Everyone online is trying to shift business online. But there are more than a few reasons why the digital shift has hit speed bumps. According to a new study by the Internet Advertising Bureau and Bain & Company, media companies need to offer a true triple-play service model — from direct response to awareness to high impact brand engagement — if they want to earn and keep digital business.

How can companies go about achieving that? Well, there are a few options.

The new study, “Building Brands Online: An Interactive Advertising Action Plan,” surveyed 700 brand marketers about the factors that inhibit digital advertising today.

The five key obstacles that have deterred
marketers from shifting more of their brand advertising online are as follows:

  • Ad formats and creative are not innovating and adapting to the medium.
  • There is an excess of undifferentiated, low-cost inventory.
  • There’s an overabundance of metrics, but they don’t measure what brand marketers want.
  • Media companies lack ideas, strategic expertise and engagement in the planning process.
  • Marketers want cross-platform campaigns, but get silod media programs.

According to John
Frelinghuysen, a partner in Bain & Company’s media practice and
lead author of the study:

“Unmet marketer needs create a major opportunity
for media companies to collaborate directly with marketers. But few media companies currently have the
capability to fill the gaps in online sales and service.”

The study also offers six ways media companies can rectify the problem:

  • Targeting: Segmented offerings that meet the
    separate needs of advertisers who are focused on building brands and
    those who are looking for direct .
  • Optimization: Improve
    the ways that ad inventories are sold, by offering
    full-service to self-service to partnerships with ad networks and
    resellers.
  • Prioritization: Set
    the right priorities, clarify internal roles and accountability and
    invest in sales staff skills and incentives.
  • Custimization: Offer
    deeper service and support customized to vertical industries, to help
    advertisers plan, create and measure the brand impact of online ads.
  • Engagement: Develop solutions with more engaging options and formats, including social networks, video and other rich media.
  • More effective sales: Build sales teams with
    category experts who respond directly to marketers’ specific needs.

Media and advertising companies have moved online in a piece meal, as needed fashion, meaning that many online sales organizations have
lacked the tools necessary to convince
advertisers and agencies that online advertising is not an either/or proposition of branding vs. direct response-like click-throughs to one that is more comphrehensive and handles the entire brand identity and growing sales.

The end goal for the IAB and Bain is what Frelinghuysen described as a “triple play offering” that combines brand reach, transactions and brand engagement. Getting there is another story, but as media companies bleed money from print, they are scrambling to get a better grasp on digital, which holds the promise that these efforts will become more of a priority. And quickly.