Marketers Still Prefer Premium Content Publishers Vs. Social Media, Programmatic Trading

For all the noise surrounding display’s RTB marketplace, what advertisers and agencies really want is premium inventory from premium publishers, and Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association, has the data to prove it. And she presented it for the first time during this morning’s OMMA Premium Display conference in New York.

“So much focus has been on programmatic buying over the past few months,” Horan said, adding. “What we wanted to do is take a step back and make sure we were hearing from a very important person, which is the brand marketer and the agencies supporting them.”

The “we” Horan was referring to was the OPA and Advertiser Perceptions Inc., which for the past eight years has been doing some pretty solid research on the opinions and sentiment of advertisers and agencies about various media. To get to the bottom of what Madison Avenue really wants from online publishers, the API team surveyed 250 marketers and agency professionals involved with brand-focused image advertising and found, not surprisingly, that they are still pretty keen on premium publishing content advertising opportunities.

In fact, asked what online publishing source was the “best” media type for their needs, the No. 1 response was premium content publishers. Forty-seven percent of the respondents cited premium content publishers vs. only 16% who cited the No. 2 option, social media, and 10% who cited the No. 3 option, display ad networks.

Detailed findings can be accessed on the OPA’s site at, but Horan shared a few more details with the OMMA crowd, including what brand marketers and agencies are most looking for from online publishers.

The No. 1 response (cited by 73% of respondents) was “target audiences,” followed by “ability to achieve brand objectives” (63%), and “brand quality/image” (61%), and “context” (48%).

“This is why they ranked the premium publishers as being able to deliver on this,” Horan said, noting that while social media is doing “very well” in terms of delivery on target audiences, it “falls short on delivering on some of these other attributes” such as brand objectives, brand quality and image.

In terms of what brand objectives were most important to marketers using online publishing, Horan said the survey found that “classic branding objectives,” such as brand consideration, preference, purchase intent, aided and unaided awareness were dominant.

“Classic branding objectives still remain front-and-center,” Horan said, adding, “They have identified the fact that they have a preference for delivering those objectives through premium content publishers.”

3 comments about "Marketers Still Prefer Premium Content Publishers Vs. Social Media, Programmatic Trading".
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  1. Dea Lawrence from PointRoll, November 10, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.

    Isn't this the exact opposite of Brian Wieser's take on the death of premium advertising? Profits shifting from content owners toward aggregators of advertising inventory and inventory with data-driven attributes. As a focus group of one, seems that the premium content play is in video as some of the video network player's inventory is suspect and not transparent.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, November 10, 2012 at 12:27 p.m.

    Yes, they are completely different perspectives, but I wouldn't call Brian Wieser's perspective a focus group of one. His analysis of the industry is based on a wide range of perspectives and data points, and it is neutral in the sense that he's not rooting for any horses, except the return on equity for potential media industry investors. That's very different than the perspective of an industry trade association chief like Pam Horan, or of the ad industry executives Advertiser Perceptions Inc. surveyed for the OPA.

  3. Dea Lawrence from PointRoll, November 10, 2012 at 1:36 p.m.

    I meant that I am the focus group of one as it pertains to video content. I realize Brian's credentials and data points.

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