Video Visionaries | Michael Kassan, MediaLink

The Importance of Content Adjacency

Regardless of who you speak to, one thing is clear: the concept of relevance is more important now than ever before. Whether it’s relevance of message or relevance of context – or anything in between – the world of digital advertising is now about getting the right message paired up with the right content on the right platform in front of the most relevant and engaged audience. Zefr probably understands this better than anyone else. Content targeting is what we do. It’s all about driving relevance for brands – and their target audiences – through online video content in the most effective, engaging, and brand-safe ways possible.

Video Visionary, Michael Kassan  

But there’s someone else who knows a thing or two about the notion of relevance – and that’s MediaLink Chairman and CEO, Michael Kassan. An industry veteran and an expert on all things digital media, Kassan reiterated the importance of content adjacency as well as why it’s become such a hot topic of conversation among brands, content creators, digital media companies, and tech platforms today – especially at a time when consumers are less trusting of digital advertising, overall. Here’s a sneak peek at our conversation with him.

ZEFR: What is the importance of content adjacency for brands?

Michael Kassan: There’s never been a time when the combination of a strong marketing message paired with great content has mattered so much. In fact, the filter for what’s acceptable versus what’s not acceptable has changed dramatically over the last few years. Brands can no longer risk putting their marketing messages next to content that doesn’t embody the same message or convey the same brand values. This is why the notion of content adjacency has become top of mind for marketers today. Digital advertising has evolved. Our approach to digital advertising must evolve, too. Brands have to be aware and think strategically about where they put their marketing messages now. One slip up could be a disaster.

ZEFR: What are some of the positive developments of online video?

MK: We’re in the “golden age” of content right now. The Internet, from its very beginnings, was a promise of the democratization of content creation. The proliferation of online video content alone proves that to be true. There’s more content out there than we even know what to do with – and this has posed a challenge to the platforms that make it available to consumers today. It’s important for these platforms to understand the responsibility they have when they move from simply being a platform into a bonafide media company. And as they do, content adjacency will become even more important for them.

“Content targeting in online video is more than simple the future of targeting; it’s quickly becoming the best way brands can pair their marketing messages with relevant and engaging content that their target consumers are already viewing. And Zefr is leading the charge here.”

ZEFR: What’s your take on content targeting for online video?

MK: That’s easy – it’s more important today than ever before. Audience targeting is becoming harder and harder to come by given the issues around privacy and data collection affecting the entire industry. Therefore, content targeting in online video is more than simple the future of targeting; it’s quickly becoming the best way brands can pair their marketing messages with relevant and engaging content that their target consumers are already viewing. And Zefr is leading the charge here. The team saw the writing on the wall and realized that a better, more relevant targeting option was critical in order for brands to succeed in their digital advertising efforts in the future. Content targeting is the answer.

ZEFR: How would you define a successful brand partnership?

MK: I like to say that for a deal to be successful, there must be equal parts pleasure and equal parts pain. If you don’t strike the right balance, you won’t have a good deal, when all is said and done, and whatever deal you do have will likely not be a solid long-term solution. Today, we’re seeing brands, publishers, and tech companies (platforms) working together more and more to satisfy each other’s needs. The combination of all three is the recipe for success in today’s rapidly evolving digital media landscape. They all need each other to succeed. The unique role that MediaLink plays in all of this is that we help connect the dots to make these partnerships much more successful. It’s not always easy to navigate. We’re here to help.

ZEFR: How important is a channel like YouTube for marketers today?

MK: There’s no question about it. YouTube is one of the most effective marketing channels today. It’s been proven time and time again. The team there has done an incredible job of creating a better experience for marketers, especially around brand adjacency. They are focused on doing the right thing: creating a safe environment for marketers to communicate their messages linked with content.

Video Visionaries interview series with guest Michael Kassan