Trading Transparency for Advertising Automation: Is It Worth It?

Control” is a two-syllable word commonly used to describe both people and departments solely focused on quality. However, the word “control” as it relates to digital publishers has become endangered in the presence of digital ad networks today and replaced with “automation”.

Does this mean publishers are willing to sacrifice control and transparency for the promise of higher conversion rates? Yes. Publishers have all but handed over the keys, closed their eyes and buckled their seatbelts while blindly expecting (cough … hoping!) for big bucks at the end of the year. But what they haven’t considered about trading transparency for advertising automation could really hurt them.

Who’s in Charge Here?

Digital publishers should consider themselves in the driver’s seat today, given that content marketing has been reported as a top focus for marketers in 2016. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute reported “more than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget” in their “2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report.”

The demand for targeted audiences and content exposure is growing exponentially. With that said, publishers need to work very hard to grow and understand their audience. Maintaining said audience—better yet, loving and worshipping said audience—should be a top priority for established publishers, as this is the group engaging with their content and making them money. The last thing a publisher should be willing to do is tarnish that relationship by plastering spammy junk ads and poorly targeted sponsored content across their site.

In an interview with David Fortino, VP of Audience Development at NetLine Corporation, Fortino shared his perspective on audience focused marketing:

“Our publishers have always had strong convictions about what’s right and wrong for their audience. Because of that, we’ve been conditioned to be perennially cognizant of the line between audience monetization and user satisfaction.”

The Age of Ad-Blocking

The other big elephant in the room (or should I say wolf) is the big bad ad blocker. The continued developments and challenges associated with ad blocking are bringing a focus back to publisher-curated and native advertising promotions. Most, if not all, forms of automation and dynamic ad serving exchanges will be impacted by the latest ad blocking plugins.

Fortino also shared his perspective on ad blocking:

“Is it any wonder that the era of proliferated ad blocking software and plug-ins is upon us? How many times can publishers compromise their own integrity just to keep the lights on? Fundamental questions, yet the answers are difficult to digest. It takes a lot for people to push back against established norms. Abuse of the publisher/advertiser/user equitable handshake has been compromised. It’s time for a change.”

The surge in content marketing is a big win for publishers and content creators; however, this surge comes with many dark sides. Every step publishers take towards automation and blind ad campaigns is a further abandonment of their audience. Publishers need to do their due diligence to find a content marketing network/platform that provides the most transparent partnership. Are there any networks doing this today while the herds are moving in the opposite direction?

A Brighter Future

Just this month, RevResponse took a major step in the “better direction” by releasing full transparency to all publishers in their network. Publishers will now receive access to the full suite of professionally relevant and enriching content, complete transparency into the coveted advertiser’s professional and geographic target criteria, and campaign payout values.

This change will enable publishers to isolate content based upon their audience’s distinct interests while also meeting the advertiser’s discerning target criteria. This new system presents three distinct levels of benefits: a powerful user experience for the audience, a quality lead generation vehicle for the advertiser, and high monetization potential for the publisher.

“Arming our publishers with campaigns that fall short of their discerning pallet will only be met with poor engagement and adoption. We’ve opted to empower our publishers by letting them drive their own success. Who knows their audience better than them?”

To learn more about the content marketing networks offering complete transparency to publishers paired with full audience demographics, check out today and read the full press release here.


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