Have you heard about the Cord Nevers? I heard about them at an Ad Week party the other day, and they’ve been on my mind ever since.
No, the Cord Nevers are not an indie band (although that would be a great band name). They’re the next evolutionary step beyond the Cord Cutters, people who opt out of subscription television. Cord Nevers love video, but they consume it when and where they want it. Linear television (ie, watching something when a network broadcasts it) is a positively quaint notion to them. We’re living in an on-demand, wifi-friendly, mobile-first, cross-screen world and the Cord Nevers are who advertisers need to reach.
As an example of how starkly the video landscape is changing, at the Advertising Week Masters of Monetization: Video panel I participated in this week, I conducted a quick straw poll of the room to ask who subscribed to a streaming video service like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime.
Almost everyone in the room subscribed to at least one streaming service, and about half said they subscribed to two or even three such services. And consider that Advertising Week attendees grew up watching linear television. Up-and-coming generations will have preferences more heavily weighted towards on-demand streaming video. On our platform, video ads have five times the engagement rate of banner ads, and in some verticals it’s as high as eight times. That’s why we’ve developed sophisticated creative ad units like the Video Lightbox.
This ever-evolving video consumption situation presents a challenge, but it’s one that the industry in general and Millennial Media in particular is capable of handling. Programmatic advertising makes it possible to target consumers in incredibly sophisticated and relevant ways. The vast amounts of data we capture from programmatic campaigns allows us to show advertisers their ROI, too.
The other piece of the puzzle is measurement. Twenty years ago, a television show aired at a certain time, and a finite number of people watched it during that window, and ad buyers could buy against that well-defined audience. Today, it’s much more complex. Advertisers and buyers need open and transparent metrics across all platforms, including mobile, and we don’t yet have an industry-wide standard.
But the industry is working towards it. Nielsen recently announced that “total audience measurement” is coming, and since May Millennial Media has had a 100% in-app viewability guarantee for managed media ads. Our advertisers wanted to know that their money goes towards effective ad buys, and we were happy to work to give them that measure of confidence. It’s one of the ways we make mobile simple for our partners in an increasingly complex media landscape.
As Advertising Week draws to a close, I’m so grateful that I was able to spend time with the industry’s best and brightest, discussing what the future holds for advertising. The Cord Nevers are what’s next — but what comes after them? No one knows just yet but, but video, measurement, viewability, and programmatic will all be important parts of the puzzle.
Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.