March 11, 2019 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Roundup


A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…

Google joins programmatic peers by adopting first-price auction model
Google’s ad exchange is finally following its programmatic peers and moving to a first-price auction model, in which the advertiser that places the highest bid wins the impression and pays as much as they bid.

It’s a more straightforward setup than the traditional second-price model, in which that advertiser would only pay a penny more than the runner-up bid. However, transitioning from second-price auctions to first-price auctions can be more complicated — and costly — for advertisers.
Google has effectively made first-price the default programmatic model for display ads. Rival exchanges, such as Index Exchange, OpenX and Rubicon Project, began rolling out first-price auctions in 2017. But until now Google remained the major hold-out, which has meant that ad buyers have had to manage campaigns running in both first-price and second-price auctions.

The migration to the first-price model is making programmatic ad buying much more cumbersome. “It does permanently make the bid strategy more complicated because you need to employ sophisticated techniques like bid shading” to keep costs down, said one agency executive.

Mobile Ads Do More Work in One Second than You Might Think
Mobile advertisements begin triggering reactions in less than a second, new research suggests, leading some brands to re-examine their creative strategies as well as the industry’s emphasis on longer exposures.

Consumers took 400 milliseconds to see and react emotionally to 67% of mobile ads tested in a study by neuroscience research company Neurons Inc. for the Mobile Marketing Association, a trade group of marketers, agencies, media sellers and technology players. On desktops, it took two to three seconds to hit the same mark, according to the researchers, who said they used eye-tracking and EEG monitoring to measure what 900 participants saw and how they responded.

Although all brands had the same chance at being seen, bigger ones triggered emotional reactions more quickly. Common tactics to open strong include featuring human faces looking directly at the camera or the product, using color and contrast to make something stand out, depicting strong emotions, and delivering more complex or more simple compositions than the surrounding feeds. But the new findings quantify and could expand marketers’ understanding in some ways—suggesting, for example, that ads not only make lightning-quick impressions but can misfire in a flash as well.

Advertisers to Increase Spending in 2019 – Lions’ Share to Paid Media and Martech
A survey of 300 advertisers on the topic of whether they plan to increase spending this year found that the majority said yes, with brand marketers and agency professionals indicating that overall spending will increase by an average of 14% in 2019. Many cited opportunities with emerging media platforms, enhanced audience targeting, and the availability of new marketing technology for creative, production and placement.

Interestingly, marketers plan to spend more than their agencies assume – 55% of marketers intend to spend more in 2019, whereas 43% of agency executives expect to spend more. When asked where the increased budgets will go, those advertisers who intend to spend more indicate that Paid Media (73%), Ad/Marketing Technologies (60%) and Data (50%) will enjoy the greatest increases.

With AT&T Breathing Down Its Neck, Comcast Looks to Acquire Ad Tech
Comcast is looking to enhance its targeted advertising business by acquiring more ad tech assets, and is evaluating a group of companies that includes Cadent and dataxu, according to AdExchanger.

Comcast is motivated by a range of factors, including stiffer competition from AT&T and its Xandr ad unit as well as difficult headwinds for its FreeWheel ad tech subsidiary. FreeWheel has struggled with client defections, having recently lost its largest client, Disney, to Google.

“If brands and advertisers start embracing the AT&T/Xandr model and clients start looking for something similar, there is definitely a case to be made that Comcast wants a seat at the table,” said Elgin Thompson, managing director of tech investment firm Digital Capital Advisors (DCA).
Comcast is hardly a newcomer to marketing and ad tech acquisitions, having previously acquired workflow software Strata in 2005, video management tool thePlatform in 2006, FreeWheel in 2014, Visible World in 2015 and exchange platform StickyAds in 2016.

But plenty has changed in the three years since it was last active, namely the rise of competition in the advanced TV ecosystem from the likes of AT&T, Disney, Google and others.

Google Launches Rewards Program for Each Ad Viewed
Microsoft began rewarding users years ago for conducting a search on Bing, and recently made an Android Launcher available through the app store that rewards people, too. Now Google has introduced an in-app program in Google Play that rewards users for watching advertisements.

Rewards Products, an in-game currency or bonuses platform, enables developers to build in a feature that allows those using their app to earn money for each ad viewed.
The first rewarded product will support the video format. App users can choose to watch a video advertisement. When complete, they are rewarded with virtual goods or in-game currency. For example, the user selects “watch ad,” views the video, and then is granted 100 coins.

Earnings made must exceed $100 before payment is redeemed. Earned balances must meet $10.
The idea is to get mobile android developers to use Google’s tool set and build the feature into their apps. Developers can add rewarded products to any app, not just video games, without using an extra SDK. The feature relies on AdMob.