February 2016: Media and Marketing Update
Here's a look back on the media and marketing news over the last month.
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