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Mobile Myths That Drive Publishers Onto The Ledge

stevegoldbergThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Steve Goldberg, digital practice lead at EmpiricalMedia.

Mobile — and making sense of mobile — simply perplexes people. I have numerous even-tempered clients and colleagues who have been driven into a rage when tasked with creating presentations on mobile.

One reason is that the expectations for most on the sell side are not aligned with reality. A survey of trade articles makes you feel confident that marketers are cataclysmically underspending on mobile. Furthermore, you may also learn that most sellers make no mobile revenue at all or that everyone but you makes tons money on location-based ads.

Since all of this can’t all be true at the same time, let’s look at some popular mobile myths and bust ‘em up.

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‘Pipe’ Dreams

jeremyhlavacekeditedThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today's column is written by Jeremy Hlavacek, vice president for programmatic at The Weather Company.

It looks like a good year to be a VC or investment banker.

IPOs continue rolling out, and there is also a lot of healthy M&A activity in the tech and media space. I’m no financier, but I see one trend that stands out: The market loves fresh new scale, and nothing else matters. This trend is best illustrated by two recent deals: WhatsApp and the Washington Post.

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, while WaPo went to Jeff Bezos for $250 million. These transactions valued WhatsApp at nearly 80 times the Washington Post. WhatsApp is a mobile messaging platform that was invented five years ago and currently has no revenue. The Washington Post, a renowned content and journalism company founded in 1877, generated $581.7 million in overall revenue in 2012.

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Transparency And Privacy: It’s Time To Clean Up Our Acts

spanfeller-sell-siderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today's column is written by Jim Spanfeller, CEO at Spanfeller Media Group.

No news here, but we have devolved into a short-term focused economy. That is as true in digital as it is elsewhere.

There are many examples of where this thinking causes deep pain in the long-term prospects for individual companies and for our industry as a whole. Perhaps the most important examples are the twin topics of privacy and transparency.

In both cases, we can go back to Abe Lincoln’s ascribed axiom: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

I think most independent-thinking folks in our industry — meaning those not directly aligned with companies that benefit from privacy infringements or a wholesale lack of transparency (you know who you are) — can see a future where one or both of the following is the norm, and not the exception.

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What Is ‘Premium’ In Mobile?

bobwalczaksellsiderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Bob Walczak, general manager of mobile and video at PubMatic.

When it comes to publishers, premium is the operative word, a designation that, like VIP access to any major event, opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

We know what premium inventory is when it comes to desktop, but as you’re likely aware, we’re living in an increasingly mobile-driven world. How many times have we all heard the eMarketer prediction that by 2017 mobile display advertising will hit $31.1 billion in the United States alone?

As with any segment that is scaling so quickly, this growth begs the question of what “premium” means for mobile. Regardless of whether the inventory is mobile-only or multiscreen, there are five key characteristics that I believe define premium inventory among publishers in the mobile arena.

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Demystifying Programmatic: A Guide For Premium Publishers

richardjalichandrasellsiderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Richard Jalichandra, CEO at iSocket.

Programmatic media buying, from RTB to fixed-price reserved, is quickly becoming the way of the future.

It’s clear why buyers are interested in programmatic —increased efficiency and lower costs — but there are major efficiency and cost-saving benefits for publishers too.

That said, even when the need for programmatic is clear, the programmatic options available to premium publishers are not always so easy to navigate.

Bringing it back to basics, there are five categories of ad selling available to premium publishers, four of which are programmatic. Here’s an overview of all five, with a look at why you might want to use them, Keep in mind that many publishers use some combination of these methods, if not all five.

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The New Big Event Marketing Strategy: Planned Spontaneity

jeremysteinbergThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Jeremy Steinberg, senior vice president of digital ad sales for The Weather Company.

It is big event season and the marketplace is abuzz. The sheer number of big event opportunities in the first three months of the year is enough to make any marketer’s mouth water, including the Super Bowl, Olympics, Oscars, Grammys and the Golden Globes, to name a few. What great opportunities to harness these powerful moments with unique messaging that impacts paid, owned and earned media.

But there is a problem with this strategy: The results can be fleeting.

I am sure many people will tell you that these high-profile events move product and build key brand metrics better than any other event. They say the best way to accelerate earned media is to leverage the immediacy of a big moment with a relevant message.

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The Current, Current Thing

spanfeller-sell-siderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today's column is written by Jim Spanfeller, CEO at Spanfeller Media Group.

At the end of the last century Michael Lewis penned the insightful and educational story of Jim Clark’s efforts to change the health industry.

Clark’s efforts eventually led to the creation of WebMD, albeit with a vastly different model than the one under which the company presently operates. The book was titled “The New, New Thing” and turned out to be instructional not only in what Jim Clark was up to but was in fact extremely insightful around all things Web…and in part most things disruptive (although to borrow from Joseph Schumpeter, "creative destruction" has been a part of the economic landscape since the 1950s).

That “The New, New Thing” was written before 2000 seems crazy to me. The fundamental concepts are as real today as they were then. And within those concepts is a certain amount of skepticism around how, well, new some things actually are. This is a thesis that holds true today, that the digital ecosystem is in love with the idea of “new.” That there is almost nothing that is new enough, if you follow me.

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Putting Some Weight On Your “Barbell” Strategy

steveThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Steve Goldberg, senior adviser at EmpiricalMedia.

Over the last two years, many premium publishers have struggled to resist programmatic efforts and stick solely to direct sales efforts. But as programmatic adoption and viability has grown, many publishers are now comforted because they can say they will have a “barbell” strategy.

That’s probably a good thing.  But, as always, the “buzzword Bobs and Bettys” need to do more than just say it to make it true. ’Cause frankly, just calling something “barbell,” without contemplation, can make you sound like a dumbbell.

Having a strategy means you have a detailed (or even a rough) plan to optimize both lines of business. It means you have or will get the resources to do the customer segmentation and establish the feedback loop needed to succeed. And it means you view programmatic as a proactive part of your operation vs. a response.

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The Best Defense For Publishers Is A Good Offense

jeremyhThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today's column is written by Jeremy Hlavacek, vice president for programmatic at The Weather Company.

No one likes being on the defensive. It’s naturally uncomfortable. When faced with a challenge or critique, taking a defensive approach can often make things worse as it emboldens the attacker. How many times have we seen politicians, celebrities, athletes or other public figures respond to criticism by taking a defensive stance?

“That quote was taken out of context!” or…

“The press is out to get me!” or…

“I have never used performance-enhancing drugs!”

And how does that usually work out? Not well. So what’s the solution? Well, as Don Draper would say, “If you don't like what’s being said, change the conversation.” In other words, go on the offensive.

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The Ad-Tech Identity Crisis

tyler-fitchThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Tyler Fitch, founder of Yield Coalition.

When I first started managing remnant yield for large websites, everything seemed to be cut and dry. You had your ad server, maybe an exchange, and you worked directly with each ad network, which had direct agency relationships.

Now, everything is muddled together.

Traditional ad networks claim they are supply-side platforms (SSPs), traditional SSPs have built themselves into big ad exchanges and exchanges sell to companies taking ad-network margins before it gets to the publisher.

How is this fixing advertising? Most networks/exchanges/SSPs are an entangled mess of middlemen that are arbitraging demand they didn't even sell in the first place.

Publishers need to ask themselves: Do these third parties actually provide value? Could you source these deals higher up the chain? Let’s take a closer look.

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