Monday, March 06, 2017

The BPA as we all know provides circulation audit services for the publishing industry and is planning to introduce a private ad network for B2B publishers as part of their services for their over 900 clients worldwide with 60 in Canada. The selling points of programmatic media buying is that it supposedly provides better targeting of web display ads based on demographics such age, gender, income and geographic variables. This process is all automated and is bought in real time through a bidding process and enables the advertiser to tailor the message to the reader and create a more personalized message.


To the uninitiated here is a definition of the terms in the ecosystem according to IAB Canada. (To get a detailed glossary it is available at this link.)

Agency Trading Desk (ATD) – A department or arm of an Agency that oversees programmatic buying. Many Agency holding companies have trading desks. A Demand-Side Platform (DSP) is technology used to manage and optimize ad campaigns. ATDs work in combination with DSPs.

Demand Side Platform (DSP) - A DSP is a technology platform through which buyers (Advertisers or Agencies) can plan, target, execute, optimize, and analyze digital media buying programs across 100% of the media plan. Through a DSP, the buyer can set targeting criteria, pricing, frequency, and other criteria governing the purchase of digital ad units. Advanced DSPs will provide additional capabilities to the buyer, including integration of various online and offline data sources, the ability to provision direct media buys (as opposed to just Programmatic), advanced optimization and decisioning capabilities, and creative tools

Ad Exchange - A virtual marketplace where participating suppliers auction their impressions to eligible buyers. The ad exchange announces each impressions, in real time, and asks buyers if they are interested to buy said impression and at which price.

Supply Side Platform (SSP) -  An entity which facilitates the sale of a publisher’s inventory through an ad exchange. SSPs offer services such as minimum bid requirements, etc.

Ad Network -  An Online aggregator or broker of advertising inventory for many sites. Ad networks act as sales representatives for the websites within their networks, whereby ads are bought centrally by media buyers and displayed on multiple websites that contract with individual Ad Networks, for a share of revenue generated by ads served on their site.

Data Management Platform (DMP) - A centralized system for gathering first-party data, integrating with third-party data, and applying this data to one's advertising strategy. Advanced DMPs offer users the ability to create custom segments, forecast segment volumes, sync segments with other sources, overlay advanced analytics, and are often integrated with or part of DSP platforms.


It has been estimated that publishers will get 40% of the proceeds of the ad sale with the rest going to the ad agency and technology companies. According to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) here's how the advertising dollar is split . First, your media agency takes about 5¢ in service fees. Then their trading desk takes about 15¢. Then their Demand Side Platform (DSP) takes about 10¢. Next, some other ad tech middlemen take about 25¢ for targeting, data, and verification. Then an Ad Exchange takes about 5¢. 


Now I can see why the ad tech is promoting the heck of this concept, as they will get 40% cut of all the action. Based on this math why would a publisher join this network as they got 85% of the cut before, with the agency getting 15%.

While this sounds good on paper, is there a limitation on what an algorithm can do?My question has always has been how does the algorithm find out the demographics of a reader and not step over the line on privacy issues while the person is surfing online, which contributes to the growing use of ad blocking in my opinion. My feeling is this predicative marketing approach will have a high failure rate and will be wrong in many cases as it is based on the surfing habits and cannot predict what a person’s true intentions are as there are too many variables that are not factored in. I remember the story of a colleague telling me about a book they were reading and sharing this on social media and all of sudden they were getting ads to buy that book.

This excerpt from the keynote speech from Mark Pritchard from Proctor and Gamble at a recent IAB Conference on January 29 on the state of ad networks in the B2C segment suggest there is more work to be done also as ad fraud is a growing concern.”We have a media supply chain that is murky at best and fraudulent at worst. We need to clean it up, and invest the time and money we save into better advertising to drive growth. It’s time we come together, put down our finger-pointers and solve these problems – all of us – marketers, agencies, publishers, ad tech platforms, suppliers. Frankly, this is a matter of collective will. Because surely if we can invent technology for driverless cars and virtual reality, we can find a way to track and verify media accurately.” You can read the whole speech at this link

With all these issues facing the industry the BPA is creating an ad network that deals with these concerns, as it will be offering a transparent and measured ad network for the B2B segment. This private ad network will differ from other consumer based ad networks as it will be fraud free as all publishers will have an audit statement for proof of audience. One of the key benefits of this network is that it can deliver scale to advertisers, as a lot of B2B publishers do not have sufficient traffic sometimes to attract certain advertisers. On the wish list of many B2B publishers is to attract consumer brands like cars, financial services and other consumer products using the demographics of the readers as a selling point ie: business professionals with above average incomes like lawyers. accountants, professors, real estate brokers etc. The problem has always been that the reach of a single B2B publication was too small to be considered by advertisers and with this network this objection will be solved.

This network will offer advertisers 3 ways to buy. First is the direct sell of media brand, an industry buy such as the auto sector and lastly the audience buy based on job titles or demographics like Men 25-54. Publishers can provide unsold ad inventory to the network for this program without fear of cannibalizing existing sales as the rates/CPM offered to clients can be protected to ensure that your direct clients still get the best deal as a floor price is part of the publisher controls. These controls also include a whitelist and blacklist of advertisers, so you will not get for example ads that do not fit your brand profile or editorial standards.

The BPA estimates that each publisher may have up to 50,000 ad impressions each month to sell of unsold inventory that can fetch $25 -$50 CPMs or more depending on the publisher. If you are using Google Ad sense as you secondary source of online ad revenue this may be an opportunity to generate more revenue as the ads are sold by impression and not by clicks and publishers have more control on what ads are featured.

I asked Glen Ashworth from University Affairs on his thoughts of the new B2B ad network and he states “University Affairs has used several banner ad networks for unsold ad inventory over the years, with limited success. The low CPMs and questionable ad creative being served were big problems. A private ad exchange could offer better inventory, more publisher control and more transparency. Most importantly, advertisers will feel that their brand are in a safer web environment. The ad network revenue split does seem to be on the low side for publishers compared to what you can get with a direct buy. However, small publishers are often not even on the radar of big clients (like the automotive and financial services industries) for direct buys. So it’s a case of getting a little piece of revenue via a network vs. nothing at all. “

The limitation of any ad network is that it does not encompass what is called in the industry an integrated media buy that includes the magazine in print and digital, email newsletters and web display. Native advertising and email newsletters are on the future roadmap for this service. This private network will be launched in the 2nd quarter this year and it looks like a great opportunity for publishers as they can now have what you never had before and its is called scale that can compete effectively with the other ad networks that can delver millions of impressions and can provide advertisers with a one-stop buying service for multiple B2B websites.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The use of fake news scams is the topic of the year in the media industry. There are many victims in this crime that include advertisers, content distributors and readers who think they are true. Check out this NY Times story on how fake news is created. The IAB at their leadership conference on January 29 revealed that the digital supply chain needs to rid the system of these bad actors. Marc Pritchard, global chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, delivered a keynote at this conference stated the media supply chain as murky at best, and fraudulent at worst, Pritchard said it’s time to get tough and delivered four key actions to the industry for 2017: adopt one viewability standard; implement accredited third-party measurement verification; get transparent agency contracts; and prevent ad fraud.

It all starts with Facebook and Google as they need step up (They are victims too) as these scams targeted their networks because they are the biggest. These digital gamers manipulated the key word search, landing pages and user behavior to break through the content firewalls on these networks. Google has just announced in a blog on January 25, 2017 that they took action against 340 websites and 200 publishers were banned, but in my opinion they only did this because they were caught letting this happen. It is nice that they are cleaning house, but what about the advertisers that paid for the ads that went on these fake sites, should they not get a refund for this criminal behavior, nobody talks about that. Check out this story that says Google is magnifying Fake news

Facebook used to have fact checkers, but they went instead with an algorithm to solve this with the mis-guided belief that technology will do the job better (plus save money). They are trying to automate this process and we all know there are some pretty smart scammers that will find holes in their system eventually. These actions are just a hollow attempt to shield themselves as crooks are always smarter, just ask the malware and virus cybercriminals. They let stuff like this go on until somebody complains and have a more reactionary attitude versus preemptive. Their comeback has always been they are technology companies and not responsible for the content is just some lawyer speak to shield them from civil liability lawsuits.

Emarketer reports that advertisers are starting to realized they have been scammed and we may see a shift of ad dollars into more trustworthy mediums like newspaper, magazine and tv station websites as they are considered premium websites that are not sold on ad networks where fraud is prevalent. This is a problem that plagues programmatic ad networks  as they deliver a lot of junks ads and the advertisers has no control of the media selection in the network. Just ask as the advertisers that showed up on the website unknowingly. This Globe and Mail story tells it all

The next emerging issue are the use of social media influencers or brand ambassadors as they are, in my opinion, borders on deceptive advertising as they are paid endorsements but appear as arm’s length ones that fools the reader that they real. The Advertising Standards Canada has established guidelines for their use on disclosure that is required in order for a testimonial, endorsement, review or other representation (in any medium) to comply with Clause 7 of the Code.

1  A testimonial, endorsement, review or other representation must disclose any "material connection" between the endorser, reviewer, influencer or person making the representation and the "entity" (as defined in the Code) that makes the product or service available to the endorser, reviewer, influencer or person making the representation, except when that material connection is one that consumers would reasonably expect to exist, such as when a celebrity publicly endorses a product or service.

2  If such a material connection exists, that fact and the nature of the material connection must be clearly and prominently disclosed in close proximity to the representation about the product or service.

At the end of the day the online medium is becoming more untrustworthy and is shooting themselves in the foot and need to clean up their act and step up and be accountable for their actions or lack of action. So I am going to say for all the advertisers that have been scammed. I want a refund for all the times I have been scammed on your website or ad network.

Monday, January 09, 2017

The race for the next killer app that will have the same success as the Apple iPhone that is 10 years old now is the carrot that drives innovation in the Tech industry. But not all these companies will succeed. But the industry is hoping for the Apple Halo effect for their product just the same. The latest in smartphones, computers, car technology, drones, home tech, medical tech, wearable technology were unveiled at CES 2017 that has just finished in Las Vegas.

I have selected the Best of CES stories from some of the  leading magazines in the industry to show you what is out there. One caveat like all technology while they may look good on paper, I want to remind you of the experience of the hype of nuclear technology and how it is out vogue now. This may apply in the future for auto-driving cars when the technology fails to meet expectations from the hype.

Best of CES 2017: the most impressive products from the show

CES 2017: The final word

CES 2017: The Best Of The Best

Presenting the Best of CES 2017 winners!
Consumer Electronics Show: 50 years of unveiling ground-breaking technology

The 10 Best Gadgets of CES 2017

The Best of CES 2017

CES 2017: Popular Mechanics Editors' Choice Awards


Thursday, December 08, 2016

In my end of year blog I want to talk about what is creeping me out is all the sinful behavior out there in the chase for the ad dollar. Sooner or later this will backfire on the people that are doing this and I am determined to expose these tactics for what they are. I call them digital gamers, tactics that are used to exploit the system to generate eyeballs and thus potentially ad dollars so they think. I wrote a story about it in 2011 -  Marty’s Top 10 - How to irritate and repel your readers and some of the industry is still doing this. You better read this one again as a refresher.



1. Video that starts automatically when I read an article
This was on my list in 2011 and it is still happening today. The only reason I see websites doing this is to inflate the numbers of times a video is seen so when the reports go back to the advertiser they can tell them how many  times their ad was shown. I just shut the video off, but if I want to I will turn it on. There is nothing more irritating for sound to start when it is not requested as I may be in a office environment and the sound will come on and disturb my co-workers.

2. POP-UP ads on my Smartphone
Yes everybody has a smartphone, but what the digital operators don’t get is that ads are uninvited guests and you need to be tasteful and respectful. I thought pop-ups were extinct, but they are making a comeback on my smartphone in the latest websites I have been reading. The chase for clicks (accidental ones by the way as I try to get rid of them) to inflate response for advertisers does not mean I want to buy that product.

3. Ads that have no editorial fit with the website I am reading
The use of click bait is so irritating they are the cockroach of the Internet now. You just can’t get rid it. The chase for ad dollars is so desperate now some sites subscribe to native ad networks and the ads are just plain irritating and I just skip over them now. The issue also plagues the programmatic ad market as one publisher I know has turn off the feed  as it takes away from the brand experience.

4. Planned Obsolesence
To meet greedy Wall Street objectives, public companies have adopted a product strategy that you must buy a new product every 2-3 years that contributes to growing e-waste problem. This happens everywhere as they want you to by a new model to keep sales going. One of the biggest sinners is Apple. I have an Ipad1 and a lot of the new apps will not work on it as the OS is stuck at version 5.0 and the latest apps need 9.0 and the Safarai web browser crashes when I visit websites. I refuse to be sucked into this and will not buy another tablet as this one still works albeit with a limited range. If this was a car manufacturer there would be a product recall and a major uproar as it is like the engine not working.

5. Tabloid Journalism is out of control with fake stories
I know that everybody likes to read about a train wreck as negative stories get the most attention. But this new breed of websites now have fake news to get people's attention now and it is a big issue right now on Facebook as some sinful operators are doing this to generate traffic so they can game the ad networks for revenue on their ad farm.

6. Online Whiners
There has been a lot of online whining by so-called journalists about the real estate market, especially in Vancouver, where they blamed foreigners for the high real estate prices (Yeah they blamed the Chinese, but any seller wants a Chinese buyer for their home). What is this the dark ages where you blame your misfortune on somebody else? The CMHC has gone on record that this is not true and now all the money that flowed into the market has gone to Toronto and Seattle and the whiners still cannot afford to buy a home in Vancouver.

7. Lets stop racism in stories and treat people with respect
This is more personal as the First Nations community is subject to a lot negative reporting. My first beef is that they are called Indigenous, which I find insulting. Some bureaucrat or scientist gave this group this name like they are some native species, like come on they are people and deserve respect. Let’s call them Cree of Objiway people don’t describe then like some species of floral. We need to inspire the community and not create stereotypes that they are drunks, drug addicts and don’t like to work.

Yeah I know I am whining too in this month’s blog too, but these are my pet peeves of the sinful behavior I see online all the time. On a lighter note I am slowly becoming a social media star on YouTube. I was an extra in a movie 30 years ago –The Case of the Shooting Star, a Perry Mason movie and it recently was posted on YouTube. I started my career as a Chinese goon and I am in the opening scene that you want to check out. It has 361 views and climbing fast. So for all the sinners out there you can repent your sins by making a donation to the Salvation Army this Christmas at this link. Have a great Holiday Season.
Thursday, November 24, 2016

While we are seeing consolidation in the media industry with recent changes made by the corporate bean counters at Rogers Media, TVA Publications, Post Media and Toronto Star. it is not all doom and gloom in the publishing industry in Canada as we see a new crop of winners at this year COPAs held at the sold out event at the Double Tree Hilton in Toronto on November 7. 
Some of the new rising stars include Independent media brands National Observer from Vancouver and Planet F Magazine in Montreal a French language family magazine. Vice Canada another new winner is a partnership with Rogers Media that includes a cable TV station. This month’s blog will showcase the gold medal entries from these rising stars in the digital media scene in Canada.

National Observer
National Observer is an independent media outlet that focuses on climate, political and finance news and is published in English and French. It has a team of award-winning journalists that are based all over Canada and delivers ground breaking news and investigative reports about those in power. The National Observer won 3 Gold and 1 Silver this year including Independent Publisher of the year. This Vancouver base publication has traffic of over 500K visitors per month on their website with 32% in Ontario, 31% in BC, 14% in Alberta and 7% in Quebec



Sandy Garossino’s biting columns have attracted over one million unique visits to National Observer in the last 12 months. The former Crown prosecutor pulls no punches as she calls the powerful to account for exploitation and manipulation, and exposes links between big money, stardom and a culture of irresponsibility that often comes with both.

In SHAMELESS, Garossino exposes questionable tax subsidies afforded to wealthy parents of private school students — a real slap in the face, she writes, for average taxpayers as budget cuts force public school closures across the country. Her column, YELLOW STAIN, further calls out Postmedia for wrapping a yellow paper endorsement around its publications across Canada. Her stinging analysis of the Ghomeshi trial, which attracted a knockout 240,000 page views, was a unique synthesis of legal, feminist, journalistic, and political perspectives.

In conclusion, Garossino leverages her legal expertise, personal experience, and addictive style of snarky writing to boldly go where no other columnists have gone. Each of her contributions winds up a smash-hit, and many have landed her spots as a commentator on TV programs and radio shows across Canada.


Sandy Garossino Associate Editor, columnist

Planète F Magazine

Planète F is Quebec based french language wesbite that has over 15,000 visitors. You won't find cupcakes recipes or ideas for Halloween costumes as it  takes a different approach for parents that addresses controversial issues, to stimulate discussion and debate on social issues that affects the family. The web based magazine is not about parenting, it’s about parenthood and this approach was recognized as Planète F Magazine won  2 gold and 2 silver at tis year’s COPA’s including Best Article.


Work-life balance is the topic of the 21st century for families. If fathers become more involved with children, mothers are more active in the labor market. But institutions still expect a traditional model where the mother is at home. In this case, we used social networks to involve people with questions about their family situation. This file was presented to the National Assembly during a parliamentary committee on equality between women and men that include a dossier of 9 articles on parental equality.

La conciliation travail-famille est LE sujet du 21e siècle pour les familles. Si les pères s'impliquent davantage auprès des enfants, les mères sont plus présentes sur le marché du travail. Mais les institutions s'attendent encore à un modèle traditionnel où la mère est à la maison. Et si l'égalité était une question culturelle... Dans ce dossier, nous avons utilisé les réseaux sociaux pour faire participer les gens avec des questions sur leur situation familiale. Ce dossier a été présenté à l'Assemblée nationale lors d'une commission parlementaire sur l'égalité entre les femmes et les hommes. Un dossier de 9 articles sur l'égalité des parents.


Mariève Paradis, Editor, Publisher
Bruno Geoffroy, Marilyse Hamelin, Sarah Poulin-Chartrand, Writers

Vice News Canada

VICE News Canada produces youth (18-34) oriented content to a Canadian audience, in both official languages, reaching 30 million readers a month worldwide with a large USA readership.  VICE's provocative content is available across multiple platforms including, digital verticals, mobile apps, television, print and a suite of YouTube channels. Vice News Canada won gold for Best Continuing Coverage of a story at this year’s COPA’s beating out some of the big guys.


Through immersive reporting, VICE News Canada looked at the problem of rampant boil water advisories on First Nations across Canada. In a two-part documentary, we visited two First Nations reserves, Shoal Lake 40 and Neskantaga, each with longstanding boil water advisories. During a VICE Canada-hosted town hall ahead of election day, VICE News Canada pinned Prime Minister-to-be Justin Trudeau to a promise of ending boil water advisories within five years—a promise he had not previously made.

We examined what the federal government would need to do to solve the issue, and looked at how a new program is empowering young Indigenous people to end boil water advisories on their reserves.


Hilary Beaumont Staff Reporter
Allya Davidson. Producer
Natalie Alcoba. Managing Editor
Rachel Browne Staff Reporter
Ksenia Yurganova Associate Producer

(BTW the calling of the communities as First Nations is an appropriate description versus calling them Indigenous, which I feel is derogatory. These are people and are not a type of floral and not deserving of a scientific description. This has to change and is not politically correct in my opinion)


About Me
Martin Seto

Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at) or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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