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We did it! Coull at Do It Day

We did it! Coull at Do It Day

The Drum’s ‘Do It Day’ is all about using marketing to destigmatise mental health. Many people from agencies, technology companies and publishers gathered their creative ideas to produce six different advertising campaigns for six different charities. Amongst those people were Coull’s Product Manager Ben Sonnex and Coull’s Marketing Executive, Naomi Sandercock.

Naomi and her group were working with the YoungMinds charity, a charity that aims to help raise awareness of mental health among young children. Their campaign ‘Take20’ encourages parents to take 20 minutes a week to do an activity with their children. This time can be used to talk to their child about how they’re feeling, whilst doing something that they both enjoy. Whatever the activity, having regular conversations about difficult topics in a relaxed space can help parents to provide reassurance and support from a young age.

They launched the campaign by taking their own advice and taking 20 minutes to have a football game in Regent’s Park and inviting members of the public to do the same and ‘take20’. The campaign has caught the attention of the media and has already been covered by Huffington PostThe Metro and The Sunday Mirror (being printed this week).

Naomi said: “It’s been such a great experience, our group and everyone from Youngminds have worked together so well and now we have something really amazing to show for it. It feels really good to give my time and skills for such a great cause, I really hope this campaign lives on and spreads the important message: it’s time to make time.”

The Mix was the charity that Ben and his group created a campaign for. The Mix aim to provide mental health support for under 25s. A study by The Mix found that three in four under 25s believe they are misrepresented in the news media Based on this research, the campaign ‘In The Mix’, set out to disrupt the negative news agenda by creating a different 6 o’clock news bulletin, produced with young people, for young people.

YouTube stars, Niki and Sammy, presented the show and made appearances on Sky News on the lead up to the 6pm bulletin. Not only this, the team did a Kiss FM takeover for an hour on Launch Day and called in favours to secure advertising space on huge outdoor billboards in London. They promoted their first bulletin with a mysterious message: ‘Done with Fake News? Something Real is Coming…16/11/17 – 6pm’.

This campaign was voted the winning Do It Day campaign by the judges and will now provide a lasting legacy for The Mix with fortnightly ‘In The Mix’ shows.

Ben said: “I feel privileged to have contributed to the winning ‘In the Mix’ campaign and super proud to have been a part of The Drum’s Do it Day. What all the teams achieved in just over 5 weeks was quite incredible and experiencing first hand the challenges Coull’s agency partners tackle day-by-day was inspiring. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to support an amazing charity and work with a very talented group of people, some of whom went above and beyond to make ‘In the Mix’ a success.”

You can read about all of the Do It Day campaigns here.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
A digital fad or valuable ads?

A digital fad or valuable ads?

Ten-second selfies took the world by storm five years ago, in the form of Snapchat. Millennials flocked to the app like bees to a hive, and now, 166 million users send snaps daily.

Amongst features such as ‘Filters’, ‘Stories’ and ‘Discover’, a new addition arrived last month: the ‘Snap Map’. This enables Snapchatters to see their friends locations and popular local stories all over the globe. As you can imagine, this feature didn’t come without controversy.

But the point is, Snapchat is feeling the pressure to innovate. Although the app’s popularity has had steady growth over the years, one social media platform has been stealing the limelight: Instagram.

Instagram haven’t hidden the fact that they’ve replicated many of Snapchat’s features, such as ‘stories’. They tapped into the care-free approach of Snapchat, allowing quick sharing without leaving a footprint. Originally, Instagram started out by offering users a way of posting well though-out and edited posts. But now, Instagram has both options and as a result, the appeal of the app has skyrocketed.

How can Snapchat win back users?

  • Make it easier for people to find brands on Snapchat

Discovering a brand on Snapchat is difficult because the exact username is needed to add someone. Brands are struggling to see the benefits of using Snapchat and are either changing their tactics or switching to a different platform altogether. If Snapchat is able to change this, it’s likely that many brands would return and the users would follow.

  • Focus on creativity and functionality

Snapchat’s main message at Cannes this year was, “Bigger isn’t better” (Although their huge Ferris Wheel conveyed a slightly different message). They’re clearly aware of their growth levelling out and are putting the focus on the app’s creativity and functionality. This makes sense because, no matter how exciting an app’s features are, the duplication of these concepts will inevitably appear on competing platforms.

If Snapchat can concentrate on keeping their users happy with fun new technology and simple functionality of the app, users are more likely to stay loyal.

  • Involve influencers more

Multiple influencers are finding it harder and harder to get the support they need from SnapchatSallia Goldstein has a large Snapchat following but was recently forced to make the move to Instagram due to technical issues on Android. She told Buzzfeed, “It’s not because I want to move everything over to Instagram. It’s because I have to.”

Also, a Snapchat executive reportedly told another influencerSarah Peretz, “Snapchat is an app for friends, not creators.” when she told them she was leaving the platform.

By limiting their app this way, they’ll lose both influencers and their audiences. Some dedicated support to influencers could change all of that.

  • More monetising options

Publishers prefer Instagram because they present more monetising options. For example, Instagram allows creators to link to external sites. And the increased length of videos have enticed many publishers.

Whereas, at the moment, Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ page is one of the only places to advertise — and the access to this is limited.

Snapchat is in a very powerful position, if they can appeal to advertisers and publishers on a larger scale, it could put them ahead of the game.

Coming back to the Snap Map, this could become a valuable opportunity for brands. It could potentially offer location based mobile advertising, leading to a more targeted reach and increased engagement. This could be the way to surpass the social media war and could provide some healthy competition against the Google/Facebook duopoly in the mobile advertising world.

Changes on the horizon?

Snapchat are on the look out for ad tech companies in an attempt to increase the efficiency of their ads and in turn, appeal to more marketers. There have been acquisition talks with AdRoll, the programmatic advertising platform, but no offers have been taken up yet.

Only time will tell if Snapchat will survive the social platform wars or merely become just another digital fad.


At Coull, we recognise the value of video content on the web and see the importance of keeping fun and exciting content accessible. We provide technology to monetise videos that effectively tell a brand’s message and keep content creators happy. Want to know more about what we do? Talk to one of our team.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull comment

Did Facebook really rip off its video advertisers?

No. It is a complete non-story – hyped by limited research and hyperbolic headlines, suggesting Facebook did something fraudulent. Journalists have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, all feeding off the initial story without digging into what it’s about.

What actually happened?

Here’s some context to help break this down into what it really is.

Facebook only charges marketeers when users watch their video ad for 3 seconds or more. They use a metric called ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’. Any right minded person would naturally assume this only included those ads classed as a ‘view’.

Unfortunately Facebook’s documentation was wrong:

  • Previously the Average Duration of Video Viewed was equal to: total time spent watching a video, divided by the total number of people who have played the video.

  • Now the Average Duration of Video Viewed is equal to: the total time spent watching your video divided by the number of views of your video, for three or more seconds.

Realistically it would have been a rather poor marketer who based any further buying decisions on this metric alone instead of looking at the raw data. Facebook have not changed any code to correct this, only their documentation – so caution and careful consideration must still be applied when considering your purchases.

Is Facebook advertising completely flawed?

Let’s not get carried away too.

I’ve said it before and I reiterate, Facebook’s news feed ads, fed by its data & attribution products is the greatest ad format ever invented. Marketers can easily see if they are getting ROI, and attribute actions users take directly back to an ad they’ve seen. If they’re not seeing results, they wouldn’t buy more.

The real story

The real story isn’t a metric miscommunication or blunder – it’s a much bigger issue. The debate here is that of walled gardens, does Facebook provide enough transparency for independent verification. It’s recently partnered in a limited way with Nielsen, Integral Ad Science and comScore to provide some transparency, but there are >20 others on agencies wish list too.

For Facebook it’s a question of user data, that’s their USP. So controlling it for themselves and making their users feel protected so they continue to spend time in their Apps is key. Opening their door to too many vendors, and knocking down their walled garden unquestionably puts that at risk.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

Facebook is trialling mid- roll advertising for Facebook Live and we’re suppose to be impressed?

Facebook are the powerhouse of walled garden networks. Publishers have been lured to the garden and are essentially handing their distribution over to Instant Articles for instant reach but how this will affect publishers long term, especially their brands is yet to be seen. Whilst reach seems to be increasing, engagement and time spent visiting the publisher’s sites is declining.

The model is almost pushing publishers to create snackable content for Facebook feeds, rather than perhaps the stories they would have invested time, talent and research in. Ad dollars are generating revenue, but is that revenue helping the longevity of legacy publisher brands?

Advertisers too are lining up, all eager to dive into the deep end of Facebook’s brand pool. Again though, as with publisher brands – many may well find their messages hugely diluted, and their data? Well, it’s Facebook’s data now.

The latest news from Facebook is that they’ll be introducing mid-roll advertising to Facebook Live. It’s being sold as a positive story, but we’re calling them on it right here, right now. No Facebook, just no!

Facebook have jumped on live streaming video because it’s the popular flavour right now, and for very good reason. But their advertising plans are confusing. Like pairing a fine vintage wine with 2 minute noodles and expecting people to be impressed. We’re not.

(Sometimes it’s said best, when you say nothing at all)

It’s not too difficult to coerce influential celebrities and media companies to get involved in creating live stream content – not if there’s a hefty paycheck involved anyway, and that’s what Facebook have offered.

The budget set aside for paid live stream content was set at $50million with various chunks dedicated to attracting and keeping very specific media companies such as BuzzFeed and popular celebs like Gordon Ramsay. It may seem a lot but it’s not an epic amount when you consider the vast amount of content required and the percentages set aside for specific publishers. And what happens when that $50million runs out? What about those publishers or YouTube stars that aren’t benefiting from that contractual pay packet?  Enter advertising, the solution that’s been keeping content free for the masses whilst also paying creators for years. Perfect. Well it could be, but again – no!

Facebook’s consideration of the publisher and their audience’s experience seems to be non-existent. Zuckerberg has always been averse to the idea of pre-roll advertising because according to him it ‘ruins the viewing experience’. However, whilst pre-roll may not be the ideal ad format for all audiences, it is a non interruptive format because it sits before content. What ruins viewing experiences is interruption.

Mid-roll is an interruption – it’s got the word mid in it people, it doesn’t get more interruptive than that. But ‘The Berg’ isn’t concerned, that’s the very model he’s approved for Facebook Live advertising.

Why mid-roll for live stream is fundamentally flawed

The nature of live streaming – is that it is live! That’s why it’s so exciting. So putting an ad in the middle of a live stream seems rather inappropriate, especially as the advertising industry is fighting hard to provide better ad experiences, and making inroads. It’s a backward step being taken by a huge network. There are much better options for publishers to monetise live stream content and engage with audiences, and yes – Coull’s OverStream format is one of those. We’re not going to shy away from the fact we care about audiences, we care about our publisher’s content and their brand and we care about the open web.

Live stream mid-roll ads have ad tech providers scratching heads. As we plough ahead and erode the status quo to forge a better shinier ad experience for our clients, Facebook scream and shout about a terrible solution to monetising an exciting new content format.

The industry and our audiences deserve better than mediocre monetisation solutions in the form of interruptive advertising – from the biggest social platform on the planet no less.

Advertisers and publishers do have a choice. Stop jumping in that pool – it’s tainted and it’s just a matter of time before the blue dye stains everything.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

Coull Quickie – April 2016

In this latest Coull Quickie, Elise reports on linear television and programmatic video ad tech coming together, Facebook officially burying LiveRail, Snapchat increasing the price of its inventory due to the interactive vertical video ad format and the good news for programmatic in the UK. Find out why in this short, but sweet, Coull Quickie.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video

Coull Quickie – March 2016

In this month’s Coull Quickie we look back at the biggest video ad news from the month of March. Join Elise for this quick rundown of programmatic video industry stories including Facebook’s new video ads within Instant articles, Tube Mogul hits out at Google with it’s ‘Independence Matters’ campaign and the CMA cracks down on the labelling of advertising within editorial. All these stories and more in this month’s quickie.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video

Coull Quickie January 2016

In January’s Coull Quickie Elise looks back over the month of video ad news including the IAB’s updated OpenRTB guidelines, Spotify’s video content, Instagram and Twitter’s emphasis on video and Sky Media’s investment in DataXu.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video

Online video in Latin America: Brazil part 1

As part of our new content-series looking at video markets across the world we’d like to look into Latin America, a region that has caught the attention of advertisers and marketers lately because of it’s significant growth in digital media adoption over the past few years.

Latin America has the fastest growing internet population of the five global regions and is expected to grow by nearly 100 million users in the next three years. By today’s figures, that will be an increase of 63% to 394 million users (eMarketer). People in Latin America spend an average of 21.9 hours per month online. Across regions, this ranks them third only to North America (32.6) and Europe (21.9).

 Now, with a population of 614.8 million, Latin America is a pretty large area to cover, so to get the most value out of my word count limit, I’ve decided to focus my attention on the country known for it’s carnivals, beaches, soccer, rainforest, samba and coffee – the one and only Brazil. A staggering 40% of Latin America’s 169 million internet users are in Brazil.

How connected is Brazil?

  • 53% use the internet
  • 45% use social media
  • 136% have a mobile subscription
  • 34% use social media via mobile
  • 40% of mobile subscriptions are 3G connected

(comScore)

Desktop is still dominating over mobile

Video Consumption Rates

Brazilian consumers watch 176.6 videos each month on average. Comscore conducted a study last year which found that Brazil (at the time of research) was the seventh largest online video market worldwide, with a viewing audience of 43 million in December 2012. Being the only country from Latin America making the top 10 of this list and with 82% of internet users watching video in a month, it’s clear that Brazil poses a fantastic online video advertising opportunity for advertisers and publishers.


Whilst Google Sites (consisting mainly of YouTube) certainly leads the way as the most popular video platform, the report also identifies that Youtube has a lower share of videos being watched this year than in 2013. In contrast Vevo, Globo (the largest mass media group of Latin America) and Facebook have a higher share of videos than they did last year.

However, YouTube is still the distant leader of online video consumption in Brazil, gathering more than 62 million viewers per month, followed by Facebook videos with 39 million unique viewers per month.

Why is video consumption on the rise?

The reasons behind the rise of video consumption in Brazil are clearly linked with the increase in internet usage, and are listed below.

ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

In recent years, the way the internet is accessed in Brazil has shifted from predominantly being used at work and in internet cafes, to more frequently used at home. This is because the price of PCs and laptops has lowered, enabling emerging social classes to afford these devices at home. Not only that, government plans focused on digital inclusion such as Programa Nacional de Banda Larga reduced the cost of home broadband connections in all regions of the country, encouraging previously unconnected families to acquire their first internet subscription. Data from Anatel shows that as of August 2014 Brazil held 23 million fixed broadband connections (TechinBrazil).

MOBILE USAGE

The introduction of low cost smartphones and tablets and the further reduction of cost for these devices brought by government initiatives such as Lei do Bem, has meant a huge increase in mobile usage.  In 2013, sales of smartphones in Brazil grew by 123% with over 35 million of these devices sold to consumers, an increase that surpassed both the government and market expectations.

Rapid expansion of mobile networks and the availability of 3G has resulted in smartphone usage in Brazil to increase greatly since 2012, with eMarketer predicting a 36% increase this year from last, and a further 27% increase in 2015. Brazil and Mexico are the largest contributors to Latin America’s expanding smartphone user base, adding 10.9 million and 6.1 million respectively in 2014. By 2017, it’s predicted that there will be 70.5 million smartphone users in the country.

SOCIAL MEDIA

The rise of video consumption on Facebook is clearly linked with the increasing popularity of social media in Brazil, particularly Facebook itself which Brazilians spend more time on than the amount of time Mexican and Argentine online audiences spend online combined.  By 2017, eMarketer forecast Latin America’s social media audience to hit 324 million users. Interestingly, despite the popularity of social media in Brazil, the number of people watching video on mobile (43%) is actually higher than the number of people using social media on mobile (29%). (Source: wearesocial)

FIFA WORLD CUP

This huge 2014 sporting event, along with the 2016 Summer Olympics, called for aggressive infrastructure upgrades which ultimately has set it apart from any other market in the region. In terms of video consumption, Brazilians watched 21% more sports videos and spent 53.7 minutes per viewer consuming video content, an increase of 39% (comScore).

To conclude

Brazil is a lucrative market for advertisers, with clear evidence of an increased interest in video and a huge increase in internet usage amongst the majority of the population. Socioeconomic factors such as government intervention, funding, and the effects of major events such as the World Cup, the upcoming Olympics and increasing tourism has helped develop Brazil’s infrastructure to support heavy internet usage throughout the home and through mobile.

The culture in Brazil has shifted from the internet being used more for informational and educational purposes to entertainment. Social media is extremely popular amongst Brazilians, and therefore entertainment and news videos are being watched more and more. As we have seen from this post, with nothing but positive rising figures all around, there’s only one way that this market can go, and that’s up. Brazil is certainly a maturing market for video advertising and that is an exciting prospect for media companies, ad tech vendors and advertisers alike.

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Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

Coull Quickie – August 2014

In the latest Coull Quickie Elise talks about the acquisition of Twitch and Ooyala and the race between Nielsen and ComScore to come up with attribution metrics to help marketers understand the monetisation of mobile content. She also looks at the latest developments from the social media world.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video