Advertisers are combating media wastage to strengthen connections with consumers

Across the advertising industry, there has been growing chatter about media wastage as it contributes to wasted budgets and lower ROI. In response, ad tech players and agencies are collaborating on solutions to identify and reduce media waste for the overall importance of the digital ecosystem, paving the way for a more transparent and effective industry.

In this Q&A, Dentsu Media U.S.’s Jennifer Scheel, executive vice president and head of programmatic, and Emily Kennedy, senior vice president, digital and programmatic partnerships and strategy, spoke with Jenny Chau, Chief Solutions Officer at Channel Factory in discussing transparency in fighting media waste.

What are some of the underlying causes of media wastage? 

Jennifer Scheel (Dentsu): We think of media waste or wastage as any and all incidents where paid media doesn’t reach the intended consumer in the intended format with the intended creative at the intended time. This could be incorrect targeting, language, creativity, format, device and more. 

Waste not only impacts performance but can also negatively impact a brand’s reputation and overall trust with consumers if ads are not relevant or useful for their purchasing behaviors. Connectivity to the consumer is weakened. 

Jenny Chau (Channel Factory): To have effective and thoughtful advertising, you have to make sure you include diversity in targeting and creativity so everyone feels seen and appreciated. And when you create that kind of inclusive connection, it builds greater loyalty and trust with a broader audience. 

How can conscious advertising help to address media wastage yet still reach commercial objectives? 

Emily Kennedy (Dentsu): We believe the biggest opportunity for brands right now in the conscious advertising space is for advertisers to prioritize diverse audience outreach and partner with diverse-owned businesses. Brands should adopt, if they haven’t already, a future-forward mindset and prioritize inclusive media plans and strategies. Those that do will shape a more equitable future and see great success by creating an influential and growing consumer base. 

Jenny Chau (Channel Factory): In a world where ads are everywhere, it’s not just about being seen — it’s about being seen next to compatible content and capturing the attention of our consumers. By focusing on contextually relevant placements, we can establish a memorable brand presence and ultimately drive conversions. It’s about understanding the nuances of consumer behavior and leveraging that insight to create meaningful connections. 

Can you share an example of a successful campaign you implemented using a conscious advertising approach and its impact on reducing media wastage?

Jennifer Scheel (Dentsu): One example of this approach was using Dentsu’s Contextual Intelligence product to avoid wasted impressions against irrelevant content for a large retail client whose primary KPI was ROAS. This contextual product beat more data-focused strategies in its primary KPI and still showed CPM efficiency. Further, the CTR was in line with CTRs for our strongest-performing audiences, indicating that contextual relevance not only performs against a primary KPI but also matters to the consumer and prevents wastage.

Jenny Chau (Channel Factory): PwC approached us to investigate the extent of media wastage in their current campaigns. Specifically, they wanted to avoid non-English as well as kids and family content in their video campaigns. We invited them to perform verification procedures in our proprietary platform, ViewIQ, ensuring that it delivers efficiently to brands and agencies, saving them money as a result of quality ad placement. 

We found that our technology reduces media wastage by 23%, which led to a 12% cost savings. We’re proud to say our technology assures quality ad placement that saves money and boosts productivity.

Creativity is critical to successful advertising campaigns, but how does media wastage impact this? How have Dentsu and Channel Factory worked together to ensure that campaigns are creative and effective?

Jenny Chau (Channel Factory): Creativity can hinder and help performance, depending on how well it is executed and how relevant the creative is to the content. Creative endeavors are not only relevant to surrounding content but must be well-suited to the intended audience. 

Emily Kennedy (Dentsu): If you work in digital advertising, you know creativity can make or break a campaign, greatly impacting its overall success. Both creativity and innovation in media from partners such as Channel Factory help to create new pockets of efficiency — for instance, by aligning the right YouTube content to a targeted audience to brand creativity

The Channel Factory and Dentsu partnership offers great agility for our brands, but it’s worth stating that it’s important to strike the right balance between fresh, innovative content while allowing sufficient time for effective market testing to combat media waste. When we have both of those pieces is where we observe the best performance and results. 

What metrics are brands monitoring as they actively track media wastage?

Jennifer Scheel (Dentsu): It’s critical for brands to actively track media wastage, but the metrics will vary based on their specific campaign and business goals. This is where agency partners can lean in and put together a comprehensive strategy that will combat media waste, ensuring each and every media dollar is working both efficiently and effectively. 

Jenny Chau (Channel Factory): In the present advertising landscape, monitoring and analyzing media wastage can provide brands with valuable insights into campaign efficiency and effectiveness, leading to improved ROI. Tracking ad viewability, video completion rates, bounce rates, conversion rates and audience targeting accuracy helps identify areas of wastage and optimize strategies, enabling data-driven decisions for resource allocation and revenue generation.

In the future, what role do you see collaboration between brands, agencies and platforms playing in addressing media wastage? 

Emily Kennedy (Dentsu): This issue is no different than other industry issues; brands, agencies and platforms must work together to make progress. Ensuring media investments can be precisely targeted and tailored to achieve specific outcomes. Collaboration enables the establishment of consistent data threads and can provide a holistic view of audience segments but specifically diverse audience segments. It’s imperative. 

Jenny Chau (Channel Factory): Collaborating and pooling resources among stakeholders is the secret to gaining insights into different target audiences — demographics, interests and preferences. This promotes the development of personalized messages tied to specific KPIs that leverage optimized media investments, ensuring engagement with the intended audience.

Sponsored by: Channel Factory

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