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Digital trading and the media obstacles


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April 14, 2016 | 5 min read

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As part of The Digital Trading Awards Programme we hear from Niall Hogan, UK Managing Director, Integral Ad Science who talks about Digital Trading and The Media Obstacles.

There is a huge amount of time, energy, money and other assets dedicated to getting a brand's advertising story right. From research to the most compelling creative that an ad agency can produce; the effort that goes into creating an interesting and engaging brand story is impressive.

However, all of this effort is being compromised at the last hurdle: placing the media in front of the digital consumer. The brand’s story is not being seen or heard in the digital environment. Why is that?

Not all digital ads that are served are seen and there are a number of reasons for this. Over 54% of digital ads served in the UK are never viewed, while 9.1% of online ads are served, but served fraudulently - either ‘seen’ by a bot and not a human, or served in a way that a human has no chance of seeing them. * Common methods for hiding ads in plain sight include: ad stacking - hiding multiple ads behind another, with only the top ad visible to the consumer, although all are charged for; or ad stuffing - reducing the ad down to the size of a 1x1 pixel so it cannot be viewed by the user but technically it is still served.

Another media obstacle to overcome, and one that can compromise an advertiser’s brand story, is when the content surrounding an ad is totally off-brand and downright inappropriate. What about ads that are served within the wrong environment - placed before a beheading video or on a pornographic site? These ads are not only wasted, but in the social media age, they have the potential to cause the most reputational damage, as one impression can be screen-grabbed and shared with thousands of consumers within a few clicks.

We believe that an advertiser’s brand story must have the opportunity to be heard in order to have a positive impact on the consumer, and most importantly, for the advertising campaign to be effective. There is a minimum standard that all digital advertising should meet: Did the ad have the opportunity to be seen? Was the ad targeted only to real people? And, importantly, was the ad and brand messaging protected from off-brand content?

But what can marketers do to ensure that their advertising meets this minimum standard?

Firstly, to ensure that a brand’s reputation is protected online, it is necessary to use a content verification technology. This will help to detect when an ad is being served in an inappropriate environment, and blocks the ad from ever appearing.

Again, to ensure ads target only real people a blocking technology will be crucial. Digital ads are being served to robots every minute, every hour and across every campaign, but a real-time detection and blocking technology will minimise a campaign’s exposure to fraudsters.

Finally, to ensure advertising has the opportunity to be seen, it is best to independently monitor a campaigns’ viewability data in real-time, to know where ads have achieved maximum attention and exposure.

As the digital trading industry moves further into an automated world, and we divorce humans from the digital selling and buying process; we can see these risks becoming exaggerated on programmatic buys. It is time to use technology effectively in order to mitigate these risks and let a brand’s story be heard.

* Source: Integral Ad Science UK Media Quality Report Q3 2015

Niall Hogan, UK Managing Director, Integral Ad Science

Integral Ad Science are a sponsor of The Drum Digital Trading Awards UK and more details can be found here and here


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