Thursday, December 29th, 2011

SYDNEY, Australia, Dec. 29, 2012 -- Online advertising took significant leaps forward in 2011, and, riding a wave of technological advancements and savvy companies looking at not just click-through rates but actual visitor engagement, should continue to generate positive brand awareness in 2012, according to global food advertising network Gourmet Ads.

“For the past four years, I’ve looked to the future trying to predict what the advertising landscape has in store for us," says Benjamin Christie, Gourmet Ads’ founder and managing director.  "While some of my predictions have been wrong, looking back I think for the most part my advertising trends predictions have been on the money. This is what I see coming in 2012, based on our own company’s experience.”

Media Buying with Data
In 2011, the buzz term by Q2 was DMP (data management platform). “Our prediction is that digital media buying using some sort of data will grow significantly in 2012. I think it’s the sole motivation for advertisers contemplating a move to real-time bidding platforms, i.e. the fact they can pair up the media buy with data and then buy the impressions they actually want at scale. Once advertisers have developed a clear use of their own 1st Party Data sets and can begin to only buy the impressions they want, we will see continued growth in data.”

Mobile Advertising to Grow
“During Q3 in 2011 we started seeing questions on both the advertiser and publisher sides regarding mobile advertising,” says Christie. “We had advertisers asking about inventory and publishers asking about demand (which is always great). When publishers in the food space are asking our publisher team about mobile advertising because they’re building an app or dedicated mobile site, then it’s clear 2012 will be all about mobile.”

Christie expects to see better-quality mobile advertising in 2012, that goes well above the text ads that are still the main type of creative used on mobile devices.

Real-Time Bidding Budgets to Increase
“Real-time bidding budgets was something I predicted last year and again it’s among my advertising trend predictions for 2012. Gourmet Ads launched our private ad exchange in late 2011 and have seen an amazing response to real-time bidding. As the year came to a close, we spoke to all our major media buying partners and not one of them said that budgets were going backwards. Nearly all of them said they will have many more advertising clients in 2012.”

Branded Recipes
“During 2011 we saw a major uptick in food manufacturers and some supermarkets producing branded recipes. I would say nearly every RFP we received requested some sort of recipe integration as part of the media plan. We believe this is only the beginning for branded recipes. When people search for a recipe such as 'fondant recipe', brands with fondant recipes will be displayed alongside other recipe sites, where consumers can then click through to the brand’s website for the ingredients, cooking method and presentation.”

Video Advertising

If you don’t think video advertising for the digital advertising industry was huge in 2011, you haven’t been paying attention. “I recall sitting in a conference in the fall watching a presentation on the ‘State of the Industry on Digital Video’ and being amazed by nearly every statistic that appeared on the screen. This is why I’m adding it as an Advertising Trend in 2012,” says Christie.

"Why the huge recent growth in video advertising? For one thing, it’s very similar to buying television, and advertisers and their agencies understand how to buy TV media. Also, engagement rates are consistently solid (notice I didn’t mention click-through rates). Creative is rather standard now. Most video advertisers are using a 15 or 30 second pre-roll video together with a 300×250 Companion Ad using either VAST or VPAID formats. We’ve also seen in 2011 more non linear advertising solutions come to market.

“For Gourmet Ads, video advertising was the fastest growing section of our business in 2011. We’ve seen huge demand from advertisers and we don’t think this will subside anytime soon. That said, there are still lots of challenges for video. Lack of quality video inventory is one. We’ve worked hard to build a large collection of cooking videos on Secondly is the technical requirements needed to set up a publisher to accept video pre-roll ads. We have made some great progress with our own video hosting platform for publishers, but more education is required.”

The 300×600 Ad Size
There’s something to be said for big things, and the 300×600 is one the largest display ad sizes available, with many calling it the “half page ad unit”.

“Not only is there lots of space to get the message across from a creative standpoint, but in our testing we’ve seen engagement rates three to 10 times better than regular display sizes.

“Over the past six months we’ve slowly started to see more advertisers ask for the 300×600 size and given the great performance of the unit, we believe that 2012 will see more advertisers using this size.

Vertical Ad Networks will Continue to Grow
“There was plenty of consolidation across the digital advertising ecosystem last year. We saw video companies acquire other video advertising companies, we saw ad networks acquire other ad networks and major web portals continue making investments that made sense for them. What we didn’t see was any acquisitions of vertical ad networks in 2011.

“Many in the digital press predicted that vertical ad networks will die a slow death, which really surprises me. From our perspective, they are very much alive and kicking. We’ve seen amazing growth again this year and are expecting continued growth in 2012. In talking to my peers at other vertical ad networks, all report solid growth and revenues. Gourmet Ads in 2011 strengthened our inventory by investing in, and I know other networks have been quietly acquiring more web properties and inventory which they can call their own. So I’m predicting vertical networks will continue to grow in 2012.”

CPG Brands to Increase Budgets
“We saw a number of new advertisers in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) space in 2011 and we’re already seeing new brands at major CPGs advertising for the first time. That said, we’re hopeful all CPGs start using online. In 2011 we started to see CPGs run longer campaigns, compared to previous years where they were just concentrating on Q4, then going dark for the rest of the year.

“We predict that in 2012 we’re going to see smaller to mid-sized companies move to online, where they can easily compete with large FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods)/CPG companies, possibly more so on a localized/geo-targeted basis.”

Contextual Advertising for Food Advertisers
“Another advertising trend we’ve seen from food advertisers in 2011 is the desire to advertise on pages where recipe content is closely related or contextually relevant,” Christie says. “We’re predicting this will continue into 2012 as some advertisers want to only reach the exact target each and every time.

“An example of contextual advertising would be a seafood company running a campaign for salmon and only advertising on pages where salmon was being featured, say in recipes for smoked or grilled salmon. It’s relatively easy for a single site to provide this type of targeting, but we’re working on being able to target contextually against videos with pre-roll video advertising. The challenge has always been one of lack of contextually targeted inventory available.

“Ringing in 2012, we predict that companies will use contextual advertising for part of their media plan in two ways. First, they will allocate 10-20 percent of the media plan’s budget to contextual advertising to ensure the plan remains relevant, then use retargeting and then general run of food. And secondly, they will book a six- or 12-month media plan to “own” the term, i.e. they will own 'salmon recipes' much like a sponsorship-type investment, changing the ad creative when required.”


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Gourmet Ads

Placing more than 100 million ads per month, Gourmet Ads ( is a global food advertising network focusing on branding campaigns for reaching the grocery buyer online. With operations in the U.S.A., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Gourmet Ads consists of over 300 cooking websites where consumers are spending time online researching recipes, making meal decisions and developing their grocery shopping lists. Gourmet Ads develops customized advertising solutions from regular IAB units, to portal type solutions such as background skins, roadblocks and interstitials which go beyond the banner. It has represented such marquee brands as General Mills, Starbucks, Orville Redenbacher’s, Campbell’s, Nestle, Swiffer and Kraft Foods, as well as retailers Walmart, Kroger, Fresh & Easy and Safeway.
Benjamin Christie
P: +61 2 8090 5200
M: +61 418 610 498


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