Quality over quantity

As the head of ad operations & publisher solutions at Hi-Media UK, I say: « I fear for the future of any ad networks that do not work very hard to add genuine value at every turn in this ever-changing landscape »…

C.G.Campbell once said: « Quality isn’t something that can be argued into an article or promised into it. It must be put there. If it isn’t put there, the finest salesmanship in the world won’t act as a substitute. »

When thinking about some of the issues that are facing ad networks in 2011 this quote, written quite a long time prior to the invention of online trading, becomes exceptionally prescient.

In our opinion, quality is the watch-word for the industry. The correct attitude towards quality can be the making point or breaking point of the right type of representation for premium publishers and delivering successful campaigns for related advertising clients.

Too many ads these days are still being mindlessly chucked at space and automated by technology rather than having people that truly understand the content selling specifically to relevant advertisers who want to associate their products and/or services with the premium audiences that this content attracts.

If you ran a quality online publisher and invested heavily into the generation of premium content, which would you prefer to have representing you to the marketplace? For some websites with high volumes of user generated content and the inability to represent themselves this might be fine. Alongside this sits the ongoing issues with quality assurance that automated advertising continues to struggle with. The blocklists are never 100% adhered to and the resolutions are always retrospective.

However, I do believe that there will be clear split in the future and that once the supply and demand improves for these disintermediated solutions, the majority of display ad space will be bought and sold in a faceless manner via RTB to target specific audiences and/or content requirements. Beside this will sit the smaller premium end of market that will continue to require expert representation with specific experience and knowledge of the audiences and content that is being sold.

Digital is a unique medium as it gives brands unprecedented access and opportunity to truly engage and interact with a well-targeted consumer audience. These types of well-targeted opportunities must be managed properly and fetch a higher CPM as they offer genuine value to advertisers via targeted integration alongside sponsorship of educational/entertainment materials, which allow the advertisers to bring genuine value to a more receptive and valuable audience.

But will the majority of online publishers still need ad networks or sales houses to represent them in these two marketplaces? At the mass-market end it’s simply a resource issue and at the premium end it is experience and knowledge that counts. We at Hi-media work distinctly at the premium end with publishers that could try and do this on their own but quite simply do not have the required expertise, knowledge or contacts to do so – and I can’t see this changing. They want to keep creating quality content and improving their offerings and leave that to specialists like us.

This in turn empowers those publishers to fulfil their potential and ensure that they can afford to keep improving and developing websites that can benefit us all – thus also resulting in advertisers gaining access to niche finance sites sold by representatives that understand the audience and content. At the mass-market end of the scale however, this is simply not the case and it will simply be a question of resource v revenue – which is a problem that most publishers will start to solve internally quite quickly.

Therefore I would fear for the future of any ad networks that do not work very hard to add genuine value at every turn in this ever-changing landscape. They can no longer claim the position of high-priests interpreting the digital advertising oracle as technology has now advanced sufficiently to make everything more accessible to all publishers of all sizes – and rightly so.

Partnerships must be much fuller and more consultative, hence Hi-media’s more holistic approach, which includes the provision of online payment services, creative resource and development resource to provide a fuller service for publishers.

Post by AdUX

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