Small Chain Holding Big Chain by Jeffrey Coolidge


In late July, MediaPost ran an excerpt from the book Shoring Up Display’s Week Spots, which contained an enlightening analysis of findings from what they called the Validated Campaign Essentials Charter Study.

“From ads delivered next to objectionable content to ads that never had the opportunity to be seen, there are countless examples where the digital medium is simply not delivering on its promise.”

12 major marketers participated in the study, including Kraft, Sprint, Kellogg’s and Ford. “The goal was to find out what’s not working, and to quantify the incidence of sub-optimal ad delivery” with a focus on premium or high-end media buys.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The need for a “solid and consistent method of determining whether a consumer had an opportunity to see an ad” is clearly evidenced by in-view rates, which show that even for premium buys, ads often don’t have an opportunity to be seen.
  • Targeting audiences beyond just demographics, such as by interests or behaviors, can yield powerful results.
  • While there is a relatively low incidence of brand ads running adjacent to objectionable or conflicting content, even the small amount that do can be damaging to the brand.
  • Impression fraud, whether deliberate or unintentional, remains a small but noticeable issue, and should be an area of concern for all players in the ecosystem.
  • There appears to be little to no correlation between cpm, and value being delivered to the advertiser. In-view rates and delivery to demographics aren’t necessarily reflected in pricing.

The article notes, “across all dimensions of ad delivery, the VCE Charter Study demonstrated clear examples of situations where ad impressions were largely wasted.”

While this isn’t the first time these problems have been brought to light, the excerpt does a nice job of quantifying and summarizing display’s key areas for improvement.

Nevertheless, display remains a strong contender on the digital stage, and in the context of it's steady bloom over the past few years, overcoming these inefficiencies seem to be just a next step as the format matures.