Commentary

Botnets, Media Buyers And Disruptive Digital Technology

What if traditional TV commercials were seen not by human beings but by machines?

In the online digital video world, machines can “see” commercials – which doesn’t help “human-being” viewer engagement and “real people” purchasing.

Mike Iantosca, senior VP and chief revenue officer of Integral Ad Science, noted at MediaPost’s Video Insider Summit that as much as 60% of online video ads are not being viewed. In many cases, sophisticated Internet “robots”  -- or “botnets” are doing the “viewing.”

Nearly $3 billion is now spent annually on online video commercials, according to estimates. So some $1.8 billion of that is...a complete waste? That would be criminal, no? Estimates are that some $6 billion in digital advertising fraud exists overall -- out of a total Internet advertising market of $40 billion a year.

Traditional TV measurement and placement players do not need to worry about this eye-opening advertising fraud.  Others use non-exact science in accounting for traditional TV commercial skipping, fast-forwarding, channel surfing and cross-media activity.

What about young viewers who look at smartphones and tablets during commercial breaks or content?  Some might label this as “enabling” botnets of a different kind.

In earlier times, such as the late ‘80s through mid-‘90s, certain TV media sellers -- especially “unwired” networks which amassed unused local station inventory into national buys – engaged in some unsavory media buying activities. Some called it “fraud” when all or parts of anyone’s media plans didn’t run. Other illicit activities came in the misusing of Nielsen data.

Today’s digital video world has better technology tools -- for both good and bad -- when it comes to media planning.

What are traditional TV ad sellers thinking when they enter the digital video field with premium shows and video?  Maybe the real “disruptive” technology is just getting started.

 

4 comments about "Botnets, Media Buyers And Disruptive Digital Technology".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 28, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.

    "As much as 60%" in journalistic lingo is not much more accurate/reliable than "save up to 60%" in sales jargon. I've seen other estimates closer to 10%.

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, October 28, 2013 at 9 p.m.

    Douglas, Don't be surprised if you get besieged by folks wanting the name of that guy who knows about the "closer to 10%" deal! I mean who doesn't want to save up to 50%?

  3. Michael Massey from Clickit Digital, October 29, 2013 at 4:55 a.m.

    If 60% of online video is being viewed by bots, maybe its time someone created a better auditing program.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, October 30, 2013 at 12:05 a.m.

    Michael, the whole point is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to audit the viewing of pages, video, ads etc. by focussing on server-side data, as the server has very little idea of what is happening on the computer at the other end. What we can do is define stricter rules to eliminate KNOWN fraudulent traffic from the data. The result will still be larger than reality though, but closer to it.

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