YouTube Promises New Auditing Measures Will Prove Ad Quality (via Adage)

ytadshomedevices_3x2YouTube introduced new ad quality standards that even Procter & Gamble’s Marc Pritchard could praise.

Google’s video service will now offer independent audits of campaigns to show brands when ads were served, viewed and validate the internet traffic.

YouTube’s new measurement regime was accredited by industry group Media Ratings Council, which works with digital and traditional media suppliers to impose uniform standards for advertising metrics.

The move got the attention of Mr. Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, who has been a leading voice in demanding more transparency in the digital media supply chain. Digital ad inventory has been infested by fraudulent impressions and faulty data for some time.

“Google’s announcement to bring more media transparency is important progress that will help move the industry forward,” Mr. Pritchard was quoted as saying in YouTube’s announcement on Tuesday. “At P&G, we are encouraged by Google’s actions, which should make a positive impact on creating a clean and productive media supply chain.”

Mr. Pritchard has been outspoken in calling on publishers and ad platforms to clean up their digital inventory and prove their worth to brands.

Google had already been working with MRC and other industry watchdogs for years to implement standards of viewability and stamp out fraud on its own properties and on outside publisher sites.

The ecosystem is evolving, however, as video becomes a more prevalent ad format on mobile and desktop devices and across Google’s DoubleClick ad platform, which delivers ads to publishers that use it for their own ad management.

“These MRC audits will span across all video available through these buying platforms, including YouTube and partner inventory,” said Babak Pahlavan, Google’s senior director of product management, analytics solutions and measurement, in the announcement.

The audits mean that MRC will verify the data that Google reports to third parties like Integral Ad Science, Moat and Double Verify.

Agencies and brands rely on those companies to help understand where ads run and how they perform, but they have to be sure the data they get from platforms like YouTube, Facebook and others are accurate.

Advertisers have been concerned about the accuracy of data coming back from their digital ad campaigns, showing how many impressions ads get and how long people view them.

Last year, Facebook had to adjust its measurements after flaws were uncovered in how it measures unpaid video posts. The metrics problems did not impact paid ads, according to Facebook, but it still showed how platforms can make mistakes with the numbers.

Facebook has since adopted similar MRC auditing options, and promised deeper insights into how ads perform on the social network. Facebook also has been expanding relationships with third-party ad tech partners like Integral Ad Science and Moat.

The Association for National Advertisers has been pushing platforms to open up about their data, and let the industry get a better look insider their “walled gardens.”

“Our goal is to create transparency for the advertising supply chain,” Bob Liodice, ANA’s president and CEO, said in Google’s announcement.

eMarketer Releases Updated Estimates for US Digital Users

US Internet Users, by Device, 2015-2021 (millions)

According to eMarketer’s latest estimates, there will be just 17.9 million desktop/laptop-only internet users in the US this year, down from 20.3 million in 2016. And the number is expected to edge lower in the future.

“As smartphones and data plans become more affordable than ever, they are positioned to become the default device for internet access,” said Corey McNair, author of a new eMarketer report, “US Digital Users: The eMarketer Forecast for 2017,” (available only to eMarketer PRO subscribers). “The number of these mobile-only users will see steady growth over the next few years, reaching 52.3 million in 2021.”

The number of mobile-only users is on the rise, totaling 40.7 million this year, up from 36.6 million in 2016.

Over three-quarters of US internet users will access the internet via both a mobile device and PC in 2017, and there will be roughly 9 million new dual-device users throughout the forecast period.


From Snapchat Scrutiny to the Power of Earned Media, Here Are 7 Digital Stats From This Week

snapchat-cash-02-hed-2016Adweek searched the online marketing landscape for data points that grabbed our attention, as we always do at the end of the week. Seven, in particular, stood out this week:

1. Canary in the Snapmine?
Snap Inc., the owner of Snapchat, on Thursday revealed via its IPO S-1 filing that it’s seeking $14 to $16 per share, valuing the company at $22.2 billion. There might be trouble afoot, though, for the app that millennials so enjoy.

On Feb. 6, Fluent conducted an online survey of 3,327 adult Snapchat users in the U.S., and as TechRepublic pointed out, many of the ad-tech player’s clients buy ads on the app. In other words, one would assume that Fluent doesn’t have an anti-Snapchat bias.

That said, 48 percent of respondents said Snapchat is “just a fad,” Fluent found, while 62 percent stated they’d be open to moving to another app that’s “something better.” Further, the study concluded that 63 percent of 18- to 24-year-old consumers are on Snapchat, but that figure falls to 40 percent for the 25-34 demo.

See the rest of the stats from Adweek here. 

Study: Consumers Get More Fickle Despite Billions Spent on Loyalty

accenture_loyalty_chartU.S. U.S. marketers spend an estimated $90 billion a year on non-cash rewards alone for loyalty programs, but that investment appears increasingly wasted, according to new research by Accenture.

The firm’s 12th annual survey of more than 25,000 consumers globally and 2,500 in the U.S. showed 54% of people said they’d switched providers in the past year, and 78% say they retract loyalty faster today than they did three years ago. Retailers, cable and satellite providers, banks and internet service providers were the most likely victims of switchers.

Survey results suggest many loyalty efforts are misdirected at things people don’t want that much, said Robert Wollan, senior managing director and global lead of advanced customer strategy at Accenture Strategy. Only 34% of respondents said what makes them loyal today is completely the same as three years ago. Some would just as soon brands play hard to get, with 8% saying they have a negative reaction when companies try to earn their loyalty, with another 8% saying they’re likely to be indifferent to such overtures.

Indeed, beyond the survey, some evidence suggests previously successful loyalty programs aren’t packing the punch they once did or need tweaking.

Kroger Co. has reported 52 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth thanks largely to a loyalty program run first by Dunnhumby USA and more recently by Kroger’s wholly owned subsidiary 84.51. But same-sales rose a mere 0.1% in the most recently reported quarter in December, suggesting the effort powered largely by cents-off discounts from brand manufacturers and points toward gasoline discounts may be losing potency.

Starbucks last year revalued the points currency in its large, successful but expensive program – pushing back free-product rewards for many users and shifting to reward spending rather than simply store visits. Despite or perhaps because of that, executives said on a November earnings conference call that members are actually spending more than before.

Another sign that the impact of old loyalty tactics may be waning are the “millions of points that are laying dormant” in some programs, such as airline or hotel clubs, Mr. Wollan said. “You have to really look at whether you’re suffering from the loyalty illusion – that it worked before so it will keep working – or is it time for a fresh look?”

Of U.S. millennials ages 18-to-34 in the Accenture survey, many cited such factors as product experience, trust on such issues as data security, customer-service experience, corporate social responsibility, or the ability to use points for privileged access to products and services from other companies as having a growing impact on their loyalty today than in the past.

Also growing as a loyalty factor for millennials, according to Mr. Wollan, are things often seen more in the realm of advertising and PR – such as emotional connection to the brand and alignment with celebrities, causes or online influencers they favor.

NFL Super Bowl draws lower TV ratings than previous two games

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 9.41.09 AM.pngFox Television’s broadcast of Super Bowl LI on Sunday night drew a 48.8 overnight rating, according to Nielsen data released by the network, lower than the previous two Super Bowls.

The contest included a thrilling finish, with the New England Patriots topping the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football league’s first-ever Super Bowl overtime. The Patriots came back from a 25-point deficit and quarterback Tom Brady, 39, won his record fifth championship.

The brief overtime, in which the Patriots scored a touchdown in their first possession, allowed Fox to add four more commercials, and the network brought in an estimated $509.6 million in ad revenue for the broadcast, according to research firm iSpot.TV.

Last year’s Super Bowl drew a 49.0 overnight rating, while the Patriots’ previous title game appearance in 2015 helped Comcast Corp’s NBC television draw a 49.7 rating, the highest overnight rating on record.

The overnight rating measures 56 major markets in the United States, representing about 70 percent of the country and is an early indication of what the final number will be.

Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox, will have final numbers, including viewership, later on Monday.

7 Snap Stats You Need to Know From the White-Hot App’s IPO Filing

snapchat-ipo-content-2017-840x460After months of speculation, Snap Inc. has finally filed its initial public offering, giving investors and marketers insight into the company’s financials and user stats.

As the app has geared up to go public, advertising has been key for proving to both Wall Street and agencies that it can live up to its reported more than $25 billion valuation when it goes public in March.

“The failure to attract new advertisers, the loss of advertisers, or a reduction in how much they spend could seriously harm our business,” reads the Security and Exchange Commission filing.

Here are seven big stats that should be particularly interesting for marketers from the SEC filing.

1. Snap Inc. made $404.5 million in revenue during 2016, up from $58.7 million in 2015. In the fourth quarter, Snap netted $165.7 in revenue with $145.4 of that coming from the U.S.

2. When breaking that revenue down, Snap made an average of $1.05 per user in the last quarter of 2016, up from 65 cents in 2015.

3. Snapchat has 158 million monthly users. According to the SEC filing, daily active users grew from 143 million in June to 153 million by September, equivalent to 7 percent.

The app also acknowledged that its quick growth over the past couple of years may not last, while also taking a slight jab at Instagram, which copied the app’s stories feature last year.

“There are many factors that could negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if users increasingly engage with competing products instead of ours [or] our competitors may mimic our products and therefore harm our user engagement and growth,” Snap said in its report.

4. There are 69 million daily active users in the U.S., with another 53 million in Europe and 39 million in other parts of the world.

5. Per the filing, Snap lost $514.6 million last year, an increase from $372.9 million in 2015.

6. More than 2.5 billion “snaps” are created and sent every day through the app.

7. Sixty percent of Snapchat’s daily users use the app’s chat feature to send photos and videos. Moreover, the average daily user opens Snapchat more than 18 times every day.

When zeroing in on users 25 years or older, that demo uses the app 12 times and spend 20 minutes per day with it. Those younger than 25 open the app more than 20 times a day, spending 30 minutes with content.