Video advertising has become a highly effective tool for brands and marketers to communicate their messages to online audiences. In the year 2018, $10.228bn were spent in digital video advertising in the United States alone.
Since its inception, video advertising has faced the criticism of being inherently interruptive in nature. Online users tend to skip or ignore ads that appear to them as annoying or interruptive. This non-engagement of users with the ads is a serious headache for marketers, and they are struggling to find the way out.
Research shows that brands are now increasingly concerned about the interruptive user experience when running their video advertising campaigns. For brands, user experience has become a significant factor to consider while devising their video advertising strategy. Brands are trying to make in-video ads more engaging and less annoying for users. In order to draw effective user engagement, ads should be able to capture the user attention in the first few seconds.
Video ad formats also play an important role in driving better user experience and engagement. By deploying better formats, marketers can make their advertising strategy more effective. According to eMarketer, sixty percent of video ads fall in the in-stream category. Majority of the marketers are currently deploying interruptive in-stream ad formats that can be easily skipped or ignored. Pre-roll and post-roll are used more often over other formats such as overlay video and mid-roll. Overlay ad format, which places an ad over the video content, offers an advantage over other in-stream formats of not overtly interrupting the underlying video content being watched by the user. Thus, overlay ads are less annoying and tend to provide better user experience.
Mid-roll format is least favored by the marketers, especially for short video content, because it is highly interruptive. Therefore, marketers are currently mainly utilizing pre- and post-roll in-stream ad formats for achieving their advertising goals and the whole video content itself is being left uncapitalized. Here, the overlay format comes to rescue. It allows marketers to capitalize on the unutilized video content without being interruptive to users.
Brands have identified certain obstacles in the path of video ad innovation. These include inadequate budget, lack of in-house expertise, misaligned in-house teams, lack of agency relationship, and lack of strong external technology partnership. To achieve their video advertising goals, brands and marketers should focus on innovative, non-interrupting ad formats. But only using the right in-video ad format will not work, marketers should make use of robust, efficient and effective advertising technology such as AI advertising, and give utter importance to context. They should serve contextually relevant in-video ads that are well-aligned with the content the user is consuming.
According to the industry experts, video advertising strategy in the future will be impacted by factors such as demand for non-interruptive ads, growth of over-the-top and connected TV ad formats, growth of social networking and video sharing advertising formats, and demand for contextual advertising.
Users’ demand for non-interruptive ads on connected TV has grown over the years in sync with the growth in its viewership. Currently, in-stream video advertising on this platform is largely interruptive in nature. Contextual video advertising offers an effective solution to marketers to mitigate this interruption on connected TV and enhance user experience.
By using the right mix of in-video ad formats and contextually aligned ads, advertisers can turn upside down the user experience from being interruptive to engaging. To display contextually aligned video ads, a highly effective solution is afforded by AI powered in-video context detection technology.
However, AI-powered solutions that are dependent on machine learning, NLP and semantic analysis, miss the mark when it comes to understanding the sub-text, nuanced contexts and complex relationships words have in written or spoken language.
Computer vision powered contextual advertising technology provides very high degree of context relevance. This technology works by accurately detecting contexts in video such as faces, emotions, logos, objects, scenes and activities in order to display in-video ads that are in line with what the user is actively engaging with. Highly contextually relevant ads appear non-interruptive and appealing to users, and boost the chances of users watching or clicking them.
With AI-powered contextual video advertising, marketers can seamlessly integrate ads with the video content the user is watching, thereby providing a non-interruptive, highly engaging user experience.
Brands have been profoundly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Brands’ response to the coronavirus pandemic not only impacts consumers’ trust today, but it will also significantly impact future purchasing decisions. Moreover, brands could face irreparable damage to their reputation due to brand safety risks associated with COVID-19 related content.
The survey aimed to understand how brands are adapting their marketing strategies to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and how they are mitigating the very real brand safety risks the rapidly growing coronavirus related content consumption poses.
How are brands re-imaging and engaging consumers in light of the pandemic?
The survey found that in the light of the pandemic, brands are reimaging by adapting their marketing tone and initiatives to consumer expectations. Only 5% respondents reported no change in brand positioning pre and post COVID-19, whereas 95% reported a distinct shift that resonates with government policies, and responds to the new consumer expectation.
Ad spending poised to decline
The industries heavily impacted by coronavirus outbreak such as travel, hospitality, physical retail and more have and will continue to paused marketing initiatives. Only 16% respondents said these industries will protect marketing budgets for a stronger comeback later.
Moreover, the survey indicates that it is unlikely that the industries such as health and FMCG that are currently experiencing higher demand will increase marketing spend to capture the demand more aggressively. Even though past recessions have shown that aggressive cuts in ad spends can lead to longer recovery cycles.
Ad Spends are shifting to digital channels
Even with significantly increased TV viewership across SEA, boosted due to government-imposed lockdowns across the region, and various studies indicating curtailed TV ad spends can adversely affect brand health measures – only 2% respondents said brands are spending more on TV and mainstream media, and a large percentage indicated rapid shift to various digital channels.
Brand safety is a key concern, and is driving ad spend cuts
Industries, except few such as health, hygiene, pharma, etc., are stringently avoiding advertising across COVID-19 related content. Publisher news sites and news channels on platforms like YouTube are facing advertisers’ block-lists due to coronavirus-related coverage.
A measure of advertisers’ confidence on brand safety tools is depicted by how despite using third party tools to ensure safe ad placements, brands are reducing marketing budgets and pausing advertising specifically to avoid association with Coronavirus related content.
71% respondents reported brands are reducing marketing budgets ranging from complete halt of marketing spends leading to up-to 80% budget cuts, in order to avoid running ads across coronavirus related content
Can context relevance be the answer?
Emerging AI powered solutions are increasingly focusing on providing context relevance, and are fast becoming an answer to brand safety woes. AI enables processing of large volumes of data at speed, with better context, at higher scale and improved targeting efficiencies.
However, most of these contextual targeting solutions still depend on the use of NLP and semantic analysis, not truly understanding the sub-text, nuanced contexts, and complex relationship words have in written or spoken language.
AI and computer vision-powered video advertising solutions can detect in-video contexts, offering a higher degree of context relevance that surpasses limitations of traditional keyword targeting and NLP based technologies. They offer unparalleled insight for advertisers to place context-relevant in-video ads and exclude unsafe content in a highly structured manner, and at the scale programmatic has traditionally offered.
You can access the full report ‘Brand Response to COVID-19 in SEA’ for detailed insights from the survey.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of human lives. Many people are now working from home. The post Covid-19 workplaces will not be the same conventional workplaces that people have been familiar with for years. Workplace safety will take priority over other matters.
The workplaces will undergo a radical shift from touch-based to touchless. Things like fingerprint-based biometric devices, touch-based screens for booking conference and meeting rooms, kiosks for guest check-in, handle-operated doors, etc. will have to be replaced with viable alternatives to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and ensure employee safety.
The contactless workplaces will make use of automation and touchless technology. Normal doors will be replaced by automatic doors, elevators will be voice-controlled, lighting system will adjust brightness automatically according to the time of the day, temperature control system will be adjusted by gestures or voice, and water dispensers will automatically pour water on keeping a bottle or glass below the tap.
The washrooms will have touchless automatic faucets, hand-free soap dispensers, and automatic flush powered by infrared technology. These products will not only reduce spread of germs, but also save water and soap. Along with touchless hand dryer, touchless paper towel dispenser will also be provided.
The contactless workplaces will make use of contactless attendance system powered by facial recognition technology in place of fingerprint-based biometric attendance system. A computer vision powered face-recognition-based attendance system can easily recognize the faces of employees for the purpose of attendance. Computer vision is an advanced field of artificial intelligence that enables computers to see like human beings and easily identify visual content in images and videos.
Besides powering the face recognition biometric systems, computer vision powered solutions can help employers ensure wearing of face masks by employees and enforce workplace social distancing and sanitization compliance. This technology can also bring into notice if an employee coughs or sneezes.
As an employee health and safety measure, workplaces will have to make use of touchless temperature recording technology. This technology will work by using thermal sensors for recording temperature of both employees and visitors. If any anomaly is detected, it will be instantly reported to the concerned department.
Post Covid-19 workplaces will not allow sharing of accessories such as headphones and each employee will be provided individual accessories along with laptops or desktops. Professional cleaning and sanitization protocols will be regularly implemented for workstations, devices, conference and meeting rooms, reception area, cafes, etc. Easy access to hand sanitizers will be provided throughout the workplace for both employees and visitors. The sensor-based touchless garbage bins will provide a safe way to dispose of garbage.
Workplaces will incorporate antimicrobial materials into interior design elements such as wall paints, door sheets, window shades, etc. Such materials will resist the growth of microbes, thus providing a cleaner surface. To ensure workplace social distancing, workplaces will follow a de-clustering approach by keeping individual employee desks wide apart from each other. This can be achieved by using a larger office area or by creating branch offices. Encasing individual desks will provide added protection from transmission through respiratory droplets. Post Covid-19 workplaces will require advanced air filtration technology in order to effectively filter out disease causing microorganisms.
The post Covid-19 contactless workplaces, by making use of advanced technologies, will help employers to carry out their business, while ensuring employee health and safety.
It takes years and significant resources for a brand to build a reputation in the minds of consumers. Not just the product or service, while choosing a product, the consumers also connect with the brands values and principals. Even a single, less than desired association, can tarnish brand reputation and consumers’ trust for a long time. However, in this era of social media and user generated content, brand safety challenges are many and highly complex.
Video platforms continue to face flak for brand safety violations
March 2017 marked the first major brand safety catastrophe in the video advertising world. Guardian, the British daily newspaper blacklisted YouTube, when ads were found alongside hate speech and extremist content. Subsequently, household brands like Toyota, Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, Verizon pulled out millions of dollars’ worth of ad spend from YouTube.
For the first time, YouTube was dealing not only with reputation damage but also revenue damage. And it wouldn’t be the last time — YouTube was continued to be blamed for hurtful brand exposure, despite introducing corrective measures throughout 2017, 2018 and 2019. Video advertisers on Facebook and Twitter also continue to face similar brand safety issues.
What creates an unsafe video environment?
Millions of dollars’ worth of video ad spend primarily finds home on social video platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more. Ads are placed against user generated content, where the objective is to leverage fast churning content that users relate with. However, with 500 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube alone each minute, it is a challenge to limit ad placement to content that can be deemed suitable.
What are you up against?
We analysed ~10 million videos across video sharing and hosting platforms using Mirrors, an in-video context detection platform that can identify faces, objects, actions, scenes and more within a streaming video. We found nearly 8–9% of all content as brand unsafe, featuring content categories including violence, smoking, adult, and extremist content.
This indicates that 1 in every 9 video ad placements on video sharing platforms can be across potentially harmful content.
The following graph shows the percentage split of content featuring top brand unsafe categories within the harmful content identified using Mirrors.
Why are brand safety measures not working?
Static Keyword based filters and white-listed channels are not cutting it
Advertisers, eager to mitigate brand safety risk, turn to keyword blacklists as the primary solution. Lists can range from 2,000 to 4000 unsafe keywords, used as a filtration mechanism to detect and block harmful video content. However, keyword blacklists cannot guarantee complete protection, and often fail to understand the complex undertones and various contexts a single word can be used for.
A video featuring smoking or violence might not be described so in its title, description or meta tags. There is no way for keyword-based solutions to identify these damaging contexts to filter out this video. Which can lead to household brands advertising across content which is highly unsuitable for their brand image.
And white-listed channels, another widely adopted brand safety measure, are more expensive and highly monitored. Featuring carefully curated content, these channels offer advertisers an experience that mimics regulated, brand-safe, broadcast network TV channels.
However, this limits the true essence of a social platform, and might not really be enabling the reach to the right audience. The cost of running ads using these channels is significantly higher, not producing a ROI commensurate with the investment.
Brand safety is not one size fits all
Each brand is different and must define its own guidelines for inappropriate and damaging context in accordance with its specific needs, values and brand image. And brand safety measures and tools should be able to provide required controls to amplify or lower restrictions to allow a highly customized approach.
What is unsafe content for one brand, can be the exact context that can help another brand reach their most relevant audience.
Blanket restrictions based on static keywords lists and white-listed channels lack the flexibility to offer custom controls, a key factor why brands are often forced to switch off controls in favor of ROI, even staking brand equity and reputation which takes years to build.
Can context relevance be the answer?
One of the key challenges with traditional brand safety tools is the inability to identify the right context. Emerging AI powered solutions are increasingly focusing on providing context relevance, and are fast becoming an answer to brand safety woes. AI enables processing of large volumes of data at speed, with better context, at higher scale and improved targeting efficiencies.
However, most of these solutions still depend on use of NLP and semantic analysis, not truly understanding the sub-text, nuanced contexts, and complex relationship words have in written or spoken language.
Artificial intelligence powered solutions such as computer vision are increasingly making it possible to detect in-video context with great accuracy, offering unparalleled insight for advertisers to place context-relevant video ads in a highly structured manner, and at the scale programmatic has traditionally offered.
What is computer vision?
Computer vision is an AI powered technology that imbibes the complexity of the human vision system, enabling computers to ‘see’ i.e. identify and process objects in visual content including images and streaming videos. Owing to AI advancements, computer vision has even surpassed humans in detecting certain objects.
Most computer vision algorithms can just detect objects, mostly within static images. But more advanced algorithms have been able to accurately identify people, facial expressions, activities, scenes, and even emotions, not only in static images but also in streaming video content.
Computer vision enabled in-video context detection offers a high degree of context relevance that surpasses limitations of traditional keyword and affinity-based targeting.
Computer vision’s AI powered in-video context detection can accurately block ad placements against unwanted, unsuitable, irrelevant and harmful content. These solutions can provide the highest accuracy, not letting damaging ad placements pass through by using frame by frame parsing of video content.
In-video context detection enables true brand suitability. Every brand is different and so are specific brand safety needs. Computer vision offers a tailored approach, offering absolute brand control: unlike keyword blacklists and white-listed channels, that most likely also block perfectly safe content.
Dynamic brand safety, with higher and more relevant reach
In-video context detection opens a whole new set of audience to improve reach, with unparalleled brand safety. The ad has a higher probability to match its environment in terms of context and messaging. It runs on the principal that users are engaging with their interests while consuming certain content, and engaging at the right moment can augment this experience and gain interest and trust.
With brand safety as a key consideration, an advertisement when served in a context that matches the content, is more likely to achieve increased clicks, views, and completed views.
Wins 4 MMA MENA Smarties awards across 3 key categories – innovation, cross-device and programmatic.
The outstanding campaigns created by Silverpush performed brilliantly at the MMA MENA Smarties Awards ceremony held on February 10th at Five Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, by winning one Gold, two Silvers and one Bronze.
Signal and Magna Global & Silverpush won a Gold award under the cross media category for the Signal – UNICEF campaign. Again, for the cross media category, Nissan Middle East and OMD UAE & Silverpush won a Silver for the Nissan Middle East – Cricket World Cup Live Sports SYNC campaign. Telfast (Sanofi) and Mindshare & Silverpush won a Silver and Bronze for the Telfast Weather Sync *Achoo* campaign under the programmatic and innovation categories respectively.
All of the campaigns were powered by Silverpush’s real-time moment marketing platform – Parallels. Parallels enables effective real-time TV ad sync and real-time live moments sync.
Signal partnered with Magna Global and Silverpush to launch a CSR UNICEF campaign to promote oral health in Egypt. Silverpush created a real-time ad sync between Signal toothpaste commercial on local Egyptian TV and Signal’s ad on high-reach social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram. Thus, those viewers that shifted their focus to their smartphones during ad-breaks were effectively targeted. The TV commercial promoted dental hygiene to kids while the ad on social media platforms delivered message about the product benefits. Apart from self-sync, Silverpush also created a competition-sync to show Signal’s ad on Facebook and Instagram when a competitor’s toothpaste ad aired on the TV.
The campaign turned out to be highly effective. The campaign achieved a video view rate of 28%, which was 4 times higher than obtained with non-sync campaign. Post-engagement rate of 28.5% was achieved which significantly surpassed the earlier rate of 0.07%. The completed view rate that started with 49% reached a whopping 72% by the end of the campaign. What is worth noting and interesting is that out of the total video views delivered, 73% were watched with sound on. The campaign achieved an impressive estimated ad recall lift rate of 7.3%.
For Nissan’s campaign, Silverpush leveraged its real-time live sports sync technology. For four years, Nissan has been the sponsor of the International Cricket Council. To strengthen the association of Nissan with cricket, Silverpush ran a campaign during the World Cup on Facebook.
Silverpush found that only 15 decisive minutes of the game get debated again and again. These are the best moments for connecting a brand with the consumers. Silverpush capitalized on these moments by syncing them with the relevant content on the Facebook. Being related to the key game moments, this content was found more engaging by the fans and made Nissan a part of this engaging experience. Nissans’s brand relevance rose by 21%, purchase intent increased by 5% and brand image improved by 10%.
For Sanofi’s anti-allergic Telfast tablets, Silverpush ran a moment marketing campaign, powered by weather sync technology, in the Middle East. In the Middle East, weather changes frequently, even during the same day. Due to this, people there are affected by allergic rhinitis all year long, unlike those in other parts of the world.
Silverpush identified specific weather conditions that lead to a surge in allergic rhinitis. Depending upon the weather conditions and other triggers such as dust, mold, mites, etc., the most relevant ad messages were communicated to consumers in real time. The results of the campaign were highly impressive. Over double-digit growth in sales occurred during the campaign duration. The view rates touched the sky and the ads that ran only during the weather triggers performed 85 times better than others. Trigger targeting increased the click-through rate by 111%.
Silverpush’s prime focus has always been to deliver highly effective campaigns through its innovative technology to provide unprecedented reach and user engagement to brands and impactful brand experience to users. Silverpush’s award-winning campaigns serve as a testimony to this fact.
As privacy becomes a high priority for world’s biggest advertising platforms, its time next gen AI powered contextual targeting solutions pave the way.
Google is finally blocking third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser. Though this will be a gradual phase out, the process has already begun — Google Chrome is to limit cross-site tracking by default starting February 2020, planned with the release of Chrome 80.
This move is not a complete surprise, given the privacy controls and the new anti-fingerprinting technology Google announced for Chrome in May 2019. This also forms part of Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox initiative launched in August 2019, where it invited the industry to co-create new open web standards that advance privacy while continuing to support the free internet.
Some could call this a response to competitive pressure, or more importantly a step to meet user demand for higher privacy. Others debate that this is a calculated move that gives Google a great privacy story line, and at the same time further strengthens its hold in the digital ads industry with the access to all first-party data. Third-party advertisers will now need to get on Google’s ad network to receive the data that will help them target the right users.
But the fact remains that demise of third-party cookies is now real with a defined timeline. And it’s not necessarily bad.
What wasn’t great about third party cookies to begin with
1. Cookie matching, used for syncing cookies to identify a unique user, isn’t perfect. When a cookie from one site is not passed to an advertising platform (which happens in 40 to 60% cases), a part of the puzzle to create an appropriate match is missed.
2. Cookies only enable limited ‘matching’ capabilities, and doesn’t unify the massive amount of data that needs to be synced across the advertising ecosystem for earnest personalized experiences.
3. Cookies are device-based, so when someone goes from desktop to mobile or switches browsers, the consumer journey remains incomplete. A 2018 study found that when multiple device identifiers are connected to a single person, unique reach is 50% less than measured by only cookie-based or device-based identifiers. Meaning, only 50% of the unique audience assumed to be reached is real.
4. Because there are far fewer people seeing your ads, people who were getting the ads are actually seeing far more of them. Meaning, your target audience is getting about 2x the number of intended ads.
5. Also, a majority of tracking cookies are already rejected by browsers anyway. Over 66% of mobile devices don’t accept cookies leading to marketers already missing out on a very important audience segment, mobile users. Leading advertisers to wasteful ad spend by targeting unnecessary impressions.
6. Moreover, cookies place over-reliance on the bottom funnel, with ad placements that cannot effectively convey the brand’s message in cluttered environments.
How Marketers can benefit from a cookie-less digital world
Cookies rely on immediate short-term performance, leveraging ever-decreasing pools of audiences. Marketers will now have to return to people-based marketing, recognizing their audience as people and not cookie pools.
Context-based media buying will emerge to fill this gap, seeking out environments where the target audiences congregate. Marketers will be able to leverage quality, first-party data rather than paying for suspect third-party data of questionable origin and effectiveness.
However, there is a generation of marketers that will still be habitually looking for last-click performance. Google is still giving out hope to this segment. Google’s outlined Privacy Sandbox could still offer users tracking models, with greater privacy of course. And, then there will be alternative solutions as other stakeholders in the ecosystem join forces to find a way to deliver targeted ad experiences across sites in a cookie-less environment. There is every reason to believe that targeting and attribution will still be possible, but the mechanisms will need to radically change.
What are the options as of now?
A cookie less future is not as bleak as it sounds. Marketers already have options available, some of these include panel-based attribution, universal IDs and contextual advertising.
It gives a picture of online behavior of users over long periods of time. It allows advertisers to effectively map demographics and segments, understand user behavior and find users with similarities to customers. The panel-based attribution faces some fundamental challenges such as difficulty in working at a viable level, difficulty in extrapolating large and dispersed audiences, and problems with data efficacy.
This involves identification of users based on deterministic matching. This is in contrast to probabilistic matching approach used by cookies. But this will require collaboration between the vendors along with the development of standards.
Contextual advertising allows advertisers to place ads based on-page contextual triggers, rather than affinities and past browsing behavior. This method displays only those ads that are relevant to the content, and hence, increases engagement by capitalizing on the user’s current state of mind. For example, if a brand wants to sell its kitchen mixer, then it can have its ads placed on websites that have content about kitchen mixers, kitchen appliances, recipes, food items that involves use of mixers etc.
In the post-cookie world, contextual advertising will be the most viable advertising strategy. Not only does it significantly increase user engagement, but also bypasses use of personal data and user privacy breach.
AI and computer vision is powering the next gen contextual targeting
Traditionally contextual advertising has been built around natural language processing (NLP), placing ads by detecting text-based contexts. This is how Google banner ads also work. But NLP is not a perfect science, considering complex nature of human language, where words can convey different meanings and intentions — difficult for a machine to understand.
Emerging AI and computer vision powered tech now offers immense contextual possibilities, which are much more relevant. Contextual in-image and in-video advertising involves displaying ads for a page or video in-line with the content the user is actively engaging with. For example, in a streaming video, the tech can recognize a scene (i.e. someone holding a pair of Nike shoes, or a brand logo) and a relevant ad can appear alongside it.
Sources and references
We are delighted to announce our new brand identity as part of the ongoing evolution of our brand. Our business has grown, our technology has evolved, we are digging into new areas and have launched new products, and so we thought that it’s time for a change. We have refreshed our logo and website to reflect who we are today and to symbolize our future.
Our new brand identity resonates with our focus on AI-powered in-video contextual advertising. The new brand identity perfectly aligns our company with our successful foray into offering cutting edge AI-powered solutions that are redefining limits of in-video contextual targeting.
With blue and green colors in our new website, we have centered our new identity around AI and technology, keeping it modern and focused on trust. The yellow color imbibes the fresh and playful characteristics of the brand – offering flexibility for future innovation. These branding elements have also translated into a new logo, which projects motion and pace.
We started our journey in 2012 as the first Demand Side Platform in India. Since then, we have brought many innovative products to the market, including the first of its kind Cross Device Ad Targeting solution launched in 2014, and the Real-time Moment Marketing Platform, Parallels, in 2018.
We launched Mirrors, the first computer-vision-powered in-video contextual advertising platform, in 2019. Mirrors is able to effectively detect contexts like faces, objects, activities, emotions, scenes and logos in a streaming video for placement of context relevant ads. Through Mirrors, we have helped some of the largest brands in world in achieving unprecedented reach and user engagement.
Our new brand identity helps us in effectively bringing into light our three inherent characteristics – creator, explorer and jester.
As a creator, we love to focus on innovation and quality. We always want to contribute to society by bringing something new into being, i.e. by realizing a vision. We draw deep satisfaction from our efforts of creating something new that did not previously exist but has the potential to revolutionize the industry. Our in-video contextual advertising platform based on artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision is a product of our creator mind and is ushering a new era in ad tech industry.
Our explorer characteristic is exhibited in our desire and efforts to do groundbreaking and pioneering work. We want to have an explorer’s attitude towards the work we do and the way we do it. We don’t want to take the conventional, pre-defined path, but want to pave our own path and discover our own way of doing things, so that we can bring ingenious products in the market. We want to be free from constraints, feel the freedom to explore the technology in our own way, and enjoy our discoveries and innovations. Our explorer trait makes us utilize our capacities to the fullest, thereby allowing us to push the boundaries.
Our fun-loving, light-hearted and playful approach is a reflection of our jester trait. We think outside the box to develop innovative products that make people feel good. We combine fun with creativity and intelligence to offer ingenious solutions to ad tech industry. Being quick-witted, highly adaptable and resourceful, we reframe concepts, present new perspectives and stir up changes. Our jester trait helps us to easily navigate through difficult times and emerge as a real winner.
With this new company branding, we have now moved beyond our legacy. We have always been a first mover in problems we have solved before, be it disrupting cross device tracking or effective push notifications. We are now completely focused on transforming how advertisers reach their customers contextually with our unique offerings, and our new brand identity reflects this. Our tryst with AI and emerging technologies will continue and we will be launching new line of innovative products for the advertising industry in the future.
The placement of ads against video content has emerged as one of the most effective marketing strategies for brands. Placing ads on user-generated videos on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more, provides brands a much wider reach than provided by TV and print media. Despite their vast reach, these social media platforms have their own pitfalls. One of them that is really damaging for the brands is the difficulty in ensuring brand safety.
The term “Brand Safety” has been used to describe the controls that companies in the digital advertising supply chain employ to protect brands against negative impacts to the brand’s consumer reputation associated with specific types of content, criminal activity, and/or related loss of return on investment.
It takes years and significant resources for a brand to build a reputation in the minds of consumers. Even a single less than desired association, can heavily tarnish brand reputation and the consumer’s trust.
Most advertisers today are facing ad placement against unsuitable and potentially harmful content in the following categories that the global digital advertising industry refers to as the “Dirty Dozen” categories to avoid — Military conflict, Obscenity, Drugs, Tobacco, Adult, Arms, Crime, Death/injury, Online piracy, Hate speech, Terrorism, and Spam/harmful sites.
Data shows that 1 in 10 ad placements are against harmful content. According to a survey, about 80% consumers will stop or reduce buying products advertised against extreme or violent content and 70% believe the advertiser and the agency are most responsible for a brand’s ad placements.
About 10% of all content on YouTube is brand unsafe. Top unsafe categories in YouTube are violence, adult, extremist and smoking. In March 2017, YouTube faced massive brand pull for ad placements against extreme content. In January 2018, YouTube partnered with third-party tools for brand protection, but in April in the same year, YouTube brand safety woes resurfaced affecting 300 brands. Google’s estimated loss owing to safety issues affecting brands reached $1 billion in October 2018. Other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have also faced similar issues in the recent years.
Despite stringent measures taken by social media platforms such as keywords, blacklists and whitelisted channels, safety flair-ups affecting different brands have been a constant across these platforms. There are certain reasons that have made it difficult to optimally achieve brand safety on social media platforms without affecting reach and monetization.
The first one is that brand safety is not one size fits all. Excluding the ‘Dirty Dozen’ categories is not an absolute rule. Each brand must define its own guidelines for inappropriate and damaging context in accordance with its specific needs, values and brand image. Measures and tools for ensuring online brand protection should be able to provide required controls to amplify or lower restrictions to allow a highly customized approach. What is unsafe content for one brand, can be the exact context that can help another brand reach their most relevant audience.
The second reason is using keywords blacklist as the primary solution. This method often fails to understand the complex undertones and various contexts a single word can be used for. For example, keywords such as gun, kill, explosion, etc. may be used in a safe context like in a movie.
Relying on whitelisted channels limits the true potential offered by social media platforms. Through such channels, brand reach gets limited and even may not reach the right audience. Using whitelisted channels is also quite expensive.
Although video advertising majorly uses programmatic advertising, this approach has a flaw that most brands don’t really know where their online advertising is running. Even hiring professionals to screen content to prevent placement of in-video ads against unsafe content has not proved to be fully effective as very large amount of video content is loaded hour after hour.
Conventional brand safety tools fail to identify the right context. Artificial intelligence solutions such as computer vision provide answer to this problem. Computer vision makes it possible to detect in-video context with great accuracy, offering unparalleled insight for advertisers to place context-relevant in-video ads in a highly structured and safe manner.
Computer vision enables computers to see, identify and process objects in visual content just like or even better than human vision system. Advanced computer vision algorithms can accurately identify faces, emotions, objects, logos, activities and scenes, not only in static images but also in streaming videos.
For in-video contextual ads targeting, computer vision enables a high degree of context relevance that surpasses all limitations of traditional keyword and affinity-based targeting. By using frame by frame parsing of video content, computer vision technology accurately blocks ad placements against unwanted, unsuitable, irrelevant and harmful content, even not letting a single damaging ad placement. Moreover, computer vision offers a tailored approach to a brand, i.e. it blocks only that content which is considered unsafe or unwanted by that brand.
Mirrors, by Silverpush, is an innovative contextual online advertising platform that utilizes computer vision for context-relevant in-video ad placement. Mirrors Safe is a computer vision powered brand safety and control platform, developed by Silverpush, that allows a brand to avoid ad placement against inappropriate or unsafe video content.
Read our latest whitepaper to get a complete view into the current state of brand safety in video advertising and how AI and computer vision is powering the next gen tech.
It is now a common thing that a person watching his favorite TV show is having his smartphone in his hand, especially during ad breaks, so that he can remain updated on news, messages, emails and social media.
In a study conducted by Facebook, 94% of the participants held a smartphone in their hands while viewing TV just like holding a TV remote control. Only 53% of the time, participants focused on their television screens. One of the main reasons of shifting their focus was to look into their smartphones.
Other research also shows that majority of the smartphone and tablet users remain active on these gadgets while they are watching TV. The use of second screen has now almost become an integral part of the TV viewing experience.
Thus, chances are great that those using second screen while watching television do not pay attention to TV ads, but rather gaze into their smartphones during ad-breaks. TV ad tracking shows that use of smartphones while watching TV negatively impacts the performance of TV ads. TV sync technology enables brands to reach these viewers through their second screens.
TV syncing works by activating an online ad campaign on a viewer’s smartphone or tablet that is same or related to the ad appearing on his TV. This real-time syncing increases the chances of a viewer’s engagement with the ad being displayed on the mobile device. Not only TV ads, this technology can sync other content on TV such as sporting events, concerts and high-impact TV series, and even things like weather and pollution conditions with small screens.
For advertisers, TV syncing is an invaluable technology as it offers great benefits. Some of these are given here below –
If the same ad is shown on the smartphone as is appearing on the TV, then the impact on the viewer’s mind is much greater than the ad appearing only on a single screen.
Syncing compensates for unviewed TV ads
During ad-breaks, TV viewers often shift their attention to their smartphones. This way the ad presented on the TV gets wasted as it does not generate any engagement. But, when the same ad appears on a viewer’s smartphone, advertisers get a second chance for their ad getting viewed.
Increased chances for ads getting viewed over competition
If a brand shows its ads on the mobile devices when on TV the ads of its competitor are appearing, then that brand has higher chances of its ads being viewed as TV viewers are increasingly using their smartphones during TV ad breaks.
Facilitates user interaction
When ads on smartphones coincides with ads on TV, it becomes easy for viewers to interact with them, as on smart phones viewers have to just click on the ads and they are taken to the product’s landing page. For ads appearing on TV, this one-click option is not available, rather viewers have to search for the advertised products on a search engine through their laptops or mobile phones.
Unified brand experience
Syncing across multiple screens allows brands to convey a connected message to consumers, which promotes unified brand experience and allows for greater conversion.
TV syncing technology along with artificial intelligence advertising is transforming the way advertising is done. Leveraging these advertising technologies, helps brands to increase user engagement, get more ROI and boost their brand value.
Over the years, video contextual advertising has taken the center-stage in the online advertising space. Video advertising has become the preferred advertising method for many major brands and publishers. In fact, 2017 was known as the year of “Video Gold Rush” for video contextual advertising. This is with good reason; as when the video is served in the right context, it is far more engaging and effective for creating an impression in the minds of consumers and helping advertisers hit KPIs.
In a survey by databox, 59.3% of advertisers told videos drove more clicks on Facebook for their ads compared to 29.6% for images. In addition, videos are becoming more accessible throughout the world with increasing data coverage and dropping rates for data. This has led to platforms such as Facebook bringing advertiser-friendly features for videos, and YouTube rising massively in popularity with both viewers and advertisers. The rise of apps such as TikTok and Snapchat, in both developing and developed countries, which are crafted as being video-first speaks about the tremendous popularity of videos.
Video Contextual Advertising Makes Strides
As the inventory for video-based creatives has increased, it has become imperative for advertisers to operate in safe environments as with increased reach, there is increased risk of ads being misplaced. Misplaced ads run the risk of not resonating with users, but if such ads are placed on objectionable, violent or polarizing content, they can do irreparable damage to a brand’s reputation. Therefore, as in-video advertising becomes ubiquitous, technologies such as machine-learning and AI-based context detection have been developed. These technologies help in serving ads on the relevant type of content, by filtering through all eligible content and classifying the content according to the suitability based on geography, brand and the consumers’ frame of mind among other factors.
The algorithms work by detecting patterns in the relevant types of data and then classifying newer data based on those patterns. Traditionally, this approach was used for keyword and affinity-based classification for ads. The suitability of videos for ad placement was gauged using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques. While this approach was somewhat effective in identifying the broader category of videos, it is not fool-proof and has led to many leakages in the past. There is a limitation to which such algorithms can filter content as the content being shown in videos may not always relate to the associated keywords, search terms or descriptions.
Computer Vision is the key
With the evolution of OTT Computer vision techniques and their combination with AI and machine learning, a powerful tool is now available to advertisers. Using computer vision and AI, it is possible to identify the actual objects, logos, emotions and context of the video with unprecedented accuracy. These can enable the identification of what is actually being shown in the video directly without relying on associations with keywords and affinity of videos, thus overcoming the limitation of previously used algorithms, and ensuring a top-notch brand-safe environment for brands.
Major companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Apple are continuing to bet on Computer Vision for the future and have made considerable advances in the area. For instance, Facebook can now identify each person from a crowd using facial recognition, while Google can search and index thousands of images through its image search feature. Due to keen interest in the field and momentous advances in the field, computer vision has become increasingly accurate over time. Facebook can now identify people with 83% certainty, even when they are partially or completely blocked from view.
With these advances, OTT Computer vision has unlocked a whole new avenue for advertisers. With this, one can identify the brand of clothes someone is wearing, the fabric and color he/she prefers, and in what combination, just from a picture. This information can give deeper insights into consumer preferences. In this case, we examine whether luxury goods are a common part of the consumer’s lifestyle and act accordingly. In videos, identifying key aspects of what is being shown can help advertisers in leveraging associations and consumer preferences for brands.
MIRRORS is an AI-based platform that uses computer vision applications for logo and object detection, along with facial recognition and emotion identification for classifying videos for placing the most relevant ads in the right context. Working with brands such as Oreo and KFC in the past, we have helped brands target consumers throughout the world for driving sales. For Oreo, we helped in using the brand’s association with Spider-man, to target consumers in South-East Asia and placing ads for Oreo in a wide range of Spider-man themed content from animated videos to videos showing DIY craft projects for kids. All of this was done in a completely brand-safe environment, with ads being served on videos that connected with the nature of the brand.
Few things break the flow of a narrative as much a non-context insert. The same holds good in respect to advertising.
Various case studies show that even the best of advertisements, which have a feel-good factor about them, do not do well if they are not fitted into the context. A report from the University of Oxford supports this wherein it was observed that cheerful ads when inserted in between a gloomy part of the video do not create much impact.
In many cases, in-video ads which are not relevant to the video being watched, tend to put off the viewer and might not create the desired impact. Whereas, contextual advertising can help to better connect with the viewer and communicate the message more effectively.
In contextual advertising, ads related to the content being seen or read are placed to ensure better connections with the audience. Video ads can have more impact through in-video contextual advertising where in-video ads are placed relevant to the content being played out in the video.
This ensures that the viewer finds the advertisement to be closely related to what is being seen, and therefore, would be more interested in knowing about the product.
Experts cite that ‘Contextual Fluency” is a key component to process information. For example, an insurance advertisement would work well when a video about an accident is being streamed. Video coupled with the context becomes a potent tool to create an impression.
Implementing Contextual advertising
There are various tools available that help in implementing contextual advertising. Google AdWords is one of the most used marketing -technology platform where precise ads can be placed in relation to the context of a video or website.
Advertisers can place their ads which are triggered when specific keywords related to their product are being used. Whether an online user is reading a website/blog or watching a video, ads which are relating to the content are triggered that would better connect with the audience.
Marketing technology now also enables video advertising to be more precise. The advertisers can place specific adverts depending on what is happening within the video. Video platforms like YouTube have created a wide range of combinations of genre-content which can be used by the advertisers to stream an ad that is relevant to that particular moment in a specific video.
Artificial Intelligence is a key driver in enabling in-video contextual advertising. Recognizing scenes, a streaming video to identify the location within the video, understanding the facial expressions to comprehend the emotions, etc. and other computer vision applications like recognizing faces, logos, etc. are few of the AI-enabled technologies which are used for making contextual in-video ads.
Maximum utility through context
Content and message are the key to creating a successful advertisement. The ad would not be able to connect with the audience unless the message being conveyed is clear. However, apart from the content, there are two more elements that complete the trifecta of a perfect ad. These are the right time and the right audience. Contextual online advertising makes use of these three elements to ensure the maximum utility is obtained through an ad.
Using this form of advertising, an advert with the right content is created which is placed into the video at the right time to ensure that there is more possibility of the viewer connecting with the ad. Targeting them to a specific audience who can connect with the ad further enhances the success of an advertisement.
2019 has been an amazing year at Silverpush. Awards, recognition’s, and accolades have come our way while we continued to serve our clients. Our technology continued to make a difference in the world of digital campaigns and online media for some of the largest brands globally. Join us as we look back at the ride that 2019 has been for us.
MMA Smarties India: Silver in Innovation and Product and Services Launch
Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), a global mobile trade association, in fact, the only one of its kind is a hub for marketers, sellers and technological innovators in the media industry. MMA Smarties acknowledges the best brands, agencies, and tech enablers that exceed expectations by driving business growth via mobile campaigns.
Silver in Innovation
Thums Up, a leader in the soft beverages industry in India was targeting millennials for its new 2019 variant- Thums Up Charged in Summer. Their concerns of brand safety and engagement optimization were resolved with SilverPush’s Mirrors Platform. The AI powered in-video ads platform helped the brand reach their most relevant audience.
Silver in Product and Services launch
As a part of the Amazing Moment Marketing Campaign, SilverPush was the technological enabler of Madison Media working on Asian Paints’ Clean the Air campaign. With the rising concerns around AQI, the campaign revolved around creating hyper localized messaging synced with real-time AQI levels. With quality insights delivered at the right time, SilverPush informed with and showcased 1000+ region-specific informative communications.
WARC Media Awards: Bronze for Effective Use of Tech
Every year, WARC recognises brands that excel in communication planning, driving positive business results via online channels globally through WARC Media Awards. At 2019 WARC Media Awards, SilverPush was awarded bronze for a campaign for Unilever’s Breeze in the category — Effective Use of Tech.
With Breeze, SilverPush leveraged TV sync for Unilever Philippines. With a customer base of housewives aged between 22 to 44 years, SilverPush identified that the buyers were becoming increasingly social media savvy and therefore are prone to multi-screening. The audience was targeted and retargeted with paid advertisements through creating a tv ad sync between the brand’s TV commercials and digital video ads across social platforms.
Festival of Media Awards (FOMA) Asia Pacific Awards: Bronze for Best in Technology
Festival of Media Awards is a celebration of brilliant media thinking across Asia Pacific region. The jury comprises of a vast network of creative thinkers and innovators in the industry. At FOMA APAC 2019, Breeze earned a bronze for the category — Best in Technology.
Moreover, collaborating with Mindshare was a unique learning experience that has added immense value to our technology.
Other Campaigns That Have Won Accolades and Recognition
- Unilever Wall’s and Mindshare Indonesia won the gold in the Cross Media category for their Wall’s Gold Spirit campaign celebrating national sports heroes, powered by SilverPush’s tv ad sync — Parallels.
- Shortlisted at The Wires APAC Awards for the multi-screen sync platform as the Best Marketing Technology solution
- Nomination at Drum Digital Awards APAC for Best Cross-Platform Campaign on behalf of Rexona
- Shortlisted for MMA Smarties Vietnam in the mobile Mobile Video and Innovation categories
- Shortlisted at Effie MENA awards in the Data-Driven and Healthcare-OTC categories for Sanofi’s Telfast
More About Our Winning Campaigns
While TV advertising remain a key channel for information distribution in South Asia, women displayed indifference and lack of interest during TV commercial breaks, displaying a cross screen behaviour — paying more attention to social channels. The campaign overcame the clutter and increased brand engagement within the target audience through real-time, TV ad sync with digital advertising.
KFC’s launch of a new popcorn chicken flavor created the right buzz with SilverPush’s AI Moment Marketing powered contextual targeting ad placement platform — Mirrors. Thirty contextual triggers were identified through Mirrors’ unique capability of detecting faces, logos, objects, scenes, actions and emotions in a streaming video. Coupled with customized creatives, KFC was able to target the right audience, as they engaged with their interests on YouTube. The campaign achieved a VTR of 35 percent; a direct increase of 10 percent against agency benchmark of 25 percent.
Thums Up leveraged contextual ads placements to target millennial buyers engaged in adventure and thrill seeking activities. For the campaign, SilverPush contextually targeted users consuming video content around extreme adventure sports, through AI powered object and emotion detection capabilities. This maximized brand engagement exactly at the moment consumers were engaging with their interests, and not based on past viewing habits.
By seamless brand integration through Mirrors, the campaign gained a VTR of 35 percent with a decrease in CPV of 48 percent.
SilverPush partnered with Oreo for their special edition Spider-Man themed pack for Contextual targeting. Spiderman themed content was identified with Mirrors technology enabling the brand to unlock the audience engaged in such content at that right moment. Spanning across four weeks, the campaign directly contributed to sales, leading to a 38 percent higher sales for Oreo.
In 2019, we have made a huge difference in the advertising industry. And in 2020, we intend to further expand our product portfolio and help brands understand and reach their customer, like never before.