This week’s session from the Advertising Club was called “What’s Trending in Media” and covered the topics of digital video, programmatic buying and mobile. While the topics and speakers were definitely varied, a main theme (common to digital and non-digital advertisers) became apparent: get the right content in front of the right audience at the right time.
Alvin Bowles, the CEO of Grab Media, began the conversation by talking about video. Their business focuses on video syndication, taking premium content from around the web and presenting it to the right audiences. While this premise might seem simple, the parties involved and their associated challenges are daunting. Premium content producers don’t always have the scale to make producing that content profitable. Syndicating that content to brand safe sites and finding interested audiences is hard. Small content sites don’t have the budget to produce enough video to meet demands, nor do they have the scale to purchase the rights to show a video. Even if they could afford it, they need to be able to quickly and easily find the right video to match their editorial content. The most important goal is to get the content to the right audience, not just the right audience demographically, but behaviorally as well as psychographically.
How can Grab Media help?
This is what Grab Media does. They connect the dots, taking the content and getting it to the right place and in front of the right audience. If all of that coordination isn’t hard enough you also need to prove that you’re actually doing it, which means relying on third party verification and most importantly providing transparency throughout the entire process. If content providers don’t think their content is being placed appropriately or the purchasing sites can’t rely on the content that is meant to appeal to their audiences, you lose your only two assets. This complicated relationship is the moving definition of success in digital. KPIs change and metrics are constantly redefined, making it impossible to set a standard.
Chris Paul, General Manager of ViVaki, gave a whirlwind introduction to programmatic buying. The creation of advertising exchanges has done a lot to change the way people do media buying, making it quicker, easier and more effective. Planners no longer need to cross tab every site with their target demographic, but can instead buy impressions against that target. This has allowed for previously unreachable targets to gain scale across sites and become reachable. Two big challenges stand in the way of programmatic buyings’ eventual world domination: fraud and access to premium content. The internet is filled with bots and people pretending to be what they’re not. All of this adds noise. Even if you can get the right ad, in the right place, at the right time, the effort means nothing if it goes to the wrong person. Premium content is another interesting problem, mainly because publishers remain hesitant about committing their entire inventory over to ad exchanges. Paul argues that with pressure publishers will have to change their attitude if they want to keep their business.
And what about mobile?
Last, but certainly not least, the Head of Mobile Strategy at Aegis Media, Jason Newport, gave a meta talk on mobile trends. He argues that the trends haven’t really changed since the introduction of the smartphone, and that while innovation is happening we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with mobile. He outlined five facts about mobile phones:
- They are the first personal mass media – you don’t share your phone with anyone
- They are always on – even if you’re not using it they still collect information about you
- They are always carried – it’s the first thing you look at in the morning, and more than half of the participants said they used it as their alarm clocks
- They are the first media with a built in payment channel – wallet, keys and phones, in 10 years we’ll likely only be carrying one of those three things around with us
- Publishing at the point of thought – phones allow you to express your ideas no matter when or where you have them
When you consider the properties of mobile and how radically different it is from anything else we’ve ever seen, it becomes equally insane that we fail to move away from the same digital strategies we’ve always used. When it comes to new platforms we need to be thinking about unique ways to use those platforms. Though they allow us to get the right time, place and people, we still haven’t figured out the best content to deliver.
While getting the right content in front of the right audience at the right time seems like a straightforward process, the components to coordinate and issues to consider are even more complicated in the digital world. Lucky for us, with these new challenges, technology has paved the way for new solutions. We just need to figure out what they are.