This guest post is contributed by Comscore, the programmatic premium thematic sponsor of ATS London 2012.
Why do any of us work in the digital media business? We know it’s not the hours. It’s a high-stress, feast-or-famine, daily dogfight of a world. So what keeps us coming back?
Is it the proximity to technological innovation, or the exhilaration of waking up each day not knowing which new idea or company might change the fundamentals of our careers? Is it the pride and esteem that come with successfully executing a complex strategy on behalf of a client?
All of the above can make your day, your month, or your year. Regardless of the pleasure-delivery vehicle, then, most of us are in online media for the same reason anyone chooses and stays in a profession: because, more often than not, it makes us feel good.
After selling AdXpose, the innovative ad validation company we created in 2008, to comScore, a lot of us pondered our own reasons for sticking around. While they varied as widely as yours probably do, one thing was clear: it felt good to be on the “right side” of the movement toward transparency in online advertising.
From the onset of the recession, as trading desks scrambled to explain their placement and allocation strategies to clients, as ad networks realized that “blind” was becoming a potential synonym for “waste,” as exchanges uncovered the incidence of torrent sites and fraud, digital media folks realized they had to choose sides. And increasingly, thanks to technologies that shed light on the darker corners of the online ad world, standing on the side of obfuscation became less and less tenable.
Now, nearly five years later, the shift has truly taken hold. The most egregious offenders are out of business or have moved back into the shadows. The more substantial and credible arbitrageurs have moved into RTB. And many other tech companies are tracking for IPOs or substantial exits, or they have already achieved these ends.
And yet, there’s still a flat earth movement. Some people are just contrary. And some businesses are still built on quicksand. I regularly encounter people, either in person, via Twitter, trade press or elsewhere, who dispute one of the most basic premises of advertising in any medium, which is: ads should have an opportunity to be seen, and if they do not, they should not be sold – because a digital ad that does not deliver an opportunity to be seen on a screen simply has no value. Why would anyone demand to be paid on impressions that don’t deliver a chance to make an impact?
As an industry, we have the opportunity to build and ratify a better, more accurate measurement and validation system than has ever existed. The conversation is already shifting: it used to be about porting TV measures online, and now it’s beginning to be about porting online measurement methodologies, such as census-level measurement, to TV.
Are we going to step up and lead, or drag our feet and miss the chance to unify TV and online?
So what makes you feel good? Why are you in digital? What’s the right thing to do? In five more years, will you be proud of the stance you took?ExchangeWire