The boom in consumption across digital platforms and media sites has led to a sharpened focus in the quality of online ad inventory that funds these initiatives.

This was evidenced at the Ashton Media Programmatic Summit in Sydney, where the keynote presenters included premium publishers The Telegraph (UK) and the South China Morning Post (HK). Both publishers outlined how investing in premium content has led to higher CPMs, an increase in paid subscribers and better consumer engagement with advertisers.


Publishers Pivot to Premium Experiences 

As we know, the pandemic and its ongoing lockdowns has caused an increase in online commerce and digital media traffic. Publishers and their advertiser partners know the time is right to execute data-driven content strategies with precision. These premium publishers are working hard to earn the attention of their readers. And that value exchange comes in the form of quality, premium articles in return for a short ad experience. Meanwhile, brands benefit from the opportunity to influence audiences, whether it be via brand recall, preference or behaviour.

During the summit, Karen Eccles, Team Director, Commercial Innovation, Telegraph UK London, revealed how the media company, in charting a goal of three million digital subscribers by 2023, has implemented a reader-first approach. Part of that program includes moving away from optimising towards clicks and measuring reader engagement. Their internal testing has proved that by doing so, brands achieve better performance results. She also added that a new “Metrics that Matter” program includes nine attention metrics that show advertisers the value of their audience, and asks the key question: is the reader actively engaging towards the ad?

In a similar vein, Ian Hocking, VP of Digital at the South China Morning Post, said the publisher is plotting a journey where quality advertising experiences deliver true value to brands. Since leaving the open marketplace in early 2020, the publisher has focused on increased transparency and a shift to first-party data and premium ad formats. The transition included a full scale ad inventory and buyer review and the creation of internal reporting dashboards.

Hocking believes that it’s time for a change, and their mission is to bring back the publisher service layer and demonstrate the true value of a premium publisher.

Publishers can now provide a wealth of data to advertisers. That view was reinforced by the CEO of PlayGround ANZ, Rob Hall, and dentsu ANZ’s CTO and CDO, Patrick Darcy, who said that true attention metrics are now emerging as a bona fide currency.


A Shift to Attention Metrics

In the old days of digital advertising, the key metrics revolved around how many ads were served, and whether an ad was viewable. The market is now shifting to attention metrics, or quality metrics, that focus on if the ad has secured consumer attention, increased brand uplift and driven a business outcome for the brand.

The debate at the Programmatic Summit has shifted from the drawbacks of programmatic advertising, in previous years, to ensuring that digital and data practices are providing true brand uplift.

The reality is that brands, more than ever, know that digital advertising can be a minefield if executed improperly. Whether running on social, publisher, app, or CTV environments, digital ads must be verified and authenticated. Media quality — having real ads served to real customers on valid, engaged publisher sites — is now becoming front and center of every programmatic advertising investment strategy.

For brands and publishers, this is an important equation to get right, as media pricing and placement strategies are redundant if fake or non-viewable ads are not weeded out. If you are serving ads to bots, or on low quality sites, the performance of your campaign is severely compromised.


How Media Quality Drives Performance 

First, brands need to ensure a baseline of quality, known as DV Authentic Ad™ at DoubleVerify, which means ads must be fully viewable, seen by a real human in the intended geography and devoid of negative risky brand placement before diving into attention metrics.

Once a baseline for quality has been established, brands can then undertake performance initiatives that actually lift sales, including cross-channel audience testing and insights, informing and experimenting with bidding decisions, pursuing creative personalisation opportunities and expanding their target audience.

With DV Authentic Attention™, we can now measure more than 50 data-points on the exposure of a digital ad and the consumer’s engagement with a digital ad and device, in a privacy-friendly way.


Click here for more information about DV Authentic Attention™, or contact us to get in touch with a DV representative.
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