Tag Archives: digiday

The Rise of the Independent Agency

I spoke a few weeks ago at the Digiday Agency Summit.  My talk was in response to Jack Marshall’s original post on the End of the Indies, a post about how independent agencies were decreasing.  I wrote a post in response to Jack’s in July of this year and Digiday asked me to come and speak at their conference about it.

Here is the practice run of my speech.  The quality of image is terrible as this was my first time using screen capture but the voice over is fine.  Enjoy it.

Click here to watch the video on Vimeo:  Rise of the Independent Agency

If you are into agencies, advertising, career opportunities, and future of service and technologies, you might like this video.

Native Advertising Opportunities & Native Monetization for Publishers

Fact:  for the foreseeable future, brands are going to continue to spend dollars to reach consumers to try and convince them at some point to purchase their product or service.  Brands do this by using tactics to drive conversion or boost purchase funnel favorability (across different stages).

There’s been a recent meme, conversation, trend, topic, or whatever you want to call it around Native Monetization opportunities.  I’ve spoken about the opportunity publicly a few times including in a conversation started by Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg on Branch and most recently today in a Digiday article.

But what is Native Advertising?  According to iMediaConnection, native advertising is defined as, “advertising unit designed to integrate seamlessly with a user’s consumption experience.”

I believe that for most of the Internet, we’ve not found our native ad units.  Note however, a unanimous native ad unit across the Internet is a idealistic dream.  On TV, the unanimous unit is the “spot” and the equivalent of that in digital is the banner.  Note, these units are not native.

Recently, Tumblr announced Radar, Outbrain is gaining steam, Buzzfeed is showing strong Viral Lift, Sharethrough is penning a piece on TechCrunch about native monetization and Silicon Valley, and Facebook announced new native units.  The “native advertising” space is heating up.

Advertising is content and content is generally designed for consumers.  This means that advertising is essentially consumer centric, but is it.. in reality?  While creative might borderline consumer centric by the time it gets thru legal and business affairs of marketers, the actual media unit it’s being placed within might make the entire campaign fail.  All the hard work by the strategy agency, creative agency, production agency, planning agency all gone down the tubes because the placement of the media got it virtually unrecognized.    Yikes.  Many people believe that banner ads are dead and this is why*.

Native advertising as defined above are integrated within the user’s consumption experience.  It could be the holy grail of advertising.  When done correctly, it performs extremely well.  We’ve done it here at the agency and I continue to beat my drum about it.

However, native advertising is not without it’s limitations and issues.

  1. The biggest issue is that you need to work with every single publisher on a media plan independently, at least for now, because there is little to no scalability across pubs.  This takes a lot of time and has cost implications.
  2. Additionally, each publisher will require their own creative, produced in formats that might be unique to only one particular publisher.  This has production budget (non-working media) implications because these budgets are not infinite.  In one of the latest GM/Facebook articles, GM released that they had spent $30MM on non-working media and $10MM on Facebook ads.  The $30MM was on support and infrastructure to make that $10MM more effective.  While I think this number is grossly out of proportion, I do think in a more cleverly planned approach it is a reality.

These are two of many limitations.  Again, native monetization is not new.  Classifieds in newspapers are native.  TV Guide advertising is native.  Paid search is native. With all the new platforms emerging in the digital space, we’re going to see similar native models come to life.  I’m excited for those – and those agencies and marketers who can get thru the limitations will reap the benefits.  I’m excited about this as it’s going to keep me busy planning and investing.

If you are an entrepreneur who is building a platform or solution to address native monetization, we at kbs+ Ventures would like to meet you.

* I do not believe banner ads are dead.  I actually believe they are going thru a renaissance.

Digiday Recap (Networks & Target)


I spent the better part of today at the W Hotel on Lexington Ave at the seemingly omnipresent Digiday Conference.  I was asked to take part on two different panels, the first of which was the opening keynote debate about The Role of Creativity in a World of Commodity, and the second panel during the Target portion of the conference on The Elephant in The Room: Who IS The Target?

To be honest, going into the conference, I was more excited and jazzed to take part in the first panel on the World of Commodity, but actually found the second panel much more fun and interesting.

The crowd was standing room only – and that was at 8:30AM.  The entire industry was out in force including many C-Level executives of many of the companies we deal with on a daily basis.  I was surprised at the high-level turnout but then again, the conferences touched upon “data” which is a very hot topic these days and everyone wanted to be there to put a stake in the ground.

The Twitter feed for the hashtag #digiday was active during the show and some great 140 character recaps were posted.  Digiday also had a text-message tie-in that allowed attendees to text-in their questions and the moderators addressed them at the end of each panel.

Here are a few curated Tweets that I find particularly interesting:

StephanieSAM: RT @cinjohn18: RT@ ahynes1 – Baker “Talk about targeting people, they feel invaded. Talk about custom service, they feel rich.” #digiday
tinawhitfield: #digiday Billing, billing, payments, SarBox- ad nets – 600 of em don’t seem 2 get how critical standards are needed 4 client accounting.
adbroad: “We need to stop thinking of privacy problems as purely online. My Ralph’s card probaly has more info on me than my ISP” Chauhan #digiday
annemai: Alan Chappell asking panel: will brand marketers form a co-op and share data? been tried by coalition marketing programs #fail #digiday
tinawhitfield: #digiday Agencies – if agencies invest in becoming an ad network, can they handle the apology & remedy for ad waste, misplacements, etc…?
digiday: Zagorski “To take something from someone and not give them value for what you’re taking is stealing.” Ad nets taking data w/out pmt #digiday
wisepr: damn. smack talk @ #digiday. Yahoo’s bill wise: “I’m smarter than you.” Time Inc guy: “U work for Yahoo-how could U be?” (via @stephcliff)
digiday: Great quote from John Nardone, CEO x+1, “Data’s not always sexy, ya know?” #digiday
cliqology: John Nardone, CEO x+1, says why bother going to a digital targeting company if you just want to reach Women 18-34 #digiday
JasonDPG: Millions of dollars wasted in the disparity between planning targets and buying targets #digiday
annemai: Like Darren Herman’s idea of “illuminating” data — companies sitting on data, how to illuminate for effectiveness #digiday
Tumri: RT@ ahynes1 – Baker “If you talk about targeting people, they feel invaded. If you talk about customized service, they feel rich.” #digiday
eporres: #digiday; “Google has built an empire on an educated guess.” – Stephen Baker
digiday: As we amass more and more data we’re actually becoming stupider. A rather scary thought. #digiday
It’s definitely an evolutionary time for our industry and am happy to be part of it.

Keynote Debate: The Role of Creativity in a World of Commodity

I’m speaking at DigiDay on Monday on 2 different panels (one in the AM and one in the PM).  Would like any community input on the below topic… feel free to comment below or tweet @dherman76

8:30am: Keynote Debate: The Role of Creativity in a World of Commodity: Has the ever expansive pool of ad placements commoditized a majority of the online ad inventory? The need to weed through all of the inventory has led to an increase in ad networks coming up with the “next big thing” in targeting. But in the media buying world, some say that ad networks employ similar technologies; yielding similar results. Will the abundance of new creative targeting technologies across digital platforms yield an equal or greater level of returns for advertisers and publishers alike? Are ad networks revealing the true value of online media or commoditizing all ad impressions?
Moderator: Masha Geller, Managing Partner, Wednesday Marketing Group

Brian Quinn, VP/General Manager, Digital Ad Sales, The Wall Street Journal
Darren Herman, Group Director, Head of Digital Media, The Media Kitchen
Joe Apprendi, CEO, Collective Media