Leading Operations Online

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...

The practice of header bidding has been around for a few years, but only in the last year and change has it become standard practice for publishers. Thanks to a variety of header-related products and services offered by a number of tech vendors, it’s become much easier for header implementations to spread beyond just the publishers that have the know-how and in-house resources to handle them.

The flip side is, because of publishers’ appetite for header solutions, more and more vendors are rushing into the header space with their own offerings. For a lot of pubs doing header, keeping the incoming demand fresh and clean will start to feel more like keeping debris out of the programmatic waterfall.

In this installment of the series of header-related video interviews AdMonsters developed in conjunction with Index Exchange, FullStory Product Marketer Jordan Woods lays out a vision for the future of the header space. He sees it getting crowded,...


“Who are these ad blocking folks anyway?” asks the latest survey from the IAB.

Come on, we all know the answer to that: they’re a bunch of millennial brats that think they’re entitled to all the content in the world without being a little bit annoyed by brand messaging. They don’t understand or care that most digital publishers make the majority of their revenue off of advertising. They probably are frequenters of torrent sites and streams too, the pirating little shits.

Actually, we’ll come back to that latter bit, but the above attitude does little in answering the IAB’s second question: “How can we get them to turn off the blockers?”

There’s a bit of truth to the ad blocking stereotype: Just like a Reuters report from a few weeks backs, IAB suggests that the majority of ad blockers tend to be men...

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