Reality Check: Is Supply Targeting Video's Achilles Heel?

by , Oct 8, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Last week at MediaPost’s Omma Global conference, I moderated a panel asking if supply targeting was video’s Achilles heel. Joining me were Eric Franchi of Undertone, Ignited’s LJ Kobe, CBS Interactive’s Ken Lagana, Media Contacts’ Jacquelyn Gerhardt and Adap.tv’s Amir Ashkenazi.

We touched on a wide range of topics. Here’s a recap.

Quality and Quantity of Video Supply

Franchi ’s assertion was that while display has massive reach, video simply doesn’t. Ashkenazi suggested that we focus on the audience that is now watching online video and that the medium can reach (in aggregate).  Connecting the two spectrums was the reality that display had manufactured a lot of extra inventory through multiple impressions, below the fold placements, etc., and video was starting to emulate those practices as well.

Is it really possible to target efficiently and effectively at scale?

It’s clear that marketers have outsized demands with regard to targeting, which when combined with the falling rates means it's unlikely if not outright possible (more on that, below).

Will we ever see one CPM across multiple devices and platforms? 

Lagana argued that we are getting very close to seeing CPMs converge, but his viewpoint is unique in that he sees only one kind of content: CBS’. Franchi’s viewpoint is a bit more nuanced, and he argued that we may not see one common CPM across all devices and platforms, but we will see one insertion IO with various CPMs for various types of platforms and devices.

Is digital media forever doomed to overpromising on tracking and targeting?

Seeing how racking and targeting represent major advantages over other media, we should not de-emphasize either, according to Ashkenazi.

We didn’t get a chance to touch on the topic of “Mobile: reality or wishful thinking?” -- a shame, because this year we have seen mobile cement itself as a viable medium for video consumption, but advertising remains a big pie-in-the-sky kind of proposition.

I also didn’t get a chance to ask a direct question that touched on whether or not the latest technology in ad serving and targeting capability is a "nice to have" or if it really does separate the winners from losers in the long run, but the topic came up as a tangent in the conversation. Clearly, ad agencies want to see new tech push the envelope, leading me to think that when it’s said and done, ad agencies actually do embrace the latest shiny ad technology rather than resisting change and innovation.

 Lightning round

Since the panel focused on supply, and portals continue to retain major audiences but have been disrupted by Facebook, I thought if fitting to ask the following:

Should Microsoft get out of the ad business?

Naturally the answer was no, although at least one trade press article last week brought up  many signs pointing to to an exit by Microsoft, or at least a “partner-over-build” strategy.

What is Facebook’s salvation: mobile, video or payments?

The panel all concluded mobile, and were shocked that Zuckerberg et al had been caught asleep at the wheel.

What advice do you have for Yahoo!’s Marisa Mayer?

They seemed to like Mayer’s focus on products and personalization, but ultimately suggested if that will be enough as the company gets stuck in neutral for another year, if not more.

AOL and YouTube signed a deal?  Is this a reminder that YouTube = video?

AOL needs more distribution, and YouTube has it, so this didn’t seem to surprise anyone.

Will Hulu survive or be a victim of its own success?

The panel felt that Hulu would survive, but Lagana jumped at the opportunity to remind everyone how much CBS was happy to have sat out the project to pursue its go-at-it-alone strategy.

I also asked which was more important:

Distribution vs  content: content edged distribution 4-1
Data vs distribution: distribution prevailed 3-2, though data has grown in importance of late.
Content vs data: content, 4-1.

Finally, in what I thought was an innocent enough question, I asked whether CPM rates were falling.  Dead silence.  I think you have your answer there.

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