Programmatic Knowledge Gaps Can Hurt Ad Biz

When new technology comes along, there are those who gobble up information from the beginning, and there are latecomers.

In digital advertising, lack of expertise is often seen as a significant industry pain point -- along with ad blocking, fraud and a lack of transparency.

Here are some numbers on the industry's need for programmatic training: 

-- About half (46%) of agencies are “unsure” if they trust programmatic technology to execute ad buys, according to a Strata agency survey from Q2 2015

-- In a survey of APAC ad professionals commissioned by AppNexus, 36% of APAC ad professionals said they know very little or nothing about how programmatic works. Only 25% said they were totally confident in their knowledge of how effective campaigns perform. 

-- A 2014 ANA and Forrester survey of 153 client-side marketers found about 40% claimed low or no understanding of programmatic buying.

It's important that people from agencies, publishers and brands learn the whole process and their role -- but as of now, a lot of folks are in the "newcomer" category.

Some are taking a head-on approach. Take Publicis Groupe, for example. After its programmatic ad buying agency Vivaki was reorganized last year, the company began a training program to educate employees on programmatic advertising. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 800 people have signed up for the online courses, which include programmatic buying basics, ad buying tools and software demos.

Kristen Robinson, global director of capability for Starcom MediaVest Group, a division of Publicis Groupe, told the Journal that the goal is to "provide uncompromised capabilities," adding, "What we’ve seen is there is this huge spectrum of capabilities, given the speed at which these changes [in the ad industry have taken place]."

Experimenting and diving headfirst into tech is a great way to learn. You make a few (hopefully not too terrible) mistakes and begin to understand and comfortably use an interface.

With ad tech, it's not always that simple, though. Parts of the process are often siloed, and experimentation isn't really an option when proprietary tech is kept behind closed doors.

Comments, anyone? Please let us know if there are any programmatic topics you're interested in hearing about.

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3 comments about "Programmatic Knowledge Gaps Can Hurt Ad Biz".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from DragonSearch, February 18, 2016 at 1:01 p.m.

    It maight be worthwhile for the industry to explore one aspect of the ad tech vendor - agency relationship. That is, the extent to which vendors are not comfortable with agencies that understand their offerings too much. The tech providers shoould welcome knowledgeable customers, since that has always been essential to healthy relationships, and how the long term winners in technology have gotten that way - by developing and offering superior products and backing it with prompt, professional service support. A client should be able to understand what the tech product does. It's worked in all the other verticals; why does it seem to be taking so long to work in the ad tech provider-client community?

  2. Matthew Barrowclough from Apogee Digital Media Partners, February 18, 2016 at 1:37 p.m.

    Henry, you are surfacing the fundamental issue. Too many vendors in this space architect their business on obfuscation and buzzwords. No vendor would ever say you only need one tier-1 DSP to accomplish 80% of what the marketer/agency is trying to achieve. Having worked with clients directly and managed multiple-DSPs simultaneously my first-hand experience tells me this. The allure of being "diversified" or "always testing" (sarcasm) in solutions is a trap that agencies fall into and vendors are more than willing to appease this behavior. The truth of the matter is that there are only a handful of solutions today that a marketer truly needs to be successful. The lack of marketer success is a deficiency in human operational capital or the market has left that marketer. We at Apogee recognized that and are fighting hard to accomplish this and rid the market of the elephant in the room.

  3. Evan Barocas from Point It Digital Marketing replied, February 18, 2016 at 4:44 p.m.

    This is a huge challenge and one that doesn't get talked about enough. Programmatic has been the most abused buzzword in adtech and I would bet most people in digital advertising couldn't define it. This is how fraud gets financed, and how adtech companies get away with taking huge margins on ad spend.

    The challenge of the programmatic marketer is can you also be an effective educator for your client/brand because that's whats needed most right now.