By Aaron Baar

Advertising and other traditional marketing methods do influence consumers’ electronics purchase decisions — but other areas of content like consumer reviews and buying guides should not be neglected.

After evaluating more than 3,000 purchases of mobile devices, tablets and wearables, Purch and comScore found several inefficiencies when it comes to ad delivery and the information that consumers find valuable when shopping for tech products. According to the report, more than half (52%) of relevant ad impressions for technology came after the consumer had already purchased a product.

“It points to a significant opportunity to retune and refine ad strategies of reaching the consumer,” Erin Kapczynski, vice president of marketing at Purch, tells Marketing Daily.

Beyond advertising, consumers use media technology sites throughout their purchase process, putting trust in product reviews and testing from neutral parties. According to the research, buyers read 80% more reviews and buying guides than news on those sites.

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By Erik Sass

Publishers looking for new sources of revenue are increasingly turning to e-commerce, either by selling products and services directly to consumers themselves or partnering with external e-commerce platforms. Recent deals include Purch’s acquisition of Active Junky and HuffingtonPost’s alliance with Bringhub.

Last week Purch — which combines digital publishing and e-commerce — announced that it has acquired loyalty platform and online shopping community Active Junky, which rewards users for shopping for outdoor gear through its interface. Having partnered with over 100 outdoor gear stores, Active Junky uses cash back, deals, special offers, and coupons to create customized special offers for members, which Purch hopes to leverage as member services; Purch already operates a platform bringing together tech product vendors and enthusiasts.

Active Junky will remain an independent brand, while its customer loyalty platform rolls out across Purch’s other properties early next year. Purch closed a $135 million round of funding in June, in part to fund acquisitions like Active Junky.

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New money continues to roll into the advertising industry. While companies offering programmatic and native advertising will likely capitalize on the move, a study examining both media uncovers challenges hidden in objectives highlighted by brands participating in the study.

Purch, which rebranded from TechMedia Network in April, said the common thread in its study analyzing opportunities and challenges points to awareness through branding and performance through conversions.

Some 71% of advertisers participating in the study — which focused on native and sponsored content — view branding as a main objective, with 65% citing sales and conversions as a top priority. About 75% said programmatic campaigns are typically assessed through performance metrics, yet 51% of advertisers using programmatic strategies include brand lift among their top evaluation metrics.

Purch commissioned the study conducted by Advertiser Perceptions in Q1 2014, with help from U.S. brand marketers and their agency partners spending $1 million or more on digital advertising. The average digital spend for the advertising participating in the survey was more than $16 million in the past year. The survey focused on their current use and future plans for native/sponsored content and programmatic digital advertising campaigns.

Despite predictions that marketers will spend triple the amount in native advertising by 2015, obstacles remain. Some 46% said insufficient reporting and return on investment (ROI) metrics are the biggest challenge to success; followed by 38% who believe a misalignment exists between campaign and marketing objectives; 26% who point to required time and resource commitment; and 24% who believe native programs are not sufficiently turnkey.

Although native advertising programs are rarely available through programmatic platforms, 42% of advertisers participating in the survey expect to begin purchasing the media that way within the next six months, and 79% expect to purchase them that way within the next year.

About 73% of advertisers agree that programmatic media-buying and direct sales can coexist, with each serving a distinct purpose.

The obstacles to increased use of premium programmatic, preferred or private auction deals negotiated with a publisher include a lack of premium inventory at 54% and inadequate targeting to preferred editorial brands and audiences at 37%.

Some 65% of brand marketers surveyed have used agency trading desks and 61% have used demand-side platforms to purchase programmatic media, but 36% prefer to purchase through publishers, followed by 23% trading desks and 21% who prefer to to so through DSPs. Agencies are more attracted to better performance when buying premium inventory than marketers, 46% vs. 36%, respectively. Marketers are more attracted to reaching targets without waste, 45% vs. 24%, respectively.

About 91% said audience insight and data are most important when buying through programmatic channels. When asked to pick more than one, ease of use followed with 90%; credible metrics, audience quality, transparency, inventory guarantees all came in separately at 87%, and access to first-party data at 81%.

By Laurie Sullivan

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While agencies and marketers are on the same side of the equation (buy-side), they each have a unique view on what programmatic offers.

Agencies are more drawn to the efficiency promise of automation than marketers (46% versus 36%), while marketers are more attracted to reaching targets without waste than agencies (35% versus 24%).

The data comes from a recent study released by Purch, a content and commerce platform formerly known as TechMedia Network. The study was conducted by Advertiser Perceptions, a media research firm.

Despite machines being front and center in programmatic, advertisers in general still prefer to deal directly with publishers when running programmatic campaigns. The majority of buyers (36%) prefer publishers as their programmatic partners, while trading desks (23%) and DSPs (21%) are the second- and third-most-preferred partners, respectively.

The study also found that a lack of premium inventory was the No. 1 element restraining “programmatic direct”  from further growth.

This “lack of inventory” roadblock was mentioned again at the RTB Insider Summit on Friday afternoon, when Rubicon Project’s head of seller cloud Kaylie Smith said that while there is a lot of buzz surrounding programmatic direct, it hasn’t been met with equal action. However, Smith said publishers are testing the waters and becoming more comfortable with the idea of transacting higher-quality inventory in a semi-automated fashion.

The study was conducted in Q1 2014 among “high level U.S. marketer and agency advertising decision makers, spending $1 million or more on digital advertising,” per a release. The survey topics included both programmatic and native advertising.

By Tyler Loechner, MediaPost

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Technology and science publisher TechMedia Network is expanding its lead-generation business with the acquisition of BuyerZone. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Per the deal, TMN — parent to Laptop magazine,, and Tom’s Hardware — is getting BuyerZone’s marketplace of more than 1 million registered buyers and around 8,500 sellers across various product and service categories from digital copiers to security systems.

TMN CEO Greg Mason said BuyerZone is not the company’s first foray into lead generation. On the contrary, “Our existing reviews platform, TopTenReviews, has been extremely successful in facilitating connections between in-market buyers and sellers,” Mason said on Wednesday.

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