The Programmatic Obesity Problem

The latest threat to programmatic brand advertising (PBA) is obesity.  Everyone knows America tops the list of obese countries, but we are also contributing to the epidemic facing a fatter programmatic premium market, which threatens our digital fitness and ability to make decisions in real time.  There are many symptoms of our obese PBA marketplace. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Too Much Big Data

Silicon Valley’s solution to everything is more data.  Our inability to place utility or single actionable insights first is the key to our data obesity culture.  Technology start-ups’ habit of gathering as much data as possible, while filling endless dashboards without any forethought of how we are going to use it, is one problem with branding.  “Less is more” in the new data diet, and a minimal actionable dataset is perfect for brand advertising.  Simply track data for brand lift, recall, attention, and fit. What could be healthier for premium programmatic?



Unlimited Inventory

Programmatic in the U.S. has nearly 500 billion transactions per day, trillions of impressions, and a million+ publishers. The gluttonous amount of inventory in multiple ad exchanges could make buying and selling near impossible.    DSPs, SSPs, and trading platforms have tamed the programmatic marketplace by reducing choices for both mass and premium content.  The best dietary method for programmatic brand advertising has been private exchanges. Many believe this is the year of private marketplace. Better yields for premium sellers and higher returns for brands are a win/win to reduce options and focus on brand performance.

Audience Buying

Brand advertisers are buying audiences -- not distribution channels, platforms or content as proxies. This paleo diet of audience and distribution channels helps significantly reduce programmatic buying for the brand. A new measurement or audience calorie counter was born called the Audience Rating Point (ARP) to simplify programmatic for brand advertising across TV and digital.  This new diet plan may save brands’ lives as they enter ad exchanges.

Bloated Measurement

Many folks have worked on making “measurement make sense” and “measurement make money,” but few have been working on making measurement simple.  Our innovations have made the brand measurement space bloated and heavy in comparison to clicks and sales in the direct-response world.  Brand lift, recall, and attention have gained mind share and implementation in the programmatic world.  A lot of this is because of viewability, which is reducing choices in programmatic for publishers.  In response, many brand advertisers are spending more time getting lean and mean with analytics and measurement.  Weight loss is predicted for brands using ARPs, with attention and fit as the ad currency, which works for Madison Ave across channels and media.

Fat Technology Tax

The ad exchange world has drawn a lot of attention to transparency to make advertisers feel more comfortable spending the majority of their brand dollars in programmatic. Many do not like nor trust how cash flows around the ecosystem -- especially the fat “technology tax.” This is defined as the men (technology) who take the majority of the ad spend dollars in the trading process.  In fact, many clients dislike the fat technology tax, where, of the $10 invested by the brand for media, only $4 finds it way into the hands of the publisher, with the rest going to large groups of middlemen handling technology.  This fat technology tax of $6 is unacceptable.  Cutting out the potbellied middle men and adding transparency into the programmatic brand advertising space is happening today even at advertising trading desks.

The good news is, modest weight loss can improve and prevent many health problems in the adolescent PBA marketplace, through focused big data, private exchanges, audience buying, simple measurement and less middlemen in the trades.

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