Report: App Fraud Increases Alongside Mobile Consumption

Mobile app brand safety violations have grown 194 percent YoY alongside of increased mobile users and corresponding ad budgets, according to DoubleVerify’s ‘Global Insights Report.’

The report measures key media quality and performance trends on brand safety, fraud, viewability and performance to assess how advertisers can adjust strategies to achieve an efficient return on investment (ROI) on digital investments.

DoubleVerify surveyed over 1,000 brands spanning 75 countries, including North America, Latina America, APAC, and EMEA, from May 2018 to April 2019.

Emerging channels and premium inventory were also hit as fraudulent incidents rose 120 percent for connected television (CTV) and mobile apps. Brand incident rates increased slightly from 6.2 percent in 2018 to 6.5 percent in 2019. Categories with the highest brand safety violations include entertainment followed by travel, finance, pharma, and auto.

Mobile app fraud increased by six percent while desktop fraud fell by seven percent. About half of the fraud occurring on mobile apps include ad impression fraud and invalid traffic practices like hidden ads, laundering, and misrepresentation.

“Viewability across devices continued a steady climb YoY, with overall display viewability at 58 percent (2018: 55 percent) and video viewability measured at 62 percent (2018: 59 percent). This positive trend is encouraging, but still falls short of both IAB standards and advertisers’ growing demand for 100 percent viewability,” the report states. “The bright spot is mobile app, where display and video viewability topped 70 percent in both formats.”

APAC saw the lowest overall fraud rates globally whereas brand safety incident rates in EMEA were the highest, with an increase of 17 percent within the first four months of 2019.

Mary Meeker’s 2019 Trend Report: The State Of Ecommerce, Ad Spend And Digital

Mary Meeker and Kleiner Perkins released their annual internet trends report exploring insights into the state of ecommerce, ad spending and digital content trends. Ahead, we break down the most important takeaways for marketers.

Internet User Growth Slows, Digital Media Usage Rises

According to the report, there are 3.8 billion internet users which makes up more than half of the global population—a majority of those are located in China, India, and the US.

New growth is difficult when markets reach the mainstream, reflected by the decline in new smartphone shipments in 2018 (a four percent decrease compared to zero percent last year). Mary Meeker’s report notes that internet user growth is solid but slowing given a six percent increase YoY compared to seven percent last year. Digital media usage, on the other hand, increased by two percent.

Brands leading the internet market capitalization include Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple. These leaders’ revenues, however, saw a two percent dip this year.

Monitor Customer Acquisition Costs

Despite direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses exceeding brick and mortars, growth rates for e-commerce are also declining, as e-commerce only saw a 0.3 percent increase YoY.

Context-rich data is driving innovation and personalized products and services, contributing to higher customer satisfaction. Still, brands should think of long-term growth.

“There are areas where customer acquisition costs are rising to unsustainable levels,” the report notes. Similarly, physical retail growth numbers are down as 2018 saw a 0.4 percent decrease. Customer acquisition costs (CAC), the report says, can’t exceed lifetime value (LTV) for much longer.

Ad Spending, Video Content and Podcasts

Money spent on advertising and time spent on both mobile and desktop reached equilibrium, 33 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Though annual internet ad spending increased by one percent, internet ad revenues saw a nine percent decrease in the US. Google and Facebook remain the leading platforms for internet ads. Additionally, the 42 percent rise reflected in programmatic ad buying is negatively impacting pricing. Geolocation data-driven ads, machine learning, shoppable catalogs, and promoted social posts are driving ad share gains.

Freemium products like Spotify and Zoom are experiencing success in customer acquisition thanks to marketing efforts that act on their audience’s interests rather than the relentless pursuit of new prospects.

The report states that mobile remains the dominant medium for internet users (6.3 percent on mobile versus two percent on desktop). Online platforms YouTube and Instagram have seen the most growth in internet users. Time spent watching video has doubled within five years, with 1.5 billion daily active users across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Lastly, podcast MAU almost doubled in four years with a total of 70 million listeners. The Daily (The New York Times), The Joe Rogan Experience, and Stuff You Should Know (iHeartMedia) were the top three most downloaded Apple podcasts in the US.

Schick Intuition, Hello Kitty Launch Shoppable Mural in NYC

Schick and Sanrio’s Hello Kitty brand have erected a mural in NYC that grants exclusive access to a presale site. The activation taps into consumers’ love for social sharing during a resurgence in mural popularity.

In celebration of Hello Kitty’s 45th anniversary, Schick Intuition is releasing two limited edition Hello Kitty razor gift packs. A presale event will take place from June 10-24, with two ways of gaining access.

Consumers can visit the mural in person at 341 7th Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC and take a photo of a hidden QR code. Doing so will unlock access to a presale website.

Meanwhile, fans outside of New York can post a picture of their favorite “Kawaii” moment (Japanese for “cute”) on Instagram tagging the official Schick Intuition and Hello Kitty accounts, along with the hashtags #Kawaii #SchickIntuitionxHelloKitty. Schick Intuition will respond with a link to the exclusive presale event.

Schick partnered with a number of Instagram lifestyle micro-influencers to promote the activation including Maria “bbybliss” Vargas, Karen Pagtama Hickman aka “littlesweetkaren” and Messy Pink.

Exclusive pre-sale events tap into consumers’ FOMO and are becoming more common on social media. Last February, Nike hosted a Snapchat-exclusive pre-sale event for its Nike’s Air Jordan III “Tinker” shoe. They sold out in 30 minutes.

A quick Instagram search reveals over 11 million hashtags about murals—a testament to the rising popularity of the medium both for personal enjoyment and advertising.

In October 2018 Snapchat unveiled a Marker with Snapcode template that creates Lenses over existing images such as a poster or mural. The first template was “Angel Wings,” an augmented reality filter that superimposed wings onto photo subjects posing in front of a Los Angeles mural.

In an age of “travel brags” and “Insta-worthy” experiential marketing, it’s no wonder that brands are turning to murals at a growing rate to foster brand affinity and awareness.

Beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon even created an internet holiday—National Mural Day—on May 7. The first annual event connected artists with local wall owners. As part of the celebration, murals were erected in several cities around the US.

Schick parent company Edge Personal Care has increased its focus on e-commerce in recent years, launching a flagship store in China’s Tmall.com retail site, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) Schick shopping site and an expansion on Amazon. In May, Edge Personal Care entered into a $1.37 billion agreement to purchase DTC shaving subscription brand Harry’s.

According to the company’s FY 2018 financial report, 100 percent of marketing efforts for Schick Hydro in the US and Canada are now digital.

Apple’s Accessibility Feature ‘Voice Control’ Launches With New Narrative Spots

At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple launched a new feature called “Voice Control” with a touching video spot in which former cyclist Ian Mackay, who was left wheelchair-bound after a bike crash, going about his day with the help of the new feature.

Voice Control allows iPhone and Mac users to fully control every aspect of their device by speaking.

The spot shows Ian directing his computer and phone to open apps, scroll and write and send messages. In place of having to click, Voice Control shows him a numbered list of options to choose from. Using the new feature, Ian is able to schedule a meet-up with his friend in the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest by selecting an area on the map on his computer then texting the location to his friend.

Known for mixing technology with emotion, Apple further demonstrated the various ways that its features help people overcome accessibility obstacles via additional narrative video spots via the company’s Accessibility page.

In one, a blind musician and father uses the Text to Speech feature to identify ingredients and cook dinner for his family. Another shows a band teacher use Live Listen, which lets her stream the classroom’s music from her iPad and into her iPhone hearing aids to hear more clearly.

In 2016, Apple used a similar approach to marketing its Accessibility features in another purpose-driven spot that shows a real editor, who has cerebral palsy, edit the same spot using the pads on her wheelchair to control the program. In it, she says, “When technology is designed for everyone, it lets anyone do what they love—including me.”

Apple has a long history of using its products to show support for important causes. For 12 years, it has been the largest corporate contributor to (RED), an organization that raises awareness and funds in the fight against AIDS. The company launched a (PRODUCT)RED line of devices as well as (RED)-themed exclusive game content.

Despite delivering its “strongest iPad growth in six years,” Apple’s Q2 earnings amounted to $58 billion, a 5 percent decline YoY, and revealed that quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.46 are down 10 percent.

Forrester: Marketers Not Taking Full Advantage Of AI

A new study conducted by Albert and Forrester surveyed 156 decision-making marketers to examine their martech purchase behaviors. The findings revealed that even though marketers do utilize AI in their strategy, the majority still neglect the AI-autonomous solutions, which could relieve some of their major sore spots.

However, out of all respondents that reported to already adopting AI-powered marketing solutions, 74 percent admitted to using artificial intelligence strictly in an “assistive” fashion. While as little as 26 percent described AI as actually collaborative.

The researchers explain that marketers tend to have a quite limited view of applying AI to their trade because they see AI marketing as primarily supporting tactical campaign tasks. Only 39 percent of respondents said that AI can play a role in creative development and even less, 34 percent, said it can provide insights to other business functions.

Complicated martech stacks are blamed for customer engagement tactics not being relevant enough by 47 percent of participants and named the reason customer engagement is not delivered in the optimal channel by another 37 percent.

On the bright side, the researchers predict that AI technologies will continue to grow and evolve in the next five to 10 years; allowing marketers the freedom of automating certain processes and focusing on more important initiatives, such as personalization.

To help them better utilize AI in their digital strategy the researchers outlined some recommendations which include targeting AI solutions that support the function of a marketing team.

“The minority of respondents in our research who have already progressed to collaborating with autonomous AI-powered marketing solutions are reaping benefits in areas that align with marketers’ most pressing objectives. Over half say they have already realized or expect to realize more effective use of data, an improved customer experience, and more effective marketing campaigns,” the research stated.


Driven By Video And Mobile, US Digital Ad Revenue Exceeded $100B In 2018

Digital advertising revenues reached a historic high of $107.5 billion in the US last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC US. This growth is attributed to the direct brand economy, brand storytelling through video and a narrowing gap between mobile usage and mobile advertising spend.

IAB presented its 2018 Internet Advertising Revenue Report on Tuesday, pointing out that full-year digital revenues grew 22 percent YoY and surpassed $100 billion for the first time. Digital usage is up 20 percent YoY, IAB observed, even though the digital audience only grew one percent YoY.

Among all formats, digital video experienced the highest growth in advertising revenue, jumping 37 percent YoY to $16.3 billion. Digital video on mobile devices reached $10.2 billion in 2018, an increase of 65 percent. In fact, more than half—63 percent—of digital video ad revenue was on mobile devices.

Mobile ad revenue accounted for 65 percent of 2018 internet ad revenues, growing 40 percent YoY to $69.9 billion. The gap between mobile time spent and mobile ad revenue closed from 14 percent in 2017 to eight percent in 2018.

“Mobile revenues continue to benefit from advancements in single-click eCommerce, creative ad formats and placements on social media sites,” said IAB in the report.

Social media revenue rose to $28.9 billion in 2018, an increase of 31 percent from $22.1 billion in the previous year. The company defines “social media” as advertising delivered on social platforms including social networking, social gaming websites and apps across desktop, laptop, smartphones and tablets.

“Consumers, especially Gen Z, are adopting social stories at warp speed, while, at this rate, we approach a future where social stories may surpass social feeds in becoming the prevalent way consumers engage with advertisements on social media,” says IAB.

IAB does not break down social media ad revenue by platform but notes that the 2018 report includes Snapchat for the first time.

“Social media sites tend to foster consumer interaction and during a time when capturing the attention of the consumer is so critical, it is no coincidence we are seeing social media drive revenue,” says the report. “Ripe with various formats primed to take advantage of future technologies, revenue derived from advertisements on social media sites is expected to continue to grow in the future.”

Overall, marketers are pouring more budgets into the internet than any other platform. Print media, however, was the only category to experience a drop in advertising market share. Newspaper ad revenue dropped 6.9 percent while magazines dropped 2.1 percent.

Digital audio advertising revenue grew 22.9 percent in 2018 and reached $2.3 billion compared to $1.8 billion the previous year. IAB will release a dedicated digital audio report later this year.

Nielsen: OOH News Audiences Tend To Be Affluent, Well-Educated

During election time, out of home (OOH) news viewers tend to be in their 30s, affluent and educated, according to a new study by Nielsen. These audiences stay informed on the go and often catch the news when they are not alone.

“Affluent and Educated” explores the news viewing habits of US adults that speak English, Spanish or both. The report is a compilation and comparison of data obtained through a number of recent surveys among the general population and Hispanic viewers.

“For marketers, these findings offer the unique opportunity to market to a set of consumers that is well informed, open to receiving marketing messages, and often hard to reach,” says Nielsen.

Nielsen found that among the general population, viewers who watch news outside of their homes average 38 years old and a household income of $73,000. Nearly half of the general population in this group said they had a college or graduate degree. Hispanic respondents were slightly younger, averaging 33, and reported an average household income of $54,000. Forty percent reported a college or graduate degree.

Overall, OOH news viewers were evenly split between male and females over the age of 18. Young Hispanic viewers between the ages of 18-24 skewed female at 70 percent.

Linear TV is the most popular method of catching up on news of the day outside of one’s own home. Among the general population, the most popular place to do so is at someone else’s home, followed by a restaurant or bar, at work and at a gym/fitness center. Among the Hispanic group, respondents preferred a restaurant or bar over someone else’s home.

Just over a third (38 percent) of the general population reported watching the news at work in the previous week and 17 percent said they watched on the move, such as in a taxi. Almost a quarter (22 percent) stayed up to date while in a hotel room and 13 percent did so at the airport.

A November survey found that viewers who watched news outside of their homes and on cable networks did so to watch political news more than any other category. This was true among both the general population and Hispanic groups. Both groups watched politics, general news, sports news, international updates and financial news at similar rates within the previous week.

“In today’s 24/7 news landscape, consumers have a plethora of programming and platforms to choose from,” Nielsen says alongside its findings. “Even amid the debates about ways to parse fact from fiction, Americans continue to watch the news to stay up-to-date in an era of mass information and accessibility.”

Verizon’s Yahoo-Centric NewFronts Presentation Leans On Tech, Original Content

Verizon Media hosted its 2019 NewFronts presentation for advertisers on Tuesday that leaned heavily on original content, Yahoo platforms and emerging technology, especially AR/VR and 5G.

Verizon is taking full advantage of its 2017 $4.48 billion Yahoo acquisition with a new slate of programming across several platforms.

“We’re more focused than ever on ​transforming powerful intentions into real connections, performance and quality through data insights and content, deepening the connection between brands and consumers,” said K. Guru Gowrappan, Verizon Media CEO.

Stories, Shopping And Sound Bytes

Yahoo Play currently has over 20 original series on its platform and over 10 series in development including Room of Doom and Beat the Street: Los Angeles.

A new 5G-enabled series called Hypezilla is coming to the Yahoo Play app that features weekly products and consumer technology. Augmented reality integration allows users to preview featured items and make purchases inside the app. Hypezilla will be produced by Verizon Media’s ​RYOT 5G Studio in Los Angeles, the first 5G-enabled content studio in Hollywood.

Yahoo Finance will debut a new series called My Three Cents, on which host Jen Rogers will interview influencers, athletes and celebrities about money. This summer, Yahoo Finance will launch three new podcasts—Ballots and Dollars, The Art of the Exit and Illegal Tender.

Verizon Media expanded its DSP audio inventory through a ​global integration with private audio marketplace AdsWizz. The platform draws audio inventory from Pandora, iHeartRadio and other publishers. This integration is an extension of Verizon Media’s programmatic audio inventory that launched in 2018, which allows users to buy, manage, and measure audio inventory alongside display, video and native programmatic campaigns.

Actress and activist Julianne Moore presented advertisers with a documentary called 5B, which tells the story of the first AIDS/HIV care unit in the US. Verizon Media will distribute and support the film’s world premiere, citing investment in “prolific storytelling that impacts communities around the world.”

Fantasy Football And ‘Experiential Reality’

New York Jets quarterback ​Sam Darnold and Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football expert Liz Loza took the stage to announce that for the first time, Yahoo Sports is extending NFL streaming rights to the Yahoo Fantasy Football app.

Mobile and tablet users will be able to watch all local and primetime 2019-2020 season games free and unauthenticated in the Yahoo Fantasy Football app, the Yahoo Sports app and other Verizon and NFL media properties.

For journalists, Verizon introduced a new Yahoo News XR Partner program that grants access to the RYOT 5G studio and the company’s 5G Labs. The company has already partnered with USA Today​, ​Reuters, The Associated Press, TIME and ​NowThis to produce interactive news content for viewers.

“Through the Yahoo News XR Partner Program, we want to accelerate the development of extended reality content from our trusted news partners and offer our audiences the best-in-class next-generation journalism,” said Alex Wallace, general manager of news, entertainment and studios at Verizon Media​.

Partners will also be given access to “new forms” of XR media inventory for advertisers, some of which were demonstrated at Cannes Lions 2018. The company also recently announced programmatic VR offerings and mobile AR ads.

Spotify Targets Auto Advertisers With Oracle Data Cloud Partnership

Spotify has announced a collaborating with Oracle Data Cloud that will offer custom audience building tools for auto advertisers. Recent data suggests that Spotify users purchase new vehicles at a higher rate than non-listeners.

Auto advertisers can now build custom audiences of potential car buyers across the US using Oracle Data Cloud’s solutions alongside Spotify’s streaming intelligence tools. The collaboration is designed to reach desired listeners at the appropriate segment and stage of the car buying cycle, then measure how those audiences purchased a vehicle.

Ford has already begun utilizing the service, Spotify says, using niche Polk Audiences powered by Oracle from IHS Markit’s automotive dataset.

Spotify cites recent data from Polk Measurement at IHS Markit, indicating that Spotify users purchased new vehicles at a 26 percent higher rate than the national average of car buyers in 2018. In addition, the study found that Spotify users purchased 38 percent more Entry/Economy/Compact vehicles and 24 percent more luxury SUVs than the national average.

“Oracle Data Cloud can help auto advertisers identify and reach the ideal audiences on Spotify,” said Patrick Thomas, Oracle Data Cloud’s head of partner management for consumer platforms in the announcement.

“Beyond audiences, Oracle Data Cloud also helps auto advertisers close the loop by measuring the result of their campaigns back to sales using Polk Measurement from IHS Markit, so they can analyze and improve their campaigns and get even more Spotify listeners on the road again.”

The Spotify-Oracle Data Cloud collaboration won’t be limited to automotive categories. Audience and measurement tools are available for brands across a variety of verticals including retail and CPG.

Spotify is emphasizing the importance of data-driven advertising by offering new tools aimed at a myriad of potential industries.

Earlier this month, Spotify Ad Studio unveiled a new set of streaming conversion metrics that reveal how listeners responded after listening to an ad. The addition was made in response to labels and artist teams who requested more insights into how a campaign impacted consumers.

New metrics available inside Spotify Ad Studio include how many listeners listened to the artist after hearing the ad, whether the ad performed better with existing listeners or new ones, songs saved to playlists and more.

Spotify ended 2018 with 96 million paying subscribers globally, a 25 million increase year over year. For the fourth quarter, Spotify posted its first-ever quarterly operating profit of €94 million ($105.5 million) and closed out 2018 with €5.26 billion ($119 billion) in revenue, up 28.6 percent from 2017.

Q1 Spend Trends In Latest Digital Marketing Spending Report

Paid search spending slowed for the fifth straight quarter ending Q1 2019, while organic and social traffic held steady, according to Merkle. Google and Amazon’s investments in Shopping Ads paid off, Facebook saw an unusual decline and DuckDuckGo shows organic promise on mobile.

Marketing agency Merkle released its digital marketing report for the first quarter of 2019, using samples of its own clients operating in the North American region.

Shopping Ads Rise To The Occasion

Google spend growth slowed to 16 percent year over year (YoY), showing a decline in cost per click (CPC) but growing in terms of clicks themselves. Clicks have grown since the second quarter of 2018, driven by Google Shopping. Merkle’s clients spent 40 percent more YoY on Google Shopping ads in the first quarter.

Client spending on Showcase Shopping Ads grew from three percent of Shopping clicks in Q1 2018 to eight percent in Q1 2019 for participating advertisers. Google Shopping Ads appear to be cannibalizing its own text ad revenue, the agency observed, as the tech giant prioritizes shopping placement. Text ad spending declined 12 percent YoY.

Paid search spend declined three percent YoY across Bing and Yahoo. In March, Yahoo began drawing exclusively from Bing’s ad inventory. The report notes that the Search Network, with which Google served ads on Yahoo, accounted for only six percent of Google Shopping traffic, indicating a “relatively minor” impact going forward. Bing, however, may see a boost in second-quarter traffic as a result of the transition.

Marketers are pouring more money into becoming a Sponsored Brand or to highlight Sponsored Products on Amazon, Merkle noted. Sponsored Products accounted for 85 percent of all Amazon spend, while spending on Sponsored Brands (formerly Headline Search Ads) was “roughly steady” in Q1.

Google Is King Of Organic Reach . . . For Now

In terms of organic reach, Google continues to dominate visit share, but DuckDuckGo is showing a lot of promise. The search engine saw visits increase 54 percent overall and 78 percent on mobile—not an easy feat considering that Google is the default search browser on most mobile devices.

Paid social spend growth continues to outpace that of traditional display advertising, growing 24 percent YoY compared to 12 percent for display advertising.

Instagram saw the largest visit growth at 114 percent and saw a 44 percent increase in ad spend during the first quarter. Excluding Instagram revenue, Facebook spend growth dipped into negative territory for the first time since Merkle began generating its quarterly reports.

Website visits attributed to social media accounted for over four percent of all site traffic in Q1 and five percent of all mobile visits, both new highs for this report.

Instagram and Facebook topped paid social investments for the quarter among a larger group of advertisers, but Pinterest budgets proved “meaningful” relative to what brands spend on Facebook.

“The pool of brands that are active on Pinterest is significantly smaller than that of Facebook or Instagram, as the use cases of the platform are typically isolated to retailers and because Pinterest campaign management tools are still coming together,” noted Merkle in the report. “However, for those brands that are active on Pinterest, the median advertiser spent more on Pinterest than on Facebook proper in Q1 2019, and garnered significantly more impressions at a lower CPM.”