Ad Agencies Are Going Strong in the Second Half of 2014
September 22, 2014 | 2:07pm
Ad agencies responded very positively when asked about the health of their businesses in the most recent STRATA Agency Survey. The second quarter survey found that 62% of agencies see their business increasing this quarter compared to the same time last year, which is tied for the highest level in the history of the survey and represents a 37% increase over the end of 2014. The survey also saw the third lowest level of agencies that say their businesses were shrinking in 23 quarters.
What’s the Best Way to Get More Views for Your Online Video Ad? Depends Who You Ask.
September 08, 2014 | 11:55am
Two recent surveys conducted by STRATA found that consumers and ad agencies maintain differing perspectives on how to most efficiently target video ads.
STRATA’s most recent quarterly survey found that 44% of agencies said that online videos ads reach their targeted audience most of the time, and 26% say they only reach them some of the time. On the consumer side, only 9% said ads they view are targeted correctly most of the time, 58% said sometimes, and 23% they are rarely targeted correctly.
The Cost Gap Between Twitter and Facebook Continues to Narrow
August 11, 2014 | 10:30am
Both Twitter and Facebook have reported strong earnings this past quarter, while many in the financial and advertising industries continue to compare the two social media platforms in terms of ad revenue potential. Data on the ad spend found within STRATA’s systems over the past two and a half years sheds some light on the competition for ad dollars.
We found that ad agencies are spending $0.43 on Twitter for every $1 they spend on Facebook in the first six months of 2014. While the gap is still significant, it has continuously narrowed since 2012; in 2013, the ratio was $0.33 spent on Twitter for every $1 on Facebook. It was $.30 to $1 in 2012.
Some of the Twitter’s momentum has been thanks to its ability to capitalize on real-time and event-driven marketing, and the World Cup was a great example of that capability. But if Twitter wants to narrow the gap further it will need to address its difficulty measuring eyeballs because so many consumer view tweets outside of the app.
The agencies we work with are also reporting an increased in interest in advertising on social channels. Our most recent quarterly survey of agencies found that 86% said they will likely use Facebook in client campaigns, followed by YouTube (62%), Twitter (57%), and LinkedIn (38%). When buying on Facebook, 49% of advertisers are most likely to use Promoted Posts for their Facebook ad purchase, followed by Page Post ads (27%).
To hear more about Twitter and Facebook ad sales, see STRATA president Joy Baer’s recent interview with TheStreet - http://www.thestreet.com/video/12825630/twitter-is-better-than-facebook-according-to-ad-sales-expert.html
Video Ads are a Big Deal and Big Money, But They Could be Bigger
July 07, 2014 | 10:41am
Video ads have become one of the most important advertising tools for agencies, according to STRATA’s most recent quarterly survey, but advertisers are still unsure about their real value.
The survey revealed that 71% of agencies say video is their clients’ top choice as an advertising medium, a 7% increase from 4Q13. That’s a healthy mass of agencies that rely on online video for their clients’ campaigns.
Despite the heavy utilization of video ads, almost half (48%) of agencies say they are unsure if they are getting good value on recent online video ad purchases. Only 31% are fairly confident they’re getting a good value.
The agencies surveyed also indicated there’s so much more room for ad videos to run; 27% say that questions over ROI are prohibiting them from buying more in-stream video.
In response to the data that our recent survey showed, STRATA president Joy Baer noted, “Ad agencies revealed an interesting dichotomy related to digital video; agencies are displaying high levels of confidence and are increasing their ad spend while they question the accuracy of reported Web traffic numbers and the inflated CPMs they may command.” Baer was referring to a report released by the IAB that found that 36% of Web traffic is fraudulent.
With a healthy ad economy and more than a quarter of ad agencies saying they’d spend more money if they had a better picture of what they were getting in return, it’s safe to say ad sellers are leaving a lot of cash on the table.
How are Advertisers Spending their Social Budgets?
June 19, 2014 | 3:40pm
STRATA’s recent quarterly survey found some interesting data on how agencies are spending money for social media ad campaigns.
For starters, social media is part of more agency campaigns today than at any point in the history of the STRATA survey. The most popular platform used by those agencies is Facebook, with 86% indicating that they will likely use Facebook in client campaigns, followed by YouTube (62%), Twitter (57%), and LinkedIn (38%). Although in fourth place, LinkedIn has experienced the largest year-over-year growth in our survey, up 128% over last year.
Breaking down the Facebook spend, 49% of advertisers are most likely to use Promoted Posts for their Facebook ad purchase, followed by Page Post ads (27%). On Twitter, 43% say that promoted tweets is the type of ad they are most likely to purchase.
For many, social is taking up little space in the overall ad budget. 67% are spending less than 5% of their overall ad budgets on social media (down 13% from 1Q13), while 21% are spending 6%-10% on Social Media (up 16% from 1Q13).
Even with all this interest, Social still has room to grow. 43% say that they would buy more social media ad spots if the purchasing process were easier. When it comes to social media ad exchanges, there is some hesitancy from the agencies as 47% say they never use social media ad exchanges when buying Social Media ads.
C7 is About Making Things Right
May 28, 2014 | 11:03am
There has been a lot of buzz this upfront season about whether the TV advertising and ratings industry should switch from a C3 ratings measurement to C7. Some claim that millions of dollars are being left on the table. Others are arguing that C7 will include viewers that are viewing “stale” ads that are no longer relevant. There are merits to both arguments.
TiVo recently published research stating that millions of dollars are being left on the table because network are selling ad space based on C3 when the total viewership would jump much higher if C7 was used. In truth, a change from C3 to C7 sets up a mechanism where networks could be more accurately compensated. The operative word here is could.
In my view, C7 is a more accurate measurement of viewership. But the changes in the cost of advertising may not be as heavy as some people think. The cost to advertise on a program, whether being tracked with C3 or C7, will be (and always is) determined by the fair market value, and what the market will pay. The pricing does not only come from how many viewers a program has, but also by what ad buyers are willing to pay, plus a range of other factors (like the demographic, how many live viewers they think they’ll have, and many more).
Advertisers know that not all programs are created equal, and neither are their audiences. Whether C3 or C7 is used, advertisers are going to consider the demographic of the audience to measure if its a worthwhile place for them to advertise.
While I believe that C7 will give the industry a more accurate number on viewership, the pull that live TV programming has will, conversely, continue to be extremely important. Sporting and entertainment events, will be key for advertisers. That’s why CBS just paid $250 million for eight Thursday Night Football games.
2014’s Political Ad Spend Will be Big and In Your Face
May 13, 2014 | 12:22pm
The recent Supreme Court decision that struck down old regulations that limited the amount of money individuals can give federal candidates and parties is just the latest addition to a long list of reasons as to why 2014 will be the most expensive years for political ad spend.
Some of these factors are unique to the 2014 elections, and some will reemerge for the foreseeable future to be mainstays of political advertising campaigns. For now, the heated political climate will be a major boon for local advertisers with political ads coming early and often to stations near you.
Political advertising today, along with politics itself, is not the same as it was a few decades ago. Ronald Reagan once famously uttered the 11th Commandment; “Thou shall not attack another Republican.” The mantra no longer strikes the fear of God into the Republican Party. The Tea Party is forcing previously established Republican incumbents to start fighting for their political lives in the primaries, instead of in the general elections. At least twelve Republican primary races will be heavily contested, and that number may grow. One closely watched race is in Idaho’s 2nd District, which pundits are calling “ground zero” for the party’s proxy fight. In that district, Representative Mike Simpson is seeking a ninth term against some stiff competition from a Tea Party candidate, Bryan Smith, with no prior political experience. This type of political infighting for the future of the Republican Party is going to cost the GOP candidates a lot of money before they even start facing off against their Democratic rivals. In fact, political ads have already started running in Idaho as early as September 2013.
Election campaigns, for both Democrats and Republicans, will also rely on a strong social media and digital focus. Each serious candidate will hire a team of social media specialists. In 2012, we saw the presidential candidates not only on Facebook and Twitter, but even utilizing Spotify, Pinterest, and Tumblr in more creative ways. In addition, the fight for votes will reach more corners of the Internet, with the candidates’ social media teams trolling through the comments sections of major newspapers posting positive comments about their candidates.
Locally, candidates with smaller budgets will use social media to close the gap between themselves and more established candidates with larger budgets. A good example of social media helping the little guy is in Stockton, California, whereAnthony Silva was able to remove incumbent Mayor Ann Johnston with a well-timed text message that contained a link to a YouTube video. There’s no longer a debate about the need for social media in a political campaign. The only question that remains is how much to invest?
Looking Behind Pinterest's Aggressive Ad Strategy
April 10, 2014 | 12:18pm
Advertising Age reported last week that Pinterest is seeking commitments from advertisers of $1 million to $2 million (“Got $1 Million? Pinterest Would Like to Sell You an Ad,” March 20). This is a bold strategy, especially considering that the company is hoping to fetch a CPM range between $30-$40, according the article.
While Pinterest is aiming high, I like it. There are certain moves they can make that will allow them to command such a high CPM. It will be a challenge to get there, but it’s possible. They already look to be on the right track.
Pinterest already started testing some advertising late in 2013, and it seems that a big user concern is being inundated with potentially less relevant pins. This was a user comment on Ben Silbermann’s blog:
I am all for you guys monetizing your investment in Pinterest via advertising, but not at the expense of the user experience you have created. You are risking alienating your client base by ruining the experience they have come to love. I know i have already stopped accessing Pinterest via a browser because of the “we though” pins making it cluttered, how many other people will stop using completely if these posts continue to be so prevalent and then migrate to mobile platforms???
It appears that in reaction to their ad testing in 2013, now Pinterest is employing a “High, High, Low” approach to advertising; high quality, high-engagement, low-volume. By ensuring that the ads appearing on the site appeal directly to its users, Pinterest will have a strong appeal to advertisers – and most importantly, won’t dilute the Pinterest experience!
Pinterest is certainly in the market position to employ a highly engaging strategy. Considering the type of activities I perform on Pinterest, they know EXACTLY what I am HIGHLY interested in and could be targeting very specialized ads my way.
I think Twitter’s first approach to advertising last year could have been selling their position short. I am performing much broader life activities on Twitter and Facebook (games, human interest news, hashtags, catching up), so advertising is potentially less engaging. But on Pinterest, think of this: my New Bathroom Ideas Board and Kohler, my Backyard Furniture and Sunbrella; the meaningful, relevant advertising opportunities are endless – and worth the high CPMs!
CBS's March Madness Strategy is Far from Crazy
April 02, 2014 | 11:19am
This year we’ve been blessed with another exciting Final Four tournament, with multiple upsets and games coming down to the buzzer. Basketball fans have had the pleasure of watching these games across multiple screens from the comfort of their home on TV, on their smartphones while they are out to dinner, or at their office on the computer…all for free.
CBS’s strategy in airing these games has been simple and comprehensive by making the games open to everybody. But it’s not just college basketball you have been watching. You are watching future of TV; the future is simultaneous, multi-screened, and easily available on multiple devices and spread across several cable channels, in addition to online sites. And while CBS has given free access to viewers across all these platforms, they have been able to monetize the process by placing advertisements on each medium.
While the availability of the games is a look into the future of viewership, March Madness represents a legacy for CBS. They have owned the rights to March Madness since 1982. But despite the legacy, CBS and Turner Broadcasting showed some keen forward thinking. Their deal for $10.8 billion in 2010 to carry the tournament from 2011 to 2024 sounds like a huge contract, but the growth in mobile advertising, for example, between now and then will make this deal more profitable for them. Broadcasters will find that long-term deals like this will get better with age. For example, mobile platform visits for live March Madness games grew 32% from 2011 to 2012, to over 33 million visits. CBS is following a simple formula; the more platforms they have, the more ways they can monetize the games. This advertising approach for March Madness is anything but crazy.
ePort is Hot in a Cold Spring
March 26, 2014 | 1:55pm
There’s been a lot of talk recently about this severe winter taking a toll on the economy. While there’s no doubt some sectors have had to absorb this chilling effect on their business, there’s at least one spot where business is hotter than ever – ePort.
Hundreds of agencies and over a thousand stations use ePort to make their buying and selling of TV spots more efficient than ever before. So far this year, that seems to be the case - and then some!
ePort, TV’s electronic order delivery platform is posting numbers like never before. It wasn’t too far back that ePort was getting $100 million or so in new business a year. When you look at the current figures – that might as well been ancient history. ePort is now averaging $50 million in new TV business every week (in 2014). You read that correctly… $50 million a week! What is just as exciting – that figure should soar soon as the political ad season hasn’t really started in many places.
Ad Agencies Still Unclear about Programmatic Buying
March 10, 2014 | 2:24pm
STRATA’s most recent quarterly agency survey found an interesting and pervasive sentiment among ad agencies and their approach to programmatic buying. Very few of the agencies we surveyed said they actually trust programmatic buying, while many more don’t trust it or aren’t using it at all. A key takeaway is that the industry has a long way to go in understanding programmatic buying and there’s a lot of noise surrounding the process.
Here’s what we found:
• 37% of agencies say they are undecided about if they trust programmatic buying to properly or accurately execute their ad orders.
• Only 6% said they did trust programmatic, while 46% say they don’t use programmatic.
While many smaller agencies outsource their Digital buying and could affect these numbers, perhaps the mistrust around programmatic buying also revolves around the industry’s fragmented definition of what programmatic buying actually is:
Advertising and the Super Bowl Host City
February 04, 2014 | 10:58am
STRATA President/CEO John Shelton was recently a guest on Bloomberg Radio and discussed why it is such a big deal (advertising-wise) to host the Super Bowl. How does the big game impact local advertising and is therer a downside?
Super Bowl Ads - Finger Licking Good?
February 03, 2014 | 1:06pm
While this year’s Super Bowl may not have been exciting on the field, what happened in between the action was certainly interesting. Of course, I’m talking about the commercials. Here are a few of the takeaways for me from advertising’s biggest event.
First, I thought the automotive industry did well. Volkswagen was very clever with their “spouting wings” campaign while Ford took the over-the-top approach with their “double” spots. In both cases they did a good job of highlighting the strength of their product. Kia drew me in with their “Matrix” themed ads; although I wonder if picking the red key/Kia is really going to bend your mind. Chevy went with the Americana angle again this year and their Cancer Day message was very moving – but their spots fell short of the others. An interesting play was Maserati - Do you ever remember seeing a commercial for Maserati in the Super Bowl, let alone anywhere on TV before? At $4 Million a spot for a Super Bowl commercial, it seems like a broad audience for people who would plunk down the cash it takes to drive the ultra-expensive autos. As a matter of fact, wouldn’t those Maserati buyers likely be the ones affording tickets to the game and likely be sitting in the luxury suites?
Twitter IPO and Advertising… A Risky Gamble?
September 20, 2013 | 10:18am
The frenzy towards a Twitter IPO builds, but what does it really mean in our industry? For advertisers, it could be substantial. Not necessarily because of the IPO, but because of the fact they have acquired MoPub. If you aren’t familiar, MoPub is a mobile ad exchange platform that touts on its website to be the “world’s largest mobile exchange”.
Twitter is banking on the hope that this acquisition will be a huge boost to building and sustaining advertising (and making the IPO status worth it). This is just one of many acquisitions Twitter has made this year including Bluefin Labs (analytics company), We are Hunted (music search), Ubalo (coding firm) and Markana (tech-trainer). All these pieces are clearly part of Twitter’s plan to be attractive and accessible to advertisers in the social media space.
STRATA's Shelton Outlines the Changing Face of Advertising on Bloomberg Radio
August 15, 2013 | 11:35am
STRATA President/CEO John Shelton talking about quarterly survey and Omnicom/Publicis merger on Bloomberg Radio.
STRATA Survey: Ad Economy will Finish the Year Strong
July 15, 2013 | 10:43am
STRATA President/CEO John Shelton reveals what the STRATA survey says about the advertising economy heading into the third and fourth quarters of the year and even into 2014…
The Big Audio - Video Change
June 21, 2013 | 9:36am
The way the advertising industry buys and sells media is going to change. STRATA President/CEO John Shelton talks about this big shift in our latest Video Blog:
Audio Killed the Radio Star
May 21, 2013 | 11:43am
Originally Appearing in MediaPost
I’m old enough to remember when rock ‘n’ roll was well, rock ‘n’ roll. And at the risk of sounding like I’m selling a Time/Life collection of ‘70s hits (“All in one unforgettable collection”), I can proudly say that I grew up during the golden age of music radio, certainly FM radio.
Anyone over the age of 35 can relate to this sentiment. There was something exciting about listening to Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” and then running to a record store (yes, they were records) to purchase the latest hits. No, it wasn’t immediate like downloading iTunes, but just holding a new album cover was exhilarating. I still have a few of those covers somewhere in my garage.
I wax nostalgic about all this, as I contemplate what radio means to the advertising business both present and future. In fact, I’ll even go a step further and make a declaration: The past is about radio. The present and future are about audio.
Yes, to some degree, radio and audio are interchangeable terms.
Why Cross-Media Buys are a Challenge
March 14, 2013 | 11:37am
Dating back to the beginning of 2011, measuring ROI was deemed by agencies to be the biggest challenge in measuring the success of a campaign, followed by figuring out how to set the measurement criteria for a campaign. One thing is for certain, more and more advertisers are struggling to find a solid mix to get their messages out about products and services.
They approach the masses with television (for example) and then follow-up with some banner advertising or direct people to their web site or Facebook pages for more information.
Often a web site or Facebook page just “feeds the faithful”–those people who are already fans of the product. Unless there is a direct call to action, product offer or payoff for the consumer, a lot of what they are doing is just branding and it may be hard to judge a true ROI. That does present a challenge, so these newer mediums need to be used wisely.
The Changing Face of Advertising
March 05, 2013 | 1:33pm
Do you think New York radio station WEAF realized in 1922 that they changed the face of advertising forever? That’s when they broadcast the first paid radio advertisement. For those keeping track – it was for Hawthorn Court Apartments.
Radio itself has changed tremendously since then, and we at STRATA are proud to be leading that change. Agencies buy more Spot Radio through STRATA than any other system. We are constantly seeking out and making available audiences for our buyers. Pandora is the latest advertising option for those buyers. As you may have read recently, STRATA agencies can now buy advertising on Pandora through STRATA’s media buying system. Tens of millions of unduplicated listeners and over a billion listener hours per month, Pandora reaches passionate and engaged listeners locally and nationally.
$3.3 billion: The cost of advertising in next presidential race
December 20, 2012 | 4:04pm
Originally appearing in The Hill, December 20, 2012
“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
That famous quote is attributed to my late senator from Illinois, Everett Dirksen. Dirksen wasn’t talking about campaign spending, but the point is the same. Republicans and Democrats reached record levels this year, each spending a billion dollars on political advertising. Yes, that’s real money, and the cost is only going up.
We estimate that the next presidential race is going to cost somewhere in the $3 billion range. In 2020, advertising could reach as much as $5 billion.
Yes, I recognize that some in our business are predicting that spending will go down. As one colleague said to me recently, “Never again. No one is going to spend like that, particularly on local TV ads. They made no meaningful difference in turnout or perception.”
Political Ad Season is at a Fever Pitch
October 22, 2012 | 10:29am
STRATA President/CEO John Shelton talks about what the heated political races mean for the advertising economy this election season. Shelton was recently a guest on Fox Business channel and outlines what you can expect in the swing states and across the country.
TV is the Big Political Winner
October 04, 2012 | 11:18am
TV stations are cashing in as the political season hits the small screen. In a special survey of some of the top political advertising agencies, our clients overwhelmingly said that television was their top avenue for their political clients to deliver messages (followed by Digital, Radio and Network Cable). This makes sense for a few reasons. TV continues to be the top way for political advertisers to reach a coveted audience – the people on the fence politically who aren’t really looking for messages. You can reach this passive audience with quick, and as they hope, memorable messages. Political shops put TV on such a pedestal that all of those we polled feel it is just as important, or even more important, than it was just four years ago. Political advertisers can cast a very wide net with TV in hopes of capturing key votes.
Our ePort platform (the electronic bridge for media buyers to get their orders placed and for stations and rep firms to receive orders) has some very intriguing data during key political months. The amount of dollars flowing through our system in June increased 117% compared to June the previous year. Looking at July, the amount increased a staggering 303% (that’s a bump of $290 million for just that month). We expect big increases in TV spend throughout the rest of the year – especially in the swing states.
The 2012 Election Cycle Is Already Costing You Money
August 07, 2012 | 3:23pm
Appearing on AdAge.com on Tuesday, August 7, 2012
If you’re like many Americans, you may be completely sick of all those political ads on TV. But you should know that no matter what you do, those ads are already costing you money and airtime.
Here’s what I mean. I’m in the advertising software business, so I definitely see the increased volume of advertising dollars. Over $50 billion dollars a year goes through our software systems, and so I can tell you how much President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are paying for ads on network TV all the way down to market No. 210 (which, by the way, is Glendive, Mont.).
ePort Passes $1 Billion for 2012!
July 24, 2012 | 4:32pm
Another month, another round of milestones for the wildly popular ePort. $1 billion! You read that right, $1 Billion. EPort, the electronic bridge over which media buyers, sellers and reps can send and receive any transaction, has surpassed $1 billion in original orders for the year. To put that in perspective – over $1.2 billion in advertising orders passed through ePort in ALL of 2011. We have 5 months to go in the year and will easily pass that mark within weeks.
Like how some people check their Facebook accounts or view their phones for the latest emails and texts, I’m glued to the data provided through ePort. It is amazing to see this incredible growth and project where ePort will finish the month and year. To use the word revolutionary when talking about the change ePort is making in the spot TV industry might seem strong, but to view these numbers – I really feel it is accurate.
Ahead of the Curve with Digital
March 22, 2012 | 2:11pm
Digital ad buying has gotten more and more complex. John Shelton, STRATA President/CEO, outlines how STRATA is staying ahead of the curve and focusing on this tremendous growth area.
(Click below view)
STRATA Takes the Burden Out of RFP
March 22, 2012 | 1:11pm
Joy Baer, STRATA Executive Vice President/COO, discusses STRATA’s Digital RFP and how it is a key solution for the ad industry
(Click below to view)
Digital RFP - a Game Changer
March 21, 2012 | 11:56am
Joy Baer, STRATA Executive Vice President/COO, discusses STRATA’s Digital RFP component to their media buying system. The RFP process is complicated and a mess for agencies. STRATA hit this issue head on and is the first to offer this amazing product to help agencies buy Digital more efficiently.
(Click below to watch the video)
The Advertising Industry Has Hit a Tipping Point
March 20, 2012 | 4:22pm
STRATA Executive Vice President/COO, Joy Baer, discusses the fact that the advertising industry has hit a tipping point. STRATA has a remarkable solution: Digital Accelerated.
(click below to view)
Why the 4A's Transformation 2012 is Important
March 19, 2012 | 4:15pm
STRATA President/CEO, John Shelton, discusses why the 4A’s event is important to not only STRATA, but also the ad industry.
(click below to watch the video)
Digital RFP Does Not = Real Frustrating Process
March 19, 2012 | 11:20am
Originally appearing March 19, 2012 in iMedia Connection
Digital has become an important element for agencies to include during their advertising campaigns. For the past four years, STRATA has been conducting surveys with media buying executives on important issues affecting the industry, one of which has always been Digital and how to get clients on board. Our stats show that the industry has mostly moved past education and adoption issues, to now agree on the fact that the current Digital RFP process has become a nightmare. Digital RFP’s have become more and more complex as more and more Digital advertising options clutter up the field.
Definitely worth a read on some of the major issues, Namely’s CEO, Matt Straz pointed out in bold letter in a recent MediaPost article why the Digital RFP process is a mess. “People who work at agencies are frustrated because RFPs are still largely managed through email. A single RFP sent to a dozen publishers can result in hundreds of emails going back and forth among the parties.” Clearly, the process is tedious and lets be honest – it can be maddening.
Academy Awards Exploits Digital Opportunities with Audiences and Advertisers
February 24, 2012 | 9:21am
Originally appearing February 24, 2012 in iMedia Connection
Even though its often over shadowed by Super Bowl buzz, the Oscars are one of the most important TV advertising events of the year, and one of the most expensive.
In terms of pricing, Oscar TV ad spots outrank most award shows. But the actual “worth” of these spots have come into question in recent years, as viewership of the awards show has waned, especially among younger demographics. The Hollywood Reporter published a report in their February 17 issue that showed how hosts and best picture nominees affect overall viewership. After pulling together additional data for review, there is some truth to the analysis.
ePort Keeps Growing... and Growing... and Growing...
February 23, 2012 | 12:43pm
Next week, STRATA will quietly mark a six-month anniversary. There will be no streamers or fanfare, not even a cake for that matter. A few of us will look up from our work and share a smile, and truth be told, a small sense of relief.
It is hard to believe, but it’s been just about six months since STRATA took up the ePort torch. Through a collaboration between Katz Television Group and Cox Reps, STRATA was entrusted with the responsibility for ePort. I say “entrusted” because ePort is not just some run-of the-mill, nice to have option. It is THE link for thousands of media buyers and TV account executives. When you examine ePort’s importance in that light, it is quite a significant tool for buyers and executives to get through their daily business in an efficient way. I’m not going to lie, it is a big task to make sure it meets those needs.
Media Buyers Say Ad Spend Climbing
February 03, 2012 | 6:46pm
Originally appearing February 2, 2012 in iMedia Connection
As some of you may already know, we survey media buying executives every quarter to identify major advertising trends. The most recent STRATA Survey, conducted during Q4 2011, provided some important bellwether points around such areas as the economy, mobile, social media and platform focus. Below are a few of the main findings from the January 2012 release, but be sure to check out the full report here.
AD SPEND RISING
The STRATA Survey found that 81% expect their client’s approach to advertising and marketing to either increase or stay the same. This is up 14% based on the same figures reported third quarter 2011. Adding to this positive economic surge, nearly half of respondents said they project the 1st half of 2012 to be better than the last half of 2011 with increases in business compared to the same time last year. The impact shows 31% of agencies noted they plan on hiring in 2012, which is up 29% over third quarter 2011 and up 28% over the same time last year.
President/CEO Shelton Details Better is Better
January 03, 2012 | 11:05am
STRATA President/CEO John Shelton comments on his recent op-ed commentary “Better is Better”.
Better is Better
November 28, 2011 | 10:58am
Originally appearing November 28, 2011 in MediaPost
When CapCities acquired ABC back in the 1980s, CapCities’ CEO was asked about the new organization being bigger and better. As the story goes, the CEO’s reply was a classic. “Bigger isn’t better,” he said. “Better is better.”
I’m especially mindful of that story as I see a rush to digital and watch a wave of consolidation in the media-buying software industry. The media-buying industry is rapidly evolving, and yet many agency systems providers are still struggling to keep legacy reporting systems up to date.
Even as many media buyers rush to incorporate digital demands into campaigns, their systems often fall short of providing solid core offerings that can organize and manage the entire advertising roster, including traditional. This raises another concern: How can advertising be aligned with the times, if it is supported by old systems?
Put another way, I see many system providers taking a Band-Aid approach. They want to say they offer digital and claim to understand the new media world, but struggle to find a place for digital in their legacy systems.
Using Excel? Really?
Some agencies have even abandoned systems and moved to Excel. Let’s be honest, Excel isn’t a digital system. There is no reporting, no security and no reliability. Because of this, account executives are incorrectly billing clients and organizing digital purchases because many are still utilizing programs (like Excel) for their buys…
Holiday Flash Survey (Q/A)
November 22, 2011 | 2:07pm
(STRATA recently conducted a Holiday Flash Survey of STRATA agencies of varying sizes across the country. The following is a Q/A with CEO/President John Shelton on the survey results.)
What did you find most interesting or surprising about the results of the survey?
Spot TV/Cable advertising still dominates (which isn’t surprising), but Digital advertising is increasingly becoming a strong avenue of choice this holiday season. We are seeing more campaigns utilize cross platform promotions and reaching clients in more ways than ever before. Instead of relying on one or two mediums, a strong media mix has become increasingly important for advertisers to push their products/services this shopping season.
When you take a close look at the industries that are advertising for the holidays, I was a bit surprised. Sure, you are going to have categories that are often synonymous with the holiday season (clothing/apparel, music/movies and hospitality) getting a share of advertising - but they weren’t the leaders. Interestingly, healthcare and financial services (along with holiday favorite, electronics) are the top industry areas that agencies are focusing on this holiday season. These were well ahead of traditional holiday categories
Remembering Arthur C. Nielsen, Jr.
October 06, 2011 | 11:36am
The impact that Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. has had on my life is hard to put into words. Not just because I’m a product of the Baby Boom generation that grew up with the development of TV ratings or because I’ve spent most of my career in the advertising technology world… No, it’s really more personal than that.
I grew up two blocks from the house that Art (as he was known) grew up in. The Nielsen Company started in Wilmette, Illinois where I resided, so I have fond memories of growing up and playing in parks named after him.
Remembering Steve Jobs
October 06, 2011 | 3:30pm
Steve Jobs changed the world and my world forever. I know many people across the globe echo that sentiment, but for me it seems more personal.
I got my first computer, an Apple IIc, in 1984, where I first learned how to play and love adventure games. I fell in love with Steve Jobs shortly thereafter and wished I could have met him, so I could marry him. (That bubble didn’t burst until 1992 when I met my real husband – although you will notice his name is Steve also, and he bears a dark, handsome resemblance to Steve Jobs – no coincidence, I assure you.)
Hear STRATA CEO/President talk about the ePort announcement
September 07, 2011 | 12:05pm
KATZ Media and COXREPS announce a new collaboration with STRATA, assuming financial & directional support of ePort e-business platform. STRATA is now powering ePort and working together, plans to add functionality to ePort that will make local broadcast television even easier to transact.
Thank You, Football and Christmas! Sincerely, Advertisers
August 25, 2011 | 10:48am
The markets are up, then they drop, then they are back up and it looks like they are about to turn a corner and whoop—they drop again. This roller coaster has a lot of people worried. Advertisers are no exception. Basically, advertising doesn’t like change, it likes a trend.
When a company has uncertainty and just doesn’t know how to message, they simply don’t advertise. The recent weeks are an example of that uncertainty, and companies don’t know what is in store for them, so they don’t advertise.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for advertising and ad agencies.
STRATA Survey Shows a Shift in Focus (I'm Looking at You, iPad)
August 23, 2011 | 10:48am
I’m always intrigued to see the results of our quarterly survey of media buying agencies. Since we started conducting this study in 2008, it has consistently reflected the issues and trends in the advertising industry. This past quarterly survey was no exception, as several key trends became apparent after analyzing the results.
First, the positive ad economic outlook isn’t as “sunny” as it had been in the first quarter. The recent volatility in the financial markets definitely proved that finding. Many of our agencies seem to be in a holding pattern as they wait for clients to open their wallets and spend more advertising dollars.
STRATA Gears Up for The Cable Show
June 10, 2011 | 10:41am
The STRATA team is looking forward to attending the premier event for the cable industry, The Cable Show, on June 14-16. Hosted by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the event should prove to be compelling and will feature Oprah Winfrey in her first visit to the show, who will be interviewed by Paula Zahn about her career and the advent of her latest venture, the cable network OWN. Other notables in attendance will include Dr. Jill Biden and Chicago’s newly inaugurated Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
STRATA’s executives will be soaking in everything the conference has to offer and believe that, despite the challenges of a gradual recovery, the cable and advertising industries have much to feel good about. STRATA’s own system data reflect an industry that is making net gains:
AdExchanger.com: STRATA Offering Digital Media Buying and Selling Stewardship Says CEO Shelton
April 06, 2011 | 10:56am
(Q&A with John Shelton orginially appearing in AdExchanger)
By aggregating all the buying through AMBIT, what are the unique efficiencies the platform can provide? Is effective attribution modeling possible?
AMBIT allows us to correlate media activity with hundreds of different metrics. We measure the impact that the media activity has on a given metric and trend that impact over time in order to level the results. This accomplishes two very important things. The first is that it allows us to build a cause/effect data set that can be used for predictive or “what if” scenarios in the future. The second is that it evolves the idea of goals in the media industry to go beyond traditional audience delivery goals.
As for effective attribution modeling being possible…it really isn’t. There simply isn’t data to support the model to gain true attribution metrics. What we have decided to do is use contextual insights to directionally estimate attribution. The reality is there are forces at work on many metrics such as sales that have nothing to do with Marketing and/or Media activity, so it is impossible to accurately define the attribution based on media inputs alone.
Video Blog: Is the Ad Economy Improving?
March 16, 2011 | 11:35am
STRATA CEO/President John Shelton discusses the state of the advertising industry and where it will be headed in 2011.
Transformation 2011 – STRATA's "Post" Newsfeed
March 09, 2011 | 10:42am
(Originally appearing in iMedia Connection)
The STRATA gang was in Austin this week for the 4A’s event, Transformation 2011. We set up “shop” as an exhibitor and showcased our new digital product, AMBIT. Basically, digital and mobile definitely dominated the event in a big way. Below is a quick snap shot of major themes we tweeted during the event: (visit our twitter – @gotostrata – for additional real time updates)
Video Blog: 4A's Transformation 2011, A Great Measure of the Ad Industry
March 04, 2011 | 7:51pm
STRATA Executive Vice President/Managing Director Joy Baer talks about the 4A’s Transformation 2011 and how it is a good barometer of the advertising industry.
Video Blog: What to Expect from the 4A's Transformation 2011
March 03, 2011 | 3:08pm
STRATA CEO/President John Shelton talks about what he expects to see and hear about at the 4A’s Transformation 2011. STRATA will be having a booth at the conference (#16), and will be demonstrating their Digital Buying Platform along with their new platform AMBIT.
Video Blog: Driving Digital at the 4A's Transformation 2011
March 02, 2011 | 10:30am
STRATA Executive Vice President/Managing Director Joy Baer discusses how digital is taking center stage with advertising agencies and how STRATA is driving digital with their software. STRATA will be demonstrating their digital platform and hot new product, AMBIT, at the 4A’s Transformation 2011.
Video Blog: STRATA Announces Revolutionary Platform: AMBIT
March 01, 2011 | 12:39pm
STRATA Vice President Rob Burkhart talks about STRATA’s new platform AMBIT which gives users an unlimited number of metrics at their fingertips to monitor advertising flights and campaign performance. These metrics go well beyond the analytics that have been commonplace for years in advertising. AMBIT allows users to measure their advertising’s return on their investment on items such as online registrations, retail foot traffic and sales lift.
Video Blog - AMBIT: Measuring True ROI
February 28, 2011 | 7:11pm
In this Video Blog entry, STRATA Executive Vice President/Managing Director Joy Baer talks about STRATA’s new platform, AMBIT, and how it has the ability to allow media buyers to compare their ad spend from an apples-to-apples ROI viewpoint.
Video Blog - STRATA Develops the Future of ROI Management with AMBIT
February 28, 2011 | 4:07pm
STRATA CEO/President John Shelton discusses the release of AMBIT. The revolutionary new platform gives media buyers the ability to measure the impact of all of their advertising buys and provide a true comparison of their digital versus traditional ad buys. STRATA developed AMBIT in response to a growing need among the media industry to utilize measurement analytics that reflect specific levels of campaign initiatives and success.
Video Blog - The Expanding Digital Landscape
February 26, 2011 | 7:27pm
In this, the first of a series of video blog entries, STRATA CEO/President John Shelton talks about advertising agencies media mix and how it is constantly changing. STRATA constantly is developing to meet those evolving needs.
Super Bowl Recap: Welcome Back Advertising Industry
February 16, 2011 | 2:27pm
(Originally printed in iMedia Connection)
As we slowly crawl out of one of the most devastating recessions in recent history, this year’s Super Bowl may have acted as a bellwether for our economic recovery. It signaled that a. consumers have regained some buying power b. automakers are recovering and c. advertising is back.
Automakers have been deathly quiet over the past few years, understandably more concerned with improving their balance sheets than creating entertaining advertisements. But there was a dramatic shift during this year’s Super Bowl, with nine different automotive companies dominating the evening. Chrysler, who almost completely disappeared from advertising in recent years, was seen throughout the night, spending close to 9 million dollars on an ad starring rap artist, Eminem. The advertisements themselves ranged from family fun, like Volkswagen’s adorable Darth Vader commercial, to Chrysler’s Glee advertisement, which succeeded in converting a few more “gleeks”. Overall, advertisements were noisy and filled with special affects, working hard to take advantage of the new economic climate.
TV: The Really Big Show that Aint Over Yet
January 31, 2011 | 12:42pm
(Originally appearing in BrandWeek)
When I was growing up, I was like most kids: I watched The Ed Sullivan Show every Sunday evening on CBS with my parents. Back then, in the 1960s, TV really was king—and so was Sullivan. He was the electron impresario, the Oprah (if I can bend the metaphor a bit) of his era. An appearance on Sullivan’s stage—or, Studio 50 to the CBS folks—could make your whole career. Witness the Beatles.
These days, as I watch the growing number of people heading off to the Apple Store for their iPads, I feel the gentle tug of those early days when TV was a family event and everyone would gather around the “set.” A couple of years ago, USA Today reported that, on average, the American home now contains more TVs than people. So, forget about the family gathering around anything—let alone a TV.
So you probably think I’m ready to shift into that familiar dirge—the elegy (c’mon, you’ve heard it plenty) that TV is dying or that digital has, at least, kicked it off its throne; that the digital future is here, and all the rest of it. Well, not so fast. Consumer buying power is beginning to rise again, and I believe this bodes well for the TV networks, their advertisers and the ad agencies, too.
Historically, at least, TV has long been advertisers’ favorite medium. But as we’ve seen over the last few years, when corporate profits dip, so does the TV ad budget. Nowhere
Consumer Electronics Show 2011
January 07, 2011 | 4:26pm
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is always a highly attended event. This year is no exception. It is packed. I have spent the past few days at the show in Las Vegas. If this show is any indication, companies are letting their people go on boondoggles again. This show is elbow to elbow people and it’s a bit useless as well. A bit useless because every TV maker has a 3D version; every computer maker and phone maker has a tablet computer (the tablets don’t appear to be as good as the iPad). To be honest with you, the 3D TVs give me a headache. 4G is a hot topic and the phone makers tout the best 4G network. But let’s be honest – the 4G networks they have run down every battery so your 4G phone lasts about half a day before you need to recharge.
2011 Advertising Outlook (Podcast)
January 04, 2011 | 11:22am
STRATA CEO and President, John Shelton, was recently interviewed for Street.com podcast – The Real Story by Gregg Greenberg. From a STRATA perspective, John provided the 2011 advertising outlook and predicted leading trends for the media industry. To listen to the entire interview, follow this link. (John’s segment starts around the 5-minute mark)
TV Advertising Still Rules in 2011
December 31, 2010 | 12:35pm
(This was originally published in iMedia Connection on December 30th)
TV has historically been the favored medium for advertisers. But as we know well from the last several years, as profits wane, so does advertising. This has been especially true in terms of the struggling automakers. Historically the top TV advertiser, automakers, failed to make an impact in recent years, and were “out bought” by consumer electronics companies and other related firms. Overall, this has lead to a decline in TV ad revenue and a blow to the networks, both traditional broadcast and cable.
World Series Ratings and Revenue Without the Yankees
October 27, 2010 | 11:32am
I was recently asked by a writer for the Hollywood Reporter about advertising for the World Series and how the absence of the Yankees will impact ad sales and viewership. Clearly, the Yankees would have been better for the series in this respect. They are from the biggest market and almost everybody roots for the Yankees or the team playing the Yankees. The Yankees also have a national following like the Cubs and the Braves.
That being said, there is a good story with Texas (who has never been in the World Series, let alone won a playoff series). The state of Texas will be watching, that will be certain. Plus, since the economy is much better in Texas, expect a good showing with local ads and support. An argument could be made that the opposite is true in San Francisco. There are five teams in California and the state’s economy is struggling. This is not as good a situation. So clearly, this series match-up may tend to tip towards Texas as far as the state that may benefit the most.
Association of Hispanic Ad Agencies 2010 Conference Review
October 13, 2010 | 10:58am
I recently had the opportunity to attend the AHAA (Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies) Conference in Miami, Florida. We have attended this conference the last couple of years and it is always a great event that allows us to showcase STRATA to the Hispanic market. I always love conferences like this because it allows us to interact face-to-face with the key players of current and future agencies (all in the same place).
I know this doesn’t come as a surprise to many of you but the Hispanic market is growing and the needs of this segment need to be addressed. The AHAA conference showed a shift in the mindset of agencies by focusing on understanding the Hispanic consumer in more detail, defining various Hispanic households into various categories and targeting those categories with distinct campaigns and messages.
Can Mobile Advertising Be Favored by Consumers?
September 15, 2010 | 4:45pm
From time to time we get the opportunity to provide commentary for various publications. This one that was recently published in iMediaConnection: (you can also see the article at http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2010/09/15/can-mobile-advertising-be-favored-by-consumers/ )
Can Mobile Advertising Be Favored by Consumers? That is a question heavily debated by both advertisers and consumers in the short history of mobile advertising. Consumers have always had a love/hate relationship with advertising; they get frustrated when it interrupts their favorite shows, yet applaud when it fulfills their needs. What reaction can consumers and advertisers expect from mobile advertisements: frustration or applause?
Consumer concerns over mobile advertising can be divided into two areas: advertisement overload and privacy. Both are incredibly important to consumers and each concern can provide a cautionary guideline for advertisers. The new iAd platform by Apple will allow advertisers to directly engage consumers on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad through “in-application” advertising. While there are a couple of different mobile advertising strategies in place (i.e. opt-in options for costly applications to be free), the most promising for both consumers and advertisers is location-based advertisements and behavioral targeting. Unfortunately, this targeted advertising is one of the main criticisms levied against mobile advertising.
TAB in Review - Hot and Helpful!
August 17, 2010 | 4:26pm
It’s always a pleasure to visit Austin for the Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) annual convention. August in Austin is always the same – hot! (I don’t know how those Longhorn football players handle it, but that’s a topic for another day.) I have attended the TAB show for a number of years now and I’m always impressed that no matter the format - TV, radio, digital concerns – the TAB handles it all, offering what’s billed as the largest state convention in the country.
Under the Lights at Bloomberg TV
July 27, 2010 | 3:58pm
By now whether it was through our website, the Washington Post, YouTube or even live, many of you have watched my interview that was on Bloomberg TV. It was an interesting experience to be a guest on the In Business program. I’ll get more into that in a second. The main reason we were on the program was to talk to about our latest survey (www.gotostrata.com/news). Since we started doing these surveys at the end of 2008, we have noticed some interesting trends. Digital advertising has taken a big leap forward, TV remains tops, and agencies have gone from shedding employees to returning to a hiring process. We use this valuable information in many different ways. One, it helps us get a gauge of what our clients are going through – their struggles and successes. Two…
Social Media is Changing Advertising
June 30, 2010 | 3:42pm
Many media buyers that we hear from say that their clients are more and more interested in putting dollars into social media advertising. According to a recent Nielsen report, the world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites. It also pointed out that consumers spent more than five and a half hours on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009. That is an increase of 82% from the same time a year earlier.
Great Job STRATA Runners/Walkers
June 04, 2010 | 4:36pm
STRATA proudly sponsored a team of runners/walkers for the recent J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. The JPMCC is a huge run in Chicago that saw nearly 20,000 people run and walk 3.5 miles near the shores of Lake Michigan not far from our offices at STRATA. The theme this year was “Working Together for a Greener Tomorrow”.
Social Media: Is it Measurable?
May 20, 2010 | 10:26am
I attended The Cable Show recently in Los Angeles. Among the many great points discussed at the conference were Social Media and its impact on advertising. We use various forms of social media here at STRATA in our marketing efforts, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn just to name a few. We aren’t alone either, hundreds of thousands of businesses use social media to connect to their clients, customers and prospects.
Olympics or No Olympics… a Ratings Tale
March 26, 2010 | 11:33am
The much-anticipated Nielsen February ratings started rolling out this week. For the majority of Nielsen clients that’s one of the four report cards most stations look forward to getting. I say most stations because this release presents a quadrennial set of challenges for TV stations and their buyers. The Vancouver Olympics may be just a memory now, but they’ve left quite a legacy in the short-term for broadcasters. The February 2010 survey period was influenced by impressive Olympic numbers for most NBC affiliates, which in turn made this rating period anything but normal. For familiar primetime “hits”, well, some of them took a big hit running against the Olympics! So what’s a station to do?
Political Advertising Affects Everyone
March 12, 2010 | 12:10pm
If you have one shot at keeping your job what do you do? For many politicians, they launch a television campaign. Television commercials are still the avenue of choice for politicians and this is a huge election year for senate, house and gubernatorial races. You couple that with the recent Supreme Court decision to open campaign finance limits, and the floodgates are wide open for political advertising and lobbying groups like healthcare, energy providers and many more.
35,000 feet up – and worlds away from good customer service
February 24, 2010 | 3:48pm
Good customer service is essential. When it isn’t a priority, you notice and it can negatively influence the way you feel about a company. I was a victim of bad customer service recently. Imagine this – you are 35,000 feet in the sky, belted to your seat and the service you received makes you want to grab a parachute and jump. Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but it did leave a negative impression on me. I was on an airline (that shall remain nameless) flying back from New York. I travel quite a bit, so I redeemed some frequent flyer miles for a first class seat. What I received there was less than first class and even less than my luggage in the hull…
Predictions… Results… Changing Landscape
January 26, 2010 | 3:02pm
Electronic channels have definitely changed the advertising industry and are shaping the future of this space. According to a recent article by Jennifer Seidel of the 4A’s, “Advertising has undergone dramatic changes…Digital technologies have transformed the way we do business.” Here at STRATA we see that change every day. We had over 2.6 million electronic orders and invoices flowing through our systems in 2009. We expect that number to climb higher this year.
2009 Ended with a Rush to Advertise
January 05, 2010 | 5:46pm
Quality is quality. And when it comes to advertising everyone showed up in the 4th quarter buying quality media. Most media sellers reported surprisingly strong fourth quarter business. Surprising - because there were virtually no pre-sales.
Advertisers waited until the last minute, risking a sell out. And most of them were able to get their ads placed, this year.
Advertising Feast or Famine this Holiday Season?
December 04, 2009 | 10:37am
HDTV’s are cheap! There are also plenty of jewelry specials to be had. If you watched any television, listened to the radio or read any newspapers so far this holiday season, you have been inundated with advertisements. If you have ventured out shopping, you can tell that the advertising is working because the stores are packed. In a study by BDO Seidman, LLP, 19% of retailers have increased their advertising budgets…
Media Buying Agencies Hiring Soon?
November 16, 2009 | 10:45am
One thing we noticed in our third quarter survey of media buying agencies was that while the economy shows signs of improving, hiring by media buying agencies remains stagnant. Of those polled, 82.5% said they plan on keeping their staffing the same for the rest of the year. One interesting thing was that for the first time in a year, less than 10% in our survey said they will add staff. That is a 56% decrease from a year ago. With fewer employees, many agencies are purchasing advertising that is easier to produce and purchase. That’s one of many explanations to the strength of Radio and Internet advertising in our latest poll.
Are We at a "V" or a "W", and Where Does Advertising Fit?
November 02, 2009 | 6:14pm
We are at a point in the recession where everyone is wondering: Are things better? In the economic cycle, are we going to have a “V” recovery or are we partway through a “W”? There are different parts of a recession – we just need to figure out which part we are in right now.
Easy to Use and Packed with Info
October 20, 2009 | 7:01am
Our new website can help you get the information you need along with details on products and services that can serve you and your company best. Whether you need to learn about upgrades to our products, new product offerings, trends in the industry or find out our latest FAQ’s - the new website is the place for you. Think of it as your one-stop-shop for all things media buying and selling.
The New STRATA Logo
October 16, 2009 | 7:55pm
25 years have passed since STRATA started as a small software company. Now, we are in virtually every corner of the media buying and selling business with over 12,000 users. We have definitely evolved and we knew we needed a new brandmark that describes what we are today and into the future.
25 years of experience and poised for many more…..
October 08, 2009 | 7:44pm
The STRATA Blog is where you will find the latest news at STRATA and the industry – from product and service updates to marketplace trends. The STRATA Blog will provide insight into the media buying and selling industry from not only me, but also our experienced team of executives including Joy Baer, David Prager, Paul Levy and many more.
What is going on in the media buying/selling industries?
July 23, 2009 | 9:35pm
What is going on in the media buying/selling industries? What is the future of Advanced Advertising? How has television advertising changed and what will it look like tomorrow? How has STRATA pushed e-Business forward in our industry and what does that mean for you and your company?
STRATA President/CEO John R. Shelton has his opinions. Click on STRATA’s Blog regularly to find out the answers to these and other items in the news today!