Masthead Blogs
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

Atlantic Books Today has chosen an illustrated cover approach to headline their Spring 2017 issue.
 

The cover has a very clean and uncluttered approach, which gives the title a smart, welcoming feeling.
 

Editor Chris Benjamin.
 

 

The Call for Entries for the 2017 Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAs) is open and the Early bird deadline is June 9. Visit www.CanadianOnlinePublishingAwards.com

 



Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
 Source: deviantart.net

Lets face it we need to change the business model in how we do things, it is not business as usual. All publishing companies have relied on two principal sources of revenue paid subscriptions and advertising to make it work. Then they were forced to distribute their content of the web for free and it has never been the same since. Journalism is also facing its greatest challenge from the invasion of the ad tech tyrants and the fake news business model. Before we jump on the fake news bandwagon, remember fake news has been around in mainstream news in the sports pages on contract signings, trades and rumours before we punish these tyrants.

 

Lets have a look at what I call two Web 2.0 publishing companies to see how they survive in the marketplace. What I am seeing is that publishing companies are becoming like a 3 headed dragon now and are now part ad/social agency, part publishing and part ad rep house as their business model.

 
This is the model of Ideon Media a small company with 30 people, their sources of revenue are 8 consumer magazine publishing sites, with a strong focus in the parent market like Savvy Mom that they own through Maple Media. They also represent 15 USA based sites and sell display advertising for them for the Canadian market. They work with the New Yorker brand and two sister sites that are geared for millennials like Vulture that was recently added to their roster.  

 

 

 

The third of head the dragon is the ad/social media agency services for their advertising clients as they can produce social media content campaigns, traditional media and buying and a programmatic media. According to Natalie Milne, they are building a model based on scale with 23 web properties that delivers millions of eyeballs for consumer ad programs. This scale is required to succeed in the digital space in a market where $2CPM prevail.

 

Here is second company to look at that is trying to ride the video ad wave and is one of the largest global video ad delivery/monetization companies - Teads. This video ad delivery system is a little different as the ad is not placed in the traditional position on the web like the top and right hand side, but is place in the actual article after the first two paragraphs. This is unique in many ways as now ads can be place contextually based on the nature of article. So advertisers looking for the right editorial environment can pick and choose.

 

 
All publishers that sign-up for the video ad delivery system can have any unsold inventory sold in a private ad marketplace they manage for demographic buys with other publishers. Teads will sell this private ad network to the ad community and has a local office in Toronto. This a two head dragon model, but it is global in scale with 40 publishers in the USA they are working with that include Time. They have operations in Europe and Asia.

 

What can we learn from these two companies is that both news and magazine companies needs to add some new tools to the toolbox if they are going to survive and prosper for the next 10 years. The olds ways while they still work need to be refreshed and new ways need to be added. 

 

BUT, basic business strategy rules do not change in this new environment, it just more confusing now as the ad tech tyrants throw out more digital ad concepts as the next miracle cure. This happens even for me sometimes, as we grapple with creating new sources of revenue online and ride the right revenue wave. Doc Searls says it best in this blog posting in our Industry Inspiration column on Masthead when he says.

 

“The only reason publishers go along with adtech is that they don’t know any other way to make money from advertising online ”

 

At the end of the day you need to adapt and adjust. I liken this to my experience as a hockey coach, what is a 5-tool player. A five tool player is one that can be skate, pass, shoot, puck handling  and puck sense. Other tools are competitiveness and physical play. Today’s publishing companies and employees need to be that 5+ tool player and cannot just specialize in one area any more to compete.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Words of Inspiration
Industry Guest Blogger
 

The New York Times said AT&T and Johnson & Johnson were pulling their ads from YouTube, concerned that “Google is not doing enough to prevent brands from appearing next to offensive material, like hate speech.” Business Insider said “more than 250” advertisers were bailing as well. Both reports came on the heels of one Guardian story that said Audi, HSBC, Lloyds, McDonald’s, L’Oréal, Sainsbury’s, Argos, the BBC and Sky were doing the same in the UK. AnotherGuardian story that said O2, Royal Mail and Vodaphone were joining the boycott as well. Wired and AdAge have weighed in too.

 

Agencies placing those ads on YouTube were shocked, shocked! that ads for these fine brands were showing up next to “extremist material,” and therefore sponsoring it. They blame Google, and so does most of the press coverage as well. And Google admits guilt. Google’s executives were summoned to appear in front of the UK government last week after ads for taxpayer-funded services were found next to extremist videos, following an investigation by The Times newspaper. Google must return later this week with a timetable for the work it is doing to prevent the issue from occurring again.

 

On Monday, at a breakfast briefing with journalists before he took to the stage at Advertising Week Europe — Brittin said the annual ad industry event gave Google a “good opportunity to say first and foremost, sorry, this should not happen, and we need to do better.”

 

Brittin added: “There are brands who have reached out to us and are talking to our teams about whether they are affected or concerned by this. I have spoken personally to a number of advertisers over the last few days as well. Those that I have spoken to, by the way, we have been talking about a handful of impressions and pennies not pounds of spend — that’s in the case of the ones I’ve spoken to at least. However small or big the issue, it’s an important issue that we address.” Google also isn’t alone at this. They’re just the biggest player in an icky business. That business is adtech: tracking-based advertising.

 

Let’s be clear about all the differences between adtech and real advertising. It’s adtech that spies on people and violates their privacy. It’s adtech that’s full of fraud and a vector for malware. It’s adtech that incentivizes publications to prioritize “content generation” over journalism. It’s adtech that gives fake news a business model, because fake news is easier to produce than the real kind, and adtech will pay anybody a bounty for hauling in eyeballs.

 

Real advertising doesn’t do any of those things, because it’s not personal. It is aimed at populations selected by the media they choose to watch, listen to or read. To reach those people with real ads, you buy space or time on those media. You sponsor those media because those media also have brand value. With real advertising, you have brands supporting brands. Brands can’t sponsor media through adtech because adtech isn’t built for that. On the contrary, adtech is built to undermine the brand value of all the media it uses, because it cares about eyeballs more than media.

 

Adtech is magic in this literal sense: it’s all about misdirection. You think you’re getting one thing while you’re really getting another. It’s why brands think they’re placing ads in media, while the systems they hire chase eyeballs. Since adtech systems are automated and biased toward finding the cheapest ways to hit sought-after eyeballs with ads, some ads show up on unsavory sites. And, let’s face it, even good eyeballs go to bad places.

 

This is why the media, the UK government, the brands, and even Google are all shocked. They all think adtech is advertising. Which makes sense: it lookslike advertising and gets called advertising. But it is profoundly different in almost every other respect. I explain those differences in Separating Advertising’s Wheat and Chaff:

 

…advertising today is also digital. That fact makes advertising much more data-driven, tracking-based and personal. Nearly all the buzz and science in advertising today flies around the data-driven, tracking-based stuff generally called adtech. This form of digital advertising has turned into a massive industry, driven by an assumption that the best advertising is also the most targeted, the most real-time, the most data-driven, the most personal — and that old-fashioned brand advertising is hopelessly retro.

 

In terms of actual value to the marketplace, however, the old-fashioned stuff is wheat and the new-fashioned stuff is chaff. In fact, the chaff was only grafted on recently.

 

See, adtech did not spring from the loins of Madison Avenue. Instead its direct ancestor is what’s called direct response marketing. Before that, it was called direct mail, or junk mail. In metrics, methods and manners, it is little different from its closest relative, spam.

 

Direct response marketing has always wanted to get personal, has always been data-driven, has never attracted the creative talent for which Madison Avenue has been rightly famous. Look up best ads of all time and you’ll find nothing but wheat. No direct response or adtech postings, mailings or ad placements on phones or websites.

 

Yes, brand advertising has always been data-driven too, but the data that mattered was how many people were exposed to an ad, not how many clicked on one — or whether you, personally, did anything.

 

And yes, a lot of brand advertising is annoying. But at least we know it pays for the TV programs we watch and the publications we read. Wheat-producing advertisers are called “sponsors” for a reason.

 

So how did direct response marketing get to be called advertising ? By looking the same. Online it’s hard to tell the difference between a wheat ad and a chaff one.

 

Remember the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers?” (Or the remake by the same name?) Same thing here. Madison Avenue fell asleep, direct response marketing ate its brain, and it woke up as an alien replica of itself.

 

This whole problem wouldn’t exist if the alien replica wasn’t chasing spied-on eyeballs, and if advertisers still sponsored desirable media the old-fashioned way.

 

Fixing it won’t be easy, because the alien replica has been drunk on digital for so long that very little humanity remains. This is true not just for Madison Avenue, but for both the client and the media stages of the advertising supply chain. On the client side, old-school sales & marketing VPs have been replaced by data-obsessed CMOs who would rather hire an IBM to paint a portrait of a fiction called “the chief executive customer” than actually talk to a real one. On the media side, publishers and broadcasters have long since fired their human sales people and outsourced income production to dozens of third party adtech systems.

 

But at least we’re seeing brands start to wake up, even if they’re still fooled by adtech’s magic tricks. And consciousness is surely happening a level or two above the CMO. Those senior executives, whose brains have not been snatched by adtech, will still recognize the obvious: that brands are best made and served by sponsoring media they know, like and trust.

 

After all, sponsoring trusted media is what produced brands in the first place. It’s also what still what makes brands familiar to whole populations, and what still sponsors worthy publications and the journalism they contain. If brands still want to do “interest-based” or “interactive” advertising (adtech’s euphemisms for what it actually does) they should realize seven things:

  1. Adtech sucks at branding. Hundreds of $billions have been spent on adtech so far, and not one brand known to the world has come out of it.
  2. Yes, it works, about .0x% of the time, on average. The other 99.9x% of the time it produces nothing but negative externalities, including lots of tendentious math by agencies and platforms to justify the expense. Among those externalities are subtracted value from brands themselves.
  3. Yes, direct response marketing does work, and it works best when target customers have already opted in, consciously and deliberately. (Note that there is a great deal of ambiguity about how much being a Google or Facebook member amounts to deliberate and conscious agreement to being followed and targeted, privacy controls withstanding. The choices in those controls should be much more binary and clear than they are.) So if L’Oreal wants to get a conversation going with customers of Lancôme, Giorgio Armani or The Body Shop, they should do it by those customers’ grace, not because the robots they’ve hired guess those customers might be interested, based on surveillance-gathered personal data.
  4. Adtech starts with spying on people. This isn’t the elephant in the middle of adtech’s room. It’s the volcano about to erupt from under adtech’s floor. In that volcano are pissed off people who will soon get their own ways to kill off adtech. The rumbling under the floor right now is ad blocking. The lava that will pave over adtech is full tracking protection.
  5. Adtech’s rationalizations are all around putting the “right message in front of the right people at the right time,” and aiming those messages with spyware-harvested Big Data. Both of those are direct marketing purposes, not those of brand advertising. The difference is stark, absolute, and essential for everyone to understand.
  6. The only reason publishers go along with adtech is that they don’t know any other way to make money from advertising online — and no developers have provided them one. (But that will happen soon. Trust me on this. I know things I can’t yet talk about.)
  7. What Shoshana Zuboff calls “surveillance capitalism” is going to be illegal a year from now in the EU anyway, thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation, aka GDPR. Mark your calendars: on 25 May 2018 will come an extinction event for adtech, because here are the fines the GDPR will impose for unpermitted harvesting of personal data: 1) “a fine up to 10,000,000 EUR or up to 2% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater (Article 83, Paragraph 4)”‘; and 2) “a fine up to 20,000,000 EUR or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater (Article 83, Paragraph 5 & 6).”

Ad choices won’t do the job. That’s adtech’s way to “give you control” over “how information about your interests is used for relevant advertising.” The link into that system is this little symbol you see in the corner of many ads. While clicking on it does provide a way for you to opt out of surveillance, you have to do it over and over again for every ad you see with the damn thing, like playing a slo-mo game of whack-a-mole, and it still relies on the adtech industry keeping cookies in your browsers.

 

If there is a market on the receiving end for “interest based advertising,” let’s have a standard system that puts full control in the hands of individuals, and speaks through open code and protocols to any and all publishers and broadcasters. Anything less will just be another top-down adtech industry paint-job on the same old shit.

 

An open question is if agencies can be programmatic online without spying on people. I think they can, if they start by admitting that spying is where the problem lies.

 

It should be clear that spying is why Do Not Track became a thing, and why ad blocking hockey-sticked when the adtech industry and publishers together gave the middle finger to people’s polite request not to be tracked. (Which is all Do Not Track provides.) It should also be clear that ad blocking and tracking protection are not “threats” and “costs” to publishers and agencies. They are clear and legitimate market responses by human beings to having adtech’s digital hands up their skirts.

 

It also won’t be easy for the big platforms to fix their adtech systems. Consider, for example, the egg that was splattered on Mark Zuckerberg’s face by Facebook’s own adtech when he posted his insistence that “99% of what people see is authentic” and “only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes,” and fraudulent ads ran right next to his post:

 

 

 

These ads are fraudulent in at least three ways: 1) the headlines are lies; 2) espn.com is not the advertiser; 3) if you click on them, you find they’re bait for switches to something else. (One I clicked on was for a diet supplement.) And this is no isolated case. Medium’s Ev Williams also reported the same kind of adtech-aimed fakery.

 

Facebook is going to have a hard time fixing this, because it is entirely in the chaff business. With Google, even though it’s hard to tell whether any given ad placed in a Google property is wheat or chaff, at least some of it really is wheat. (I would guess most search ads are, for example.) It should be just as easy for Google to disclose those ads’ nature as wheat as it is for the company to use Ad Choices to disclose an ad’s nature as chaff. (I suggest one possible approach to this in A way to peace in the adblock war.)

 

But fixing the mess needs to start with advertisers. They can do it by firing adtech and its agents and going back to sponsoring reputable broadcasters and publishers. Simple as that.

 

 

Doc Searls is the Director of ProjectVRM at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University. VRM stands for Vendor Relationship Management, the customer-side counterpart of Customer Relationship Management. Doc will be writing a new book titled” The Intention Economy “on the results of Project VRM published by  Harvard Business Review Press. http://blogs.harvard.edu/vrm/about/

 

 


 


The Call for Entries for the 2017 Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAs) is open and the Early bird deadline is June 9. Visit
www.CanadianOnlinePublishingAwards.com

 


 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
 

Fashion Magazine has announced that their Summer 2017 issue will feature a “peel and reveal cover treatment”.  The cover treatment has been sponsored by Joe Fresh.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Joe Fresh on another cover execution and a high quality editorial integration. The clean and contemporary look and feel of the issue is synonymous with the Joe Fresh brand and the peel-to-reveal cover adds a layer of intrigue and interactivity to the consumer experience,” said Jacqueline Loch, VP & Group Publisher, Women’s Brands at St. Joseph Media.

 

According to the press release: “This is FASHION’s second interactive print cover following the April 2017 mix-and-match “flip book” cover featuring supermodel Coco Rocha that earned an unprecedented 104 million media impressions in 15 days.

 

It goes on to say:

 

“Our dream was to shoot this cover at Cuadra San Cristóbal, an equestrian estate outside Mexico City that was built by the famous Mexican architect, Luis Barragán,” said Noreen Flanagan, Editor-in-Chief of FASHION Magazine. “The setting—with its bright pink and orange walls and its simple, modern lines—perfectly complemented the styling and mood for the shoot. We also wanted the cover to be unexpected. Instead of a typical model shot, we aimed to create a dreamy scene that piqued our readers’ curiosity to interact with the image. FASHION is about more than clothes; our editorial goal is to inspire fashionable lives.”

 

What fun.  Great example of getting creative with the print medium.  Love it!

The issue is on sale in Canada May 15th, 2017.


The first image is the cover before peeling, the second is after peeling.
 

 

 
 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
 

Congratulations to the team at Canadian Geographic for the success of the Nov/Dec 2016 issue, featuring Canada’s new national bird.
 

This issue was a success on every level:

1.  Got lot’s of free media exposure

2.  Sales up 42% from prior year

3.  Cover price increased by $1 to $8.95…a 12.6% increase

4.  Revenue up 59%

5.  Efficiency finished at 42%…up 14 pts from prior year

 
 

 
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Marty Seto says:
Hi Steven, these are created by the client directly and booked like they would an ad. The new copywr...