The Lenovo digital marketing chief made a strong case against open RTB during his opening keynote at the Programmatic Insider Summit in Scottsdale, AZ. Actually, Milner said, “I hate the word RTB.”
The reason, he said, is “because real-time bidding drives you down a path of auction-based media-buying.”
From Milner’s POV, the real value of programmatic media is the ability to use software and data about users and media to find better and more cost efficient ways of reaching the consumer.
He also cast aspersions at the concept that programmatic is “remnant” inventory, noting that when Lenovo uses programmatic media, it is buying “the user,” not the media they happen to be on when a programmatic media impression is served to them.
Still unsure? Milner said that Lenovo did some A/B tests of its programmatic buys vs. direct “premium” buys with publishers, which concluded: “We found that the programmatic inventory to outperform in most instances the premium inventory.”
That said, Milner said Lenovo approaches programmatic as part of a greater whole -- a Taoist whole.
“You’ve got this Yin/Yang that is kind of fundamental,” Milner said, outlining the way the two divergent approaches work together.
Basically, he said Lenovo divides its media into two strategies: one called “Designed Media,” which means working with big publishers to develop content that is unique to Lenovo’s marketing objectives; the second is conventional media-buying including both programmatic and publisher direct negotiations.
“We build content with them. It’s not just about buying media,” Milner explained, adding that the content created in the Designed Media component can be “pushed out into programmatic.”
The thing he really likes about the approach is that Lenovo is a technology company that can use data and technology to test which components work the best.
While he didn’t go so far as to predict that most of the procurement part of the media process would become programmatic, Milner said it was really up to publishers to decide, more than brands and agencies.“It’s as much in the case of the publisher making that change as anything else,” he said.
This article initially appeared as a "Show Daily" post during day one -- Monday, March 23 -- of the 2015 Programmatic Insider Summit in Scottsdale, AZ. The event continues through March 25 and can be followed live here.