Three Tips for Building the Cross-Screen Ad Ecosystem of the Future

Sandy Drayton  | 

When it comes to content options, today’s consumers are spoiled for choice. Never before in the history of media has there been so much freedom to watch our favorite content wherever and whenever we want. But while this cross-screen, always-on, environment is a dream for consumers, it’s creating new challenges for publishers and advertisers, who must contend with new technical roadblocks to ensure ad creative looks its best. How can this be accomplished in our rapidly-expanding media environment? It was this very topic that was the focus of a recent panel titled “Piloting the Dream for a Seamless Cross-Screen Future” at the VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, moderated by Bunker Sessions, Extreme Reach’s VP, Business Development. Here are three takeaways from Bunker’s discussion with executives from Fox and Disney ABC Digital.

Quality Still Matters to Advertisers
The number of screens and devices where consumers can watch content today seems to increase by the week: TVs, connected TVs, OTT, mobile, tablets, laptops and more offer plenty of choices for viewers. But even though there are more places to watch, advertisers still have the same expectations for pristine ad quality that were put in place back in the golden age of linear television ad campaigns. Panelists from the VideoNuze session agreed that making sure ads look their best is a bigger challenge now that it’s being distributed not just to TV sets, but also to a multitude of devices with different formatting and technical specifications. “It’s challenging for us in live streaming events,” said Mark London, VP, Ad Operations, Advanced Ad Products, Fox. “Not just the traditional ad operations and trafficking, but the fact that you’ve got multiple feeds and a lot going on, and the fact that we don’t know sometimes where our ads are being hosted: what’s the ad; what’s the content, or even what’s the ad loudness of that ad.”

Cross-Screen Campaigns Require Cross-Team Collaboration
Another growing realization of the cross-screen era is that it is no longer enough for publishers to leave one single team in charge of ad trafficking, operations, measurement and quality control. Instead, today’s cutting-edge publishers are increasingly trying to rethink their organizational structure, redesigning workflows to better handle the complexities of today’s cross-device environment. Communication is especially important in this regard. “That communication between teams that in the past did not speak, technology teams and the programmers…that communication has improved dramatically,” said Fox’s London. “It has to or we won’t meet the expectations of all the stakeholders.”

Publishers Need to Define Roles and Create Consistency
Closely related to the need for more cross-team collaboration is a growing need to be more consistent in terms of how advertising creative is named and handled by partners. “We need to create a better chain of custody for ad creative,” noted Extreme Reach’s Bunker Sessions. He suggested ad industry participants focus on streamlining details such as “…common naming conventions, Ad-ID, etc. and VAST.” There’s also a need for more clarity in terms of defining who is in charge of which parts of the ad trafficking, monetization, and analytics process. “We want to work together with our ecosystem partners to make sure we solve these [challenges],” agreed Disney ABC Digital’s Greg Lubetkin, Executive Director of Sales Operations. “There are great rewards at the end of the day. Being able to target, deliver, manage, and create a great user experience and compliance across these three different kinds of platforms is what we’re trying to do to make ad monetization work,” said Greg Lubetkin.

The cross-screen future that the advertising industry long imagined has arrived, though the roads are still being paved. Never before has there been so much opportunity to reach consumers at the right moment on the right device with engaging creative that entertains, inspires and delights. As the participants of the VideoNuze panel acknowledge, getting this vision to work in reality has been a complicated, ongoing process. It’s only by focusing on areas like quality and consistency, encouraging more communication and collaboration and rethinking how advertising teams are managed that this ideal vision can actually become a reality. That’s truly a cross-screen advertising vision that the industry can rally behind.

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