I recently had the opportunity to participate in two publisher industry events in New York. The first was a roundtable discussion with thirty of the brightest minds in the business, from major media brands to up-and-coming digital content players; the second was a live-streamed Q&A with 200 leading publishers and media companies at the paidContent Advertising Conference. Both events reinforced how publishers continue to be a leading force in creating value in display, and I wanted to share a few common themes from my conversations:
  • Friction leads to waste. As we all have experienced, selling ad space is a complex business. A significant portion of every advertiser dollar is eaten up in transaction costs that add very little value. So it was great to hear more and more examples of where publishers are leading the charge in connecting with new buyers, finding inefficiencies and increased CPMs through real-time display buying and Direct Deals on the Ad Exchange. 
  • Beyond the banner. Display is not just graphical - successful publishers are using video and mobile not just as added inventory, but by offering truly integrated campaigns that reach audiences across all screens. As you've heard, we continue to invest in helping publishers succeed in this goal. Publishers continue to be optimistic about direct sales, predicting that ad format and audience targeting innovations will spur most of their future growth. Today display is roughly a $25B industry - we think it could be $200 billion. 
  • The user comes first. One way that we’re working towards combating ad blindness is by incorporating social signals in display. Many publishers mentioned that they’re on board with the notion of ‘fewer but better’ ads, and are actively developing methods to change audience perception of online advertising. That’s good news for us all.
I’ve said that the future of display advertising is both smart and sexy, and publishers who produce the quality content that powers this ecosystem contribute to this bright outlook. Thanks to everyone who participated in the events in New York, or who tuned in online. If you missed my Q&A, you can watch it here.

Posted by Neal Mohan, Vice President of Display Advertising