Earlier this month equimedia were in attendance at the 3rd Annual Real-Time Advertising Summit in London. A two day event that delved deep into the programmatic landscape, showcasing best practices and focusing on overcoming the key challenges and exploring the best opportunities in programmatic advertising.
Programmatic advertising has completely changed the media buying landscape and it was extremely interesting to hear first-hand the views and experiences of senior industry experts from a mix of advertisers, media agencies, publishers and ad tech specialists. It was an action packed agenda but over the course of the two days there were four key themes that really stood out.
1) The humanisation of programmatic
“It is about audiences, not cookies, and in order to understand the data it’s about understanding people.” – IAB Europe
Simplicity in programmatic was certainly a common theme throughout and a constant reminder to the industry to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation. Programmatic doesn’t alter how users engage with the medium and we still need to be asking ourselves as marketers ‘if it was my money would I spend it in this way?’ and ‘how would I respond if I was being communicated to in this way?’
With the proliferation of ad tech within the industry, it is now being referred to as the ‘wild west’, in the same vein as the way ad networks were once described, and with all this talk of data and cookies the human element and the art of storytelling and building connections can often be forgotten. There are a lot of ad tech providers popping up and dedicated events such as CES and DMEXCO are testament to this. There is a lot of clever stuff on show but only 10% is both clever and effective and as marketers we need to determine who the 10% are in order to deliver real business value. Andrew Coulter, Global Media Director at Unilever spoke about their test and learn roadmap for 2017 to test out ad tech suppliers and the strict RFP process they run.
2 ) Attribution in proving the value of premium publishers within the media mix
There is an imbalance in the marketplace and the dominance of Facebook and Google was referred to a number of times. As marketers we have an obligation to do the attribution piece to ensure we are giving publishers due consideration for the value they deliver and assigning value in the correct way rather than rewarding the lowest common denominator. Publishers in attendance (CNN, N&S Plus, and The Telegraph) spoke about the pressures that are often faced to deliver volume of impressions at cheaper rates that focus on quantity rather quality. Ad impressions are viewed all the same with the example given that an ad on The Telegraph is assigned the same value as an ad on answers.com. It was put forward that agencies need to work with publishers to distinguish what is unique about their offering. The Telegraph are examples of innovators in this space who have designed advertising products to give them a USP within the marketplace. In July this year the publisher launched six premium ad innovations that included display ads with guaranteed 10-second viewability
Reporting metrics were also topical. Vanity metrics such as likes and views were questioned and the importance of linking these back to business objectives emphasised. The measurement of branding activity online was a really interesting point and reassuring to hear from others in the industry that yes branding activity is hard to measure but this doesn’t lessen its impact and without it we run the risk of the lower hanging fruit being all gone.
Programmatic was borne out of a need to create efficiencies but has in fact added layers of sophistication to the buying and selling of media. Considerations now need to be given to having the right talent in place, the right data and also the right technology. “Technology tax” was a term that was floating around and there was an interesting panel discussion which took place between David Goddard, Head of Programmatic Trading at BBC and Andrew Coulter, Global Media Director at Unilever where the question was put forward as to whether it matters if the investment is on the tech more so than the media if you can reach the bottom end of the funnel quicker with it.
Transparency was talked about in so many different ways; transparency in terms of deeper insight into performance, transparency in terms of the value chain and transparency in terms of verification. These are the challenges that the industry needs to overcome to be able to champion the growth of programmatic.
4 ) Re-defining the skill set
To master programmatic a vast array of skills are required. We can now build insights beyond our wildest dreams because of all of the data that is now available to us. As media buyers this gives us a different perspective that we didn’t have before and has allowed us to develop curious and investigative minds along with our analytical skills. A panel discussion that involved Google and Trinity Mirror discussed solving the skills gap in programmatic and spoke about a requirement for analytical minds who can read and interpret that data but who can also explain the phenomenon. They also talked about a need for strategic and creative thinkers with a core understanding of human behaviour and the principles of marketing and communications. Greater collaboration is needed across teams for the true benefits of programmatic to be realised.
If you were at the Real-Time Advertising Summit, what were your key take outs? We would be interested to hear your thoughts!
And if you wish to find out more about equimedia’s programmatic offering and our humanistic approach please contact us