The definition of "premium" depends on whom you ask.
For some, premium simply means quality inventory -- ads appearing on well-known, brand-safe websites, ideally on home pages and "above the fold."
For others, it's all about a compelling creative format that grabs attention and engages audiences (no banners or buttons need apply).
Both of these definitions are, of course, right. And wrong.
A true premium ad -- one that engages the right audience, at the right place and at the right time -- really depends on the intersection of context and content. The most well-placed ad in the world means nothing if nobody clicks on it or even notices it.
And creativity can certainly be wasted if an otherwise engaging ad is buried in the outer reaches of the digital publishing universe or positioned next to inappropriate content.
So premium campaigns need to get both context and content right to succeed. But that is easier said than done. Here are three things advertisers should to consider in order to get more bang for their premium buck:
1. Data as the decider. Ultimately, accurate, high-quality data will fuel those critical when, where, how and what decisions that drive a successful premium ad campaign. Data can be leveraged to continuously optimize and shape media strategy, refine creative execution, create powerful dynamic targeting and determine which device will have the greatest conversions, all in real time. Delivering the best user experience at any given moment -- at scale and optimized across all formats and channels -- is the most premium asset of all.
2. Scale matters. Traditionally, premium digital campaigns have been associated with direct deals between advertisers and publishers. And while sales meetings and customized ad agreements do still have their place, they are no longer the only way to execute a premium campaign, especially when reach, speed and efficiency are a priority. As programmatic buying options continue to get more sophisticated, marketers are now able to automate rich, high-impact ad formats like IAB "Rising Star" display and mobile units, as well as the purchase of premium inventory across multiple channels. This opens up a new world of premium opportunities that advertisers can tap into to broaden engagement levels and that publishers can leverage to improve yield.
3. Bring it all together. Advertising Age recently reported on a single paid post that offers an excellent example of a premium advertisement that brings it all together: Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" Season 2 promotion. This native ad ran on The New York Times home page and featured unique, in-depth content about women in prison, incorporating video, text, infographics and more.
The native format was not only designed to be engaging for audiences who would be potentially interested in the Netflix series, it also was presented to these audiences in an environment in which they were already predisposed to consuming thoughtful, high-quality journalism. Data most likely played an important role in helping to ensure this combination of content and context would engage with the right audience, at scale. In premium terms, this is a win-win-win.
Good data, quality inventory and an engaging format all need to converge to deliver an advertising experience that can truly be defined as premium. Today's most innovative brands are the ones that are quickly learning how to bring programmatic technologies, sophisticated analytics, media and creative together to take advantage of all that premium has to offer, at scale, to move their business forward.