"The Sell-Sider" is a column written by the sell-side of the digital media community.
Today's column is written by Jim Spanfeller, CEO, Spanfeller Media Group, a new age media company.
It is inevitable that we will move into a post ad-tech era. Not to say that ad buying technologies will go away, but that they will plateau as marketers discover which methods are necessary and cost-effective in achieving their goals and which are not.
Today the very segment of the industry that was created to make the advertising ecosystem more efficient has succeeded in doing just the opposite.
Billions of dollars have been invested in building the stoutest, most comprehensive advertising data and targeting technologies imaginable. Often the amount of money spent on measuring and analyzing data approaches the cost of the advertising itself – hardly an efficient model. What’s more, questions linger about the actual effectiveness of these ad-targeting technologies. Retargeting seems to work well, in part because it is often the easiest to do. After that though the slope gets steep and very cloudy. Do behaviorally targeted campaigns against specific audiences have a better ROI than contextually targeted programs? Well, as it turns out, it depends on what you are targeting for…clicks? Sure they do, since the behavior targeted is in fact clickers. For most everything else, not so much.
Ad technology does offer the ability to buy big swaths of impressions in a single interface. There is clearly a value in this. But is that a value achieved on behalf of the practitioners of the art, or is it significant to entire process? Does it really produce a better ROI? As with most such questions, the answer is neither black nor white, but rather grey.
The fact that we need to ask the question at all is the real point of this piece. Ad tech is not the silver bullet it was promised to be. Billions have been invested in its name and much advertising is pushed through its pipes but the realization of the all programmatic buying and selling future remains an elusive vision on the horizon.
Ad tech will be a part of the future no doubt. But it will be only a part. We now stand at the beginning of the next chapter of digital advertising. A chapter that will no doubt be made up in parts of direct-sold, video, mobile, social and programmatic segments. Who knows what percentage each of those segments will take, but clearly none will be 100%.
What is clear is that the faster that we focus on the future, on true end-to-end ROI and real simplicity, the faster digital platforms will be rewarded with increases in the overall marketing media mix.