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Archive for May 27th, 2008

Interactive Campaign Setup Best Practices

Posted by Mort Greenberg on May 27, 2008

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Ad operations professionals from the IAB’s Ad Operations Council, in conjunction with representatives from major Media Agencies, developed these Best Practices to significantly decrease the operational inefficiencies surrounding the campaign set up process in interactive advertising.

This document outlines a number of recommendations for both the publisher and agency and is intended to reduce the number of issues arising during the campaign set up phase. Research into the sources of discrepancies has shown that correcting campaign setup errors will significantly reduce inefficiencies and discrepancies throughout the campaign’s delivery as well as during the reconciliation process.

The Publisher Best Practices were developed by first defining each step of the ideal publisher campaign set up process. Input from a number of publishers of various sizes and business focuses was aggregated through open discussions, and a thorough analysis of the overall process resulted in these best practices. Key recommendations include:

  • Disclosing and obtaining as much information with the agency as up front as possible. This includes necessary contact information from all departments, credit policy as well as potential credit issues, inventory reservation policies, rich media costs, and clearly defining any addendums or changes to the AAAA/IAB standard terms and conditions.
  • Translating any ambivalent contract language into terms that both sides understand and can input into an ad server.
  • Ensuring ad ops personnel have contact with agency in order to properly match tags.

The Agency Best Practices were also developed by gathering input from various agencies to ensure that all stages of the campaign setup process were clearly defined. The group was able to identify various pain points and developed best practices to address them. Key recommendations include:

  • Disclosing and obtaining as much information to and from the publisher, as well as to and from the marketer. It is imperative that all parties have a clear understanding of requirements and timelines. Publishers must fulfill their side of the obligation by clearly defining all of the aforementioned information; agencies must in turn make this clear to the marketer.
  • Making certain that billing methods are properly communicated to publisher.
  • Educating buyers on all steps of the process and ensuring that interdepartmental communication channels are open.

The general beliefs of both the Ad Operations Council and the involved agencies is that improving overall communication between agency and publisher, as well as internally on both sides, will lead to improved efficiency in the campaign setup process. The IAB is confident that these Best Practices, if adopted by both publishers and agencies, will enable both sides to materially improve their operational effectiveness, significantly decrease material discrepancies, and build more scalable, profitable organizations.

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Advertisers to Consumers: We’ll Text You

Posted by Mort Greenberg on May 27, 2008

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Cellphone Messages
Find a Mobile Niche;
Customers Ask for It
May 27, 2008; Page B4

Analysts like to make bold predictions about the growth of mobile advertising. Most have overshot reality.

But at least one slice of the business appears to be catching on, according to marketers: ads sent via text message. A growing number of companies are using cellphone text messages to lend more interactivity to their ads. For instance, Coors Brewing’s Coors Light beer recently added a text-message component to its traditional sponsorship of the NFL Draft. Football fans opted to receive draft alerts, and each message contained a squib about Coors Light.


Some marketers like text-message ads because — unlike most ads — viewers asks to receive the message, which means the marketer doesn’t bombard the viewer with unsolicited commercials. The potential audience is also attractive: Almost all cellphones can send and receive text messages. Finally, marketers say, the results of text-message ads are much easier to measure than those of mobile Web ads.

On Tuesday, Silicon Valley start-up 4INFO, one of the most-active players in text-message advertising, plans to announce a new trial partnership with Yahoo. Under the arrangement, 4INFO provides the technology for Yahoo to publish its content, such as news updates, horoscopes, sports scores and weather forecasts, via text messages that also contain a small ad. Consumers sign up online to receive the alerts.

Yahoo can sell the ads alone or as part of a broader online-mobile ad package, or, alternatively, 4INFO can sell the ads through its mobile-ad network.

Ad executives report click-through rates with text-message ads of 1% to 10%, a significant jump from the figures for Web banner ads, which are typically only a fraction of that.

Those higher rates, of course, could be attributable simply to the newness of text-message advertising. And, for marketers that do text-message marketing, there are challenges. One is limited space. Of the 160 characters allowed in a text message, typically 120 are reserved for content, which leaves only 40 for the ad. Often, the message is simple: “Sponsored by The All-New Toyota Corolla” was the tag line for a recent campaign with IAC/InterActiveCorp’s online invitation service Evite.

Mobile-message advertising is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2008, up 82% from last year, according to research firm eMarketer. Spending on mobile-message advertising now accounts for about 88% of the total $1.7 billion spent on mobile ads, which also includes search ads and display ads as well as mobile Web advertising.

On top of its new pact with Yahoo, 4INFO, founded in 2004 by Zaw Thet, now 27 years old, has struck similar deals with big media companies from General Electric‘s NBC Universal to IAC and newspaper company Gannett, which owns a stake in the company. 4INFO, which says it reaches eight million unique visitors a month, usually splits the ad revenue with the media company 60-40, with the majority going to whichever party makes the sale.

With these ads, a phone number to text is typically embedded in a print or TV ad. Consumers send a text message to that number to receive the content, which is sponsored by a marketer.

“A newspaper is produced once daily. With the text messages you can layer in interactivity, whether it be stock quotes, sports scores or updated weather,” says Matt Jones, director of mobile strategy for Gannett.

Among the marketers that Gannett has sold ads to are Marriott, which recently sponsored a print-and-mobile ad combination in USA Today, and Radio Shack, which is sponsoring free sports alerts from the paper’s Web site.

Other companies that compete in text-message advertising include YellowPepper and HipCricket. Like 4INFO, HipCricket has focused on bringing new life to old media through mobile ads. HipCricket works with radio and TV stations to create programs like mobile loyalty clubs for listeners to join. Then, both the radio stations and its advertisers market to this group via their phones.

Using text messages to deliver ads isn’t completely new. A company called Screenvision, which uses text messaging along with commercials on movie screens, launched its network in 2005. Since then, it has expanded its approach. Starting early next month, Screenvision, whose advertising network is made up of more than 14,000 screens in 2,300 theaters, will test a live-polling feature that is activated by text messages. Audiences will be polled on music, movies or other entertainment-related topics, and then can vote. The results will be immediately tabulated and flashed up on the screen.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, is the first sponsor of the polling service. The campaign includes a two-minute original film (“VCast Street”) directed by Spike Lee, and VCast-branded popcorn bags.

Write to Emily Steel at

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