5 New Year's Resolutions For Ad Tech

At the beginning of every year, many people resolve to make significant changes in their lives—to improve their quality of life and better themselves. As ad tech continues to grow and become an industry-wide phenomenon, I’ve put together a list of New Year’s resolutions to consider for ad tech so that it can continue to evolve and drive innovation.

Stop Declaring The Sky Is Falling Over Ad Fraud

This topic reached new heights in the summer of 2014. Yes, it's definitely an issue that the industry collectively should address. Now is the time for the IAB to define a common standard and implement terms and conditions that address what happens in the event that there is a discrepancy between “your numbers” and “their numbers.”

However, ad fraud is a problem if you use simple measures like ad delivery as the principle success metric. We all want to ensure that marketers don’t waste ad spend unnecessarily on non-viewable inventory or non-human traffic. Let’s remember that sales is the metric that drives business success, so let’s measure the effectiveness of advertising based on outcomes, and not merely on inputs.



End The Backstabbing

In an industry that is transforming and growing as fast as ad tech, there are new players emerging daily, and the space is becoming increasingly fragmented and crowded. How do winners emerge from the pack? “By being the best” would seem like the obvious answer. Despite this basic truth, brands and agencies frequently share stories of companies badmouthing competitors during their sales pitches.

Aside from being inappropriate, it’s a cataclysmic mistake to let your competitor enter the conversation. Brand-share studies consistently prove that mentioning another company only helps them grow their baseline brand. We’re participating in a growing multi-billion dollar industry where there is room for many winning companies. So let’s act like winners, and commit to a habit of excellence. As Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Let’s commit to being habitually excellent.

Focus On Real Business Outcomes

As an industry, visibility and granularity have entered every stage of the conversion funnel. But, at the end of the day, which metrics really matter? If we’re honest with ourselves, it all comes back to real business outcomes. Sadly, CTR continues to hold a spellbinding allure because it’s a snackable metric (similar to a “Like” on Facebook). Yet its real value continues to be empirically debunked by independent measurement companies.

Dare yourself to hide the CTR column in your reports, then dare yourself to hide the impression column. When liberated from measurement mediocrity, you’ll find yourself asking better questions. 2015 is no time for complacency. It’s time to spend a little less energy overemphasizing proxy metrics, and invest more effort focusing on real results.  

Listen To New Voices

The ad tech industry is filled with homogeneous voices. We need tofund more minority- and women-owned start-ups. Let’s bring diversity into the conversation so that events like Ad:Tech 2015 include a diverse and varied group of participants discussing new and exciting ideas, instead of debating the same ten topics with the same ten speakers.

Reinvent The Modern Marketer Roles

The new world order of anywhere, anytime, any-device media consumption, combined with increased options for consumer attention, obliterate the idea of single-channel media campaigns. (That curiously seem to end on the last day of every other month.)

Because of this transformation, we’re seeing the rise of the always-on marketer (AOM for short, since our industry loves acronyms). Gone are the days of running campaigns with fixed start and end dates. The most successful AOMs will embrace relationships with marketing technology companies that can augment their ability to continuously hunt for attention by the microsecond, around the globe, across every device, and through every available consumer touch point.



1 comment about "5 New Year's Resolutions For Ad Tech".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, January 5, 2015 at 10:29 a.m.

    I don't think that it will be so easy to dismiss the "viewability" issue as it is directly related to the pricing of digital ads. If you are charging a $20 CPM for ad "exposures" or "impressions" and 50% of the time these are phantoms, while still more are viewable for only a few seconds, your real CPM is closer to $40-60, which is not competitive to TV and most other media. The proposed solution----giving endless doses of makegoods----- reflects very badly on the medium and advertisers who care about the timing of their exposures may, instead, press for much lower CPM pricing. While the sky may not be falling, this is a tremendous problem and needs to be dealt with on a crash basis.

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