Desperately Seeking Susan -- And Programmatic Validation

In the mid-‘80s, Madonna was on top of the world musically, but wanted “desperately” to be validated as an actress.  Programmatic advertising is on top of the digital media landscape for direct response now with more than 200% growth, but “desperately” wants to be recognized for premium or brand advertising. 

Many of the top thought leaders and digital media CEOs believe brand ad dollars are not going to continue non-linear growth until premium programmatic is validated.

The following four areas need to be addressed to validate premium programmatic in the marketplace:

Content Quality (Safety)

Content quality and safety are needed for premium brand dollars to comfortably flow into programmatic.  Third-party validation is also necessary for both brand safety and fraud detection. Despite 20 years of explosive digital media growth, our industry now has to find solutions to problems such as “bot”(non-human) views, while maintaining a clean environment for the end user. Just recently, a highly sophisticated impression-laundering scheme was discovered that reportedly affects over 1% of all online video ads.

Placement & Exposure (Viewability)

The industry has been spotlighting the highest levels of viewability, though just a short time ago only 40% of ads were “in-view” through programmatic buying.  This is not good for brand advertisers. Placements with Single Share of Voice (one ad per page) are producing greater viewability and proving to help with both brand lift and recall. We now have a much better understanding of viewablity levels (including viewable impressions, in-view time, interaction time and interactions measured)  thanks to MOAT and many others addressing placement and exposure problems.   This first “placement and exposure” step of viewablity is allowing the industry to deliver good results to clients, also leading to better engagement.

Content & Environment (Personalization)

Contextual relevance helps in targeting audiences as it enables brands to better categorize the page and site on which the ad will be placed. For example, many new programmatic companies help categorize placemen. In order to make it more relevant, descriptions and facts about the audience are added to ensure that the brand can provide context-aware personalization. Audience and demographics, as well as contextual classification, have all helped open the window to premium programmatic world.

Social (earned and owned)

Branded content and native ads have grown from marketers’ desire to spend more dollars on earned and owned media over simple paid media. Social validation is much easier to say than do. However, great strides have recently been made to measure more than simply “likes” and “friends.”  We can now validate heightened social engagement from premium media with measurement tools. Since 90% of media is driven by 3% of the audience (advocates), social validation is simply imperative for the programmatic world.

The validation that a client reaches the right audience, with the right message, at the right time, on the right device, requires sophisticated measurement, big data solutions and a premium programmatic world that goes beyond publisher, price and viewablity in its programmatic environment for brand advertisers. Our industry already has the right “music,” if you will.  However, now, like Madonna in the ‘80s, we need to become proactive actors in order to develop a premium programmatic ecosystem to address brand advertisers’ needs through third-party validation.

Tags: programmatic, rtb
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