IAB Opens Beta Testing For Mobile Version Of Ads.txt Anti-Fraud Tool

The IAB Technology Laboratory has released app-ads.txt, a mobile extension of its fraud prevention tool, for beta testing and commentary.

App-ads.txt applies the original ads.txt functionality to mobile and OTT video apps. The tool works in a similar fashion, in that an app developer adds the app-ads.txt file to their website, creating a centralized online resource that lists companies authorized to sell on their behalf. This allows marketers to verify that the app developer is a trusted seller. In addition, marketers will be able to purchase advertising with the confidence that they are not being scammed by impersonators.

IAB says that the app-ads.txt beta can be implemented now and then app stores can adopt a standardized way of making the information available. Minimal changes are expected, the company added. The tool will be available for public beta testing and comments through February 4.

It is estimated that marketers lose around $7.2 billion per year to ad fraud, piracy and malware. Ads.txt was created by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab’s combat inventory sales fraud. Earlier this year, The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) added a requirement that all publishers implement the ads.txt standard if they want to become TAG Certified Against Ad Fraud.

The new mobile version would extend the tool to the mobile economy, which would help solve multiple problems, according to Google.

“Expanding ads.txt to mobile app inventory is a great move forward for the industry,” said Per Bjorke, senior product manager of Google Ad Traffic Quality in a statement. “It promises to increase transparency in the apps ecosystem, adds a new layer of protection for advertisers, and helps ad dollars flow to the right developers.”

Some IAB members are already implementing the tool and planning internal policies around it. Ad seller Centro, for example, will begin enforcing the app-ads.txt specification in the first quarter of 2019. Centro’s director of RTB platform operations said their platform will bid only on supply paths authorized by participating publishers, calling app-ads.txt an “essential step in eliminating the scourge of fraud from the advertising industry.”

Rakuten Marketing called the app-ads.txt “another step in the right direction to reduce counterfeit app inventory and the reach of bad actors.”

The new tool will also support other supply chain safety initiatives, such as ads.cert. Beta testing is open to anyone interested and access can be requested by emailing openmedia@iabtechlab.com.

Niantic Partners With UNWTO To Encourage Sustainable Tourism

Niantic has partnered with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to promote responsible tourism with augmented reality. The partnership will include “new adventures” inside Niantic’s popular games and a campaign around playing safely.

UNWTO will work together with Niantic to create a “variety” of ways to combine tourism and AR technology using Niantic’s mobile games. According to Niantic, each activation will be built to “inspire and support exploration, build awareness around UNWTO’s Travel.Enjoy.Respect campaign, and promote good practices to play games safely and responsibly.”

Niantic launched augmented reality adventure game Ingress in 2012, but it wasn’t until Pokémon GO in 2016 when the developer achieved worldwide fame. The overnight sensation paved the way for augmented reality adoption, development and advancements across the mobile ecosystem. The AR gaming market is estimated to reach $284.93 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 152.7 percent between 2017-2023, according to Reuters.

Now, Niantic wants to positively impact the tourism and environmental ecosystem through its partnership with UNTWO. For the past several months, the brand has worked with UNWTO to encourage global tourism and worldwide civic engagement in a fun, friendly, and novel way for travelers.

Although the partnership announcement doesn’t indicate which games will receive new content, Pokémon GO is a safe bet, as is the upcoming AR Harry Potter title.

UNTWO launched its Travel.Enjoy.Respect program in August. Sustainable tourism is the practice of enjoying a new place without negatively impacting the local culture or damaging the environment. This term is often interchanged with “responsible tourism.”

As the world becomes more connected, tourist spots are feeling the pressure to attract new guests without sacrificing the environment around them. Urging tourists to be respectful doesn’t have to be a negative experience, however. In fact, games like Pokémon GO already encourage players to explore new places, so the battle is partly won, so to speak.

Other organizations are getting creative with how they promote responsible tourism. Last year, the Palau Legacy Project earned two Grand Prix Lions for its sustainable tourism campaign, “Palau Pledge.” The campaign required visitors to sign a promise that they will respect the island, which quickly spread to other mediums and gained worldwide acclaim.

Lyft, Uber Announce Competing Loyalty Programs As Both Companies Prepare For IPOs

Uber and Lyft announced their customer reward programs last week—two days apart. The competition for consumers preference continues, while both ridesharing giants also plan to go public next year.

On November 12, Lyft disclosed whenever a customer uses their app they get points for every dollar they spend. If a customer earns enough points, they can unlock rewards like an upgrade to Lyft Lux or savings on future rides. It’s expected to begin next month.

Uber’s program already kicked-off in nine cities. The loyalty program is similar in concept to Lyft. However, Uber’s program gives one point for every dollar spent on Uber Pool rides and Uber Eats orders. It also gives two points for ordering an UberX, UberXL, Select, or WAV ride, and three points for ordering Black and Black SUV rides.

There are four membership levels: Blue, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. The higher the rank, the better the perks.

This announcement came shortly after with Uber announced its Q3 earnings report. In self-reported financials, the company lost just over $1 billion due to investment and business diversification inbikes, scooters and its food delivery service. However, revenue rose 38% from the same quarter last year. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO has claimed that in 10 years, only 50% of the company’s business will be from ridesharing.

As Uber heads into 2019 for its anticipated IPO, bankers estimate it is worth up to $120 billion, doubling from its last valuation of $62 billion. Lyft recently got JPMorgan Chase to lead its own public offering in hopes that it will set its market capitalization to over $15 billion.

Uber does not self-report market share data, and thus it is imperfect, but, according to the analytics platform Second Measure, in March Uber held 73% of the market for ridesharing. Lyft disclosed in May that it currently holds 35% of the market.

According to a Certify SpendSmart report, Uber was the most expensed vendor in Q3. They consisted of 11 percent of over 10 million T&E transactions the report processed for Q3. Lyft joined them on the top 10 list ranking sixth with 3 percent of transactions.

Report: Two-Thirds Of The World’s Digital Ad Trading Will Be Programmatic Next Year

Programmatic ad value will reach $84.9 billion in 2019, according to new forecasts by Zenith. Growing at an average rate of 21 percent a year, the company says it won’t be long before the global display market is fully programmatic.

Zenith has released its Programmatic Marketing Forecasts that examine the state of ad trading across the world. Two-thirds (67 percent) of the world’s digital display advertising will be traded programmatically by 2019, the company predicts, compared to 59 percent in 2017.

Canada, the US and the UK are hosts to the most advanced programmatic trading, Zenith observed. A majority of digital display advertising will be traded programmatically in these countries in 2019 at 81 percent, 78 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

The US has the largest programmatic market, accounting for 57 percent of the global total and valued at $32.6 billion. China is a distant second at $5.3 billion and accounts for 29 percent of programmatic digital display advertising worldwide.

This is a bit less than forecasts from eMarketer, which places total programmatic ad spend around $46 billion in the US this year. Emarketer also estimates that 82.5, not 78 percent, of digital ads in the US are purchased through automatic channels.

Programmatic ad spending is common among digital channels but predicted to reach $5.6 billion this year across television, radio, cinema outdoor in the US. This will represent six percent of the total ad expenditure but is expected to rise to $13 billion in 2019.

“We will be keeping a close eye on developments in the US as a guide to likely developments in the rest of the world,” noted Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence.

Roku launched its Audience Marketplace in June, which quickly attracted media giants like Fox, Turner and Viacom. During the company’s Q2 earnings call, Roku CFO Steve Louden said that data-driven selling and programmatic are the future of TV, both OTT and traditional.

Native programmatic ad buying is helping to drive growth, but brands are still concerned about brand safety, i.e. where those ads appear. For this reason, many brands are taking programmatic in-house.

According to recent data by the IAB Data Center of Excellence, these reasons vary beyond safety. Forty-four percent of respondents hoped to improve ROI tracking and 34 percent wanting better cost efficiency. Additionally, 44 percent predicted both better audience targeting and more effective campaigns as rewards for bringing programmatic in-house.

Marketers Increasing Spend On Stories, Amazon Ads This Holiday Season

In a report by Kenshoo and ClickZ, holiday spending plans were analyzed to see where marketers’ priorities actually exist and how they are changing this year.

Google, Facebook and Instagram, remain at the top of the list in terms of spending, said the marketers surveyed. Both Google and Instagram were up from 2017, while Facebook had a slight dip of -3.4%.

The biggest jump comes from YouTube, up 7% from last year. Which falls in line with trends, according to eMarketer, “YouTube will generate $3.36 billion in net US video ad revenues, up 17.1% over last year.”

Other formats like Amazon Ads and Instagram and Snapchat ‘Stories’ are on the rise.

“Advertisers are starting to notice and aren’t letting the Stories opportunity slip by. 38% of brands state that they have included Facebook Stories in their holiday marketing plans and 37% have included Instagram Stories, making these two of the most popular new advertising opportunities for the 2018 holidays,” the report says.

Amazon ads, the third biggest digital ad platform after Facebook and Google, are very much considered insurgent in the digital advertising world. It’s no surprise then, that this holiday season marketers will be increasing their Amazon ad spend.

“Advertising on Amazon will increase significantly over the 2018 holidays compared to 2017… According to ClickZ data, for those who do plan to advertise on Amazon this holiday season, advertising during special occasions seems to be a top priority. Brands see Amazon ads served to shoppers in closer proximity to their final purchase click as the perfect place to boost revenue when those shoppers are in a buying mood for the holidays.”

According to analysts, Amazon’s ad platform will surpass both Google and Facebook in revenue by 2021.

ClickZ and Kenshoo’s report is based on a survey of more than 300 marketers. Participants were asked to identify where their brands will be spending money this season, how it compares to 2017 and what new media formats are being applied.

Intel VP Alyson Griffin: “I’m Laying An Umbrella Story For Broad [Brand] Awareness”

Intel is undergoing a transformation. For half a century, the brand has maintained a reputation for its computer processors. As the tech giant emerges from its chrysalis a provider of everything from AI to 5G, it leaves Intel’s marketing team with a challenge that, ironically, can’t be solved with technology alone.

Alyson Griffin, Intel’s VP of global brand marketing, sat down with AList to explain this dynamic shift and how one of humanity’s oldest practices—storytelling—is helping to advance technology.

What challenges do you face as Intel repositions itself as a brand?

We just celebrated our 50th anniversary this summer. From an outbound marketing perspective, we were tied very explicitly to a B2C motion and our PC

for say, the last 47 of those years. The management team understood that while the PC market is still critically important, we’re growing as a company toward a more data-centric part of our business.

There are these territories [5G, AI, VR, etc.], where compute power and heavy performance and power are critical but they weren’t places where we were talking about ourselves externally.

How do you shift focus without sacrificing what Intel is known for?

We still do have a very big marketing focus not only directly from Intel but with our OEM partners on our PCs whether it’s gaming, PC innovation, etc. The good news is that we still have that and do that with our own dollars as well as those of our partners. What we’re doing is expanding the aperture of the Intel brand and my role is to go think about business transformation examples that inspire or have human interest and impact.

Intel doesn’t have an awareness problem anywhere in the world. What we do have is a relevance change. People are unsure about how and where we’re relevant beyond the great stronghold we have from a PC perspective. In order to move this to a data-centric, more business [focus] we’re looking for these really great stories.

How do you use storytelling across B2B and B2C marketing strategies?

The strategies align. For us, our single-minded brand proposition is making the impossible possible. From a brand perspective, we’ve pivoted to demonstrating these transformational solutions that have human impact and interest that are AI for good, etc. where you capture the consumer’s imagination.

To get into the nuts and bolts of our strategy here, I’m laying an umbrella story for broad awareness and interest that has technology pillars that actually can be pulled through all the way down to demand gen because I’m talking about a solution that’s real, current and on the truck today. I can do the baton toss, if you will, to my counterparts in the business unit marketing team.

The pivot happens when we get an interesting and broad enough story that can pass very easily to the business units who can pivot to their target and bring it to life.

[For example], Intel is restoring the Great Wall of China. They came to us for computing power but in talking with them, Intel realized that they could solve multiple problems.

[Griffin explained that they use drones to survey the wall and create 3D models. AI analyzes the visuals and helps anticipate needs, calculating down to the millimeter.]

Even if you aren’t interested in Intel or tech… say you’re a business that [can’t imagine] what Intel would be doing beyond a PC, we’re trying to paint an image of all these possibilities and demonstrate with real technology solutions that are available in the market of how businesses or organizations can rethink what’s possible.

How has your job changed over your career?

I started in the early ’90s at a PR firm so I worked with reporters all the time. My job was to stand at a fax machine—I have to explain to my children what the heck that is—and fax 500 press releases to various reporters because there was no consolidation. All we had to do back then was have a price and a speed [of a new computer] and it would 100 percent get covered because it was so amazing.

Part of the challenge for me over the years is that I can’t just call up any old reporter and say, “it’s five dollars less and 10 times faster, go write about it.” I’ve had to get more creative about storytelling that includes some kind of technology angle. My world has changed dramatically since I first started.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m inspired by the stories of our customers, to be honest. I work closely with the sales team and hear amazing stories about things like precision medicine and curing cancer. There are so many things that our customers and partners are doing and it’s exciting.

It’s like a buffet before me and I get to pick one, focus on it and build out a great story. I think about our target and how I make it exciting and accessible and real and inspirational for the world. I have to say that I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of that.

CMOs Find Relationship Marketing Strategy Hindered By Data Management

Fostering customer relationships is, unsurprisingly, a priority for today’s chief marketing officer. A new study by CMO Club reveals pain points in data management and a lack of custom integration.

CMO Club commissioned a study by Selligent Marketing Cloud that focused on consumer-first martech. A survey of 69 CMOs, including those from BBVA Compass, Office Depot and others, found that data providers and marketers aren’t always on the same page. The results of this study were published in a guide called “Consumer-First MarTech: Using Consumer Insights To Unify Marketing Technology Decisions.”

Relationship marketing was named either the most important or one of the most important team functions by 62 percent of CMOs. Personalization plays a vital role in this effort, and two-thirds say that speaking to customers in a more relevant way is a top automation goal for 2018.

In order to accomplish this, CMOs rely on their martech stack but cite frustration. For example, 42 percent said that customer data management is the most difficult element of the customer relationship marketing process.

Working with the “big five” marketing automation vendors doesn’t necessarily alleviate problems, either. In fact, 47 percent of users had issues with data compared to 25 percent of marketers using other vendors.

CMOs cite a lack of custom integrations as a major complaint regarding the “big five” vendors. Fifty-seven percent of marketers rated these vendors “below average” at custom integrations and just over half (54 percent) rated them “below average” at custom feature development.

For this reason, a trend has emerged among some of today’s leading marketers. They refuse to box themselves into one martech solution or simply decide to build their own. The CMO Club report offers three case studies in the report that show how companies CRM use differs.

Office Depot uses a hybrid approach to customer support that integrates legacy and new technologies to achieve the desired result.

“In our case, we combine best-of-breed technologies that are available across the marketplace, and we don’t tend to buy into any specific ecosystem because we feel it’s limiting and frankly, full of risk,” explained Office Depot chief retail officer Kevin Moffitt, who runs digital marketing in addition to ecommerce.

Luxury jewelry brand Tacori stopped using cloud service providers altogether and is building its own CRM in order to stay agile in a changing consumer environment.

“It lets us stay really nimble, it lets us stay within budget, it lets our team stay intelligent instead of having to outsource subject matter experts,” said Tacori SVP of marketing and PR Michelle Chila Adorjan. “And quite honestly, because technology changes, what happens right now is going to be very different from six months from now, and will be different 18 months from now. It lets us be a little disruptive as a smaller player.”

CMO Club’s report echoes sentiments expressed in a recent study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). While 58 percent of respondents named CRM as one of the top three technology investments for their organizations, only 36 percent report significant returns.

Domino’s AR Pizza Chef Turns Visualization Into Ecommerce

Domino’s New Pizza Chef adds augmented reality (AR) to the pizza-customization and ordering process, allowing users to visualize and order virtual pies. The new AR experience launched on Domino’s mobile app this week and continues the brand’s ongoing investment in consumer technology.

Consumers with the Domino’s mobile app can now build and preview a pizza in AR. New Pizza Chef lets users select their crust, cheese and swirls, then drag and drop remove virtual toppings. Certain toppings will trigger animated characters, such as a hula dancing pineapple. Setting the pizza on fire cooks it on the spot.

There are over one billion possible combinations in Domino’s New Pizza Chef, the brand announced. Once they find the desired combination, users can have their AR creations delivered IRL.

It was important to the company, however, that finished products matched the user’s AR creation.

“Making sure each ingredient shown reflects the weight we use in store means that the pizza a customer receives looks the same as the one they created—and that makes for a more satisfied customer,” Domino’s group chief marketing officer Allan Collins said.

This isn’t Domino’s first foray into AR pizza ordering. In April, the brand launched a Snapchat campaign that allowed users to take photos with virtual ‘zas and order delivery without leaving the app.

In fact, Domino’s has traditionally been an early adopter of technology, integrating the latest gadgets into their marketing strategy. Hungry customers have been able to track their pizzas for a decade now. The brand introduced “Dom,” an AI pizza ordering assistant in 2014 and earlier this year, began testing it as a replacement for human phone orders.

Other efforts have included a Facebook chatbot and its AnyWare initiative, which allows users to order a pizza just by texting a pizza emoji.

“Innovations such as the New Pizza Chef with Augmented Reality are important as they help us to continue to drive online sales,” said Domino’s Group chief digital and technology officer Michael Gillespie. “And, with up to two million items sold online in one week, we know it’s important for us to always be making the online ordering experience more seamless, rewarding and memorable for our customers.”

Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle hopes that the brand will become 100 percent digital in the future, so it looks like Gillespie and his team are going to stay busy.

Boingo Wireless CMO Dawn Callahan Explains The Vital Role Of Data

Today’s chief marketing officer has to be a jack of all trades and master of all. Boingo Wireless CMO Dawn Callahan has watched this role evolve over the past 20 years from an age of tedious AB testing to real-time data analysis.

At Boingo, Callahan is in charge of consumer-driven revenue and leads marketing across all lines of business, as well as corporate marketing, branding and PR. Callahan sat down with AList to explain the role that data plays in today’s marketing world and why trust is a CMO’s biggest challenge.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

A lot. (laughs) The biggest thing for me is investor relations. You’re still a storyteller but now you’re telling a story to the analysts, investors, that sort of thing. Every quarter you have to find a new way to tell that story.

What are the most important qualities of a modern marketer?

There are three things: they’re intensely curious, they’re great storytellers, and the third thing is that they’re data-driven.

Typically when we see a CMO, [people think you’re] in charge of the brand and advertising. I run 50 percent of our company’s business. Marketers today almost have to be a CTO or CEO. In fact, I recently read an article saying that CMO is the next step to CEO. That’s definitely true from where I sit. More than anything else, marketers are having to become massive data experts.

When I think about how I started my career, a lot of it took place in direct mail. That’s the original data-driven [strategy]. We’re doing that but now it’s on a digital platform and it’s so much faster. Synthesizing that data depends on what you’re trying to do. For example, if you want to track a customer journey from beginning to purchase, that’s hard to do—it doesn’t matter how many systems you have in place. But if you talk about using data for things like UX design and A/B testing, [that’s different]. Going back to when I was doing direct mail, you sent out a lot of A/B tests and it took forever. Today, you can do all that stuff in literally 24 hours so you can iterate, iterate, iterate.

What is the biggest challenge facing marketers today?

Trust is the biggest issue that marketers have today. We’re in this environment where news is fake and truth isn’t truth, and so people don’t know what to trust anymore. We also live in this world that is increasingly online so it’s dehumanized in a way. For example, we don’t go to a brick and mortar [where] you can come up to me, see my face and have an authentic relationship with a real person. As we do less and less of that, there’s less human contact and less trust. I have Sirius in my car and I can’t go five minutes without listening to a commercial that’s by a founder, [telling the story] of why they founded the company, etc. It’s cool, but it’s because we have to create trust. One of the ways we do that is by trying to personalize the company. Trust is the biggest thing we all have to worry about right now.

Where do you find inspiration?

It happens everywhere when you’re open to it. For me, it’s definitely art, music, commercials, film or someone wearing something on the street. You can’t stop kicking those ideas around because the cool idea [can come from] idea number 12. We start with a Pendleton shirt and we end up with the patch that goes on a hat. You have to keep going. We’re lucky to have an in-house agency.

Do you have a preference for working with an in-house agency?

Our creative services team does all of our artistic output. But, if we have to do an activation, we’ll work with an activation company because they’re no way we’re going to hire 40 people to go work on it. Depending on what we’re doing, we’ll definitely pick up people—but I cannot imagine working with an outside agency after bringing someone in-house.

For Mobile Video Ads, CTAs Are Critical For Fostering Consumer Relationships

Consumers are naturally more interested in mobile video ads that feature a call to action (CTA), IAB found in a new study. This extra thought and attention, they asserted, lays the groundwork for a direct relationship with consumers.

The Interactive Effect: CTAs in Mobile Video Shoppable Ads” included 70 participants from the Austin and Chicago areas. Respondents were allowed to choose from a variety of short film video content to watch, during which they were exposed to various ads. IAB used biometrics, eye-tracking and surveys to gauge interest both on the conscious and subconscious levels.

The biggest takeaway from IAB’s lab study was that consumers are naturally more interested in ads that feature a “Learn More” call to action prompt. Four types of CTAs were tested—Learn More, Shop Now, Sweepstakes and no CTA as a control.

Ads that invited users to learn more received more interaction and were considered to be of higher quality by study participants. These ads also yielded higher purchase intent than other categories—67 percent, compared to 62 percent of ads with no CTA. Based on heart rate, attention increased after interacting with Learn More ads. While engagement increased upon first exposure to all types of ads, it continues to be active much longer for those that offer additional information.

Shoppable ads showed promise, IAB observed, noting that consumers liked the concept of shopping inside the ads themselves. Among a series of “agree or disagree” statements, the most popular was, “I like the convenience of choosing to get more information about a product advertised without leaving the page,” followed by “It’s convenient to be able to buy directly from an ad.”

Since respondents were able to choose which content they viewed, no ad targeting was used in this study. However, a combination of shoppable ads with focused efforts could prove beneficial.

“These findings indicate that customers note the ability to shop or learn more right from the onset,” said Sue Hogan, senior vice president of research and measurement at IAB. “The great promise for shoppable ads, then, is not only the immediate ability to capture sales but also in smart retargeting.”