Advertisings’ Trinity

There is a lot of doom and gloom around digital advertising but we believe there is a fantastic opportunity afforded by the perfect storm of ad blocking, fraud and the perceived ineffectiveness.

The three key players in all advertising are inextricably connected;

Creators of content prefer advertising as a way of being rewarded for their success

Brands need advertising to make potential customers aware (and remind) of their products

People do find (some) advertising useful, as it can drive discovery. And as we saw with the 60th anniversary of ITV people really like some ads. And some of these ads are really effective — we worked on Howard from the Halifax and that creating huge value for the brand as well as entertaining (half) the population.

So how do we get past the mess we are in and make this business tool deliver for all three players? Some suggestions;

Lets buy MPUs rather than banners. These nice square ish ads sit in the stream as the user scrolls down and if you use a responsive ad, many sites and apps allows expansion so you fill the width of the screen.

And lets make the messages simpler — we can learn from the power of an Instagram picture or a GIF rather than trying to cram loads of info into too small a space. And just say no to those who want you to run the 15/30second video that was designed for TV.

Lets work to the highest standards when it comes to viewability — and that includes being rigorous in stamping out fraud and bots

How do we speed the whole process up? The tech is slowing down the experience for users. Nasdaq is much faster than ad tech — but their transaction is somewhat simpler than ours. So how do we simplify? Should we track less? Is it really a good idea to build the ad message on the fly — could it be quicker if we have pre created clusters of ads to select from based on the data?

What about good old fashioned context — could some smart thinking on who uses a particular site or app — and what users are likely to be doing — be useful? Once upon a time brands would make the reasonable assumption that someone reading about Golf was a good prospect for a luxury car. And that some one accumulating smurfberries in a game wasn’t likely to be that interested in downloading a fitness app. Clearly the data adds refinement to this judgement, but have we become too beholden to that data. Is a Guardian reader on eBay or Yahoo Mail really just as valuable as one reading the Guardian mobile site?

Is it finally time for VRM? — where users manage their own data. Could we see a new class of apps that are ad regulators — use the app to show what you products and services you do want to see ads for — and maybe a slice of the value could be donated to your favourite charity. It’s possible to target people who have called a car dealer in the last month — how valuable is a user who declares they are looking for a new SUV?

And why aren’t we producing many more executions? Dozens of ad that leverage the data the tech gives us, suit the context and avoid the users seeing the same ad time and time again. This is an area where we see huge opportunity — watch this space.

We always end Fix with that Charlie Mingus quote –

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” Charles Mingus.

We have made ad tech too complicated and we need to simplify. Our salon on Programmatic is just a couple of weeks away and we’re going to be looking at these issues If you are involved in digital advertising, we think you have to be there — people from Amazon, Asos, Bacardi, Thomson, House of Fraser, ISBA, Balderton and Google are already signed up

Another quote from around the same time as the Mingus one;

“There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem” Eldridge Cleaver

Come along and help us solve the problems. Get more details — and your ticket — here.