BI Intelligence, a subscription research service from Business Insider, expects US mobile ad spend to top $42 billion in 2018, growing at a 43% compound average growth rate (CAGR) in the five years from 2013.
With the relaunch of Fitnessmagazine.com and the introduction of native advertising, Meredith Corporation is signaling a new phase of innovation for its sites that are aimed at improving experiences for end users and advertisers alike. According to Andy Wilson, Meredith Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, the company has had an adaptive design strategy for some time however, given that sites like Fitnessmagazine.com derive as much as half of their traffic from mobile, it was time to make a more significant shift.
The new site is tailored to their users’ media consumption habits and advertiser objectives. It features a responsive design that’s fully optimized for users across devices and screen sizes. Fitness was an optimal place to start within the Meredith suite of brands, says Wilson, because “we are finding that certain brands, like Fitness, are more attractive to the millennial target. The way they are accessing our sites has changed. They use the content at different times and are doing much more on mobile devices.”
Increasing mobile consumption was not the sole motivation for the site redesign, of course. Creating better opportunities for content discovery, and better aligning content consumption with advertising were also significant factors. The site includes enhanced social sharing and new features like infinite-scrolling category pages that allow users to easily discover the brand’s deep content in areas like workouts, healthy eating and diet and weight loss.
The new design not only helps increase content discovery, but has the added benefit of improving ad viewability. “This relaunch not only gives consumers a mobile-first experience, but it also allows us to develop richer integrated opportunities for our advertisers to drive better performance and viewability to meet their goals,” says Wilson.
With the relaunch of the site, Meredith Digital also introduced its Native “Buzz” Platform. Buzz units will integrate marketers’ messaging into trending and highly contextual content areas. According to Wilson, Meredith is rolling out native advertising with its newer sites and leveraging a cross-platform approach for ad sales and ad distribution. “It simplifies things versus selling each individual platform. But more importantly, it lets us focus on performance, regardless of platform.”
Buzz is the first in a suite of performance-based ad products that will soon rollout across 10 Meredith owned and operated websites. “We are very excited about delivering a line of performance ad products that will let us tap into search and content marketing budgets.” The new products will allow Meredith to capture new ad revenue streams and go head to head with the big players in search and social. “Our offering will be compared against the Google and Facebook ad spend but we provide a contextual environment and engaged audiences and we are 100 percent audited. We are going look good in these comparisons.”
Q: To drive success in video advertising, what is the most important thing to consider:
A: Put the users first. If you build a product – and an ad experience – that puts the needs and habits of consumers first, then you will be able to maximize the overall impact. A majority of app consumption happens at home, often while also watching TV. Users are coming to our apps to escape the same old TV commercials, so we need to provide them an innovative ad experience that compliments the mobile mindset. Before you run an ad, the first question you should ask yourself is, “would I sit through this ad?”
Q: Describe one of your video advertising campaigns that you think is particularly innovative:
A: USAToday partnered with Dodge on a unique campaign that paired-up with movie trailers. We presented an interactive pre-roll that featured stars from upcoming movies, which allowed users to answer trivia questions about the Dodge Durango. Often publishers will talk of gamification of content to drive engagement. We have taken that concept, combined it with the idea of native advertising and created an experience that will encourage interaction with both the content and the advertisement in a seamless and social manner.
Q: What is working in video advertising and what do we need more of in order to drive success in this area?
A: I think the biggest step forward in video advertising, particularly in the mobile space, has been the adoption of Vine and Instagram by brands. Finally we’re starting to think outside of the traditional 30-second pre-roll box, and focusing on the wide array of platforms users now consume media through. An overwhelming majority of people use their tablets and phones while watching TV, and most are doing so during commercials. We cannot expect them to engage in our video content if they are forced to sit through the exact same ad that they are trying to escape.
Samantha is currently the director of mobile video for Gannett and its properties, including USAToday and over 100 local broadcast stations and local newspapers. She oversees both product and content strategy for the company’s mobile apps and mobile website. Samantha has worked on both the editorial and product side of the video and content business, with time at both AOL and The Weather Channel.
Also in this series:
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code has made inspiration her day job at the nonprofit organization she founded to inspire, educate and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. And her work, and mission, is getting some “traditional” brands to take notice.
When Mattel wanted to create an entrepreneur Barbie with street cred, one of the women they turned to was Saujani. Susan Lyne, CEO of AOL’s Brand Group and Girls Who Code advisor also turned to Saujani when she wanted to create a site built by girls for girls.
The inspired connection between Lyne and Saujani led to AOL offering summer internships to five Girls Who Code alumnae. These young women are playing a fundamental role in the re-launch of AOL’s millennial-focused pop-culture site, Cambio (coming this Fall).
“Part of Reshma’s program is to build something you care about and present it. She focuses on what you can build if you learn to code, which is exactly the right focus.” During their internship, the girls will certainly do a lot of coding, but they are also helping to shape the Cambio brand’s editorial direction and building new mobile-first products.
Lyne been impressed with the impact the interns are making—including making the content “multifaceted like they are,” which includes an affinity for celebrity news (the current focus of Cambio’s content), but also “about issues that are really important them whether it’s a crush, weight, family relationships or world peace.”
The interns have also developed an inspirational meme generator and a contributor platform so that they—and many more girls like them—can participate in the site. “I love the idea of building because it can mean many different things,” says Lyne. “Just the idea of creating, not just serving or enabling. Doing the creating themselves is incredibly empowering.”Lyne was also pleased to see how the larger AOL team welcomed the Girls Who Code interns, “the minute we announced the program, I can’t tell you how many engineers raised their hands, but also people in sales, designers, editors…everyone wanted to find a way to help these girls have a fantastic summer.” They’ve been privy to sessions on advertising, analytics, privacy, computer security and more.
Given the fact that three of the five top positions at AOL are held by women, it isn’t surprising that this is an organization supportive of young women’s professional development. “I think it all starts with Tim,” says Lyne of the company’s CEO and Chairman. “He made it a goal to have three women on the board because there’s research that demonstrates that companies with three or more women on the board perform better. He was looking for whatever will give us an edge and having strong women is part of that.”
Building a structure that supports women internally is important. But perhaps even more so is spreading the #BuiltByGirls message through initiatives like these, where young women see that the products they use every day are actually built by girls, in the hope that it changes their perception of computer science.
And, as Lyne points out, “Media companies like ours reach many millions of people and we impact all kids of attitudes. It is important that we positively impact the way young women think about their possibilities going forward, and even impact the way technology and an industry evolves. This is an opportunity…and a responsibility.”
History may just be the most popular subject for 7-11 year olds this fall. A+E’s History brand– which works hard to infuse the subject with entertainment value to go along with informational substance —has just introduced two new apps targeted at kids: Empire Run and Frontier Heroes.
While there are many apps on the market that fall into the historical genre, Evan Silverman, SVP of Digital at A+E Networks said that the company “felt that there was an opportunity in the marketplace for historically-inspired apps that are fun for kids.” In analyzing the segment, Silverman says they found many of the apps lacked production value and “skewed to dry.” And History, which produces such popular programs as Vikings, Pawn Stars, and Ice Road Truckers, does not do dry.
In addition to seeing a market opportunity for fun historical apps, the cable network is “always looking for new ways to explore audiences and develop new brands within the larger History umbrella,” says Silverman. While the 7-11 year old set may not be its prime expansion demographic, the move will reinforce the brand among parents of young children who are likely to be happier approving the $2.99 app price tag given the reputation of the History brand. This certainly represents a growth opportunity, given that the network’s viewer profile is dominated by 55+ (42%) followed by the 25-54 age bracket (36%).
“We really focused on creating apps that parents would trust,” says Silverman.” The apps are part of a new “Planet H” brand, which will join H2 under the History umbrella. “We made a very conscious decision to charge up front and not include ads or in-app purchases. We also worked hard to create apps that parents would consider high quality and premium, and maybe even enjoy playing themselves.”
History developed its new Empire Run and Frontier Heroes apps in partnership with RED Games, a division of RED Interactive Agency. A&E Networks and RED Games teamed up previously to produce the popular Battle of the Beards game for A+E’s Duck Dynasty.
The choice to approach this audience through games also made sense given the low-cost to test the market (relative to developing a pilot or digital series). Silverman also points out that “with apps, you get a very fast read on whether something resonates with an audience: Do they like these characters, enjoy these particular historical eras?” This year, History plans to introduce one more game under the Planet H brand which Silverman will only say is an “exploration game.” However, if the games gain traction, we can expect much more.
“We don’t want this to be a one or two-off. We are making a commitment to launching a series of apps.” Silverman says that his team looked closely at the Toca Boca studio when formulating their plan for approaching this new audience mobile-first. Like Toca Boca, if they find an audience that embraces the fun in History, the Planet H brand will expand into other channels and content types including the possibility of merchandise sales and original digital programming.
“The History brand has really broadened over the years and now we speak to so many different audiences.” Silverman credits now-A+E CEO Nancy Dubuc with “genius, when she was running History, at viewing history through a contemporary lens instead of always looking backwards.” Planet H, he says, is just another step in that evolution.
This quarter’s index report focuses on the mobile video segment. Mobile phone and tablet consumption is compared to desktop and connected TV platforms.
Click here to view the research item.
Mobile advertising market is currently worth $21 billion in annual revenue globally, according to SNS Telecom. The outlet expects that by 2020 the tablet segment alone will generate $27 billion in revenue.
Click here to view the research item.
US industries will collectively spend upwards of $50 billion on digital advertising in 2014 according to eMarketer’s 2014 Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry report. While direct-response still captures the largest amount in the overall spending—$29.61 billion versus the $20.5 billion predicated to be spent on branding this year—both segments are growing at approximately the same rate. eMarketer also finds that, “As marketers get better at measurement and attribution, the lines between direct-response spending and branding are blurring more than ever.”
It is important to note that the larger trend numbers don’t tell the whole story. While eMarketer finds double-digit gains across virtually all industries since 2009, they say that more important data is among the “subtrends within individual industries.” In particular, evolving mobile behavior is impacting spending trends. To reflect this significant industry condition, this year eMarketer includes its first estimates of mobile v. desktop spending on an industry-by-industry basis.
eMarketer predicts that the US retail industry’s advertising spending on paid digital media will reach $11.05 billion in 2014 and rise to $17.39 billion by 2018 and it continues to be the single largest-spending industry by a wide margin. However that spending is largely concentrated in direct-response advertising. Among the factors driving retail’s use of digital media is consumers’ use of mobile devices throughout the shopping process.
The travel industry also skews heavily to direct response, devoting a larger share of its overall budget to performance advertising than any other industry covered in eMarketer’s report (74% of its $4.15 billion spend). However eMarketer foresees a possible shift increase in mobile spending from this segment as consumers shift to mobile travel booking and marketers experiment with advertising that taps into this trend as well as last minute purchases.
More than one-third (35%) of US automotive-related digital ad spending will be on mobile this year, eMarketer predicts, accounting for $2.15 billion of the $6.15 billion total. This will put the auto industry in line with the US industry average when it comes to mobile’s share of digital ad spending. In the automotive sector, mobile-based branding and upper-funnel advertising efforts are increasing in response to evolving consumer research behavior—which has shifted to mobile. eMarketer suggests that brands “must remain well-considered and top of mind among consumers who are not yet in-market in order to win a place on their shopping lists once they are.”
Mirroring increased consumer usage of a wide range of financial activities via mobile devices—including banking, buying securities and managing funds—the financial industry is increasingly viewing mobile as an attractive advertising platform. In addition to mobile, this sector is likely to increase its usage of digital video, social media and sponsored content. At present, 62% of the financial industry’s digital spend is being used for direct response and 38% is used for branding.
Somewhat stronger in the branding area is the US healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, which will spend $1.41 billion on paid digital media in 2014, including $373 million on mobile ad formats. This segment will invest 44% of its digital spend in branding-focused campaigns. An interesting growth segment among pharma and healthcare is the use of digital media to target small, specific audiences for expensive specialty drugs that treat less-common ailments.
The segment focusing the largest percentage of its digital spend on branding is CPG and Consumer products with the lion’s share of its ad budgets going towards TV. The CPG and consumer products industry, in which a mere 8.4% of total spending is done via digital channels, focuses a hefty 65% of their $4.2 billion digital budget on branding efforts. The good news is that the digital ad spend is growing and eMarketer predicts that some of the largest budget increases, by percentage, will be in digital video, as brands transfer linear TV efforts to online and mobile, where they are starting to find effective ways to measure campaign success.
The full 2014 Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry report is available only to eMarketer’s corporate subscribers, though an executive summary can be downloaded here. The full report covers Automotive, Computing Products & Consumer Electronics, Consumer Products, Financial Services, Media & Entertainment, Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Retail, Telecom and Travel.
WebMD is bringing insights to wearables with the launch of WebMD Healthy Target. Available within WebMD’s flagship mobile app for iPhone, Healthy Target is designed translate step, sleep, weight and blood glucose data from multiple well-known device manufacturers—including Entra, Fitbit, UP by Jawbone and Withings—into actionable insights.
WebMD director of mobile product development David Ziegler cites the increasing popularity of wearables as one factor in the decision to target this market. However he emphasizes that the move originated from a desire to better serve WebMD’s core audience “with a health improvement and behavior-change program.” While wearables are adept at tracking a range of user activities and behaviors, interpreting the data had been left to the users. With Healthy Target, WebMD helps users set achievable goals and pairs them with content-based insights the help them achieve those goals.
“We went into this knowing that a lot of activity trackers end up in users’ sock drawers. To date the devices only deliver the numbers; we believe that by providing contextual WebMD information and insights we can help users understand the data and learn new habits that will improve their health” says Ziegler. “And we are finding that device makers are also excited about this tool because it will keep people using their devices longer.”
The app starts off by letting users set one of six goals: 1) lose weight 2) eat healthier 3) be more active 4) control blood sugar 5) sleep better 6) feel better. Once goals are selected, Healthy Target recommends three habits that can help users reach them.
It then supports the formation of these new health habits not only by tracking and reporting on users’ progress, but also by suggesting content that helps them succeed. For example, if your goal is to sleep better, but your tracker finds you didn’t sleep well last night, the system will offer physician-reviewed suggestions to help and motivate you, or an article on what causes fatigue or a list of the effects of poor sleep.
One of Ziegler’s favorite features of WebMD Healthy Target is the way in which it provides weekly reviews that not only provide insights into users’ progress, but provides encouraging insights to help them improve and stay motivated. “For example, if you didn’t do your habit, we ask why: Were you stressed? Did you forget? Then Healthy Target generates a reading list to help you overcome those obstacles.”
For medical concerns such as diabetes, the tracker not only provides ongoing informational support, but calls-to-action if necessary. “Everything we do is physician- reviewed and for Healthy Target, we worked closely with doctors who are experts in diabetes to develop intelligence on the back end. If your levels are high or low, the tracker interrupts with a big alert on things you should do immediately.”
While the first wave of biometrics stores data in silos, WebMD wants to unify that information in one place so that users can easily gain usable insights from the behaviors they may be tracking on various devices including fitness trackers, wireless glucometers and scales. Now that the devices are beginning to mature and the data automatically updates, Ziegler believes that the time is right to combine personal, tracked data with trusted health content to help users live a healthier life.
“We want to be the central location for your personal data. People will have multiple biometric data points, but they trust WebMD to bring it to one central location.” This data, combined with physician-reviewed, contextually-relevant content and motivational tips, will support WebMD’s goal of supporting users’ in developing healthy habits that last.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is well under way and it is proving to be the most digital and social event in the history of Univision Deportes. The first six days of the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been the most visited days for Univision Digital of all time. Moreover, the live stream of the Mexico vs. Brazil game on June 17 received 3.63 million views, making it Univision’s most watched live stream ever.
This does not come as a surprise. Compared to 2010, this World Cup compared shows far greater digital consumption across live streaming, page views and social media interaction and reflects the broader shifts taking place in the consumer media landscape, notably the dramatic shift to mobile.
Our World Cup digital experience is centered around our Univision Deportes app. We partnered with industry leader NeuLion to create the newly-enhanced app to deliver the best possible World Cup digital viewing experience, serving as the official home for all World Cup games and content. The app offers fans access to high-quality live streaming coverage of all the games with in-match, real time highlights and stats, multi-camera angle video highlights, schedules, individual club news, rosters and more. In expectation of the tremendous demand for live streaming that we expected, we worked hard to test and re-test with matches before the World Cup to make sure that the viewing experience was the very best possible.
Additionally, the app offers fans watching live sports on smartphones and tablets a one-of-a-kind interactive live soccer experience that can be personalized to the individual fan, connecting users to each other via their social networks using Twitter and Facebook. U.S. Hispanics over-index on digital video consumption. We took this into account with the creation of this app which has been optimized to work across mobile devices and platforms.
Our audience has most certainly embraced this app in a big way. It has already been downloaded more than 1 million times since June 1, and now 2 million times overall. In fact, since the launch of the World Cup, the Univision Deportes app has ranked among the top three free sports apps in the Apple App Store.
Our objective for this World Cup was to provide a new digital destination for soccer fans that gives them a chance to engage with content, watch games live on the go and receive up-to-the-minute, real time match highlights and updates like they never have before. We want to deliver the ultimate companion for the die-hard soccer fan—regardless of platform. Importantly, from a strategic perspective, we made the decision to not create a separate experience and app just for World Cup. We created the Univision Deportes experience as both the home of our World Cup experience and the home of all of our soccer coverage year-long.
As part of Univision’s FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 all around digital experience, fans can also follow the action, online in the fully responsive World Cup homepage, or using the hashtag #UDMundial across their social platforms on Twitter via @UnivisionSports, as well as comment and follow all related content Facebook.com/UnivisionDeportes and Instagram/UnivisionDeportes.
The World Cup creates the space for one big conversation across social media. We have seen consistently high engagement on Twitter and Facebook, with viewers engaging with our programs in a big way. Our awards shows consistently have higher social engagement than the GRAMMYs and Oscars. For the World Cup, we have led on Nielsen Twitter TV ratings across some of the matches.
For this World Cup, we will deliver a few interesting new social plays:
First, Univision has created “Por El Futbol,” a documentary for fans around memorable World Cup moments as told by the fans, via Instagram and Vine
Second, Univision is kicking off the longest soccer kick in the world, offering fans to join by participating through Instagram and Vine, which will culminate with the ball landing in Brazil.
Then we want to break from pure sports posts and show more of what fans are experiencing throughout Brazil, fans can experience every moment as if they were there by following hashtag #CelebrandoEnBrasil via their favorite social network.
As for social TV integration, Univision and Facebook have teamed up to deliver the best possible social experience for fans who tune into World Cup coverage, with Facebook and Instagram content integrated into the broadcast. This allows us to continue to work with our viewers as they become partners in the content creation process.
The daily broadcast segments feature a mix of Facebook posts by athletes, teams and public figures, fan comments, various chatter data (such as which players are top talk on Facebook, etc.), along with Instagram photos by teams, players and fans. Univision has committed to running a significant number of social segments daily throughout the tournament.
We welcome one and all to watch fútbol en Español with us!
Kevin Conroy serves as president of Univision Interactive Media and Enterprise Development for Univision Communications Inc.Conroy has more than 20 years of advertising and media experience and has managed a number of popular Web brands, including AOL, AIM, ICQ, Moviefone, Netscape, Truveo and Winamp. Conroy was recognized by Broadcasting & Cable as a 2010 Digital All-Star, and lauded as one of Digital Media Wire’s 25 Executives to Watch. He also serves on the boards of The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Online Publishers Association (OPA), Newell Rubbermaid (NWL) and RecycleBank. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College.
The buzz around the 2014 World Cup is palpable. And this year, more people can watch it more places than ever before thanks, at least in part, to ESPN’s massive multiplatform push. According to Patrick Stiegman, VP and Editorial Director of ESPN Digital and Print Media, “Strategically, we don’t separate digital from print and broadcast. All parts must be moving together nicely as we produce this incredible event.”
ESPN has a team of 15 people on the ground in Brazil providing coverage that is being leveraged across all of its platforms. The work they do will be used for breaking news, analysis, digital features and shorts, and stories for broadcast and print. “All of our reporters are thinking multiplatform at all times,” says Stiegman. “At the World Cup, they are ESPN reporters, not specific to a delivery platform.” For example, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, who are well known for their popular Men in Blazers podcasts on Grantland, are contributing daily blog posts to ESPN FC. In turn, segments of broadcast video commentary are available on the website and in ESPN’s apps.
To flesh out this multiplatform approach, ESPN has made significant investments in its digital delivery that will enable viewers to watch all 64 matches live online via an embedded WatchESPN video player on its responsive ESPN FC website, which it relaunched along with the ESPN FC app, earlier this month. Stiegman says that the updated ESPN FC app will be a “game changing service for fans. It will be a mobile home for anyone who wants to follow the ins and outs of the World Cup.”
A “huge step in ESPN’s digital strategy is personalization,” according to Stiegman. “Increasingly, we see the drive toward personalization. In more than a third of our visits, fans spend time in clubhouses and take a team-specific approach. They want the higher level stuff, but also want to follow their teams in depth.” To that end, the ESPN FC app starts with IP-based geolocation, and then prompts users to set which edition they want. Options include regional or specific team-centric coverage as well as language options that include Spanish and Portuguese. All matches will be available online in Portuguese via ESPN Deportes as well.
Another significant piece of the company’s strategy that has allowed ESPN to provide such extensive digital availability of this year’s World Cup is the company’s work over the past several years to improve authentication, particularly ease of use. “With WatchESPN, we’ve been working hard for some time to make it as easy as possible for fans to authenticate as cable subscribers.” ESPN currently has digital authentication deals with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Dish.
“We really are focused on allowing viewers to access ESPN on the best screen available at any given moment. Maybe that’s mobile on a plane. Or maybe, like it is at my house, you’ll be watching on a tablet while your daughter watches Disney on your 60-inch TV.” While the goal with authentication has been to make signing in as easy as possible, increasing the breadth and depth of offerings via as wide a range of platforms as possible “is all about giving viewers a clear return on investment for taking the time to do so.”
This week, Condé Nast Traveler launched its new Gold List app, available for iOS and Android, to leverage the usefulness and popularity of its listings of hotels, resorts, restaurants and hotel bars as well as to maximize the social influence of this type of content. According to Creative Services Director Dana Devito, “social is a very big part of our editorial play online and off.”
The app, says Devito, “is a true extension of our brand, not just a guide.” In particular, she cites Condé Nast Traveler’s Tastemakers—something the publication recently introduced as it shifts from its focus on travel to a broader lifestyle perspective. Tastemakers are those the publication deems influential in a wide range of areas, who offer up their distinct view on the most interesting places, things to do, and much more. The app specifically leverages the social footprint of these tastemakers because, as Devito puts it, “the biggest form of ad delivery is word of mouth.” Within the app, each Very Important Tastemaker (including stylist Ann Caruso, gallery owner Blair Voltz Clark, and hotelier Jeff Klien) has their own “VIT” page which highlights their picks (look for more emphasis on these tastemakers in the publication’s website relaunch, coming in August).
The emphasis on social can be seen everywhere in the app but the social strategy is not solely focused on external channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. They’ve included their own Pinterest-like virtual bookmarking tool which allows users to cut and paste photos and videos to populate their own public or private social stream, which Devito calls “our own Condé Nast Traveler inspiration board. ”Social integration was a key element of The Gold List app, says Devito, “because it creates a two-way platform. We’re not just pushing out information; we want to hear from our users too.”
At launch, the Gold List app includes more than 600 hotels and resorts and 300-plus restaurants and hotel bars, searchable by country, region and city. The top-ranked hotels and resorts were reader-selected in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Reader’s Choice Survey. The app emphasizes Devito, “delivers on our twin promises of inspiration and service” with its “Stream” function, which provides a running visual archive of anything that users have shared or saved in the app. “The beautiful part of this app,” says Devito, “is that, sure, it is a resource to plan your next trip. But it is also a great tool to find a restaurant or bar at home or whatever city you find yourself in.”