#PortadaNY: Brands Need to Demand Higher Digital Standards and Choose between Attention and Engagement

#PortadaNY was a great opportunity for attendees to learn about what needs to be done to guarantee brand safety. Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer of GroupM, provided key insights on the topic. Additionally, Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy Officer at AcuityAds, discussed the results of a survey about consumer attention to video advertising done in partnership with Portada. Bharwani stressed that brands want both attention and engagement. But while “you can optimize for one” metric very well, that usually “tanks the other’s results.”

The Portada New York conference received attendees from all over the Americas, who had the opportunity to network one-on-one with executives of their choice and listen to experts in marketing discuss the most important issues shaping the industry. Brand safety and attention to video advertising were an important part of the program.

1. If you aren’t concerned about brand safety right now, you’re already behind

As consumers are becoming more attuned to digital issues like fake news, transparency and ad fraud, brands are in turn demanding higher digital advertising standards and policies.

Citing particularly egregious examples of advertiser behavior, panelist Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer of GroupM, noted that “as an industry, we don’t want to support that type of environment.” And more than that, it is just as important for executives to get out in front of consumer’s (and, in turn, brand’s) concerns and self-regulate. Governments policing the space through regulations like GDPR are not the optimal vehicle.

Specifically, Schiekofer pointed out that the industry has to educate consumers on their business model—”it’s either a pay wall or advertising” supporting great content. While many brands are already self-regulating and allow consumers to opt out of data collection, for example, they must do a better job at taking responsibility for outreach.

2. Brands want both attention and engagement. Pick one

Only 7% of U.S. advertisers say that their videos are watched all the way through, according to Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy Officer of AcuityAds. While that rate jumps to 12% for LATAM advertisers, those results are still abysmal. And in the face of rising competition for consumers’ eyeballs, digital advertisers are under increasing pressure to deliver results.
Bharwani suggested that part of the problem is in how brands are defining results: they want both attention and engagement. But while “you can optimize for one” metric very well, that usually “tanks the other’s results.” It’s incredibly difficult to do both well. The most successful ads, per Bharwani, don’t try to do it all but either aim to inform or entertain the consumer.
In summary, we will leave off with the best digital video practices courtesy of Bharwani: Use people’s behavior on social media to tailor content. Don’t force them to watch it. And don’t make them pay for it. Deliver the ad when there is less noise and distraction in the market.

Portada 2019 Events 

March 15, 2019: Portada Los Angeles, Hotel Loews Santa Monica, Los Angeles
April 3, 2019: Data and Content Marketing Forum, New York City
April 12, 2019: Portada Miami:  Hotel EAST, Miami 
September 12, 2019: Portada New York, Yotel New York, New York City 
October 17, 2019: Portada Mexico, Casa Lamm, Mexico City