C-suite executives, marketers and digital media enthusiasts from across the globe came together on Wednesday at ad:tech San Francisco 2015, the longest running modern marketing event in the industry, to learn and talk about the top marketing industry trends. The two-day conference features industry-leading keynote speakers, an expo floor showcasing more than 200+ of the latest solution providers, and a packed conference agenda led by world-renowned marketers from top brands and agencies.
Day one sessions at ad:tech primarily revolved around measurement and sharing best practices for engaged marketing. Speakers spoke on a variety of topics ranging from increased investment in affiliate marketing to how some of the biggest communities we’ve never heard of are leveraging highly engaged audiences who are not just interacting with the story, but are co-authoring it in real time.
The New Age of Advertisement
One of the most popular sessions on day one, “Understanding Programmatic Advertising in 50 Minutes,” included discussion about programmatic advertising and how it is set to have a massive effect on the advertising industry that has already moved beyond simple ad buy transactions, and into video and native channels.
The panel included Alison Gensheimer VP, Digital Marketing for Wells Fargo; Doug Fleming, Director of Programmatic Sales for Hulu; Howard Scott, VP Digital Strategy for Five by Five LA; and Gary Milner, Director of Global Digital Marketing at Lenovo. The panelists explained who the players are in programmatic advertising, and shared best practices for organizations working together within each unit, even as internal departments have different goals needing to be conveyed to vendors.
Why does programmatic advertising matter? “Programmatic” ad buying typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations, and manual insertion orders. It offers a scalable solution for marketers based on data and which also makes custom advertising seriously challenging.
If you only know who your ad is reaching, and don’t know exactly where the user is seeing the ad (i.e., because you are buying media via ad exchanges), then it becomes very difficult to customize the experience on a site-by-site basis. The promise of programmatic marketing is to bind dispersed data together and make it actionable in a real-time, digital world. In Scott’s words, this approach is “the latest trend” in electronic media.
According to the panel, another key reason programmatic advertising matters today is efficiency. Before programmatic ad buying, digital ads were bought and sold by human ad buyers and salespeople, which are expensive and unreliable. Programmatic advertising technology promises to make the ad buying system more efficient and, therefore, cheaper.
What Does A Programmatic Future Mean for Today’s Marketer?
Programmatic might be the new buzzword for display advertising, but its implications are far more broad. Imagine as a marketer, being able to know when one of your customers is in a taxicab, and whether they opened your latest email before they got in it, whether they have bought from you recently and whether they are due to go on vacation soon. And from that data, you’re then able to decide the value of showing them your message at that precise moment. It’s almost fully “customized marketing.”
Commenting on another common buzzword in the field of programmatic measurement, “viewability,” the panelists added that the industry is pushing for it, but campaigns are not built around it. Gensheimer pointed out that view-ability sometimes can also be a great indicator for fraud; great reach could also mean double stacking or fraud impressions.
We have been pushing hard as marketers to reach the magical place of always talking to the right person at the right time and with the right message, and that shouldn’t change. But big data and programmatic marketing also adds another element to the equation – the right price. According to Gensheimer, in a real-time media world, understanding how much to pay to talk to someone is as critical as knowing which person to talk to in the first place, and now you can.
Check back tomorrow for more takeaways from ad:tech San Francisco!