Scope3 and Sharethrough Partner to Combat Problematic Placements

At Sharethrough’s recent Green Media Summit, industry vet Brian O’Kelley shared the keys to fixing the ad tech ecosystem’s damage. 

It almost feels like Brian O’Kelley, CEO and founder of Scope3, just stepped off the operating table. While on stage at Green Media Summit, he openly shared his surgery experience with the audience, not hesitating to discuss his recent ordeal. He reassured the crowd that he felt great, especially considering that it had been only 30 days since his open heart surgery. 

There’s a major commonality between his heart and the ad tech ecosystem. They both have leaky pipes. “Advertising is the lifeblood of the internet,” O’Kelley explained to a packed room. Ad tech is the heart. The role of ad tech is to pump out those ads, just as the heart pumps out blood, but the harder we pump our ad tech heart, the more we damage the system.”

His heart surgery serves as a poignant metaphor for the resilience required in our industry. He shared a memorable moment from his recovery: upon waking up, he asked his doctor what he missed while he was under. The doctor reassured him that he fixed his heart with just three stitches, yet the miracle was in how they opened and closed his heart to make the repair. This story resonated deeply, mirroring the delicate yet transformative challenges we navigate in ad tech.

Like O’Kelley’s surgical repair, many of ad tech’s problems can be solved with just three stitches’ worth of ideas—straightforward solutions to complex challenges. But the real difficulty lies in effectively implementing and executing these great strategies. 

Brian O’Kelley’s Strategies for Repairing the ‘Leaky Pipes’ of Ad Tech

To fix the leaky heart of the internet, two things must be done.

  1. Utilize the IAB Tech Lab’s Global Placement ID (GPID) to discuss inventory and enhance precision in ad placements. It’s time to shift the conversation from merely domains to incorporating specific ad placements. The GPID is a consistent identifier across ad tech platforms facilitating this expanded dialogue.
  2. Derive a framework for identifying problematic ad placement behaviors. “Ads should render when they are on your screen; they should not render when they are at the bottom of the screen where you can’t see them. They shouldn’t auto-refresh where you can’t see them either,” O’Kelley explained. 

To identify the issue within ad placements, Scope3 conducted a study of about 700,000 instances and discovered that 14.3% of these placements were problematic. This revelation introduces new complexity for the industry, especially as it struggles with issues related to MFA and high-emission sites. 

Scope3 and Sharethrough have responded to the challenge by developing GMP+, a groundbreaking solution integrating placement-level data into Sharethrough’s platform. This innovative approach allows buyers to purchase green media products at the placement level. In addition to features like MFA blocking and high carbon website blocking, GMP+ also enables blocking previously unblockable problematic placements, enhancing control and precision for media buyers. Now available via Sharethrough, GMP+ will help marketers gain more quality with less carbon.

Driving Results Without Being Wasteful 

During an unexpected twist in his keynote, O’Kelley invited Kyle Vidasolo from Omnicon to the stage to provide a buy-side agency perspective. At Omnicon, the focus is on securing the best placements for brands, emphasizing the strategic importance of each placement. Performance is key, and driving those results is critical.

“There’s been no real solution for this, just a bunch of duct tape,” Vidasolo said. “The goal is to fix this once. Running ads that aren’t driving results is wasteful, but guaranteeing outcomes is how you drive results. Agencies take risks for their brands and put the money where their mouth is. So it’s really about honing in on our partnerships with publishers and making sure we drive those results.”

Vidasolo also suggested that purchasing strategies need to evolve beyond traditional CPM models to foster sustainability. It starts with outcome-driven results, but agencies must consider sustainable strategies before investing.

The Future is Green

ROI is as precious as gold. Marketers and agencies will invest where they see the highest returns. It’s about driving effective placements that work better, not harder. Even as publishers, we are all still marketers, we need to create compelling stories that connect and motivate us to take action. We are all interconnected in much deeper ways than the “ad tech craziness” that we convene over, according to O’Kelley. 

A recent Scope3 study revealed that 15% of brand spend goes to MFA sites. Following this, Jounce Media reported that nearly half of MFA traffic in the ecosystem had disappeared. Every bid request on MFA sites wastes advertisers’ money and also results in unnecessary carbon emissions.

O’Kelley emphasized the community’s role in fostering change using its collective power. “The goal is to get the entire industry to recognize that using global placement IDs makes the internet more effective and more green. We will see almost instant adoption,” he concluded.