Advertisers Only Want to Buy Viewable Mobile Ads, But Sellers Are Waiting For Standards

August 20, 2015 — The Wall Street Journal Over the past few months, a growing number of ad buyers have started insisting on purchasing only mobile ads that people can actually see, say media sales executives.

The insistence when it comes to mobile ads follows an industrywide push over the past year or so aimed at ensuring that marketers only pay for viewable ads on desktops.

Problem is, the advertising industry’s leading measurement authority, the Media Rating Council, which audits research firms ranging from Nielsen to Rentrak, has yet to accredit any third-party technology firms to track mobile ad viewability. (Over a dozen companies have been accredited for desktop ads.) Many ad buyers and sellers say that the mobile data available today from companies such as Moat and Integral Ad Science is far from perfect.

But with mobile accounting for 50% or more of traffic to some major websites, advertisers don’t want to wait for mobile viewabilty to get sorted out. They want to run mobile ads now, and they only want to pay for ones that people have a chance to see. There’s a lot of money at stake, with mobile ad spending expected to exceed $28 billion in the U.S. this year, according to eMarketer. The concern is that money may be wasted on mobile in one of two ways.

On the one hand, advertisers don’t want to pay for mobile ads that people never have a chance to see, either because people scroll past them before they are fully in view on a given screen, or because these ads technically fail to render for whatever reason.

On the flip side, media companies are concerned that the mobile ads they are delivering that actually are viewable aren’t being given credit because the tracking technology is flawed or because the way the technology is being implemented doesn’t count mobile ad campaigns accurately.

Ad buyers’ insistence on purchasing only viewable ads before standards and tracking technology have been established is causing big headaches for media companies. Those companies say that because vendors haven’t been accredited to track mobile ads and because tracking mobile ad viewabiliy is inherently different on mobile devices versus desktop computers, they are faced with all sorts of discrepancies–and potential lost revenue–when tracking the performance of ad campaigns.

“It’s a struggle,” said Monica Ho, head of marketing at the mobile ad firm xAd. Her team frequently runs mobile ad campaigns, only to hear from a third party that 50% of the ads they believe are being delivered are deemed non-viewable. “That’s significant. But we are being told that if we don’t use some sort of mobile viewability guarantee we won’t be on campaigns.”

Back in May, the MRC issued interim guidance on measuring mobile ads for viewability. Essentially, the MRC’s message for the ad market was this: we are working toward establishing metrics to track mobile ad viewability. At this point, no vendors are accredited to do so. In the meantime, you should count ads in mobile browsers as viewable the same way you count desktop display ads: if and only if at least 50% of the ad is visible for at least one second (two seconds for video ads).

However, in that guidance, the MRC also introduced a new metric that is unique to ads that appear in mobile applications. It said that ads that are “loaded” in apps, but may be visible for too short a time or have too little of the ad on screen to be considered  “viewable” to consumers, should not be counted as viewable in ad buys.

Needless to say, it’s complicated.

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Verve Adds Execs To Oversee Ad Operations And Creative Services

August 10, 2015 — GeoMarketing Four months into her tenure as Verve Mobile’s CEO, Nada Stirratt has added two senior management executives designed to enhance the company’s approach to campaign performance and how its mobile ad units actually look to consumers.

Most recently at entertainment rewards app platform Viggle, Anna Hougart is joining Verve as VP of revenue operations.  In addition, Walter Geer has left G/O Digital rich media provider PointRoll to become Verve’s VP and creative director. Both Hougart and Geer are former colleagues of Stirratt’s during her role as digital ad sales head at Viacom’s MTV Networks.

These two hires follow June’s addition of department store marketing vet Julie Bernard CMO. In the days after Stirratt was named to succeed Tom MacIssac as CEO, she had emphasized the need to redouble the work Verve had been doing over the past year of reshaping its identity from that of an insertion order-focused mobile ad network to a more programmatic and dynamically creative geo-targeting ad platform.

In her previous post, Hougart was responsible for all sales ops related to Viggle Audience Networks.

Among Geer’s accomplishments, he’s been cited for “applying biometric research to the development of creative executions and minimizing risk by understanding how consumer emotions and demographics impact brand engagement. He holds a total of six U.S Patents for digital ad formats and has served in various product strategy roles at Google and MySpace, in addition to his time at Viacom.

“Anna’s operational expertise and Walter’s award-winning creative precision make them essential additions to our leadership team,” said Stirratt in astatement. “We are delighted to welcome Anna and Walter as we continue to offer leading-edge mobile ad delivery and creative execution at the forefront of our industry.”


Verve Mobile Expands Leadership Team to Scale Sales Operations and Creative Development

NEW YORK, NY – August 10, 2015Verve Mobile, the leader in location-based mobile advertising, today announced two key senior management appointments to its leadership team: Anna Hougart will serve as vice president of revenue operations and Walter Geer joins the company as vice president and creative director. Both Hougart and Geer will be based in Verve’s headquarters in New York City. [Read more…]

Mobile Wallet Marketing: Offers, Coupons and Loyalty at the Center


August 5, 2015 — eMarketer — US consumers probably won’t be replacing their leather wallets or designer purses with mobile phones or smart watches any time soon, but that doesn’t mean brands—especially retail brands—can afford to ignore the burgeoning marketing opportunity mobile wallets offer. As people grow accustomed to using devices to pay at the point of sale, the mobile wallet will become an important hub that will enable marketers to provide customers with more context as well as greater convenience, according to a new eMarketer report, “The Mobile Wallet: Six Things Marketers Should Know.”

Offers, coupons and loyalty programs are nothing new to marketers and advertisers seeking to engage with customers and drive demand. But by connecting these tactics to mobile wallets, they’re starting to provide more convenience and context to consumers while they shop, as well as providing real-time insights that marketers can harness immediately to improve performance or meet specific objectives.

“I think the first use case [for marketing on mobile wallets] is more relevant offers that are specifically targeted to a consumer in a mindset to make a purchase,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast. He elaborated that past purchase history could be triangulated with real-time location information to deliver compelling contextual messages and offers to individuals at the perfect moment to provoke a desired action.

Julie Bernard, CMO of Verve Mobile, agreed that sale messaging, coupons and promotional offers currently dominate the conversations related to marketing on mobile wallets. “While it may
 not be terribly exciting from an advertising industry perspective, it remains enormously relevant from a consumer point of view,” she explained. When consumers take advantage of a coupon, deal or promotion, it makes them feel like a savvy shopper, Bernard said. “Delivering those coupons and offers to the consumer in a manner that makes life easy for them is a hugely advantageous opportunity for advertisers and marketers,” she noted.

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Blue Star Families Welcomes Verve Mobile CEO and craigslist Founder to Board

Nada Stirratt and Craig Newmark accept positions on nonprofit board

WASHINGTON, DC – July 14, 2015 – Blue Star Families (BSF), the largest and fastest growing military family engagement organization in the nation, announced today that Nada Stirratt, CEO of Verve Mobile, and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, were appointed to the organization’s board of directors.

Stirratt and Newmark join a board team of 15 members, with diverse backgrounds in strategic planning and government relations, emerging technology, military support services, and philanthropy and nonprofit management. Sheila Casey, chief operating officer for The Hill, serves as chairman.

Blue Star Families serves in 1.5 million military family members annually through its programs and resources with 47 chapters at home and overseas. With strong ties into all branches of service, the nonprofit is nationally recognized for leading innovative programs and special initiatives that address the challenges faced by military families; including its Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey. The largest of its kind, the Survey provides concrete data and information about prominent aspects of the military lifestyle, and used by the White House, Congress, the DOD, and state and local officials to help with key decisions made on behalf of service men and women and their families. [Read more…]