The Best of AdMonsters 2013

Mobile tracking, viewability, native, programmatic and more

If 2013 must be a “year of something,” we probably should call it the year of mobile. According to estimates from eMarketer, U.S. mobile advertising spend more than doubled in 2013 to hit $9.6 billion compared to $4.36 billion in 2012. eMarketer estimates that near-stagnant desktop spend will actually decrease after 2014, with mobile spend overtaking it in 2017.  

It’s no surprise then that AdMonsters’ most popular story of the year was, “ID Is Key: Unlocking Mobile Tracking and Cross-Device Measurement.” Publishers have long feared “Mobegeddon” (h/t Todd Sawicki of Zemanta): the revenue fallout from their inability to auspiciously monetize rapidly growing mobile traffic. Our two-part in-depth feature zoomed in on one of the chief obstacles: tracking. We examined how both publishers and agencies are embracing device identifiers for mobile tracking and targeting, and how these efforts push the envelope on cross-device initiatives (e.g., household targeting).

While mobile may have been high on ad ops minds this year, it certainly wasn’t the only issue: native advertising, viewable impressions, audience extension, programmatic direct, private exchanges and programmatic video were topics AdMonsters readers pored over. We hope list of articles below will help you put 2013 into perspective and plant some seeds for 2014. Happy holidays!

ID Is Key: Unlocking Mobile Tracking and Cross-Device Measurement
By Gavin Dunaway, AdMonsters

“Device identification is arguably the key to unlocking the greatest challenge in this increasingly fragmented media space – cross-device marketing. Not just giving advertisers the ability to fairly accurately measure campaigns across a host of devices, but also enabling publishers to link and segment their audiences across devices with a high probability.”

The Myths Surrounding Viewable Impressions
By Jeffrey Mayer,

“Advertisers do not want to pay for ads that a visitor never sees. However, as publisher sites work now, all ads are served immediately once the page loads, the impressions are counted, and all the costs are applied. This happens regardless where ads are located on a page, or whether the browser window actually is in view of that ad. Viewability will essentially enable advertisers to eliminate the cost for any unseen ads, which is a legitimate argument and sounds good… in theory.”

Why You Need Post-Impression Tracking (and Why It’s Not Perfect)
By Ratko Vidakovic

“Publishers need to understand that their performance will be judged by savvy advertisers in more holistic and data-driven ways, moving forward, across all of their campaigns and channels. With advancements in campaign attribution, publishers will need to accommodate the tracking needs of advertisers, particularly for brands that increasingly rely on post-impression tracking.”

The Ad Ops Pat Down: The Creative QA Process
By Rob Beeler, AdMonsters

“Ad creatives aren’t as important as people’s lives, but ad operations can certainly relate to this pressure. The maturation of the digital media space and expansion of trading technologies has given rise to an underbelly of corrupt practices, some more heinous than others. While various players will drop cookies to shoplift publisher data, malware and malvertising purveyors threaten not only a site’s operations but its entire user base.”

Beyond Borders: Publisher Audience Extension Goes Off-Site
By Gavin Dunaway, AdMonsters

“Audience or reach extension basically turns publishers into media buyers – using first-party data occasionally appended with third-party data, publishers target their audiences on third-party inventory. In effect, publishers are acting quite similar to brands employing their first-party data for audience targeting purposes.”

Explore the 2013 AdMonsters Salary Survey

“The 2013 AdMonsters Salary Survey is required reading for ad ops practitioners, leaders, hiring managers, recruiters and anyone else interested in the state of OPS in 2013. In this year’s report, you’ll discover what drives salary increases and what doesn’t, which year is the critical year to recognize and incentivise employees to stay, base and total salary information by regions and much more.”

VPAID Errors and Other Pitfalls of Programmatic Video
By Gavin Dunaway, AdMonsters

“Buyer demand [for programmatic video] is growing, and publishers are incentivized to grab that ramping spend especially if they can get a premium over direct-sold efforts. Understanding potential issues with VAST and VPAID offers publishers insight into the intricate mechanics of programmatic video and how glaringly different this space is from display.”

The New Age of Second Screen: Enabling Interaction
By Joshua Weaver, AdMonsters

“Second-screen and companion viewing isn’t a new phenomenon per se. Television viewers are quite accustomed to diverting their attention throughout broadcasts. And even before the proliferation of TV companion apps such as Zeebox, Viggle and GetGlue, viewers often Googled or Wikipedia-d content pertinent to what they were watching on screen.  In fact, it’s this very diverted, media-meld mindset that has help made second-screen one of today’s hottest topics in digital TV technologies.”

On the Programmatic Road to the New Premium
By Gavin Dunaway, AdMonsters

“We are in the midst of a major shift in how digital advertising is bought, sold and served. Viewability, native advertising and programmatic proliferation are all coming to a head to seriously shake up the industry and introduce a new, more effective form of premium digital advertising – one that will prove far more beneficial to both the demand and supply sides.”

The AdMonsters Private Exchange Playbook

“The good news is the plethora of nuances in the world of private exchanges ensure there’s no wrong way to implement a private exchange – the phrase “different strokes for different folks” has never been truer. The bad news? Well, it’s another complex landscape within an already labyrinthine ecosystem. To understand which approach is (or approaches are) optimal for your organization requires a base level of knowledge about the elements and workings of a private exchange, something we aim to provide in our Private Exchange Playbook.”

Relieving Paperwork Pain: Tips for T&C Negotiation
By Rob Beeler, AdMonsters

Ad operations’ “security” role often extends beyond code and creative and into contracts, making sure the “paperwork” is in order so revenue can be collected and the company has legal protection in its agreements. Just like creative and code, ad operations gets squeezed from all sides with multiple parties who simply want the deal to be pushed through (clients and sales) and at the same time make sure everything is in order (management, legal and financial departments). 

Viewability: Publishers’ 20/20 Experience
By Acceleration

Acceleration’s newest whitepaper on viewability delves into the world of viewable impressions, discussing some of the intricacies of the evolving world of viewability, while debunking some of the misconceptions surrounding the metric. For instance, viewable impressions are not predictable — the manner in which one web visitor views a webpage may be different than the next, and varying conditions can lead to a wide array of viewability patterns, even if two different campaigns run concurrently. What’s more, a viewable impression is, just that, either viewable or not viewable. Viewability is binary, and that adds a whole new dynamic to today’s lot of online ad impression metrics.

Answering the Call: Ad Ops In a Native World
By Joshua Weaver, AdMonsters

With native advertising being such a large stake in publishers’ future revenue efforts – the Online Publishers Association suggests that 90% of its members will offer some sort of branded content product by the end of this year – and with no user manual in sight, I sat down with The Huffington Post and Gawker Media to shed light on how branded content is shifting ad ops’ roles and relationship with sales, as well as where ops falls in the creative-making process.