new feature

Script Annotations

Most of the time our scripts contain information about audio: voice over, sound effects or music. But, often our ads are consumed on a platform that can show additional media, such as a companion image along with a click-through web link. We have released a new feature to allow the choice of companion image and link to be determined by rules, in the same way we do with audio, and we call it Annotations.

Annotations can contain images, links and also impression trackers and allow users to dynamically change a companion image for a richer UI experience. For example, if the ad is talking about sunny weather, then now the companion image can be a sunny picture, and the tracker fired can tell a third party system that the sun creative was played.

Creating an annotation is just as easy as creating any other type of element: select the “Convert to multiple annotations” paperclip icon in the pop-up control:

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And then choose the annotation type: companion (image and/or link) or third party impression tracker:

 
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If you selected Companion, the familiar script config panel will appear allowing you to upload a companion image and/or enter a companion link. Here we can configure rules as we normally would:

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Based on this configuration the companion image and link would be used if it was a sunny Monday morning and of course we could have multiple annotations with different rules. One for a rainy Tuesday afternoon, for example (Note: Be sure to select an image with the correct width and height depending on where the image will be placed as these dimensions will be used in the tag).  If none of the rules are matched, the companion image/link selected on the script level will be used which provides a nice fall back.

Annotations work the same way if a Tracker annotation type is selected. You would enter a URL and an ID and configure the desired rules:

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The tracker URL will appear as an impression tag in the VAST response XML. Below you can see how the configuration above affects the response

This new feature enables us to write scripts which are truly personalised: from the lines in the audio through to companion banners. We hope to help users create highly dynamic and imaginative ads!

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Volume Controls in Timeline Editor

As part of our continued improvement of the Timeline Editor, our newest feature allows producers to control the volume (technically, the attenuation) of lists of options and individual audio elements. This makes our producers’ lives much easier, removing the need to switch between our platform and audio editing software for simple changes, such as dropping the volume of bed music, or boosting an individual piece of voice over.

When you hover on a set of options or audio element, the new control appears at the right hand end of the audio. Untouched audio has an attenuation of 0dB, and the scale stretches to ±20dB:
 

The new volume control appears at the right of the audio track when your mouse rolls over

The new volume control appears at the right of the audio track when your mouse rolls over

As with their positioning on the timeline, the volume of each option is relative to the group. So, if all the options need to be turned up a bit, you can simply adjust the master volume, and this will affect all the options:

All options in a list can be adjusted by changing the master volume for the whole list

All options in a list can be adjusted by changing the master volume for the whole list

Once you’ve done this, the volume of individual elements can be tweaked relative to the change you just made. The thin black line on the scale shows the group volume; options with no adjustment will sit on this line, while options that have been turned up or down relative to the group will sit above/below:

Adjust individual options by moving the volume up/down relative to the master (black line). In this example, the first option has been turned down relative to the master

Adjust individual options by moving the volume up/down relative to the master (black line). In this example, the first option has been turned down relative to the master

You can see which audio has been adjusted at a glance by looking at the waveforms themselves, or by looking for the volume icons in each title bar. A “loud” icon shows that the volume has been increased, whereas a “quiet” icon shows that - you guessed it - the volume has been decreased. No icon means that the audio is untouched:

See which audio has been adjusted by looking at the waveforms and volume icons

See which audio has been adjusted by looking at the waveforms and volume icons

By clicking on the volume icon, you can quickly remove the adjustment from a piece of audio, or the master adjustment from the parent of a list of options. When you reset the master volume of a list of options, all adjustments on options in the list will return to being relative to 0dB. For example:

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When you reset an option in a list, it will return to the master adjustment (if any). Resetting an individual audio element will just return it to 0dB.

Another point of note: the appearance of the default option in a list has been changed slightly, to avoid confusion with the parent on the timeline. You can now find the default option by looking for the star and the coloured border on the option title, as well as the coloured background when you roll over:
 

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The default option is now denoted by a star and a coloured border on the option title, and a coloured background when you roll over

The default option is now denoted by a star and a coloured border on the option title, and a coloured background when you roll over

The default option behaves in the same way as other options; its volume is relative to the list master.

Coming soon to the timeline editor: we’ll be adding trim controls to adjust the length of audio, and controls to fade the audio in and out. Watch this space!
 

Sharing audio and analytics

We've shipped a new feature, sharing, so you can now share single scripts in a demo player and single analytics pages.

Here's an example demo player

Here's an example demo player

... and here's an analytics example.

... and here's an analytics example.

We use this all the time to share our work with clients and agency folk and its really helpful to send the live analytics page to all of the stakeholders whilst a campaign is running.

The script doesn't have to be published to be shared and the sharing links stay live for 30 days after the campaign end date, or 30 days after the link is shared, whichever is the latest.

To share the audio of a single script in demo player, use the share icon next to script lists as you roll over. Click once to request the share link, then again to copy the link to the clipboard.

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There is also a share button that pops up from the right hand bottom corner of the script editing view.

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To share an Analytics page, use the purple share button from an analytics page.

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Clicking either of these purple share buttons will pop up a box at the bottom of the screen containing the sharing link. Click the clipboard icon next to the link to copy it to your clipboard.

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Once the link is on your clipboard, you can switch to your email or messenger and paste it in to send to colleagues, clients, your best friend, your mum etc.

Note: these links are not password protected or secured in any way - anyone with the link will be able to use them to view the analytics or play the demo player, so we strongly advise NOT sharing the links publicly (e.g on Twitter!) and respecting client confidentiality.

This is a great technique for sharing one script at a time. If you want to share multiple scripts and protect the demo player with a passcode, you can create demo users - see this post for more.