RSS FeedArchive for the ‘The Sell Sider’ Category


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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Bulletin: Consumer Marketing Is Out, Customer Marketing Is In

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.

After attending my very first ANA Masters of Marketing conference, I will never be the same.

OK, maybe that is a tad dramatic, but what I saw and heard firsthand has shocked and inspired me. The increasing acceleration of technological change has turned the whole notion of consumer marketing in the digital age on its head. This is creating profound implications for marketers and the media companies that support them.

Over two days, I watched and heard the world’s top marketers tell very similar stories. Consumers are growing more powerful and independent, with expectations of the companies that produce and sell them products rising by the minute. This change forces marketers to turn their focus away from consumers in aggregate to the individual customer.

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The Next Era In Media: Getting Personal

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.

About a year ago, I predicted the consolidation of ad tech and its move away from the main stage of the digital ecosystem. With all due notation of the great early days of the Rocket Fuel IPO, most of my musings turned out to be correct.

Sure, the middlemen have provided some value, but nowhere near enough to generate the large percentage of dollars they need to be profitable and support their many offerings, many of which are incredibly similar in nature and promise.

For some, this era has been a bother. For others, it has been incredibly financially rewarding. And for the industry, it has taken longer than it should have, but has indeed added value to the ecosystem.

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It’s Time To Get Serious About Measurement

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.

Amazingly, the Internet -- the most trackable medium ever due to its two-way and one-to-one connections -- has always faced huge issues surrounding measurement. There are many good reasons for this, as well as a number of really bad reasons. Regardless, now is the time to fix it.

To its great credit, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an organization I once chaired but have been somewhat critical of lately, has been doing great work in this area, in both pushing forward new ideas and getting support from many areas of the ecosystem. Its Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative is good and smart, but it’s simply taking too long to put in place.

This is no one’s fault since the Internet is complex and it takes time to create form and substance out of chaos. Viewable impressions, online gross rating points and some agreement on just what “engagement” means can and will have huge implications on the overall amount of advertising dollars spent in the digital world.

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Content Or Data: Which Is The Better Proxy For Ad Targeting?

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,

Many argue in this age of deep and big data that content is not nearly as good of a proxy for ad targeting as data. Having both aligned, they’ll say, is of course the best possible solution.

I wholly agree with this second point but want to push back a bit on the first. In my mind, content is the best proxy for what is really important: an advertisement’s ability to have the utmost impact for selling a product or service.

At the end of the day, both content and big data are proxies. They are proxies used to find consumers who are most likely to react favorably to a message and, most importantly, take action as a result.

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The Digital Shift In Video: Making The Most Of An Imperfect Storm

steinberg-twc-sell-siderThe 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.

You know a big storm is brewing, but you’re not quite sure from which direction it will come or how it will impact you. This situation, to me, is a suitable analogy for the future of video.

Already, video dollars are quickly shifting to digital. Look no further than this year’s TV upfronts: Volume is down across the board. In the meantime, demand is way up in digital (based on just about every third-party research study, and confirmed anecdotally). But while there’s no doubt some of that TV money is going digital, it’s unclear where in digital it is going. If you’re like most digital-ad publishers, you’re not yet sure how you’re going to net out when all is said and done.

Why all the uncertainty? First of all, there’s a complete lack of consistency in what marketers want when it comes to digital video. They want Online Campaign Ratings and Validated Campaign Essentials guarantees, which are great because they bring TV metrics to the digital realm. But marketers are all over the map in terms of which measurement platform they’re choosing, and media companies haven’t yet come to an agreement about whether those competing metrics are even the correct currencies to trade in. And the list of inconsistent needs and desires is seemingly endless: dismissible ads, competitive separation guarantees, appropriate billable-impression definitions, annual CPM commitments, opt-out-of programming, fluidity of pricing and fourth-party inventory tracking.

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At What Price Safety? At What Price Targeted Advertising?

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 of Spanfeller Media Group, a new-age media company.

As the news about the U.S. government’s Prism program attracts full-blown global attention, raising questions about our privacy and our safety, I think it’s a good time to re-examine the ongoing debate around third-party tracking cookies and their value to end users.

I’ve long said that the answer to the online advertiser tracking debate (like many other things in ad tech) hinges on transparency. The population is generally smart enough to decide what is appropriate and what is not. When faced with clear choices, they will almost always let you know what they really want and what they think is right.

In the case of PRISM, of course, transparency is a far more complex issue. The government would have us believe that it needs to keep these programs secret so that our adversaries cannot take countermeasures to overcome these “safeguards.”

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