There's no doubting the impact that open exchanges and programmatic buying have had on the advertising landscape. But while unlimited scale for cheap is compelling, it does have its downside. For GroupM agencies, that downside appears to have finally won out. In a strategic and well-defended move, GroupM has agreed to stop buying into open exchanges, illustrating that agencies and advertisers should be building direct publisher relationships or working with trusted partners that leverage O&O/direct publisher inventory. I couldn't agree more -- for these primary reasons:
GroupM's public departure from the Open RTB market was a big discussion topic at the OMMA RTB Conference. In a more general discussion but with (tacit) reference to GroupM, I said that any large advertiser that does not participate in Open RTB is making a big mistake. GroupM cited two major factors motivating its (alleged) imminent departure from the Open RTB world: 1) fraud, and 2) controlling price via scale. Fraud has been discussed plenty by others, so I'm here to talk about scale.
It wasn't too long ago that technology companies were using the initial software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs to (hopefully) provide analysis through computed statistics. The data was manually inputted and mined through by professionals who then produced infographics to show their marketing executives and CMOs. It was a long, labor-intensive process. Luckily, programmers have not stopped creating and upgrading their algorithms and are bringing us a bright new era in premium programmatic.
Over the past decade, we have seen the disruption of many commercial models, often credited to the Internet, but more accurately due to the freer flow of information. For instance, the hated process of buying a car has been transformed by TrueCar, a crowd-sourced automobile pricing platform, enabling customers to understand what others pay for the same automobile. What was the common thread in each of these industries before being disrupted? Business models dependent on opacity are inherently unstable, as at least one party in the transaction, typically the customer, is left unsatisfied. In digital media, the lack of transparency …
Despite the momentum from many major players in the marketing space, recent research by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Forrester Consulting found that more than half of the marketers surveyed didn't understand programmatic well enough to buy and execute campaigns with it. Further, just one-quarter of U.S. client-side marketers understand and are using programmatic technology.
Unless you're from Miami, you probably found the San Antonio Spurs' systematic dismantling of the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals to be pretty damn amazing. Watching a team comprised of discarded role players and over-the-hill stars take down basketball's best player and his team of superstar cronies was nothing short of basketball ecstasy. Prior to the 2013-14 season, even Las Vegas had the Heat as an overwhelming favorite at 7/4 odds (every $4 put down you'd win $7 for a Heat championship). How did the Heat lose? And what the hell does this have to do with online …
In June 2003, Google AdSense was launched to help Web site owners earn money from content-related text ads. Google quickly changed to display ads to help reach specific audiences and in 2006, had over 1 million publishers. Today, nearly all of the top 200 comScore sites use the platform. If we are in the first inning of programmatic and exchanged-based advertising, the concept of BrandSense, like AdSense, can help publishers simplify how brand advertisers can buy their inventory.
Last week Walmart announced its own media buying exchange was in beta phase. The Walmart Exchange (WMX) shows the world's largest retailer tightening its grip on its digital assets, developing a platform for targeting audiences and buying media for itself and the hundreds of companies supplying its stores. While we haven't seen exactly what form WMX will take or what it will effectively manage without help from outside tech vendors, taking such an important piece of digital strategy in-house is a good look for Walmart. Ultimately, WMX is a sensible development that takes advantage of existing programmatic infrastructure and advances …
The digital ad industry is on the cusp of a seismic shift. We need look no further than the interview of GroupM's Ari Bluman posted recently. Joe Mandese asked tough, thoughtful questions and Bluman came back with tough, thoughtful answers. He made a lot of excellent points about fraud, waste, and the fact that today's often out-of-control ad tech ecosystem is getting in the way of advertisers getting the return they deserve on their digital investments.
Programmatic buying has some seriously untapped creative potential, and the possibilities of targeting TV audiences online provide a great illustration of that potential.