As we’ve all read in the trades over the last few weeks, viewable impression measures are all the rage. Finally, companies are beginning to seek standard metrics that matter for brands. Over the years there have been a few rogue companies that have dedicated time, resources, and analysis to wooing the brand buyer, but most have taken the easy route, ultimately satisfying only the direct-response buyer. I was fortunate in my career to work at two of those brand-focused companies, Unicast and Tacoda, where we led with brand-specific stories, published brand studies, and promoted pure brand building programs to marketers. There were others that were quite successful in this area; Yahoo, ESPN, and Turner come to mind.
The lack of industry brand focus has resulted in a race to the bottom, where it has had a trickle-down impact on everyone from the agency to networks to publishers. In the past, the “almighty” click-through has ruled the roost and driven everyone to the completely wrong side of the funnel, where they focused on price to improve return on investment (ROI). Demand-side platforms (DSPs) and ad exchanges have become a breeding ground for cheap inventory and cookie bombing and, therefore, they have alienated premium publishers from their buyers.
Thankfully, new brand measures are being promoted by a few leading companies and are helping those companies take a stand on behalf of publishers to educate the market on the value of quality inventory and well-branded exposure, within context, to a target audience. Providing marketers with a standardized view of these creative metrics that highlight exposure, view time, and engagement, and then benchmark those metrics against the industry, category, and creative format. This information will give marketers the confidence to shift more spend to digital.
Some may question why a relationship with a credible partner is important for the brand-oriented marketer. When trying to measure view-ability via the DSP, ad exchange, or supply-side platform (SSP) there is often a massive degradation in fidelity due to unfriendly iframes and multiple inventory hand-offs. Therefore, to truly measure the impact for marketers and understand the quality of the creative execution, we need a mechanism that is executed within the ad server or directly from the publisher’s page. By using that mechanism, we are able to promote equality among the inventory being purchased, empowering the buyer and seller with information that can be used to fairly judge price, quality, and effectiveness.
What do you think about leveraging a better set of metrics to drive more brands to spend with digital media?
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This column was originally published on May 22, 2012.