When the gods of adland introduced the word 'programmatic' to the industry, it was immediately decreed that use of the word in everyday conversation would immediately put all those within earshot to sleep. This obviously makes it quite difficult for those working in the industry to stay awake, while slaving over spreadsheets. Even the most enthusiast programmatic specialist Acquire Online's programmatic director Zane Furtado admits that it isn't always easy to keep staff interested.
"As much as I love being a part of this industry, passion can run dry when it comes to excel sheets," Furtado says.
So in a bid to keep his team interested—and awake at their desks—Furtado has introduced an initiative that he dubs 'Game of RTB'.
"I figured that gamifying the daily routine could add some serious value. I could diminish excel fatigue and keeping my team engaged, entertained, alert and competitive. Nobody likes losing."
Staff members are scored according to their performance, winning points for categories such as innovating on a campaign, finding the optimum bid price and spotting an error.
All staff members have chosen an alter ego, which is accompanied with a quirky trading card (the always-humble Furtado has a casual 3,000 out of 3,000 on his card).
Furtado says he also sees this as a good way to teach young programmatic professionals about the skills necessary to succeed in the industry.
"Nobody goes to school to learn this stuff yet," he says.
"I have interviewed a lot of people, from media buyers and publisher sales, and have quickly realised that most traditional buyers and direct sales team don’t fully understand or adapt to the dynamics of RTB."
He says after an extensive search has now appointed four graduates to roles at Acquire Online.
"We introduced them to 10 platforms and walked them through all campaigns from planning to setup, creative and pixel implementations, optimisation, reporting and results," he says.
While the game of RTB is only in its infancy, we secretly hope that it garners a cult following of programmatic experts, who become so obsessed with it that Vice decides to make a documentary about it.