The minimum standards for counting a standard ‘view’ for online video ads has long been a sore subject for Advertisers. The IAB, which sets the standard requirements for the digital ad industry, states an ad that has been viewed for 2 seconds can count as a legitimate ‘view’, meaning anything less than 2 seconds would not justify paying for that ad.

What’s a viewable ad?

Active View metrics” have been created in compliance with industry standards for measuring the viewability of online ads, as developed by the Media Rating Council(MRC). According to MRC guidelines, the standard for measuring the viewability of ads are as follows:

  • A display ad is counted as viewable when at least 50% of its area is visible on the screen for at least 1 second. 
    • Note: For large display ads of 242,500 pixels or more, the ad is counted as viewable when at least 30% of it’s area is visible for at least 1 second.
  • A video ad is counted as viewable when at least 50% of its area is visible on the screen while the video is playing for at least 2 seconds”.

The good news for marketers is that Twitter announced that it will be stepping forward and raising the viewability bar. They have created a setting in their paid ad platform source that allows advertisers to not pay for an ad viewed less than 6 seconds.

“On Monday, Twitter announced the new method of bidding on ads, which lets advertisers set a goal of getting viewers to watch for at least 6 seconds. If a viewer scrolls away from the promoted video before the 6 seconds are up, the advertiser doesn’t pay”.

This is great news for advertisers, not only because they feel more info from ads can be absorbed within 6 seconds vs. 2, but research has shown that 6 seconds has evolved into a popular spot length for online video. “Brands can apply the 6-second minimum to videos that are up to 15 seconds in duration. If videos are longer than 15 seconds, the brand has to rely on a lower viewability standard.” For other Twitter advertisers that only air a 6 second spot, it will mean their entire video was seen and justify fair payment.  

Either way you look at this Twitter is definitely giving advertisers a win here.

2019 is seeing dramatic upticks in popular social networking sites, apps, and across new platforms such as the influencer and podcast category. As in the past, TV viewership continues to be fragmented with competition for broadcast TV prime shows from the rise of popularity in streaming apps offering original content. Apps such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Amazon Prime are showing success with enlisting top Hollywood actors and writers in creating high quality shows.

Audience trends in 2019 show furthered cord cutting eating into cable company subscribership. Both young and mature viewers are finding streaming content on mobile devices, tablets, and smart TVs to be the new norm.

“One of the most recent studies from eMarketer forecasted that the number of people who have cut the TV cord by the end of 2018 is close to 33 million people…..While cord cutting continues to hit satellite-TV providers the hardest, cable providers such as Comcast and Charter aren’t too far behind. New data from Leichtman Research Group shows that cable companies lost 455,263 subscribers in Q2 2019, while the entire traditional TV industry lost 1.53 million subscribers”.

Despite the continuation of audience fragmentation, viewers still find and follow their show, video and influencer favorites. Below is a list of the most popular social sites, apps, podcasts, TV shows and influencers on the rise this year.

Top 10 social sites with monthly users:

  1. Facebook 2.2 billion
  2. YouTube 1.9 billion
  3. Instagram 1 billion
  4. Qzone 563 million
  5. Weibo 376 million
  6. Twitter 336 million
  7. Reddit 330 million
  8. Pinterest 200 million
  9. Ask.fm 160 million
  10. Tumblr 115 million

Top 10 social networking apps with monthly users:

  1. WhatsApp 1.5 billion
  2. Facebook Messenger 1.3 billion
  3. WeChat 989 million
  4. Instagram 800 million
  5. QQ Chat 783 million
  6. QZone 652 million
  7. Viber 249 million
  8. LINE 218 million
  9. Snapchat 200 million
  10. YY 122 million

Top 10 Syndicated Radio Instagram Influencers:

  1. Ben Shapiro
  2. Big Boy
  3. Stephen A. Smith
  4. Donnie McClurkin
  5. Sean Hannity
  6. Bill O’Reilly
  7. Zach Sang
  8. Sebastian Gorka
  9. Medha Gandhi
  10. Bobby Bones

Top 10 Podcasts:

  1. The Daily
  2. Code Switch
  3. Pod Save America
  4. 2 Dope Queens
  5. The Read
  6. Terrible, Thanks for Asking
  7. Reply All
  8. How to Be a Girl
  9. The Bill Simmons Podcast
  10. How Did This Get Made?

Top 10 Broadcast TV prime shows:

  1. This Is Us (NBC) / Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  2. Young Sheldon (CBS) / The Voice (NBC) & Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
  3. The Conners (ABC)
  4. Survivor / 60 Minutes (CBS) and Empire / The Simpsons (FOX)
  5. Modern Family (ABC) & 9-1-1 (FOX) & Manifest (NBC)
  6. New Amsterdam / Chicago Fire (NBC) & Last Man Standing (FOX) & NCIS (CBS)
  7. Mom (CBS) & The Goldbergs (ABC) & Family Guy/ Bob’s Burgers / Star (FOX) & Chicago Med (NBC)
  8. Chicago PD (NBC) & The Good Doctor (ABC) & FBI / The Neighborhood (CBS)
  9. God Friended Me (CBS) & Station 19 / American Housewife / Single Parents / The Kids Are Alright (ABC) & The Resident / The Cool Kids (FOX)
  10. Law & Order SVU / Superstore (NBC) & Blackish / Dancing With The Stars (ABC) & NCIS LA / NCIS NOLA / Magnum P.I. / Murphy Brown / Happy Together (CBS)

Top streamed shows:

  • Barry (HBOGO)
  • Black Monday (Showtime)
  • Castle Rock (Hulu)
  • Euphoria (HBOGO)
  • Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
  • Homecoming (Amazon Prime)
  • I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix)
  • Killing Eve (Hulu)
  • My Brilliant Friend (HBOGO)
  • The OA (Netflix)
  • Russian Doll (Netflix)
  • Sex Education (Netflix)
  • Succession (HBOGO)

Podcasts are a personality driven medium and have been gaining popularity over the past few years. They are easy to produce and provide a wide variety of hosts and content. Programs contain anything from murder mysteries, to sports, Ted Talks, political debates, or celebrities discussing current topics. As of the June 2019 count there are over 750,000 shows to choose from and over 3 million episodes globally.

Loyal listeners who tune in repeatedly to the same podcast host grow a connection. Popular hosts can in turn, provide successful ROI factors for brands.

How to Tune In

The ease of downloading and listening to podcasts is one of the factors that adds to its’ recent popularity. According to Edison Research people listen to podcasts most at home, in cars, while walking, at work, at the gym, or riding public transportation.

“The average time weekly podcast listeners listen to podcasts, 6 hours and 37 minutes. People are listening to more podcasts for a longer period of time”.

Commercial Pods for Podcasting

Studies reveal podcast ads are most effective when delivered by the show host. Much like radio DJ’s do with on-air endorsements.

Depending on the podcast genre, size, and host preference, the commercial break can have anywhere from 1 ad for the smaller shows, to 3 ads throughout the episode.

The IAB standard ad units available on the majority podcasts are pre, mid, and post rolls, and availability of all three depends on the size of the show. The pre-roll spot is served at the beginning of the show. This is a great placement to push into the ‘introduction’ of the show. Advertisers have the ability to reach every download of that specific episode. The downside is the potential of being heard by an impatient listener wanting to get to the heart of the show. Skipping the pre-roll ad is a potential here.

The mid-roll ad plays in the middle of the episode or when the show is transitioning segments (ex: interview). The advantage to this ad placement is heightened attention from listenership and a natural flow with content.

The last commercial pod is the post-roll spot, positioned at the very end of the episode, after the show has concluded. According to Edison Research, the Podcast Consumer Report reports that 95% of listeners listen to most of the show and 90% claim to listen to all the show out of all of podcast listeners. The threat in this position could be listeners checking out and not remaining tuned into long enough to catch the last advertisement.

The biggest drawback for advertisers is that podcast companies do allow listeners to skip commercials, however according to The Podcast Consumer report, the majority of listeners will not skip an add that is delivered by the host 87% of podcast listeners listen to most or all of the podcast.

Recommended Media Strategy

Which ads are the best buy? Glenn Rubenstein, Founder of ADOPTER Media: Podcast Advertising Agency & author of Podcast Advertising Works, says that from his personal experience having multiple ads in the same episode works best. Some may argue that the pre-& mid roll would work best because it gives the audience an initial exposure to your brand, and a follow up in the middle once the shows flow has been formed. Glenn advises not to exclude the post-roll ad all together, which in his experience many new advertisers will do. When combined with placements earlier in the episode, a post roll ad can be a great compliment to an earlier ad.

Being originally from Florida, there were plenty of beaches and hot weather to love, but it wasn’t until her parents packed up her two older siblings and herself and moved them all to Maine, that Emily, at the age of four, began downhill skiing.

She then spent the rest of her childhood perfecting her style. It’s also where she fell in love with nature, lobsters and the great outdoors.

Coming from an entrepreneurial family, Emily went to college and studied business. Once she finished school, instead of working for her family, she decided to blaze her own path and make a name for herself. Quickly working her way up the ranks, beginning as a project manager administrator, she quickly worked her way up to become the full charge accounting specialist at Mark 1 Restoration for several years.

During her employment there, she wore many hats and was a go-to person for the entire staff. After spending eight years at Mark 1 Restoration, she decided to return to the family business. Not her family’s, but rather her husband’s family business, where she assumed the role as Office Manager and assisted the owner with daily operations, monthly invoicing, collections, and oversaw customer service.

Outside of work, Emily is wife to her husband Stephen of six years, and full-time mom to their five-year-old daughter, Ava, and their three-year-old son Ricky. Besides spending time at their backyard pool, Emily and her entire family love fishing on their boat or hiking out in the wilderness.

“We have very high hopes for Emily”, said Frank Gussoni, president of A3 Media. “She has exceptionally good organizational skills, a superior customer service background, and a keen eye to detail. We expect her to be a great addition to our Traffic Team”.

When asked about changing careers Emily quoted Henry Ford, and said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”! With that determination and tenacity, Emily should fit in perfectly at A3 Media.

The Brave web browser is a Chromium built browser launched back in 2016. It was built in partnership with blockchain technology and Ethereum cryptocurrency to not only block advertising from malware and bots, but also exchange payment for users viewing ads.

How it works:

Brave creates ad “catalogs,” and uses machine learning to tailor your ad experience based on which ads you view and interact with, thus cutting out the middleman between advertisers and users. The model is entirely opt-in, meaning these ads will be disabled by default. The ads you view will be converted into Brave’s cryptocurrency, Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), paid out to your Brave wallet monthly. Users get a 70 percent cut of the revenue they generate, and Brave and advertiser split the rest. Brave’s approach to advertising is innovative because it allows users to choose how many ads they would like to see per hour (none, one, or five, for example).”

Brave has a strong anti-advertising mission. The browser does not block ads within its search results. It blocks them on websites the user goes to. But the browser does not block all advertisements, just those it detects as adware or malicious”.

Surviving Impending Internet Privacy Laws:

Brave has been steadily worked on by developers and holds the promise of surviving the GDPR impending laws. “Perhaps most importantly, with GDPR in place for more than a year and CCPA and other state privacy laws in the works, advertisers and platforms are less likely to get sued. Brave’s rewards for users also provide another example of how blockchain can support progressive business transactions. The company’s Basic Attention Token, built on the Ethereum blockchain, is the medium of exchange in its digital ad marketplace”.

Recent advancements include becoming mobile ready.

Privacy-first browser Brave is expanding its digital advertising program to mobile devices. People interested in Brave can now use it on Android devices in addition to desktop.

What Can You Spend BAT on?

Many companies accept Ethereum as payment, a few being: Mastercard, Samsung, Toyota, Intel and Microsoft. If you do not wish to spend your cryptocurrency there is a good chance leaving it sit for a bit will allow that value to grow, much like a stock investment.

A3 Media is a continued blockchain partner with Lucidity in developing transparent technology within the digital ad space. We look forward to watching more advancements happen this year utilizing blockchain technology between consumers and advertisers.

As a child Arielle always saw the world as a mysterious place full of art, and adventure.  When only a small child her parents often took her and her two sisters to amusement parks.  She adored these parks so much, that she drew her own parks on paper, and would scan them to her computer. 

Little did she know this was the start of her career.

Arielle is a graduate of The Art Institute in Nashville, where she studied Interactive Media and Web Development and then moved back home to Memphis. After graduating, Arielle worked as an Instructional Designer for Service Masters.  Then spent the next four years at Thyssenkrupp Elevators where she was a Graphic Designer and became Leader of the Charity and Events Committee. Most recently, Arielle managed and completed the largest internal web coding and build-out in FedEx history.

She’s been in the church choir since she was a young girl and had participated in the National Church Youth Conference Pageants as a teenager. She is now a Church Counselor and a Pageant Coach and helps many youths find their talents and grow their confidence when it comes to performing in front of crowds of 300 or more. 

“I love working with the youth and letting them always know their voice always counts”, said Arielle.

Arielle loves art and design, but her three biggest passions are her faith, her family and singing.

“I’m the type of person who use to always want to find herself, until I decided that it was time to create myself instead.

Arielle will be a great addition to the A3 and M3 Family. Her duties will include managing the creative elements, web design, coding and final development of their new “Guaranteed ROI Advertising Apps”.

“Everyone at A3 is happy to welcome Arielle to our work family”, said Frank Gussoni, President of A3 & M3 Media. “Her personality and talents will be a perfect fit for us as we move into a new realm of advertising.”    

Marketers have a new challenge as streaming TV becomes more popular and as cord cutters break away from surfing guide channel menus. Keeping consumers engaged while surfing options of what to watch next has become the mighty new challenge advertisers and artificial intelligence developers face with updating app services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. Not only are audiences fragmented between mediums, but now marketers must keep up with a multi-tasking population not necessarily “zoning out” in front of the television set.

According to a 1Q19 Nielsen Total Audience report studying TV viewership habits – “Nearly a quarter (21%) say that if they can’t decide what to watch, they simply go do something else. 58% say that default to their favorite channels, and 44% scan through channels. Only a third say that they browse their SVOD content menus, and just 24% watch recommendations from a service’s guide or menu”. 

Streaming TV content has altered viewing habits by removing the traditional program channel guide cable services provide. Viewers are now forced to search apps for what they are in the mood to watch through different means or they must know exactly what they intend to watch when plopping down on the couch. When viewers can’t find something to catch their mood, they are abandoning the medium entirely and not keeping their butts in their seats.

Recommendation categories

Most streaming services are set up with an email account that creates a user profile. This allows companies to serve users email notifications regarding new content or relevant shows of interest based on past viewing habits. Many apps also have entire categories within the home menu citing ‘recommended shows’ based on a users’ history of shows watched. As some say, your email is your new social security number. It also links to reward accounts with stores you frequent. So, in essence your email can track you.

Some streaming services like Pluto, have a channel guide as their home screen, making it easier to transition for the traditional cable surfer to perusing the app. Streaming services will also continue growing new content, both in original shows and by adding to library choices, which should also improve engagement levels.

Where is the 21% going?

This is perhaps the toughest and most complex question. How can marketers figure out where the 21% of the TV viewership is going when they abandon the TV?

Are consumers asking Alexa something? Are they cleaning their house? Driving somewhere? Going to bed? Taking the dog for a walk? Some of these multi-tasking options marketers can reach, such as serving up commercials on smart speakers or out-of-home mediums. Other options will not be so easy. The trick is tracking real-time consumers. Location data is sold on consumers to advertisers and can give some insight as to where the TV viewer goes when leaving the couch. Take for example the Apple smartwatch.

Let’s say you sat down to watch Hulu, but went unsatisfied with show selection, so you go to Walmart instead. Walmart has beacon technology in their stores, that automatically connects to your smartphone GPS or smartwatch. Advertisers can utilize this technology and serve a coupon right to your phone or watch.

Beacons create a form of micro-communication between retailers and shoppers via mobile apps. 

Retailers who nail this strategy on the Apple Watch will be able to significantly improve customer engagement and generate new types of micro-messaging campaigns. 

For the first time, shoppers will not need to have their smartphones out to see location-based notifications since they will be sent directly to their wrists”. 

As marketers and app developers continue their quest in understanding where TV viewers are physically, how to better engage viewership, and track consumers physically, they may be able to not only keep more butts in the seats but also interact with people not watching TV.

Companies have been collecting your data for a long time, and they are using it quietly to create rating scores of consumer profiles. There are consumer profitability scores, job security scores, churn scores, fraud scores and even medication scores – which track how accurately you take your pills. All these rating measurements tell companies what kind of customer you are, what they can charge you, and even if they will honor a product return.

Walmart, Home Depot, and Verizon have been questioned about using secret surveillance scores but remain tight lipped.

As of June 2019, a consumer advocacy group submitted a plea to the Federal Trade Commission to stop secret surveillance scores.

“Those scores, according to the group, are generated based on data about consumers collected by “a shadowy group of privacy-busting firms that operate in dark recesses of the American marketplace.”

“This petition highlights a disturbing evolution in how consumers’ data is deployed against them,” leaders of the group “#Represent” write in a 38-page complaint to the FTC”. “Major American corporations, including online and retail businesses, employers and landlords are using Secret Surveillance Scores to charge some people higher prices for the same product than others, to provide some people with better customer services than others, to deny some consumers the right to purchase services or buy or return products while allowing others to do so and even to deny people housing and jobs,”

Scores Defined:

Consumer profitability score: Using factors like your income, one company sells a score which predicts how likely you will be to pay your debts. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be a “profitable” customer (and a target of marketers).

Churn score: Many companies, such as wireless carriers and cable companies, create scores that predict how likely you are to take your business to a competitor. Get deemed a flight risk, and you may be offered a better deal. On the flip side, get labeled a stable customer and you may end up paying higher rates.

Job security score: One company sells a score that uses employment and unemployment data, economic trends and forecasts to predict the probability that you will lose your job, and as a result is not able to pay your bills.

Medication adherence score: Do you always follow your doctor’s orders? Or do you skip a pill here and there? One firm sells a score that predicts the likelihood you will follow a prescription plan, based on factors ranging from age to home ownership, that is designed to let pharmacies and insurers know when a patient is at risk and needs a medication reminder.

As long as the score does not use your own protected health information, it would not be protected by privacy laws.

Fraud scores: Widely used by retailers, credit card issuers and other companies, fraud scores indicate whether a consumer may be posing as someone else or attempting to perpetuate a fraud of some sort.

Custom scores: Some retailers create their own custom scores using sophisticated analysis of their massive databases of customer purchases and demographic information. The most famous example: Target’s pregnancy predictor score, which used a consumer’s shopping history to predict that she was pregnant even before she had told family members.

Law enforcement scores: A variety of government scores are used for safety, anti-terrorism and other law enforcement purposes, but very little is known about how this information is used, the report stated.

These practices are deceptive and consumers at the very least, should be fully informed on companies utilizing internal rating systems and understand how a score is formulated. Unfortunately, that is easier said, than done.

Big brands are seeking out smaller sized agencies to tackle their toughest projects.

Here’s why ….

Big agencies have a history of not being able to keep top talent. Why? Smaller agencies have more interesting, hearty projects to sink their teeth into. Too many parts of the creative and media process in large shops are mundane and “cookie cutter-like”, meaning the same theories and strategies are used over and over. This is boring for highly talented employees. “Big agencies have a breadth of experience and are a great place to resource a brand’s strategic or creative needs — it’s an efficient one-stop shop,” said Lynne Bartron, VP of advertising and strategy at LifeLock. “But those same agencies often can’t go deep into a category or vertical.”  

Small agencies have a level of expertise in their niche. They have honed skills at what they specialize in and can offer clients top talent with skills that zero in on a particular problem.

Smaller agencies generate passion, thereby creating competition”
“I think a lot of times when dealing with the big agencies, there are things that get in the way of just doing the best work. I think with a small agency the focus is on the work. There’s a level of passion and, at times, a level of competitiveness, especially when you’re in a situation where you’re competing against or working with large agencies that small agencies bring to the table that clients really love.”
—Ahmad Islam, CEO and managing partner, Ten35

Smaller agencies have niche expertise”
“I think you can find agencies with an expertise that you might not, might be difficult to find at a large agency.”
—Erica Fite, co-founder and creative director, Fancy

Big brands are getting smarter everyday about the need for a steady stream of smart, unique perspectives into thinking,” said Jim Cuene, president of GoKart Labs, a 50-person digital innovation consultancy. “Some brands hire smaller agencies just to get new thinking and new energy into the mix.”

Big agency execs keep the profits and pay employees bupkiss.

Let’s face it, college is financially burdening, and graduates need to pay off loans. The starting salary in Manhattan for an entry level advertising position is $35,000/year. Starting at such a rock bottom price tag means the climb up the ladder is too long for a fast-tracked college graduate. Other careers pay more and move you faster up the ladder.

“And money provides little incentive: Last year, the average salary for entry-level employees at agencies was about $35,500, according to the 4A’s, an industry trade group. About 25 percent of the industry makes less than $50,400 a year”.

The large holding companies are notoriously known to replace seasoned, expensive staff, usually in their 50’s, with younger, cheaper talent. It’s a lot like Hollywood, chewed up and spit out by the time you are ‘old’. But now, college graduates can’t afford to be ‘cheap’. They refuse to pay their dues further than they already have by achieving a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They no longer can afford to settle and start at the bottom as an intern. They want to get paid their worth and they are leaving Madison Avenue agencies in droves.

Where are they going? Client side. Before the holding companies took off, back in the 60’s and 70’s it was reversed, agency side work paid more than client side. The holding companies changed that by slashing profit margins and with top executives keeping the bulk of profits. The lower end employees are over-worked and under paid. 

“The biggest threat — and one of the biggest things that we talk a lot about — is not only attracting but retaining young talent because there are so many more options,” said David Droga, the creative chairman and founder of the agency Droga5. “We’ve lost people to Facebook. We’ve lost people to Google; we’ve lost people to Apple.”

Small agencies are more nimble

Small agencies have less red tape and can move projects along faster, have happier employees and closer client relationships. Small shops are known to employ staff that can wear many hats, and not support the ‘silo effect’ that is present is so many large agencies. A media buyer in a small shop can walk down the hall and work on a client presentation or send out traffic. That’s not the case in big shops, your title is your only job, which again can be boring and stagnant for creative talent.  

“Clients who want to move fast — and already have to deal with their own frustrating bureaucratic organizations — are looking for more nimble partners. They don’t want a partner that only doubles the amount of red tape they have to fight through on a daily basis”.

“We have worked with agencies of all sizes and what we have found is that smaller agencies tend to become part of your marketing team — they get ingrained in your company’s DNA,” said Abby Lee, VP of marketing at RE/MAX. They are more interested in your business and helping it evolve and grow than they are interested in using it as a vessel for awards and accolades. And yet they are the ones that have created the most compelling and effective creative we have seen.”

Smaller sized agencies also invest into training young talent respectfully.  Large agencies don’t typically offer structured training programs or have the time built into upper management workflow to train employees. Smaller agencies understand turnover does not yield smart overhead costs. A progressive agency will allow employees to seek out their area of interest and encourage growth in such.

Small agencies are better at keeping up on current trends and cutting-edge technology

Large shops have more people to convince. Along with the silo effect comes stagnancy. Technology and digital advancements are changing at warp speed. Keeping up with trends and aligning your agency business model with current trends is challenging, but even more so when you have 300 employees verses 30. Too add to this stress the large agencies bury staff in so much work they simply don’t have time to invest in exploring what’s new. Their capabilities become archaic and outdated.

Smaller agencies are more likely to move at the speed of the marketplace”
“I think we really like the ability for our smaller agencies to move quickly and move at the speed of the realities of the marketplace. And we really are attracted to that because we want to move at that same speed.”
—Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer, Ally Financial