Introducing Digital Proof – And the End of Screenshots

Introducing Digital Proof – And the End of Screenshots

By Jonathan Silverstein 

Lin Digital COO Jonathan Silverstein unveils our newest proprietary analytics tool and the changing role of technology in the workplace.

I’ve spent the bulk of my career on the client management side of the ad business. Whether guiding clients towards long-term growth or short-term revenue boosts, the same principles applied – make things better.

Four years before joining Lin Digital, I co-founded an Austin-based creative agency + production company. As part of our offering, we leaned on partners like Lin Digital to amplify our message digitally for several of our clients. While the media placements and optimization were always valuable, two components consistently left me perplexed. Why demonstrate proof my client’s digital creative ran through an offline “screenshot” format, and why did it take so long to receive it?

When I arrived at Lin Digital, I leaned into this issue, as I truly believed there would be a better way. And frankly, with growing scrutiny around viewability and NHT, we needed to find a solution that was competitively superior and a proper solution going forward. I was clearly not alone. Over the past 12 weeks, clients and ad execs alike pinpointed screenshots – a proxy for communication and transparency – as their primary frustration.

As far as I’m concerned, screenshots are simply a holdover from the print “tear sheets” days, when agencies and publishers would literally tear away the ad from a magazine or newspaper as proof that a client’s advertisement ran. Screenshots, in the digital world, became an offline solution to an online problem – and apparently everyone in our business has accepted it as a best practice.

Today, I view the Screenshot as one of the biggest ironies in our business. A screenshot is not, and can never be, true proof that a digital campaign ran or went live. Furthermore, it’s a horrendously tedious process of refreshing a page until the desired ad comes up, applying monotonous copy and paste and sending to a client as partial evidence of a campaign launch. But far worse, there’s no intelligence behind a screenshot. No timestamp, performance data, or control over when verification is sent to the advertiser. The automobile wasn’t invented because people wanted a faster horse; it was invented because people wanted a better way to travel, with a roof over their head, without needing to clean the bottom of their shoes after every ride. Speed was never the objective. Screenshots served as a quick fix that never addressed the core objective – to provide actual data, proof, and insight into the veracity of digital advertising.

I’m proud of the team at Lin Digital for stepping back and applying more forward-thinking and code toward our clients’ businesses and needs. Real proof their ad(s) ran along with data to show where it’s most viewable and accessible within 24 hours of running.

With this in place, we are now working to continually update metrics demonstrating what each piece of creative is doing for you, your clients, or your business. Top performing sites are ranked by viewability to ensure all reported metrics are reliable and translate to real ROI. No more waiting for screenshots, no more static images lacking any information, and no more arts and crafts projects for our digital experts.

Utilize the new Digital Proof feature on the Platform Insights dashboard to access campaign stats, view ability metrics, and live ad creative trafficked on a site-by-site basis.

Lin Digital is about customization. We’re not automated robots, we’re skilled experts: salespeople, strategists, creative designers, and dedicated account managers who craft every element of a campaign from the ground up. Digital Proof is one example of how the entire organization identified these pain points and is working to systematically eliminate them. Technology should work for us so we can keep working for our clients.

Ultimately, this is about performance. As the volume of digital ad business continues to explode, Digital Proofs provide insight to clients’ marketing plans and frees up our team to execute their campaigns. Technology can do the tedious so our digital experts can launch, optimize, and guide performance of every effort. MOAT, Digital IO’s, HYFN8, and Platform Insights – these tools tackle elements of reporting and executing campaigns to allow our entire team to address the ultimate objective – developing and optimizing world-class digital campaigns.

For more information, download our Digital Proof one-sheet.