Moving the Industry Forward to Combat Fraud and Protect Brand Safety

by Teg Grenager, Founder & Chief Product Officer of

Behind every screen is a person. That is the fundamental expectation advertisers have when buying digital media to communicate with and engage their audiences.

As we have seen in many other industries, anywhere large amounts of money change hands – finance, insurance, etc. – there exists the potential for fraudulent activity. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that as the digital advertising industry has grown, some “bad actors” have sought – and found – ways to deceive and defraud advertisers of their media budgets.

Many advertisers and agencies find this surprising, and don’t understand how it’s even possible. After all, they spend their budgets only with reputable media partners, each of whom would put their entire business at risk if they knowingly engaged in any fraudulent activity. There is really just one way that advertiser dollars get into the hands of fraudsters: fraudulent traffic buying, obscured by an unknowingly complicit publisher, ad network, or exchange. [Read more...]

Keep It Simple, Stupid: Advertising Week Embraces Programmatic


Advertising Week may have just about concluded, but the headlines were loud and clear last week: advertising needs to be simplified.

The amount of media consumed — everything from news stories on websites and blogs to watching streaming video on mobile devices — has never been higher, yet the ability for the content to be sustainable (read: fully monetizable) has never been harder. Fragmented media platforms and devices have added exponential amounts of complexity and friction to the once simple advertiser-media company transaction, spurring on the advent of technological middle men.

“Let’s blow up the LUMAscape,” was the message last week, encapsulated within the word “programmatic,” or the use of automated technology and data to make faster, smarter buying decisions. The programmatic movement would make technology fall into the background and allow the creative ideas and executions to shine wherever video is viewed by consumers.

While programmatic is still at its beginning stages, let’s not forget how quickly technology can flip the way business is done. Mobile was in its infancy six short years ago, and now we are discussing whether business should either go mobile-first or mobile-only.

Which is why AOL kicked off the week with the industry’s first Programmatic Upfront, the first step in the movement to help digital finally take its fair share away from TV.

Amid the presentations by thoughts leaders such as Nate Silver and Kevin Spacey, five of the six major holding companies committed to programmatic, saying that the process will cut down research time and errors, while increasing development of creative multi-screen messages. “This is a physical manifestation of the desire of all of our organizations to move forward,” said Kristi Argyilan, ‎president of MAGNA Global North America.

But there is still confusion among some around programmatic. Some say that “programmatic” and “upfront” don’t go together, that they are opposites or an oxymoron. But M2 Universal’s Will Pate points out that this thinking comes from a more archaic definition of programmatic, one that has changed from where it began several years ago: “Digital programmatic may have started with aggregating low value content, but now we’re moving into mapping out premium content for buying efficiency.” CEO Amir Ashkenazi agreed in AdExchanger: ”The idea that programmatic doesn’t require planning is ridiculous. If anything, it requires more advanced planning. You need to find the right platform, you need to find the right data in order to define the right strategies.”

The fact is that the agencies, brands and publishers that leverage automated technologies are recapturing a large portion of their budgets currently lost to “features” masquerading as companies that chisel away at pieces of the ad transaction.

And putting together all of those technology pieces is what programmatic is all about, says industry analyst Jack Myers  in his influential newsletter: “Programmatic or automated ad buys will be a big way you get business going forward, if not the only way. Learn how now and act, or risk losing sales later.”

5 Questions about Programmatic Video with MAGNA GLOBAL President Kristi Argyilan

The biggest news in video advertising over the past week has been Interpublic Group of Cos. (IPG) teaming up with media companies, including AOL, A&E Networks, Clear Channel, Tribune Co., and Cablevision Systems Corp., to build and test an automated ad-buying system for TV and radio ads.

The activation of IPG data with an automated system,’s programmatic platform, empowers marketers with advanced tools to better understand and optimize value of their advertising investments across media environments, inclusive of TV, video, mobile and others.

We asked Kristi Argyilan, president of Magna Global’s North America business (a division of Interpublic), to give us a bit more context on what programmatic can do for marketers, and how the traditional definition of television is changing in new and exciting ways, both for those in the business of media and consumers:

There’s a lot of industry debate about what the definition of “programmatic” is. How do you define it?
We keep it simple: Programmatic is the use of technology and data to make faster, smarter buying decisions.

Reports mentioned that your recent news was an indication that Madison Avenue is shifting from “buying media” to “buying audiences.” What is the difference?
When we use the term “audiences”, we mean client-specific consumers. For example, people who buy Dodge Ram trucks, or who are Charles Schwab customers, etc.

Why is marrying technology and data so important in today’s increasingly fragmented world of screens?
We have really clear data now that allows us to invest much smarter. The only way to apply that data at scale is to use technology to insert the data at key steps along our planning, buying and measurement processes.

What does being able to buy programmatically mean for MAGNA GLOBAL’s clients in terms of unlocking value in their investments?
We can now more closely tie media investments to true business outcomes. As a result, how we define “value” as an industry is dramatically shifting. We no longer have to cling to media savings as the only true value we can deliver to our clients. When we apply the type of data that we have acquired to media buying decisions, we find we drive at least 25% greater effectiveness against more specific business metrics. That is a far greater value to our clients’ bottom line than any media savings derived from “beating the TV marketplace”. We owe it to our clients to be far more accountable, and we can now move beyond the softer metrics that have dominated our industry for decades.

Back to the programmatic part of the question, if programmatic is about applying data and technology to our decision-making process, then buying programmatically means we can now apply this science at scale, driving greater value across more clients’ campaigns.

Give us your best guess: What will ‘TV’ look like in 10 years?
From an ‘appliance’ perspective, today we are clearly seeing that younger adults have fully mediated their lives. The tablet or smartphone are the primary screens, and they use those screens to watch video, find a date, transfer money, etc. The big TV screen is in the background.

In 10 years, I expect ‘TV’ to be personal. How large the screen is is to be determined, but we will all have our own screen that is personalized to what we want to watch and do any time of the day. And as you can imagine, the content will run the full spectrum: live sports, high production programs/video and continued rapid expansion of individual-created video.

Mobile Is Making Some Serious Noise with Video Leading the Charge

It’s been “The Year of Mobile” every year for more than half a decade. At least it has seemed so from the breathless articles about it over the years.

While Apple and Google ushered in a new era of mobile computing, many have been waiting for the various content and advertising puzzle pieces to come together into real, viable businesses.

From recent earnings results and various media reports, mobile may have finally arrived with the advent of streaming media.

This from The Financial Times two days ago:

“New research shows a surge in people watching not just short clips but entire television episodes and films on tablets and smartphones. While 38 percent of smartphone owners regularly watch videos on their device, about a tenth now watch full-length television programmes, according to Magid Advisors, a consulting group whose clients include large media and technology companies.”

That’s great news for publishers, advertisers and TV companies looking for scale across screens. However, usage numbers don’t mean much unless revenue shows up as well, and we have recently seen heartening results from companies who have retooled for the mobile revolution.

See Facebook’s most recent earnings results as an example. The social networking company had $0 of mobile revenue in Q1 2012 and they just reported selling more than $650 million in mobile advertising in Q2 2013 alone. And that’s without high-value video advertising in the mix, which is reportedly on its way.

The Financial Times picked up on that trend as well, pointing to not only Facebook, but Google and Pandora as well. Alas, the hurdles the advertising industry have discussed in the past still exist in our increasingly multi-screen world: measurement, streamlining how creative is adapted for various screens and targeting fragmented audiences.

Nevertheless, the digital revolution, led by mobile, will change TV as we know it today — from the living room pastime activity to an always-on, available-anywhere medium. As our CEO Amir Ashkenazi put it in the FT piece: “Mobile is the connected television that we all carry in our pockets.”

Video: Digital Video Buyers Get Ready to Double Down

Online video has permeated the marketing plans of advertisers across a wide spectrum of categories, and nearly half of those buying online video – 48% have added mobile video to their marketing arsenal. But while an overwhelming number of video buyers now say they see online video as an essential complement to television, this synergy appears to make them more likely to transfer their TV budget to online video in the coming year.

Brian Morrissey, chief editor for Digiday, and our very own JoAnna Foyle Abel, VP of Client Services for, talk ad spend, ad tech and the coming out of mobile video.

Download the entire State of the Video Industry Report here.

B&T: TV Misses a Trick in the Bedroom

It’s true. Australian’s are grabbing their iPads – or other tablets – and jumping into bed. Hooked up to their wifi, they’re watching more and more video. That has to be great news for advertisers and a big opportunity for the free to air TV channels.

According to a recent Ericsson ConsumerLab survey, 38% of Australians are watching TV and video content on-demand and over half are downloading it to a mobile device of some sort. The same research shows we’re lagging behind when it comes to watching video on the go so, presumably, we’re using these devices as another TV screen in the home.

Foxtel has helped this process along with their FoxtelGo service. As well as a plethora of on-demand stuff, subscribers can choose from more than 50 live channels (including live sport) on their iPad and iPhone. “Certainly good enough to watch in bed,” wrote Sydney Morning Herald journalist Adam Turner.

He’s not the only one to take a tablet and have a long lie down. Google the words “iPad in bed” and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to iPad stands, all designed to make watching video in bed that much more comfortable.

It was obvious tablets were going to be online video’s new best friend. More than half of US tablet owners watch video sand TV on their device (according to ComScore) – almost 20% watch at least once a week. If the numbers aren’t the same here, they will be soon.

[Read more...]

Video’s Changing Metrics Landscape

Coming off the heels of our OCR Roadshow, in partnership with Nielsen, the below article in MediaPost could not have been more timely. Should we be surprised at the rapid adoption of  audience guarantees by video buyers? As we heard from agencies across the country from LA to NYC, the answer was a resounding “no.” Here’s why:

A year ago, the concept of replicating TV-like audience guarantees — the currency of paying only for audience members, as defined by age-sex, delivered in-target — was merely fodder for panel moderators looking to provoke lusty debate about the merits of GRP reporting in digital.

Fast-forward today, & the jury — major agencies and brand advertisers — have spoken with their wallets & ushered in the adoption of third party audience validation as an arbiter for campaign performance, with Nielsen’s OCR & comScore’s vCE competing for primacy.

Should we be surprised?  Of course not.  As agencies mandate video neutral, digital buyers are increasingly being tasked with buying online video as an extension of the TV buy.  And the introduction of apples-to-apples measurement was destined to be the single biggest accelerator to knocking down the facade of buying silos.

Theoretically, this should have represented the coming out party for online video and the potential windfall of TV budgets.  But as many a publisher — bloodied and beaten by 30% in-target delivery — can attest, online video and the GRP have made uncomfortable bedfellows.

[Read more...]

Aussie Campaign Shows How Online Adds Impact To TV

Research in Australia has confirmed what we’ve known for some time – that online video can extend the coverage of a free to air TV campaigns. What was surprising is the extent to which online helps with impact.

The study by Millward Brown, reported in Marketing Magazine, used cookies and a media consumption survey to follow television and online viewing habits. These were then related to the media spot plan for a new FMCG product that was launching in Australia. It found that the inclusion of online video added 2 percent to the reach of the campaign. That might not sound like a lot, but the advertiser would have to spend an extra 12 percent on TV to reach the same audience. More significantly it boosted the impressions amongst the 38 percent of the campaign’s target who watched little or no TV.

It’s yet another survey showing the strength of combining online video and TV, treating them as part of a single cohesive campaign. The Millward Brown research showed that adding online video increased the impact of product awareness by 30 percent. It’s not surprising given how a combined campaign provides limitless new creative ways to engage the audience. In the olden days people used to sell TV/radio and newspapers together: the electronic media created awareness, the newspapers filled in with more information. Now online has taken over the role of the newspaper, but in a much more personalised way.

Phil Duffield, Managing Director of Australia and APAC for