Online Advertising: A Growing Industry with its Fair Share of Challenges
With the proliferation of digital and mobile advertising, its supply chain remains nascent, and a unique set of challenges have emerged in the industry. Among these: Ads may only be viewed for split-seconds, or even worse, viewed by “bots” posing as humans. Moreover, consumers are increasingly likely to make use of ad-blockers, which is especially troubling for publishers who are counting on revenues from advertisers.
Coming up with solutions to fix the kinks in the supply chain is not an easy task. To address issues of “viewability”, which include how long, and how much, a consumer views an ad, groups are putting forth viewability standards. One group contends that so long as a consumer can see half of an ad for one second, the ad should be considered viewable, while GroupM, a buyer of ad slots, only considers ads viewable if the consumer can view the full ad. Certainly, coming to consensus may take some time.
Fraud also presents a growing challenge, as nefarious groups can employ robots to view ads and collect additional money from advertisers. AppNexus, an ad exchange group, does however offer rebates to advertisers who detect such fraud, and filters ads that seem to have an unusually large number of these bots. While these are promising first steps, it is unlikely to cut out fraud altogether.
It may be too early to call these problems, and others, a permanent staple of the industry though. Growing pains are natural, and over time, the industry structure will shift. Some companies, like Google, are utilizing tools to track consumers and help manage valuable data on them. Still, questions remain over how the budding industry will continue to evolve.