Commentary

Ad Tech Blending Digital, Physical Worlds

Advertising technologies continue to blend the digital and physical worlds. The most recent example of this trend is Time Inc.’s decision to expand its “programmatic print” offering by adding a dozen new print audience segments available for targeting via a demand-side platform (DSP) -- MediaMath.

This type of technology calls into question the use of the word “programmatic,” which has become somewhat of an umbrella term for all things automated. The Time-MediaMath partnership automates several parts of the print ad-buying process, yes, but there is no real-time bidding (RTB) involved.

It’s more akin to a “programmatic direct” partnership, but instead of buying digital ads through a platform, advertisers are buying print ads. It's an expansion of the application of ad tech -- an expansion from digital (MediaMath) to physical (Time Inc.'s magazines).

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Last week also saw Sito Mobile partner with data on-boarder LiveRamp to let brands use their offline CRM and sales data for mobile app targeting. Additionally, IPG’s trading desk, Cadreon, stuck a deal with Rocket Fuel to make offline data sets available to digital marketers.

These data-focused partnerships come as marketers continue to be drawn to the promise of running programmatic cross-channel campaigns. But in order to effectively run such campaigns, marketers need data that stretches across channels, screens and, apparently, dimensions.

The Time-MediaMath partnership shows that the offline-online link goes both ways. Partnerships such as Sito Mobile’s with LiveRamp, or Cadreon’s with Rocket Fuel, are about bringing offline data to digital marketers. But the Time-MediaMath offering revolves around digital marketers using data to buy offline ads.

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