The 2016 IAB Programmatic Marketplace, Beyond Display and Video: Cross-Channel Automation at Scale, kicked off with Joe Laszlo, Vice President, Industry Initiatives, IAB, welcoming a full room of attendees from the digital media ecosystem at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square, New York City. Laszlo set the tone for the day, saying that programmatic is revolutionizing the media industry and announcing a packed agenda focused on five major topics: Header Bidding: Fad or Future; Emerging Channels; Cross-Device Measurement & Attribution; Bridging Creative & Media; and The Human Impact.
With changing roles and new skill sets, the industry is evolving towards tech savvy, data-centric buyers and sellers, professionals who are used to looking at tons of data. Laszlo identified Melissa Gallo, Director of Product, Programmatic Automation & Data, IAB Tech Lab, and Benjamin Dick, Director of Industry Initiatives, IAB, as the programmatic experts on the IAB team, and cited the recent IAB programmatic initiatives, including the Private Marketplace Checklist and the IAB Mobile Programmatic Playbook.
Laszlo introduced Alanna Gombert, Deputy General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, and Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB, who presented the actions taken by the IAB Tech Lab against ad blocking. “Ads have to get leaner, go on a diet,” said Gombert, encouraging the industry to adhere to the LEAN Ad Principles. The IAB Tech Lab has made available to IAB Members and IAB Tech Lab Members a global standardized ad block detection code that publishers can deploy to detect if a user has enabled an ad blocker. Gombert also introduced DEAL—which stands for Detect, Explain, Ask, and Lift or Limit. DEAL is about detecting ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation with the user; explaining the value exchange that advertising enables; asking for changed behavior in order to maintain an equitable exchange; and lifting restrictions or limiting access in response to consumer choice. This new DEAL, in conjunction with the LEAN principles, will help further develop a better partnership with the consumer.
Ruud Wanck, Chief Executive Officer Connect, GroupM Global, presented the buyer’s point of view on programmatic and talked about the trends in programmatic digital media across channels. He recommended to stop talking about programmatic as the opposite of manual or premium. Programmatic is about real time media investment management and automation. Programmatic connects brands to consumers in real time, all the time, and in a data environment. Wanck said that the whole ecosystem needs to become a trusted marketplace. Agencies need to transition from being an analog supply and demand connector into the real time era. Art and science are not opposite either; they are much closer than we think. Data processes allow to reach audiences at scale and at large. Next step is to link the creative to that level of data–relevant messaging going down the funnel with the right frequency cap.
Programmatic has already conquered desktop, and now other media channels are “going programmatic.” From programmatic TV, Out-of-Home, and beyond, the next sessions explored the transformation across the digital media landscape.
Kris Magel, President, Initiative U.S., and Aaron Radin, Senior Vice President, Partnership and Portfolio Products, NBC Universal, shared their point of view on programmatic television. Real time is impacting the entire communication space–constantly looking at new tools to be able to move towards a vision: create real time data, build media plans, and be able to make changes to media plans on the fly. Still in the early days of programmatic TV, agencies can currently make all the inventory available to be planned programmatically, and allow clients to create their own media plans, but none of this is done in real time yet. Magel said that in order to take advantage of the automated capabilities, we need to look at video overall with a holistic approach to delivering messaging in the video space, from TV to multi-screen.
Josh Kruter, Head of Digital Product, Clear Channel Outdoor, and John Laramie, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, ADstruc presented how the majority of Out-of-Home (OOH) is still static and very manual in terms of media planning—using photo sheets and spread sheets. ADstruc looked at every step of the buy/sell program to automate every touch points with APIs and to create a workflow that compresses the planning time from weeks to days or even hours. They automated lots of the components of the ask, search for inventory and workflow – availability, pricing, demographics across partners through APIs then applying a layer with data partners to optimize the media plan. ADstruc is bringing programmatic approaches to buying static media and building automation with partners like Clear Channel, getting smarter about bringing data in this environment.
Matthew Greitzer, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Accordant Media, and Benjamin Masse, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Advertising, Triton Digital, provided a programmatic audio overview. With a booming audience, reaching over 4.5 million listeners every morning, connected mostly on mobile devices (over 80% for streaming music), advertisers can reach an engaged audience in an uncluttered environment via digital audio platforms. Those ads are native and brand safe–running only on premium broadcasters. Targetability and measurability are key for performance oriented campaigns with tracking and attribution. IAB released the Digital Audio Ad Serving Template (DAAST) in October 2014 and Open Real Time Bidding (OpenRTB) 2.4 will be released soon with a new audio object and accelerated support from DSPs. Big trading desk like AppNexus, The Trade Desk, and MediaMath are already connected. Programmatic for digital audio has been a reality since January 2013 with over half the adult digital population listening to audio, and it can be traded as easily as programmatic display or video.
Loren Grossman, Chief Experience Officer, Annalect, the data and adtech engine for Omnicom, talked about how to marry data and creative. Programmatic creative has become a term in vogue. Grossman defines it as a data driven, dynamic experience to put the right message in front of the right people at the right time. Smart data, purposeful data is important to create those insightful audiences such as market timing insight, product preference insight, and to offer dynamic personalized creative with DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization). He recommended deconstructing advertising creative into assets—audience, branding, CTA, message, and service—to assemble the correct ad for the audience in real time then implement a rigorous testing design to ensure optimization. Specific creative pairing help get high personalization and strong lift. Grossman recommended to be very purposefully personalized and targeted and to think about creative as assets instead of ads.
Following a networking refreshment break, participants broke up into two workshops about Scaling the Walled Garden: An Omnichannel Approach to Programmatic Buying; and The Age of the Mobile PMP.
Dan Murphy, Senior Vice President of Audience Measurement & Analytics, Univision Communications, took back the stage to talk about programmatic measurement cross platform. He said that we need comparable metrics across platforms, rather than cross device. The challenges are to measure consumer value cross-platform, attribution, engagement, data quality, transparency and accountability, and usability for a good user experience. Nikos Tsagaroulis, Senior Partner, Director Programmatic Optimizations, Analytics and Data, Group M Connect, talked about cross device measurement and attribution challenges. Programmatic viewable attribution pillars for data driven ROI include audience, screens, channels, content, credit assignment, and real time. Measurement challenges include conversion capture, KPIs, and testing. Murphy said that reach, duration and visit or frequency are all important metrics–however they need to be comparable, viewable, and optimizable. The methodology should be transparent and accountable, always tied to metrics with optimization in mind. Murphy mentioned that we need to take a look at all the tags we have into a creative and to collectively adopt the LEAN principles.
Programmatic is also changing the sales force. Despite the rise of automation in digital, the human touch remains critical in transactions. Mac Delaney, Head of Programmatic, Merkle, said that it is time for cross pollination between agencies, clients, and publishers when hiring. The modern agency needs to understand advanced analytics, modeling, and database management. The seller can be an enabler, empowering the buy side. Yet we need to bring a different type of skill sets, develop a true consultative approach with a subject matter expert, enabling new KPIs. We are evolving from an upfront negotiation with media investment to a collaboration with a true ROI and investment where all partners can win. Jim Norton, Head of Global Media Sales, AOL, suggested to be the “digital doctors of the advertising world”. AOL has been investing in culture (branding and storytelling) and code (performance). Norton said that you need to know your customer and your products. The sales team can be organized with a single point of contact who builds trust with the client and balanced by bringing in a subject matter expert. With thorough understanding of what clients are looking for, their challenges, you can diagnose, then bring the right solution. AOL was one of the first companies to require its sales team to go through IAB Digital Media Sales Certification, training, and ongoing learning. It’s about building the confidence for the sales team through education. Randy Kilgore, Consultant, Kilgore Media Group, had a fire-side chat with Delaney and Norton about those new dynamics in the sales force. There is always tension between product expertise and consumer expertise. You can bring in highly competent talent, yet there is still a component of sales and service. To be relevant you have to be a trusted advisor and strategist both on the buy side and sell side. A diverse recruiting strategy is critical. Clients are also craving a slimmed down portfolio of providers instead of an exponential number of partners. We are in an era of collaboration where you want to become a trusted provider.
After a networking lunch, participants broke up into deep-dive tracks dedicated to Native Programmatic: State of the Market; Beyond Programmatic video to TV: The Seller Perspective; Implementing, and Scaling, Native Programmatic; and The Year of programmatic TV: The Buyer POV.
Many believe header bidding is a step toward a unified auction, but not all sources of demand are created equal. Pilar Prassas, Global Head of Ad Operations, Business Development and Programmatic, Reuters, moderated the panel about header bidding. Sam Cox, Vice President of Global Partnerships, MediaMath, said that the marketplace is moving to put programmatic first. Hitting multiple exchanges simultaneously helps bring more inventory to the marketplace and helps advertiser performance. Kristina Goldberg, Vice President, Programmatic, Mediavest USA, said it is critical to understand where to purchase and how to purchase. Tom Shields, Senior Vice President, Publisher Strategy, AppNexus, and Co-Founder, Yieldex, talked about how programmatic is flipping the waterfall upside down in a way that is compelling. A year ago, guaranteed ad server always got the first look. By putting programmatic first you are able to capture those high value bids in a new way. Some programmatic buys are now at premium CPMs. Now over half of the top comScore publishers are using programmatic. Publishers are placing tags for header bidding on their pages. Cox recommended to watch latency and to make sure that all partnerships have synchronized calls. Header tags are not an SSP (supply-side platform) but a marketplace aggregation tool. We need to normalize the header tags and increase the total inventory. Per Cox, the trend is moving towards a singularity of opportunity and a secondary look to figure out allocation. Shields recommended for publishers to pick their partner carefully. Trust and data protection are important.
Erica Schmidt, Executive Vice President, Managing Director, North America, Cadreon, talked about viewability and ad effectiveness from a marketer’s perspective and about putting science behind the standards. Schmidt shared insights from a recent study that explores the value of ads that meet the Media Rating Council (MRC) viewability standards. Key findings show that viewability is highly related to ad effectiveness. Two key dimensions are time and view. How long the ad is in view matters more than how much of it is in view. Her practical advice on how marketers can get the biggest bang for their buck include using video ads, prioritizing ad spaces where audio is likely to be on, ensuring that the logo is immediately visible, avoiding clutter, and placing ads in places where they are likely to be viewed for a longer period of time.
Leigh Zarelli Lewis, Senior Vice President, Consumer Brands, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Lijo Joseph, Senior Director – Performance Media, Beeby Clark+Meyler, presented how programmatic can drive app download. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt created a cross-platform content service called Curious World, a free learning app providing many ways to engage children in playful learning. The challenge was to build excitement and awareness about Curious World among parents with kids age 3 to 7 years old. Beeby Clark+Meyler created a campaign message focusing on kids talking with snappy lines. They leveraged various programmatic mobile partners using third party data to drive downloads among the target audience, generating half a million app installs within the first three months of the campaign. They recommend a clear message with brand presence and to work with partners or publishers who have the right audience and data.
Adam Kasper, Chief Media Officer, Havas Media North America, took the stage to talk about the agency’s role in the future of programmatic, how agencies are adapting and adopting new technologies to move forward and meet clients’ goals. Kasper addressed today’s trading models, marketplace complexity, and where we are headed. The promise of programmatic in 2008, when Havas launched its first trading desk, was to streamline, simplify, improve the workflow, and consolidate. The reality today, is that there is still a ton of fragmentation, lots of complexity, pricing opacity, multiple workflows happening at the same time, and expansion. Buyers need to be proficient in multiple platforms. There has been some improvement for micro-economies and long tail, but the macro market is still in flux. Current pricing models are being challenged. Increased commoditization will force differentiation and consolidation at many levels. The agency trading desk is driving major changes in the agency, continuing to disrupt the agency model. Trading desks are evolving into more of a center of excellence—acquiring inventory, using client data, driving results, and optimizing. Agency generalists also need to become platform/data specialist. Kasper presented the tradeoff between the different models. Many challenges include viewability (as currency), ad blocking, fraud, bots, and lack of transparency. The trend is towards the consolidation of platforms with agencies acquiring ad tech companies, consolidating technologies, and improving data quality for an optimized customer experience.
Scott Cunningham, Senior Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB, and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, wrapped up the event highlighting header bidding, trade off between latency and viewability, and publishers’ ad diet. User experience is a tradable currency today. The law of diminishing returns is that more ads equates to reduced consumers. Brand integrity is key. Cunningham encourages publishers to value their audience by creating better consumer messaging and gathering customer feedback while setting the ground rules with the LEAN principles. The IAB Tech Lab will help empower publishers and supply chain companies with tools, guidelines, and research. Practice implementing DEAL and LEAN in your organizations while celebrating advertising as the economic engine of an open, independent world wide web.
The event concluded with participants breaking out into town hall conversations about Embracing Effective Targeting in an OTT Environment; and Securing Premium Inventory in a Supply Crisis World; and sipping on some networking cocktails.
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