Reading Time: 3 minutes
Woman holding Apple iPhone 11 pro

A few weeks ago, January 9th to be exact, marked 15 years since Steve Jobs first introduced the original iPhone to the world. It was first billed as three products in one: an iPod with a touch screen, a cell phone, and an internet device to connect to the web. Since then, it has become so much more. It’s an extension of our everyday lives. The iPhone not only changed how we communicate with each other but changed the face of media and advertising all together.

For reference, I was born in 1981 and grew up in an exciting time before the internet and before smartphones. Actually, I didn’t get a phone until I was out of high school, I was maybe 19 or 20 years old. So, I do have some perspective of pre and post internet/smartphone worlds. Having said that, let’s take a quick look at the landscape back when the iPhone was introduced. It was 2007 and the following companies didn’t exist: Instagram, Uber, TikTok, Twitch, Snap, Lyft, DoorDash, Tinder, Postmates, Venmo and Pinterest. Wow, some big changes in just 15 years.

When I think about the impact iPhone has had on media and advertising, I break that down into three categories. Let’s take a look:

  1. Digital and Mobile Advertising – Back in 2007, mobile advertising spending had an annual total of roughly $1.7 billion. Today mobile ad spending is north of 140 billion annually. Although mobile advertising is just one spoke in the digital advertising wheel, it now makes up about half of all the digital ad spend. That makes sense when you think about the recent growth in ad revenue for social platforms like Facebook & Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Google. The introduction of iPhone and smartphones have kept users connected to the web 24/7, 365. At the same token, allowing them to be targeted by digital and mobile advertisers whenever and wherever they go.
  2. Communication and Entertainment – Today we use our phones to stay in touch and get our news in real time. This has significantly changed the way our country reacts to everything from politics to the latest trends on social media. It has also changed the way we are targeted and advertised to. With native advertising, we get a seamless experience of receiving advertisements while we are consuming our favorite content and they blend right in, trying to make it the least intrusive experience as possible. More and more people are watching TV and using streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix when it comes to getting entertainment. Large cable companies are noticing consumers cutting the cord, especially the younger generations like Gen Z. They simply consume content and have different beliefs than generations before them. This lends a challenge to marketers and advertising professionals; how do they reach this new type of consumer in the future. Using smartphones and advertising via social and digital platforms will certainly be key but gaining knowledge about the consumer will be essential. That brings us to our next category, data!
  3. Consumer Data – I purposely saved this point for last because let’s face it, when it comes to the future of digital and mobile advertising, data is king. Data about consumers, their values, location, and behaviors will be what advertisers base the next few years of strategy, planning, and budgets on. Over the past 15 years we have carried around several versions of the iPhone or the smartphone of our choice. All the while giving companies and large social platforms all the data in the world about us. What we consume, what we purchase, where we shop, who we communicate with, our race, age, gender, income, search history, and you get the idea. Whether we like it or not, this little iPhone has been a tracking device for all of our most important, personal information. As much as I think there will be changes in the future, I believe consumer privacy concerns will be a constant. We have already noticed the “opt-in” messages on apps and social media platforms. This may have an impact on advertising but like everything else we will learn and adapt

In the next few years, I expect digital and mobile ad spending to continue to increase and the push for innovation and new tech will be the focus. One thing the Apple iPhone did over the past 15 years was create competition and it really took the mobile and tech industry to a new level.

Having an iPhone or a smartphone in our pocket means we have access to everything right at our fingertips. We connect, we search, we communicate, and we solve. I look at iPhone as the ultimate solution. Sky is the limit when it comes to advertising opportunities and smartphone capabilities over the next 15 years!

Written by:
Bob Freas
Social Media Specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes
confused businessman facing wall

US Programmatic display advertising spends continue to grow, but do you really know what you’re getting for your advertising dollars?

A3 Media has a traffic and accounting department intensely focused on verifying every media buy placed for our clients are delivered in full. But we are never content, constantly researching options and potential pitfalls. If your media buying agency isn’t constantly looking for better and more efficient options, should they be your media buyer?

We recently completed an audit of a client’s programmatic campaign and found the pacing to be flawless. A series of 30-day campaigns delivered a consistent daily average of impressions that were evenly distributed throughout day.

The urge was to dig a little deeper, so we set out to test restricted hourly delivery over a short test period and found the results to be anything but unacceptable. Without letting our national DSP know, we set up a seven-day test to monitor pacing. This test was agency funded; no client advertising dollars were used.

We started with a very small test budget, an extremely focused geographic footprint, and some dayparting. Sounds reasonably simple right? WRONG!

Our test delivery was to be restricted to a six-hour window. Almost immediately we uncovered flawed dayparting algorithms. With solid results from previous campaign audits, we anticipated an average hourly delivery of approximately 17% of the total daily impressions. After allowing the campaign to run for two full 24-hour cycles we found 100% of the daily delivery in the first hour of the six-hour window. Hmm? Unless there is a specific reason to do so, reaching your entire target audience in one hour is in no one’s best interest!

When questioned, after the usual volley of emails, phone calls, and explanations that just didn’t add up the matter was turned over to the DSP’s CTO for further investigation. The explanation was not acceptable.

We were informed our test scenario uncovered a flaw the DSP was unaware of. They claimed no other agency had previously used or tested dayparted delivery. Really? Huh? While we found that hard to believe, maybe the answer was no other agency was checking hourly pacing and only checking total impressions.

However, within 72 hours the DSP recoded their delivery metrics to accommodate evenly paced hourly daypart targeting. We tested it again and it was working properly. The question is, did they know all along and just wanted to make sure they could clear the money everyday or are other agencies just accepting results and not challenging their vendors?

In either event, the answer isn’t good.

This year, 2022 is projected to see more than $96.5 billion in programmatic display advertising. For DSPs and most agencies this is a win, they’ll get paid as soon as your ad is delivered.

But shouldn’t you know your advertising agency truly has your back and are working as hard as you are for your business?

One would think so…or hope so!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Take a minute to think about exactly how many balls you need to juggle every day, knowing the success of your business means dropping even one may have negative results. But you can’t survive just maintaining, you need to grow. Does the thought of adding a few more balls to juggle sound like a solid foundation for the future success?

It is estimated that the average person now sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every day and it’s only going to increase. Projections show a potential increase of $184 billion dollars in global ad spends over the next four years, a 32% increase over 2020!

How is it possible to reach your consumers against these daunting odds? It only takes a few steps, not simple steps, but a few… careful deliberation, detailed planning, utilizing the best options, negotiating the best deal possible, executing flawless contracts, circulating creative, and verifying you received what you’re paying for.

Consider the options:

  1. The largest age group for TV consumption is 65+
    • Since 2013 an astonishing 20 MM US households have dropped their paid TV services.
    • By 2023 it is estimated that an additional 10MM US household will terminate their paid TV subscriptions.
    • In addition to cord cutters, “Cord Nevers”, millennials that simply cannot afford to subscribe to paid TV services as they enter the workforce, will only add to those traditional TV cannot reach.
  2. Radio still reaches 98% of all US adults 18+ but there are more than 15,000 radio stations in the US.
  3. OOH (Out of Home, a/k/a Outdoor) advertising remains a viable option under the right circumstances.
  4. Social and digital media stats:
    • “Google and Facebook still hold the largest share of total U.S. digital ad spending, with 37.2% and 19.6% respectively.”
    • “70-80% of users ignore sponsored search results.”
    • “While 80% of businesses that have an online presence believe they deliver great customer service via their social media channels, only 8% of their customers agree.”
    • “In 2019, more than two-thirds of the total U.S. digital advertising budget was dedicated to mobile devices.”

The list above is a condensed overview of the choices available to reach your consumers, but this is only one of the factors.

Next consider:

  1. How many mediums will it take to garner the results expected and needed.
    • How will you determine what the best “mix” will be?
    • How much will it cost?
    • How long will it take to wrap?
    • Is this the most productive use of your time and money?
  2. You constantly strive to negotiate the best possible deals for your business…
    • Media negotiations are more likely not quite the same as your daily  negotiations. Can you allocate the time needed to an already overloaded schedule? If you can, add a little more to make sure the contract reads EXACTLY as you have already agreed to. Don’t be too surprised if it doesn’t and needs a revision or two.
  3. Next comes creative, not just the message and production but every nuance involved for each form of media and every media outlet chosen.
  4. Now you can stop and catch your breath briefly, after all the thought, planning, verifying availability, negotiations, and contracts, you’re still not finished. You get to add all this to your receivables, payables and most importantly……. Verifying that you received what you paid for.

Perhaps you would be better served to let us do the lifting with your media placement. Think of A3 Media as a tugboat that helps get your ship where you need to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re piloting a fishing boat, a luxury cruise ship or the world’s largest most advanced cargo ship ever produced – you chart the course and stay in control, we help fight the currents so you can stay on course to the next destination.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We at A3 Media never stop looking for better ways to place and monitor media for our clients. We make it part of our daily routine because when you find a truly innovative partner with real accountability, the benefits for our clients can be the difference between failure and success, theirs and ours. And, while we haven’t heard them all we’ve heard hundreds of pitches claiming they have, “the most advanced system on the market for your needs.” In reality, newer and more advanced isn’t always better.

United States advertisers are projected to spend more than 289 billion dollars in 2022. Roughly 54% of those ad dollars will be allocated to digital advertising. More than 11 billion of all the digital dollars is projected to be wasted due to the widespread fraud in the digital space. This is out-and-out fraud, money spent that will never actually reach a single human. But it doesn’t stop there.

Digital media has always had its own standards. A “try to keep up with tech, as you go model,” in my opinion. There are many facets to placing a successful digital buy: the budget, the creative styles available, the creative quality, available inventory, and the list goes on. One facet – acceptable viewability standards – is the most baffling to me.

Nearly seven years ago, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Rating Council (MRC) created a standard definition of ad viewability – at least 50% of an ad must be in view for a minimum of one second for display ads and two seconds for video ads.

Compounding the IAB/MRC guidelines is the acceptable industry standard of 70% viewability! Seven of every 10 ads placed need to be at least 50% in view for ONE second, or TWO seconds for digital video. How much of an ad’s message can be gleamed by reading 50% of a digital ad in one second or watching 50% of a digital video for two seconds? Is producing an entire video that can deliver the brand’s message in two seconds possible? Does the agency ever explain this to their clients?

Does 70% viewability mean that a campaign can’t be successful? No! Does 100% viewability guarantee a campaign’s success? No, but it certainly increases your odds by 30%! However, what possible chance of success can be derived from the 30% of your digital ad dollars never being seen? That’s really easy – NONE! Yet publishers and agencies alike always boast about measuring their success against the industry standard. We often hear from vendors that they will “try” to optimize to 70% viewability. Our response is a resounding, “thanks but no thanks.”

If this is the model used for your media buying, the only potential loser is you – the client. Your agency is billing on a CPM (cost per thousand) impressions ordered, viewable or not. The DSP (demand side platform) your agency uses to place your buys charges on a CPM model – they get paid for every impression. The publishers and suppliers, SSP (supply side platforms) get paid for every impression they sell, viewable or not.

You can stay the course and hope your message reaches your potential consumers or, if this doesn’t sound like the most efficient use of your advertising dollars consider a few options:

  • Add 30% to your media budget to compensate for the nonviewable impressions and hope the additional spend gets the results you need.
  • Lower your bid rate by 30% so that you can increase your number of impressions. Although, this greatly reduces your chances of running and finding quality placements.
  • Ask your agency to look in to vCPM rates. Yes, the digital supply chain has gone so far as to offer a vCPM rate (viewable cost per thousand). The question that comes to mind first is where is the nvCPM rate, non-viewable cost per thousand?

Perhaps it may make more sense to work with an agency that refuses to jump on the bandwagon and work with superior providers. Choices do exist, non-skippable audio and video and above the fold (ATF), static digital ads, verified in demo, and geotargeted placements offer you a much higher chance of success than the current standards.

If your agency and publishers aren’t willing to guarantee nearly 100% vCPM, then ask them if it’s alright for you to deduct 30% of their costs and commissions. After all, fair is fair!