Article | September 1, 2023
Netflix Takes an Unexpected Route
Popular streaming giant Netflix’s subscriber count plummeted for the first time in a decade. After it announced the loss of 200K subscribers in Q1 of 2022, its stocks dipped more than 35%. In addition, a shareholder recently sued the platform for violating securities law after its subscriber growth reached an all-time low and the stock value crashed, making the picture bleaker.
It’s not surprising that the platform had a change of heart about bringing advertising to its platform. The decision puts the platform in the same category as its competitors, HBO Max, Amazon’s Freevee, and Disney+, who want to offer cheaper, ad-enabled content to consumers. It also addresses the company’s issue of slow revenue growth.
“Those who have followed Netflix know that I’ve been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription, But as much as I’m a fan of that, I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice.”
co-CEO Reed Hastings
What Do Advertisers Think?
The advertising community had mixed reactions to the announcement. Long commercials are not an option on streaming platforms like Netflix. The ads run only for a few minutes every hour to retain the viewer experience. Despite this, advertisers are excited to target Netflix’s rich audience of over 200 million.
There is no clarity on who will sell the ads and how the campaigns will be managed. Only time will tell how Netflix’s move will affect its subscribers and the advertising market.
The company will keep ad-free tiers for subscribers who wish to enjoy high-quality ad-free content. It may change its subscription plans to offer low-cost plans with ads and minimize password sharing. There is no set timeline or regions decided for implementing these plans.
The company hopes that this “consumer choice” to choose a cheaper plan will revive its subscriber growth graph.
What Comes Next?
Though Netflix has done the unexpected, it is giving well-established ad-funded broadcasters and streaming platforms a reason to worry. As of now, the potential for a low-cost VOD service equipped with ads is huge for advertisers. Once the plans are introduced, new audience profiles will emerge. Advertisers will want to understand and target them. As an ad platform, Netflix’s performance will only be understood through testing and learning.
Social Media Advertising
Article | July 14, 2022
Marketers and agencies must investigate the relevant counterfactual to advertising exposure to assess advertising effectiveness. Ghost ads can compare exposed and non-exposed consumers to measure ad-related behavior changes.
What are Ghost Ads?
Ghost ads are a great way to measure ad effectiveness or incrementality (the lift or increase in desired outcome through marketing) because they allow brands to see how their ad is received by two distinct consumer groups: those targeted and those who would have seen it organically.
Leveraging Ghost Ads for Causal Ad Measurement:
Here is why leveraging ghost ads to measure ad-related behavioral changes is a great idea:
You don’t need to invest additional funds to create a control group
You can have extensive reach within the DSP (demand-side platform)
You can measure behavior for all formats such as mobile, audio and CTV
Ghost Bidding: Mapping Consumer Behavior:
In ghost bidding, a DSP platform accepts auctions for ad placements on publisher websites/apps/connected devices and bids on them. It records whether the auction was won (and the ad displayed). Before bidding, the platform assigns the user ID to a control or exposed group. For control group users, the bid is withdrawn so that no ad was shown during the study.
This creates two identical groups, one that saw the ad and one that didn’t. You can then compare the test and control groups' website purchases, landing page visits, etc. Over a period of time, it is possible to record large effect sizes across several behaviors.
A Large U.S-based Apparel Company Measured Their Ad Incrementality Using Ghost Ads:
Using ghost ads and ghost bidding, a U.S based apparel company measured its ad incrementality. Over 21 million unique individuals saw the company’s ads over a 15 month period, for an average of around 35.4 ads per individual. The exposed group had a 1.42% greater chance of visiting the site, for a topline lift of 54.9%, compared to the ghost ad viewers. With this information, the company was able to optimize its advertising campaigns on the flu to have a bigger impact on its audience.
Cost-per-click, cost-per-site-visit, and other metrics used by marketers don't show any change in advertising behavior. Ghost Ads are the most cost-effective way to analyze digital marketing campaigns' causality.
Article | October 20, 2022
On July 13, Netflix’s COO, Greg Peters, officially named Microsoft as Netflix’s “global advertising technology and sales partner”. This partnership will help Netflix kick-start its advertising business.
Industry watchers were waiting to see who Netflix would choose as its advertising platform to build its ad-supported tier of service after the streaming giant’s April announcement to bring ads to the platform.
In April, we announced that we would introduce a new lower priced ad-supported subscription plan for consumers, in addition to our existing ad-free basic, standard, and premium plans. Today we are pleased to announce that we have selected Microsoft as our global advertising technology and sales partner.
“Microsoft has the proven ability to support all our advertising needs as we together build a new ad-supported offering, More importantly, Microsoft offered the flexibility to innovate over time on both the technology and sales side, as well as strong privacy protections for our members.”
It’s very early days and we have much to work through. But our long-term goal is clear: More choice for consumers and a premium, better-than-linear TV brand experience for advertisers. We’re excited to work with Microsoft as we bring this new service to life.
Microsoft recently acquired Xandr, an ad marketplace that ties into connected TV. It has been developing its ad platform while endorsing its approach to protecting customers’ information. Marketers looking to Microsoft for their advertising needs will have access to the Netflix audience and premium connected TV inventory, said Mikhail Parakhin, Microsoft’s president of web experiences.
While assisting Netflix in delivering more choices to its customers, Microsoft will offer new premium value to its ecosystem of marketers and partners.
Article | November 23, 2021
Many marketers today don’t know what OOH stands for, though it’s been a highly used marketing medium for decades. Out-of-home advertising consists of anything from billboards, blimps, and bus signage, to street furniture, event advertising, and connected TV, and can be as small as a window poster or the back of a street bench or larger than life, covering a wall or wrapping an entire building. OOH is now being seen as an emerging technology channel, but why?
For starters, during the surge of online advertising over the last 15 years, Facebook and Google ads have seemingly gotten all the attention. Today, many marketing teams have been so focused on online marketing they no longer have much time to spend thinking out-of-the-box. But OOH is upping its game with a technology lift that is allowing marketers to highly target their audiences as well as improve the impact of their online advertising campaigns.
And we’re not just talking about Pepsi and McDonalds. OOH advertising has long been effective for countless brands, known and unknown, and the possibilities are endless. We are seeing everything from wrapping an ice cream truck with your message and parking across the street from an event to highly targeted ads on TV screens in bars, restaurants, banks, and hotels.
People take action after seeing OOH advertisements, doing online searches and visiting websites. In fact, Nielsen’s Out-of-Home Advertising Study 2019 edition reported that 66% of smartphone users took some type of action after seeing a OOH advertisement in the past year, and over four in 10 used online search to look up information. OOH drives more social and digital interactions than any other medium.
If you aren’t in the OOH game, here’s why B2B marketers should be considering it as part of their marketing mix:
1. Build brand trust
According to a survey conducted by Freeman, CMOs, brand managers, and event planners are putting more stake in in-person brand experiences. Billboards and OOH real world advertising are not only for the big brand names. If someone doesn’t know you, you can add significant trust and credibility to your brand as well as add more impact to your online Facebook and Google ads. And, OOH advertising is always there for audiences to see. It’s not invasive, block-able or frustrating as digital ads can be.
2. Hyper-target your audience
Tech advances are allowing marketers to hyper-target out in the real-world. For startups, challenger brands, and anyone looking to target a specific group of people, it’s possible to zero in on the roads people drive on every day for work or the bars and restaurants they go to afterward. Mobile devices pinged at various locations are looked at like inbound links, as if coming from your website. If you want to reach people who work at a certain place, in a certain location, you can identify who’s driving by your billboard.
3. Generate leads
You can then get that feedback, like who’s driving by, of those driving by, who went to your website? What are they searching on? Who converted to a lead?
4. Endless use cases
With technology advancements, the possibilities in OOH are endless – mobile billboards on LED trucks, wall murals, TVs in countless public facilities and arenas, and billboards of all kinds that can be enhanced digitally.
5. OOH advertising is always “on.”
Your OOH advertisement is there 24/7, delivering your message to every passerby during peak target times and all other times, broadening your reach without additional cost. And unlike digital advertising, OOH does not appear and then quickly disappear. It has staying power, displaying your message constantly and consistently around the clock.
6. Stand out at events:
Though in-person conferences and events are coming back to life, the days of “host an event and they will come” are long gone. There is fierce competition for the hearts and minds of attendees. To dominate the competition, OOH is a great way to give you visibility, driving traffic to your event, to your booth, to your website – to network, make real-life connections, and generate leads.
While online advertising has its place, we have taken a break from being creative. OOH allows an opportunity to get back into exercising your creative muscles. The challenge for marketers is to take their years of internet marketing experience and figure out how to create interesting brand experiences offline.
From a tracking standpoint, OOH advertising today is looking more like online advertising. However, instead of tracking people, we are watching places as groups of people move through and pass by billboards or other signage. It’s a powerful “old” tool that marketers can combine with new tools to generate brand awareness and drive inbound interest from highly targeted specs.
During the online advertising surge, while we have been wrapped up in tracking and measuring performance clicks, many companies have under invested in their brand. Plus, when integrated with digital marketing, OOH extends both reach and frequency, allowing you to leverage other marketing, online and offline, for maximum results and ROI. Marketers should now be thinking of OOH as one of their viable performance channels.