Contobox on Trends in Online and Offline Consumer Purchasing Behavior

November 14, 2019 in Blog

Our Q&A series shines a spotlight on the biggest challenges, questions and trends in the programmatic marketplace with commentary from industry experts, clients and partnerships.

Today’s Q&A is with Christine Carey, GM and SVP of Sales at Contobox, which offers an engagement management platform that empowers marketers to develop, launch and analyze interactive digital display and video campaigns.

A veteran of the ad tech industry, Carey is responsible for identifying and securing new partnerships, managing partner integration efforts and helping brands effectively use data-driven creative technology in their businesses.

Q: How important is it to simplify the online shopping process for consumers so that it’s more in line with expectations set by Facebook, Instagram and Amazon?

Experience is becoming more important to consumers, which is why we’re starting to see some form of shoppable ad units on every major platform. Facebook and Instagram offer shoppable posts, Pinterest has “shop the look” pins and Google added shoppable ads to their image search results earlier this year. At Contobox, we developed shoppable ads that can be run programmatically, giving consumers the opportunity to discover new products, compare them and add them to their online shopping cart from wherever they’re browsing on the open web.

In a time-crunched world, where people have more options than ever, using tech like this to remove the number of clicks to purchase couldn’t be more important. People are spending more and more time considering their purchase, whether that’s browsing or reviewing products, which means brands need to find more creative ways to drive them to conversion. Ad units that showcase more of your offering and give consumers an easier way to check-out can definitely help. Based on the campaign data we’ve collected at Contobox, shoppable ads can have a big impact on a brand’s ROAS, so I would say it’s extremely important.

Q: More and more people are shopping on their mobile devices, but the amount of money spent via desktop continues to increase as well. What does that tell us about today’s consumers?

It really just reaffirms what we already know: People are busier than ever, and busy people want convenience. As more brands work to enhance their digital offerings through innovations like shoppable ads, more people are realizing that they’re going to find that convenience online.

Even those who prefer to shop in stores, either for the experience or simply because they need to see the item in person, are starting to rely more heavily on digital. We’re seeing more people reach for their phones rather than connect with in-store associates to gather product information, compare costs or search for deals and coupons.

Q: What kinds of shifts in consumer purchasing behavior have you seen?

P&G’s 2005 “Moment of Truth” model describes the customer’s decision-making process based on three “moments” – buying the product, experiencing the product and then becoming a loyal customer. The rate of online shopping, both on desktop and mobile, has risen dramatically since 2005, and that’s resulted in a huge shift in the way consumers interact with brands. Not only has it given people more product options than ever, it’s also made it easier for them to browse. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, people tend to be a lot less loyal to brands than they once were. That increasing search for convenience also means that experience is becoming a bigger factor in people’s decision-making process.

In fact, we know based on recent research from Salesforce that the majority of customers now consider experience as important as a brand’s products or services — and as more people move online, a better customer experience is a better digital experience. That’s what’s really going to help your brand stand out. It may not matter how much time your competitor spent building brand equity and trust if you’re able to provide a more helpful and convenient experience.

Q: Many consumers conduct research or search for coupons on their phones while in brick-and-mortar stores. How do interactive ads benefit both brands and consumers in this situation?

Interactive ads can track a lot more consumer information, and that can help brands understand their audience’s buying behaviors in a much more detailed and nuanced way. They can also provide consumers with all of the product information and potential savings they’re looking for directly in the ad unit, so they don’t need to click through. No matter where your target audience is shopping, or how they plan to make that final purchase, being able to showcase more of your offering — wherever they happen to be browsing — is going to help your brand stand out and give you a huge advantage over the competition.

Q: What stands out about Adelphic’s partnership with Contobox?

Adelphic’s client-base is used to receiving best-in-industry data offerings in conjunction with cross-device and cross-format executions, and partnering with Contobox has allowed them to build on these strengths. They can now offer clients more advanced creative capabilities that can be delivered at scale across the open web. Our formats provide consumers with the full eCommerce experience, which helps enrich Adelphic’s already incredible data offering with engagement data, giving brands even deeper insight into their customers’ buying behaviors.

Q: Looking ahead, what do you see as big trends for 2019’s holiday season?

Speed, flexibility and convenience are what matters most to consumers, especially during a hectic time like holiday shopping. The best way to accommodate those expectations is through true personalization and truncating the purchase cycle, and nothing makes it easier for brands to achieve those goals than shoppable ad units. Unless of course we’re talking about our new Virtual Wallet feature, which allows consumers to save special offers promoted in display and video ads directly to their Google Pay or Apple Wallets well in advance of prime shopping periods to help them prepare.

Trader Diaries: Lone Ranger Manager of Programmatic Solutions

October 21, 2019 in Blog

Age: 31
Title: Manager of Programmatic Solutions
Employer Type: Small Agency
Years of Programmatic Trading Experience: 5

6:30 a.m.: I quickly take a shower and get ready for work. No time to make lunch – I will be buying lunch today. I make sure the pets are fed and happy before I start to head out!

7 a.m.: I leave to catch my 7:08 bus from N.J. to N.Y. The bus usually takes about an hour and a half without traffic, but since today was Monday, it took nearly two hours. I usually play a few rounds of sudoku while listening to music to help warm up my brain and get ready for the day. Sometimes I will find myself dozing off while in the middle of a puzzle. Sleeping on the bus is not ideal and I try my hardest not to sleep. Walking from Port Authority to the office takes about 10 minutes and grabbing coffee is a must 🙂

9:18 a.m.: I arrive at work a few minutes late due to the late bus. First thing, I turn my computer on, get settled and mentally prepare myself for what is to come by going through any missed emails and reminder notes. After checking my calendar to see all meetings for the day, I log into the platform and check in on every live campaign to make sure pacing is doing well, and document performance.

10:15 a.m.: Fire drill! Another liquidation campaign came down and they need to be up and active within 24 hours. While creating an authorization for the campaign, we are already being sent location and creative data from the client. We send the request for authorization to the client for signature. No campaign can be entered into the system unless we receive a written agreement, so we are at a pause for now. While waiting for the signed authorization, I continue to finish up my campaign pacing and documentation from the morning.

Lunchtime: For lunch I like to take a 10-minute walk to stretch and get moving a little. I stopped to get a chicken Caesar wrap and a bag of popcorn at the corner deli and brought it back to eat lunch with my coworkers in the conference room. We talked about the Marvel universe and how they can still legally put Stan Lee in the new movies, even though he passed away. Our lunch conversations change from day to day and can span from what happens in the afterlife, to religion or sports. We try not to talk about politics, but it always comes up, then the conversation ends with someone or multiple people shouting!

3 p.m.: Since we received the signed authorization around 2:30, I can now start to gather all given campaign info and start uploading all creative assets and geotargeting specifications. Since this is not a big agency, I am in charge of all these tasks as well as all the campaign setup. I love my work, but I do find it challenging at times having to be the only programmatic person. However,  I set up easy cheat sheets, I know the platform pretty well and I am confident in the work that I show.

3:45 p.m.: I was called into a meeting discussing new client opportunities. From that meeting, there was a request for a forecasting run, and a few other elements of reporting to see previous spending, current spending, demographic analysis to create new personas, and so on.

5 p.m.: I was able to leave work on time, and quickly ran to Port Authority to catch my 5:15 bus back to N.J. It took about an hour and 45 minutes to get home with a little bit of traffic, so I was home at 7. Once I got home, I changed into pajamas and started to relax and let the day’s stress melt away while talking to my boyfriend about some of my daily work challenges.

7:30 p.m.: For dinner I took some chicken breast out of the fridge and baked it in the oven, while making mashed potatoes and some corn.

9:30 p.m.: Usually around 9:30 is when I will lay in bed and watch Netflix or Hulu. My boyfriend and I are usually watching three or four shows simultaneously, so it really depends on our mood what we will watch. We ended up watching some of season three of The Office, it is probably the fourth run through of that entire series!

11:15 p.m.: I fell asleep with the music from The Office’s theme song playing in the background. I make it a point to get a good amount of sleep so I can be the best version of myself for the day to come!

Trader Diaries: 30-Year-Old Agency Media Planner/Buyer

October 21, 2019 in Blog

Age: Too young to feel this old (30)
Title: Media Planner/Buyer
Employer Type: Agency
Years of Programmatic Trading Experience: 3

7:15 a.m.: My alarm initially goes off and, after three snoozes, I finally find the inner strength to rise and shine. After throwing on my usual work uniform (a simple work appropriate swing dress, or as I like to call it my “mumu,”), I must drag my beagle out of bed to go out. Wardrobe tip for the hot and humid south: Invest in some breezy dresses.

8 a.m.: I live in downtown Birmingham, so luckily my commute is minimal and we have a private lot so I can drive and listen to one of my murder podcasts as I mentally prepare for the 1,000 tasks and meetings awaiting me.

9 a.m.: I typically have a meeting of some kind first thing, and today is no exception. So I spend the first few minutes in the office refreshing myself on any relevant info and prepping for a client meeting regarding an upcoming launch. This includes reviewing my plan presentation and making note of any questions we may need to address.

After that, I race over to our agency bleachers for an intern presentation on the latest advertising trends. My work wife and I are very proud of our little ones. I can be a bit of an Abby Lee a la Dance Moms when it comes to coordinating presentations. Soon they will begin finalizing their client presentation, which will be a full pitch.

10:30 a.m.? I take a little mid-morning break and try to stave off hunger with a Diet Coke, my life elixir.

11 a.m.: After my mid-morning break, I spend a block of time where I responded to emails both internally and externally.

Lunchtime:  I had a lunch meeting with a digital rep, so luckily food is provided. Lamb meatballs and Greek salad. On the agenda, we discuss custom creative opportunities as well as their proprietary AI solutions.

3 p.m.: I’m working away building out some digital campaigns for an auto client with a site traffic KPI and a healthcare client with a VCR goal. This involves two platforms and executing our plan, so placing all relevant settings and safety measures in place as well as creating tracking sheets on our end to monitor campaign performance and spend.

6 p.m.: I have a work trip to Utah tomorrow for an OOH conference with speakers on everything from client relationships to understanding what drives millennial consumer habits, so I go directly home to pack and get some sleep before another early morning.

7:30 p.m.: For dinner, I reheat some leftover Zoe’s from my earlier lunch meeting while watching reruns of The Office.

9:30 p.m.: I’m trying to finish up a few things (building out some social campaigns and budget tracking sheets and some auto plans for the next month) before curling up with my pup in bed.

10 p.m.: I end my day and try to go to sleep and forget that I need to be up at 3:30 a.m. for my flight to Utah.

Trader Diaries: Wifed-Up Trading Strategist

October 21, 2019 in Blog

Age: 25
Title: Trading Strategist
Employer Type: Media Company
Years of Programmatic Trading Experience: 3

6:25 a.m.: It’s not easy to get out of bed. As a Trader you’re constantly thinking of your duties, whether it’s a campaign that won’t perform or a new project that you’ve been assigned. You think about these things so much that they could even affect your sleep schedule.

7:10 a.m.: I leave for work and head for the train station to take a train and a bus to work.

9 a.m.: From the time I wake up, I’m answering emails/pings, so by the time I get into the office I’m up to speed on what the morning will bring me in terms of “fire drills” and important campaigns to focus on. Once I get into the office, I look into a campaign my Sales team was emailing me about earlier that wasn’t serving correctly, and had to put out that “fire.”

10:30 a.m.: I’m helping a Campaign Manager with their campaign. It doesn’t seem to be delivering, so we’re taking a deep dive into the platform setup and looking into what could be hindering scale. This takes some time because every ad order is different with different targeting and a different set up. This also means collaboration with other departments to find the issue and solution. All the while, Sales is constantly checking in asking for an update. Ahh!

Lunchtime: Unfortunately, like most days, I didn’t have time for lunch! As a result, I starved through the day and was looking forward to going to dinner with my wife when I eventually got home.

3 p.m.: A handful of Campaign Managers are using a new process workflow I created that speeds up campaign builds by at least 24 hours. I’m walking them through how to use it efficiently and how to use it on their own. This is a new product I’ve been working on for months, so to see it finally roll out is very exciting!

4:45 p.m.: I leave for the bus at the same time every day, or else I miss my train home (this can be difficult when where’s a lot of work to do!). Sometimes I take my laptop with me on the bus and train to continue my work.

7 p.m.: My wife and I check out a brand new Cajun seafood place that opened up near us for dinner. As I go over my day, I always see her eyes glaze over because I’m talking in acronyms like “CTR” and “IO” while speaking code like “Impressions” and “Flights.” You definitely have to be in the industry to fully understand it.

9:30 p.m.: I do a last check of emails and pings before going to bed, making sure nothing urgent needs to be looked at. The internet never sleeps so never shall I!

11 p.m.: I’m starting to fall asleep … and dream about my campaigns.

Trader Diaries: Hungry Agency Media Planner/Buyer

October 21, 2019 in Blog

Age: 27
Title: Media Planner/Buyer
Employer Type: Agency
Years of Programmatic Trading Experience: 3

5:15 a.m.: My alarm goes off and I hit snooze four times — 36 minutes of planned exercise time down the drain. After showering, picking an outfit and packing lunch, I head to the office. Mentally, I’m determining which of yesterday’s unfinished to-do items should be atop of today’s list — check on a newly enabled medical programmatic campaign, diagnose a placement issue in DoubleClick campaign manager, determine what a reasonable cost-per-lead is on LinkedIn, work out after work since I snoozed through the morning.

8:45 a.m.: I left for work later than I should have (technically the work day begins at 8:30!), and I arrived by modern day horseback: a Ford Mustang. Parked the pony, jetted up the steps to my cube.

9 a.m.: The first thing I do once I get to work is take a deep breath then open my inbox. Inside, there are questions about tagging/implementation, and programmatic campaign setup. I give advice on what to include in a custom audience and how to properly tag HTML 5 creative.

10:30 a.m.: I’m comparing digital CPMs and CPCs for automotive campaigns. I’m always looking for the most impressions for the fewest dollars — clients, however, are fine with investing in high-dollar conversions. Buying a place instead of a face cost us over $100 per thousand impressions! The benefit of programmatic buying is that you can buy an audience, and never have to guess what sites or apps they use.

Noon: I brought leftovers for lunch, reheated my food and ate at my desk. The pot roast wasn’t the only thing I was chewing on — I was mulling over how to convince a client that there is no need to spend over $100 CPM when a similar video placement could have a CPM less than $10. My food got cold before I could eat it all. I was interrupted with a handful of “Can you pop over for a second?”’s.

3 p.m.: I’m on a client status call. We discuss programmatic market and creative rotation for their current campaign.

4 p.m.: My teammates and I discussed which fast food sandwich gif would generate the most engagement. Should we include a GIF showing a bite out of a crispy piece of chicken, or should we include the pouring of a creamy milkshake?

6 p.m.: I leave work and go to my traditional Tuesday at Buffalo Wild Wings. I missed my workout, too!

9:30 p.m. I quickly glance at my inbox and binge watch a few episodes of Younger on demand. It’s fantastic — hard to believe it’s a TV Land original.

11:12 p.m.: Time to get to sleep!

Advertising During the Emmys is Worth it – if You’re One of These Brands

September 17, 2019 in Blog

Between 2014 and 2018, the total audience for the Emmy Awards fell by 35%, with ratings in the coveted 18-49 age group falling by 43%. And yet, advertisers still flock to the annual celebration of television, which leads to an important question: Considering those staggering declines in viewership, is it really worth it to spend your advertising budget on the Emmys?

For three brands returning in 2019, that answer is likely a resounding yes.

Leveraging the Viant Advertising Cloud, Viant’s people-based platform that consists of more than 250 million registered users, we determined three Emmys advertisers who will reach the right audiences during the Sept. 22 awards show, broadcast on FOX this year.


The luxury German car brand is the official automotive partner of this year’s Emmys, a title that comes with chauffeuring celebrities and nominees right onto the red carpet. Fortunately for Audi, the partnership figures to be a smart decision, as Emmys viewers are more likely to buy three of its models:

  • Q3: Emmys viewers are 17% more likely to be behind the wheel of this AWD crossover
  • A4: Viewers of the Emmys broadcast are 18% more likely to buy this four- or five-door compact
  • A3: Emmys viewers are 8% more likely to own this upscale hatchback

L’Oreal Paris

The international beauty brand is back as an advertiser for its seventh year, despite Emmys viewership ratings declines. While there might be fewer eyes on the show, it remains a strong opportunity for L’Oreal to reach the right audience, as Emmys viewers are 40% more likely to purchase the brand’s products. Three of L’Oreal’s offerings are particular favorites of Emmys viewers:

  • Foundation: Emmys fans are 59% more likely to purchase foundations from L’Oreal’s collection, including Infallible and True Match
  • Moisturizer: Viewers of the show are 57% more likely to use L’Oreal moisturizers like Hydra-Renewal, Age Perfect and Revitalift.
  • Eye Shadow and Liner: L’Oreal eye makeup is a favorite among Emmys viewers, who are 36% more likely to buy the brand’s shadow and liner collections.

United Airlines

United is the Emmys’ official air carrier for a remarkable 20th year in a row. The airline shuttles the Emmy statuettes from Chicago to L.A. annually and extends its advertising efforts by inviting United travelers to pose for photos at the arrival gate with the awards. Their efforts are likely worth it, despite decreasing viewership. Here’s why:

  • Domestic: Emmys viewers are 73% more likely to have flown United in the U.S. in the last 12 months
  • International: Emmys viewers are 37% more likely to have flown United overseas over the past three years

 There are no indications that declines in Emmys viewership will cease anytime soon – but that doesn’t mean advertisers should automatically skip the show. For certain brands, the Emmys still provide a strong opportunity to connect with their ideal audiences.

*The above information is based off of the Viant IMP Indexing Formula, which calculates matched profiles and data providers.

Advanced TV Encyclopedia

September 9, 2019 in Blog

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with the many new terms and acronyms of TV advertising, you’re not alone! Another new medium to add to the mix, advanced TV advertising and all the ad tech that is required to reach your audiences is complex – and so is its related vocabulary.

To help, we’ve compiled the top terms you need to know when exploring today’s TV advertising landscape.

Advanced TV: Any television content that has evolved beyond traditional linear TV delivery models. An umbrella term, Advanced TV is inclusive of Interactive TV (iTV), Connected TV (CTV), Smart TV and Linear Addressable as well as VOD Addressable.

AVOD: Short for “advertisement-based video on demand,” AVOD refers to streaming video-on-demand services that are supported by advertising (e.g., Hulu, Crackle, XUMO).

CTV: Short for “Connected TV,” a CTV is a TV set that is connected to the internet via OTT devices, Blu-Ray players, a streaming box or stick or gaming console, or has built-in internet capabilities and is able to access a variety of long- and short-form web-based content.

Cord Cutters: TV viewers who had traditional cable or satellite subscriptions within the past five years before ceasing those subscriptions in favor of streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

Cord Nevers: TV viewers who have not had a traditional cable or satellite subscription within the past five years.

Cord Shavers: TV viewers who reduce their cable or satellite subscriptions in order to add streaming services.

 Linear Addressable: The addressable ad inserted into live programming. For example, DirecTV, Dish and Cablevision’s inventory is all linear addressable.

OTT: Short for “over the top,” OTT content is video content transported over an internet connection via a connected device like a CTV or Start TV from a video provider to a connected device.

MVPDs: Short for “multichannel video programming distributor,” MVPDs are services that provide multiple television channels, like cable or satellite TV services including Comcast, DirecTV, DISH, etc.

VOD: Short for “video on demand,” VOD is content that is controlled, enabled and consumed whenever a viewer wants after its official release date or original air date and time. VOD content can be found on set top boxes, OTT devices, mobile web, mobile apps and streaming services.

VOD Addressable: An addressable ad inserted into cable programs within the VOD content accessible through a cable provider set top box (e.g., Comcast’s addressable inventory is VOD addressable).

vMVPDs: A “virtual” MVPD that distributes live and on-demand content via the internet for a subscription fee. These services are comprised of many apps, often called “skinny bundles” – for example, Hulu with Live, Sling TV, etc.