An Advertising Game Changer

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h1 We have so many things to deal with, we need to talk straight up and down.

Tupac

This week in Coachella, hordes of sunburnt festival-goers experienced a post-mortem blast from the past when famed 90s rapper Tupac took the stage with the still-living Snoop Dog to close out the annual three day music festival. Unlike the occasional Elvis sighting, this phantasm wasn’t a result of prolonged exposure to the elements, but an innovative holographic technology that is quickly being coined a game-changer. Advertisers and marketers are already clamoring to understand how to take advantage of this new technology to capture consumers’ attention - because it's clear that consumer's attention is in short supply.

comScore recently unveiled the results of a study that found that one-third of online ads go unseen by readers. That’s one-third of advertisers’ dollars wasted. For an industry obsessed with measurement and ROI, this number is astounding. The lack of accountability and need for more transparent measurement standards has never been more apparent. Advertisers should only be paying for ads that are seen by consumers, and publishers need to think about how to remake their page layouts and optimize their design to accommodate fewer and more effective ads.

That’s why this week we announced our new cost-per-exposure (CPX) pricing model to tackle the “wasted impressions” issue in digital advertising. There’s been a lot of chatter lately around viewable impressions, led by organizations such as the IAB, ANA and 4As, and ways to increase accountability, transparency and value for marketers in digital. But we have yet to coalesce around an accepted viewable exposure standard. CPX is our way of nudging the industry closer to creating this standard and in elevating the digital content and advertising experience to a premium one.

With an appropriate viewable exposure standard, audience impressions become unnecessary. Advertisers and publishers will be able to agree to frequency capping. Cross-publisher exposure becomes modeled in media planning, rather than trying to control ad serving across every publisher.

Beyond viewable impressions, the other standard-related theme that the industry needs to explore right now to bring more dollars to digital is how an ad relates to its environment. For example, how big should any given ad be in relation to how many ads are on the page? The most effective way to address this is to start enforcing standards for what advertisers are willing to pay for premium. If advertisers say they'd pay $25 for a 300x600 above the fold rich media ad unit that was the only ad on the page, we bet publishers would move very quickly to conform to the request. We cannot continue to push for lower "impression" rates and not consider that publishers naturally have an incentive to put more ads on the page to combat downward price pressure.

Changing the digital advertising game is no easy feat. It takes incremental steps forward punctuated by moments of real innovation. We think measures like CPX are a step toward making the industry think harder about how we attract, engage, capture and monetize consumer interest. And if not, we’ve always got HologramTupac.