After realising its high-quality audience spans across all four major platforms of print, desktop, tablet, and mobile, Postmedia adopted an audience-based approach to selling its inventory.

The online audience is swiftly moving to mobile; in fact, one could say the audience already has moved. In order to capitalise on this reality, publishers should extend desktop campaigns onto mobile and follow their consumers, taking a more audience-based approach to selling.

Here are five reasons publishers should move to a platform-agnostic approach to selling inventory. 

  1. Scale/availability of inventory: The sheer volume of mobile inventory available to publishers today makes it an obvious reason to move to an audience-based selling approach. For many top publishers, inventory availability for desktop impressions in such key channels as auto and finance is extremely limited. Extending desktop campaigns to mobile will allow more campaigns to be sold and more revenue generated.

  2. NASCAR effect: A lot of desktop Web sites have the “NASCAR effect,” named for the way National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing vehicles are covered with corporate sponsor logos. These sites attempt to torque the product to get as many advertisements as possible on a page, in order to increase inventory.

    When dealing with mobile devices, there is a lot less real estate than a desktop Web site and, therefore, you are limited in the amount of ads you can display. Although this could be a bad thing, in terms of the amount of available inventory in the future, for now it is a good thing for publishers and advertisers alike.

    Typically, on mobile pages there is only one ad and, in many instances, it is in a fixed position at the bottom of the screen. When only one ad is showing, advertisers don’t need to worry about the so-called “NASCAR effect.” The result should be better campaign performance for advertisers and repeat business for publishers.

  3. Viewability: A dreaded word to most publishers and a relatively recent phenomenon, viewability is a new measurement in the desktop space that attempts to measure how viewable an advertisement is to a consumer. Advertisers are starting to attempt to even purchase inventory based on viewable impressions. 

    There still is a lot of work to be done from both a technical and industry standpoint to come up with consistent approaches. That being said, viewability is less an issue -- maybe even a non-issue -- on mobile devices, depending on how you serve your ads. For publishers that use the “anchoring to the bottom of the page” approach, that ad is always in view. If viewability does become a standard for buying desktop impressions, it should have little impact on mobile, which is good news for publishers.

  4. Technology: One of the best reasons to sell audience is to take advantage of the technology that exists within smartphones; location-based and click-to-call are two of the most prominent technologies that can be applied.

    The ability to target an audience based on its specific geo-location, using latitude/longitude targeting, enables advertisers to market very specific and tailored messages to a given audience. Click-to-call allows audiences to speak directly to a call centre or agent with one touch of a link, to make appointments, etc. Both technologies should increase advertisers’ campaign performance and, with direct marketing campaigns, it will have an even greater impact.

  5. Creative execution: Publishers and advertisers might fear they won’t be able to execute impactful creative as effectively on mobile devices, or will be limited in terms of what type of inventory is available. But it isn’t the case; rich media executions work beautifully on mobile devices. Expandable-type banners served from a bottom-anchored position are extremely effective, and pre-roll ads for video also are very popular. 

According to Ooyala’s 2013 Q2 Video Index Report, users watched twice as many videos (of at least one hour in length) on their smartphones as their desktops. This trend will lead to more and more mobile video inventory being available for publishers to sell. In addition to the more traditional types of ads, native advertising also is exploding on mobile devices and will continue to grow as a potential revenue stream for publishers.

Having the inventory at your fingertips, being able to execute on that inventory, and having campaigns perform are all reasons to move to a platform-agnostic approach to your inventory.

In addition, advertisers are always looking to find their target audiences; they work with specific publishers for that reason, and finding their audience on any device is a win-win situation.