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Online advertising revenues hit historic Q1 high in 2014

Online adver­tis­ing agen­cies enjoyed a bumper start to 2014 with rev­enues hit­ting a record first quar­ter high of $11.6 bil­lion. The rock­et­ing rise of dig­i­tal  The ster­ling efforts of all those hard­work­ing copy­writ­ers, art direc­tors and account man­agers appear to have paid off hand­some­ly this year, accord­ing to new fig­ures pre­pared for the Inter­ac­tive Adver­tis­ing Bureau (IAB) by Price­wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers US. The $11.9 mil­lion total rep­re­sents a hike of 19 per­cent on the same time last year (which, at $9.6 bil­lion, was itself a record-break­ing zenith). IAB Pres­i­dent and CEO Ran­dall Rothen­berg said: “Inter­ac­tive adver­tis­ing is see­ing remark­able gains. Dig­i­tal screens are a crit­i­cal part of the mar­ket­ing mix and these land­mark fig­ures speak to that irrefutable fact.” The IAB’s Senior VP of Research, Ana­lyt­ics and Mea­sure­ment, Sher­rill Mane, con­curred, stat­ing: “These Q1 rev­enue lev­els speak to digital’s unique abil­i­ty to iden­ti­fy the most rel­e­vant audi­ence seg­ments and deliv­er pow­er­ful results.” Those copy­writ­ers, art direc­tors and account man­agers we just men­tioned who have kept abreast of these devel­op­ments can right­ly con­grat­u­late them­selves. PwC US part­ner, David Sil­ver­man, described the scale of the shift to dig­i­tal: “With con­sumers increas­ing­ly rely­ing on dig­i­tal screens for every­thing from infor­ma­tion to enter­tain­ment, num­bers like these…

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Sharethrough ups the ante on the war on cheesy native ads with new Content Quality Score feature

It doesn’t take a vir­tu­oso art direc­tor to notice that some of the stuff that gets billed as native adver­tis­ing frankly gives native adver­tis­ing a bad name; the qual­i­ty, shall we say, is decid­ed­ly vari­able. But New York’s start­up ad com­pa­ny Sharethrough is see­ing to it that pro­duc­ers of top-draw­er spon­sored con­tent can rest con­fi­dent that their high qual­i­ty wheat will be prop­er­ly sort­ed from the cheesy chaff. And it’s launched a new Con­tent Qual­i­ty Score to fur­ther that end. What counts?  In a some­what under­stat­ed remark, Sharethrough’s CEO Dan Green­berg said that “a lit­tle bit of a bat­tle for the web” was build­ing up, with peo­ple like cre­ative art direc­tors pro­duc­ing seam­less and engag­ing native con­tent push­ing against less dis­cern­ing folk who are hap­py to stick the native label on bare­ly repack­aged stan­dard ads. Sharethrough took up the native baton seri­ous­ly last year, even though it began life as a video ad com­pa­ny. Its new fea­ture is designed to encour­age top qual­i­ty native ads by mea­sur­ing their qual­i­ty and giv­ing them a score. But the con­tent itself doesn’t come under scruti­ny: it’s what peo­ple do with it that inter­ests Sharethrough, so the new Con­tent Qual­i­ty Score tracks all indi­ca­tors…

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Baldwin& founder talks of life after the AdAge Small Agency of the Year Award

David Bald­win, founder of the start­up ad shop Baldwin&, has been talk­ing about the effects of win­ning AdAge’s “Small Agency of the Year” award last year.  As any art direc­tor or account man­ag­er can tes­ti­fy, the prize is a pret­ty impres­sive acco­lade for a shop that launched in 2009 with no clients to its name. A strong sense of self But the same art direc­tor or account man­ag­er will want to know what made Baldwin& stand out. Well, for one thing, this lit­tle shop from Raleigh, North Car­oli­na has a strong sense of self. Short­ly before win­ning the award, it received a call from a client offer­ing it the chance to take over part of a big tele­com account. But after a quick founders’ meet­ing, Bald­win and his team asked “Does this sound fun at all?” They decid­ed it didn’t – and walked away. It also man­aged to strike a blow for the wider agency world. After being invit­ed to take part in a pitch by a client recent­ly, it argued that all par­tic­i­pat­ing agen­cies should be paid for the work they put into the pre­sen­ta­tions. They didn’t win the busi­ness that time – but they did get paid for…

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The anti-advertising contest that promotes online advertising — provided it’s good

Art direc­tors and account man­agers seek­ing to boost the for­tunes of their online adver­tis­ing agen­cies have a new chal­lenge: cre­ate the first “anti-adver­tis­ing” video ad and win class time or $5,000-worth of video equip­ment from a Fil­ipino film insti­tute. An anti-ad ad for adver­tis­ing art direc­tors? Say, what? An anti-adver­tis­ing adver­tise­ment? Isn’t that an oxy­moron? The con­test isn’t quite as hos­tile to the adver­tis­ing indus­try as it at first appears; it’s not about putting the job­bing art direc­tor or account man­ag­er out of work, it’s about encour­ag­ing the pro­duc­tion of pleas­an­ter and more rel­e­vant ads. So says Till Fai­da, man­ag­ing direc­tor of the “creativechallenge.org” project, which is spon­sored by ad-white­out soft­ware com­pa­ny Adblock Plus. Fai­da, who has a back­ground in online mar­ket­ing, says he’s not against ads gen­er­al­ly, just “annoyed by the cur­rent state of ads.” He thinks they can do a lot bet­ter. Appli­ca­tions for the con­test will be accept­ed until the end of May, so art direc­tors might want to get busy soon­er rather than lat­er. From white-out to white-list The ini­tia­tive sig­nals a sig­nif­i­cant change of direc­tion for Adblock Plus: hav­ing recent­ly con­vert­ed into a prof­it-mak­ing firm, it’s acknowl­edg­ing that adver­tis­ing keeps many pub­li­ca­tions in busi­ness.  Now…

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GazeMetrix lets brands track their logos on social media with image recognition software

Now here’s a clever idea for for­ward-look­ing account man­agers from online adver­tis­ing agen­cies: use cut­t­ing-edge image-recog­ni­­tion soft­ware to detect how brand logos are being used in social media pho­tos. Such tech­nol­o­gy would let com­pa­nies track when, where and how their brands were fea­tured (“visu­al men­tions”). For any skep­ti­cal art direc­tors out there, this tech­nol­o­gy isn’t just a pipe-dream, it’s up and run­ning, thanks to young start­up GazeMetrix. Move over hash­tags – image recog­ni­tion is here The firm’s six-per­­son team (half based in Moun­tain View, half in New Del­hi) have dropped the noto­ri­ous­ly unre­li­able hash­tag method of detect­ing what’s fea­tured in social media pho­tos: instead, its unique image-recog­ni­­tion soft­ware can lit­er­al­ly see what’s in the pic­ture. Hash­tags gen­er­ate a lot of fake leads, cap­tur­ing pho­ny accounts and fake updates, volu­mi­nous spam and oth­er irrel­e­van­cies. GazeMetrix dis­pens­es with those prob­lems com­plete­ly. Although it’s cur­rent­ly focused on Insta­gram, plans are afoot to devel­op func­tion­al­i­ty for Face­book and Twit­ter. Brands can not only see how their logos are rep­re­sent­ing them but con­tact users to obtain per­mis­sion for repub­lish­ing the cutest or coolest images on their own chan­nels. The idea grew as an off­shoot of an ear­li­er inven­tion devised by the startup’s three founders while…

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