But that’s not what Pancer thinks at all. In fact, his view of what defines premium is far more focused on execution than any aspect of targeting. His vision for RTB’s evolution is also broader than you’d think.
Viewability and NHT
“Regarding the premium side of RTB, most advertisers focus on custom or rich media ad units, while others focus on quality, name-brand inventory,” Pancer began. “Both are important, but there must also be a focus on high-quality, trustworthy sites that are well-constructed and not littered with ads. That should be a consideration for defining premium.”
Viewability should be a factor, too. “Marketers still need to ensure viewability is high today; some websites have very slow load times, which negatively impacts viewability,” he noted.
Fraud is an ongoing concern, although we’ve made tremendous strides already. But advertisers need to remain vigilant and recognize that it affects even well-known sites. “Non-human traffic remains a problem, even for top-tier publishers,” said Pancer. “The execution behind the buying is important, whether you’re buying on a niche site, NYT.com or Yahoo – and that’s where premium comes in. Premium is a combination of technology and the publisher.”
He added, “When the bot net stuff came out this year, many advertisers assumed they were safe from NHT because [there were] blacklisted sites known to have fraudulent activity. But it’s the browser, not the website, that gets infected.”
The industry is already getting much smarter about identifying and eradicating bad actors. Pancer predicts an industry-wide effort focused on getting rid of fraudulent activity, non-viewable inventory and click fraud – all of which exist in surprisingly large quantities today. “The future is security and systems to get rid of all that. We’ll see a safer environment, driven by the entire industry, not just a few companies,” he said. He likens the situation to the clean-up we saw in search engine marketing nearly a decade ago.
A World Without Siloes
“Why do we have separate DSPs for display, desktop display, mobile and video, when they’re all targeting the same customer?” Pancer asked. “It makes no sense to have these disparate groups. It’s very inefficient.” Marketing professionals need to have a singular view of the user. They need to aggregate data, to understand user behavior. They then need to find a way to tie all that data together to deliver the Holy Grail: right message, right time, right person, right device.
In fact, cross-device now accounts for almost a third of digital media spend. Pancer predicts that this trend will accelerate quickly, and that it will have a profound impact on companies across the industry. “Cross-device will affect how we buy, how we model and how we think about the consumer,” Pancer said. “Whether you’re from the cookie-based world or device-based world, it’s critical to build a more seamless experience for the consumer.” This is happening much faster than people think, driven by consumer expectations and the faster-than-anticipated adoption of mobile devices.
As for tying mobile to desktop data, Pancer believes we’re just scratching the surface. “We’re thinking very tactically today, but it can scale,” he said. “Really, it’s game-changing.”
Science-Based Decisioning Over Deployment
When everyone has the same access to the same inventory and the same ability to bid, differentiation becomes a challenge. Pancer sees intelligence as the key to standing out in the world of RTB. “It’s all about analytics and how you bring it to market,” he said. “That layer of decisioning, insight and intelligence will be the next big market driver.”
It’s a promising vision for the future of RTB – a safer, smarter, more insight-driven programmatic world, with cross-device data for all. Smart guys like Pancer prove that while content may be king, technology is aces.