year in review: some of our best performing campaigns of 2016

As 2016 fades into an emotional memory, here is a snapshot of some of our best performing rich media expandable campaigns of the last few months, launched for some of the world’s biggest brands and agencies. Each campaign saw interactivity many hundreds of times the industry standard for effectiveness, and was successfully delivered at scale into OpenRTB and PMP environments using Scoota’s Sentinel technology. Have a look at some of the campaigns here: Jaguar, Clarins, M&S, Danone and Arm & Hammer.

 

‘Is it about time?’ – Scoota’s Steve Filler on valuing engagement over exposure

 

Let’s start with some home truths about digital advertising: if they can, most people will avoid it. Because most people don’t like it – and some even hate it.

 

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. The most overused description of the value of programmatic is ‘the ability to target the right user at the right time with the right message’.  As an industry we nail the ‘right user’ bit. Combining this user data with additional behavioural insight to target people at the right time we do pretty well – add to that ‘in the right place’ in terms of environment, device and location and so far, so good.

 

However, skip to the ‘right message’ piece of the puzzle and the industry falls over. More often than not it’s a massive let down which at best gets ignored and in the worst cases forces people into hiding, swiping or blocking.  There is no doubt that brands are delivering smart, personalised and relevant messages that resonate with people at point of purchase, but we are not seeing the same creative sophistication being applied to digital brand advertising.

 

The sheer amount of messages we have to consume daily means it is tougher than ever to get noticed if you’re a brand trying to find new customers. With the stakes so high, it’s surprising to observe very few clients rising to the challenge in their day-to-day brand activities.  Nine times out of ten, the creative agency gets blamed for providing unfit-for-purpose creative but the truth is that we all need to take responsibility.

 

Let’s start by holding our hands up and admitting that executing brilliant, smart digital brand work isn’t easy. If we want to challenge consumers’ perceptions of digital advertising to a point where they have an instinctive desire to engage, then we have got to be prepared for a bit of hard graft.

 

It all starts with the client. I won’t dwell on the need for brands to create assets that are actually interesting, relevant and entertaining rather than a repurposed TV ad, as I’d hope that’s pretty obvious by now.  Where I think the biggest problem is, is the disconnect between the creative and media agencies.  Currently both media and creative agencies work independently from each other, with media agencies having little input into the creative stage and conversely, the creative agency having little visibility on the activation strategy.  I’ve seen so many campaigns targeting a number of different audiences with specific interests with the same generic creative format and message used in each strategy.  It’s easy to lay blame at the door of the creative agencies, but they are flying blind.

 

Added to this, there is very little mid or post campaign performance data fed back to the creative agency meaning they are essentially excluded from the optimisation process, with no adequate insight into what worked or didn’t. It’s a cycle of disconnectivity with one party taking most of the brunt: the client. Or should we go one step further and say: the audience.

 

For brands to meaningfully connect with audiences online, something has to fundamentally change. Where better to start than with what constitutes a successful ad? Currently, half of an ad being seen for one second is what constitutes ‘viewability’, which is obviously not good enough. I think we will see a new metric of ‘noticeability’ develop, introducing a new era where brands aim for meaningful audience engagement for a decent length of time. I firmly believe ‘time’ will become the next key form of digital brand measurement, presenting an opportunity for brands to engage with audiences in a way that has never been possible before.  Of course viewability will remain the first stage of brand measurement, but I expect we will soon see this evolve from a question of “was my ad in view?” to “how long was my ad in view?”.

 

The following image illustrates this tipping point, where online brand impact can move towards engagement quality over quantity as a gauge of success:

 

 

Of course media agencies, tech vendors and supply partners will continue to improve viewability scores but we shouldn’t be surprised when clients start asking for more, combining intelligent targeting with an understanding of how important the creative message is in grabbing a user’s attention and taking them on a journey.

 

Let’s remain positive and remember that, once engaged, anything is possible. I hope that soon brands will realise they can move away from overvaluing exposure and call for a new school of layered measurement: Was my ad noticed? Was it engaged with? Watched, played with, enjoyed, liked and – the digital holy grail – loved? Only then will we be able to claim we’ve moved online advertising forward and put the audience first. Until then, we must keep striving.

 

This article originally appeared on AdTekr.

recapturing the lost user of online advertising

With huge advances being made in technology that delivers advertising, why are online ads not engaging with users? Niki Stoker, client services director at Scoota, argues that it’s time to get creative.

So, you’re on Facebook and scrolling through the posts when up it pops for the hundredth time: another ad for the hotel you’ve just been viewing on Expedia, and rather than thinking again about booking said holiday, all you feel is irritated.
It still amazes me that this is an all too common scenario users are experiencing when it comes to programmatic advertising. Instead of engaging the user, they are simply becoming bored and frustrated with what seems to be amounting to ‘stalker’ ads.

The user is becoming ‘lost’ in a deluge of pop-up banners, interruptive pre-roll and repurposed TV ads that they don’t want to see or watch. Have we reached a point where programmatic has become problematic?

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scoota & sir john hegarty’s record-breaking session at festival of marketing

On Thursday 12th November, Scoota’s co-founder Torie Chilcott joined Scoota investor & advertising legend Sir John Hegarty on the Headliner stage at the Festival of Marketing to discuss ‘The Magic of Creativity in Online Advertising.’ Torie looked at the journey of online advertising and its evolving relationship with creativity and Sir John Hegarty took the audience through one of his iconic advertising campaigns, Lynx’s Getting Dressed, demonstrating how, if he were to make it today, he would use the latest forms of technology to make it even more successful and creative. As the closing keynote of the Festival, the session with Sir John and Torie also broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest ever marketing lesson, and was an inspirational call to arms for creative agencies and technologists to collaborate more and work together to make online advertising deliver on its promise of creativity.

a tech viewpoint on programmatic rich media

Rich media has been the mainstay of online brand marketing for more than ten years, thanks to its ability to deliver a blend of video and interactivity directly to where the user can be found. But, unlike standard display advertising and pre-roll video, rich media has been late to the programmatic agenda.

So what is programmatic rich media? Let’s start with programmatic. Just as stock-market trading activity migrated from ticket-waving and noisy phone calls to sophisticated platforms relying on algorithms to seek out and bid on interesting stock, online media buying increasingly exploits real-time trading opportunities now made possible thanks to demand-side platforms and supply-side platforms.

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reflections on #dmexco15

Last week Scoota headed to Dmexco – the world’s largest gathering of leaders, innovators and technologists. Held in the heart of Cologne, across three enormous expo buildings, the biggest data exchanges, ad tech vendors, publishers and media agencies came together for a mass celebration of science. A global geek-off, notably attended this year by an increasing amount of high profile advertising leaders.

Sir Martin Sorrell led the charge with a keynote speech on horizontality and consolidation at WPP. Yannick Bollore gave a glamorous description of how Havas intends to provide the world’s best and most meaningful brand experts. Yahoo’s Lisa Utzschneider spoke passionately about the challenges and frustrations of inconsistent data.

Looking back, Dmexco successfully mixed companies more likely to be found in Cannes than Cologne with hardcore tech businesses. All seemed to be suffering from the same issues of convergence, growth and engagement. Seeing such different businesses have this commonality was startling. Notable areas of growth were discussed such as the emerging mobile markets of Africa, the Middle East and India. Also on the agenda: fragmentation of platforms; inefficiencies of measurement; plus the common anthem- the huge opportunity of programmatic.

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adland heavyweights and innocent founders invest in scoota

A big day for Rockabox: today we rebranded as Scoota and announced a new round of investment from some of the advertising industry’s biggest names.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty co-founder Sir John Hegarty; BMP co-founder and former Omnicom chairman Martin Boase; ex-TBWA president Michael Greenlees; and Innocent Drinks co-founders Richard Reed, Jon Wright and Adam Balon, among new investors.

Scoota is an online advertising technology company that enables advertisers to create, activate, measure and optimise rich media brand campaigns, at scale, programmatically – all within a single platform.

We have raised £3.7 million in this new round, which will be used to invest in continuing the development of our technology platform and growth into the wider European market.

Sir John Hegarty said of the investment: “Creativity is at the heart of all great advertising. Online advertising is a medium all advertisers should embrace, but how to deliver the best creative idea in the most effective way remains a big challenge. The team at Scoota is transforming the programmatic landscape and bringing to it exciting new opportunities for creativity; I’m delighted to be a part of this journey.”

Richard Reed, “Scoota has developed a unique platform that allows brands to reach current and future customers in a way that is relevant, highly creative and, thanks to some very clever technology, at an unprecedented scale. We’re very excited about Scoota’s future.”

According to recent figures from eMarketer, UK programmatic digital display ad spend will grow 66.2% to reach £1.8 billion this year, accounting for more than half (59%) of the UK display advertising market for the first time. Procter & Gamble said this time last year that it aimed to buy 70-75% of its digital ads programmatically by the end of 2014.

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four legs to two wheels

Bizarrely, every now and then, I bump into people within our industry who still remember Tangozebra. Splendid. Eight years is a long time in online speak, the equivalent of 56 land-based years; and if I follow that logic it would seem that I’ve been involved in rich media advertising for well over 100 years, which feels about right; a lot has happened.

Tangozebra was an 11-year adventure.  The energy and passion from a wonderful team created the first rich formats in the late 90s – a time of complex hand-stitched Java-based interactivity, zero bandwidth, melting data centres and vertical learnings. By 2007, 1,500 campaigns were live at any one time on our cloud-based rich media serving platform; the Tangozebra Flash components turned thousands of creative agency Flash installs into rich media authoring suites, and all scaled nicely.

Rich media’s journey from those early days is an interesting one. The advent of Flash and introduction of layered site delivery allowed all sorts of exploding formats to emerge, often to the detriment of the users’ experiences. Experimentation was the order of the day back then but within a few short years those uninitiated large screen overlays had lost favour within the industry due to understandable user kickback, and with a sense of relief the industry started to mature. By 2007 when Tangozebra was bought, intrusive forms of rich media were yesterday’s news. Or so it seemed.

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how do you name a product, and name it well?

Create some panic. Bring your deadlines forward. Brag about how, in two days, you’ll have a product name that you can live and die by, that will be broadcast into space, that will be written into the first post-apocalyptic scrolls while the wind howls across the nuclear wastelands formerly known as Kent. That will get you to the subspace known as “Monkey Tennis”. Where you are almost always guaranteed genius.

So arbitrary deadlines dutifully broadcast, we got our war room “no-one leaves until we have an agreement” mentality on, and we gleefully dived into the depths of the bizarre (i.e. the deep well of thesaurus.com).

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creativity is technology’s best friend

Using technology to drive results for brands is nothing new: for a while now advertisers have capitalised on smart algorithms to optimise campaigns towards a desired goal. Crucially however, the creative element of the equation has always been overlooked.

A common approach in the digital space has been to produce a limited set of creative assets such as a thirty second TV ad and a rich format to host it. The media schedule and targeting would be optimised to deliver the desired result, ranging from user engagement with the video to more action orientated goals.

Naturally, such optimisation continually narrows the media and targeting parameters until the campaign ends, resulting in many of the original audience being funnelled out and left unexposed to the brands messaging. On the surface that approach can work if the campaign results are strong – but this approach does mean that brands are casting aside potential Customers.

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