Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Viacom is introducing a new strategy involving the use of big data to optimize the placement of ads. Initially known as Project Gemini (after an early NASA human spaceflight program), and now called Vantage, Viacom’s new big data capabilities were created by data scientists and other technologists hired away from Microsoft and elsewhere. As Viacom leverages Silicon Valley technology in an effort to capture Madison Avenue dollars, competitors are ramping up similar big data strategies. Continue reading Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

TruTV Cuts Ad Time, Hopes to Increase Value for Advertisers

Cable networks tend to schedule advertising with a “more is more” approach. But the added revenue comes at a cost to marketers and viewers. Marketers worry that the resulting “ad clutter” obscures their message. Meanwhile, the proliferation of commercial-free, OTT content has shortened the average viewer’s commercial tolerance, especially among the ever-valuable millennial demographic. In a move that truTV sees as a way for advertisers to “rise above the noise,” the cable and satellite channel is planning to cut down ad time and increase each slot’s value. Continue reading TruTV Cuts Ad Time, Hopes to Increase Value for Advertisers

Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Snapchat launched a temporary Discover channel yesterday featuring advertiser-created content. Sony Pictures Entertainment paid for a “sponsored” Discover channel to promote its new James Bond film “Spectre,” which opened on Monday in the U.K. The Discover section currently includes 15 media partners, but the 007 channel (which is sharing multimedia content for the film such as behind-the-scenes footage, cast member testimonials and Bond trivia questions) represents the first time a brand has paid to be featured this way on Snapchat Discover. Continue reading Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

NFL Stops Fans From Sharing Sports Video Clips via Twitter

The tension between intellectual property owners and user-generated video sports replays came to a head when Twitter deactivated two popular sports accounts: Gawker Media’s Deadspin, with more than 887,000 Twitter followers, and @SBNationGIF, an offshoot of Vox Media’s SB Nation. The takedown came in response to complaints from the National Football League. But critics note the fuzzy line between fair use and IP infringement; some sports leagues, such as the NBA, regard user-generated videos as marketing, not infringement. Continue reading NFL Stops Fans From Sharing Sports Video Clips via Twitter

Facebook Expands its Shopping Options with Dedicated Feed

Facebook is focusing full-bore on shopping with an array of new features. But the most prominent is a new Shopping feed that aggregates posts and photos from different retailers for specific products. The Shopping feed is being tested as a way to pull out all the products being showcased by retailers on their own Facebook pages. Facebook is also allowing retailers to host entire product catalogs on Facebook pages — what the company is calling “immersive ads” — as opposed to sending users to a mobile browser. Continue reading Facebook Expands its Shopping Options with Dedicated Feed

Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Internet users are typically more engaged when accessing websites and social platforms that include photos and videos. Marketing firm Shift, for example, notes that readers are five times more likely to click an embedded link if a tweet includes an image. As a result, companies are now developing software solutions for sifting through the millions of online images in an effort to help brands, advertisers and e-commerce players identify what draws viewers. EyeEm Mobile and Neon Labs are among those looking to enhance the power of online visuals. Continue reading Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Twitter Tweaks TV Timelines, Expanding Pages and Availability

Twitter is now making its TV Timelines feature available to more users in an attempt to draw in more TV fans, networks and advertisers. TV Timelines, which aggregates TV-related content with a dedicated page for each TV show, is accessed via a separate interface within the Twitter app. When Twitter first debuted TV Timelines, it was only available to a select group of users and for a handful of TV shows. After several months of experimentation, Twitter has tweaked the feature, including adding shortcuts to users’ tweets. Continue reading Twitter Tweaks TV Timelines, Expanding Pages and Availability

Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

TV technology is getting closer to monitoring and analyzing our facial expressions in order to distinguish between boredom and enthusiasm to better understand our viewing tastes. Software from media startup Affectiva could usher in a new frontier in television viewing, one in which our devices watch our reactions and offer content suggestions or enable brands to provide more targeted ads. If consumers are willing to allow their emotional data to be gathered, movie and TV show recommendations from Netflix, for example, could become more relevant. Continue reading Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

Social Platforms Allow Third Party Verification of Ad Viewability

Facebook is the latest company to accede to the demands of advertisers and allow independent measurement firm Moat to determine if ads are actually being viewed. Up until now, Facebook and Google have both used internal measurement tools, which several advertisers — Unilever among them — have found to be an unsatisfactory solution. That’s the reason that Unilever, for example, has pulled back ads on Facebook and Google. Twitter has recently also permitted Moat to ascertain viewability figures. Continue reading Social Platforms Allow Third Party Verification of Ad Viewability

Salesforce Debuts IoT Cloud to Monitor Data of Smart Devices

Salesforce.com just introduced IoT Cloud, a service that will allow customers to monitor data relayed by smart devices. As the Internet of Things becomes more of a reality — sensors are now found in a wide array of devices and machines — companies need to gather and make sense of the data that those sensors generate. Emerson Electric announced its plans to use Salesforce’s IoT Cloud to combine data from its smart thermostats with weather forecasts to help its users manage their heating and air conditioning. Continue reading Salesforce Debuts IoT Cloud to Monitor Data of Smart Devices

Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat Draw in Advertising Dollars

Mobile video and messaging app Snapchat has become increasingly appealing to advertisers, who are using sponsored geofilters to turn their users into brand ambassadors. Although Snapchat still hasn’t built out its basic advertising infrastructure, advertisers are signing up to run fledgling campaigns in which people can add geofilters only when they are in specific locations. Among the brands that have launched such campaigns are Nike, GE, Target and McDonald’s. Some videos generate between 30 and 50 million views. Continue reading Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat Draw in Advertising Dollars

Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Forty-five million small business use Facebook Pages, and the Silicon Valley company is now upgrading the app to make it easier for them to make money with the feature by reaching mobile users. The upgrade includes a tabbed mobile layout, so businesses can display storefront sections and let visitors shop for products or look at a list of services. The new Pages also makes it much easier for a user to contact the small business in question, with Call Now, Send Message and Contact Us graphics bigger, more prominent and colorful. Continue reading Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Live Sports Are Generating More Opportunities for Online Ads

Brands want a way to connect to viewers who peruse laptops and smartphones while watching major sporting events. Major digital players such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are looking for ways to monetize increased online activity during those same events. It’s a match made in heaven, and it’s going live just as the National Football League season begins. Google plans on offering ads to be placed alongside football-related search results, but the company isn’t alone in making plans to capture advertising dollars. Continue reading Live Sports Are Generating More Opportunities for Online Ads

Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

For an additional $4 ($11.99 per month), Hulu is offering an ad-free option to streaming movies and TV shows. Those who prefer to pay $7.99 will still have to sit through ads. The move could help Hulu better compete with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that do not include advertising. It could also present the company with an opportunity to increase its revenue in order to invest in more content. This could prove vital since premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are making their programming available outside traditional cable bundles. Continue reading Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

Directly targeting AT&T, Sprint is now offering DirecTV subscribers a year of free cell phone service. The offer, which started August 28 and ends September 30, includes a plan with unlimited talk, text and up to 2 gigabytes of data per month, plus a one-time $36 activation fee, but not the cost of a smartphone. Sprint’s move is an attempt to foil AT&T’s plan to turn DirecTV subscribers into AT&T subscribers, a key motivation for the wireless company’s $49 billion acquisition of the satellite TV provider. Continue reading Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

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