Commodity Media Is Over

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Sean O’Neal, president of Adaptly, has been in the advertising technology business for about 20 years and has experienced the gradual yet transformative change in the digital advertising funnel. Here is an excerpt from an interview where O’Neal discusses his company, as well as digital advertising metrics, the impact of connected television on his part of the business  and trends overall for the digital landscape.

OMD: What is your definition of native advertising?

There are a lot of ways to define native advertising. The most basic criteria for advertising to qualify as native is that the ad adopts the look and feel of the surrounding environment in which it is delivered.  There are different flavors beyond that. For example, content marketing could qualify as native advertising because it takes on the format and look of editorial content. However, not all of native advertising is content. Some types of native advertising are simply ads that adopt the look, feel and the same format as the content. But it is very clearly an ad and is not attempting to look like content per se.

OMD:  What type of metrics does Adaptly collect and how do you use them?

We collect just about every possible marketing metric that is made available to us through our integrations with our publisher platforms. We consume every form of data, whether it is the number of ads that have been served, how many unique users the ad has reached or the types of engagement rates. In the case of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, engagement data includes shares, likes and retweets. We’ll also take a look at response metrics and clickthroughs. Typically, we are also tracking backend metrics like conversions, sales and new customer acquisitions and the actual dollar value of transactions – in some cases both online and offline.

OMD: How do you account for viewability? 

Viewability is a still a fairly hot topic in the industry. However, it is a remnant of what I would call a “commodity media.” This is the display-advertising ecosystem for most traditional Web sites, where everything on the page is loaded at the exact same time – the content and the ads (or maybe the ads are loaded first).

Viewability is a question in those environments because the user may or may not actually scroll down to that ad. But the ad server might actually consider the ad as delivered, even though the ad has not been viewed or given the opportunity to be seen. With the platforms that Adaptly is integrating with, the ad is not served until it is scrolled into the newsfeed so there is no chance that the ads are not seen.

OMD: Can you give me some predictions for the media landscape over the next three to five years?

We will see a decline of commodity media where advertisers are forced to buy media across very standardized, very undifferentiated media properties, which have standardized for the purposes of ease and efficiencies and created marketplaces that make it very simple for buyers and sellers of media to interact.

At the same time, we will continue to see a proliferation of autonomous marketing platforms that act independent in creating their own systems, with their own delivery systems and their own advertising and media formats.

My second prediction is that the notion of paid, owned and earned which has been the holy trinity for the last three-to-five years in digital media will start to overload somewhat. We have already seen that delivering organic content across social networks has become increasingly difficult because there has been so much competition. We will start to see a real shift in focus as it becomes increasingly difficult to reach your audience on these social networks without using paid media.

The original article can be found on MediaPost.