Reading the newspaper

Are You a Blog?

Writing in MediaPost, Joe Marchese draws a comparison between the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 and the current state of digital advertising:

We reward the creation of the wrong thing: namely, “impressions”…then we bundle these near-valueless assets to resell them as something of value to the unknowing (or worse, complicit) networks, media buyers, marketers, and so forth.

And just like in 2008, he says, we’re headed for a crash. Between fraud/bot traffic, non-viewable ads, and ads that consumers just straight-up ignore, impressions are getting less and less valuable with time. But most of us in the industry are still convincing each other—and ourselves—that when you bundle millions of these almost-worthless impressions together, they become valuable. Unfortunately, in this case, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.

Of course, there’s one crucial difference between what’s happening to us now and what happened to the banks in 2008: no one thinks the digital advertising industry is too big to fail. There won’t be any government bailout for us. That’s why it’s essential that we course-correct as soon as possible—before it’s too late.

Read the full article on MediaPost →


It used to be effective for brands to play the hero.

But now, things are different. Consumers are more “sophisticated, resourceful and now have higher expectations,” says Gaston Legorburu in his recent article “Brands Need to Stop Trying to Play Hero: The goal should be participation” that was posted in AdWeek.

Gaston gives some pretty practical advice to brands about how to adopt to this new brand-consumer relationship:

  1. “You can start by focusing on efforts that rotate your brand from being push-driven and brand-centric (brand as hero) to being experience-based and consumer-engaging (brand as mentor).”
  2. “[Brands should] create bridges between people and their needs”
  3. “Whether you call them consumers, guests, customers or anything else, please always keep in mind that they are people—the very people who are defining, creating and building their story through the acquisition and application of your products and services.”

We’ve seen how brands are beginning to play a different role with the consumer (like Tom’s shoes that was mentioned in the article)

But we haven’t seen a standardized way to talk about and report on engagement. All the buzz lately about viewability and the need for new industry-wide metrics just echos this point:  the ideas are there but the metrics are behind.

Read all of Gaston Legorburu’s article here.



Kaylie Smith wrote a blog post for MediaPost about Multi-Screen Advertising In The Age Of Automation.  There were three stats that really shaped her argument.

The stats:

    1. U.S. smartphone penetration broke the 60 percent of total mobile users barrier
    2. More than 1/2 of digital display will be traded through automated advertising by 2017
    3. Multi-screen campaigns will make up 50 percent of total advertising budgets

For me, these stats bring up a bunch of follow-up questions:

    1. How do advertisers transition to a feed and app-driven mobile world?
    2. How can we better monitor ad quality while using automated advertising?
    3. How can we make sense of the different metrics that are used on different platforms?
Check out Kaylie’s blog post here. And to all the readers, if you’ve got answers to my questions (or questions of your own) please comment.


AdAge recently posted an article called Viewability is No Guarantee of Being Seen, written by Phil Schraeder the COO of GumGum, an online ad platform company.

His point was simple:

[Viewability] is a fine technical standard, but not one that’s likely to move the needle on brand metrics.

He explains his logic, saying that agencies will probably incorporate viewability into an overall ad quality measurement score, thus burying the metric we’re so excited to see. Frankly, that seems a little disheartening.

The best case scenario is that this idea of ad quality will really spark conversation about engagement, brand recall, human interaction and other important quality-centered metrics.

I’d certainly recommend reading Schraeder’s article and when you’ve got more questions about viewability, check out a few of our other posts on the topic.


Digiday had an interesting article this week about how USA Today’s transformation into a digital publisher.  Two quotes stood out to me:

First, the hilarity of online targeting:

I bought a Brooks Brothers shirt online six months ago. For the next six weeks every site I went to showed me nothing but Brooks Brothers shirts. Give me socks, give me something, I got the shirt already. That meant I didn’t see a bunch of ads for people who are trying to get me into their purchase funnel.

I was still seeing Zipcar ads weeks after I’ve been using it.

Second, you can’t build a brand with clickbait:

[Viral publishers] spend more time on headlines than we do. On the other hand, they overreach on the headline. You go there and you realize the story is not as sexy as the headline would make you think. If you do that enough, it sets you back. You can’t build a credible brand short term.

This absolutely applies to advertisers as well.  Tricking someone into clicking on your ad does not equal making a connection with a consumer.

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