Leading Operations Online

One of the great projects of digital media this decade has been streamlining and simplifying ad placements. We have the technology -- publishers can study where on the page they can get the most engagement, then figure out how to place an ad unit there, to grab the user at just the right time, but without roadblocking the user’s flow of content consumption.

So where does that leave in-image advertising? You open a page, you hover over a photo, and an ad unit appears floating over the image. On the surface, it might seem like an old-school tool, one of those ads that appears on top of the thing you really want to see. And, well, in-image ads have been around for a long time.

But in-image advertising is also worth revisiting, having picked up steam among publishers in the last couple years in particular. In some ways, it’s not necessarily targeted and deployed in the same ways it was five years ago. In other ways, ops and content teams have come to accept it as a solution for what are now timely problems in digital.

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The rough waters never seem to give way for Yahoo. Along with rumors of investor unrest and overall dissatisfaction with CEO Marissa Mayer, Big Y kicked off the year as the poster child for bad behavior in digital video advertising when a CNBC report alleged that not only was its programmatic arm BrightRoll serving ads to non-human traffic, it was also running ads sold at pre-roll prices within banners.

In-banner video has become format non-grata within digital advertising. While the units are known to irritate users (particularly if they play with sound), the advertisers are the ones really getting the short shrift. Unsavory publishers overload pages with in-banner video placements – many not-in-view to never-in-view – and then sell the placements through ad networks and other programmatic channels, potentially labeling them as pre-roll. If the...

Explosive growth in video, a sense that the ad marketplace might have finally “figured out” mobile, the ability to discover previously unseen demand sources — publishers are seeing more channels and methods for monetizing than they ever have. That’s great for revenue, but it also opens up an ever-increasing number of security points publishers need to monitor on their own properties.   

To get a sense of the kinds of security risks tucked into otherwise run-of-the-mill transaction channels, and what publishers and their verification partners can do about it, AdMonsters Senior Editor Gavin Dunaway called up the CEO of security and verification platform GeoEdge, Amnon Siev. According to Siev, certain developments in the marketplace — like the shift toward HTML5 — have improved security. But regardless, creators of malware do everything they can to remain a couple steps ahead of the market’s legitimate buyers and sellers, and they choose points of entry...

If you think standardizing and centralizing sales workflow across a few properties is Sisyphean effort, spend some time in Gannett’s shoes.

The national and regional media powerhouse is in the middle of a massive sales workflow centralization project and has already integrated a single-entry order system for digital products across 92 properties. (You’re allowed to have a Keanu “Whoa” moment.) At the heart of this mission is OrderHub, an entry system built on top of the Mediaspectrum platform that unites the CRM with the various digital fulfillment systems (DFP, email, social) as well as billing.

Centralizing workflow and order management has had most pleasant side benefits, including digital rate card standardization across regions and a shift in sales focus from banner ad sizes to holistically meeting local advertisers’ marketing and audience objectives. While the process has had its challenges, particularly with...

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 today outside web browsers. The same person may appear as three different users when they access publisher content through desktop Internet, a smartphone or a tablet.

We shouldn't go so far as to say the HTTP cookie is "dead," even though so many of the trade pubs have felt perfectly comfortable saying it is. It's more like cookies perform a limited function as an identifier, and in order to do good ID-matching, it's important to look at a whole range of other identifiers. These identifiers fall into two camps: deterministic and probabilistic IDs.

Deterministic identifiers are straightforward enough. These are based on some kind of identifiable data: for example, a log-in to a site, behind which is likely a...

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