March 2017: Media and Marketing Review


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


Google Braced for Questions as More Big Brands Pull Adverts

- Rob Davies, Irish Times, March 20th 2017

A slew of big-name companies, advertising firms and government departments have either pulled their adverts from Google and its YouTube video site… adding to pressure on the company to step up policing to prevent offensive material, such as videos promoting terrorism or anti-Semitism, from appearing alongside ads.

Audi, Sky, McDonald’s and Havas (on behalf of all of their UK clients) are among the big names that have recently pulled advertising from YouTube and Google due to the risk of having their ads appear alongside inappropriate video content. The ads on these videos create funding for the people who upload the videos – 1,000 clicks equates to about €7 – which has led to an increase in calls for stricter policing of content.

This discovery came after it emerged that ads for the Guardian’s membership scheme were placed next to extremist material. The Guardian has also withdrawn all advertising with Google and YouTube until guarantees regarding ad placement are put forward. 

Google will be reviewing their policies in an effort to demonetise videos which contain offensive material.  They plan to increase investment in the area of reviewing content in an effort to better control where ads appear on the site, along with speeding up the review process once a video is flagged as inappropriate.

An outline of Google’s Brand Safety Measures are below:

A note on the above from Joe Webb, Dentsu Aegis Network Ireland’s Chief Operations Officer:

We take digital brand safety extremely seriously and pursue high industry standard measures to protect our clients. We have a robust approach in place for those systems which we control, which we regularly review against the latest technologies in the marketplace to ensure we are at the forefront of managing risk.


February/March TV Viewership

February impacts were down across all key audiences compared to 2016. Housekeepers with Kids is down 12% on last year while All Adults were down circa 8%. The youth audiences saw the biggest drop however, with Adults 15-34 down 18% and Adults 25-44 down 16%.

RTÉ took a hit in all key demographics in February, with the heaviest of these coming against Ads15-34 at almost -14% compared to last year. This is in keeping with industry trends as young people become more and more difficult to target. All Adults was the least impacted audience, coming in at -5% on last year. The 6 Nations continued to bring in high ratings for RTÉ in February and March. Wales v Ireland did 740k against Adults, while Ireland v France did 756k and was the highest rated programme in February. Some other key programming in February and March included Room to Improve and The Late Late Show, pulling in 665k and 558k respectively against Adults. Dancing with the Stars also had another strong performance, as did Fair City with both doing over 500k for Adults.

TV3 also saw impacts down on all main audiences. Broad Adults is down almost 12% and HW+CH is down almost 11%. The young audiences are again showing the biggest drops from last year, with Ads 15-34 at -20% and Ads 25-44 at -18%. The return of the soaps to TV3 continues to boost viewership; Coronation Street and Emmerdale regularly pull in 350-450k against Adults. The Champions League coverage on TV3 has also continued to rate well.  In March, Arsenal v Bayern Munich and Leicester City v Sevilla FC were shown live on TV3 and both pulled in almost 200k for Adults. In other sports news, TV3 acquired the rights to broadcast live horse racing for the next 4 years, including Cheltenham which aired in March. The final day of the Cheltenham festival did almost 215k against all Adults. Other programme highlights aside from soaps and live sport included Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and The Voice UK.

TG4 saw an increase across all key audiences. Live rugby and GAA in February and March regularly brought in over 100k against all Adults. The All Ireland Club Final on St. Patrick’s Day was the highest rating programme, doing over 200k impacts for Adults. 

The downward trend resumed over on Sky Media, particularly across the young audiences – Ads 15-34 and Ads 25-44. Ads 15-34 fell over 20% on last year. This is not surprising when you look at the decline in young viewers across the board. The EFL Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton was the highest rating spot on Sky in February, pulling in just under 100k Adult impacts. We continue to see live sport viewing on Sky fall, perhaps due to competition from BT Sports coupled with a general trend of young people watching less live sport on TV. There are now many ways to watch a football match that do not involve an expensive Sky subscription. Outside of football, Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy were the top rating programmes.

C4 had another poor month compared to the same time in 2016, their stand-out programme being the film The Room, which aired at the beginning of March and did about 60k against Adults. The Royal House of Windsor, which takes an in-depth look at the last 100 years of the Windsor family, began in February on Channel 4 and averaged 40k for its first 3 episodes. Location, Location, Location continued to do about 40k too. The only other stand out programme in March was The Big Bang Theory which did 57k impacts.

UTV NI saw an increase from February 2016 in HK+CH of 3%, with dips in all other main demographics. The soaps continued to bring in the highest ratings. The C4 Ulster decline also continued in February. Not a great performance all round with the young audiences seeing a particularly steep decline. Adults 15-34 down almost 30% on 2016 and Adults 25-44 down almost 27%.




Visual Site Link Extensions

Update: Google are testing visual site links again. This time they are being presented as a swipe-able carousel of images with a title and description. As per details revealed by Google, performance of the extension will be highly dependent on both the quality of the image as well as just how relevant they are to your keywords. For now, it seems that they are only available on mobile.

What it means for marketers:  When it comes to PPC, it’s all about enriching your ads. For advertisers who are in first position on mobile, this will clearly give an even greater advantage, as accompanying imagery will stand out from static text on the rest of the page, leading to increased visibility on SERPs and click-through rate.

Relevancy / Availability: These visual sitelinks have been tested in the US market for a few months and are now also being rolled out in English-speaking regions globally on a select number of accounts.

More info: Search Engine Land


Mobile Interstitial Policy

Update: As of January 10, 2017, pages featuring intrusive interstitials where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from Google mobile search results may be penalized. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content that is obscured by an interstitial can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting to experience.

What it means for marketers: According to Google’s Webmaster Blog, here are some examples of techniques, used responsibly, that would not be affected by the new ranking signal:

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space

Relevancy / Availability: All clients

More info: Google Blog


Ad Blocking Report

Update: IAB Ireland comments on recently issued PageFair2017 Ad Blocking Report

What it means for marketers:

  • According to the PageFair2017 Ad Blocking Report issued last week, Ad Block penetration in Ireland in September was recorded at 39%. This is significantly higher than that shown in IAB’s research from July 2016.
  • It is worth noting that PageFair’s revenue model is built on how to circumvent ad blocking. Although ad blocking is a major issue in the industry, we believe that these figures are inflated and 3rd party verification for clients will deliver the actual impact that this is having on clients’ activity.

Relevancy / Availability: All clients

More info: IAB Ireland



DOOH Campaign Uses Live Data to Reach Travelers at Heathrow


Luxury watch brand, Seiko, ran a unique DOOH campaign at Heathrow Airport that used live data to target passengers flying to Baselworld, the most important marketplace and trendsetting show for the world’s watch and jewelry industry. Utilizing JCDecaux’s SmartCONTENT system, Seiko was able to specify exactly where and when their advertisement displayed across Heathrow’s gateroom digital screen network based on live data. Using Heathrow’s API data feed, SmartCONTENT identified the precise time of day and exact gateroom location of flights departing to Basel and Zurich, and displayed targeted content at the exact moment when the gates opened for boarding. This smart DOOH campaign enabled Seiko to precisely target industry experts and potential customers flying out to Switzerland for Baselworld, without the need to run a full gateroom digital campaign. JCDecaux Airport’s new CPT model enables advertisers to target an extremely specific audience group based on when and where they are flying, avoiding wastage and allowing for personalization of content, whether that be language-specific copy, tailored messages, or precise end-destination weather information.


Guinness OOH March

Guinness has been running a campaign on JCDecaux digital posters in London that let rugby fans know where they can catch the game. The campaign, developed by Carat and Posterscope, and working with Liveposter, automatically serves ads as a match approaches, providing kick off times and distances to nearby pubs that are screening the live match. A network of sensors fitted in participating pubs captures footfall data and, based on capacity levels, triggers real-time, tailored creative executions to drive fans to the best venues to watch the game.

This campaign gives audiences upcoming match information and also let’s passers-by know where there’s an available seat nearby to catch the game accompanied by a pint of the official beer of the tournament.

Data-triggered content is going to be central to many or most digital ad and marketing campaigns in the future, and this is a good example of a simple execution that is highly relevant to fans who want to do something, but don’t want to get motivated to go to a location and then be disappointed because there’s no room.



Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Orchestra Return

RTÉ 2FM presenter Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra are returning to Dublin’s 3Arena on Friday April 21st for a new set.

They’ll also be performing at the Marquee Cork on Saturday June 17th, along with Cork-based singer Gemma Sugrue and conductor Gavin Murphy at both shows.

Classics from the original set will be delivered along with new arrangements to be revealed on the night.


Hayes: Irish Radio Stations Are Losing Revenue

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has called on the European Commission to revise the rules concerning radio adverts.

The Fine Gael MEP wants to see the end of lengthy “terms & conditions” read at a fast pace on radio adverts, proposing that a simple message directing listeners to a website for further information makes better sense.

“The Consumer Credit Directive requires that standard information be provided in any advertising concerning credit agreements. Irish radio stations are losing revenue from this Brussels red tape requirement. The best examples are adverts for bank loans, new cars and insurance products. Radio advertising is severely disadvantaged as it does not have the visual element enjoyed by other media sources such as print, web and television.”

“When you see an advert on TV from a car manufacturer, the legal requirements for that advert are displayed in small print throughout the advert. This includes information such as the percentage of the loan interest and the required deposit. The same applies for adverts in newspapers and online.”

“Radio adverts are different. In order for radio stations to comply, they are required to read out the terms and conditions of every advert. This requirement means that a company who purchases 40 seconds of advertising can actually only advertise for 20 seconds as the remainder of the advert is filled with terms and conditions.”

“I believe the European Commission needs to revise the rules. I have written today to Vice President Timmermans, Head of Better Regulation to investigate this matter.”

“Consumers would be better advised if a simple message at the end of the advert directing them to a website was announced,” concluded MEP Hayes.


Homeless Radiothon Raises €55K

Radio NOVA’s Help Our Homeless Radiothon has raised over €55k for charity.

The station raised the money in a two-day pledge drive that saw listeners donate generously to help fight homelessness in the Greater Dublin area. It’s the third year that NOVA has run its Homeless Radiothon, which saw famous faces from across the worlds of entertainment, music, sport and politics provide their support live on-air. All funds were donated to Peter McVerry Trust.     



Instagram Expands Shopping Experience for Businesses and Users

In testing since November, Instagram has built upon its Discover feature to bring a more enhanced “shop the look” experience to Instagram users by focusing on bringing them more immersive and relevant content, whilst skewing away from solely offering a transitional focused experience.

This approach will hope to encourage greater brand affinity, as customers will browse and discover more offerings from businesses. As usual, the announcement is centred around roll-out in the US; users will soon be able shop and browse products from these businesses from posts in feed, on profile and in Explore, but with Pinterest now breaking into the Irish market, there may be scope for a global rollout being fast tracked.

The news also means that businesses such as fashion retailers, jewellers and those who are currently leveraging the platform’s commercial opportunities, will now have greater insights into how their posts are performing and where customers are dropping off in the sales funnel, by looking at metrics such as how many people tapped to see more product details or clicked on “shop now”.

Businesses will be able to create and tag a post with products directly from their mobile phone (available on iOS). Once a business has a product catalogue connected to their account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.


Split Testing on Facebook Leads to an Average Improvement of 14% on CPA Strategies


Facebook is rolling out split testing for advertisers looking to gain early & actionable insights on the best strategies to use when trying to reach potential audiences. 

This latest offering is available globally and can be harnessed in conjunction with Facebook’s other strategies such as Brand Lift (looking at brand awareness, impact, ad recall) and Conversion Lift (focused on business growth results such as CPL & CPA), to run controlled tests and learn ahead of time the overall impact a strategy is or isn’t have on your campaign.

The test works by randomly surfacing the test ads against potential audiences, based on actual user profiles rather than cookies, and then looking at the potential reach of both ads.

Once enough data has been collated, the advertiser can action the insights immediately, by restarting the campaign with one of the ad sets, or hold off until the end of the campaign and use the leanings for future campaigns.





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