From advertisers to publishers (and those in between) what is sentiment like toward programmatic buying?

Posted on 6th May 2014 - tagged in digital news, company news, digital, ad tech, media owners, publishers, advertising, programmatic

From advertisers to publishers (and those in between) what is sentiment like toward programmatic buying?

Last week The Drum held its first everDigital Trading Awards, which was attended by almost 450 people. Here sponsor Sphere Digital Recruitment's managing director Ed Steer writes about the current sentiment in the programmatic market.

Programmatic buying is here. One of the exciting developments over the past two years, and particularly the last 12 months is how programmatic has become part of the “mainstream” media channels. And it is of critical importance within the online display and performance display landscape.

One of the interesting elements of working in a recruitment company is that we get a very holistic and well-rounded view of the market. In the course of a day I can speak with a “CMO” at a major brand, a “business director” at an agency, a “director of data and insight” at a trading desk, a “VP” at a tech company (DSP, SSP, DMP, retargeter, social video…) and a “head of programmatic trading” at a publisher. It always interests me to see how insular people’s view of the market can sometimes be.

And very naturally so. People tend to focus on their business. So whilst we have been speaking about programmatic buying for many years, it was not so long ago that Xaxis was “GroupM MarketPlace” and that DSPs, SSPs and DMPs meant very little to anyone besides the few people who worked within these businesses.

Publishers, in some part, saw programmatic tech businesses as another potential threat to the value of their inventory. In the last three years, and particularly twelve month, we have increasingly seen programmatic buying move from strength to strength. From the “big three” (Ad tech, agencies and publishers) to the advertisers, who’s advertising money by and large funds these businesses, programmatic trading has been embraced and adopted by each cog in the media buying wheel.

Whoever we speak to about programmatic buying, from brands to publishers and everyone in between, there is a great sentiment toward it and an acceptance of how it has enhanced the media buying process. And that is great news. The next step for the industry is to leverage budget from brands who are not “early” adopters and to aim to win more of the big budgets that are still spent on “brand based” advertising.

Keep innovating. And keep it simple.

Trading media programmatically makes sense for all parties concerned. And this is one of the many reason that digital trading will continue to grow. Technology will continue to improve; Advertisers will be able to target their audience using better data, across more devices, and with improved creative. And all of this whilst optimising campaigns in real-time. Publishers can retain more control of their inventory and, when they get it right, increase the value of every impression they sell.

Media and advertising has always been built around innovation. It’s in the DNA of the people who drive and shape the industry. The first bill board ad, ad on the “wireless” and ad on TV were all ground breaking moments.

Although the technology that is used to trade media has become more complex, the principles that allow tech companies, publishers and agencies to make money have not. Brands want to put their product or service in front of potential customers.

Media and content owners can monetise their audience by selling advertising space to brands who want to speak to their audience. With new “lunar scapes” and acronyms’ rolled out on an ever increasing basis I think we can do well to listen to something that Steve Jobs once said “you have to work hard to keep your thinking clean and make things simple”.

Although technology is becoming more complex the way that it is described to those who can benefit from it, need not be. The easier it is for an advertiser, agency or publisher to understand what something is and how it works, the faster we will see them use it. And more frequently too. We often gravitate to things we are comfortable with – it can make you feel more competent and in control.

The great thing about the use of technology in media buying is, it works. And it is founded on simple principles – supply and demand. The easier it is for publishers and advertisers to understand that this is a better way of putting their brand in front of their target customers, or for publishers to monetise their audience, the faster and wider the adoption of digital trading will become. And the more people we will be able to attract to the industry. Keeping things simple is often difficult yet always useful.

A bit about people - Putting technology to one side, the best businesses are the ones that are led by the best people. These businesses hire and retain the best people; and communicate the best with their people, suppliers and clients. It is true that it is tough to find great people with programmatic experience.

Yet it is also true that there are some simple steps that you can take to make sure you hire the right person, at the right price and in a reasonable amount of time. It really comes down to making it important and best practice. If you have any questions about what you can do to attract and retain the best people to your business, then please do get in touch.

If you have any questions about what you can do to attract and retain the best people to your business, then please do get in touch.

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