Are Media Dollars Being Sacrificed for Impression Quality?

Answer: No. because in a recent report, Forrester Research said quality concerns might be leading marketers to scale back on programmatic, but still be willing to pay higher prices for verified inventory.

On epsiode 16 of the AdExchanger podcast,  Forrester VP Melissa Parrish says Forrester is talking an awful lot with its customers about the quality of customer experience. Her take: whether your are a brand or an agency, you must realize that the customer is all powerful and you have to serve that customer. That’s first and foremost.

The other part of quality is about the ad experience — the quality of the ad product. That’s been pushed forward by fraud and viewability concerns, and recently by fake news.. Now that programmatic is maturing — two thirds of advertisers buy programmatically, it is time to look at that ecosystem more critically. Advertisers were hearing from customers that their ads were appearing on sites they didn’t want to be on, and that was because their partners were not using the tools at their disposal, such as white lists and black lists. No one was looking at the publishers where those ads ran.

Forrester is saying take advantage of the tools at your disposal to weed out fraud and fake news. That creates an environment where the inventory becomes more premium, better targeted.  (On our platform, we did that weeding last year.)  You might be talking about a smaller number of impressions, but you will be getting in front of the right people in the right context.

Advertisers should be willing to pay a little bit more for that. Ad investment will not go down, but the spend will be done differently. Advertisers will be more strategic, and end up reaching the people they want to reach. They will, however, pay more per CPM and companies like ours will be paid on the basis of our technology and our skills rather than how cheaply advertisers can buy media, which led to the race to the bottom we have today.

What’s time timeline for this Utopia of advertising? We have already leveled up a notch or two in digital media, but it will take a while for marketers to take control in ways they have not previously felt comfortable doing. Parrish says her optimistic scenario is that more emphasis on fraud and fake news will accelerate the timeline, but she realizes how slowly companies move, and how long it took them even to shift to data-driven at all, and then to programmatic.

However, since the tools and technologies exist (we have them), it’s only a question of how long it takes for an advertiser to be willing to say “the way I’ve been doing this is not quite working” — which companies like Coke and P&G have already done. This is not a five-year horizon, because the technology is already there. So it’s a strategic and cultural change.

We are seeing more and more of these advertisers,