The Webrepublican Nr. 38, April 2017

02 Apr 2017 / by Simon Wüthrich / Webrepublic / Comments

The debate around brand safety, the balance between family life and agency life, a “Guetzli” for faster websites, a new advertising format for mobile shoppers, Danish light signal systems for smartphone zombies, 1323 readers, an open rate of 42.5% and 4 minutes 34 seconds of reading time. That’s Webrepublican no. 38.



The Webrepublican 38


  • The debate around brand safety for video and banner advertising has reached the greater public in Switzerland. Two days after 10vor10 brought the topic to the attention to the broader population, two Swiss brands withdrew their budgets for YouTube and the Google Display Network (GDN). By this point, Google had already offered the advertisers a public apology and rolled out some initial concrete measures, in addition to announcing plans for further improvements. Google is making it clear that it takes these problems seriously and wants to solve them quickly. This has convinced us that Google will soon introduce new developments in line with advertisers’ needs, and that YouTube and GDN will continue to play a significant role in the digital media mix.

Brand Safety


The importance of voice search and Virtual Assistant for Search will increase rapidly and significantly. Google, a driving force behind this development, is now broadening the user base for its latest technology – until now, the Assistant was available only on Google’s Pixel phone. Although there is little doubt that voice is becoming increasingly critical as an interface, voice-controlled assistants are also creating new challenges in terms of user experience. For example, users of Google’s Home Assistant didn’t react very well when a response from the Assistant sounded like an audio ad... This shows that if you try to reach a target group in a space where they do not expect any advertising, it might ruffle their feathers.


Page speed remains one of the most important issues for webmasters. A number of studies have shown that sites that are not up to date are in serious danger of losing users. Google engineers in Zurich have now made a significant contribution to faster loading of websites with Guetzli, a JPEG encoder that makes image files about 35% smaller without compromising image quality. Thanks to this codec, websites that feature a large number of (non-optimized) images can significantly improve their usability – which can have immediate positive effects on profits in e-commerce in particular.

How Speed Affects Your Website


What methods do agencies use to protect their customers’ brands from unwanted placements? Our Head of Programmatic Advertising, Joël Meier, discussed the possibilities with persönlich. He emphasized that in spite of the progress the company has made, Google still has a long way to go. Google reacted to this quickly, announcing that it would soon increase its standards in terms of policy, control mechanisms and implementation. As the debate around brand safety is in full swing, Facebook has announced that it will bring demand from its Audience Network to publishers that use header bidding. Facebook’s partners hope that this will increase price and innovation pressure and improve transparency along the entire supply chain, thus putting more money in the hands of the publishers. The premise here of course is that the industry can expect to see positive effects only when agencies, publishers and advertisers work together transparently.


Almost exactly a year ago, Facebook launched its bots concept in a blaze of publicity, and although it made the news again over the course of the year, many have now become disillusioned with the topic. This could be due to the fact that Facebook has fitted the app with new features that weaken the ‘chat’ use case, rather than tailoring it to the chat experience. At the same time, competitors like Amazon, Google and Apple continue to develop their voice-controlled assistants – which, as outlined above, is also important for brands, as it tackles the question of how to reach target groups beyond search results.


So while the prognosis for Facebook’s chatbot platform turns pessimistic – and the hype around its “M” assistant seems to have gone quiet – the network is instead launching new advertising formats that brands can celebrate. The “Collection” format almost seamlessly integrates product promotions with video content (or strong images) in the mobile feed. This format should be of particular interest to lifestyle and fashion brands with strong visual profiles.

Adidas gehört zu den Startkunden von Facebook "Collection".


How can companies monetize AR and VR for advertising purposes? Will they try to force their messages on to their target groups in VR? The question is still open – in spite of big advances and a lot of buzz, neither AR nor VR have yet made it into consumers’ day-to-day lives in a big way. Nevertheless, these questions need to be discussed now. But one thing is certain: the more immediate and intense the media experience, the more important it is that advertising messages come across as interesting rather than intrusive.


What do you do when pedestrians are not able to lift their eyes from their smartphones? A Danish city is attempting to increase safety along high-traffic pedestrian crossings using innovative light signals that are impossible to miss for even the most zoned-out smombies.

Dutch town put traffic lights on the ground


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