The media buying story is broken, but it can be fixed

A prevailing narrative among marketers today is lament over the rising cost of media. They make statements like:

  • “I pay too much for the media.”
  • “My year-over-year CPM increases are way too high.”
  • “My biggest concern for this year’s upfront is how to measure unduplicated reach.”
  • “It’s great that all media is becoming data compatible, but it costs more to run and takes away my impressions of the results.”
  • “There is not enough transparency in the media supply chain.”

However, instead of focusing on innovation and new business models to leverage the digitization of video, many marketers continue to use old scales to measure a new market, creating a narrative of dominating fear.

A visual representation of this fear might look like a Venn diagram with the overlapping talking points being cost, measurement and targeting, leading to heated conversations about transparency, enabling data and understanding the unduplicated scope. The result of these conversations is often the paralysis of the industry.

Reframing value conversations

It’s time to reverse the narrative and develop a business model that fosters a new mind-meld. This new working model would use new advertising platforms and models to reshape the way the industry thinks about cost, measurement and targeting so that marketers can take advantage of new opportunities.

When it comes to cost and deconstructing the value of an impression, the commonly held idea was that different impressions placed in different circumstances have different value, and marketers were willing to pay more for an impression that generates a larger or more targeted audience. In today’s increasingly complex market, determining the value of an advertisement in different contexts will require testing different models, understanding that there is no exact relational value between old and new. .

Blowing through old rulebooks to test new patterns isn’t a commitment to a new benchmark, it’s a commitment to learn. To succeed in this complex market, you must be prepared to experiment with different price points in the media.

Shift attention from impressions to attention

Another common refrain from marketers is the fear that targeted media, such as programmatic, is less transparent and reduces the value of marketer spend. But data-enabled placeholder media is still in its nascent state and the industry is still determining whether it is a better use of media and improves the viewing experience.

If you reframe the conversation from an impression to an attention conversation, it doesn’t matter how many people get to see an ad, it doesn’t matter how many people actually see an ad. Sure, it might cost more, a lot more, on a per-unit or per-impression basis, but if lower ad loads can get more consumer attention and less ad fatigue, right? not ultimately a win-win situation for marketer and viewer?

Audience and scope resolution

The average viewer encounters between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day, that’s a lot. When consumers were asked what factors would make them pay more attention to ads on a show, most of the top responses were about creating a better experience by reducing ad loads, better targeting, or rewards for watching ads.


A story driven by data and technology

Depending on the situation of the industry and its destination, everyone must work to create a new narrative. The conversation needs to go beyond cost as a benchmark for our discussions and move into attention, managing frequency, understanding scope overlaps and areas of opportunity in media businesses, and to a global vision on all screens.

It’s time to move from fear-based narrative to data-based proof points. The way to drive data-driven decisions in a fragmented and closed market is to replace fear with knowledge and insight.

The technology exists to make this possible. These solutions can unify audiences and optimize impressions across all screens and supply pools in a limited-supply market to deliver the insights and information buyers need to make better decisions. The right technology solution can break the cycle of industry paralysis and replace fear as motivation.

This means that in addition to shopping data, brands and agencies must also spend a portion of their media budgets on technology to secure their brands’ place in a future dominated by consumer choice and more fragmentation. The new story may look like the current story, but the difference is that it is solution-focused.


This new narrative considers cost, measurement, and targeting, along with its natural oversights and by-products: transparency, data activation, and unduplicated reach. But it becomes a solvable puzzle thanks to technology.

Ultimately, in this narrative, the industry can rely on technology to move forward and guide everyone through an uncharted and fragmented landscape with more choices and opportunities than ever before.

Comments are closed.