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Articles - Digital Marketing - December 16, 2019

What advertisers really want from digital publishers

Losses due to digital ad fraud made headlines in 2019. Such staggering reports have led some marketers to evaluate their media buying processes and become more selective about where they place their investment. So, what exactly are they looking for? We recently spoke with Jeanne Finegan, chief media officer at HF Media, the media arm of Heffler Claims Group, and vice president of media solutions at Prime Clerk, to gain insight into her selection process and discover what qualities she seeks in a digital advertising partner. Here are some key takeaways:

A quality environment

Advertisers want to partner with sites that provide them with the greatest return on investment. To do this, some are creating formal processes to assess whether a publisher has created an environment that provides minimal risk of ad fraud. Steps marketers have taken include reducing the number of intermediaries through supply-path optimization, using whitelists to separate premium websites from the rest, and dealing directly with publishers for their transactions.

Finegan’s team uses a multi-step process to evaluate potential partners. “We have a pretty extensive vetting process which includes proof of service,” Finegan said. “We ask a lot of questions running various scenarios for timing, quality, responsiveness and transparency.”

Part of this process determines whether the publisher can help the advertiser reach their target audience and ensure that the audience is legitimate.

Unfortunately, bots that generate clicks and fake traffic continue to be a contributor to the ad fraud problem. However, since bots don’t provide any real interaction – such as making purchases – they don’t give advertisers any return on their investment. As a result, marketers are steering their buys toward platforms that offer legitimate audiences even if that means fewer clicks.

“Quality environments, accountability, and human engagement are being valued over clicks,” Finegan added. “There has been a long-established narrative in the digital ecosystem that more is better. Smart marketers will increasingly value quality over quantity.”

Leveraging quality

Publishers can leverage their quality ad environments in several ways:

  • Create Quality Content. Regularly publishing well-written articles and videos are likely to attract more human traffic.
  • Use Legitimate Marketing Practices. Tactics such as social media promotions and email marketing attracts real audiences. While purchasing traffic may generate an influx of clicks, it is also a large source of bot traffic on legitimate websites.
  • Prevent Bots. Implementing tools such as registration forms, paywalls and CAPTCHAs can prevent bots from accessing the site and produce more genuine traffic reports.

Implementing industry solutions

Marketers also look for publishers that have implemented a variety of industry-vetted solutions.

One such tool is…

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