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Thorns In Our Side: False Promises And Embellishments

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.

Without exception, every industry has its fair share of embellishments and untruths. In many ways, we as human beings cannot help ourselves. We simply want everything to happen faster and better than it does.

There are those among us who are not so much embellishing as they are outright lying, usually for fiscal gain. In mature industries these folks operate at the fringes, preying on the neophytes and underinformed. In the digital world, I fear that with our search for the new thing, the paradigm shift or the “escape velocity,” some of the more unsavory aspects of the embellishment society are not so much the exception as they are one of the sector’s core business models.

We see this not just in specific instances but also at a macro level in far too many places. Some of the transgressions are funny in how commonplace and well known they are: “Hey, it is just one line of Java code that will take your dev team five minutes to install.” Others are not so funny and hold long-term and deep ramifications for our industry as a whole.


Choose The Right Kind Of Programmatic Direct For Each Deal

tom-shields-2The Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Tom Shields, chief strategy officer at Yieldex.

Programmatic direct is the fastest-growing area of digital advertising, with both publishers and advertisers flocking to set up programmatic direct relationships.

It works for publishers because it gives them more control over which advertisers are buying their inventory at specific prices. And buyers like it because it gives them transparency to see the inventory they are buying from which publishers.

Programmatic direct is generally agreed to mean any deal that is negotiated or transacted directly between the buyer and the seller, but executed through automation. This is a broad definition encompassing several different kinds of deal terms, including automated guaranteed, preferred deals and private exchanges. The challenge for publishers is to make sure they are using the right kind of programmatic direct for the right deals so they get full value for their best placements.


Let Your Robots Be Robotic And Your People Be Creative

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 of programmatic at The Weather Company.

Quick question: What’s the fastest way to kill the enthusiasm and energy of a media sales team?

Lost business? Re-orgs? Missed goals?

I don’t think it’s any of these. All of these things can hurt the team’s spirit, but in my experience, many sellers can rise to the occasion and bounce back with even greater determination.

So what’s the real killer? I think the answer is actually hiding in plain sight: process.

Next time you attend a process meeting that is designed to improve sales performance and efficiency, take a look at the participants. You’ll see glassy eyes, constant looking at phones and laptops and even outright yawning with eyelids drooping.


In Defense of The Open Exchange

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

Today’s column is written by Sam Cox, vice president of OPEN global media management at MediaMath.

Programmatic is changing, and for the most part, it is changing for the better. Inventory that started as remnant now inches towards premium, data is getting better and more accessible, marketer control and transparency is increasing, and there are now more ways than ever to get direct access to high-quality inventory through the efficiency of programmatic. These are good things for everyone involved in the digital media ecosystem.

That said, our industry seems to have an addiction to constant change. Sometimes the shiny new object outshines the value of the ecosystem as a whole because it is often simpler to tout the next great thing than it is to actually understand the value of the integrated, whole programmatic space.

In programmatic, the key to driving performance is to know and understand the interrelationship between the different types of programmatic products and the values of each of the functional parts to a marketer and publisher. Specifically this means understanding how to use automated guaranteed, private marketplaces and the open exchange.


Programmatic Native: What Happens When Two Buzzwords Collide?

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

Today’s column is written by Peter Spande, chief revenue officer at Business Insider.

Many publishers see their programmatic and native advertising as two very different ends in their yield spectrum. Whether called the barbell or the see-saw strategy, the thinking seems to be that programmatic automates and streamlines standardized elements, leaving more bandwidth to focus on native, which requires more customization.

That is starting to change. More ad tech companies and publishers combine the two hottest monetization trends. Or their road maps suggest the two trends eventually intersect. But can and should these two types of revenue drivers mix? Is this the latest yield booster for publishers or a source for more confusion and clutter on your website? If it is a good idea, how do programmatic and native practices combine?

Just as the web banner business matured, so too will native advertising. Remember early ad serving? Well, if you don’t, it was extremely manual, tremendously different from one site to the next and, in hindsight, extremely inflexible. As native advertising solutions of all types start to become more than experiments, the tools used to deploy and measure those ads will also evolve. Many of the programmatic tools used can and will expand to deliver native advertising in the future.


The Viewable Impression As Currency: Not Ready For Prime Time

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

Today’s column is written by Bennett Zucker, senior vice president of revenue platforms, ad operations and data solutions at Ziff Davis, a j2 Global Inc. company.

The most accountable and measurable medium is having another “Whoops, we did it again” moment.

A generation ago, the clickable banner kicked off digital advertising’s long climb to media’s mountaintop. Impressed by our ability to prove performance with this simple mechanism, we enthusiastically bound ourselves to the click as the smart alternative to traditional media’s quaint opportunity-to-see standard. Twenty years later, we are still debating the click’s true value and role.

If we’re not careful, the viewable impression may become this generation’s click: misunderstood and overrated, yet central to valuing the output of an entire industry. But while the click became both a performance metric and key ingredient in digital’s planning and pricing crockpot, the lofty goal of the viewable impression is to be the singular transactional unit upon which billions of media dollars depend for measuring inventory quality and brand engagement, and for pricing, billing and revenue recognition.

Most premium publishers support the principles of viewability. We believe that digital can and must always strive to do more than any other medium to demonstrate to marketers our superior ability to reach and engage target audiences in high-quality environments with great efficiency and at massive scale.


Connected TV: What Publishers Need To Know

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

Today’s column is written by Joydeep Gangopadhyay, solutions architecture at LiveRail, a Facebook company.

In our cross-screen universe, digital omnivores – also known as cross-platform consumers – love to watch and share videos, using a variety of connected devices to do so. But we aren’t just talking about short videos of funny cat tricks or game-winning touchdown passes. Nearly half of consumers view full-length movies and TV shows over the Internet daily, and more than a third do so weekly.

When considering what channel will help drive success for brand advertisers and enable a high-quality, engaging user experience, connected TV devices provide the ideal medium for video ads. While adoption of Internet-enabled TVs among consumers was slower than first anticipated by industry analysts, their popularity has significantly climbed over the past several years. Today, 63% of US households own an Internet-ready TV and, by 2020, one in four TVs worldwide is expected to be a connected TV. These TVs, along with over-the-top (OTT) content, offer consumers new mediums with which to view online video content.

From a content perspective, publishers need to ask themselves what their users want to watch on their connected TV devices. Because consumers typically use these devices in the comfort of their own homes, they expect a high-quality experience with “TV-like” episodic content. Users also usually spend more time using a specific app than they would on their mobile device.


The One-Size-Fits-All Model Doesn’t Apply To Mobile

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

Today’s column is written by Michele Tobin, vice president of global brand partnerships and advertising at Rovio.

In the not-so-distant past, there was a “one-size-fits-all” model applied to advertising. Once a brand decided which medium they wanted to advertise in – television, print or radio – they had a blueprint to follow.

There was basically only one ad format per medium to consider: a 30-second video, a 60-second radio spot or an 8.5 x 11 print ad. No matter who the audience was or where it was being seen or heard, there was one way to build it.  Advertisers also thought that if they wanted a campaign to run across multiple mediums, they could simply reconfigure their message and run it in a new channel.

Now that we are in the age of mobile, the layers of complexity for advertisers has increased tenfold. Marketers trying to stick to a single blueprint are struggling.

The consumer experience on mobile is specialized and personal, and varies depending on what publisher or platform a person is interacting with at the time. Depending on whether they are Snapchatting, tweeting, sharing selfies, checking sports scores or playing a game while waiting in line, the user’s experience can differ significantly. Some apps have session times that average less than 30 seconds, while others average five minutes or more. As brands plan mobile campaigns, it’s crucial to understand these nuances.


Why I Joined The Supply Side

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

Today’s column is written by Will Doherty, senior director of business development at Index Exchange, a division of Casale Media Inc.

For four years, I oversaw business development for a programmatic buying platform that integrated supply sources and data and third-party systems for top brands across multiple industry verticals. It was exciting work, and I loved it. The platform evolved constantly, and the work was challenging, exhausting and ultimately rewarding.

So why leave all of this?

I came to the supply side because it’s where I believe the next wave of programmatic innovation will happen. I recognized how publishers are taking the lead in innovating the next phase of the programmatic marketplace. Smart publishers have always excelled at creating the content experiences valued most by consumers, and now publishers have the tools and the understanding to make sense of their data and feed those insights back into the market.


Mobile Location: A Fragile Thing

sell sider ALThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community. Receive The Sell Sider in your inbox twice a week by signing up for the email here, and selecting The Publisher Newsletter. 

Today’s column is written by Alex Linde, senior vice president of monetization at The Weather Company.

Mobile can sometimes feel like two steps forward and one step back.

On the plus side, vendors have promised location-based advertising on mobile since 1999, and just a short 15 years later, pretty much everything that marketers imagined is possible.

It is, however, a fragile thing. We’ve heard about the sketchy nature of the GPS data in the mobile exchanges, and the IAB recently released an excellent list of questions that any marketer should ask to make more informed decisions about their choice of location partner. And there are broader currents that we should be aware of that may yet shape the success of this fledgling market.

Foreground Vs. Background Location

Understanding the context in which the data is gathered is key. Most providers currently take their data from ad exchanges, and most impressions in ad exchanges come from games. By definition then, the location data is gathered when the game is in the foreground – when the game is on screen and the consumer is engaged – otherwise ad impressions would not be generated. What this means is that the marketer looking to reach consumers who have visited an auto lot has slim pickings. Consumers shopping for cars are not likely to be playing Candy Crush while deciding on life's second-largest purchase. (more…)