Field Report: AdsWizz Audio Advertiser and Liquid Compass

March 1, 2012


In April 2011, our ad replacement company up and shut down without so much as a week's notice, leaving us high and dry to find a suitable replacement as quickly as possible. We stream our four Central Minnesota radio stations with Liquid Compass, who called me right away with two options. One of them was AdsWizz, a third-party company Liquid Compass was closely integrating with its streaming network.

AdsWizz

We were one of the first station groups in the Liquid Compass network to be integrated with AdsWizz, and the transition was seamless. Liquid Compass took care of importing and re-scheduling all our campaigns, banners and video pre-rolls from our previous system into AdsWizz Audio Advertiser.

Learning to use the system was easy for me since I'm familiar with the OpenX Ad Delivery platform. My own experience aside, for a newcomer looking in, it can be pretty daunting to understand the terminology and workflow. That said, give it a couple weeks and you'll be a master.

The workflow

AdsWizz runs on what I could call a hierarchy workflow. It starts with an advertiser. Inside each advertiser, campaigns are scheduled. Inside each campaign, ads are uploaded. Inside each ad, zones for delivery are scheduled. From the top down, it looks like this:

Advertiser → Campaign → Ads → Zones

You can have as many campaigns running as you'd like from a single advertiser, and each of those campaigns can have its own set of flight dates. Each campaign can have as many ads in it and each ad inside that campaign can be scheduled and targeted accordingly.

As far as ads go, we use three types: audio, video and display.
> Audio ads are delivered to our listeners whenever the radio station takes a break on-air. When that happens, the stream cuts away and plays a different set of commercials delivered by AdsWizz.
> Video ads are scheduled as a pre-roll (15 to 20 seconds each) and are played before the Web stream starts.
> Display ads are linked to audio ads. When the audio ad plays during a commercial break, the corresponding display ad is shown in the stream player to allow the listener to click on the banner to follow some sort of call to action from the audio. This linking process is determined by a simple check box set at the campaign level called Companion Positioning. Once checked, the system will automatically pair any display ads with the audio ads scheduled in the same campaign.

Targeting and scheduling

AdsWizz is one of the most advanced systems that I have used over the years in terms of its ability to target and schedule media to various sources. Like I mentioned earlier, each campaign can have as many ads inside it as you'd like. Each ad can be individually scheduled or targeted, or you can have every ad follow the schedule set at the campaign level, which trickles down to each ad unless overwritten.

Performance at a glance
◊ Targets listeners by device, geography and other data
◊ Delivers different ads to different zones
◊ Integrates with Liquid Compass streaming
◊ Streams to any device
◊Three types of ads: audio, video and display

Ads can be delivered to any number of stations (zones). I can theoretically have a campaign with a unique spot for each radio station inside of it. As for targeting, each ad can individually be delivered based on date, time, day of week, etc. This is pretty basic scheduling and day-parting functionality.

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Where it gets really cool is that I can target any individual ad to a user based on his geographic location, operating system, mobile status, etc. For example, we ran a campaign for a mobile phone company with three ads. One ad was talking about Android devices and upgrading to the latest device. Another ad was talking about the latest iPhone that just came out and the third ad was just a general message. We were able to target the Android spot to only those listeners on an Android devices and the same for the iPhone message to iPhone listeners. We ran the general ad for everyone else.

Support and documentation

I've never seen any training documentation for AdsWizz, but I've also never asked for it since the system was intuitive for me. Support is offered through the Liquid Compass support team, who works directly with AdsWizz when necessary. I've never had any problems with support. Response is always same day and any issues are always resolved in a timely manner.

There are only a few things that I would change about AdsWizz, and none of them are a deal breaker by any means.

The biggest frustration for me is that there is no way to actually delete an advertiser, campaign or ad. They can only be deactivated. Over time, this tends to clutter up my interface with ad information that is no longer needed. There is an option to hide everything that is not currently active, so I use this all the time. I'm told that the option to delete items is currently in development.

AdsWizz has a feature that allows things to be duplicated and/or moved. Duplicating a campaign will also duplicate all ads inside it. Duplicating an ad makes a copy inside its current campaign. I use this all the time to create a starting point for new campaigns that will utilize some aspect of the duplicated campaign. The downside here is that when I want to move a duplicated ad out of a campaign and into a new campaign, I have to sort through every campaign for every advertiser, which is really annoying. It would be much nicer to only show the campaigns for the current advertiser, as there will never be reason to move an ad between advertisers.

The only other feature that I would like to see (and I have not seen this in any other provider either, so it's not really an AdsWizz gripe) would be the ability to email missing copy reports. Currently, we have no way of knowing when a campaign is about to expire or when the ads inside of that campaign are about to expire. It's a common problem to go a few weeks and suddenly find out that an advertiser has not been playing because his ad expired and we had no idea. We use some rudimentary methods internally to track this, but an automated report would be ideal.

AdsWizz
◊ 408-674-4355
adswizz.com
contact.us@adswizz.com
Liquid Compass
◊ 303-839-9400
liquidcompass.net
info@liquidcompass.net

Aside from the few minor complaints - again, nothing that's a deal breaker - AdsWizz is an exceptional product. I have ultimate control over everything in my system right down to the hour of the day for a single ad inside of a campaign. I'm inside the system everyday managing our streaming inventory, and everything is very easy to use, minus the initial learning curve.

This is certainly one of the best ad replacement products on the market today. I have either used or seen very in-depth demos for all the major products out there, and AdsWizz is at the top of the list in my book.


McGinnis is project manager and webmaster for Leighton Interactive, St. Cloud, MN.



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