It’s no secret advertising creative needs to improve. The conundrum we face is that brands also need the security of premium inventory availability. Brands are understandably deterred from spending budgets on inventory when they have no guarantee what they’re buying. Forget comparing apples to oranges. This is more akin to going to the grocery store, paying for your weekly shopping and then going home with empty bags. So what can we do now to ensure a transparent digital advertising experience for buyers and sellers? Here are five areas where the industry can, and needs to improve right now:
Tackle ad fraud
A massive tidy up is required. Bot traffic can’t always be easily detected, but there is a lot of traffic that can be shunned from the industry very simply and blacklisting is just one method of doing this. We’re slowly making progress but industry bodies need to throw everything they have behind making our market transparent for buyers. This means working with ad fraud specialists to minimize damage and create solutions. It also means implementing clear (I’m sorry I said CLEAR) standards for measuring impressions and performance. These are simple standards yet they’re still in limbo and it is time decisions were made to put a stop to the guesswork.
Be inventive and innovative when it comes to creative
That’s why it’s called creative after all. Advertising should be memorable and evocative, not intrusive and irritating. It’s not rocket science, invest in the message and the experience by creating high definition, interactive ads and digital advertising as currency may stand a chance yet.
Think about the device your campaign is being delivered on and build creative according to that experience. A high definition interactive video pre-roll might be great for desktop, but on mobile, it might perform very differently and end up using data, bandwidth and battery. Be responsible rather than apathetic and audiences will be more likely to enable ads.
There are many ad formats to utilize and each can serve campaigns successfully if the effort goes in. There’s no shortage of Don Draper analogies in this industry. And while the hope we’ve moved ahead since those times, perhaps in some respects we need to wind back our approach at least a little and think about the creative that goes into every ad unit, and every sale.
Improve the use of data - analyze and apply insights
Viewability and brand safety have been the nemesis of the ad industry for some time now. Everybody knows we need to get this right just as much as we do ad fraud if the industry has any chance of flourishing. Data is often seen as the answer to our prayers, but if not used effectively - data is dormant - it doesn’t do a damn thing. We need to understand the skills applicable to the emerging landscape and use data scientists to interpret data and recommend an actionable strategy.
Demand higher standards and better competition from media giants like Facebook and Google
Facebook has just announced it will sell 100% viewable video inventory for an increased price and they’re not the only ones. But why are advertisers forced to pay extra for a standard that should be available to everyone anyway. Where is the integrity in only offering value to advertisers willing to pay over and above the norm just to get a decent chance of their ad being seen? The increase for this service doesn’t make sense. It’s seems unfair that given the technology is there to improve the viewability issue for everyone, it’s not made available for all.
Maintain a level playing field that doesn’t discriminate
Google, Microsoft and Amazon pay to be whitelisted with ad blockers and yet I really don’t see the difference between this and Facebook charging brands for more for viewable impressions. If the industry can be better for audiences, more efficient, sustainable and measurable, then it should be, for everyone - right now!
By providing a level playing field everyone becomes accountable for their own performance. This is the only way independent media companies will stand a fighting chance. Retaining balance and giving everyone the opportunity to operate fairly may seem like a pipedream when really it’s the easiest way to ensure quality, sustainability and accountability across the industry.
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