The Future of Media Depends on the Adoption of Connected Marketplaces

It’s time to bring advertisers, publishers and consumers together

From advertisers’ reactions to the Facebook papers, to the disruption of Nielsen’s reign of the de facto authority in television measurement, to misuses of consumer data and the uncertainty around cookies (and the tech giants’ role in that)—the advertising industry and society at large are seeing the shortcomings of the old way of doing business in media and legacy technology.

As we prepare for what’s ahead in 2022, I challenge all of us in the advertising industry to question the old way and envision a new and better way. A way that fosters respect for consumer privacy and choice, trust with advertisers, and a sustainable path forward for publishers.

This new approach already exists—we just need to embrace it. If we do, we will also support a vibrant open internet that gives consumers choice and continued access to free content and information.

We have learned in the past 18 months that nothing is sacred. That’s why we can’t let this moment go to waste. Our industry has an amazing opportunity to reset, retool and reimagine the future of tomorrow.

It’s time to let go of the old way

It’s time to let go of the pain points that have held us back. From a lack of transparency to fragmented media channels and measurement to the proliferation of middlemen and ineffective and indirect data tied to cookies to the conflation of data privacy and data abuses—advertisers no longer need to accept these issues.

As an industry, we have evolved and there are solutions that exist to solve these pain points.  With the rise of connected TV (CTV) and cookieless environments, we have seen great success and innovation in moving beyond the cookie and traditional approaches by minimizing hops and applying first-party data closer to the source of delivery.

Find the newer, better way in a connected marketplace  

So, as 2021 comes to an end, let’s lean into truth and transparency. 

This means focusing on directly sourcing inventory and bringing data and advertisers closer to the source of delivery through supply side platforms with direct publisher relationships. By removing the middleware and dataware of traditional approaches, we will have less complexity—creating a simpler, more integrated and minimalistic solution that drives greater performance.

To give consumers choice and access to free content and information, we must create a sustainable future for publishers. That’s where advertisers come in. Advertisers can partner with publishers to put them in control of their consumer relationships and first-party data, rather than ceding that control to tech giants. If we succeed, we create a better future for free and open media.

Finally, we need to educate consumers and empower them to be part of the solution on how their data is used. We can also help them to recognize that the stakes are high and the success of the advertising ecosystem benefits society at large. If publishers fail, consumers lose choice. 

As an industry we need to come together in a truly connected marketplace where publishers are set up for success and everyone wins. This is the opportunity to bring advertisers, publishers and consumers together for the benefit of all.  Unless we want to return to the outdated ways of the past, the future of media depends on it.

As the CEO of ENGINE Media Exchange (EMX), the programmatic technology solution, data platform and trading desk that powers ENGINE’s media business, Michael Zacharski leads the overall vision, strategy, culture, and development of the business. With his leadership, EMX solves complex challenges and drives measurable business results for agencies, advertisers and publishers by providing solutions across full service and programmatic practice areas.