Daan Onland has shared Improve Digital’s view on better ads, as well as their endeavours in pushing the industry forward.
How would Improve Digital describe Better Ads?
To us, better ads are viewable by real humans, fraud-free and positioned at a location on the page where they are meant to be positioned. We should move to an industry that’s transparent, where buyers know what they’re buying and ads get placed in a brand safe environment.
Ultimately, better ads are also about effectiveness. We advise our content providers to display ads in a clutter free environment, and use formats that will benefit the ad’s effectivity. That effectiveness is also enhanced if content providers share their data with the demand side, so that they can use it to make better decisions in their strategy. It’s all about the whole ecosystem and working together.
Of course, what’s essential is that this data is available for publishers from their adtech partners. Access to data is one of the key factors that makes transparency possible in our ecosystem and ultimately makes better ads.
What you are doing to push the industry for better ads?
There are several initiatives we’re embracing to move towards better ads. Ads.txt is one of them. With this tool, implemented by content providers, it helps buyers to feel confident that they’re really buying what is promised. Another development we have a lot of interest in is the adoption of the MRC-standards, regarding the definition of billable impressions, across the industry.
What is your vision for ads towards the future?
I suspect, with transparency being on everybody’s minds at the moment, that the industry will have to work together a lot to move forward. We’re all part of the chain, and hence need each other to improve trust and transparency. Moreover, with tools such as adblocking still very present, I also have seen that the industry has moved towards a more user experience focus. This will stimulate content providers to consider the way they offer their inventory, less ads that are more creative and are a better fit for the user. In the end, the technology of programmatic allows us to hyper target, and creativity is joining forces to make this happen to increase effectiveness.
Why do you think creativity in online is behind creativity in offline advertising?
I think creativity in online is on the rise. Traditionally, campaigns have been created offline-first, as online was mainly seen as a sales channel. But now campaigns are often online-first as metrics are now introduced, allowing effectiveness to be measured through more than just clicks. Online is evolving and seen as a channel to drive brand awareness as well as sales. Creativity can have a big influence in user experience and personalisation, potentially driving more brand-awareness and sales. An example I like is Netflix’ campaign for Narcos, with creative content personalised to the inventory it is displayed in. That’s a good first step in uncovering the potential of programmatic advertising and looking forward to seeing more partnerships happening at that level.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give someone developing an online advertising campaign?
I think the true effectiveness in programmatic can be achieved by working together. That means data and creative, as well as the demand and sell-side. When designing a campaign, it’s good to keep in mind the potential programmatic gives us. So, pay attention to the potential for personalisation, when it comes to context: where will the campaign show, will you only have one message, or will you tailor messages according to the different kind of inventory it will be displayed in?