A year removed from the MRC lifting the advisory against transacting on viewable impressions (display), the discussion about viewability has reached a fever pitch. Yet to date, the conversation hasn't captured publishers' stakes in the issue. The pressure is on from brands and agencies that demand viewability to justify their spending, but publishers also need to ask themselves about the potential revenue they're losing from poor viewability.
Sometime when I speak with a media salesperson over a beer or a burger, they share something that at first sounds benign, but then causes that moment to freeze as a market issue gets crystallized. This past week -- over a frozen Margarita, no less -- one of those moments occurred.
I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to decry the aggressive and often annoying way in which advertisers try their best to interfere with our online activities to promote their offerings. Intuitively, it seems that these aggressive tactics can backfire, causing publishers to lose credibility and loyalty. And recent findings suggest that, in some cases, annoying ads can literally cost publishers more money than they generate, leading to a cost of up to $1.50 CPM for ads that may net the publishers well below that amount.
Publishers' yield optimization strategies run the complexity gamut. From leveraging multiple yield optimizers in tandem to none whatsoever, this variance is largely driven by the evolving marketplace of the digital world. Still, all publishers are focused on the same end goal: generating as much revenue as possible from their available inventory. Within such a complex marketplace, however, this is no easy feat, particularly when it comes to unsold inventory. Today's technology has allowed publishers to address this issue, but often at the expense of cost per mille (CPM). Thus comes the challenge of addressing unsold inventory while maintaining quality pricing.
As a publishing industry, are we any better at selling online ads now than when we first started? How could we be, if we never got the publishing formula right to begin with?