Using the weather forecast in creative

Photo by  Nikita Ignatev  on  Unsplash

If you are thinking about using the new Weather Forecast rule, here are a few creative ideas:

Travel

Use the weather forecast to connect your message to listeners and inspire their travel plans with trips away. From escaping dismal weather this weekend to finding a suitable sunspot, this is a fantastic opportunity to advertise that not so secret escape! You could even go one step further and connect price data to your ad to call out the best available deals in real time!

Its forecast to [rain/freeze/snow] this weekend, so why not escape to somewhere [ dryer to top up that tan / hotter to warm those cockles in the sun / even snowier and get your ski on] !

With flights from [$xx] for flights to [destination] it’s easier to get away than you think.

Food retailers

Knowing what the weather is doing can drive product purchase decisions. For example, on a how weekend everyone stocks up on BBQ food, drink, ice and ice cream. Encourage listeners to get their shop done before the rush.

Forecast sun: It is HOT HOT HOT [this/next] weekend and with weather like this you know it’s time to dust off the BBQ and get ready to grill with [products on rotation]. Visit your local [location store] and get stocked up before everyone else gets the same idea!

Forecast rain: This [Sunday/tomorrow/today], when it’s dull and rainy you need to be getting stuck into a series and topping off your day with a delicious [product]. Go on, treat yourself! Sunday’s are made to feel good.

Retail

Whether you are selling, umbrellas or lawnmowers, skirts or shorts, use the weather forecast to personalize the product you talk to a listener about at any given moment.

With a hot spell like this coming up, [painting that fence/getting out the lawnmower/fixing the shed] is going to be more of a pleasure than a chore. Pop into your local [store location] and get that “job well done” feeling!

Combining data sources can deliver the perfect product placement. Think summer dresses for the ladies or a fresh new tee for the men.

With a hot spell hitting the streets it’s time you did too. Step into [local retailer] and [ get yourself that Maxi dress you’ve been dreaming of and slip on a pair of sandals / get out the boardies and chill out with a Hawaiian shirt over a plain white tee ] .

If the forecast is for colder weather then other product choices become important.

VO1: Sooo this weekend, what am I doing? That’s right Jack’s got a footy match so I’d better pack the thermos, and I’m shuttling Tina to ballet and that party, and I’ve got to do the shop…..

VO2: When the weather is grim all weekend and you’re running around, the last thing you need is a cold. Stop it before it starts with Sudafed.

Lottery

Finally there’s all sorts of creative ways we can add context to messaging with weather to amplify the feeling of our ads.

So it’s going to rain again [this weekend/midweek] … Why don’t you brighten that picture with a lottery ticket for [Wednesday’s/Saturday’s] prize draw! This week the jackpot is over [dynamic jackpot amount]. So sure it might be raining here but who cares when you’re seeing out the week in the Bahamas!


For more ideas please get in touch.

Using weather forecast data in Studio

LocationRuleGroup.png

We are continuously looking for new rules that you can implement into your scripts to create a more dynamic result and today we are unveiling the new Forecast rule. Previously we only provided the current weather conditions but using the new forecast rule you can now select the weather forecast from today to 9 days in advance.

To use the forecast rule, select it from the Location rule group.

To choose the forecast condition for up to 9 day from now, type today+ into the search box. A drop down list will prompt you to choose one of the options. For example, if today is Monday and you want to know if it is forecast to rain on Wednesday, you would add the condition Today+2 Rain.

WeatherForecast.gif
forecastTomorrow.PNG

This rule also allows you to group together multiple weather conditions with multiple days as either a Match all or Match any.

For example, if the creative only cared about tomorrow being a sunny day, you can have one line mentioning tomorrow being a sunny day and another line grouping together the non sunny values with a Match Any operator. If the weather forecast was anything but sunny then the second line would play.

If you wanted to provide creative on the condition that this weekend is sunny you could implement the Day of week rule alongside the Forecast rule.

ForecastDayOfWeek.jpg

As you can see in the screenshot, the Day of week rule is set to Monday and the forecast is set to  ‘Today+5 sun’ and ‘Today+6 sun’ to see if the forecast for either Saturday or Sunday is sunny.

You could then go through the rest of the week: On Tuesday set the rule to ‘Today+4 Sun’ and ‘Today+5 Sun’ as the weekend is 4 and 5 days after Tuesday.

 

The new weather forecast rule has plenty of creative potential. In this blog we suggest a range of ideas that use this forecast rule.

Studio's new dynamic player

DynamicPlayer.jpg

We have re-launched the dynamic player to bring a fresh new look along with a host of new features and functionality to further enhance user experience and workflow.

Feedback from both power and new users has helped us to build upon one of the core components of our application, making the task of reviewing and playing back any possible version of your dynamic audio advert a very easy one.

 
fabmin.jpg

The minimised media player can be launched from anywhere in Studio where you see the triangle play button, and when playing a script (as opposed to an individual media file), the minimised media player includes the option to expand the player to reveal the dynamic player. The expand button is a chevron in form, and is positioned to the right of the play button.

Script playback, with access to the dynamic player is achieved via the play button found in the red FAB menu in the bottom right corner of the script edit page, or from the play button positioned beside the script name in the campaigns page of your dashboard.

Media playing

In addition to the functionality already available- such as play/pause, and download the mp3 of the playing version of your ad, we’ve included more information in the new minimised dynamic player. The names of your script, campaign and client are now displayed alongside the media player controls and these all link to the corresponding pages in your dashboard.

 
readthrough.gif

A brand new feature is the script read through, which is displayed on the left side of the expanded dynamic player.

This component highlights each line of the script as the playing media reaches it, and offers an easy way of skipping to other points in the advert- by clicking a line the playhead moves to the corresponding point in the script.

Each line is accompanied by icons to denote the rule types (weather, location etc) that affect the option that is being played.

 
Conditions Selector

Selecting a script version in the new dynamic player introduces the ability for you to choose between hearing a dynamically produced ad, the one that contains the default options, or one using all of the shortest or longest media files.

Selecting conditions was the core of the previous incarnation of the dynamic player, and this has largely remained unaltered, save for the addition of options for both ‘no-value’ and ‘auto’ where possible.

Selecting a different script version, or different conditions automatically loads the appropriate version of your advert in the media player- so all that is left for you to do is hit play and hear as your audience will.






On top of all of these great new features, the redesign creates a more intuitive workflow, whilst maintaining a consistent and familiar look and feel for regular users.

Creating demo users and sharing multiple scripts at once

The simplest way to send the demo player for a script of the analytics page is to use the sharing link (detailed in this blog post). However, sometimes you want to send more than one script and stop it expiring after 30 days (as the share links do). For this, its best to create a demo user and then share scripts with that user.

DemoUser.png

Create a user with User Type of Demo. This prompts you to give the user a name and choose a pass code. To share scripts with this demo user, go to each script’s settings panel and choose this user to share the script with on the sharing tab.
The image below shows the “Become a monster” script is shared with the “7stars” demo user.

Then from the user menu, you can get the short link to share:

Click the link symbol to copy a short link to your clipboard e.g. amil.io/d/Ez6iPXZwX

You can share this link with your contacts along with the passcode and when they click it, a log in box will appear, prompting for the passcode.

When the user logs in they see the demo player with all of the scripts that have been shared with that user. This way you can send many scripts in one demo player.

Managing users, groups and roles

This post outlines how we handle users, groups and roles in the Studio.

You can create a new user by clicking the + button at the bottom of your user group.

createUser.gif

Creating a new user will send them an email to verify and let them choose a password.

User groups

userGroups.png

Every user is a member of a user group. Users within the same group can see the same set of clients, campaigns and scripts. What they can do to those elements in governed by their individual role. 

Roles

Every user is assigned a role that governs what they are able to do in the Studio. The table below shows which roles can do what:

Role Create user groups Create, delete, edit users in your group Create, delete, edit clients and campaigns Create and delete scripts Publish scripts Edit scripts View scripts
Administrator
User Group Administrator
Script Administrator
Script Publisher
Script Editor
Viewer

There is a special type of user called a Demo user that can be shared with others in order to share multiple scripts in one demo player. See this post for details on how to create a demo user.

Integrating with A Million Ads

Integrating with A Million Ads is simple as we follow standard HTTP, REST, VAST and DAAST standards. VAST, in particular, is wide spread amongst most ad tech providers and governs the kind of request that we take and the format of the response.

publish.jpg

The tag

We provide the tag within our Studio ad designer tool when a script is ready to be published.

Here is a sample tag that can be inserted in to the creative flight on an ad server / SSP / DSP (usually in the VAST redirect box):

GET https://ads-eu.amillionads.com/go/wR3Ckk?source=ama&data.segment=${segment}&data.age=${ageband} Link

This tag can be a HTTPS GET or POST.

The unique code (wR3Ckk) is the reference to the script - in this case, it is a simple 15 second test message.

The source is set to ama - this lets our system know who is requesting the ad, what format the data is being passed to us in and in what format we will return the response. This is all set up in a pre-defined config file called a parser.

Data can be passed to trigger different elements in the script. This can be done as key=value in the query string, JSON formatted in the data field in the query string, or as XML or JSON in the POST body. In this example, the key value pairs data.segment and data.ageband are in the query string and the values are example macro codes that might trigger the DSP to populate some date into the tag on each request.

The response output can be VAST (IAB standard XML), JSON, or even a 303 redirect to the file itself.  This tag responds with a VAST document containing the URL of the media asset (audio file encoded as required e.g. OGG), any impression, start and complete tags, third party trackers, and any associated companion image and companion click (not all are in this particular response).

Companion images and clicks are supported and they can change dynamically in tandem with the audio - that is all set up in the Studio ad designer tool. We can also insert any number of tracking pixels into the VAST response and, again, can fire different trackers for different creatives.

This being a redirect tag, the response could be different for every request.

Pre-requisites

For DSPs to support the dynamic functionality, several features are required:

  • VAST redirect support i.e. firing our tag, and then following the directions of the VAST response that we provide, most importantly where to find the media asset.
  • Client header information needs to be passed to us with each request. At minimum this is IP address, Device ID (on mobile) and User Agent of the listener's device. Normally this is passed (or proxied) in the HTTP headers, although can be appended to the tag using DSP-specific macros.
  • No caching of responses or tags. As this is a dynamic tag, all of the components of the response could be different for each request, so caching does not work.
We know a test is working when the requests and impressions are spread across a region, indicating that real users are generating them.

We know a test is working when the requests and impressions are spread across a region, indicating that real users are generating them.

Testing

When we integrate with a new DSP, SSP or ad server we run a series of tests to check that dynamic audio is fully operational:

  1. Environment: you call our dynamic creative server from a test stream and we respond with an audio ad that tells you everything we know about you and the call: time, location, device type, number of impressions. This primarily checks the the User's IP and User Agent are being correctly passed in the request header, and that impression pings are being fired.
  2. Parameter passing: you pass us a set of parameters that are available at your end via macros. Again in a test stream and we mirror them back to you in the audio e.g. Segment, Gender, Genre. This checks that macros can be created and populated in the tag.
  3. Scale: we create some filler audio that you place in remnant/unsold inventory on a live stream so that we can test that calls work at scale and that our numbers line up.

We have different tags for each of these tests and can work with you at each stage to ratify the test and debug as appropriate. It is possible to roll all of the tests into one, depending on timing and how confident we are feeling - we've done a few of these now so we know pretty quickly when it is working and where the usual pitfalls are.

Analytics part 3

Analytics is a huge topic. So much so that we have broken this blog post into three.

  1. Introduction

  2. Analytics overview

  3. Individual script delivery (this post)

Individual script delivery

Below the overall campaign data, the analytics page reports individual script delivery. You can choose which script from the drop down menu. The panels show the Impressions / Complete / LTR and CTR data for that script, as the overall campaign data above did.

osDeviceTypes.png

Next to that is a breakdown of the Top 3 operating systems (OS Types) and Device Types that have requested this script. 

The OS options include Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Other (which accounts for any other operating system that we do not recognise or device / app that does not report its OS). Device types include Mobile, Tablet, Desktop, Appliance (such as home speakers or TVs) and, again, Other (for devices that we don't recognise or don't report).

Traffic breakdown: the Flow diagram

Depending on the complexity of a script, there can be thousands, if not millions of different versions of the audio. Showing all of these potential versions in one comprehensible way is difficult so we designed the flow diagram to try to show the many different routes through a script.

The flow diagram goes from left to right: zero seconds on the far left through to 30 seconds (or however long the script is) on the right. The width of each line represents the relative proportion of impressions flowing through each branch of the script.

Use the Zoom tool to see the whole chart, or focus in on the area you are interested in.

Rolling over a line in the chart shows the number and proportion of impressions that flowed through that line (101.5k (22.2%) impressions for the line "Get down to your local B&Q" as shown in the diagram above).

The rules that have been set in the script dictate how the impressions flow through that script. These are shown in the bar above the flow line. Click on a branch, or the rule at the top to see further detail for that rule.

Flow diagram zoom in

The overview charts that pop up on the right will depend on the type of rule.

Overview for location rule

Overview for location rule

Overview for weather rule

Overview for weather rule

Overview for random rule

Overview for random rule

These diagrams will depict the data that was served across your selected time frame, allowing you to see which data has been used through the script. These charts include Ignored and Default:

Default: Using weather as an example, where there are four possible choices (Sun, Rain, Cloud, Snow), if the script only contains lines for, say, Sun and Cloud, and a default line for the other conditions, then the chart will only show Sun, Cloud and Default (even though the default line might have been served to users whose weather condition was Rain or Snow).

Ignored shows that data was ignored to choose this route through the script. See the blog post on ignoring here.

Below the charts is a data table that can be sorted by number of impressions.

dataGrid.png

The blue star shows which line is the default.

Tips

  • Measure the default condition separately from the rules you have created by duplicating a line to serve as a default setting, and using the same audio.

 

Analytics part 2

This is part 2 of the Analytics blog series. The other posts are here:

  1. Introduction

  2. Analytics overview (this post)

  3. Individual script delivery

Analytics overview

On the main analytics page, the top bar shows campaign delivery: the overall delivery of all scripts in the campaign.

From left to right:

  1. The first number shows the number of impressions served and the blue wheel around that number indicates how far through the total that is, which is the number shown by Complete.

  2. Unique is the total number of impressions from unique identifiers that we have seen for this campaign (which can be made up of many scripts) divided by the total number of impressions. 34.4% means that each user has heard this campaign just under 3 times each.

  3. Listen Through Rate (LTR) is the total number of End tracking pings we receive divided by the number of Start pings.

  4. Click Through Rate (CTR) is the total number of clicks divided by the total number of impressions.

  5. The impression targets delivery chart shows how the campaign is delivering over time compared to the average number of impressions per day (calculated by dividing the total number of impression in the campaign by the total number of days between the campaign start and end dates). This chart is useful to quickly see if a campaign is over or under-delivering. Note, the delivery chart is not shown after the campaign end date.

The next chart shows how the different scripts in the campaign have delivered over the selected time.

multipleScriptDelivery.png

If you have multiple live scripts in a campaign or have re-published scripts within a campaign (either under the same publication key or multiple publication keys) then you can see how each of those scripts has contributed to the overall delivery.

You can choose to show delivery by Campaign, Week, Day or Hour until the present moment.

timeSelector.png

The next section of data is all based on the script that you choose from this campaign.

By default, the script that has delivered the most impressions in this campaign is selected.

Our next blog post covers how we provide analytics for an individual in more detail.


The analytics story continues over at part 3, here.