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Our accountant, Eriona, reviews the 2017 IAB Adspend results

Our accountant, Eriona, reviews the 2017 IAB Adspend results

Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of advertising. Last year, the UK's digital Adspend was estimated to be a whopping £11.55 billion. But what does this mean for Coull and the rest of the advertising industry?

Eriona, Coull accountant, reviews IAB Adspend

Eriona, Management Accountant at Coull

Our new Management Accountant, Eriona, is here to give you the low-down on the IAB’s 2017 Adspend figures and what they mean for this following year.

Plants growing

[source: giphy]

The industry is thriving

It’s clear to see that the UK digital advertising market has healthy growth, there’s year-on-year growth of 14.3%, whereas, TV advertising saw a -3.2% dip in growth. The online advertising industry is now worth £11.55 billion, this is good news for many businesses in the industry, such as ad tech, because it shows the continuing success and money being put into the industry. As for advertisers, digital ads offers much more efficient and flexible options compared to traditional, offline advertising.

 

Man driving

[source: giphy]

Video is in the driving seat

We know that there’s accelerated growth in the industry, but what is driving this? Video! For the first time, online video has become the largest display format, with an impressive 47% year-on-year growth. Not only this, spend on video surpassed the £1 billion mark in the last year. This evidently demonstrates how important video is to advertisers.

 

Phone scrolling gif

[source: giphy]

Smartphones are also driving growth

It’s interesting to see that 2017 was the first year that UK adults spent more time online on smartphones than on computers and tablets combined, with smartphones accounting for 59% of time in the final quarter of 2017. As we can see, advertisers have noticed this change in media consumption because they spent £5.2 billion on smartphone ads last year - a 37.4% increase on 2016. As smartphones are becoming increasingly popular, we're expecting the ad spend on mobile to increase too.

 

What’s next?

Mobile video will rule

One thing’s for sure, video and mobile will be centre stage in the following year - video as the hottest format and mobile as the most popular platform. So we’re expecting these two to continue to be the main drivers of growth.

A more creative focus

There’s been a recent industry focus on improving ad quality, specifically mobile ads. As the IAB’s Fit For Purpose research shows, “a statistically significant percentage increase in several key brand metrics including, brand consideration (+56%), trust (+33%) and perception of premium (+21%) for the smartphone-optimised ads.”

For better mobile ads, the IAB recommends:

  • Thinking about how the ad will be executed on a smartphone from the start of the creative process
  • Including brand messaging upfront from the start of the ad
  • Testing ads on different screen sizes to ensure text and imagery are clear

So no doubt, creativity in the mobile/video space will flourish as more and more advertisers put more thought and more spend on these formats.

Turning the tables on the duopoly

It’s no secret that the Facebook/Google duopoly is dominating the advertising market, but that doesn’t come without its struggles. Both companies have appeared in the news recently, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and brand safety troubles on YouTube. This has resulted in a surge of people deleting Facebook and advertisers pulling their spend from YouTube.

This is giving smaller businesses an opportunity to compete with viable alternatives or partnerships. There’s already a huge amount of company consolidation taking place and forecasted, such as telco AT&T are in talks to buy ad tech business, AppNexus. Partnerships between independent publishers could also pose a challenge against the duopoly, like the joint advertising platform for News UK, Telegraph and Guardian.

Could this be the beginning of the tables turning?

The future for Coull

It’s especially exciting times for Coull because we centre our business and technology around video. We strive on being at the forefront of innovation in the video space and it’s great to see that video is now the largest display ad format. We’re proud to be part of a thriving industry.

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A little bit about Eriona

Although Eriona has lived in the tech-centred Bristol for the past 19 years, she is originally from Albania. She has 3 years of finance experience in companies such as HSBC and BDO and is now training to become a chartered accountant.

Her role at Coull is varied but it mainly encompasses the managing of accounts, reporting, invoices and banking. Not only this, she is delving into the world of ad tech and learning about the digital advertising landscape.

Eriona was first drawn to digital advertising because of the huge growth in the industry and she was intrigued in seeing the future of online advertising. Then, she came across Coull, “after some research, I found Coull and their exciting technology. The OverStream Suite itself really interests me because of its versatility in the market and its potential to disrupt many segments of the digital ad market, such as video and display.”

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull comment
We’re crowdfunding! Become a part of the Coull story

We’re crowdfunding! Become a part of the Coull story

EDIT (16/7/18): fundraising has now ended.

We are crowdfunding! But, hang on...what exactly is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance that makes it easy for anyone to invest in a growing business, from as little as £10. We’re raising funds on Crowdcube, Europe’s leading equity crowdfunding platform.

What do we do and why are we raising funds?

We’re the advertising technology company that aims to make better online advertising experiences for everyone, and we need your help to do this

We are raising funds to:

  • Increase our sales team
  • Build upon our targeted marketing strategy
  • Continue with product development in line with client requirements

As a result, we can grow as a business in the £12bn UK digital ad market and most importantly, make online advertising a better experience for everyone.

So, how do we make advertising better?

Our innovative advertising formats give creative freedom to advertisers while ensuring the user viewing experience is enhanced rather than damaged. Importantly, our technology ensures that website publishers still get paid, thus keeping the internet free for us all.

How to get involved…

We’re raising investment through Crowdcube, a leading UK crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding allows you to invest in Coull from as little as £10.

For the next 30 days, you can invest in Coull on Crowdcube and become a part of the Coull story.

If you have any questions, please get in contact.

Please remember, investments of this nature carry risks to your capital. Please Invest Aware.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
The Power of Video

The Power of Video

Online video has been around ever since I can remember, I grew up with it - even if it was through a dodgy dial-up connection. But video advertising has also been around since I can remember, and it’s not all been as positive. Don’t get me wrong, when advertisers get video right, they really get it right, like this famous ad from Cadburys. But why are high-quality, memorable and relevant video adverts so few and far between?

Gone are the days when advertisers could spend weeks and months planning the perfect advertising campaign for a billboard or magazine page. We’re now living in a fast-moving, rapid-consuming world, we want video and we want it now. There’s a panic amongst advertisers, millions of videos are being watched every day and adverts need to follow that audience. And so, rushed, ineffective and non-engaging video ads are born, in an attempt to get something - anything - into the video space, ignoring quality and only focusing on the quantity.

And that’s just where the advertising industry has gone wrong. There’s such a rush to get into the video space, in front of an audience, that the most important thing has been forgotten...the people watching. There’s no use putting a message out there, if it isn’t high-quality content, if it doesn’t engage and if it’s not relevant.

Videos can be powerful, but we need to learn to harness that power to win over audiences once again.

The Power of Video

Last week, we hosted a breakfast event all about digital video, called The Power of Video. The aim of this event was to discuss the current state of the online video advertising industry and how to unlock the power of online video.


The IAB’s Senior Industry Initiatives Manager, Mike Reynolds, presented first, focusing on video trends and creative research. He shared some research to emphasise the huge growth of the video market.

Video is driving market growth

X3 | The time spent watching short video clips online has tripled in the last three years.

Source: IAB / YouGov consumer insights, October 2017

£699m | Online video has overtaken banners as the largest display format.

Source: IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study H1 2017

But he also touched on how mobile is such a big influence on advertising spend.

Mobile video is also driving growth

68% | Mobile video is up 68% year on year, making it the fastest growing format.

Source: IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study H1 2017

Lastly, he spoke about the IAB’s research, ‘Fit for Purpose’. This research looks at how advertisers tailor creative video ads for mobiles. If you would like to find out more about ‘Fit for Purpose’, the IAB is hosting the official research launch on 20th March 2018.

Next up was Coull’s very own Director of Agency Sales, Alex Wright.

Alex asked the question, why are videos so powerful? The answer: it’s part of our DNA. Paying attention to motion and avoiding cognitive strain are just a few reasons why we are hard-wired to favour video over any other format.

Perhaps more importantly for brands, is that videos can generate far more emotional cues than a photo can, with the ability to tell an extensive story and appeal to a wider range of senses.

It's ideas that evoke specific emotional responses: joy, sadness, anger, laughter etc. These emotions fuel passion and drive human behaviour while building a brand relationship with an audience.

Emotions form brand connections

But, as Alex went on to say, that power is being diluted through poorly made videos that don’t take their audience - or the device they’re watching on - into account. However, here are the 4 action points from Alex on how to get the most out of your video advertising:

how to unlock the power of video advertising infographic

Follow these steps and we can say goodbye to videos that make little to no impact and say hello to engaging, high-quality videos that connect brands and audiences.

Are you unsure of the best way to follow-up a pre-roll? This is where we can help.

We enhance the impact of your pre-roll by giving it an immediate follow-up within the video player. We can offer a variety of follow-up options from within our OverStream Suite. When you pair our OverStream formats with pre-roll, we call this DoubleUp.

Our OverStream Suite formats:

OverStream Banner - video advertising format

Banner

Our simplest format that delivers results from inside the video stream.

The Banner appears for 30 seconds, offering brand engagement opportunities. The user can choose to dismiss the advert at any time with a clearly distinguished close button.

 


 

Minimising MPU

Grabs attention and encourages action, with your audience in mind.

The Minimising MPU format appears in the corner of the video player for 5 seconds before minimising to a small ‘ad-expand’ icon that re-expands on user interaction. The user may then engage with, or close, the advert at their discretion.

OverStream Minimising MPU - video advertising format

 


 

OverStream OnPause - video advertising format

OnPause

An intelligent ad format, shown when the audience clicks pause.

OnPause delivers an ad on the video player each time it is paused by the user. This is easily dismissable via the ‘dismiss’ button or automatically when content is resumed.

 


 

 

However, we see the value of both high-quality pre-roll and high-quality video content. Our aim is to add value to any video. So, if you would prefer to not use pre-roll, you can still reach video audiences solely through any OverStream format, so you can still make use of a valuable and viewable online space.

If you’re interested in how Coull can help you harness the power of video advertising, check out The OverStream suite or contact us.

 

Take a look at the photos from The Power of Video...

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Christmas is coming…and so are the adverts!

Christmas is coming…and so are the adverts!

Meet Daisy, a 14-year-old junior intern. She visited the Bristol office last week for work experience and to learn all about Coull.

This is her first taste of marketing! Check out Daisy’s favourite Christmas adverts and our festive advertising top tips…

1. John Lewis – Monty the Penguin

What is it about?

This advert is about a boy who has a toy penguin, represented in life form. The boy decides to give the penguin a companion for Christmas, to keep him company. This advert may not have any words, but it still shows emotion in a playful and powerful way.

Why do we like it?

  • John Lewis talks beyond their brand and conveys an emotive message, for example, “Christmas is for sharing”.

  • They use memorable, impactful music.

2.  Coca-Cola – A Coke for Christmas

What is it about?

Coca-Cola has become quite iconic in the Christmas advertising world and are allegedly responsible for Santa being dressed in red. They’ve managed to market a product, that’s arguably not very healthy for you, and make themselves a worldwide brand. This advert depicts a family Christmas and everyone sharing and celebrating with a coke. ‘Family time’ and ‘sharing’ are common themes in Christmas ads.

Why do we like it?

  • Coca-cola has created a worldwide tradition by dressing Santa in red, in a clever way to reinforce their branding.

  • They show a family Christmas, really speaking to their audience on a personal level.

3. M&S – Mrs Claus

What is it about?

Marks and Spencers made a comeback in 2016 when they released their Mrs Claus advert. This is a heartwarming and funny advert, targeting their audience with the main character (Mrs Claus). As well as all this, there’s a theme of feminism throughout, empowering Mrs Claus as a more important part of Christmas.

Why do we like it?

  • It shows a different side to Christmas, a ‘behind the scenes’ look.

  • This advert speaks directly to their target market.

  • This is an empowering message for women.

4.  Sainsbury’s – 1914

What is it about?

2014 marked 100 years since that start of World War 1, and Sainsbury’s decided to mark this pivotal point in history with this ad. This advert shows soldiers in the trenches, creating a strong sense of patriotism as well as showing the importance of kindness and friendship.

 

Why do we like it?

  • This advert speaks to British audiences, making them feel proud of their country and heritage.

  • It also reminds us of the core values about Christmas: sharing and kindness – a running theme in these Christmas ads.

5. John Lewis – The Long Wait

What is it about?

This 2011 advert shows a little boy, waiting patiently for Christmas and it ends in a heartfelt moment of present giving. What this advert does well is it takes a different point of view, taking it back to our own childhood memories.

Why do we like it?

  • This ad tells a very emotive message to the viewers, similar to the other adverts.

  • There’s no speech, only a well-chosen song, this makes more of an impact and makes the advert visually compelling.

Top tips for a successful Christmas advert

  • Emotional imagery speaks louder than words.

  • Use impactful/memorable music – sometimes speech isn’t needed at all.

  • It can be fun or serious but think outside the box to help it stand out. For example, take a different point of view like the Mrs Claus character.

  • Know and speak to your audience.

  • Use events from the past that convey a strong message, like the Sainsbury’s ‘1914’ advert.

  • Think beyond the business or the product, viewers react more to emotional, relatable messages.

 

What are your favourite Christmas adverts?

Tweet us @Coull

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull comment

Coull Quickie October – The one about ad fraud

We’ve spoken about ad fraud before – it’s making headlines. Lots of platforms and vendors are saying they’re doing something about ad fraud. But the proof shouldn’t be about expensive marketing campaigns claiming miracles, it’s in the investment by tech companies to make a real change to the way digital media is bought.

Let’s break this down, discard the sugar coating and get real.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video
Auto-play video: Apple and Google giveth and the IAB taketh away

Auto-play video: Apple and Google giveth and the IAB taketh away

Auto-play video for mobile is evolving. But who will have the final say?

Apple and Google want to give ad tech companies an alternative way to auto-play video ads on the mobile web, one that avoids the use of nasty hacks to enable auto-play functionality. While this sounds like a step forward, the IAB is far more concerned with the user experience and wants to limit auto-play video on mobile to Wi-Fi connected devices.

In reality, both of these options have the same goal, to reduce the burden on the user’s device. The result – an improved user experience. We’re going to dig a little deeper to uncover the merits of each so you can decide which is more valuable.

Let’s talk about mobile auto-play video ads

Auto-play video ads in your phone browser use up a lot of data over time. Despite this fairly obvious negative implication, the format is growing in popularity because it can drive 10x the revenue of standard image ads.

Until now, getting a mobile video ad to autoplay has required reliance on a hack,  especially on iOS where a video had to load in the full-screen native player. The new iOS and Chrome updates change all that. It’s time to say goodbye to the hacks and the problems associated.

The good, the bad and the ugly

You can look at mobile auto-play video on a spectrum of polished, to pathetic.

At one end, you have the best example of the ad format in all its glory – on Facebook. Auto-playing muted ads are implemented in a controlled environment within the user’s feed.

Technically speaking, there’s only one ad call, and because Facebook controls the ad unit and ad server it can be lightweight code and compressed video – both easy on the device. The user decides to disable auto-play or choose to only accept it on Wi-Fi. Despite this choice, you will find that no one chooses to limit it because the settings affect all video – not just the ads. It’s in-banner video, but in it’s most considerate format.

On the other end, we find the pathetic versions of the format. Arbitrageurs buy cheap ad slots intended to image ads and load a video player into the user’s browser, then making requests for ads to every ad source they can find. This is incredibly taxing for the phone, running JavaScript that hangs the page, and a never-ending sequence loading resources behind the scenes.

If and when an ad is returned, the ad tech used by the arbitrager exploits a browser hack via the HTML5 <canvas>, not the <video> as intended. This is slower and doesn’t provide any playback or volume controls – less than ideal.

Apple with iOS 10, and Google with the latest Chrome update 53 have taken a pragmatic approach. They’ve looked at the data and seen how much this shoehorned method has slowed web pages, especially heavily arbitraged ones like NYPost.com and Wikia.

The updates they’ve implemented go a long way in improving the mobile experience, but have they considered the user enough?

The IAB goes in to bat for the user

The new draft proposal has some big changes for Outstream players like Teads, and also the arbitrageurs mentioned above (pretty much every video ad network).

This guidance addresses video ads in non-video environments. Video guidance applies to in-banner videos and ‘outstream’ ads that are placed in between non-video content, e.g. in an article or in lists or any video ads in non-video content experiences.

1. Video MUST be user initiated.

2. Video controls to Mute/Unmute audio and Pause/Play video MUST be available when a video is playing.

3. The RECOMMENDED maximum length for in-banner video is 15 seconds and 1.1 MB file size.

4. MINIMUM 24 fps.

5. Video download MUST NOT start until user initiation.

Video MAY be played by the ad without user initiation when it does not significantly impact the user’s cost of consuming content. It may be used under the following guidance:

1. When a user is on Wi-Fi or broadband internet connections. This is to respect the user’s cost of consuming content.

2. Audio MUST be muted when a video is played without user initiation.

3. Auto-play MUST begin after an ad is at least 50% in view.

4. Auto-play MUST provide pause/play and mute/unmute controls from the start of video play.

Even in a draft, it’s a clear message from the industry’s own trade body that more respect should be shown to the user, and to stop pushing them to install ad blockers with obnoxious execution.

Where to now?

Google and Facebook have made a commendable move to provide a much better mobile auto-play video experience. However, the IAB’s assertion is that auto-play is interruptive, cumbersome and a financial burden to the user. You can bet there will be lots more to come from them in the near future and it will be interesting to see how Google and Facebook respond.


If you enjoyed reading this, we recommend:

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

The IAB’s ad block primer for publishers

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

The Coull Quickie – Header Bidding

In the latest Coull Quickie, Elise explores header bidding. She is joined by Coull CEO, Aden Forshaw, and Developer, Tom Riley.

Find out how header bidding works, the industry benefits and the value of using it at Coull.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video

Coull Quickie – July 2016

In the latest Coull Quickie, Elise talks about the big acquisitions, and non-acquisitions from July, looks at augmented reality triumph, Pokemon Go, and Google makes some new announcements for advertisers. All this, and more, coming your way in this short video.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video
Digital advertising in Asia is growing, and fast!

Digital advertising in Asia is growing, and fast!

Why should we care about the digital advertising market in Asia?

According to the latest Strategy Analytics report, this year the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) is likely to overtake North America as the biggest digital advertising market worldwide. Predictions range between an 18%-20% increase in digital ad spending, which would bring its total spend for 2016 up into the region of $70-$80 billion.

This is a staggering figure and one we shouldn’t overlook. Perhaps unsurprisingly, China is firmly in the front seat of this drive in digital ad spending. This year, 44% of total digital ad spend worldwide will come from the U.S and China alone. But China isn’t an oddity, with the likes of Japan, Thailand, India and Indonesia, the region boasts half of the world’s top six countries in digital ad spending.

Digital ad spend by region - Asia, America, Europe, Africa

What is unique and desirable about the Asia-Pacific digital market?

Mobile-first

The majority of people in APAC interact and engage with the digital world through their smartphones. In China, uniquely, users often even favour apps over the mobile web. Understandably, many APAC countries have become critical markets for mobile app and gaming companies. Leading in-app advertising company, Vungle, saw ad revenues soar up 400% in China from 2015.

Efficient broadband

Mature markets such as Singapore have well-developed broadband networks, providing a large internet-connected audience. WeAreSocial reported that an impressive 82% of the city-state was connected to the web. The availability and size of the audience in many countries in APAC are attractive, and there’s plenty of room to grow. Currently, spending per person in APAC is around $15, compared with $165 in the US and $95 in Western Europe.

Untapped technology

Pokémon Go has highlighted the potential of location-aware apps and geo-targeting. This week, breaking away from its traditional mould, Japan has become the first country to include in-app brand sponsored locations with McDonald’s Japan.

What are some of the challenges of the Asia-Pacific market?

Unique market

Just because it works in the West, doesn’t mean it will work in APAC. Whilst foreign companies can bring a lot of value to the region and act as a bridge between China and the rest of the world, it’s essential to tailor tactics to the region. Vungle’s success in China is largely due to their commitment to understanding the local market. By hiring Chinese-speaking employees and sending them into the field, they’ve localized everything from sales, engineering to account management.

Latency

The Chinese firewall not only screens and blocks websites, but also slows down almost every international ad call. Moving forward, companies would benefit from investing in localizing their servers.

Anti-Fraud and ad-blocking

Anti-piracy efforts and viewability standards abroad are yet to catch up with the U.S. and Western Europe. In addition, many APAC consumers in countries such as China are mobile-savvy and aware of the latest ad blocking technology. According to a study by PageFair, 36% of smartphone users in APAC countries have ad blockers installed.


To recap, the potential of programmatic video in Asia-Pacific is huge. Foreign companies should not be discouraged by the regional challenges; APAC offers a unique market that’s only just taking off.


If you enjoyed reading this, we also recommend:

Losing half the mobile browsing market to Ad Blockers is a good thing

Five ways to improve digital advertising now

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment