By now you've probably heard the hype: Native is going programmatic. New companies that promise to bring all the efficiency of RTB to native units seem to be sprouting up every day. It's a nice idea. As someone who loves seeing digital campaigns grow more efficient by using as much data as possible, I'm glad that people are experimenting with native campaigns at scale. There's only one problem: The whole concept doesn't make much sense.
Higinio "HO" Maycotte, CEO and founder of Umbel, a smart data company, is not the first to believe the future of media buying is data, but he is one of just a few pushing for more use of data in brand advertising for CMOs. Maycotte also believes that the future of media buying is heavily dependent on data.
Advertisers, publishers and agencies need to reevaluate their ad-serving needs in the context of the big-data era. They will need to seriously consider ripping out their entire cobbled-together stack in favor of a unified, full-service solution that enables them to visualize their data, turn that unstructured data into useful information, make informed decisions, and act upon those decisions within a single platform.
Everyone in digital wants a nice piece of Super Bowl budget, but there's little to offer except for impressions. For digital to get a piece of the pie, marketers need to be able to show that they got both awareness and engagement, and that they get both with the desired audience. Right now, Super Bowl TV ads only provide awareness across a wide, untargeted swath of consumers. Marketers are failing to understand how programmatic can deliver targeted engagement across digital experiences.
Tim Cadogan, CEO of OpenX, has been involved in RTB since its beginning, and has seen the industry grow into a multibillion-dollar industry very quickly. However, there's more - much more - to come! Cadogan says the programmatic space is only just finishing its first phase, which lasted five years, and its second phase should be be another multiyear growth cycle, full of "what I call 'programmatic sophistication.' This phase will be even more exciting," he asserts.
Most attribution approaches are stuck in the past, based on metrics and goals that are legacy to the brand, an issue all ad-tech providers face when working with large corporations. So how should marketers attribute credit? I am an advocate for replacing legacy attribution models with ones that understand and reward all factors that contribute to campaign success, such as position-based attribution. This isn't futuristic stuff; brands are successfully using position-based attribution today by measuring view-through, a metric that tracks the role of ad sequencing and frequency.
RTB is causing a major paradigm shift in how online ads are bought and sold, says Michael Smith, vice president of revenue platforms and operations at Hearst Magazines Digital Media. He compares RTB's importance to when search marketing first came out. Long-term, all media will be purchased through RTB, Smith predicts. "It's too compelling a technology for marketers and advertisers not to harness," he explains.
I've been responsible for helping companies expand internationally before - for products as diverse as movies (film distribution for Disney) to ad servers (Sabela Media, my first startup) - and it never ceases to amaze me how complicated it is for companies to grow beyond their roots. First and most obvious, there are major cultural and linguistic differences between the U.S. and other markets. Globalization and the continued rise of American cultural imperialism aside, other markets have different ways of doing things. In digital advertising, this can be as superficial as how requests for proposals (RFPs) and insertion orders (IOs) …
As marketers, our battlefield is the marketplace. Taking this idea to heart, lately I have been studying military philosophy and strategy to find ideas not offered in the latest Godin or Gladwell variant. Recently I came across an extremely interesting idea that could help marketers looking to take full advantage of the real-time edge technology gives to us to reach audiences: the OODA loop, which comes from the late Colonel John Boyd of the U.S. Air Force.
I am a huge fan of Flite and its CEO, Will Price, due to the company's ability to add what is really needed for premium programmatic to take "Flite," which is content and context. In the past, publishers created economic value by aggregating audiences around a certain demographic or context. Price says that RTB is changing all of this. "RTB is allowing marketers to shift from audiences that are aggregated by context, i.e. publisher domain, to synthetically stitching together an audience across thousands of publishers," explains Price.