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Street Fight: Heard On The Street
49 minutes | 14 days ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 58: Gamifying Digital Advertising
Among digital media formats, some of the greatest growth over the past five years has been in gaming. That includes mobile gaming, console gaming, and of course the explosion of eSports and streaming through networks like Twitch. All of this has inflected further in the Covid era. Tracing these trends back to the advertising and commerce worlds that Street Fight covers, the appetite for gaming has inspired ad tech players to maximize interactivity through, among other methods, the gamification of advertising. Gamification and other interactive features can breed deeper levels of engagement, response, and brand recall. This is where AdColony lives. The company specializes in gamified and highly interactive mobile display ads. According to AdColony’s Jonathan Harrop, the latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street Podcast, this interactivity is indeed proving to deepen engagement and boost key ad metrics. This trend goes beyond interactive ads that are classified as “games.” Interactivity can also mean animated sequences that the user controls or clickable elements to find out more about a product. For example, the interactivity trend includes car ads that let you tap on various parts of the car to find out details and specs. We discuss how the company is doing this on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
32 minutes | 2 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 57: Streamlining the Digital Ad Stack
What can one learn through a combination of the Peace Corps, CPA training, and the ad tech world? On Street Fight’s Heard on the Street Podcast, we often talk about the virtues of “cross-training” in a given career path. Perhaps no one embodies that principle more than VRTCAL founder Todd Wooten. As the latest guest on the show, Wooten summarizes the above journey and advice for younger executives. Among the lessons: Be knowledgeable about the job of everyone you manage. You don’t have to have ninja-level expertise, but know the basics of functions like sales, engineering, and accounting. As for VRTCAL, the company streamlines digital advertising and the many siloed functions between advertisers and publishers (DSPs, SSPs, ad networks, etc.). Through its SaaS-packaged “open SSP,” it has been able to bring publishers 25% more revenue through optimization and automation. It does this through what Wooten calls demand path optimization (DPO), which brings publishers more control. The advertiser counterpart, supply path optimization, already helps advertisers find the best inventory. Wooten asserts that DPO can close the loop for the holistic holy grail: ad path optimization. We discuss how the company is doing this on the latest episode. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
42 minutes | 3 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 56: Diversifying the Digital Ad Stack
Brand advertising has gone through a transformative period… and we’re not talking about a pandemic. Of course, the entire ad world has been upended in the past six months, but ample change was already underway beforehand. The evolution of customer data and in-housing are two factors driving brand advertising’s transformation. One company that is natively primed for this ongoing transformation is Digilant. As we discussed with CEO Raquel Rosenthal on the latest episode of Heard on the Street, the company offers a multi-faceted service model that both diversifies its market opportunity and mitigates its risk as a player in the ever-shifting advertising world. This multi-faceted approach includes interlocking pieces such as ad tech software, agency services, and consultancy services. These can be mixed and matched in various ways. For example, clients can use Digilant’s software for in-house brand marketing work or rely on the company as more of a full-service agency. “Since Digilant started as an ad tech company, we’re differentiating as a new type of emerging agency and consultancy,” Rosenthal said. “We have deep knowledge of data, technology, analytics. From our DSP/DMP days, we have product and engineering and data science teams and expertise. We have knowledge of how ad tech and martech technology fits together.” All these components strengthen each other. Ad tech software development can benefit from first-hand agency perspective, and agency services can be more effective if vertically integrated with ad-tech software. Among other things, this approach gives brand advertisers a more comprehensive offering. “The reason that brands now want to work with fewer partners is because they want a holistic view of what’s happening,” Rosenthal said. “So if they’re working with too many partners, they’re data-siloed and don’t get a full picture. So by working with an end-to-end partner, [they can] make sense out of the whole puzzle.” Digilant’s positioning likewise aligns with the increased adoption of in-house marketing. Though many brands are walking away from agency services (and fees), they still need ad tech software, meaning Digilant is primed to meet demand in a post-agency world. We discuss how the company is doing this on the latest episode. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
32 minutes | 4 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 55: Location Intelligence’s New Normal
Location intelligence is a hot topic. Demand is growing, startups continue to enter the market, and location privacy sensitivity (including government regulation) is hitting new peaks. Growing demand results from not just greater need for location intelligence but also broadened areas of applicability. In other words, location intelligence is expanding beyond its well-known uses for advertising (ad targeting, attribution, etc.), supporting enterprises in a number of other ways. That includes supply chain management as well as decisions about where to open another store location. All of the above applications of location intelligence are fueling UberMedia, our latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast. UberMedia CEO Gladys Kong says that this expansion of location data’s utility was already underway but has accelerated in the Covid era. “I believe there will be use cases that you and I haven’t thought of yet that come around in the next five to 10 years,” she said. “But today, the timing with Covid going on relates to human movement data: trying to figure out where groups of people are moving around. “A lot of that human movement data can be used to help model and figure out where outbreaks could be happening and help plan hospital availability and re-route patients. And as we reopen, [location intelligence] is a great way to inform businesses during the recovery phase.” Opportunities for location intelligence are also expanding to new business categories and verticals. The name of the game there is to craft customized packages that address vertical-specific operational and marketing goals. “UberMedia differentiates itself by being a flexible solution,” she said. “We don’t believe location intelligence can be used as one-size-fits-all. Every vertical may have some similar questions but always [has] customized questions. Having a platform that allows for some flexibility and customization per vertical is where we differentiate.” We discuss how UberMedia is doing this on the latest episode. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
43 minutes | 5 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 54: Augmenting Local Commerce
The thing about local commerce is that nearly every technology and macro trend in the tech world touches it. Just like all politics is local, all tech is local. But some technologies apply more than others. Mobile proximity payments to order and pay for your latte are more “local” than, say, blockchain. Another technology currently emerging has a deep and fundamental alignment with local: augmented reality. AR is inherently conducive to local commerce, as geo-anchoring aspects of the technology provide a foundation for utilities like local search and discovery of location-fused digital content. This is playing out in many ways, including Google’s “internet of places” aspirations to let you point your phone at storefronts to reveal information like business details and reviews. It’s also happening in brand advertising activations to let consumers visualize products in 3D through mobile AR interfaces. The latter is the focus of M7 Innovations, our latest guest on Heard on the Street (listen above). As we wrote a few months ago, the digital marketing agency worked with Panera for its latest AR ad campaign on Snapchat. Panera customers could visualize menu items in their immediate space through AR lenses. M7 founder Matt Maher tells us there are several advantages to this new flavor of brand marketing. AR’s immersion creates strong consumer engagement, which can be seen in metrics like session lengths. In-store activations mean lower-funnel impact near the point of purchase. “On Facebook, basically one of every four people who saw the AR ad went in store to Panera after they saw it,” said Maher. “On Snap, it was 2.8% of anyone who actually experienced it, then made a digital purchase […] AR is very engaging. It gets people to click through; it gets people to actually play around with these models. But the second piece is what AR actually does to the brain […] Qreal just did a study with Oxford and New South Wales University, and we now have scientific data that proves that when a human sees a dish in 3D in full photogrammetry, it increases their craveability. It increases them wanting to actually consume that dish rather than just seeing a 2d image.” This plays out differently across verticals and product categories. AR is proving to add ample value wherever product visualization is additive to consumer confidence or “craveability.” This applies to cosmetics and fashion, especially now that social distancing precludes in-store try-ons. We discuss the ins and outs on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
31 minutes | 5 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 53: Pioneering Audio Out-of-Home
We’ve all heard of out-of-home advertising: staples such as billboards and subway ads. Audio is one of the oldest forms of advertising, from terrestrial radio to pandora. Shopper marketing has been around for decades to steer in-store shoppers with last-mile messaging. These are all common staples of local advertising. But combine them, and you may have something interesting. This combination of OOH, audio, and shopper marketing is what Vibenomics calls audio out-of-home. It gives retailers a way to more intelligently monetize the soundwave inventory in their locations through targeted messaging. The company reaches 150 million monthly uniques according to chief strategy officer Paul Brenner, our latest guest on Heard on the Street (listen above). That’s twice the size of Pandora in audience reach and larger than most cable broadcast stations, while offering ads at the point of purchase. “It’s taking your traditional music and messaging platform — whether that’s the one’s you know today like Mood Media or Pandora for Business — and exposing that in a way that there’s real-time ad insertion available to advertisers through their DSP. So audio out-of-home is essentially the music and messaging that you would hear — music, promos, ads — completely automated all the way down to the location player of a retail store, bought and sold through traditional programmatic.” Brenner says that this medium is most conducive to retail environments where there’s a considered purchase (like a Verizon store) or ample product variability (like a grocery store). The latter is the longstanding domain of shopper marketing, which is the area Vibenomics is disrupting most. “At an agency level, we are getting some audio money and some out-of-home money. But the biggest interest comes from shopper marketing. Because we have a relationship with the retailer — along with a buy at a reasonable CPM — we can show the delivery of the impression. We can provide them a lift study. We can provide them an ROI study. We have the POS data with the retailer… We seem to be winning a bigger share of the shopper marketing budget because they know what to do with that.” As for what’s next, Brenner wants to move into advertiser verticals and retail categories, including sporting goods and pet supplies. Vibenomics also has an opportunity to offer its analytics engine for a sort of “reporting-as-a-service” function that retailers can use in their out-of-home-audio endeavors. We discuss the ins and outs on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
29 minutes | 6 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 52: Localizing Print Advertising
It’s probably fair to say that digital distribution and measurement have accomplished their takeover of media and advertising. Fifteen years ago, print ruled in priority and political capital at magazine and newspaper publishers. Their digital and online counterparts were mostly an afterthought. Now the situation is reversed in many respects. Digital gets all the attention. And rightly so: it legitimately has more robust capability to do things like target audiences and measure results. But we often forget that print media still holds advantages like premium status and deeper engagement. The ideal approach in advertising is to cherry-pick the best of both worlds. This is where MNI Targeted Media, with a specialty in premium print channels like magazines coupled with targeting expertise, stakes its claim to relevance. MNI director of planning and strategy, Tommy Shaw, joins us on the latest episode of Heard on the Street (listen above). “[We] allow advertisers on a local or regional level to basically bundle national magazines and reach their audiences on a geo-targeted basis,” Shaw said. “So whether it’s a new product rollout of a national company or a healthcare system that might be available in two DMAs, they’re able to still get that premium distribution of a national magazine but have their geo-targeted message.” Meredith-owned MNI also works in OTT television and is aligned with the broadcast properties of the Meredith Local Media Group (LMB). It targets political topics, issues of particular concern to women, and a few other key verticals, and it’s intent on expanding into additional topical areas such as cannabis. “We’ve been in the process of launching a solution for the cannabis industry,” Shaw told us. “We’re kind of working our way there […] We feel that’s obviously another growing area that’s only going to take off even more. Having something to bring to the space that’s a differentiator is a goal of ours.” We discuss the ins and outs on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
26 minutes | 6 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 51: Adding a Third Dimension to Location Data
Location intelligence continues to be a foundational component of the local media and commerce industries. During the smartphone era, the topic has kept us busy, including its many moving parts like the underlying tech, the privacy environment, and emerging factors like 5G. Meanwhile, bringing new dimension (literally) to location data is the field of “3D location.” This essentially takes typical lat/long coordinates and adds a Z-axis. It brings new meaning in the form of elevation, which comes in handy in places like high-rise buildings and shopping malls. This is where Polaris Wireless hangs its hat. The company uses several inputs like barometric pressure to pinpoint mobile device locations using all three dimensions. This can have many use cases such as helping emergency responders show up to the correct floor of a building. “Any time there’s an (X,Y) location, a corresponding Z can be helpful,” Polaris VP of Research Scot Gordon, told us on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast (listen above). “Especially when you’re in urban areas where there are multi-story buildings.” In addition to emergency response, this can be valuable in marketing attribution, says Gordon. Not knowing elevation in a given location reading can be a pain point in high-value commercial districts where you may have several floors, like an urban shopping center or any mall. “The marketing companies would like to know where they can attribute an individual visit,” he told us. “Specifically that they can attribute it to Starbucks or McDonald’s or any number of spaces that they would be interested in knowing who and which individuals visited.” Adding a third dimension to location data is also effective in various public health contexts. For example, it helps hotels keep their employees safe when they’re working on a large property. The technology equips workers with a “panic button” that can transmit an exact location. Going forward, Gordon is excited about the advent of 5G. Polaris’ underlying technology and data gathering methodology is a hybrid approach that utilizes many signals. 5G could be another signal given the technology’s low-range, high-frequency signal that requires densely-packed base stations in the same high-value urban locations that Polaris serves. “We fuse various pieces of information into the location problem,” said Gordon. “So, anytime we can get new information that pertains to location, we can fold that [in]. Today, barometric pressure is the most meaningful measurement from an altitude estimation perspective, but it doesn’t mean that wifi or 5G can’t be leveraged in the future, and it should improve things.” We discuss the ins and outs on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
32 minutes | 7 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 50: Reinventing Out-of-Home Advertising
When most people hear the term “out-of-home” advertising (OOH), they think of old-school billboards and bus kiosks. Those are still staples of the category, but its growth and innovation are being defined by other approaches at the intersection of physical media and digital targeting. “People instantaneously think billboards, but it literally can be wrapping a ferry going to a music festival for a brand and throwing a party on said ferry,” said Quan Media Group Founder & CEO Brian Rappaport on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast (listen above). “If you do out-of-home the right way as a brand, you’re going to hit that audience you’re looking to hit. That’s the challenge for me: finding the right fit for so many of the unique brands I work with because really none are the same.” Rappaport has spent most of his career at other firms developing the out-of-home playbook. Now with the newly-formed Quan, he’s primed to innovate in OOH with a more specialized approach. Doubling down on specialization, Quan is likewise zeroing in on a specific advertiser category: direct-to-consumer (DTC). That includes brands like Casper and Glossier. The category is not only expanding, but also its players tend to be highly receptive to creative ad strategies. “I realized that while there are so many amazing OOH agencies out there, there wasn’t one devoted to working with this category that’s exploding,” said Rappaport, citing emerging DTC subcategories like real estate and pet products. They see the opportunity for what the Caspers and Allbirds of the world have done. Coming full circle to the intersection of OOH with digital and mobile, the former has come a long way from attribution methods like counting cars under billboards. There’s now a great deal more nuance to target content dynamically on digital signage and tie in campaigns to social media, capitalizing on attention-grabbing tactics like Instagram sharing. “There’s so much you can do now in the attribution and measurement space in out-of-home that also blends into the world of tech,” Rappaport said. “That has really led to the reason why we’re averaging around 3 to 4% year-over-year growth as a category.” We discuss these directions and the ins and outs of OOH on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
36 minutes | 7 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 49: Connecting a Multi-Device World, with Tapad
In addition to the coronavirus-fueled downturn, the mobile ad world is facing industry-specific challenges that will reshape the industry in the coming years. As public and private sector privacy measures make it harder than ever to process consumer movement data, the ad tech landscape will be defined by leaders who can innovate creative ways to obtain and process meaningful consumer insights. As we’ve examined, that’s sometimes a matter of network effect. Foursquare has taken that approach by continuing to build the sheer size and variety of its data sources, partly via M&A activity. With similar network effects in mind, Tapad applies a co-op model to assembling a meaningful corpus of mobile location data. “Our model in its essence is really a co-op model,” said Tapad CEO Sigvart Voss Eriksen on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast (listen above). “Clients contribute to the graph, and we procure some data to fill the gaps. So the network effect of our customer base is the main source of the data.” This is also notable in that most of the regulatory scrutiny around consumer ad-targeting (GDPR, CCPA) isn’t really about using data but sharing and selling it. That makes first-party data even more valuable than it was before. A co-op approach is one way to scale that data generation in creating a larger tent for first-party data. Looking forward, Eriksen is excited about the direct-to-consumer (DTC) segment. Comprised of companies like Casper and Dollar Shave Club, this continually- growing segment is hungry for consumer insights, given that DTC companies act as their own sales channel. Also, all things e-commerce have been boosted by the current pressure the pandemic is putting on brick-and-mortar stores. We discuss these directions and the ins and outs of the Tapad Graph on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Listen above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode, and check out Street Fight’s media kit for the full slate of visibility options.
37 minutes | 9 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 46: Improving Road Safety with Your iPhone
Insurance is typically viewed as an old-school industry that’s not very sexy. But Cambridge Mobile Telematics VP Ryan McMahon thinks insurance gets a bad wrap in that respect. As the latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast, his company is innovating actuarial work and safer roads. McMahon’s firm accomplishes that by capitalizing on the powerful computer we all carry around (and drive around) in our pockets. Given all its sensors like GPS and accelerometers, the modern smartphone packs ample situational awareness. One of the things it can do is detect signals that indicate driving quality. “It’s not using the apps on the phone or the data coming off the phone — it’s just looking at the sensors,” said McMahon. “It’s looking at the accelerometer, it’s using the gyroscope, the barometer and the GPS, to then determine all those risk factors, how they contribute to an individual, and then how to improve them. And ultimately, over time, we don’t just measure risk but improve drivers and make the roads safer.” The company has refined its software to be able to detect and infer signals that can evaluate driving quality. Working with insurance companies, its technology is then white-labeled and deployed via smartphone apps to consumers. On an individual basis, they can then track driving. Armed with this data, insurance companies can then assess risk as well as reward and incentivize good behavior. That offers both altruistic and business advantages. Safer roads are a clear outcome, but the company also helps insurance firms by preventing road incidents. This is analogous to the paradigm shift in the healthcare world where “quantified self-movement” (made possible by wearables, biometric trackers, etc.) can allow insurance companies to track and reward healthy behavior through reduced premiums. Cambridge Mobile Telematics applies this same principle to driving. If you are reading this article you may be interested on pc gaming news and other technology articles that you can find here. “CMT didn’t invent telematics, but we did invent mobile telematics,” said McMahon. “There were other methodologies that were here before us looking at extracting data from a vehicle or from an OBD port or other devices fitted to a car. But nothing was delivering regular feedback after every single drive. Similar to the health area, you really need that data on a regular basis.” We discuss these and other dynamics with McMahon on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Check out the full episode above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our entire episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode and stay tuned for Street Fight’s updated media kit.
33 minutes | 9 months ago
Heard on the Street, Episode 45: Building a Local Video Marketplace, with Stringr
Video as a medium continues to gain prevalence given better bandwidth, mobile connectivity, and cultural factors. Creation and distribution tools also continue to democratize “pro-sumer” video like TikTok. But at the professional end of the scale, quality production is still expensive and hard to find. This is the segment of the video market that Stringr addresses. The company has created a sort of networked marketplace to connect supply and demand for video creation. That includes everything from a library of locally relevant B-roll footage for news stories to specific on-demand assignments. Traditionally, the latter is commissioned in old-school ways including the finite rolodex of a given news organization, documentarian, or brand advertiser. Stringr saw this as an opportunity to bring greater marketplace transparency and network effect to the production of localized video content. This brings speed and efficiency to the process of sourcing video, according to Stringr co-founder & CEO Brian McNeill, the latest guest on our Heard on the Street podcast: “We have a network of over 100,000 videographers who have signed up for our platform and have our app installed on their iOS or Android device. So, what this means is as a media organization, for example, NBC News who needs video of a given news event…say a protest in Illinois… they can drop a pin on a map and request that video. Then a push notification goes out to everybody nearby. And those folks who choose to accept, shoot video of that protest then upload it. NBC sitting back in New York can then view that video and purchase that video. When they do so, the original videographer gets paid. So what we’ve done is basically make the process of sourcing video much more efficient and much more rapid than has been done before.” Providing the possibility for exponential growth, Stringr can gain value as its video repository expands in ways that makes it a searchable library. With a taxonomy wrapped around it, this allows Stringr to launch a subscription product and all of the recurring-revenue benefits that go with it. It can also achieve a better network effect as it builds each end of its two-sided marketplace. The more videographers (supply) and news organizations (demand) it has on the platform, the better network density it can achieve, meaning greater ability to match specific needs to a local video pro. Other macro trends meanwhile position Stringr in interesting ways, says McNeill. Those include everything from 5G (low-latency live video capture) to drones. The barriers to drone ownership continue to lessen, meaning a potentially vast library of aerial imagery to fill out Stringr’s library. We discuss these and other dynamics with McNeil on the latest episode of Heard on the Street. Check out the full episode above, find out more about Heard on the Street, and see our entire episode archive here. Contact us if you’d like to sponsor an episode and stay tuned for Street Fight’s updated media kit.
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