Laurent Nicolas is Founder and CEO at Alenty, a measurement vendor specialising in ad visibility for both DR and Brand digital buyers. Here Nicolas discusses the Alenty proposition, how it is addressing ad visibility and ad recall, why it is helping brand advertisers move into display, and he even gives us a case study with a real life example.
What does Alenty do? Give us an overview of the Alenty proposition in Europe?
Alenty is the European leader in Brand Advertising Efficiency measurement. We measure whether online ads are efficient for brand advertising.
To achieve this goal, we have built strong technology that measures if ads are seen (visible on the screen while someone is watching) and for how long. Our unique positioning is our ability to mix this technology with partnerships with Market Research companies (TNS in UK, France, Germany and Spain ??? and Nielsen worldwide). This is why we have been able to prove the link between ad visibility and message recall. So, our clients can use our census ad visibility measurement to optimize their brand advertising campaigns.
We work both with advertisers and agencies on the buy-side, and publishers and ad-networks on the sell-side.
We have offices in France, UK and Germany. From these three locations, we operate our services in 10 European countries.
Approximately 1/3 of display ads on the web are never viewed by a user. Can you give some insight into your ???viewable ad??? solution?
We will soon release a European benchmark. I can already tell you that almost 28% of ads bought for brand advertising campaigns are not seen (not a single pixel, even a fraction of a second). And it is worse for DR campaigns!
In France, where the market has been using our numbers for more than three years, less than 19% of ads are not viewed. We are proud that we have helped improve this market.
Our measurement tool is served with the ad and immediately starts measuring if it is visible.
Visibility is defined by certain criteria.
First the ad must be visible on the screen. For this you need to take into account window focus, browser tabs, position of the ad within the page, size of the ad (even when it changes), css properties of the ad, position of the scroll.
Then there needs to be someone watching the screen at the same time. This is achieved by a constant monitoring of mouse and keyboard activity.
You can try it yourself here: http://www.alenty.com/en/demo/display-ads.
So, a lot of information that needs to be tracked consistently for all browsers and all ad servers, including the famous iFrames solutions that make it more difficult, but not impossible to measure (at least for us!). We have a strong R&D team 100% devoted to visibility measurement. For instance, some adservers preload the ad in a hidden part of the page (called a ???div???), and then move it when it is ready. We are able to track this.
Our measurement also covers instream banners (only 50% to 70% of fully delivered pre rolls are fully seen!), and mobile web (both in-browser and in-apps).
An ad is not seen for several reasons. Obviously, when it is on the bottom of the page and the user does not scroll down. But even top banners are not always seen. 5% to 15% because the page is left before the ad can actually be displayed (but it is served and paid!). 5% to 15% more because it is loaded after the user has scrolled down!
What metric will this work on ??? and is this more tailored towards the brand advertiser?
The right question is not ???has the ad been viewed???? but ???has it been viewed long enough????. You must think of online ads as TV ads, not print ads. They show a message (video or flash animation) that has a duration. In order to maximize recall, the ad must be seen in total, so longer than the duration of its message. It seems obvious but we have proved it through dozen of post tests with our market research partners.
This is what we call ???efficient impressions???: impressions that are seen more than X seconds, where X stands for the duration of the message.
Immediately, when you talk about recall post-tests and visibility duration, brand advertisers start to listen to you (they don???t care and often don???t understand CTRs, CPAs, etc.). They spend a lot of money on TV, but they needed the right indicators to start buying online. Do you know that brand advertising is twice as big as direct response in their budget? That???s where the big money is.
How can it work in DR campaigns?
Direct response is short-term branding.
DR campaigns are not that different from branding campaigns. If a message is not seen, or not understood, it will have no effect.
The decrease of click rates pushes more post-view analysis. But what is post-view if the ad is not viewed? It is cookie-dropping, that???s all. You can see the online DR advertising as a black box. But the black-box models have reached their limits. With visibility measurement, you can now open the black-box and improve DR campaigns.
CPAs on efficient impressions are 40% lower.
How can this be used in an automated buy though SSPs and exchanges? Are you integrated with the likes of AppNexus and MediaMath?
Yes, it works. In traditional media buying, even if Alenty tells you that very few impressions are efficient, you???re stuck, because it is too difficult to optimize your campaign. Exchanges bring the automation layer that make the use of visibility data operational at last. The only difficulty is that it is a mostly iframes environment, which requires a robust technology. We are currently testing the integration of our visibility measurement in Appnexus, Invite Media and MediaMath.
Surely, brand advertisers and marketers would be very eager to use this technology to track what ads have been viewed by users?
More than only tracking. they can optimize their media purchase. In adex, when the efficiency rate is very low, you can simply deselect the line and not buy on this site anymore. People have no idea of the visibility of these ad spaces. So, some are very good and some are very bad. This means that there is a great potential for optimization.
We believe that brand advertisers will end up buying directly efficient impressions (impressions seen longer than their message).
What is the pricing model for this solution?
We charge a CPM, plus some premium services when requested.
Are there any case studies you can share on the success of this solution?
Yes, we have just released a short case study based on our first tests with Infectious Media. In a nutshell, it shows that Ad Exchanges are not bad quality inventories for branding. No only is the efficiency ratio (percentage of impressions seen more than 10 seconds in this example) similar to non-rtb adspaces, but also, optimization is so simple on these exchanges, that ad-exchanges are already very powerful for brand advertising.
The full study can be downloaded here: http://www.infectiousmedia.com/uploads/news/Infectious_and_Alenty.pdf