Publishers Take on the Digital Ad Nightmare

greatdigitaldealThe digital ad disruption of 2015 makes us hopeful for improvements in 2016; it looks like some publishers are coming back to their senses.

Quality over quantity: If the digital ad disruption of the past several months has taught publishers anything, it’s that.

Reeling from the massive growth in ad blocking the past few months, publishers will be much savvier and more focused on the long term in their ad practices in the coming year, according to Jessica Davies in Digiday.

“It’s been a tumultuous year. Media accountability has been under the microscope in a big way, and for good reason. Advertisers want proof their money is going on ads that are seen, by humans, and publishers are beginning to get creative about how they address that,” she writes.

Some, like The Guardian, are “promising advertisers they need only pay for guaranteed viewed ads across the off-site inventory the publisher buys via its trading desk,” she writes. They are taking a significant short-term loss by refusing to barter in fraudulent ad clicks, in the hopes that the ads they do charge for will be of higher quality and therefore higher value.

Others, like The Economist and Financial Times, are looking at ways to sell ad space “beyond impression-based trading” that helped create the disaster.

“Another proactive publisher is Dutch sports magazine Voetbal International. It axed over a third of its on-site inventory, killed its online rate card, and put all its display inventory into open auction,” Davies explains. “All in the name of  building a sustainable digital ad revenue stream.”

It’s really encouraging to learn that, along with possible tech solutions, the industry is finally motivated to deal with a situation it helped to create.

As David Kirkpatrick wrote in Marketing Dive last week about the mega-billion dollar ad crime ring, “combatting ad fraud should be major industry-wide goal in 2016.”

The best brains in the business are working on this challenge now. The digital heyday is over for advertisers and publishers, and sanity is returning to the mix.

“Whether it’s the chill from ad blocking, pressure to meet viewability demands, or any of the other head winds publishers are facing, we’re seeing some creative approaches being adopted, in which longer term digital ad revenue goals are winning out to short-term profit aims. Expect to see plenty more of this in 2016,” Davies concludes.

Let’s hope so.