Advanced audience targeting has been a mixed blessing

The good thing is that you have been more precise in your targeting, which means the relevance is much higher from a consumer's point of view ... The economics work much, much better.

The flip side of the coin is consumers having this feeling of being invaded in terms of their privacy. They get spooked and it seems like we are tracking consumers across various websites and so on.

That's what has led to a lot of regulations being formulated, whether it is GDPR or CCPA out here in the United States and California.

Publishers help brands overcome identity crisis

Apple has turned off their advertiser ID. Google is doing away with the cookies in the not too far future.

Where you cannot credibly track consumers, providing relevant advertisements, retargeting and things like that are actually impacted significantly.

What you can then try to do is to gravitate to those media companies and have maybe "direct-to-me" or "direct-to-publisher" kind of relationships, as opposed to going through the brokerages and the intermediaries.

So in these kinds of situations, certainly I feel that credible media companies will definitely have an advantage, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Media can help restore marketing ethics and integrity

K2’s study under the auspices of the ANA said there were widespread kickbacks to the tune of 15 to 20%. And even today there is a Department of Justice investigation that's ongoing in that space.

First and foremost, integrity is critical.

If I, as a brand marketer, am putting $100 thinking that those $100 are going to the publisher as working media but there is a portion of it that is swiped off by these kickbacks et cetera, that's not fair to the advertisers.

The publishers, the media companies have a role and responsibility in that.

Publishers can bring transparent audience data

You need credible data with which useful analysis can be done so that meaningful strategies can be evolved and implemented. Media is going to be a significant partner for it.

When we are looking at our media mix in total, we need to know exactly what (traffic) we are getting from where - and media brands have got a huge role to play.

They need to be jumping in to collaborate on this kind of thing, because this is going to be overall very, very effective.

Blockchain can help advertisers work directly with publishers

There are so many types of mutual handoffs that keep happening and commissions being drawn from those kinds of transactions, which are totally not value-add at all.

I think we need to streamline the entire ecosystem, minimising and keeping the intermediaries to the barest minimum possible.

Technologies like blockchains have a tremendous role to play in this kind of a scenario.

Blockchains will eliminate a lot of intermediaries that are today there and are completely unnecessary.

To the extent that we can, we should have direct relationships between the advertisers and the media companies.