February 2016: Media and Marketing Update

10/03/2016

Here's a look back on the media and marketing news over the last month.

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ONLINE

These are the top things from the last few weeks that are worth following:

1. Facebook Messenger Ads – There are a number of people who are avid users of this lesser loved app. Facebook are aiming to launch in app ads, according to TechCrunch. Ads would only be shown to messenger threads with companies and you would only be able to serve ads to customers who had previously contacted them via Messenger. (What will the public reaction be? Watch this space!)

2. The Mobile World Conference was held last week in Barcelona, Spain. There were many talking points from Virtual Reality to the new sleek Samsung S7 intended to overtake the iPhone. A hot topic for advertisers was the discussions surrounding ad-blocking. Yahoo’s VP of Advertising for EMEA says ad-blocking technology will “destroy the ad eco-system”, making reference to Shine (ad-blocking company). But with only 0.3% of mobile users actually enabling ad-blocking technology – are we making this out to be a bigger issue than it might actually be?

3. And finally, MacBook selfies are actually a thing. See it here…..#NoComment

- Aisling Foster

Google Search Update

On Friday February 19th Google updated how search ads appear in results. On desktop users will no longer see text search ads on the right hand side. Instead four text ads will appear at the top of search results and three at the bottom. This means reducing the maximum number of paid ads from eleven to seven. The right hand space will now be used for product listing ad blocks and knowledge panels. Sometimes these will contain ads however Google are currently testing this function. Although the changes came into place with immediate effect only some advertisers have access to the new ad block formats. 

- Aine Osborne

Three Mobile Ad Blocking

Three Mobile announced that it will roll out ad-blocking software across its network, making it the first major European mobile operator to do so. This follows successful trials of the software in the UK and Italy. It is unsure when the activity will roll out across markets but it is evident it will have a dramatic effect on the mobile marketing landscape if Three get their way. Three Mobile have claimed that the move is in place to help protect users  from “Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads that annoy customers and affect their overall network experience.” Others feel that it is a move to pull in revenue from the big ad companies that are currently monetising bandwidth with display ads.

Outside of Three’s motives, the move also raises big questions about how they will implement the activity and what the knock on affects will be for the traditional ad funded publishers.

If the blocking is as severe as some people are claiming it will be, I think we’ll most likely see an increase in the number of native articles and sponsorship deals between brands and publications. This area of advertising is likely to experience exceptional growth and evolution over the next few years. It is also likely that we will see an increase in social budgets as a result as these are first party served. The same would apply for YouTube ads as nearly all of their ads are first party served too. First-party ad serving is a bit of a grey area and basically refers to the website publisher serving ads from their own domain (the way ads on Facebook’s website load from facebook.com and not a third party ad server). This usually implies that these ads are sourced directly and can get around ad blocking because blocking the domain would block the entire site. I suspect there will be plenty of publishers scrambling to figure out ways of efficiently first party serve for advertisers as a result.

How advertisers and publishers react to this news is going to be really interesting and will shape the content world both from a publication and advertising perspective. Publishers will now need to look at ways of replacing ad revenue after they have just gotten to terms with the idea of digital revenue and the decline of print. That issue derives an article in itself however.

There is a lot of negative talk around Three Mobile’s deserves move. I am personally opposed to such control by a network provider but it does open opportunities for brands too. Brands willing to embrace the change and change their current ‘paid for’ media tactics could see huge rewards in a world who’s mobile growth seems to have no end. Sponsorship of content will increase and command more of a premium due to the decrease in brand noise online. Any brand that can make a name for itself in this area will benefit greatly from the reduced number of players looking for share of voice. Building up a trusted relationship with users through content will be a much bigger part of the consumer journey. I think this will also carry over into brands own property. The idea of inbound marketing suddenly has a much bigger claim to brand budgets if the paid media market sees a decline. Brands who produce content and services that users want to use online will grow their share of voice as brands are forced out of buying people’s attention and moved into earning it. That may not be Three’s intention but it looks like it could well be a significant result of their actions.

- Alan McAuley

TV
Feb TV Viewership
RTÉ fared well in Feb when you consider the poor start to the year they had in Jan. Hw+Ch, broad audiences and 25-44s showed increases in impacts. The younger Ads 15-34 audience however continued to decline (-6% year on year) although at a much lesser rate than seen in Jan (-19%) which in itself was a bonus. This helped RTÉ considerably to manage their book with revenue growth estimates in the high double digit range for this month. 
TV3 had a similar story to tell performing flat to low single digit growth across Hw+Ch, broads and 25-44s with Ads 15-34 viewership a problem falling -9% year on year bringing them more or less in line with RTÉ when we look at the combined months of Jan – Feb 2016. 
UTV continues with high single digit growth across Hw+Ch and Adults while maintaining viewership across Ads 25-44. Younger audiences are again the problem here but the year on year decline is the lowest in the market. That said the varied inventory and size of the audience on RTÉ and TV3 would need to be taken into account when comparing. On the satellite channels Sky performed in line with the terrestrials for the most part but C4 had a terrible month with Hw+Ch viewership down -30% and Ads 15-34 down -27%. 
Overall in ROI impacts remain at -1% for Hw+Ch, +4% for Ads and +1% for Ads 25-44 while Ads 15-34 was down 10% which would suggest the older end of the market is currently propping up linear TV viewing. 
NI had a turnaround in Feb with Six Nations helping UTV’s performance of +7% on Ads 15-34 and +3% on Ads 25-44. Live event programming showing it still attracts large audiences to TV.
C4 Ulster on the other hand saw a decline of -7% for Ads 15-34 and -5% for Ads 25-44. 
Feb Impacts
 
TV3 to broadcast 22 of the 51 UEFA Euro 2016 matches from France this summer.
Matches include 16 exclusive Group games, 3 exclusively live Round of 16 games, 2 exclusively live Quarter Finals and the Final live on TV3 & TV3 HD. TV3 announced details of an agreement to broadcast 22 live UEFA Euro 2016 matches this summer.
Under the deal, TV3 will broadcast 21 games exclusively live from UEFA Euro 2016 on Free-To-Air television in Ireland, including matches from the last 16 and quarter finals.
TV3 will also broadcast the final. TV3’s coverage of Euro 2016 will kick off on Saturday 11th June, with England’s tournament opener against Russia, and will end with the Final on July 10th in Paris. All 22 matches will be available on the go and online on the 3player app which you can download from iTunesor the Google Play Store.
- Noel McCarthy
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