Adversarial Networks? Premium Content Publishers Run Scared

Premium Publishers and Ad NetworksThe genie is out of the bottle.

Premium content publishers and their direct sales team are out for blood (or so they seem) on Silicon Alley Insider as the “evil” ad networks have plundered their premium kingdoms and hired their women and children. In the comments to SAI’s coverage of an AdAge piece, direct sellers from website publishers show up to lambaste the model which has enriched them: ad networks.

Premium pubs: you need to accept that fact that your CPMs are going down for IAB/standard display, but more efficient days are ahead as your direct sales team shifts to selling unique, integrated sponsorships and the CPM inventory is given to the publisher’s trading specialist on the exchange, or yield optimizers such as Rubicon Project, AdMeld and Pubmatic. We know the argument about experience for the brand, but ad exchanges can provide brand safe inventory plus the reach and frequency that advertisers want.

And, let’s face it.. many large pubs may need to go subscription to pay for the cost of creating content.

As we noted, the latest firestorm started after Advertising Age covered the Pubmatic AdPrice Index.  AdAge continues to be hurt by its willingness to remain with the weekly magazine format which, in this case, has left it seven days behind the news.  Ugh.

In his thoughts on declining CPMs, SAI’s Nicholas Carlson nearly declared that it’s time to boycott ad networks. Wisely, he knew this is impossible.  Carlson’s view – and many of the commenters – are indicative of “the love” for the old way of doing things.

Why moan that the free market has found a better way and continues to evolve with the help of powerful technology? Hooray!

Rather than resist, it’s time to try and move towards new models which make better sense than outrageous CPMs based on little more than the perceived value of a publisher’s brand name.  Better analytics are on the way to show cross campaign lift where display correlates directly to search success metrics, too. Advertisers and publishers rejoice.

We suggest that the exchanges will lead the way for these publishers who will need to remain nimble while ad dollars are scarce.

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