Friday, May 29, 2009

How-To: Content Filtering

Please note, the use of this feature will impact your earnings.

One of the oft-requested features is the ability to control what ads are being displayed on your app or website.

Initially, we had an ad-blocking feature. We also had an internal "safe-list" for some specific publishers with special content restrictions. Our publisher base and international advertiser base have both grown significantly, so these features needed an upgrade.

Our new feature is Content Filtering. This allows you to select Categories and Content that will be allowed on your app.

To access the Content Filtering feature, log in to your Cubics account and go to: Adserver -> Manage Content Filtering.

Content Filters can be applied to your entire account or to Applications individually. If you do not select filters for a specific Application, then filters for the account will be used by default.

The filters are divided into two parts:
Categories are really "things the ad is trying to promote". The list is below.

Content refers to specific features of the ad. The list is below.

To make changes, simply check / uncheck the appropriate boxes and hit the save button. If you want to apply changes to specific app, first select that app from the drop-down before making your changes.

Please note, the use of this feature will impact your earnings.


  • Do I have to configure this?
    No, use of this feature is completely optional. By default we apply filters that fall within the terms of service for each of the platforms.

  • How much will this affect my CPM?
    If you don't use the feature, then you won't see any effect. For those using this feature, we cannot predict the overall effect, the space is simply too highly variable. However, you will be warned if you block any of our highest-volume options.

  • Are the changes immediate?
    No, the changes may take up to 3 or 4 hours to be applied system-wide.

As always if you have questions or concerns please feel free to let us know. Either in the comments below or by contacting your account rep.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cubics Integrated Ads

Cubics is pleased to announce the launch of our Cubics Integrated Ads feature for all of our Facebook developers.

Cubics Integrated Ads are a means of providing you with greater control over the display of your ads. Developers are able to have the user’s browser pull down an ad from us and choose where to display the ad and how to style it. Check out this Flash below for a few samples of what you can do.

Ad display always involves a trade-off between screen real estate, user experience and ad revenue. More real estate generally means more revenue, but it doesn't always look pretty. Too many ads tend to ruin the user experience which in turn tends to make ads hard to monetize.

The Cubics Integrated Ads will allow you the developer more control over this trade-off.

So, the quick questions:

Why should I use Cubics Integrated Ads?

  1. Complete control of the ad look, feel, size and location.

  2. Complete flexibility in ad location and what is displayed (title, description, product name, etc) .

  3. Ability to generate more income from your apps than you are today. They don’t have to interfere with existing ad units or rewards offers.
Will this influence my earnings?


Of course, due to the very nature of Cubics Integrated Ads, your mileage will vary. We don't really have an "average CPM", because there is no "average ad unit".

I can tell you that our pilot developer increased revenue by 25% by adding an Integrated Ad to their existing app. But your implementation is likely to be different, so your results will differ.

How does this custom styling work?

The custom styling is implemented using client-side javascript. The javascript is all provided and the samples have self-populating div / span tags.

Once our ad code populates the HTML tags, we leave the styling up to you. You can use all of the normal client side features (CSS & Javascript) to make this ad integrate seamlessly with your app.

How does the reporting work?

When an ad is successfully requested and displayed, it registers an impression just like every other call. The channel is automatically set for these requests, so you can report on each placement with no additional work.

Where are the docs, where can I get help?

Here is the integration document.

However, you can also get your code directly from the Cubics Publisher Portal. Just log in, click on Place Ads and then select "Facebook-> Integrated Ads".

If you need help please contact us directly or leave a comment on the blog here. We understand that these integrated ads will require some extra work.

We have development and design staff available to help make these integrated ads work for your application. So if you would like screen mock-ups or ideas or just a hand making it work with your Javascript framework, please drop us a line.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Changes in Impressions Counts

We've rolled out a change in the way we count impressions. The change is reasonably simple, as illustrated below.

So basically we're counting the impression at the end of delivery rather than at the beginning. For most publishers, this won't make a big difference in terms of impressions, but you may see lower impression counts. This will mostly happen on pages where the user clicks through the page before the ad has time to load.

From a revenue standpoint there are two things to look at:

  1. CPC ads: Nobody clicks on ads they haven't seen, so you're not losing any click revenue.
  2. CPM ads: One of the drivers for this change is that our partners are reporting that our impressions counts are too high. This change is expected to bring the numbers in line. We're not anticipating any large change in payouts here, just happier advertising partners. Most CPM campaigns are capped per user and most users are reaching their caps.

On a related note, impression counts for today (2008-12-17) will be low. This is a side-effect of the changes we made, overall revenue should remain reasonably stable, expect these numbers to line up again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Adknowledge Acquires Lookery Ads

Lookery and Adknowledge are pleased to announce that Lookery’s ad serving business has been acquired by Adknowledge / Lookery has been seeking a company to acquire its ad serving business that is able to both provide you with the same or higher payouts that you are currently receiving and provide the same level of service that you have come to expect from Lookery. We found both of those qualities in Adknowledge / Cubics.

The good news is that the transition does not involve changing ad codes, everything is still working as usual and there was no downtime. The only change required on your part is that your ad statistics are now being reported in a publisher account that has been created for you. Your login details have been e-mailed to your account.

If you are currently operating under a Lookery Guaranteed CPM program, that guarantee will continue under the Cubics system. If the system is not currently displaying your guaranteed value for all traffic, please drop us a line.

Rex is still available to answer your questions and introduce you to the publisher team at Cubics. You can also contact your Cubics publisher representative, Gates, at Adknowledge / Cubics with any questions and to learn more about the company and transition.

Adknowledge / Cubics is the largest social ad network, displaying over 10 billion impressions per month on social networks. They are a 150 person company including brand sales offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London & Sydney. Their advertiser depth and industry experience will undoubtedly provide you with the revenue and service you deserve.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Adknowledge Acquires Adonomics

A press release was put out this morning for the acquisition of Adonomics by Adknowledge (Cubics parent company).

From our GM Dwayne Lafleur:

We will continue to provide this data to the community in the same spirit as Adonomics has done in the past. Additionally, Adonomics will be able to provide the publisher community with additional tools and information as we look to merge this data within the Cubics platform.
The site has already been moved to our servers and you'll see small changes over the next couple of days. We have no plans on shutting the service down, in fact, we have lots of plans to expand the features of Adonomics to better serve the publisher community. We've already assigned some resources to building out several essential features, so expect better things from Adonomics in the future.

I can't go on about the list of plans we have, but I'd love to hear any questions / comments / ideas you have. So please post them in the comments below or contact us directly.

User feedback definitely influences the features that get added first.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Reports Page

If you've logged in to the Cubics UI over the last few weeks, you may have seen a few changes. In particular, I wanted to talk about the new Publisher Reports page in detail.

The screen has two significant new features: Filtering and Grouping. Our previous filtering was limited to one channel and one application. If you had three applications and you wanted to break them out, you had to run the report three times. That's changed.

Here's a screenshot of the new reports:

From a developer's perspective, the setup is pretty easy. Filters are like WHERE clauses and Grouping is like GROUP BY. If you want to select more than one item in a filters box hold the CTRL key and click on each of the items to include.

So what's it good for?
The primary benefit is obviously to be able to report across apps and placements. Common reports you can run: earnings/CPM last week for each app, earnings/CPMs for each channel or placement in your app, break out quality by Ad Size.

What about my old reports page?
The new stats begin at October 10, 2008. For older stats use the account summary report link.

A couple of key things here:


There's a blog post here on how to set up Applications for your account. You may need to update your ad code, but this extra information will help our system to optimize your inventory.

Many publishers are not taking advantage of the Channels feature, but it's worth knowing about. A Channel is effectively a "virtual group" that you set up. Channels are there to let you up granularity on your reporting.

The simplest case for channels is simply to name each spot on your app. So you could have channels like "MyApp_Main_Top" and "MyApp_Profile_Right". Doing this makes it easy to report on which ad placements are performing or even seeing much traffic.

To add channels to your existing ad code, just set the Channel variable or parameter as highlighted in these two examples:

<fb:iframe src="'"20311&plid="18542&adSize="728x90&bgColor="%23ffffff&textColor="%23000000&linkColor="%230033ff&channel=MyChannelName&appid=506' width='728' height='90' frameborder='0' border='0' scrolling='no'></fb:iframe>

<!--- Ad Code START -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var pid = 20311;
var appId = 506;
var plid = 18542;
var adSize = "728x90";
var linkColor = "%230033ff";
var textColor = "%23000000";
var bgColor = "%23ffffff";
var channel = "My Channel Name";
var frameSize = "728x90";
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src=""> </script>
<!--- Ad Code END -->

We think the reporting setup is reasonably intuitive, but please drop us a line if you have any questions or issues making any of this work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some current issues

Hello Developers;

There was some server down-time yesterday during the afternoon and night (North America time). The ad servers were serving up mostly "default ads" and blanks. No impressions were registered because we were not showing actual ads.

The issue has been resolved on our end and the servers are operating normally. Thank you to those who reported the issue. It happened on a Sunday night (local time), so we're just now getting back to everyone who brought it up.

On a related issue, the Quality and Engagement scores all "went to zero" over the weekend. This has the same source as the problems on the ad server, so you'll see the numbers come back when the issue has been resolved.

Lastly, we've had a pair of reports that the "Default Ad Substitution" has stopped working as of late. We fixed some code last night that resolves some cases where the substitution was not happening. If this has happened to you, please let us know by e-mail or by a comment below.

For those who don't know about Default Ad Substitution, please check it out. It only takes a few minutes and it at least provides a hedge for regions where we don't have a deep rotation.

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Quality and Engagement Scores

Sometime this afternoon, all of our Publishers will be greeted with new numbers on their reports screen. These two new numbers are: Quality and Engagement. Yes, you've seen Quality before, but it has changed. Here's how we define the two terms.


Your Quality Score is based on the conversion rate of your traffic for our advertisers compared to the Cubics network average. Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of users that take a specific action either post-click or post-impression.

A score of 5 indicates average traffic quality, 10 is highest, 1 is lowest.

For example, if 1% of your users purchase an item after clicking on, or seeing (for post-impression), an advertiser’s ad and the Cubics network average for that advertiser is also 1%, you will have a quality rating of 5.


Engagement is a measure of how prominent your ad placements are to your users and, subsequently, how engaged they are with the advertiser’s message.

An engagement rating of 5 indicates that your placements are average compared to the entire Cubics network. An engagement rating of 10 is highest, a rating of 1 is lowest.

There are four main factors that make up the engagement metric.

  1. The prominence of the placement on the page – such as above the fold, within the users natural eye and mouse path.
  2. The percentage of people that interact with an ad in some fashion including clicking, interacting with a dynamic or flash ad, and/or scrolling the mouse over an ad.
  3. The number of ads on a page. Generally speaking, the more ads that are placed on a page, the less engaged a user is with each ad individually – particularly with ads of the same size.
  4. The amount of time that a user spends on a page with the ad in the viewable area of their screen.

Changing your engagement metric upwards by improving on the 4 items above is the easiest way to increase your CPM payout rate since many major brand advertisements only show on high engagement placements.

Where did my previous Quality scores go?

We're using new metrics based on recent data to calculate the quality score so we've simply eliminated the old quality (you'll see N/A posted on records prior to last week). The old quality was too closely tied to the eCPMs, so we had to do away with them.

If you're seeing N/A on days in the last week, this simply means that we don't yet have enough relevant data to define the given score.

Why are we doing this?

Cubics is still a "black box" system. We are planning to stay this way, but we are looking to provide more insight and actionable data with which to work. We had an extended discussion about this topic in the Facebook forums, but the problem is not an easy one to solve. Providing these numbers is a first step. You're now getting numbers that talk about traffic quality in more specific ways.

A primary benefit of having these numbers is to provide network-level insight. One of the problems with eCPM is that it changes day-to-day and it's not really your problem. The network as a whole has 10 to 15% daily fluctuations. Some people were seeing a 15% drop in eCPMs (revenue) for "no good reason".

This system changes that, now your quality and engagement are relative to the network medians. If your eCPM changes but your quality/engagement do not change, then it's probably just the network.

Why are quality and engagement important?

Everyone wants better eCPMs, but eCPMs are a really misleading stat in this space. What everyone really wants are better payouts and more revenue. Of course, this is what advertisers are looking for too. Advertisers want people to see their ads (Engagement) and they want people to buy their products (Quality). Advertisers are willing to pay more money for ads with more engagement and quality and this will effect revenue as a whole.

In fact, some advertisers only want to be shown on places with high quality and engagment. Brand advertisers have definitely pushed for these metrics, so we're letting you see them first.

We'll start posting more details about increasing Quality and Engagement in the future. The first step is to make sure that you have registered your apps and that you're sending us app-level data.

What do you think of the new system? Please leave us comments on the blog or drop us a line.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

10B monthly impressions, MySpace Virality

2 Big pieces of news. The first is that we've just made a press release regarding monthly impression counts. We're now doing 10B monthly impressions:

"Our massive reach allows advertisers to get their message out to an extremely
large number of online consumers in an environment where they spend a large
portion of their time,"
says Dwayne Lafleur, General Manager of Adknowledge
Social Advertising

We're also launching a new "promo" on MySpace.

EDIT (2008-07-24): a more detailed press release here.

The MySpace application platform does not contain many of the viral features of the other platforms. So we are launching a system that allows them to monetize their MySpace application and build their user-base simultaneously. Adknowledge now matches 100% of money that MySpace application developers earn from their application in free advertising for that application. Our goal with this offering is to help grow the entire application platform on MySpace and make it as vibrant as the Facebook platform.

This initiative is currently slated to run until the end of August. We may run it out further or produce other similar offerings based on feedback and overall success.

Details: for this to work, we need to connect your publisher account to your advertiser account. The easiest way to do this is to go here and login. You'll be taken to a screen for "linking" an existing advertiser account or creating a new one.
  1. If you have an existing advertiser account, you simply need to enter your user name and password and we'll link to this account.
  2. If you do not have an advertiser account, enter a password for that account (bottom) box and click the Create button to create a new acount.
  3. If you have multiple publisher accounts, you can connect each publisher account using method 1.

Once you've made the connection you'll be ready to receive deposits into your advertiser account. Each day at noon we'll make a deposit equal to the previous day's earnings on MySpace traffic.

If you're having any difficulties with getting set up, please leave a comment on this blog or drop us a line.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Facebook, new Ad size

The new Facebook profile re-design is well underway. Based on the information we have at this time, the new page width will be 760 pixels. This opens up the opportunity for a new popular ad format: the Leaderboard. Leaderboards are 728 x 90.

The leaderboard effectively takes up the width of the new canvas and adds a few more pixels of height. If you were using the Facebook Banner or the standard Banner, the Leaderboard is the ideal substitution for the new profile redesign.

If you're using our other supported platforms you're also encouraged to use the leaderboard. MySpace, Hi5 and Bebo also have similar page widths, so it's a good match.

Why change?

  1. Appearance
    The Facebook Banner fills the page left to right, that format was launched because developers wanted to use this whole space.
    The Leaderboard will fill the same role after the re-design.

  2. Popularity
    Big Advertisers really like the Leaderboard and they're willing to pay more for these ads. This format has been a highly requested feature for quite some time.
Why now?
Yes, MySpace and others have been able to support this size for quite some time. However the largest chunk of our traffic is still on Facebook. Too many ad sizes makes for too much advertiser work. We've held off on this change to ensure sufficient reach for our advertisers.

The Facebook redesign gives us the opportunity to benefit both our publishers and our advertisers, so we're launching this format.

How do I get these?
Get your new ad code by logging in to your Cubics Publisher account and clicking on the Place Ads button. Select your platform and you'll see the new size listed in step 4 (see image below).

While you're there, please take the time to track your apps. The Cubics system will optimize ad placements at the app level, we're also rolling out reporting at this level. If you're already updating your ad code, now is the easiest time to get your AppId in there as well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cubics down-time

Cubics was down for three hours this afternoon (Sunday, 2008-06-07).

It was an issue at the data center level, affecting hundreds of web servers. At the moment, it looks like data is current and intact.

It's a long weekend here in the US, so we'll have a better idea of what happened tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Track your apps, New FB ad size

We've just launched a couple of new features for our Cubics Developers. One big, one small.

The small feature is that we now support a "Facebook Banner" size of 645x60. See the screenshot below for a sample of what it looks like. Please note that this is not an IAB standard size, so we don't have nearly as many graphic ads in this size. Switching to this ad may result in a change in payouts.

The next change is the big one: we're adding application-level tracking throughout the system.

Lots of publishers don't just have multiple apps, they also have multiple apps on multiple platforms. To date, the best level of optimization that we could perform was a publisher-level optimization. So if you had two completely different apps with completely different user bases, we may have been missing the mark on our optimization routines.

These recent changes will fix that. They will also allow you to track earnings on an application basis without creating multiple channels to handle this case. App-level statistics are also a big deal from an advertiser perspective. We've already received several advertiser requests to advertise on a specific set of apps, but we obviously need numbers at the app level.

So we've rolled out the changes to include an AppID in the ad code. Here are the visual steps for doing this. First visit the Place Ads page and select your platform.

Now you'll see the new Step 2. To start, you won't have any apps available, so click on the Manage Apps link. Once you've added apps to the system, you'll be able to select apps from the drop-down

The app list is blank to start, so click on the Add Application link to start adding your apps. You'll likely find it useful to have your platform-specific app manager screen available at this point.

The information requested will vary based on the platform. If you have a Facebook app, all we need is the Public Key (just make sure the app has been published to the directory).

Apps on Bebo and other platforms will require more information, but they should all be functional.

Once you've added your applications you can return to the "Place Ad" screen and regenerate your ad code.

The quickie FAQ.

  • Do I have to add apps?
    No you don't the system will work fine without the AppIDs. However, it is highly recommended to do it now rather than later. Even if you only have one app, it's nice to be able to add a second without having to change things on the first app.
  • How come apps aren't in the reports?
    We're updating the reporting feature to accomodate the changes in apps. It's not really useful right now because we don't have any app-level data. Expect to see this feature very soon.
  • Will this influence my payouts?
    Some publishers will not see a significant payout difference, but others may see changes. If you only have one app, then it's unlikely to affect your payouts. If you have multiple apps, then we're more likely to find the right ads for your audience, which should affect your payout.

As always, any feedback is much appreciated, we have several small rollouts planned over the next couple of weeks, so we'd love to hear your experiences good and bad..

Server maintenance

Hello developers & advertisers.

If you've been unable to log in this morning, the problem is not your password. We've taken the DB off-line for maintenance. Now the website can't connect to the DB, but we're giving you the wrong error message.

The ads are still serving (they're on distributed web servers), but the login pages may not be active for a few hours.

I'll let you know more as soon as I know more.

EDIT: The website is back up and operational. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Going to GSP East

We're going to be at the GSP East conference in DC from June 9-11.

Here are some snazzy pictures of myself (Gates) and Jasper, the publisher relations team here at Cubics. If you're a publisher or an advertiser, we'd love to hear from you. I'll be walking around in bright blue Cubics shirts, so we should be easy to pick out.

Please drop us a line if you like to catch up for sit-down. Just e-mail us, attn: Gates.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eyeing brand advertisers

Here's some new Cubics news:

Adknowledge announced Monday that it has hired Matt Rochios, former Senior Sales Manager for MySpace, to run sales efforts out of their west coast office in San Francisco. Matt’s experience includes selling into social platforms, representing behavioral and contextual targeted inventory; rich media and video as well as leveraging advertiser brands against content. Matt will work to motivate brands to participate in Adknowledge’s social advertising channel. Matt previously worked for MySpace, Tremors Media and InfoSpace.

I've highlighted one of the key sentences here. Matt is here to bring brand sales in the social space. We believe that brands are going to be part and parcel with making the social advertising space much more valuable. Of course, there's still a lot of work to do, but the wheels have started turning.

EDIT: 2008-05-28, quote spacing was incorrect.