Aimee Irwin, SVP of business development at Verve, sees this trend across the breadth of its publisher client base, which as of Tuesday also includes Fox Television Stations and Raycom Media.
“About two years ago, mobile impressions were about 20% of a publisher’s digital impressions,” Irwin said. “Now it’s over 50% for many publishers. Growth is happening fast and it’s hard for sales teams to A) know how to sell mobile and location, and B) effectively and efficiently monetize their infilled mobile inventory.”
Meredith faces this challenge in local markets in particular.
“At times, publishers can get spread pretty thin. New products and services rear their heads every year,” Cukyne said. “Back in the day, we had desktop and we sold banner ads. Now the sales team has to sell audience extension, contextual, geo, SEO, SEM – there’s a lot out there.”
It’s a complex landscape, but it’s also a landscape replete with selling opportunities, and location is starting to top the list. Automotive and quick-serve restaurants are low-hanging fruit for Meredith right now – location-based coupons and geo-targeted ads designed to encourage people to drop in to a local pizza joint or car dealership, for example – but Cukyne is looking to keep the momentum going with geo-conquesting and geo-fencing efforts.
“Location is what people expect when they’re out and about on mobile, and that means local,” Cukyne said. “But we also need to stay true to who we are. We’re a broadcast company in local markets and we need to differentiate ourselves from the national brands – and that’s where local comes into it. Local in terms of content delivery and content discovery, and local in terms of sales and providing local businesses with a platform that gives them the ability to reach our users.”
And that’s what the Verve partnership is about. With hundreds of millions of mobile impressions monthly, publishers like Meredith need to train their local sales teams and educate advertisers about the benefits of location-driven mobile advertising.
As Verve’s Irwin put it: “For a long time, publishers were trying to sell mobile just like they sold desktop. But mobile isn’t an add-on. Publishers are starting to realize that you can’t bundle something that big.”
It’s a matter of education, Cukyne said.
“What do we mean when we talk about location? We’re talking about knowing where an individual is at a certain period of time so we can serve them an ad. We need to bring that level of understanding to clients so they know what they’re getting and how to use it,” Cukyne said. “Let’s not overthink things and let’s not oversimplify them, either.”