Over the past few years, consumers have started holding advertisers’ feet over the fire, forcing them to be more conscious about ethics in advertising and intentional about the content they use, the teams behind the campaigns, and overall investments in media. Our newly launched podcast, What the AdTech: Let’s Talk Responsible Advertising, will feature thought-provoking, honest, and raw conversations with some of today’s top marketing minds about the future of ethics in advertising, and what it means for marketers, publishers, and consumers today.
Our first episode lays the foundation for the rest of the season, with a brief history of the ad-funded publishing world and how we got to where we are today. In conversation with Scott Messer, Senior Vice President of Leaf Group, host Somer Simpson delves into the adtech ecosystem, breaking down the basics.
As Somer explains it, the relationship between marketers, ad-funded publishers, and consumers is essentially a three-sided economic model, where consumers trade their data for free access to content; publishers trade consumer eyeballs for marketing dollars; and marketers pay for consumer attention to grow their businesses.
But in the past couple of years, the digital economy has become unbalanced. Many people feel that access to consumer data and publisher inventory is a right, not a privilege–when it truly is a privilege. So how can we redress this imbalance? The topic is sparking conversation and change within the industry, and the next few years will be vitally important in determining the future of adtech.
In our podcast’s first episode, Scott provides the publisher’s perspective on the current state of our ecosystem. As he points out, publishers “have to serve both masters–the audience and the advertiser,” which means trying to achieve a tricky balance between user experience and revenue monetization: “Usually, the adage will go: what’s good for user experience is not good for monetization. And what’s great for monetization is a less than desirable user experience.” Given that advertisers feel pressure to deliver ROI or return on ad spend (ROAS) at the lowest possible dollar value, the easiest way to do so is to lower cost by lowering quality, which “makes it very difficult for publishers to choose between quality operations and quality revenue.”
Scott feels hopeful that publishers and advertisers can work together for positive change as we move forward and forge a new adtech reality: “At this current moment that we’re at in time–where the cookie is near collapse, monopolies and antitrust conversations are at their loudest yet, and governments and industries are beginning to go much beyond regulation and into enforcement–there’s a real crossroads for publishers and advertisers alike, to do things better moving forward, that makes it easier for publishers to provide premium experiences, that makes it easier for advertisers to spend the appropriate amounts of money in the right places.”
Listen to the podcast’s first episode to hear more about:
- Why Scott compares traditional DSPs to the T-1000 in the Terminator movies–and publishers to villagers with sticks, trying to protect themselves
- The impact of walled gardens, like Google and Facebook, on the adtech ecosystem, privacy regulations, and consumer access to content
- Why sustainable cookieless solutions must address measurement and attribution, so advertisers can justify investments, and provide contextual analysis
- What we can do to help create an ideal marketplace, with marketers achieving good ROI, publishers getting paid what they deserve for their inventory, and consumers getting curated access to quality content
- Why publishers need to collectively take a stance to get what they need: a fair price for their users, high quality media on the internet, and a better user experience for all
Grab your headphones and join us for Season 1. You can listen to the full first episode here and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Stitcher. Tune in on June 2 for the second episode, “Wait, We Don’t Eat These Cookies?” for an in-depth discussion about privacy, tracking, and protecting consumer data.