Google and Facebook commit to ‘gold standard’ to clean up digital advertising

The digital giants have committed themselves to the IAB’s new ‘Gold Standard’ initiative, which looks to “raise the standards” and address ad fraud and brand safety in online advertising.

Google and Facebook have committed themselves to a new initiative by the IAB to address common digital advertising woes such as ad fraud and brand safety.

The ‘Gold Standard’ programme, which launches today (18 October), sees 23 IAB UK board members, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, promise to take three key actions to improve digital advertising:

  1. Reduce ad fraud by implementing the ‘ads.txt’ initiative on all sites carrying ads. This means publishers and distributors are forced to declare who is authorised to sell their inventory, thereby improving transparency for programmatic buyers.
  2. Improve the digital advertising experience for consumers by adhering to the LEAN principles, the Coalition for Better Advertising standards and never using the 12 “bad” ads. In short, ads have to be light, encrypted and non-invasive.
  3. Increase brand safety by working with UK body JICWEBS, which benchmarks best practice for online trading, with a view to become certified or maintain certification.

Initially, the Gold Standard has these three fundamental aims, but could be expanded in future and the IAB will look to encourage its members to tackle other issues such as audience measurement and viewability.

The deadline for implementing the three initiatives will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Brand safety has been high on advertisers’ list of priorities this year since P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard issued a rallying cry to the industry to clean up the “murky” media supply system. Meanwhile, YouTube’s brand safety scandal, which saw advertising placed next to extremist or pornographic content, also led advertisers to pull back – with some brands still refusing to advertise on the platform.

“Everyone agrees that digital advertising standards need to improve to keep this industry sustainable and thriving. The IAB Gold Standard is a practical measure that demonstrates media owner commitment to making this happen,” said the IAB’s chief digital officer Tim Elkington.

“Media owners need to send a clear signal to advertisers and agencies that they take their responsibilities seriously to offer the best environment possible so that brands can confidently use digital advertising.”

Source: marketingweek.com; 18 Oct 2017

Sceptical Malaysians don’t believe what they see on social media

Despite high levels of connectivity, brands face a struggle to connect with Malaysians via online channels, according to Kantar TNS’s latest “Connected Life” research.

The findings show that while Malaysians spend 7.2 hours online every day, the opportunity for brands to engage with them there is under threat, as consumers are mistrusting of online content and are sceptical of brand motivations.

The research revealed that sceptical Malaysians do not trust the content they are consuming online, as just 17% of connected consumers consider social media content to be reliable. This contrasts markedly with other Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia, where 59% and 61% respectively trust social media content. Almost one in three (31%) also have concerns about how much control the social media networks have over the content that they see on their feeds.

“Malaysians spend a large proportion of their day online. We’re constantly connected to the internet thanks to our mobile devices and ever-improving data costs and speeds,” MC Lai, managing director of Malaysia at Kantar TNS, said.

More importantly, marketers need to realise that Malaysians are not easy targets in this digital world. In comparison to other less developed countries in the region, Lai said:

Malaysian consumers are more mistrusting of what they see online, and are more uncomfortable with brands collecting their personal data.
Therefore, he added, brands need to step up the game and demonstrate the value they can bring to Malaysian consumers’ lives if they want to earn their trust and ensure that they are able to use these channels for meaningful brand conversations.

Trust in brands

The study also showed that trust in brands varies significantly between markets. In Malaysia, consumers are moderately cynical, with only 41% of the connected consumer population trusting global brands. This trust level falls significantly in other markets such as Australia (19%), however in emerging markets such as Vietnam, 54% of consumers remain trusting of these brands.

Circling back to personal data issues, the findings show that despite the benefits that can be delivered through sharing data, Malaysians are cautious of how much of their personal data they share online. About 38% of consumers in Malaysia object to connected devices monitoring their activities even if it makes their lives easier, compared to 15% in Indonesia. Over half (51%) of Malaysians have concerns about the amount of personal data that brands have on them, compared to 33% across the region. Malaysians are also found to become increasingly aware of the price they are paying for their connected lifestyles, and many feel on the losing end of an unfair exchange.

Trust is fragile, Michael Nicholas, global lead of connected solutions at Kantar TNS, said. Nicholas added, while brands in for emerging countries see higher levels of consumer trust today than those in developed ones, they should not take it for granted.

“To build and protect trust, brands need to put the customer first. That means understanding their motivations, understanding the right moments to engage with them, respecting their time as valuable, and being more transparent about how and when they collect and use their personal data. Above all, that means putting the customer first – something that many marketers have forgotten to do,” he added.

Source: adweek.com; 17 Oct 2017

Instagram doubles its advertiser base

Instagram says it has doubled its advertiser base over the last six months as it hits 2 million monthly active advertisers.

And the photo-based social network says its users are also becoming more engaged. It claims users under the age of 25 now spend an average of 32 minutes a day on Instagram.

Meanwhile, last month, an impressive 180 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called, emailed or direct messaged to learn about a business.

“Now 80% of people choose to follow a business they care about on Instagram, further proving that people are looking actively engage with brands in a meaningful way,” says Jim Squires, head of Instagram business.

“Users are spending more time on the platform than ever before, and we know video is a huge part of that. For businesses, motion is becoming the new filter for advertisers as they embrace Stories to connect with and inspire their customers through an immersive video experience, with 60% of Instagram videos watched with sound-on. We’re excited to see how advertisers continue to use video in creative ways to reach their community.

Source: marketingweek.com; 26 Sep 2017

On Twitter, optimise for engagement, not output

In the Engagement Meter column, Unmetric, a social-media intelligence firm focused on brands, presents trends in social media and recent top-performing brand posts from around APAC. This edition looks specifically at trends, content and hashtags on Twitter.

This edition’s insight

1,507% more interactions on Twitter in 2016 when compared to 2013.

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In a recent study on the American Auto industry, even though the amount of content published by auto companies on Twitter fell to levels seen in 2013, the number of interactions on each tweet has grown significantly. This growth has been primarily driven by more ‘Likes’ (formerly known as favourites) on the content and, to a lesser degree, more retweets. This means even with lesser content, brands are able to get more interaction. This might be a good opportunity for companies to recalibrate efforts and optimize for better engagement.

Top Tweets (Sept 1 through 24)

1. Acer Japan
Engagement – 1,000*

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2. Vivo Malaysia
Engagement – 1,000

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3. Garnier Philippines
Engagement – 1,000

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4. KFC Malaysia
Engagement – 1,000

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5. AIS Thailand
Engagement – 1,000

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Top hashtags (Sept 1 through 24)

1. Oppo India
Hashtag: #oppof3
Number of User Tweets – 15,495

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2. Audi India
Hashtag: #AudiQuattroCup
Number of User Tweets – 10,645

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3. Bajaj Allianz India
Hashtag: #knowyourinsurance
Number of User Tweets – 5,800

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4. Godrej India
Hashtag: #WorldOzoneDay
Number of User Tweets – 5,048

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5. ShaadiDotCom
Hashtag: #realpeoplerealstories
Number of User Tweets – 5,033

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* Unmetric’s Engagement score rates each piece of content from 0 to 1000 depending on the amount of user interactions, which allows easy comparison of content regardless of the number of fans or followers a brand has.

Source: campaignasia.com; 3 Oct 2017

YouTube courts advertisers with promise of better targeting

YouTube wants to make it easier for brands to serve up more relevant and personalised ads and measure their offline impact.

YouTube is launching a range of new tools for advertisers as it looks to convince more marketers to spend their budgets on the video platform and put the brand safety controversy behind it.  It is courting brands with updates that it claims will make advertising on the platform more relevant and personalised, and make it easier to measure their offline impact.

“This is going to make it easier for brands to have even more relevant and personalised campaigns that really match the intentions of users. That will continue to grow the impact of the advertising on their platform because it gives people a better experience,” Tara Walpert Levy, vice president of agency and media solutions at Google, tells Marketing Week.

The first update brings ‘Custom Affinity Audiences’ to YouTube, meaning brands can use intent signals from search or the types of apps users have downloaded to make their video ads more effective. So, for example, a consumer that searches for local ski resorts could see an ad for ski clothes on YouTube. It claims that in tests the change drove 20% higher ad recall and 50% higher brand awareness.

Two of the launches relate to making it easier to develop creative for YouTube. The ‘Director Mix’ tool aims to make it simpler for brands to create hundreds of different pieces of creative that can be personalised to a particular consumer or the content they are watching.

It lets marketers upload multiple aspects of an ad – for example different footage, copy or voiceovers – and the tool will then create the ads.

The second tool enables video ad sequencing, so a brand can show a viewer three different ads in a particular order to build a story over time and increase the frequency they might see a brand without “annoying people”.

And lastly, YouTube is hoping to make it easier for brands to measure the offline impact of advertising on the video platform using Nielsen MPA (matched panel analysis).

Walpert Levy adds: “We want to focus people on the fact that it is intention and understanding that intention, and delivering a message against intention, that drives attention and results.”

YouTube has had a difficult year, with its standing among advertisers taking a hit following the brand safety scandal and the decision by a number of brands to pull advertising. However, Walpert Levy says most marketers have been “really happy” with the “proactive” steps YouTube has taken to address their concerns.

Yet she admits there is “always more to do”. She thinks that while YouTube is “leading the market” in areas such as viewability, there is still more it can do to ensure advertising is not shown next to egregious content.

“The question of how you ensure every brand is on exactly the content that they want to be on is a continuous process, because every brand has a different version of that and the amount of content out there is more than ever before. We’ve made huge progress and had great feedback on that progress but we know there’s a lot more room to go,” she says.

Source: marketingweek.com; 25 Sep 2017

Teenagers express themselves on Instagram as Facebook increasingly seen as a family app

It is a simple truth that we all know. If a teenager is really into something and then their parents also get into it, the teenager will drop that thing as if it had the plague.

This pattern seems to be playing itself on social media. Once a cool and edgy place for teenagers to connect, Facebook and Twitter are now filled with parents and older millennials. It seems that while teenagers may still use these sites, they are going elsewhere to truly express themselves.

A new study suggests that Instagram is the place that UK teenagers go to ‘express their true selves’, follow their favourite celebrities or keep abreast of the latest trends.

When asked where they go to share images and photos that they feel show who they really are, 40% responded with Instagram and 35% said Snapchat. This compares to 21% for Facebook and 7% for Twitter.

Instagram was, however, beaten out by Snapchat when it comes to sharing ‘key moments’. 44% of those surveyed would use Snapchat for this, compared to 36% who would choose Instagram.

“Social media is a vast ocean of opportunity for almost anybody; singer, footballer, brand, and of course, your typical 2017 teenager,” Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom UK, said.

“Instagram in particular, once a photo-sharing app for amateur photographers, is now a powerhouse in social media. Teenagers are using the platform more than ever to follow celebrities, find the latest trends and most intriguingly, share photos & videos to show their ‘true selves’.”

Facebook is for family stuff.

Facebook now seems to have a purely functional role for teenagers as a place where they can stay in touch with family members. 58% of respondents said that this was the case, with this leading 41% to present a more ‘family-friendly’ image of themselves on the site.

When it comes to following their favourite celebrities and idols, YouTube is the clear winner. Of the teenagers surveyed, 70% of those over 13 subscribe to channels, 64% have talked to their peers about products endorsed on those channels and 54% have actually bought an endorsed product.

“What’s clear from the research too is that Facebook is no longer king, with Snapchat and Instagram showing continued signs of growth; although teens might be using Facebook regularly, it’s something they’d rather use to keep in touch with their family,” continued Krichefski.

“However, if you want to follow the Kardashians, Taylor Swift or your favourite sneaker brand, it’s more likely that teens will turn to Instagram for that. It’s therefore a great opportunity for brands and advertisers to capitalise on the continued shift towards the ‘challenger’ social media companies and take advantage of the self-made influencers on digital platforms who are now amassing huge, previously untapped audiences.”

Source: marketingtechnews.net; 18 Sep 2017

How Instagram and Snapchat Are Benefiting From Facebook’s Declining Teen and Tween Numbers

Teens and young adults are drifting away from Facebook.

eMarketer released its latest forecast on U.S. mobile and internet usage, and the research company sees double-digit gains for Instagram and Snapchat in 2017, while the opposite is true for the parent company of the former.

According to eMarketer, although monthly Facebook users will rise 2.4 percent in 2017, the 12-17 age group will slide by 3.4 percent, marking the second consecutive year of decline for that age group (it fell 1.2 percent in 2016).

Facebook users under 12 and between 18 and 24 will also see slower growth, according to eMarketer.

As for Snapchat, eMarketer sees 2017 user growth of 25.8 percent in the U.S., higher than its previous forecasts, with users between 18 and 24 rising by 19.2 percent.

Snapchat will overtake Facebook and Instagram in the 12-17 and 18-24 age groups for the first time, according to eMarketer, with its share of U.S. social network users surging to 40.8 percent.

Emarketer also upped its 2017 user growth projection for Instagram to 23.8 percent in the U.S., saying users under 12 will jump 19 percent, and 12- to 17-year-old users will go up 8.8 percent.

In the U.K., eMarketer projected a 34.8 percent jump in monthly users for Instagram, with Snapchat climbing 20.2 percent and Twitter’s slight gain in that country edging that of Facebook.

eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco said of Facebook’s declines in teens and tweens, “We see teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have found success with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate—that is, using visual content. Outside of those who have already left, teens and tweens remaining on Facebook seem to be less engaged—logging in less frequently and spending less time on the platform. At the same time, we now have “Facebook-nevers”—children aging into the tween demographic who appear to be overlooking Facebook altogether, yet still engaging with Facebook-owned Instagram.

Source: adweek.com; 21 August 2017

Twitter’s APAC growth key to attracting ad revenue : AppsFlyer

Twitter is falling behind Facebook in attracting advertisers, yet the booming mobile growth in Indonesia, the most populous nation in Southeast Asia, could be the key to drive its growth in the region, said Ronan Mense, Asia vice president of AppsFlyer.

“Twitter has always been harder to read in Southeast Asia due to the varying rates of mobile adoption in each country. It understandably has a higher penetration rate in Indonesia, which is a mobile first nation,” Mense told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

According to the performance index released by the mobile attribution firm earlier in April, Twitter came second and fourth on the iOS and Android platforms respectively in the non-gaming category for Southeast Asia. Facebook dominated both the gaming and non-gaming categories across all platforms globally. The index was derived from total installs and retention scores of the platforms studied.

“Our study reveals that Twitter has high retention ratings, which is a great sign for its ad targeting. It accurately shows ads that interest users, generating high quality users and consumers for its clients,” said Mense. “It is also able to integrate ads seamlessly into the app interface without turning users off.”

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Meanwhile, Vungle, the in-app mobile advertising platform, was ranked at third place for both iOS and Android in the gaming category. Mense said Vungle’s strong positioning is a sign that video has become an essential part of the native advertising ecosystem.

“Video ads offer greater retention rates, at 34 percent higher than non-video ads,” he said. “As a result, video ads deliver loyal users who are far less susceptible to being surprised by the content delivered. Most video ads are like movie trailers, which inadvertently filter out uninterested users and further attracts interested ones.”

Nevertheless, Mense cautioned that the rewarded ad formats popular in gaming may lead to mixed results for advertisers.

“Rewarding potential users for learning more about your app via an opt-in mechanism is a win-win situation. However, rewarded ads can also lure users into behaviour that looks like engagement, rewarding users primarily for installs,” said Mense.

Citing the cost-per-install campaigns as an example, Mense explained that users are likely to just install the app and delete it later, leading to poor retention rates and monetisation challenges for advertisers.

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Source: Campaign Asia-Pacific; 29 May 2017

Shell launches third edition of #StationStories in 2017

Shell has officially launched #StationStories 2017. The company premiered the story of Rasyidah and Zakiah it its latest edition to the series. Themed on friendship, the light-hearted story features two university students who are best friends for almost a decade.

Videos from the 2017 edition of #StationStories will be released periodically throughout the year.

The online video series features real stories of Malaysians and their unique journeys in life. Without scripts, castings, or actors, the series relies on the authentic stories of people who walk through Shell’s doors.

Watch the video here:

#StationStories was first launched in 2015. Following the success of its first edition, Shell took the web series to greater heights in 2016, featuring stories on progress and inspiration.

“Shell welcomes over 10 million people at its stations each week. We believe everyone has a unique story to tell, and #StationStories became a vehicle for us to reach out to our customers and share their stories as a source of inspiration to others. Over the years, #StationStories has allowed us to get to know our customers better and learn about their stories of respect, determination, care, love, and hope,” Ben Mahmud, head of retail marketing, Shell Malaysia, said

“#StationStories encouraged netizens to share their stories as well. The results of #StationStories have been overwhelming, and we’re heartened by the positive response. We hope to continue inspiring Malaysians with stories that highlight the diversity and common values of our country,” he added.

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 18 Apr 2017

Infographic: How visual content drives social media growth

Words aren’t enough to keep customers and prospects engaged these days, and visual content has a major role to play in driving traffic to your business.

Dot Com Infoway, an India-based IT company, has put together an infographic on how and why visual content enjoys primacy in social media and the ways in which brands can integrate such content into their online strategy.

The infographic below addresses three main components – why visual content is so important to the survival of brands in the digital age; the significance visual content enjoys in the biggest social media platforms; and online tools and mobile apps that brands can use to make their visual content more appealing in order to attract customers.

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 14 Sep 2015

Click on image to enlarge

Visual-Content-Infographic