Letter from the CEO: A Year in the Life of Digital Advertising

December 21, 2016 by Antti Pasila

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2016 has been a year of transformation for Kiosked – and the digital advertising industry as a whole. Online advertising has long had a terrible rap for supporting fraud, bot traffic, and obscure monetization schemes.

Yet, in the past 12 months we have seen a tectonic shift towards accountability and transparency. The ecosystem is maturing which great news for advertisers, tech providers, and publishers alike.

The call for integrity has been a driving force for our business development in 2016; we partnered with Integral Ad Science, Similar Web, and Pixalate to provide trusted third-party accreditation and viewability metrics for the ad inventory across the Kiosked publisher network.

Ad UX Leads the Narrative

To pinpoint one dominating theme for 2016, it would without a doubt be the rise of advertising UX. During our publisher panel at Advertising Week New York, experts from companies including MediaMath and AdRoll agreed that 2017 would undeniably be the year of the consumer.

The entire industry realizes that advertising experiences must change dramatically in the upcoming year given more than 70 million Americans use ad blockers today. It’s not that users hate advertising per se, rather they are tired of being interrupted by ads that are either irrelevant or wreak havoc on the browsing experience. You can read more about my thoughts on user-centric advertising on Target Marketing.

Ad Serving Calls for Innovations

Ad servers are essentially the engines that power digital advertising – yet in the past ten years, we’ve seen little innovation taking place in this space. At the same time, monetizing digital content has evolved from a simple direct sales model to a complex, ever-changing puzzle. Publishers must strike the right balance between premium direct deals, programmatic advertising, native advertising, custom campaigns, and even paywalls. No to mention the tougher competitive landscape overall!

Hardcoded, static ad placements may have brought home the bacon two decades ago, yet modern publishers need more flexibility and control over their ad portfolio. This has been a driving insight for the Kiosked product team. In fact, we recently launched our most groundbreaking ad solution to date called Amplify by Kiosked®. It allows publishers to create new in-content ad inventory through their ad server of choice. Learn more about Amplify here and while you’re at it,  read my article on ad serving on MediaPost.

Video – Still Growing, Still Challenging

The past few years have been dominated by the rise of the video; publishers large and small are rushing to hop on the train to produce more video content to monetize against. Advertisers are dying to display their brand message adjacent to quality video inventory.

The challenge we must tackle as an industry is scaling video; there aren’t enough in-stream (ads played within the video player) opportunities available to match the demand. As an alternative, many ad tech providers, Kiosked included, have begun offering out-stream video ads that dynamically animate into view between article paragraphs for instance. This allows publishers to monetize high-value video inventory even if they don’t currently host video content on their site.

My prediction is that (out-stream) video will see its breakthrough in 2017 – once tech vendors crack the core issues of load times and user experience. The other hurdle that we need to overcome, before out-stream video can become mainstream, is how we measure and value it. The value exchange between watching an in-stream and an out-stream video are far apart today; the former promises free content, the latter can be skipped easily which naturally affects it’s performance.

What brands need to understand is that out-stream video is more of a new display ad format than a video format as such. If you’re curious to learn more, our Front-End Team Lead Perry Mitchell wrote a superb article on the technical challenges and opportunities in video advertising. Click here to open the post in a new tab.

Onward to 2017, I am thrilled that Kiosked is part of a larger movement that is pulling digital advertising forward to serve consumers, advertisers, publishers, and technology providers alike.

On behalf of the entire global team, I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!

Antti Pasila, CEO, Kiosked

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