May 2014 Archives

Make Mobile Work continues with Design with Device in Mind

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On Tuesday, May 13th IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence hosted our second Make Mobile Work webinar of the four-part series. Devoted to cross-screen creative and “Designing with Device in Mind” we had a great discussion with insights from Xaxis, Doubleclick and Tremor Video. View the full webinar, download the slides and sign up for future webinars here.

As we continue our call to help marketers navigate mobile and cross-screen opportunities - we’ve invited Time, Inc. to share some additional studies of brands successfully connecting with their always-on, device-agnostic, digital consumers. Additionally, be sure to check out the Mobile Center’s new launched creative and case study showcases page where you can see examples of HTML5 mobile and tablet creative as well as cross-screen case studies from our members.

The Driven Campaign 
A Time Inc. Digital Experience 
Coming from a publisher’s point of view there are several important factors when addressing cross-screen capabilities for our sites and ad campaigns.  With upwards of 50% of our digital audience visiting us from mobile devices, and growing, it makes cross-screen strategies an imperative from both the user experience and business operations point of view. Today Time Inc. has 21 Tablet Magazines, 25 Mobile & Tablet Apps, and 19 Mobile Websites  ̶  many of which are going through responsive design reboots. 

For this post I’m going to focus on a specific campaign we created for Land Rover that was powered by our Watercooler LIVE content marketing platform. The platform comprises several unique products and capabilities that come together like Voltron to help marketers win the battle for attention and engage with audiences across devices.  

In the demos below you can see the Land Rover - “Driven” campaign as it renders for users across multiple environments. Time Inc. curated the “Driven” campaign content from paid, owned, and earned media channels into a responsive site that was iFramed into landroverusa.com/driven. We also put a re-direct on that domain pointing to a standalone site for users coming from mobile devices in order to ensure an ideal user experience for every device.  

This is how visits were divided by screen:
  • 66% Desktop
  • 12% Tablet
  • 20% Smart Phone
The HTML5 responsive site worked seamlessly across screens and was also engineered to provide dynamic content to its accompanying Time Amplify ad units. All of our products are designed to increase both reach and engagement by allowing advertisers to take context (Time Inc. content) to go.  Through our data assets and platform connections, we were able to run these units both on and off of the Time Inc. network, finding our audience at the right place, at the right time, and on the right device. As part of this campaign, we also created a custom unit to roadblock sponsored editorial content and provide users with another opportunity to engage with the “Driven” campaign as a 100% opt-in experience. The video below showcases the Time Amplify units that dynamically pair Sports Illustrated content to the “Driven” campaign elements. 
Using MOAT analytics to measure in-view and interaction across all screens, we delivered the equivalent of over 10 years of measured in-view time across desktop, mobile and tablet in a two-month period. As you can see, the “Driven” campaign really benefited from us taking device into consideration from the outset. The campaign garnered an average engagement rate north of 7% and Average Time Spent across all elements of the campaign of nearly a minute. Great results across the board.

Here are a few tips for marketers wondering where to get started for a winning cross-screen strategy of their own. Developing for cross-screen has never been easier:
  • Start with the basics - Campaign objectives, creative brief, brand guidelines
  • Tailor your objectives to fit each screen—While you can leverage desktop assets across screens you should be mindful of screen size, bandwidth, and device-specific user behavior
  • Leverage platforms and tools to develop/experiment in faster cycles
  • Chart your users’ journey and create meaningful touch points using the screen and technology that’s most appropriate
  • Measure the metrics that matter for each screen and look at campaign results both holistically and in detail A/B test, measure, analyze, improve, and repeat
  • Always identify what could be done better and incorporate that learning into the next campaign

At Time Inc., we strive to leverage large, impactful, flexible, and standardized canvases — including the IAB rising stars — by painting them with dynamic, content-driven ad experiences that feel authentic to consumers and drive engagement and results for marketers. Make sure your partners are equally committed to approaching cross-screen in a way that resonates with your customers. 


About the Authors


headshot.jpgBelinda J. Smith

Belinda J. Smith is Senior Manager of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau



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Sam Mansour

Sam Mansour is Director of Digital Ad Product Experience at Time Inc


The IAB’s standardized interfaces for rich ads—Video Suite (VAST, VPAID and VMAP), MRAID, and SafeFrame—are among our most important contributions to enabling engaging, dynamic advertising to scale.  In three different ad environments, these technical specifications standardize communication between the ad creative and the systems that host the content. In a video player, the player must be able to understand and process the ad’s requests to operate smoothly (VPAID). For mobile in-app ads, the mobile app must be programmed to recognize the ad’s requests (MRAID). In a webpage where the ad runs in an iframe, a line of communication is needed between the page and the iframe (SafeFrame).

The three specifications IAB and our members have developed to standardize these communications have significantly reduced the friction associated with buying and selling advertising in web, mobile, and video environments. 

However, there’s a challenge.  Each of the three IAB specs was designed for a distinct scenario, and we live in a world where those scenarios are increasingly blurring together.  Companies are increasingly dealing with the convergence of these standards, asking questions like: 

  • How can VPAID and MRAID best be used together? 
  • While MRAID was developed for in-app experiences, what about browser-based apps? 
  • Should SafeFrame be the sole solution for browser-based experiences?

To formulate a game plan for addressing this convergence, IAB assembled leaders from each of the three standards efforts, along with relevant IAB staff, to publish a perspective on the challenges of bringing these standards into harmony with one another.  This document includes an overview of the specifications, the challenges we’re hearing about from the industry, and an overview of next steps IAB intends to take.  Over the long-term, there’s no question that we should place VPAID, SafeFrame, and MRAID on a convergence path.  But that’s necessarily going to be a lengthy process.  

In the short and medium term, we are talking with industry representatives about how to formulate best practices for working effectively with these specs, notably combining VPAID and MRAID, and other best practices as industry need warrants.  We encourage interested members to get involved as we make sure MRAID, VPAID, and SafeFrame stay relevant and valuable in a rapidly evolving—and converging—digital advertising world. 


About the Author

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Joe Laszlo

Joe Laszlo is Senior Director, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, at the IAB.

 


Digital Video In-Stream Metrics Released!

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If you are familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel, you’re aware of the potential power behind a commonly understood language. When everyone accepts definitions in the same way, the chance of confusion is eliminated and time can be spent more efficiently in progressing forward rather than having to consistently translate various interpretations. Digital Video In-Stream Metrics serve this exact purpose for buyers and sellers of digital video in-stream advertising, and have played an important role in maturing the industry and supporting its evolution. 

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Digital video is a fast moving marketing channel undergoing a large amount of innovation and technical functionality, so the industry will need to periodically review and revise standards to reflect the needs of current practice. The last update to the metrics was in 2008, so IAB convened a working group to modernize the metrics but we found during comment periods that there were some prevailing questions that we chose to address outside of the document. 

We hosted the webinar, Digital Video Metrics Modernized to provide an overview of the document and addressed those questions, and as an added layer of clarity we have outlined them in an FAQ. Ultimately, our goal is to enable growth in the industry. We do this by building and maintaining consensus around the use of these metrics and concepts so that buyers understand sellers and transparency is established.


FAQ Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definitions 

Why not combine the metric definitions with the Impression Measurement Guidelines?

IAB Impression Measurement Guidelines, which have been developed for display, mobile and digital video, describe technical details for how an ad impression should be counted in each of the specified contexts. Each of the Impression Measurement Guidelines documents is used in the industry to establish sound measurement practices for ad impressions. 

In contrast, the Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definition document, simply describe a baseline of interactive metrics that companies can voluntarily track in digital video. No technical guidelines are imposed for how each metric is measured, allowing companies make the best use of their technology while offering the Industry a common definition for select interactive digital video metrics.

Why isn’t viewability covered in the update to metric definitions for digital in-stream video?

Viewability in digital video is a more complex issue than simply defining a term. The 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions only defines a baseline set of interactive metrics that the industry can use as a common lexicon. However, establishing common measurement practices for determining whether an ad is in view requires a process that identifies and addresses technical and operational challenges. The Make Measurements Make Sense (3MS) initiative is leading the efforts toward more effective impression measurements. As a standard becomes adopted in the industry, these metric definitions may be updated to reflect relevant changes.

We serve video ads into 300x250 placements on websites. Why is this being excluded from the definition for digital video in-stream video ads?

The format of an ad does not make it a digital video in-stream video ad; the context into which the ad is served defines digital in-stream video ads. The technology for receiving and executing ads is different and requires different resources when the ad is served into a webpage and when served into a video player. Video ads that are served into a webpage are commonly known as in-banner video ads and are executed by the browser. Separately, ads served into a player are received and executed by the player—each of which may be built using proprietary code. Therefore, only ads served to a player (video or otherwise), constitute a digital in-stream video ad.

What constitutes a “player?”

In the context of digital in-stream video, a player is a browser-based computer program that executes videos, animation, or games that streams publisher content.

One advertising strategy we use is to stream short clips of content along with ads into a display placement on a publisher’s webpage. Our ads are played before, during, or after the content we serve, and they’re served into a player. Are our ads considered digital in-stream video ads?

If the content being streamed belongs to the same publisher that also owns the webpage content into which you are serving the clips and ads, then yes. For example, a news publisher may post several short news clips in the sidebar of their page. Ads served into these news clips are considered digital in-stream video ads.

However, if the content belongs to publishers other than the one who owns the page content, and especially if that content is served to a display ad placement on the page, the content is a form of advertising. In this case, the content, as well as the ads served with it, are being served to the webpage and classified as in-page, or in-banner video ads.

Is mobile covered in this metric definition update?

Ads served into browser-based players that stream publisher content are considered digital in-stream ads, regardless of the device in which they play. However, mobile devices present some challenges to tracking ad interactions. Native players in mobile devices are capable of playing content while offline and therefore lack the persistent connection required for communicating ad interactions in real time. For now, the 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions are restricted to the context of live streaming content. However, to the extent possible, these metric definitions may be applied to native digital players in mobile.

Are the ads we serve into games considered digital in-stream video ads?

Yes, game publishers may sell ad inventory that is served into their browser-based game players. Ads served into these players are considered digital in-stream video ads.


About the Author
Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson is Senior Manager of Advertising Technology at IAB.