Leading Operations Online

Should we be surprised that some of the most valuable inventory in digital advertising is taken up by what many consumers consider the most annoying advertising?

Smacking users with pre-roll after pre-roll (many times the same ad) when they watch shorter videos on a site is not only bad for user experience, but can also negatively effect brand opinion. At the same time, forgoing that sweet pre-roll revenue is hard on a pub’s bottom line.

But what if you could switch it up? Instead of the pre-roll barrage, what if you offered a variety of units, such as overlays akin to YouTube units or repurposed display ads? What if you could sell those on a programmatic basis, or coordinate them with larger video campaigns?

This is what’s been heavy on the mind of Amir Bakhshaie, Head of Product at Netseer, as the company ramps up its in-video monetization solution. In addition to discussing contextual targeting and programmatic opportunities, Bakhshaie contemplates the future of...

As header bidding has caught on, publishers just can’t get enough of that demand and revenue from header partners. But so far, a lot of pubs have hit a certain ceiling in header regardless. It takes time and effort to integrate header partners in-house. Integrating a wrapper solution can help shore up some free time for the in-house team, but a wrapper won’t necessarily be an end-to-end cure for all header growing pains. Realistically speaking, the lion’s share of pubs have limits to the number of header partners they’re able to support right now.

However, as header technology matures and more companies get into the header space, it appears the limitations to partner integrations are loosening. And as the barrier for entry drops, publishers are going to have to look closely at not just the volume of demand potential header partners are bringing, but the kind of demand. Chegg VP of Advertising Emry DowningHall explains those...

A few years back at a conference, I sat with clenched fists and jaw as the CRO of one of the rising clickbait sites administered a lecture on how to drive traffic through smart headlines in the “new media world.” The talk was filled with advice such as using phrases like "You’ll never believe…” and turning anything and everything into a listicle.

Basically, what he said was the reverse of everything I’d been taught about journalism. I grew up learning that if your headline doesn’t simply inform, it should have a catch that flatters your reader’s intelligence, not insults it. 

Alas, this CRO believed he was “disrupting” digital journalism rather than embracing tired pandering tactics. All of us “old-school” media types (I believe I was 32?) were too stuck up and stuck in our ways to see the writing on the screen (not the wall, of course – how analog!).

I managed to keep my mouth shut during his diatribe, though, because 1. I’d received a complimentary invite to the conference and didn’t want to sully my...

Native advertising is such an ingrained part of media, you could call it the business’s “one weird old trick!” And while digital media inherited native from print, native seems particularly well for this particular moment in digital. Plenty of publishers are ready to ditch display in lieu of an all- or mostly-native ad strategy, if they have the resources to make it happen.

Trouble is, when users click on a native unit without realising it’s an ad, there’s backlash. You end up with a louder and grumpier contingent of users convinced digital media is full of shady players and “surprise!” ads. They’re kind of wrong, but their takeaway has impact.

Basically, users need to know what they’re getting into before clicking, not after. That makes proper disclosure of native ad units really important, says...

There’s lots of interesting stuff within AOL’s 2016 Publisher Outlook, including the top-level highlight that the 300 pubs surveyed said that video will be the number 1 revenue driver this year. Here are some other tidbits I picked out for you, but I suggest you give the whole report a lookover.

  • In keeping with the trends of the last several years, 70% of pubs surveyed saw up to 50% growth in mobile traffic over the last year, while 30% saw 50%-100%. No surprise then that 73% increased their amount of mobile inventory available and 75% are bumping up investment in the platform. Video and display revenue growth were primarily in mobile.
  • Ad blockers (49%) was the most cited mobile challenge, which is odd for because ad blocking is currently unavailable within mobile apps and reports show mobile browser ad-blocker adoption to be rather low. Quality of consumer experience (44%) and content/creative (42%) were next on the list of...

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