It is often said in the Ad Tech world that the ecosystem is dynamic and “ever changing,” and that new opportunities are constantly created for the various players in the digital advertising value chain. However, one must wonder how true this is for all players in the chain.
Many publishers would disagree, as they are having a difficult time coping with the recent changes. The most common issue I hear when speaking with publishers is the constant requirement to increase revenues while the availability of supply continues to decline.
The availability of supply is dwindling. This is a fact. Approximately 50% of Millennials have ad blocks on their desktop computers and mobile devices. But is that the sole reason for the decrease we are seeing?
Innovation and data centralization by the big players are slowly cutting away at the branch the publishers are sitting on, creating a negative effect on many of them. Just look at the short list of innovations that publishers have been needing to deal with in the last year:
- Integrating header bidding partners
- Measuring ad blocking and testing solutions (pay walls, serving server-side, etc.)
- Re-designing their site in order to create a more “native” advertising user experience
- Loading pages “smartly” in order to keep up with viewability standards
- Data – storing it, slicing and dicing it to present to the buyers
- Creating applications and learning to monetize them
- Adding in-stream/out-stream video formats across the site
- Testing in-image advertising and other new high-impact formats
And the future of innovation is already here:
- Instant Articles on Facebook
- Vertical video ads on Snapchat and others apps
- Branded content
- Virtual reality
It is clear that the ecosystem is undergoing major innovative changes, effecting the way budgets are flowing into the space. Meanwhile, the large players in the industry are consolidating all parts of the chain into a single point, keeping very high margins for themselves at the expense of the content creators.
Publishers Essentially Want “to be publishers” and Create Content
Tier 1 publishers as well as publishers “born” into the industry in the last couple of years are coping better with the situation by doing the following:
1) Investing more resources in development – including more opportunistic areas like virtual reality and vertical videos.
2) Adding talent from outside to join their media sales and operation teams, as recently pointed out by MediaPost- http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/269295/why-ad-tech-talent-is-returning-to-media-sales.html
But what about all the others?
Development and recruitment create additional financial strains, and with the uncertain ROI in the near future, many publishers struggling to adapt. Publishers know that one of the better ways to generate revenues and fund the system is through advertisement. However, all of these new changes are putting many publishers at additional risk: Needing to dig deeper into their pockets or cut back on manpower in order to restructure their inner divisions to better suit today’s reality.
Today, more than ever, publishers would benefit from a trusted partner that can walk them hand in hand in overcoming the newfound challenges in the ecosystem. And as much as we all value technology, a real partnership begins and ends with people.
The name of the game is empowerment. If your team isn’t on top of their craft, they cannot be a true partner. With so many technological partners out there and just as many service providers, those that will be able to empower the publishers, by providing them real value – both in robust technology and even more in personal service that excels – will pave the way.
Value can come in many forms:
- Single tag for both desktop and mobile to reduce integration efforts managing the ad stack
- 100% fill rate to ensure guaranteed CPMs while increasing DFP bids
- Single wrapper for header bidding solution through a container tag
- Adding additional ad units to the site using a smart tag to reduce coding (From Out-Stream video to other High-Impact units)
- Measuring ad block users and building an action plan to reduce impact
Whatever solution you choose, true partnership is key.