What Is Premium Now?

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.


Do advancements in display advertising make advertisers better off today compared to four years ago? While that question might seem more appropriate for trying to sort through political policies during a presidential election year, it’s also relevant to the evolution of “premium” display ads, as technologies like programmatic buying and native ad units take hold.

Ad pundits have already made display advertising the most jargon-littered playing field in the digital realm, forcing most of the world to constantly dodge a steady barrage of acronyms, from acc to dtp to ros to … wtf. Adding to the confusion is the constant evolution of what premium display — the industry’s alleged crème de la crème — actually means. 

To most major media brands, for example, “premium” still means banners and high-impact branding ad units on name-brand media sites. It refers to the unmissable banner ad for, let’s say, Acura or Lincoln Mercury that viewers see when they check on cnn.com for the latest headlines or espn.com for baseball scores. But for the more tech-driven companies, especially the dsp (demand-side platforms) or rtb (real-time bidding) players, the word premium is being redefined as “whatever performs.” In fact, the term “premium display” gets tossed around so much no one is sure what it means any longer.

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