Editor's note: ad blindness does not count as reducing friction.
It follows that if the media is performing well, the user is getting what he or she wants. Friction between the user and advertising has been reduced. "That was easy." But, the real-time biddable future of the exchange may need to adjust as the highest bid won't necessarily be the ad that provides the best experience for the user or serve the publisher's interests. Jonathan Mendez notes in Darren's post, "There must be systems in place that are woven into the publishers performance goals and objectives. This can't be stand-alone buy side."
Moving The Search Ethos To Display
As we all know, Google's search engine advertising machine has set the standard for a relatively frictionless experience as users are served ads which perform like content. Unlike the open auction, the ads that are clicked on more by the end user (along with landing page interactions, creative considerations and more) and presumably providing more value during the search experience, are rewarded with discounted bid options. Ads with the highest bid don't necessarily win. Ads that perform well by providing real value and less friction do.
Yes, yes... agreed that the search experience is different - it's about fulfillment versus display's interest-generating attributes. But there's no reason display can't compress the purchase funnel. The goal should be the same within the open auction of the exchange as it is in Google's search: give the user value and reduce the friction between ads and the user experience.
Paradoxically, if real benefits are proven for the end user with the use of anonymous tracking data, this could allay concerns around privacy. You give, you get. Perhaps (hold on to your hats) exchanges using PII could make sense where users agree to be identified and are somehow compensated accordingly. But, that's a ways down the road.
Publishers Lose? No, They Win Like Everyone Else
To clarify for publishers who might be the first to say, "Oh great, I'm going to lose revenues if I don't receive the highest bid," the reasoning should go something like this: "Ms. or Mr. Publisher, your website's visitors are going to be happier than ever as you provide more relevant content (in the form of advertiser products and services) to the user. By rewarding advertisers, you increase the value of your website in the eyes of visitors and open up new opportunities - not just display advertising. For example, site visitors may be more willing to buy from you in ways such as subscriptions and other micro-transactions as you have built trust with your user base." Yes - sell-side benefits!
In digital media, the goal should be a frictionless user experience. Though it may be unattainable in its most perfect form, there is no reason that with technology's help we can't continually make incremental steps.
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