For Mobile: Keep it Relevant, Entertaining and Short

Preferences in Mobile Ads

Successful mobile ads answer three big questions. Is the ad entertaining? Is the ad too long? Is the ad relevant? All the other results from this research provide some detail, but fit into one of these three buckets. The challenge for marketers is to build mobile ads for the medium and how consumers use it. Since all effective ads are entertaining and relevant, going to a video with a mobile ad in front of it limits ideal length to six seconds. The key is transmitting an entertaining message before the annoyance factor kicks in.

Reflecting on these data, Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions and Strategy at Magna Global gives advice, “Mobile demands its own customized ad formats, rather than simply repurposed versions of existing assets that were developed and optimized for other platforms.”  Source: AdWeek

The Third Way


A thoughtful article in AdWeek challenges the in-house / out-of-house back and forth that’s rolling through media currently.

  • Example 1: The trend to bring media in-house to save money may be misguided if costs are lowered, but returns come in even lower. ROI audits are required. And the added in-house headcount has to be considered.
  • Example 2: Reducing costs by eliminating non-working costs like ad verification, brand safety and fraud prevention will have consequences if your company does not have very sophisticated internal tracking technologies.
  • Example 3: There is an argument that says outside agencies don’t know our business; therefore it makes sense to bring our media in-house. The counter is that outsiders bring a broad view and best practices that an in-house view may lack.

There is a third way. It argues that ‘brands should own the technical contracts to better ensure transparency, but should put the headcount and best practice harvesting at an agency.”  Remember, the healthiest dogs tend to be mutts not pure breds. Maybe the best balance in modern media is a mutt.  Source: AdWeek

Inflation Softens

Inflaation Rate - Mar-18

As we suggested last month, the inflation spike in February appears to have been an anomaly. It was mainly caused by February’s 4.4 percent jump in food prices. That settled down to a milder 2.1 percent increase in March. At the same time softer numbers were seen in non-food prices as well as consumer and producer prices overall. The combination of all these contributors to inflation is responsible for the softening.

Source: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China



Swatch CEO, Nick Hayek, is a contrarian. In a CNBC interview he used a favorable comparison between Alibaba and Amazon as an example of China’s tougher policy on fake merchandise. He said, “If I look at what Alibaba is doing, they are trying to make a service to the consumer and to earn money” by battling wrist watch counterfeiting. “This, Amazon is not doing. The Chinese are doing it. They fight against it.”

This stands in contrast to the commonly held view that China takes a laissez faire attitude to product theft, in contrast to the IP wars that are at the forefront these days. Nick Hayek is a minority voice, but he does represent a shift. China’s trade relationships with other nations, the US in particular, are slowly forcing changes.

By the way, China fakers claim not be thieves, but rather to be fans. Now that’s humor.  Source: Jing Daily

Content as Audience Fuel

Furture of Content

Jayson DeMers, writing for Forbes, makes the argument that we are about to see a shift in the nature of content as audiences become more resistant to standard fare. He sees the shift coming from several directions.

  • Interactive Content: The advent of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has the potential of bringing content off the screen or the page making it more dynamic.
  • Vocal Content: The growing popularity of podcasts is the best example of this shift, but voice enhanced web sites adds a similar dynamic as AR or VR. Boring need not apply.
  • Quality Content:  An abundance of content driven by the expansion of media has devalued it and made the need for ringing out the ‘fluff’ ever more important.
  • Authentic Content: Content needs to have authority behind it. Companies and brands are authenticated by people who speak for them. The wrong personality will do damage while the right personality will do wonders.Source: Forbes

Programmatic in China May Look Stronger than It Is

China's Programmatic Lanadscape

According to the numbers in this table, programmatic ad spending is growing at a nice pace. But our experience colors the picture with shades of gray. While the BAT companies – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – are the dominant programmatic buyers, they and many of the lesser players claim to be RTB enabled, they aren’t. They are not as technologically sophisticated as these numbers suggest. And by their dominance, the BAT companies “stymie the growth of a competitive ad tech ecosystem.” That dynamic holds the Chinese programmatic buying behind the US and UK in spite of a drive toward it by the country’s incredible mobile penetration.  Source: Marketing Interactive

Three Truths About Programmatic Ad Buying

Programmatic's Future

According to a survey by Adobe, three things are true about programmatic ad buying in the US. The first is that both brand managers and agencies expect there to be more of it; second, they expect to move much, if not all of it, in-house and third, programmatic buying will dominate TV in the next five years. The brands appear to be a little more cautious in each area, but still majorities see the future as their agency partners do.  Source: The Drum

China’s Consumer Index Returns to Normal Range

Consumer Price Index - March-18

The retreat in March’s Consumer Price Index implies that February’s spike was an anomaly. That’s a good thing because it’s not great for consumer confidence to be hit with steady price increases. March’s Index number is four tenths above the 13-month average, but within shooting range of more sustainable levels. Source: www.; National Bureau of Statistics of China

Consumers Still Buying

Monthly Retail Sales Growth -Mar-18

Refresher: We watch indicators of Chinese consumer behavior such as monthly retail sales because they speak with some objectivity about economic activity at the street level. Hence, the slight uptick in February and March are encouraging given the slight downturn in other measures – manufacturing and service sectors. It may be that consumers haven’t yet felt a turn in the economy or it may be that the two are disconnected for the moment. We will closely watching next month’s numbers to see if there’s a trend building.   Source: www.; National Bureau of Statistics of China

A 7th Programmatic Issue


An article in AdExchanger by Ming Wu, Chief Revenue Officer at MightyHive, notes six of the “common themes in the industry: ad fraud, viewability, ad blocking, transparency, privacy and ad tech fragmentation.” Then he goes on to add a seventh: reach and frequency.

Wu makes the argument that it’s time to focus on the dynamics between these two data points. When he looks deep into the data, reaching the right audience is difficult enough, but reaching them at the right frequency adds to the challenge. Hitting much of the audience with too few impressions will yield little advertising return while a barrage of ads reaching a narrow slice of the audience will become annoying and create a negative ad association.

Conclusion: Today’s algorithms need updating to account for the seventh issue at the same time that we continue to work on the other six.   Source:AdExchanger