How Ad Innovation Drives Success from Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, Head of Field Sales, Verizon Media

Elizabeth-Brady headshot

We recently had a chance to speak with Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, Head of Field Sales for Verizon Media, about what’s to come for advertisers with the growth of live streaming, advances with 5G and innovative new ad formats.

What is Verizon Media’s approach to live streaming, for both consumers and advertisers?

With brands like Yahoo Finance, HuffPost and TechCrunch, live streaming is truly a natural fit for Verizon Media. We know that consumer behavior drives a real need for live video content. In fact, we’ve seen that 62% of consumers describe feeling ‘excited’ when they watch live streaming video content vs. other content.1 We also know that 42% of consumers aged 18-24 say they would feel more positive about a brand that sponsored live video content they were interested in.2 That sentiment reinforces how important this is to our business and for our advertisers.

In order to deliver on this experience for consumers, we’ve doubled down on our investment in partnerships with major leagues like the NFL to provide access to games on Yahoo Sports. On Yahoo Finance, we launched eight hours of daily premium bell-to-bell live news content.

We also just hosted an interesting fireside chat with Disney, one of our top publishing partners, and discussed the exciting ability to combine programmatic with live streaming, and how it helps advertisers deliver the right message to the right user at the right time – along with a premium content experience.

How do you expect 5G to impact advertising as we know it?

Real 5G is a quantum leap in wireless technology that will bring an era of radically new possibilities across all areas of tech. In addition to significant speed upgrades, 5G is expected to bring 10x battery life, and 1,000x larger data volumes than anything that has come before. It really opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Advertisers have said that the areas they are most excited about with 5G include advertisers are speed, video & interactive formats, and data & targeting. Widespread rollout of 5G is expected to increase connection speeds while at the same time cutting latency. Videos and ads will stream more quickly and look crisper on mobile devices, including innovative new ad formats like XR and interactive creative such as AR, VR, 3D and 360-degree interactive panoramic ads.

For example, at base value, everything we do on our current devices will be nearly instantaneous with 5G.  In the time it takes to download a 2 hour film…

  • In 3G – You would have enough time to fly from NYC to Sydney (including boarding times)
  • In 4G – Run a quick mile (depending on how quick you run a mile!)
  • In 5G – Before you can finish your question, “Has it downloaded yet?” your movie will be downloaded and ready to go.

With this analogy in mind, you can imagine the impact this will have on advertising. We will no longer live and die by ad specs and be bound by file sizes. High-fidelity assets will load instantly.

Advertisers will also be able to run more seamlessly alongside live streaming content, like Yahoo Sports or Yahoo Finance. Faster data flow between networks and devices will also strengthen data and targeting abilities for advertisers.

Backed by Verizon, Verizon Media is ideally positioned to help marketers understand and optimize their advertising for a 5G world. Last fall, we launched a state-of-the-art RYOT Innovation Studio, which will house Verizon’s 5G Lab and be located at Verizon’s Playa Vista, California campus.

How will artificial intelligence and augmented reality play a role in your strategy?

As one of the only media companies that is executing across all the XR categories (AR, VR, 360, and 3D), we are able to offer in a full funnel solution for advertisers.” Full-funnel XR innovative solutions that sit at the intersection of being connected to both consumers’ hearts and minds at every point in their purchase cycle – and all supercharged by 5G.

How has the advertising creative process changed in the past few years and how do you see it evolving?

We see a lot of innovation in both the way the story is told and how it’s delivered. The creativity comes at that magical cross-section of content and technology. When we think about how consumers currently absorb content, they are more distracted than ever. Therefore creative is challenged to capture their more genuine intention, not just their fleeting attention.

In a recent study, we found that by just targeting audience interest data, it drove 69% higher CTR on mobile.3

But we know it always has to start with the consumer. Continued evolution in how stories are delivering has opened new doors in the creative process. It allows brands to invite their audience into the story in interactive, engaging ways through social, video, and innovative ad formats.

We are excited about these new opportunities and new ways of delivering on our promise to our consumers, advertisers, and partners.

And finally, do you have any advice for young people starting out in advertising or marketing today?

One of my very first managers told me, “You have two ears and one mouth which means you should listen twice as much as you talk.” I think it is somewhat trite, but also true. I would also add to that:  be curious, be accountable and be grateful.

When we are curious, we are not only more likely to do a specific task better, but we can also discover new ways to approach a challenge. We all make mistakes, the goal is to learn from them and to do this we must be accountable. Finally, it is easy to become overwhelmed or simply lose sight of how lucky we are to be in this dynamic and exciting business. Perspective can be both grounding and motivating.


1 Source: Oath Omnibus Survey, December 2017

2 Source: Across Generations Video Consumption and Brand Engagement Study 2018

3 Source: Know your audience, reach your goals Verizon Media study, March 2019