Why the Digital Advertising Industry Needs to Stop Complaining

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, October 2, 2012

For far too long, the digital advertising industry has been griping about how it’s an afterthought for brand marketers. I think I’ve heard it all. “We deserve brand budgets.” “We should be getting television dollars,” and “We’re not getting our fair share based on time spent…” The reality is we haven’t earned brand dollars.

As an industry, we’ve spent the last 10 years creating a direct response focused, non-brand friendly ad eco-system. From the creative formats, to the measurement, to the pricing structure – we’ve consistently valued all the wrong things for brands.

The good news is that a paradigm shift in media consumption can give us a fresh start. Social and mobile apps—the fastest growing segment of media consumption— offer marketers exactly what they’re looking for when it comes to brand advertising. Within apps, we can deliver 100% viewable, relevant and impactful ads. No more buttons. No more text links. No more auto-play, in-banner video ads. No more below-the-fold remnant inventory bought through ad exchanges.

Most of us aren’t in this business to service direct response marketers. So let’s stop acting like it. Below are some ideas that will help us all get a shot at those highly coveted brand advertising dollars.

Ads must be 100% viewable.

I’m calling for us all to adopt viewable impressions, which will force the industry to stop commoditizing digital ads. I can still hear Wenda Harris Millard’s words from 2008 when she said, “We must educate one and all about the value our digital offerings provide marketers and not trade our advertising space like pork bellies.” Amen. But this is still an issue today, some four years later, with a glut of premium and remnant inventory running through ad exchanges.

The rise of social and mobile apps can fix this issue and ensure all ad placements are viewable. Think about it. Have you ever seen below-the-fold ads on a social game or mobile app? That’s because they don’t exist.

High-impact, cross-platform ad placements are a must.

Apps (particularly games) also deliver a new canvas for marketing messages where brands get 100% share of voice. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 60 percent of smartphone owners and 72 percent of Facebook app users prefer to see immersive and integrated ads versus static banner ads. These results unveil that consumers are asking for ad formats in apps and games. As an industry, we must deliver.

What’s more, consumers are increasing their app and game usage cross-platform, all the while delivering a massive and engaged audience to marketers. Since people are consuming media this way, a brand’s ad campaigns must also run cross-platform and across devices.

Let’s (finally) ditch the click.

With viewable, high-impact creative ad placements available via apps and games, we need to develop new standardized brand metrics. The industry must take the emphasis off of impressions and clicks (true direct response metrics) and find other ways to measure how brands translate value through digital advertising. Let’s standardize our own tangible metrics for brands such as the GRP, reach/ frequency and other top-of-the-funnel metrics including time spent, engagement and viewability.

Ari Brandt is Co-founder and CEO of MediaBrix

3 comments about "Why the Digital Advertising Industry Needs to Stop Complaining".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Daryl McNutt from New Moon Ski & Bike, October 2, 2012 at 5:23 p.m.


  2. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, October 2, 2012 at 6 p.m.

    A new metrics? has been in the top 5 in the world for online sweepstakes. We went back to the old but proven method of billboard pricing. Simply we charge a set monthly/weekly fee to run a sweep. No click charges.

    We have many Fortune companies who love this because they get more clicks, better demographics and at a far lower cost. Last it is simple with no fraud.

    In short, go back to the old analog ideas first before creating new digital metrics.

  3. Jeff Bander from Sticky, October 2, 2012 at 10:06 p.m.


    Nice post. You mention ads should be 100% viewable. We have conducted of online eyetracking of over 300,000 respondents and we know over 50% of all online impressions are never seen. We also know that 30% of all in screen (viewable) impressions are never seen. A much better metric is whether the ad was seen or not see, not just viewable.
    Watch this short video and see the future of how online impressions will be bought and sold.

Next story loading loading..