Trading Places (Right Now, They're An Also Ran)

Randy Cohen“A crowded space with a bunch of technologies that are largely redundant and not so different from each other. One which will inevitably see a lot of consolidation with a few dominant leaders emerging from the rubble.” That’s the way one top marketing exec characterized the term “ad technology,” when asked to participate in a new benchmarking study conducted by Advertiser Perceptions Inc. (see related story). It seems marketing executives feel a lot like trade journalists when it comes to this subject, because I have never experienced more of a deluge of businesses, business models, and business jargon in more than 30 years of covering advertising, marketing and media. So I was beside myself when Randy Cohen, one of the founders of Advertiser Perceptions Inc., asked me if I wanted to get a sneak peek at the study. What I learned was I am not alone. Plenty of people -- on all sides of our business -- are confused with the rapid expansion, fragmentation, and hyperventilation of the advertising technology marketplace. What I didn’t expect to see was how poorly agency trading desks would perform.

That surprised me, because I figured that once Madison Avenue got on the ad technology bandwagon, it would quickly ascend into the catbird’s seat. Well, it has not. And Cohen says it most likely reflects the fact that trading desks are relatively new to the mix, and that there isn’t even a clear read on their role within their own organizations, where traditional media-service departments are vying for control over the way their clients buy media. Just like the rifts that exist on the sell-side, it seems the buy-side isn’t in unison on the role of programmatic media buying.

The good news is that this is the current view, and given time, Cohen believes ad technology suppliers -- including agency trading desks -- can boost their awareness, their consideration, and their sentiment from all sides of the table. But to do that, he says, they have to “stop selling to themselves or to their investors.”

So kudos to API for putting a toe in the water and offering a guidepost, because if there’s one thing this segment of the industry can use right now, it’s some objective guidance.

“What we’re presenting here is what the market is now, and where people need to be to be successful and cut through all the noise in the marketplace,” says Cohen.

Continue checking RTM Daily for regular updates from this and future studies.

1 comment about "Trading Places (Right Now, They're An Also Ran)".
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  1. William Hodges from Tiny Circle LLC, February 4, 2013 at 4:53 p.m.

    This isn't surprising as the current state of ad technology only addresses a small number of issues and presents more challenges than it solves for the most part. Innovation will continue until the technology solves most of the buyers and sellers pain points effectively and the marketplace chooses more standards in the way of doing business, privacy, targeting, and inventory valuation. This business is still in a very early stage, and major change and inconsistency should be expected for quite some time.

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