Ad Technology

Is Ad Tech Worthless? Yes, If All It Accomplishes Is Efficient Ways To Buy Worthless Inventory

Ari-Brandt-bw-hi-res_2013-22For all the advances in data, targeting and algorithms, it’s a surprise that the digital media industry continues to focus on technological advancements, while ignoring the ultimate goal of brand advertising—to make meaningful connections with people. Today, along with everyone else in the industry, digital brand marketers can utilize first and third-party data to access and identify their target audience and programmatically buy ineffective, ignored and annoying ad inventory off an exchange (meaning they’re all but worthless). What are we doing?

How can brand marketers break away from this dangerous path and persuade people to not only view, but also positively receive their brand message? They must find new products and delivery mechanisms that enable them to cultivate emotional relationships with people. They must utilize ad technologies that can serve up contextually relevant messages that recognize and enhance users activity, while also being cognizant of the users state of mind.

To accomplish this, brands should:

Deliver messages in a format that people will actually see.

Industry research has shown time and again that people ignore online ads like banners and pre-roll video, or suffer from banner blindness. We don’t need to get into it, but just read the daily reports about fraud and viewability. The good news is that emotional targeting, which is a way to not only reach people, but also elicit positive responses and increase brand recognition based on a person’s emotions, can make a huge difference. According to a recent Millward Brown Digital study, 81 percent of digital brand marketers feel that emotional targeting would help address banner blindness. Couple that with ad campaigns delivering 100 percent viewable ads – such as on television or in cross-platform social games – and digital brand marketers have the opportunity to deliver their creative messages in a manner that will get seen and noticed.

Utilize ad technology and products that users appreciate.  

Desktop and mobile ads that force people to watch them or interrupt their experience are not only annoying, but also they are having an adverse effect on brand perception. So why are they the industry standards? They don’t even perform for brands. Pre-roll video and interstitial ads have incredibly low engagement rates, ranging anywhere from 0.7 percent to 3.64 percent, which shows people aren’t receptive to them. Plus, online and mobile rich media banner ads only garner average CTRs of 0.1 percent, according to DoubleClick and PointRoll data. Such ineffective ad formats could ultimately result in a negative perception of the brand, because the ads leave a bad taste in people’s mouths.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Some innovative ad units facilitate true people-to-brand connections and add to the overall user experience; they communicate creative messages in a way that engages users instead of interrupting them. The results are only an upside for brands: people will want to see and appreciate the brands. Plus, it will make a make a heartfelt, memorable impression. It’s no wonder 88 percent of digital brand marketers said that making emotional connections through digital media would encourage them to spend more on digital branding campaigns, according to Millward Brown Digital.

Identify ad delivery mechanisms that map to emotional connections and perform for brands.

There is a big difference between identifying target customers and actually connecting with them. Everyone has access to data that helps pinpoint when and where consumers are engaging in digital content, but few go so far as to figure out what they’re actually doing, how they’re feeling, what they’re trying to accomplish and how to make a meaningful connection with them – in that exact moment.

Innovative ad targeting can reach users during emotional moments. In cross-platform social games and other gamified apps, for instance, people who are in need of encouragement, rescue or reward have shown to be much more receptive and engaged with ad content presented to them in these moments. As a result, these ads massively outperform what standard online, rich media and mobile ads can deliver.

The more emotional the moment, the more they outperform other ad formats. When users are feeling defeated, frustrated or in need of help, they are in a rescue moment that can see average CTRs 66 times higher than online and mobile rich media ads and average engagement rates 543 times higher than Facebook brand posts, according to industry data.

The proof is the numbers above. But industry executives buying ineffective ad inventory on blind exchanges are forgetting that for digital brand advertising to be effective they must run 100 percent viewable ads that facilitate true people-to-brand connections. To achieve this, the entire industry must innovate, redefine and rethink how and when we deliver messages and content. Also, we must humanize advertising to put people back in the center of the experience.

Ari Brandt is CEO and Co-Founder of MediaBrix, the industry leading ad platform that delivers immersive brand messages during breakthrough moments in gaming. He founded the company in 2011 with current CPO, Jay Drago and their “emotional targeting” is changing the way advertisers reach consumers.