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In a din of daily tweets, press releases and stories covering the media space, some stories deserve more attention than others. Here are 8 signs of the times that digital publishers should peruse and ponder as they head into 2014.
It’s been widely anticipated that mobile will overtake desktop traffic for most publishers in 2014. One by one you see brands like ESPN announcing that this milestone has already occurred. Publishers need to be ready for the implications of a mobile first world. New ad solutions and new business models are required. If you don’t have a strategy for mobile yet (and you should), it’s critical you get one before 1/1/14.
With this move YouTube should be poised to capture a large amount of the volume of investment spent on video advertising since they are now being seen as more friendly by marketers and their agencies. Anybody in the video advertising space knows that transacting on Nielsen OCR or comscore VCE is not an easy proposition since it can result in serving ads against impressions that don’t count towards the advertiser campaign goals. YouTube’s move is a big signal that these forms of currency are fast becoming the norm.
It’s important to ask if Yahoo thinks Couric will drive more 18-to-34-year-old news hounds to Yahoo News? Probably not. However it will make it easier for Yahoo News to earn a place in the White House press corps, secure big news gets, and help to continue to position Yahoo as more than an aggregator. Ditto with Maria Bartiromo. Her presence may not drive immediate ratings or hurt CNBC, but it will certainly attract high level exclusives and in the long run, potentially switch momentum.
The expansion of Rolling Stone content into country music is a sign that all publishers (online or off) are looking at new ways to get into businesses that are adjacent to their core business models. Every publisher should be going through the same exercise and making similar moves into adjacent businesses. As other examples of this, CNN recently launched a platform to share Instagram photos direct from the field, called Scenes, and dozens of publishers are publishing their content directly through Flipboard. These are the kinds of innovations each publisher should be seeking out.
In August Google quietly announced that it was going to transact with viewable impressions. The current proposed viewable impression definition is still only a recommendation from the Making Measurement Makes Sense consortium made up of the IAB, ANA, and 4A’s. Google’s running ahead with what they’re calling ‘active view’ as a currency that viewable impressions are something that every publisher needs to pay close attention to because it is absolutely going to become table stakes for ad campaign budgets moving forward.
When hundreds of people descended on Washington to attend the FTC’s review of native advertising it signaled not only that native advertising was big (eMarketer estimates say it’s a $2.36 Billion market) but that it’s something the industry needs to get its act together on and self-regulate. Publishers should go out of their way to make sure readers are not confused on the difference between editorial content and advertising content. Proper labeling is the key. If publishers label paid content as coming from an advertiser, there should be no more confusion. If they do that, there should be no more FTC hearings. The IAB recently released their native advertising guidelines which is a first positive step to tackling this problem/opportunity.
Early in December in New York City a first of its kind summit around the visual web occurred. The “Visual web” feels like it’s the new new thing. One only needs to look at the rise of Pinterest, Instagram, BuzzFeed, Tumblr and others to know that a picture is worth more than 1000 words. Publishers are actively redesigning for feed and gallery formats. Native advertising can be simplified with and an embrace of images over text is a way to communicate this. The emergence of the visual web is a big deal.
While CES is only a few weeks away it’s safe to assume that the Internet of things is going to receive a tidal wave of attention coming out of this massive gathering in sunny Las Vegas. It’s hard to predict what digital publishers will do in this new ecosystem but it’s safe to assume that marketers will be looking for ways to bring their products and services into the home and workplace and non-conventional, non-media driven ways.
A Reason To Party
On Tuesday night, July 25, 2013, IAB was proud to host a celebration in recognition of the first class of Certification holders and all those who helped create and support IAB Digital Media Sales Certification.
Here’s what we have accomplished in just one year:
- More than 1,200 have registered
for the program
- Companies like AOL, Collective and
IDG have committed to certifying their entire sales teams
- A number of companies (24/7 Media,
Trial Retail Media and About.com) have made Certification part of their hiring
and training processes
- Certification holders and their
managers have given us tremendous positive feedback about the reception of the
program from the marketplace
- Every day sales professionals from leading companies across the country are signing up to take the exam
During the event, exclusive guests networked at Lavo in New York City. Many Certification holders and sales executives shared their experiences about how colleagues and clients have responded to Certification.
Matthew White, National Digital Director at Time Inc.’s My Recipes was on the committee that helped create the exam and is now a Certification holder. “This is a great training tool for companies. It opens up your perspective to parts of the industry outside of your own experience. This makes for a better understanding of your competition, the products they may be selling and how.”
Why Sales Certification?
Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, told the crowd, that the Certification program came from his earliest meetings with IAB member companies, seven years ago. “The thing that came up over and over again from companies big and small was, ‘We need training!’ We learned after years of work, that the best way to scale training in a new industry was not to create the course work yourself. It is to codify industry knowledge within your network, turn it into a standardized test, and get others to teach that test around the world.”
Randall went on to say, “The program has exceeded our wildest expectations. With big companies signing on and making it a requirement it’s taking on a life of its own.”
One of the most frequent questions we heard in the beginning
was, “Why do sales people even need
certification?” We created the program because
digital advertising buyers and sellers needed a benchmark to ensure that sales
people had the basic knowledge required to sell new media programs. The ecosystem changes so quickly, clients now
have a deeper level of trust that the people they talk to understand the
industry and comprehend their needs. No
one’s asking “why” any longer.
“With 1,000 people expected to pass the test by the end of 2012, we are in a position to make the industry stronger.” said Scott Schiller, EVP of Advertising Sales at NBC Universal and Chairman of IAB Digital Media Sales Certification Commission. “A few years ago one of the biggest complaints about the industry was the lack of perceived professionalism that digital sellers had compared to traditional media experts. (With Certification) the industry has come a long way, and the IAB is credited to helping with that. I encourage all of you who have not taken the test to encourage your company to participate.”
Marta Martinez, AOL’s Head of Sales Strategy & Operations, addressed the room on the company’s commitment to customer service, innovation and knowledge as well as “raising the bar on the internet,” helping clients fully leverage the medium as a marketing channel. “At AOL there is a lot of effort in bringing balance between the premium advertising and programmatic sides of the house. This is the reason why we requested that all of the front facing-sales people in the U.S. will be certified this year. When we announced the program internally there was huge demand. We are already seeing a lot of value from the program. We are all starting to speak the same language and we are no longer in the business of translation with our clients.”
July 10, 2013 - IAB Certification Day
In two weeks, on July 10, 2013, will officially be declared IAB Certification Day. It’s a day for certificants and friends of the program to demonstrate their support and pride for the credentials, by posting their badge online via social media. We ask everyone to use the hash tag #iabcertday, so that IAB can showcase everyone who participates. For information about how to participate or to follow the conversation on Certification Day go to: iab.net/certday
In just one year digital ad buyers, human resources professionals and sales executives have embraced the credential, integrating it into their business practice. By no means are we done defining and refining the program, but the milestones of 2012-2013 are sure indicators that Digital Media Sales Certification is here to stay.
“The industry needs to continue to embrace quality in sales and product to gain better trust with clients.” said Certification holder and SVP of Sales at pulsepoint, John Ruvolo. “Certification is a great step in the right direction to set a benchmark of trust for the industry.”
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