IAS Innovation Summit: Revenue Revolution

11/30 By IAS team
Innovation Summit: Programmatic Transparency

At the IAS Innovation Summit, Justine Fournie, Account Executive for Publishers at Integral Ad Science spoke with Natalia de la Muela Ventura, Senior Audience Ads Specialist at Atresmedia and Pierre Wurmster, Head of Operations at Next Media Solutions to answer a vital question facing all digital publishers today.

Like many areas of the digital advertising industry, online publishers have experienced a roller coaster year in 2020; not least because contentis now being created at an unprecedented rate. Before the pandemic digital advertising was booming, and it still is in some way. There is no denying that the ad industry is dominated by platforms that take the lion’s share of the market. So, how can publishers compete with the advertising industry’s Goliaths?

Natalia de la Muela Ventura from Atresmedia started the discussion by saying that initially publishers, “took their time to see platforms as competition,” but as they both compete for the same budget there is now no doubt that major social media giants are seen as a fierce opponent. But Natalia insists that publishers “are winning.” Despite the platforms having more inventory, the quality that a premium publisher can provide is second to none, and specifically calling out the quality of their video inventory. However, Natalia did note that with publisher inventory, “we have to price it accordingly.” There is a wide range of display offerings in the marketplace, but when there is low brand risk, then this high quality will always beat quantity.

But does high quality content automatically qualify as quality inventory? Pierre Wurmster from Next Media Solutions stated that “it should be the case, but it’s not always” and went on to say that while content is key, you will always have advertisers who look more at metrics, both from the publisher and from third parties. Pierre highlighted that the way publishers present their metrics could be a make or break moment. Natalia then sums up this discussion with the statement, “you need quality content and quality metrics.”

And in a year like no other, the metric that has been under the advertiser spotlight is brand safety. But the way advertisers address content that they deem could pose a risk to their brand must be fluid, as digital content is ever changing. Pierre provided an example that during the pandemic brands have been supplying exclusion lists running to thousands of words, and if one article has one of those words then that inventory cannot be monetised. “For me that’s the end of brand safety… a keyword is a word, not a meaning.” However, Natalia stated that it’s the job of journalists to be honest and that the content from publishers is “reflecting life, and sometimes life is not easy.”

In conclusion, both agree that this is why a move to brand suitability is the smart move. And as Pierre stated that with brand suitability, “there’s something that can be done.” To remain competitive with the major advertising platforms, publishers must highlight the high quality of their inventory. It is vital to have metrics for advertisers that mirror that high quality, but most importantly it’s about moving with the times and with the flow of the advertising ecosystem.  Platforms certainly have scale, but as they operate somewhat independently from the ecosystem, publishers find themselves perfectly positioned as allies to brands in order to secure advertiser investment.

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