Publishers are constantly looking for better ways to manage their supply and extract maximum dollars from their inventory. As media consumption fragments and the wave of social media continues to rise, marketers are feeling increasingly confused about how best to spend their media dollars. Simplifying digital is absolutely paramount if we want our industry to thrive.
What are three steps publishers can take that will simplify the process for marketers, improve performance, and drive profits?
Streamline buying. Media buying for the television industry has been centralized for years within massive buying shops that drive scale, efficiency, and buying power. This has given those agencies a significant advantage during negotiations and consequently the ability to deliver the best programs for their clients. In digital, by contrast, agencies have relied on ad networks and now trading desks to do this for them. But with the introduction of new mobile devices, digital video, and a plethora of other digital devices, agencies should now be working with a new type of partner - one that is more technology focused. This partner should not only understand the various channels of engagement, but have the connections (digital pathways) to seamlessly deploy, optimize, and report on cross-channel media buys. This new paradigm - where the entire process of media planning, buying, and execution is digitized - would represent a massive step forward for our industry.
Performance enhancement. Marketers care about flawless execution and return on investment (ROI). While the common metric for measuring ROI has been the click-through rate (CTR), numerous studies indicate that the CTR is not the best metric to judge performance and is even less useful in optimizing for audience, brand, or downstream conversions. It's probably not news to you that nearly all clicks come from about 15 percent of the online audience and the majority of those are from a concentrated group with very high frequency, which makes them even less valuable for most brands. Understanding the backend metrics (of engagement and conversion) and connecting those with the marketer's creative message is a far more reliable route to success. One key is finding a quality technology partner who provides attribution and funnel analysis for programs and allows you to leverage that information. With the right partner, optimizing campaigns and making better recommendations for renewal programs based on audience composition, performance, and client engagement is simple.
Profit drivers. Due in large part to the countless number of vendors involved in a single digital buy, publishers are getting squeezed and taxed from every possible angle. This not only adds to the inefficiency of the buying process, but it can also have an impact technically on the consumer experience, thus hampering revenue and audience growth, as well as client satisfaction. To drive maximum value, publishers need to be as closely connected to their buyers as possible, and the key to that is having all the tools necessary to provide the most appropriate inventory to meet the objectives of those buyers. Every publisher should have complete control over the allocation of their inventory to direct sales, channel partners, and exchanges. A system that allows for dynamic yield management across all demand sources with the ability to override the delivery algorithm is also hugely important. If the algorithm makes all the choices, who is actually running the business?
The great range of media devices and opportunities now available to marketers and consumers has brought the digital industry to a critical crossroads. Publishers need to be flexible while also staying focused on delivering a superior experience to consumers. Their power lies in knowing the value of the inventory and in utilizing a platform that allows for dynamic allocation of inventory across all channels in order to maximize that value. There is still tremendous opportunity for publishers to grow their businesses. All it takes is a plan, a partner, and the guts to go for it. What do you think?
Larry Allen is SVP, Business Development and Global Platform Sales for Real Media Group, a business unit of 24/7 Media. He has responsibility for overseeing solutions for publishers across various advertiser and publisher-facing business lines globally.
Larry has extensive experience in digital media, marketing, and business strategy unmatched by most standards. Prior to joining 24/7 Media in 2011, he held senior management positions at cutting-edge digital media companies such as AOL, Viewpoint, Unicast, Yieldex, Real Media, and TACODA.
Larry also ran his own consulting business where he advised many major media companies such as The New York Times, Meredith, 33Across, and Business Insider. He is a frequent contributor to a number of trade publications, blogs, and industry conferences.
A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, with a degree in Business Management, Larry is based in Real Media Group's headquarters in New York City.
The views expressed in Larry's columns reflect the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of 24/7 Media, its affiliates, subsidiaries, or its parent company, WPP.