Social Graph is Key to Engaging Audiences Online

Research by SAY Media, IPG Media Lab, TRU, and comScore suggests that 56 million U.S. consumers are slipping past advertisers because they are removing themselves from live broadcasting ad experiences.

It's hardly a revelation that online consumers are increasingly more difficult to reach through live television, the study confirms. Instead they are driven by the desire to make their media consumption more efficient through choice and control-it is no longer the question of "what's on?" but rather "what's available?"

With the increasing ease of skipping commercials, these consumers are constantly making a mental calculation as to whether it is easier to avoid interruptive ads or tolerate them, the study reports. They are educated, digitally focused, connected, engaged, and influential.

"Getting people to engage in an on-demand world with so much fragmentation is the biggest challenge marketers face today," says SAY Media CEO Matt Sanchez. "Media has fundamentally changed and the new models can't be ignored."

The study handily validates the approach taken by SAY Media, which is looking to transform itself from an online ad network under its previous guise as VideoEgg, to offer conversational, content-driven advertising that it says lets the user stay in control.

"Content consumption patterns are being driven by social connections," says Sanchez . "New types of content creators and aggregators from the Huffington Post to Angry Birds have built passionate audiences out of the change. SAY Media is a media company designed to meet these new challenges and help advertisers find systemic ways to garner attention."

The rebrand and restructure occurred last September following VideoEgg's acquisition of Six Apart, operator of publishing platforms Typepad and Moveable Type.

Say Media combines VideoEgg's technology with Six Apart's social publishing and blogging network in an attempt to create more interactive and conversational ads.

VideoEgg spent some time playing with ad products in and around media economics , and innovating - for example with Adframes display (which originates in a standard display box but expands to fill the entire page when the user rolls a mouse over it).

"We then took a step back and looked at what is happening with media on the web," says Sanchez. "There are massive trends which the whole space needs to adjust to, and brands are struggling to understand how to take advantage of it."

Fragmentation of media is one clear trend, as consumers move toward connecting with content on PC, mobile, and tablet devices. The type of content consumed is more likely to be niche- or interest-driven while users will increasingly find content not though search but through social media.

"We felt there was a gaping hole in the market for a new kind of media company that was very close to that  niche independent content that consumers are passionate about," says Sanchez. "We've taken VideoEgg's legacy in innovation around advertising and media economics and Six Apart's legacy in building voices and community around niche topics to become a media company with content at the centre of its mission."

Sanchez think social networks will play a big role in more predictable distribution of content.

"You have to feed social with something; it won't go viral on its own," he says. "If you have great content and use social properly you are going to be able to drive a big audience. Any piece of content is one retweet away from a viral hit.

"A big part of what will do lies in understanding the relationship between media that the advertiser is buying, how it is getting picked up by a community and how that audience responds with feedback. We are excited about connecting the two and getting conversations started around these concepts."

SAY Media claims to reach 345 million global unique visitors and has operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK

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