The case for optimism in digital advertising

This post has been a long time coming, yet at the wake of recent global even

Background with blue elements.

This post has been a long time coming, yet at the wake of recent global events it is more timely than ever to take a moment to reflect our thinking process, our fixed ways of doing things, and what actually drives us forward as an industry.

I recently represented Kiosked at the Forbes Under 30 Summit. The crowd was an eclectic mix of young entrepreneurs, university students, and startup mavericks. On stage were the founders of some of the most disruptive companies out there: WeWork, Rent the Runway, Warby Parker – even Ashton Kutcher, the actor-come-venture capitalist spoke on a panel.

The keynote speakers, panelists, entrepreneurs, and attendees all shared a simple – yet revolutionary – quality: optimism. These disruptors enjoyed an unshakeable confidence in their mission, their companies, in the notion that what they are building will change the status quo.

Could use more of this fearless mindset to shape the digital ad industry?

Fly Right – Moving Away From Fear

Too many online advertising players from both sides of the table operate from a place of fear. The landscape is ripe with ad blocking, fraud, and dropping ad revenues, it’s tumultuous to say the least. How we navigate the space is not up to higher powers, it’s our active choice. We can learn to balance or opt to fall.

What was so evident at the Forbes Under 30 Summit was that success stories are not born from a place of fear. Why? Fear repels disruption as it has companies acting on the offense; they stop, protect, save, block. Courage and optimism on the other hand drive us to venture out and explore. So take a deep breath in, shake the fear out – it’s time to start doing things differently.


This was a true revelation. If companies begin to operate opportunity-first, they will transform their business. Recognizing opportunities ahead allows businesses to shift into a forward-looking mode. Don’t we all want to be seen as visionaries? Leaning head first into opportunity is the elixir.

Going opportunity-first also changes the perspective on problem-solving; each challenge is an opportunity to improve, enhance, accelerate. If you fail, leverage it as a much-needed nudge towards a more prosperous upward direction. Growing a thriving business is not linear, it takes a few counter intuitive turns to get the path right.

What Does it Mean for Ad Tech and Publishers?

As tech providers, we need to be on the lookout for new opportunities that elevate the end to end ecosystem. At Kiosked we’re delighted to see the global shift towards ad-light experiences, driven by the IAB. Users don’t dislike all ads per se, they hate poor experiences where ads are either intrusive or irrelevant. If we can turn these challenges as opportunity-first ventures, the entire ecosystem will win.

As for publishers, the opportunity-first operation begins with finding a monetization mix that puts your readers first. How? Educate your core decision makers of the options available. Whether it’s a subscription model, a mix of native content and in-feed ads, or affiliate links, it’s all up to you. Test, learn, adapt, repeat.

We have noticed that when our digital publishing partners move away from hard-coded, traditional ad placements towards a more dynamic ad format creation, it has dramatically improved the overall browsing experience. This ultimately becomes the most sustainable path to counter the largest threats to our industry, ad blocking and banner blindness.

Both ad tech and digital advertising should focus on the immense opportunity before us; we have the data, the people, and the tech in place. The question is, how do we better collaborate to make the internet function for all?

We’d love to tackle your challenges optimism-first, drop us a line!