Digital Publishing
4 mins read

AOP Inside Out Digital Publishing Convention: talking points

We caught up with some of the speakers at this week’s AOP Inside Out Digital Publishing Convention to discuss the potential opportunities and threats facing publishers over the next few years.

WNIP: What do you think are the opportunities for online content creators and publishers over the next three to five years? 

John Montgomery, Executive Vice President, Brand Safety GroupM

“The opportunities for online creators and publishers are staggering if you think about the continuing rise in connectivity across the world. In 2003, there were 6.3 billion people in the world and there were .08 connected devices per person on average. Last year, there were 7.2 billion of us in the world, with 3.47 connected devices per person. In 2020, it is anticipated that 7.6 billion people will have an average 6.58 connected devices (Source: CISCO IBSG, 2011). The opportunity to reach, inform and entertain users across these devices is clear.

“In order for us to take advantage of this opportunity, publishers have to throw away all print paradigms (publishing on the web still looks a lot like magazines and newspapers) and create for mobile devices and lifestyles.”

Paul Astbury, Business Development Director, Publisher Solutions at Integral Ad Science

“Advances in media quality measurement will allow online publishers and content creators to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of ad placements. By exploring a holistic approach to media evaluation – taking into consideration varied metrics, such as time in-view, quality of placements, context, and audience – campaign ROI can be improved, which in turn strengthens revenue generation. When working to media quality objectives, including viewability, the development of automated delivery tools will streamline the Ad Ops process.”

Martyn Bentley, EMEA Business Development Lead & Strategist, Prohaska Consulting

“While publishers face obvious hurdles, the exciting new tech developments offer a new opportunity to reimagine the right vendor partnerships/solutions for your brand, advertisers and audiences. All publishers are unique. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. However, while a simple solution might seem appealing, it is the distinctive nature of each brand that causes audiences and advertisers to appreciate their value.”

Sean Blanchfield, CEO, PageFair

“The single greatest opportunity for publishers over the next five years is the blocked web. Publishers are converting ad blocking from problem to opportunity by switching on ad block-proof ad servers that open up a massive, exclusive, 100% human, uncluttered audience to marketers. We must take this opportunity to reinvent advertising for the blocked web, and avoid the problems of the past. This means a future in which online publishing equals great user experiences and sustainable audience relationships.”

Zack Sullivan, Operations Director, Future

“In the next few years, I believe that the opportunity for online content creators, lies in using the unique understanding of audiences they have to find new ways of offering value, here at Future we believe that this can be done by providing enhanced e-commerce solutions, such as negotiated deals on products based on the interests of our audiences, eventually this will lead to customised user experiences, content and commerce, for each individual in our audience based on their personal preferences and interests.”

WNIP: How should digital publishers manage ad blocking relationships with the user?

Babs May, Programmatic Creative Director, Mindshare

“There are a few approaches, however ’key’ to this ‘relationship’ is storytelling. Combining great storytelling with real-time data and media insights will ensure we are showing relevant/engaging content to viewers. However this mindset must be embraced by the industry standard.”

Doug Farrell, Group Head of Digital, dmg::media Ireland

“I think ad blocking detection is the first step. Followed by an explanation of the value exchange. “Your content is free and we need to fund this…” Most of all we need to respect the user by limiting the use of intrusive display advertising especially on mobile.”

 Simon Morrissey, Partner & Head of Data & Privacy, Lewis Silkin LLP

“In my view, deploying technical measures that compel users to accept certain types of advertising (in particular targeted advertising) risks alienating users. However, it will also conflict with the regulatory principle of giving users control over the privacy behaviour of their devices, which is a current focus of EU regulators. The answer is to put in place incentives for users not to deploy their ad blocker or to white list the publisher’s content.”

Mark Finney, Director of Media and Advertising, ISBA

“Ad blocking is an understandable response from the user to an unacceptable online experience, one the industry must seek to address in the very near future. However, improving the experience will obviously not bring back those who already block – they won’t even see it! Asking visitors to white list the site only works for a relatively small proportion of blockers, but the publisher must try. I would recommend that the user is given a couple of opportunities to unblock on request, after this other action is needed.”

Jon Lerner, Managing Director, Smedvig Capital

“This is a difficult one – I think this depends on the publisher, some will be able to put content behind a paywall. Others will be able to block access to people with ad blockers without fear of losing (too many) users. Ultimately I firmly believe that where ads are blocked publishers need to ensure the user experience is no different i.e. they still have all the adspace there just with “ad” content from the publisher explaining why they need ad revenue – I think there should also be extra bonuses for people who don’t block ads.”

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