Online advertising is becoming liquid – and that’s a good thing

Online advertising is becoming liquid – and that’s a good thing

At last week’s AppNation New York Conference, held in conjunction with Internet Week New York, LifeStreet Media CEO Mitchell Weisman delivered an entertaining and informative presentation about how online advertising is evolving into a liquid marketplace – and why this is a good thing for the industry.

Weisman compared the evolution of online advertising to the previous evolution in online travel bookings. Electronic bookings first became possible for American Airlines travel agents through the introduction of the SABRE system in 1959. In 1976, other airlines added their data to SABRE, enabling travel agents to book travel using one streamlined tool. In 1996, this data became available to consumers, who for the first time were empowered to book their own travel online. Today, travel booking is a liquid marketplace.  Ninety million Americans accounting for 76% of leisure travel book travel online (, 2011).

According to Weisman, online advertising is experiencing a similar revolution, thanks in part to standardization work by industry associations like the IAB and the growth of exchanges. This in turn is facilitating the adoption of powerful technologies such as Real-Time Bidding, which enables us to rapidly buy and sell individual impressions rather than just groups of inventory, and behavioral advertising, which allows us to market to consumers in a much more precise and meaningful way than has ever been possible before.

According to Weisman, the increase in marketplace liquidity will increase the size of our already considerable and quickly growing digital advertising marketplace. However, advancements in product, transaction, and settlement process standardization; clearer rules and enforcements; and improvements in workflow and automation are all needed to help us complete this powerful industry transformation.

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