Clear the Shelters

NBC New York has reported an important initiative called “Clear the Shelters” scheduled to take place next week on Saturday, August 15. The mission of the initiative is simple as they are hoping to spur adoptions for innocent animals from the crowded animal shelters in the tri-state area. Organizers ideally want to pair every animal with a perfect human match.

Clear the Shelters - John PartillaResearch has shown that less than a gift of all people adopting a new pet choose to do so via an animal shelter. This number is quite alarming. Furthermore, adoption from animal shelters is even more important during the summer months due to an increase in population after spring births. Many animal shelters in the New York City area have already committed to the initiative taking place next Saturday. To find a complete list and a shelter near you, visit this page hosted by NBC New York. However, this isn’t only a local event. Thousands of shelters and hopefully millions of people will be participating in the event.

Around 7 million of the 150 million dogs and cats in the United States, unfortunately, end up animal across the nation each year. Estimates from the Humane Society put this number as high as 8 million. Most alarmingly, their data shows that five million of these cats and dogs are euthanized every year. It used to be far higher, however, as upwards of a quarter of these animals were subject to euthanasia not too long ago. Animal Shelters have sprung across the nation to help drive this number down. These shelters hope to provide this animal a loving and long-term home. While these shelters may vary in size and geography, they almost universally are welcome and depend on volunteers. Don’t be afraid to donate your time or resources to helping this great cause.

Pandora to Alter Ad Strategy

Many thousands of viewers enjoy the music selection Pandora has to offer. With randomly assembled playlists and a limitless supply of artists and tracks, the service draws thousands upon thousands of users every day. With that level of exposure, Pandora is one of the premier players in the music streaming industry. Debuting their latest program to bring in additional revenue through ad campaigns, Pandora is looking to tune up their business.

Pandora CEO, Brian McAndrews

Pandora CEO, Brian McAndrews

Using their newly created ad exchange, Pandora is privately auctioning off ad space to companies they have a history of working with. Using a system of over 350 customized targeting matrices, Pandora is able to match a specific ad to the listener most likely to benefit. By doing this, Pandora hopes to eliminate unnecessary ads cluttering the user’s experience, and increase positive response to their clientele’s campaigns.

Choosing only to work with established businesses who’ve worked with them in the past, Pandora hopes to build a more reputable advertising base without allowing third-party programs to muddy the waters. “In order to be able to transact with transparency as well as target first-party data, you have to have a direct relationship with Pandora to buy into the marketplace,” said Jack Krawczyk, VP Product manager at Pandora. By flooding their popular program with unnecessary advertisements, Pandora would not only turn away listeners, but damage a brand that’s been building for the past decade.

Prior to the inclusion of Pandora’s ad exchange program, companies primarily used banner ads to attract attention back to their sites. While this did work in some respect, the numbers were small, and most ads went unnoticed by the majority of mobile users. Pandora believes that this change in direction will increase the level of in-app purchases performed by mobile Pandora users. With a rate of $34.92 in revenue per 1000 mobile listeners to the $58.04 of PC users, Pandora hopes the new approach will help increase the functionality of their mobile advertisements.

Though interruptions are rarely welcome while listening to music, Pandora is doing its best to avoid increasing what few ads are present. Instead, by focusing on more user specific, analytically driven ad placement, Pandora hopes to improve the listening experience for everyone involved.

Using Rocket Science to Gain an Advantage in Marketing

The startup DataXu utilizes software, initially designed to be used on NASA space missions, in order to show customers the most relevant ads online. DataXu which was founded the MIT alumnus Bill Simmons and Sandro Catanzaro leverages the big data about consumer demographics behavior in order which to help companies receive the largest ROI possible. The software analyzes past online behavior and preferences as well as utilizing data from third party sources regarding the users demographic, general interests, and purchase history. DataXu instantly analyzes all of this data to determine the specific ad from their large group of potential clients that will spur the user to take action, whatever that may be.

John Partilla - DataxuAdvertising and marketing have by no means been an exact science throughout its history. The data regarding Return on Investment was largely an approximation, and took months to collect. This has changed dramatically as DataXu has the capability of  precisely measuring ROI numbers. They are trying to break advertising down to a science and remove its uncertainty. Companies are apparently eager to employ such an approach as DataXu boasts such as Ford, Lexus, and 3M. The results speak for themselves. Ford experienced a twenty percent jump in online shopping outcomes with DataXu services.

The DataXu software was originally created by Simmons and Catanzaro while studying systems architecture with MIT Professor Ed Crawley.  The team originally designed the software for NASA to determine the most practical manned missions to Mars. They narrowed down the count of feasible missions to just 1,162 from the original 35 billion potential options.    The most impressive feature of this software was actually its speed. Normally, it would take quite some time to analyze all 35 billion options. But the software quickly eliminated options that were clearly unfeasible. This is what separates them from the pack, especially in the world of online advertisements in which things happen in a matter of milliseconds.   NASA was mightily impressed by the team’s work as have been the customers of DataXu.

Digital Ad Revenue Soaring

According to Laurie Sullivan from, the Internet Advertising Revenue or IAB recently released a report showing that the American digital advertising revenue increased by more than fifteen percent in 2014. Last year, total revenue in this space was just below the $50 billion mark. $14.2 billion of this came in Q4 of 2014, which was a 17% increase from the previous quarter.

increasesalesIf you take a closer look at this data, you will see that ads in social media rose an incredible fifty-seven percent to over $7 billion in 2014. The growth of this number over the course of the year is even more impressive. Of this $7 billion, $4.1 billion came in the final six months of 2014. Over the last three years, the compounded annual growth rate sits at a remarkable fifty-five percent.

David Silverman for PWC notes how brands have finally determined how to make money from the investments they have made in social media over the last few years. The market for this platform has really matured.

Sullivan reports that the cost per click for advertisements that appear on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. have increased in recent years. Sullivan also points out that these higher prices could influence how brands allocate their money in the future.

Brian Wieser, an analyst form Pivotal Research Group, believes that the numbers, if you dive into the data, indicate something else. The lion’s share of the growth can actually be attributed to that of Google and Facebook. If you remove these two tech giants from the data, digital advertising revenue only experienced a marginal increase.

In this article, Sullivan also reports that investments in the mobile space increased twenty-five percent last year, and now sit higher than $12 billion. Search remains the leader in advertisement revenue with it accounting for nearly $20 billion in 2014.