Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Ad Network = More Fragmentation

On Wednesday Yahoo released it's "Living Ad", interactive video ad format for advertisers.  This new ad format works within an ad network, that is centered around Yahoo's Livestand publication app.  Livestand, along with it's ad network, enters an already saturated ad "market" occupied by the likes of Flipboard, Zite, AOL's Editions, and Pulse.  Yahoo is pushing advertisting packages to buyers, some of which are said to run upwards of $500,000.

According to Yahoo, Livestand features a magazine-style layout.  It will launch with some content from third-party publications.  Those publishers will share their ad revenue with Yahoo.  The details of these revenue sharing arrangements are not yet known. These publishers can also re-sell ad packages on the plarform.  I can only deduce that Yahoo get's a cut of that revenue as well. Diane McGarvey at Scientific American, which is offering some content on the Livestand, states Yahoo will keep about 70 percent of revenue on ads sold to appear inline with Scientific American content.
Living Ad, along with Livestand, is one of many initiatives to attempting to make Yahoo a relevant player in mobile advertising.  Mobile advertising is projected to net around $1 billion this year in the U.S. and up to $1.2 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer. Yahoo is positioning itself to receive as large a portion of this pie of revenue as possible.

The mobile ad space is already over-saturated.  Frankly, none of the ad formats and networks bring anything new to the table.  Nothing currently compells a consumer to do anything after viewing these ads compared with any other form of advertising medium.  We don't need another ad network.  We don't need another "method" to get an ad to a consumer.  What we need is a new type of ad, a new way to interact with a product, that might actually compel a consumer to buy.

Advertisers, and content networks, need to bring new ideas to the table.  The internet and mobile phone networks bring whole new possibilities to advertising via interactive ads.  An interactive ad would allow a consumer to configure products, explore them, walk around them, try a focused "demo" of it.  After they have played with it, or configured it to their hearts content, they could be connected with a vendor to purchase that product within a few clicks.  This gives the consumer a quick way to satisfy their emotional desire to buy the product.

However, most online ads don't do anything other than present a picture, an animation, a call to action phrase, and link to a normal website.  There's no point to showing a traditional ad online or on a smart phone if there's nothing new about it's experience.  None.

Yahoo's Living Ad is trying to do this.  However, most advertisers don't seem to know how to create an ad "experience" that really compels consumer interest.  We need to stop telling

If advertisting is going to survive, and make money, the "ad" as we know it needs to evolve along with the technology available to deliver it.  With the growing popularity of mobile devices that are connected to mobile data networks, there is a new opportunity to truly try something new.  Who is going to lead the way?


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