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Quality vs. Premium: Erez Levin Digs Into Ad Attention With a Pickaxe and Pan

Alright, gather ’round, folks. Erez Levin’s back from the future with another sizzling hot take, and this time he’s wielding his pickaxe on the rugged terrain of the ad industry’s gold rush. Levin, the self-appointed “Media Futurist” and “Ad Attention/Quality Evangelist,” is here to separate the real gold from the fool’s variety in the premium vs. quality debate. In his eyes, we’ve been digging for treasure, but most of us are panning for pyrite in the murky rivers of mediocrity.

“Premium” vs. “Quality”: The Devil’s in the Dirt

“Like ‘quality,’ ‘premium’ is in the eye of the beholder,” says Levin, riffing on the commoditization of advertising like a seasoned prospector cursing the saloon swindlers who sell fake maps to El Dorado. He thinks “premium” is a binary that doesn’t do justice to the subtleties of value. “There is high quality, medium quality, and low quality,” he muses. “But you’re either premium or you’re not.”

Levin sees The Trade Desk’s recent focus on Connected TV (CTV)—a.k.a. the ‘upper-right quadrant of the future ad market’—as an attempt to solidify its place in the Gold Rush. “The ‘truly premium’ supply will be most concentrated here, primarily bought via reservations and deals with fixed prices,” Levin explains, tipping his dusty hat to the idea. He appreciates the effort to “decommoditize the ad/media landscape,” helping buyers “weed out the lower-quality-but-overpriced supply.” But he hopes this focus on premium won’t blind the industry to the benefits of a more granular measure of quality.

Sifting for Quality Nuggets

“Every (wise) major move happening in AdTech is to move away from the bottom-left ‘death quadrant’ and/or towards the top-right ‘golden quadrant,'” Levin quips, referring to the future ad market map like a treasure-hunter gone rogue. Levin envisions a brave new world where quality measures matter more than ever as the demise of third-party cookies looms large.

He predicts a “completely different” ad landscape, with four distinct buckets of inventory emerging based on format (unique vs. commoditized) and data (enhanced vs. absent). “What excites me most about this change is that it will force the buy-side to truly factor media quality measures into their advertising practices, moving away from averages that are completely unrepresentative of the media that they buy,” Levin says. In other words, he’s throwing down the gauntlet to advertisers, challenging them to up their IQ game and abandon the “rapid race to the bottom.”

Impression Quality: Levin’s ‘Gold Standard’

Levin’s golden ticket is a concept called Impression Quality (IQ). He argues that IQ is a more detailed, nuanced measure of what counts, distinguishing itself from the abused concept of Media Quality (MQ). “Simply put, Media Quality refers to an average quality score for some grouping of ad inventory, while Impression Quality refers to the quality of individual impressions given all of their unique attributes,” Levin preaches like he’s leading a revival for the converted.

He’s got a whole sermon ready on the core attributes of IQ, including being non-binary, non-identity-based, subjective, relative, and multi-dimensional. But if you really want to sift for gold, you’ve got to ditch static measures like ‘conversion rates’ in favor of granular IQ scores that update semi-regularly. Levin wants to see a world where “AI-powered, real-time Custom Bidding algorithms” can leverage both high-level MQ measures and impression-level IQ measures.

“As we exit the Precision Era of ad buying & measurement, we’ll need to get more comfortable relying on averages and estimates (MQ) while leveraging the hyper-granular (IQ) wherever possible.” Translation: Grab your pans, AdTech pilgrims, because it’s time to find the quality gold in this Wild West of impressions.

Levin’s not shy about his quest to raise the bar in advertising quality. He’s positively gleeful about the industry’s shift towards “Impression Quality” (IQ). To him, it’s like discovering a new vein of gold in the advertising mines—a breakthrough that can expedite the understanding and adoption of Attention, his passion project, especially amid the privacy upheavals.

Picture Levin as the savvy prospector of AdTech, armed with a map, a pickaxe, and a flair for the dramatic. He’s not just talking the talk; he’s leading the charge, guiding the wayward miners of AdTech to the elusive gold mine of quality. It’s a bit like a modern-day gold rush, with advertisers searching for attention nuggets amidst the digital wilderness. Will they strike it rich or keep panning for fool’s gold? Time will reveal the outcome, but Levin’s certainly staking his claim on the side of quality.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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