Over the last year there’s been much discussion of the many issues plaguing our industry that prevent us from truly accelerating growth. One of the biggest ongoing challenges for buyers and sellers is the maddening onslaught of new companies and technologies that promise to make digital advertising more efficient and effective, but in most cases merely add expense, time and complications to an already bloated ecosystem. What we need is to rid ourselves of this jigsaw puzzle and look for simpler, more logical approaches to achieving our goals. Of course this will not happen overnight, but we can work together and take a few simple steps to greatly improve efficiencies and effectiveness.
1) Inventory Quality
Inventory quality has always been a very subjective measure. Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. A DR client will have a very different perception of inventory than a CPG brand. However, some publishers -- taking advantage of limited measurement capabilities, a reliance on ‘the dreaded click,’ and a flawed pay model -- load up their pages with a veritable feast of ad units. Our research has found that some very influential publishers have as many as 25 ads on a single page. Regardless of content quality or subject matter, an ad environment like this is not good for anyone -- not the brand and, especially, not the consumer. We’ve allowed ourselves to become the NASCAR of media. To deliver the maximum impact for brands, I would strongly recommend limiting the number of ads on a page and considering larger units that are clearly in-view of the consumer.
2) Automate Selling
RTB and Programmatic buying have taken off over the last year and are projected to continue to grow at breakneck speeds, enabling publishers to efficiently sell their inventory with a greatly reduced sales cost. There is no denying that for direct response clients, remarketing activities and scaled targeting, it makes a great deal of sense to leverage exchange-based inventory. It’s an efficient and simple way to spend marketing dollars. This activity has had an interesting side effect on inventory quality. Because of the automation and the sophistication of the bidders (DSP and Trading Desk technologies) tremendous amounts of data are captured which then requires that more standards be applied to ad inventory. These technologies can quickly determine which inventory is working best for clients. To no surprise, advertising that is above the fold, and most likely in-view, generally performs almost 3x better than ads below the fold. So when deploying inventory on exchanges, make sure to describe it honestly and in detail in order to garner the best prices and fill rate.
3) Standardized Platform
Lastly, buyers love simple. They want to do the least work possible to get the maximum result. Who doesn’t? In leveraging multiple systems, partners and technologies, we are making it more complicated and more difficult for buyers to understand and evaluate the true value of media. We all have the best intentions when selecting what we think is a best-in-breed technology to solve a specific problem. However, I would encourage you to consider the overarching benefits of having a single platform that can cover 80-90% of all needs while providing a single set of metrics, comprehensive inventory controls and synchronized targeting capabilities across devices. The efficiencies likely far outweigh the one or two sexy features you may be foregoing.
We have the ability to make great strides and provide marketers with immense value. But in order to do that, we all must think like marketers. We need to put ourselves in the marketers’ shoes and ask, at every decision: “Would the advertiser like that?” “How will the consumer engage with the messaging?” And, most importantly, “Does this make it easier or harder to buy/engage/communicate?” Simple... What do you think?
The views expressed here reflect the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of 24/7 Media, its affiliates, subsidiaries or its parent company, WPP plc.
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