Programmatic: We Aren't The Bad Guys

If there is a bad guy within the advertising agency, programmatic would likely win the crown of the evil overlord right now. Programmatic is seemingly to blame for transparency concerns, fraud, mismeasurement, and now placing ads alongside appropriate content for clients: issues discussed during “Programmatic -- Driving Business Results,” a panel discussion at the 4As (American Association of Advertising Agencies)  Transformation Conference.

“Programmatic has got the worst rap of them all," said Luma Partners' Gayle Meyers. Programmatic executives understand the concern. Clients say they want a better user experience, with verifiable data and value.

"We want to help marketers increase the quality of engagement with consumers," said Amnet's Art Muldoon. “There are opportunities to track and measure all aspects of a campaign."

He suggested taking advantage of the hyperfragmentation of the market to reach an audience at scale, “We can run an audit and provide some behavioral and psychographic insights. Programmatic is powerful to do that," added Muldoon. "The question is,how do we filter for quality? Measure engagement. That is the mission."

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However, some of the concern about brand safety is exposing lower-quality shops. "This is like when I opened an ETrade account and thought I could do a better job than Morgan Stanley," said Xaxis' Matthew Sweeney. Clients are putting their ads in situations that require more caution and analysis. For instance, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chase Bank is running a massive amount of ads on TrueView, Sweeney said. "We would never do that. It feels like newer [agencies] and some companies took it in-house, not knowing how difficult it is to stay ahead of [content publishers]."

"It scares me that brands are trying to do it themselves,” noted The Trade Desk's Alex Schneider. The biggest change is the hunger for control. "Clients want to control everything," he said -- but they need to be "wary of the easy button."

What's ironic is that programmatic has one of the most transparent structures within the industry, said Accuen's Megan Pagliuca, Agencies monitor inventory format, ad size, mobile or Web, among other factors. They have results for every category impression ever served. There isn't this level of visibility when just giving tags to publishers, she pointed out.

Looking forward, the 4As Programmatic Council will deliver a white paper that essentially examines the value of effectiveness, not just efficiency. "There is a bulk of brands focused on cost savings and not as much on quality," Pagliuca said.

4 comments about "Programmatic: We Aren't The Bad Guys".
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  1. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, April 6, 2017 at 9:06 a.m.

    A few years ago, I actually analyzed an affidavit from one of these programmatic guys that showed where a lot of the spots actually ran. I warned our buyers who were considering the platform (in so many words), "you're gonna get hosed." Some of them bought the stuff anyway and now they're finding out for themselves.

  2. Matthew Nally from Labmatik, April 6, 2017 at 5:08 p.m.

    Agency propaganda continues. The arguments put forth here are remarkably biased - Accordant, Xaxis, TTD are all clearly pushing the agency narrative, when in fact marketers are taking control due to agency and managed service business model flaws. The fact is that a multi-billion dollar media buying market is shifting due in large part to programmatic technology, and the ecosystem incumbents are vying desparately to maintain their share of the value transfer that's occurring. Don't be fooled. 

  3. Melinda Gipson from Newzmaven, April 6, 2017 at 11:19 p.m.

    Exchanges and DSPs ARE responsible for the inventory  in which they make a market. I for one am thankful that the words "brand safe" are making a reappearance into a conversation about reaching audiences in the a sense of context. Context MATTERS, folks, and never more so in mobile, that most personal of media channels. Starting to use the term private marketplace to describe @SABIOmobile instead of DSP -- a term that will be tarnished in the industry without client assurance of strong verification that somewhere, somehow, there's an editor in there somewhere!

  4. Kyle Cottrell from LiquidAdX replied, April 7, 2017 at 3:12 p.m.

    Couldn't agree more, theirs a recent movement to pass a fake news propaganda narrative by the 3rd party middlemen that are leeching off of brands and pub's bottom lines. Brands and pub's get your Programmatic tech in-house and under full control and you will see a huge! decrease in fraud and middlemen margins. 

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