Three Ad-Buying Fundamentals That Never Change

October 21, 2016

By Stanley Federman

In the rush to use data to automate and ease ad planning and buying, it's easy to think that our entire ecosystem needs to be reinvented. Actually, there are three industry practices that have stood the test of time and might be even more valuable today.

The first is verification. The more media options there are, and the more they are bought programmatically. And the more important it is to know that the right ads ran in the right places and times were viewed by real people.

Because there were exponentially fewer media outlets and ads, and they negotiated and placed buys directly with media, agency folks used to be able to do this themselves, based on contracts and run reports. With the volume of ads being consumed by digital and expanded linear TV, mobile, OTT, etc., verifying one by one is no longer practical (or perhaps even possible).

So it's now essential to use third-party verification, especially in digital. Thankfully, there are a growing number of providers, such as Moat and DoubleVerify.

Second is working in concert with client sales goals. What are we really shooting for? How are we really doing is advertising actually supporting the business?

Pre-digital, agencies knew the client's sales goals and the degree to which they were being met.

Now, almost half of advertisers aren't giving their agencies sales goals and data, according to a recent study. All of the sophisticated, new ad and e-commerce measurements (e.g., lifetime value, conversion) should give us a better understanding of how close we are getting to helping reach sales goals or business outcomes. But only if they are factored into the equation in the planning process.

Third is calculating reach and frequency. With consumers moving from one digital platform to another and back again throughout the day, we run a real danger of hammering them senseless with the same message.

Planning is now a 24/7-365 continuum, rather than a 60-day cycle. So calculating the projected impact of many different audience combinations across media, quickly and efficiently, becomes critically important.

The most practical and comparable measure is actually time spent with media. Whereas different media channels use incompatible measures (e.g., ratings vs. views), time spent is universal. That can now be used to calculate reach and frequency, cheaply and immediately, allowing planners to get an advanced read on the delivery of different media combinations.

More than ever, advertisers need universal measures to plot the most effective, proven course to actual customers. The combination of advances in software and reliance on these fundamentals can bridge otherwise disarming gaps between media reporting.


"Three Ad-Buying Fundamentals That Never Change." MediaPost, 10/21/16.

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