Commentary

10 Elephants In The Room

It’s a perilous time for a lot of premium publishers.  The business they know is no longer the business they’re in.  Their backs are up against the wall, and many continue to forge new ground that tramples their own value and credibility.  As we stand poised to enter Q4 2013, here are some elephants I can see roaming in publishing conference rooms.

1.  Q4 looks bad and won’t get much better.

2.  Your digital ad sales business is in a huge and constant traffic jam behind a dozen or so dot-com 18-wheelers collecting "theirs" before you even get a shot at collecting "yours." You must challenge your business GPS and take a different road.

3.  Your site visitors don’t dislike advertising, but they despise ads forced upon them.  Approving to run video auto plays is the biggest middle finger you can show them. 

4.  Internal emails are killing productivity, not enhancing it.

5.   All the acronyms in the exchange tech stack add up to this simple truth: lower prices, greater targeting, better performance and very little interest in what sites actually ran the ads. If putting premium inventory on exchanges was working for premium publishers, why are so many sites missing their numbers (see #1)?

6.  Save your philosophical arguments defining premium inventory.  You know it when you see it -- and you throw up a little in your mouth when you see brand advertisers running on sites that lack it.

7.   Would any of the advertisers you covet ever remove their brand name from their own product, dump it into a bin with their competitors, and then let consumers bid what price they are willing to pay for it?

8.  Your direct sales team needs to be constantly educated on the value your site delivers to those who visit. They also need to be sold on the uniqueness of your ad offerings if you want your ad sales revenue to grow.

9.  Movie cinema advertising is enjoying quite a nice run, offering almost zero targeting (and no programmatic access).  That’s because the screen is really big -- which is why mobile is destined to underperform until everyone buys a Samsung Galaxy, or iPad minis become phones.

10.  Next year will feel worse than this year if premium publishers don’t reclaim their inventory and tell better stories about why display ads seen on their site mean more than ads running on sites advertisers don’t want to look at.  Next year the people who visit your site -- not the advertisers who seek to reach them -- must be the target of all of your ambition and creativity.  Next year this conference room will have less people in it if things don’t change. 

Be bold, be different and stop following the herd.

6 comments about "10 Elephants In The Room".
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  1. Ron Stitt from Fox Television Stations, August 22, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.

    Great post, thanks! In this context, what did you think of the News Corp announcement yesterday?

  2. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, August 22, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.

    Ron I smiled

  3. Theresa M. Moore from Antellus, August 22, 2013 at 2:02 p.m.

    As to auto play ads posted on videos and other media - with YouTube we have no choice in the matter. No ads=no play on the public space. You tell Google not to run ads on book trailers, which are ads in themselves, and they will laugh at you. So sometimes a bad choice is not your own.

  4. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, August 22, 2013 at 2:50 p.m.

    Theresa, thanks for the comment -- but that's not what I meant. With Youtube the ads and the video play when the user "clicks" play. Autoplay is when you land on a page and all of a sudden a video/ad starts playing -- big difference.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 22, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.

    WoW ! The Bold and the Beautiful !

  6. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, August 23, 2013 at 4:41 a.m.

    Great Post! IMO the business to be in, and the sites that I care about, are not premium publishers, but premium link curators.

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