What is premium?

It is clear from the various discussions taking place at the recent OMMAPremium Display event that “premium” means different things to different people:

– To the movie marketer, it’s “big splash” advertising that generates widespread awareness in a minimum of time, like a homepage takeover of some news outlet attracting millions.
– To the agency creative director, it’s a cross-channel execution that provides a memorable experience to consumers exposed to it.
– To the online media buyer, inventory that has a chance to perform, i.e. at least be seen (viewable) and brand safe (traceable ownership), while limiting waste (transparency).
– To the data analyst, accurately targeted impressions.
– To the publisher, interesting, fast-paced, shareable content that will boost their readership.

However, there is some common ground: somehow “premium” must offer superior value, worth the extra cost asked for.

In our conception of “premium”, as it relates to inventory quality, less is more. As in the physical world, high inflation makes the currency less valuable: we see this happen with a limitless supply of online inventory leading to CPM decline over the years. Think of the hyper-inflation in the early 1920s Germany: a downward spiral that lead to chaos.

rare inventory will be more valuableAs such, we need to organize scarcity. By nature, what is scarce is expensive, so publishers won’t lose out. If one big, viewable, accurately targeted banner replaces a clutter of flashy ads in different sizes and colors strewn about a page, then user engagement and attention is bound to increase… to the delight of advertisers, who will be able to focus on the user experience. Everybody wins.