Leading Operations Online

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...

When it comes to media, video is a near universal medium. It’s the foundation of television, the hottest thing on desktop web and an emerging star on smartphones and tablets. And video is video is video on whatever screen it may appear on – for the most part, viewers don’t discriminate, so why should the digital advertising industry? Advertisers love video because it possesses the storytelling qualities of television (sight, sound and motion, baby!) while publishers are enamored with video’s ability to drive engagement and time spent on site (and revenue too, while we’re at it).

About the only place you can’t find video is in print publications… And that’s just for the moment.

Digital video monetization is top of mind for both advertisers and publishers, having risen to a level of prominence close to (if not higher than) display. The ease with which viewers can access digital video, on demand and on any device, throughout any point of their day-to-day lives, has fundamentally changed the media-consuming experience, including the advertising component. For younger viewers, digital formats are a given, and linear television by and large is no longer the go-to...

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