marketing will combine relevance, location and timing. SoLoMo will prevail in existing geo-social apps like FoursquareShopkick and Yelp. Retailers will experiment with geo-fenced mobile marketing with companies like Placecast. Social buying (e.g. Groupon and LivingSocial) will become more app-focused and provide real-time alerts on local deals.

Brands will create their own apps that tap into geo-location services and social networks. Messaging will become more relevant by exploiting location-based targeting and embedding social content/shareability. Technology improvements and richer mobile ads will facilitate these approaches. Pure mobile marketing will be exchanged for SoLoMo strategies.

6)    Growth: the only App trend that really matters

Developers and marketers should look beyond Apple’s app store if they want to ride the next Angry Bird. We’ll see cross-media app promotion and clever use of the social echo-chamber to create the next blockbuster.

Expect a tsunami of demand from first-time smart phone users exploring their new device. ‘In-App’ ads will be richer and a blurring of the boundaries between mobile, online and TV will continue. HTML5 will drive down costs of cross platform development and allow apps to be downloaded directly from publishers, freeing them from Apple’s restrictions.
The app story isn’t over – it’s just moving up to the next level.

7)    Social CPG e-commerce: Tiptoeing between engagement and marketing leads us back to traditional marketing vehicles

As online grocery shopping becomes more mainstream we will see an increase in paid media which raises awareness about the benefits of CPG eCommerce. CPG brands will experiment with social media to stimulate eCommerce.

Social media can be used to kick start conversations and build awareness while sneak previews/special offers can spur sales for new products online before they even reach traditional shelves.

CPG marketers should embrace technological advances, but ‘social commerce’ needs to be approached with caution. If there is too much focus on marketing instead of delivering an experience, consumers will vote with their wallets or worse – their mouths. Fans primarily want to enjoy a genuine relationship and a sense of community.

8)    Social Graphs Will Generate Meaningful Data For Brand Measurement
Nearly every social platform now takes advantage of our ‘social graph” to bolster user experience/adoption and to create more value. We constantly generate streams of data that gives marketers a richer level of insight into consumer habits and attitudes than we’ve ever had before.

A unified social graph will give rise to new brand value generation across categories and platforms. Mining platforms for explicit, implicit, and analytic consumer data will become a core measurement approach for brands.

As adoption of social media becomes more widespread it will function as a more accurate barometer of consumer opinion. This is the age of Big Data and brands will capitalize on it.

9)    Regulators focus on the real price for ‘free’ access
With increasingly ubiquitous media interactions, consumers will be confronted with paying to manage the way data about their online activities is shared. Options might include paying for applications that manage their identity or paying to access content that would otherwise be free. Or they might simply have to disconnect from networks where information sharing is the cost of entry.

Regulators will take a closer look at the actual conflicts in the marketplace. Chief among them will be the ability to use an individual’s digital footprint to evaluate that individual’s eligibility for products and services.

As brands use data in ways consumers don’t approve of or expect, we may start to see trust erode.

10)    The arrival of Seamless Sharing

Tomorrow’s successful social networks will allow users to overcome barriers that separate them from others; online traffic will be content-driven, not platform-defined.

We see this trend in the ‘sharing’ buttons on many web pages.  While ‘shareability’ is a relatively new concept, ideas like ‘virality’ have been an established measure of online success for some time.

The ability to measure ‘shareability’ will be used to determine levels of influence and to better understand how information travels. Brands that create the most innovative and engaging content will benefit from riding the share-wave.

11)    China: ‘one stop shop’ convergence of micro-blogging, social networks and information portals

The explosive growth in social networks has had world-wide repercussions not least in China. Social media thrives under the umbrella of Facebook alternatives such as Ren Renand Kaixin. With a desire to share opinions, bloggers migrated towards social networks in which to provide personal musings.

While recreational time in China is a premium, the tide is turning fast with the advent of micro-blogging (the most popular being Weibo). Between December 2010 and June 2011, Weibo usage grew 200% and is usurping other social networks as the place to broadcast.

2012 will bring about integration and how to manage consumer expectations on news, communication and information sharing. Portals (who want a piece of the action), micro-blogs and social networks will converge to offer users an integrated one-stop shop.

12)    Online Advertising: Real-time Decision Making Takes Centre Stage

2012 will see an increased demand for real-time campaign insight, fuelling the emergence of intelligent automated decision-making processes for campaign optimisation.

This will be the year when this impact is felt across the industry. Media buyers will invest heavily in their demand-side platforms and become accustomed to responding to real-time analytics.

Industry players such as market researchers and creative agencies will rise to the challenge and create solutions that provide real-time ad evaluation and creative recalibration.
Successful players will be those who learn to merge real-time data from media plans with analytics and creative evaluation to optimize online advertising.

2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions

With Christmas fast approaching, consumers are more than ever likely to head online for their present shopping. Some major findings include:

  • 43% of holiday shoppers plan to do the majority of their shopping by Cyber Monday
  • 82% of holiday shoppers say that online research will significantly or moderately impact which retailer they wil shopt at
  • 77% of holiday shoppers will turn to their tablet device for online shopping, 54% will turn to their smartphones

For more information check out this study conducted by Ipsos OTX, on behalf of Google:

Global Insights on Smartphone User & Mobile Marketer

An interesting presentation looking into smartphone and mobile usage:

The More Screens The Better

Smart advertisers are already running integrated digital campaigns. Check out these case studies to learn how a multi-platform approach can increase brand awareness and brand engagement:

  • Cross screen research conducted in Nielsen Media Labs proved that for groups that saw a Volvo ad across all screens -TV, PC, smartphone and tablet – the brand recall jumps dramatically to 74%. (vs. 50% for TV only).
  • Reebok experienced over 131% lift in brand response conversions after extending its video creative across all digital screens – PCs, mobile phones and tablets – to promote RealFlex.
  • Delta successfully targeted business travelers across mobile devices and networks with interactive mobile video units. The campaign doubled awareness, consideration intent and association with business elite services.
  • The adidas’ “All-In” campaign video, featured above, generated over 2 million views by adapting their video creative for engagement across PCs, smartphones and tablets.


Microsoft’s Secret Social Network

Microsoft have been working on their own social network, much in the vein of Facebook. Will it take off? Only time will tell, in the meantime, here is a write up on it’s features, that I found at

Earlier this summer, a teaser page appeared at revealing Tulalip, an oddly named service from Microsoft promising a new way to “Find what you need and Share what you know.” Facebook and Twitter sign-ins were offered, and the design was reminiscent of Windows Phone’s tiles. It turns out Microsoft has been testing this service with a select group of “friends,” and this week, I got an early look at Socl — “Tulalip” appears to be dropped — a curious site that’s coming out of the FUSE research group that will eventually be rolled out to the public. The site mixes search, discovery, and, go figure, a social network. How’s it hold up? Read on.


Ignoring for the moment that the interface looks a lot like that other social network, Socl offers a bare bones, three column layout, with basic navigation in the left rail, a social feed down the middle, and invites and video party options (more on that soon) on the right. As usual, you can follow other friends, but you won’t find any list-making tools. Core to the experience is the large search field at the top that asks, “What are you searching for?” effectively creating a new type of status update. You can also toggle the field to a traditional status update. With Socl, you’ve got the option to post to your feed either a note that you’re searching for “live Prince covers” or that you’re ‘live at a Prince concert.” Entering a search term or status update drops it into your feed with appropriate Bing results, where your friends will have the option to comment, like, or further tag it. Clicking ‘tag’ adds the search term to your personal list of tags, and you can sort your friends’ searches and status updates by type (i.e. web, video, news, images).


While tagging seems like a decent idea in theory — I theoretically want to track topics I’m interested in — I can’t imagine going back to a simple tag search for news, browsing, or much of anything, really, and Socl’s implementation doesn’t advance what Google’s doing with saved searches. I’ve got a mix of trusted friends, publications, and hundreds of RSS feeds to get a broad mix of focused news and information on topics I’m interested in, and tag searches for Politics, Film, or Technology, for example, aren’t going to offer much. And, there’s a big difference tagging an interest and actually searching. I might like the band Yo La Tengo, but I’m never searching only for that ‘tag.’ Instead, it’ll be a Google-ese mix like ‘yo la tengo scores ost 2008 album,’ which isn’t going to look good in any design and isn’t really relevant to me or my followers outside of last Thursday night.


And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Socl also includes a video party feature, complete with chat, for watching YouTube clips together (currently no support for Vimeo, DailyMotion, or any other services). It’s a clean, intuitive UI, and aside from the lack of a controllable scrubber, it could be a fun service on its own. Socl is mostly built on HTML5 — we saw no instances of Silverlight or Flash — and the site showed no slowdown in Chrome or Firefox while video partying, searching, or tagging.


I understand the push to make search a more social experience; Google’s been trying for months with the +1 buttons littered across search results that are then integrated into Google+. Let’s say you’re searching for great burrito restaurants in San Francisco Mission District. Traditionally, you might check Yelp (or a similar service), trusted friends, regular search, or a mixture of all three. And this side of social networking generally works; people ask for recommendations all the time on Facebook and Twitter, and you often get great answers that search simply wouldn’t have turned up. And, with social search, Microsoft is hoping that your friends will see your query and bring their expertise to it.


Note that Socl is a research project, so it’s possible that it won’t ever get released as a mainstream product, but we’re hearing it’s still going to be tested publicly. Socl is starting late to the game, so it’s no surprise that you can plug into the potential traffic firehose that is Facebook. While all of your searches and tags are visible to your friends on Socl, I’ve been told your Socl activity can be limited via Facebook’s lists. Otherwise, there’s not much here in the way of interacting privately with other users on Socl; no private messages, no @replies, and none of the curated, semi-private groups like Google’s circles.

Socl ultimately needs to better show how yet another social network and search tool can help users find the information they’re looking for; without mobile support or integration across the rest of the Microsoft world, Socl’s got a big hill to climb. We’re hearing Microsoft is nearing the end of its private testing period and will roll this out to a bigger public audience through an invite system.

By Thomas Houston,


The Mobile Movement



The Mobile Movement (PDF)

A study into how people are now using smartphones for searching, purchasing and other media consumption.





The Mobile Movement – Smartphones

Route to 2015

Google’s Senior Vice President of Americas Sales recently looked into their crystal ball and predicted the  future of advertising. Words by Dennis Woodside:


The average CMO is just shy of 50 years old. He or she learned their art two decades ago. Then, the web was still a novelty and advertising was mostly mass-communication. The aim was to ‘raise awareness,’ ‘drive consideration,’ ‘create purchase intent.’ Even the industry terms suggested a one-way relationship: something done to, rather than with, the consumer.

That’s changed. Today, we live in a world of engagement. People don’t want to be bludgeoned with broadcasts. They want, and expect, something more sophisticated, more considerate. And they are consuming media everywhere – TV, online, mobile – sometimes simultaneously.

This shift has edited the CMO’s job description, forcing him to toss the MBA textbooks and learn on the job. The acceleration of everything is not going to stop, so we need to keep a relentless focus on the future, to be thinking years – not quarters – ahead. That’s what we try to do at Google. Here’s a glimpse of what we’re expecting to see by 2015.

We’ll get the web anywhere and everywhere. There will be over 10 billion mobile subscribers and 300 million internet-enabled televisions. This will increase appetites for non-traditional content, with half our screen time spent on social networks, UGC, citizen journalism and blogs.

Dollars will go where the eyeballs are: 40 percent of spend will go to ‘digital’ (a $50bn global market today, growing more than 20 percent a year). The funding model for professional content will change: lots of lean, niche professional content will dominate, alongside (much less) blockbuster content. And clients will migrate to a handful of media and creative agencies that invest in differentiating digital capabilities.

All retailers will go mobile. Couponing, circular spending and formats will migrate, with offers that are more targeted, personalized, and accountable. New mobile services will spring up that, knowing what store people are in, provide price and availability on inventory without being asked. Pricing transparency will disrupt traditional retailers so much that ‘good service’ will once again become a differentiating retail factor.

Wireless payment possibilities will change shopping forever – for buyer and seller. People will be able to search for products and check for local offers on their phone, then visit the store and use their near field communication (NFC)-enabled device to pay (which is potentially more secure and enables automatic collection of store loyalty points). A new class of services will emerge to facilitate offers, payments and payment clearance. Major credit card companies will participate, but are not guaranteed to win. A PayPal of the mobile space may emerge.

One-way participation in content will decline to under 20 percent. The consumer will gain even more control and choice. Technology is already empowering them to skip ads, or micro-pay for content, or opt out altogether. And most media is enabling consumers to contribute and comment on their own terms – and they will. According to Erik Qualman, founder of Socialnomics, 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations. Far fewer trust advertisements. The consumer will increasingly rely on such ‘social’ branding and friend recommendations. Brands that build web services that foster community and loyalty gain equity; those that rely solely on price and selection fade.

The deluge of information could drown the consumer, though. Intermediaries will build business models on curating content and facilitating choices. Tomorrow’s services help answer questions about complex, value-added products and services such as, ‘Which lawyer within 20 miles of my home has expertise on tax issues in living trusts?’ The local and personal becomes more important.

We will move from just recording data to modifying the system in real time: continuous improvement. Before, you’d run TV ads, analyze, and six-to-nine-months down the road you could change strategy if needed. Now you can run 1,000 different ad types to 1,000 different demographics, then measure and iterate on the spot.

The demand for real-time information and capabilities will continue and increase, as will the desire for improved advertising efficiency. Old, non-optimizable formats will go by the wayside. Display will boom, as real-time bidding becomes possible, making every campaign mutable-by-the-moment, enabling ad buyers to tailor bids and ads, impression by impression, across a wide range of ad space. Half the ads targeted to particular audiences will use real-time bidding.

Digital Tipsheet: The Four Bs

Search is still the killer app. It’s more location-based (knows where you are), personalized (offers to you), visual (Google Goggles) and real-time (price, availability, news) than ever. Roy’s Restaurants introduced hyperlocal ads, delivering clickable, down-to-the-block level information about a business at the right place and at the right moment – and got an 800 percent ROI on their advertising investment.
You could be dull in another era. Not this one. For creativity, look at American Express mastering the art of the live stream – a newly potent medium. Their live-streamed concerts, ‘Unstaged: An Original Series from American Express,’ created an absorbing environment on the web and in the arena, engaging users with the music of Arcade Fire and John Legend – and with their brand.
Real-world, real-time relevance matters more than ever. A Google client in the auto insurance business uses click-to-call so that when a potential customer searches their mobile phone for car insurance, the company shows them an ad that can immediately connect the customer to its call center and begin the application process on the spot. The consumer, right there on the lot, could get their insurance before they drive away.
Ford has identified five key buying actions based on closely measured online behavior. If someone configures a car online, Ford now knows they are more likely to buy one. The car company uses this information to target digital advertising, generating high-value leads and test-drive registrations for its dealers. Unlike traditional local media, Ford can measure the exact return on this investment. Accountability pays.

Disruptive Innovations

In the digital age, disruptive innovations are becoming much more frequent. Take for instance home video entertainment; VHS ruled from the 70’s until some time in the mid 90’s beating out various would-be-successors until DVD came along. While Blue Ray is also now becoming increasingly popular, many people are also flocking to other options such as streaming movies and programs from their computers, downloading them to memory sticks and CD’s to watch on their TVs or watching them on tablets, laptops and smart phones. Below you can see some of the major disruptive innovations that have occurred in the digital age and the effects that they have on the market.


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