This is going to be another confusing year for publishers, as the advertising trend shifts to programmatic buying. In most cases, we think this shift is a good thing, because it will simplify and automate many outmoded and inaccurate processes. We were among the first to launch an automated platform for advertisers, and now we encourage our partners to use as many ad networks as they can in order to best monetize their sites.
But what happens to eCPMs in this process? They could, conceivably fall further, or at best stay the same. For example, the New York Times paywall, while is has created an overall increase in revenues and a more stable subscriber base for the Times, has not raised their eCPMs.
This is complicated, because we have to start from the premise that eCPMs are still the right way to charge for online advertising, and it’s becoming more and more obvious they are poor pricing tools. But we have nothing else for the moment, so assuming we’re still going to charge by CPMs, how do we get them higher?
One way is by trying out innovative formats that generate more viewable impressions. ZEDO believes, and we can back this up with metrics from both Nielsen and Comscore, that what’s important is that an ad gets viewed, or in our language, is not a simple display ad, but a high impact format. 2013 will be the year of viewable impressions, a movement championed by the IAB and many other industry thought leaders.
We were far out front of this movement with our InView Slider, which boasts 99% viewability month after month for the publishers who use it. And the Slider isn’t sold through anonymous network; it is often sold through direct sales, commanding far higher eCPMS.
Now, we’re not saying the eCPM is an effective measurement for online advertising, and we are participating in efforts to come up with a better pricing model, especially for tablets and mobile, but right now it’s the only model the industry has, and we’re stuck with it. So we’re committed to offering formats whose higher viewability and impact make advertisers willing to pay more for them.
A good example of this is our full-screen video, in which an ad expands to fill the screen and audio begins when a viewer mouses over it, or our expandable mouse-rollover ads. These ads command higher prices, because they get more attention.
Some of these formats are so innovative that they’re not even on our site yet, but are only available to our customers and partners by scheduling a demo. I know every ad tech company says they will increase ROI, but how many of them have been around long enough to back their claims with numbers? As one of the veterans and thought leaders in the industry, we would like to re-introduce ourselves to you through our high impact formats and viewable impressions, as well as our standard ad server offerings.
During the past year, we’ve developed more than half a dozen of these high impact formats that generate better viewability metrics. Along with the Inview Slider, many others have tested at 99% in view. Our full screen video ads generate consistently higher eCPMs and engagement numbers, and when we show them to new prospects they often cause the people we’re meeting with to call the president or the GM into the meeting immediately. That’s how impressive they are.
The second way is by selling these innovative formats directly instead of putting them out with the remnant inventory. We’re a fully-featured ad server for direct sales, but you can sell these formats directly even if you’re not using us as an ad server.
In fact, many of our newest and best technologies are independent of our ad server, so if you already use an ad server and it’s not us, no worries. You can still benefit from the higher prices you will get from our cool new formats. And so far, I think we’re the only people who have them; we’re not seeing them around just yet, except from our own publisher partners.