Marketers are behind audiences in recognising and paying for quality content: Guardian

Marketers have not woken up to the value of advertising alongside quality content at a time when online audiences have become more willing to pay for it, delegates at Advertising Week Europe were told.

Speaking on a panel about the future of publishing, Guardian News and Media chief revenue officer Hamish Nicklin said: “Our audiences are prepared to pay for quality but advertisers are way behind in this. The amount of money that still gets spent in open marketplaces trying to buy audiences anywhere you like apart from in quality environments is incredible.”

He said the fact that 1m people have now signed up to the group’s voluntary contribution scheme proved audiences are ahead of marketers when it comes to valuing content.

Nicklin claimed research proves the value of advertising in a premium, brand-safe environment compared to elsewhere on the internet, even to a more highly targeted audience, but the industry remains blind to it.

Instead, he said, marketers are wedded to outdated metrics that favour viewability over attention.

“I would love people to start caring about attention. Anyone can make an ad viewable, it’s how much time they spend with the piece of content, with the ad, that matters. More than meaningless metrics that were created in the early days of the internet to justify direct response advertising. We just haven’t moved on,” he said.

Former Dow Jones president and Tortoise Media co-founder Katie Vanneck-Smith said marketers need to consider both audience and content when planning campaigns and to understand how things work if they want to ensure brand safety.

She added: “If you can’t explain how an ad got from A to B, that’s not a great way of putting your message in front of the consumer. Do you want the audience or the content? The answer is both, but do it in a trusted environment.”


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