AGENCIES AND BRANDS
AGENCIES AND BRANDS
I wanted to draw your attention to something that was published on iMedia Connection this AM. Penned by Dave Yovanno of Mediaplex, it describes a new vendor neutral tool that they developed to help marketers get a better understanding of the Display industry, the classes of vendors, who does what, etc. I won’t paraphrase the article, but do read it. It points out some of the communications issues of our industry, and the tool itself is very helpful as a starting place for understanding which end is up in Display.
The other reason I like the tool so much is that I know that Dave developed it in conjunction with Justin Fibich, a former Catalysta and now a rising sales star at “The Plex.” I have no economic connection to Mediaplex, so don’t think this a self serving shill.
But I do think it says something about them that they developed a vendor neutral tool just to help further understanding of the Display space among marketers and agencies. Yes, yes, they do benefit when Display gets more attention. But anything that helps take some of the absurd complexity out of this ridiculously overcomplicated industry is a real public service in my book.
I also envy them a little their ability to simplify the morass of solutions into such a simple illustration. While I flatter myself that I know a ton about Display, I could NEVER have created such an elegant, succinct, eminently helpful tool.
We’re heading into a phase of the online ad business that’s clearly based on the concept that not all inventory was created equal. The fervor around the viewable ads issue, coupled with the rapid development of Data Management Platforms (DMP) which make marketers smarter about how they spend their money, leads us to a situation where placement, audience and performance of creative can influence the value of the inventory that’s available. That means changes are in store for the media buying community.
To date, most online ad pricing has been one dimensional, and tied either to context or a basic set of data parameters, but the issues mentioned above are becoming hot buttons and leading us towards new opportunities. These include dynamic pricing, upfront markets and a changing perception of the landscape for supply and demand of online inventory.
It’s inevitable that there will become a finite supply of premium, higher quality inventory for advertisers as more advertisers become smarter. The potential resolve on the viewable ads issue means more marketers will be competing for a smaller set of inventory, whether it be contextual, audience-based or more likely a combination of both. Conversely, the market for junk inventory will drop. This creates a situation where demand and supply lead to a fluctuating marketplace, more like financial markets. This could lead to realistic upfront markets finally being established in the online space, which have not previously been required. In the past, there was the perception of limitless supply for premium inventory, but that’s simply not the case. The best sites and the best placements are being bought in advance, and that’s going to happen more often.
The other factor that leads to this situation is the increased use of DMP’s by marketers. As more marketers become intelligent about the ways they spend their money, they could end up competing for the same inventory, or at least similar customers. Right now, the use of a DMP is a competitive advantage for a marketer, but it will become table stakes in the next 12-18 months, and the result is the long tail of media will be become more valuable, and the “extra-long” tail will be devalued as more marketers squeeze value out of the top 50% of available inventory online.
The other factor that gets overlooked is performance. If the interaction rates and engagement rates don’t increase in online ads, then only the most visible, more premium inventory will be considered valuable. The long and extra-long tail of inventory will see no value at all. Regardless of whether they price on performance or not, you can’t squeeze blood from a stone. If the inventory can’t drive performance with poor creative, then the advertisers will place the blame on the inventory, unfortunately rather than taking the blame for poor creative, and they’ll focus their dollars on only the top notch placements and audience. It won’t be far, but it will be a fact.
So the fact is not all inventory is created equal, and the immediate future for media buying is going to be changing quickly. Upfronts may become a necessity. A futures and secondary spot market may soon become a reality. The perception that there is a finite supply for premium inventory will become commonplace, and prices may indeed begin to increase.
Do you agree?
Sorry all, today's links sent out earlier were triggering email programs to open. The links below are fixed.