How ‘Tinder for programmatic’ makes it a great time to be in the display business

By John Snyder, CEO, Grapeshot

I was at dinner with a client the other evening and this person casually slipped into our conversation the assumption that Grapeshot would now be pivoting to focus on mobile and video now that display was in such obvious decline.

I choked on my soup.

It was sort of shocking to me that this individual had so casually written off the importance of the traditional display market. It’s true, we at Grapeshot are committing resources to our video and mobile priorities currently, but that in no manner implies that we are walking away from the display business. And I think it’s safe to assume that our attitude is indicative of the entire digital ad ecosystem.

Despite all of the recent doom and gloom about consumer ad blocker adoption on top of the industry struggle to meet fraud and viewability issues head on, it is still a great time to be in the display business. And, of course, let’s keep in mind that ad blockers are an even bigger concern for mobile than they are for display – consumers are opting out of data payloads and related charges, as well as preventing unsolicited invasion of a private personal space. At the end of the day, there is still a sizable opportunity for premium display publishers to deliver what I’ve been referring to in these pages in the past several months as “perfect impressions” to quality brands, which are increasingly demanding them.

Much hard work and heavy lifting has been done to create protocols whereby automated deal discovery–Tinder for programmatic–will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of premium connections/discovery between buy and sell sides. Advertisers will be able to target valuable audience segments and quality contexts in ways previously not possible. Today’s Millennial traders and sellers are used to intuitive experiences on apps like Tinder, whose real magic is in its ability to use hidden contextual signals in Facebook profiles to match one’s key interests and characteristics with someone similar. “You like kite surfing and exploring new places? What a happy coincidence. Me too!”

This tangible elevation of deal discovery from the theoretical to the actual has the industry ready to truly exploit programmatic. The new publishing networks like Pangea and the AOP Alliance, now renamed Symmachia, offer buyers easy access to high quality inventory at scale. We are truly on the cusp of fulfilling the promise of the “perfect impression.” Forget about the race to the bottom. It’s time to push out into the marketplace high quality creative at scale that really engages audiences and can be validated by more insightful metrics like time spent viewing or hovering over the ads.

This will unlock future growth in the display market. It will increase the quality of campaigns. And it will enable premium publishers to enjoy the fruits of their labors, as advertisers engage in enhanced storytelling in safe and trusted inventory within the programmatic marketplace.

Now forgive me, I need to get rid of that soup stain from my shirt. Just as we all need to remove the stain of irrelevant and misspent ads.

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