During his recent visit to New Zealand, marketing provocateur Mark Ritson contradicted the perception that he’s anti-digital by declaring that programmatic is the future of ad-buying in the industry.
Arriving at this point will, however, demand that operators rectify the various issues that keep popping up across the industry.
“Right now, it’s the Wild West,” Ritson said. “And I use this metaphor because the Wild West became the midwest, which was very safe and a very prosperous part of America, but it took a long time to get there.”
Acquire Online programmatic director Zane Furtado agrees with Ritson, but says the local market has the advantage of seeing the mistakes made internationally and not replicating them here.
“Like Ritson said, programmatic has a few bad cookies, but there are heaps of tools available in the market to combat fraud, track viewability and attribution and deliver better ROI for advertisers,” says Furtado.
Marketers need to use the tools available to keep their brands safe and understand the environments within which their brands are appearing.
Transparency is something that advertisers need to discuss with their vendors, Furtado says.
“The reason brands move to programmatic is because of accountability, performance and transparency. With ads.txt, IAB US fee calculator and open RTB 3.0 (coming soon), our digital ecosystem is moving to a very transparent supply and demand chain. With supply path optimisation, PMP’s, blacklists and pre- and post-bid brand safety tools available, brands are offered close to 99 percent protection against negative content.”
In addition, Acquire Online also has an extensive whitelist of reputable ads that advertisers can limit their buying to. Rather than using a spray and pray methodology, marketers have the ability to be really selective if they want to be.
Understanding is key
Programmatic has a complex supply chain, and the tech solutions for that supply chain continues to evolve.
The best thing the buyer – in this case the marketer – can do is learn how the system works to ensure they are getting a fair deal.
Chris Schultz, Acquire Online’s director says the key is for brands to educate themselves to truly understand the supply chain, the technology involved and the skillset of their tech partners.
“Your Adtech partner should foster a practice of openness with data and work with you to be transparent around the costs and technology that are implemented in the buying process.”
Analysing what is being bought, measuring the effectiveness of ads and learning to ask the right questions can all lead to marketers buying programmatic advertising that actually works.
Proctor & Gamble (P&G) is perhaps the best example of this approach, with the company’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard carefully analysing his team’s spend in digital. After several months of reducing the number of sites it was advertising on, P&G recently increased the spread of its investment.
“P&G has gained more transparency over its campaigns, which has resulted in a bounceback,” Todd Krizelman, chief executive and co-founder of MediaRadar, told the publication Marketing Land.
“They’re the biggest advertiser in the US and one of the biggest in the world. If they want more transparency, agencies, vendors and publishers are going to deliver it. Because of this, media partners have been compelled to install more brand safety measures in an effort to retain and win new business from P&G.”
P&G didn’t wait for the market to evolve, but rather took active steps to push it forward. The company asked the right questions of its providers and they had to respond or risk losing the investment.
(See the below cheat from Acquire Online to find out what questions you should be asking your programmatic partners).
P&G has learnt how to avoid buying lemons and this is leading to the removal of defective options from the market overseas. In turn it has also led to an increased investment and trust in the approach.
Steps are also being taken at an industry level in New Zealand to ensure that marketers continue to trust programmatic.
IAB NZ chief executive Adrian Pickstock says the industry body will launch an initiative shortly that will help to educate marketers and give them the tools to make better decisions in digital. This builds on the work done by the IAB in developing a programmatic fee transparency calculator, which helps marketers estimate how much they should be spending on programmatic advertising.
Other defences also available include technology vendors such as Moat and Integral Ad Science, which are designed specially to cut out the waste inventory that’s never seen by a human being. Yes, this tech comes at an additional cost to the marketer, but anything that helps to protect a brand is worth the cost.
“Programmatic in simple terms means automation and as long as you are working with experienced ad-ops professional that are using the right tools and have the right inventory sources, advertisers have nothing to worry about,” says Furtado.
There’ll always be lemons in any given market, but advertisers have the tools at their disposal to avoid getting caught out. Marketers can choose a cleaner and greener programmatic environment, the power is in their hands.