Leading Operations Online

The boom town in digital is being built in a video player, and the dilemma created by the boom is now a pretty famous one: There's more demand from advertisers for premium video inventory than most publishers can reasonably accommodate.

That's where outstream video comes in. The promise of outstream is that its units can be placed just about anywhere on the page, and if you're a publisher that doesn't even host video content, you can still get in on the action. Just load up some outstream units in between paragraphs of text, for example, and you're good to go, ready to make video-hungry advertisers happy and to cash in on those plum video CPMs.

Just one thing, though: Doesn't something about outstream sound... familiar? Wasn't there a time when the web was pockmarked with randomly placed video ads that loaded up and started playing at times when the user had no reason to expect to see a video player? And didn't users hate that?

Yet here we are, talking about "outstream" as if it's new and generally awesome for everyone. And in...

If you want to hear about real-life examples of how a historic, trusted but largely regional publication can adapt to and thrive in digital, Ray Faust is one of those people you’d want to talk to. The VP, National and Emerging Sales at the Star Tribune Media Company helped lead the charge into programmatic on the digital properties of this Twin Cities newspaper. By his account, that programmatic push opened up previously unforeseen potential for the Star Tribune’s inventory, because it allowed advertisers to buy the publication’s audience, not just their websites.

Beyond that, Faust has explained, taking a holistic approach to the Star Tribune’s inventory has allowed the publication to better discover and value demand. That full understanding of demand helped push up CPMs across the board, including in direct sales, the bread and butter of so many legacy regional publications.

Faust took some time to tell AdMonsters Senior Editor Gavin Dunaway...

Just what is the state of ad ops? It’s complicated. Literally.

As AdMonsters Publisher Rob Beeler suggests in his executive summary to the State of Ad Ops 2015 (sponsored by Sizmek), complexity is more foe to a digital publisher than competing sites. Indeed, that’s why digital pubs are willing to band together to determine best practices for monetizing an ever-increasing amount of screens, channels, devices, gadgets, widgets, thingamabobs, wackadoodles… You get the idea.

Thought leaders in the ops field across a wide range of digital media (digital-only, digital plus TV, digital and print, etc.) paint an oft-contradictory landscape:

  • Around 32% consider about half of their tech partners to be point solutions
  • But many see the upside of consolidation: “The less tech vendors we have, the more efficient we seem because we spend less time trying to make systems work...

The crowd is re-assembling at Estancia La Jolla on this, the second day of AdMonsters Publisher Forum 37 (you can check out the liveblog for the first day here -- there was a lot going on). We had a packed day yesterday, with some excellent discussions and a ton of informative breakout sessions (which you won't see in this blog, but which set off a lot of conversation in the hallways throughout the day. We're about to kick it off again, this time with a keynote from Greg Johns, Initiative's SVP, Senior Director Digital Strategy, entitled "Aligning for a Shared Cause: The Fight for Advertising." "He's an agency guy; it's a little like letting a fox in the henhouse," jokes Senior Editor Gavin Dunaway, but the gist of this talk is about how publishers and agencies can work together.

9:10: Greg is running down his history in agency ops, building out tech stacks and running digital marketing in New York, California and Detroit. He oversees the Hyundai/Kia brands at Initiative.

9:13: "Over the last couple years, we have seen an absolutely...

As consumers of digital media, the connected device revolution has been a wonder, giving users the ability to experience the entire Internet virtually whenever, wherever and on whatever they choose. 

For digital publishers, it’s been a bit more of a pain. 

Publisher audiences are consuming content on a wealth of devices: desktop, smartphones, tablets, over-the-top devices, video game consoles, even watches. Currently, NPD estimates that the average U.S. household boasts 5.7 connected devices. Cisco estimates that the majority of US individuals will have five connected devices for every consumer by 2017.

Device fragmentation has had a complicated effect on publisher efforts to understand and target their audiences. Where once a publisher could easily track user behavior and deliver targeted advertising across a site – or network of sites – with the help of HTTP cookies, that tool is virtually useless outside web browsers. The same person may appear as three different users when they...

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