Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan Seeks Bold Change

By Charlene Weisler

Dave Morgan, CEO Simulmedia, made headlines recently when he resigned from the board of the ARF, citing the need for bolder action in fixing ad measurement.  According to Morgan, “We do not have a trusted way to measure the basics of impression reach and frequency across channels, even just the big media channels like linear TV, digital banners, digital video and radio.”

He shares his views on the state of the industry, its challenges and opportunities, to help clarify this position:

Charlene Weisler: I know your decision sparked a lot of industry discussion. What is holding us back in measurement?

Dave Morgan: It’s not because we lack the technology to do it. It’s because many lack the will to lead and drive it. The industry has sat back and let the Google and Facebook own the measurement and attribution stage and claim virtually all of the overall ad industry’s growth.

Weisler: How has the media landscape changed since you first launched Simulmedia?

Dave Morgan: A lot has changed, particularly in the world of video. Television didn’t go away – more people watch more live linear TV than in 2009 – but the viewing is much, much more fragmented across many more channels, programs, day-parts and devices. Plus we’ve seen a dramatic increase in streaming video viewing, most of it on connected TV’s, though only a small portion of it with ads. While digital video advertising has been a darling of the buying community for much of the past ten years, many of the advertisers have come to realize that it’s also fraught with problematic measurement, a lot of unsuitable content and way too much outright fraud. This is now driving a lot of large national advertisers to reevaluate TV, particularly now that there are platforms like ours that bring digital, audience approaches to TV ad targeting, activation and optimization.

Weisler: What are the major challenges that you face?

Morgan: Education. Industry trades, press releases and conference stages are loaded with a never-ending swirl of bright, shiny objects and acronyms-of-the-month, creating confusion and sowing too much misinformation.

Weisler: What is the current state of addressable advertising?

Morgan: Addressable advertising on TV is beginning to have its moment. While it will always lack the scale, quick impact and efficiency of data-optimized linear buys, it is becoming a powerful complement to more conventional linear and data-optimized buys and OTT ad buys.

Weisler: What is the current state of attribution?

Morgan: Attribution needs a lot of help. Walled Gardens like Google and Facebook have stolen the march by building strong, though naturally biased solutions of their own and working tirelessly to promote and educate their capabilities. We need more aggressive leadership here, and in advertising measurement generally, by the advertisers themselves. I am hopeful that the recent efforts of the Association of National Advertisers in this area will make a real impact.

Weisler: What do you think the media landscape will look like three years from now?

Morgan: In 2022, we’ll still see 80% of the premium video ad load on linear TV, but most video campaigns will be much better coordinated across linear TV and OTT and we’ll see a real resurgence and growth regional, mid-sized agencies as they begin to leverage software, data and superior client service and strategy to manage national media as well or better than large holding company agencies.


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