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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…)

How To Build A Programmatic Sales Team

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

Today’s column is written by Brian Mikalis, senior vice president of monetization at Pandora.

Publishers that sell directly to advertisers and agencies are now faced with how to handle programmatic sales.

Traditional RFPs have recently started including questions about publishers' programmatic capabilities and data sharing, as well as requirements around automating the buying process for upfront and longer-term deals. This has shifted rapidly over the past year, and publisher sales teams without answers to these questions will be at a disadvantage.

So how should publishers set up their sales organization so they’re equipped to take advantage of this ever-changing landscape?

The first thing to do is consider which stage your organization is in with regard to understanding programmatic and its willingness to adapt, embrace and devote resources to making programmatic a part of the sales offering.


Can The ANA Save Digital 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 at Spanfeller Media Group,

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently joined online fraud-detection firm White Ops for an effort called “The Marketers’ Coalition.” Together they will look into the issues of impression fraud in the digital advertising ecosystem caused by bots. This is the most direct move yet by America’s major marketers to fully engage in the transactional elements of the digital space.

Can the ANA and its members save the digital advertising business? Not only do I believe they can, I think this is just the beginning of the process. What’s more, this might be one of those “just in time” moments.

First off, why do they want to? Well, that is a fairly straightforward thought process.  To some extent, any company that counts on mass consumer adoption to be successful (and depending on how you define it, this means just about every company, of any size, out there  whether it is B-to-C or B-to-B) counts on advertising success as part of its core business model.


Everyone Has A Monetization Platform For Publishers


The 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 Michael Persaud, director of programmatic advertising at Wenner Media.

The publisher-facing ad technology ecosystem continues to evolve. Spend a few months out of the loop and you'll return to a new world.

When given the responsibility of managing all "secondary" revenue sources, my team inadvertently was given the keys to the kingdom. We had to vet all new media platforms, SSPs, DSPs, DMPs, exchanges, networks and ad tech in-betweeners.

Once the word was out, we became the “go-to” contacts and were hit with a barrage of emails about new “game-changing” products. It started with a few pitches a week. Then it turned into a flood.

Out of necessity, we quickly became adept at evaluating platforms and answering some key questions. Where do you start? How do you evaluate the merits of cold-calling vendors? How do you test them?


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.


‘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.