How is the ad distribution business changing?

Advertising delivery has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Twenty years ago, there were no smartphones or tablets and the Internet was a new business tool. Content was delivered via fax, morning paper, evening news or word of mouth with an inevitable and acceptable delay. Today, “content is king,” gratification is immediate, and information is relayed in seconds, not minutes. Things are moving at a speed we cannot deny, nor reverse, and we must continue to move with it. As a content delivery business, advertising must keep pace with these changes, evolving technologies and processes to meet the increasing demands for speed, quality and reliability.

Twenty years ago, delivering an ad spot meant manual media buying and creative, making several tape dupes, typing up their traffic instructions and overnighting them to media destinations across the country. This was time consuming and expensive. As the business evolved, tapes gave way to ad delivery via satellite, to digital delivery of ad spots via IP and will eventually result in a fully integrated – and automated – media buying and placement solution. Throughout the years, advertising delivery providers have come and gone, been bought and sold, and navigated the technologies which have dictated our businesses. So, how does an advertiser or a brand know who to partner with, who has their eye on the future and who is going to help advertising delivery reach its full potential?

Here are a few things to consider when selecting an advertising distribution partner positioned for the future:

  1. Integration into Media Buying Platforms – Today, digital delivery of ads still requires the careful coordination of agencies, media buyers and traffic to ensure that the spots air where purchased, at the proper time and ideal formats. Providers are putting important functionality on their roadmap to ensure long term integrations and automation. As ads become completely file-based, media buying, workflow and post production services such as watermarking, slate generation and standards conversion will become streamlined and the ad distribution process simplified. When selecting an ad distribution solution, make sure to evaluate their long-term plans for scale and integration.
  2. Global Reach – Marketing is a dichotomy, becoming increasingly personalized while expanding globally. The Internet has taken us far outside of our borders, requiring the delivery of advertising spots to broadcast or online destinations across the world. However, this will occur as ads bear one-to-one messages intended to appeal to specific people in the farthest corners of the world. Obviously, this brings added complexity – and opportunity – to the ad distribution space. Will your advertising delivery partner be able to execute in this complicated environment?
  3. Specialization in Digital Content Delivery – Advertising delivery is, at its core, content delivery. You need a partner who understands the complexity of content delivery, encoding and transcoding all available formats, the various methods for distributing content and the multiple platforms where content is used. This is an increasingly complex process which requires many layers of specialization. Your advertising distribution provider should be more than a portal and a pipe. They should understand content delivery from file prep and media management to distribution and quality.

There is no doubt that we have not reached the “end of the road” in content, or advertising, delivery. It will continue to move at a dizzying pace in which advertisers must navigate technologies required to ensure the integrity of their brand through advertising formats. As the business evolves, so should the capabilities of your partners.