Yesterday was our Programmatic for Publishers Summit, which brought together some of the world’s biggest media brands with key thought leaders from the mobile marketing world and beyond to explore and discuss the challenges and opportunities that are waiting to be seized in the programmatic market.
The introduction of real-time bidding around 10 years helped to realise some of the initial promise of internet advertising, bringing the power of data to bear on individual ad impressions. Now, the market has evolved to introduce innovations like programmatic direct, programmatic guaranteed and header bidding, creating an ecosystem that is both incredibly powerful and incredibly intimidating in its scale and complexity.
Our Summit aimed to demystify some of the latest developments in programmatic, and offer publishers a chance to steer the conversation to the areas that mattered most to them. If you weren’t able to make it to the Summit, you missed out on some fantastic guidance from leading industry figures, but you can still access some of the gems of wisdom here, with our top 10 quotes from the day.
“Data powers our programmatic, especially around the direct conversations we have with agencies, but in the mobile world, there’s obviously a lot of rich data that you don’t see in the desktop world. All that location data, the way you can track a consumer throughout the day and work out when they’re travelling, when they’re working, when they’re at home. We’re doing a lot of experiments in that space to match up the advertising to what readers are actually doing.”
Paul de la Nougerede, commercial product director, The Telegraph
Our day was kicked off by Paul de la Nougerede, The Telegraph’s commercial product director, who shared how the news organisation has transformed its digital presence in the last 18 months, going from a tight focus on its website to embracing not just multiple apps but channels like Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP. Alongside this expansion of platforms has come a massive growth in the publisher’s commitment to programmatic, which has driven both scale and precision.
“All of the talk for the last 10 years over what is now housed under programmatic has been focused on the trading mechanics. If you’re a publisher, that’s a tremendous risk, and you have to balance that scale and opportunity that comes from programmatic with that creative approach.”
Andrew Morsy, managing director for UK, Sizmek
The data-focused world of programmatic trading shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect the creative side of advertising, however, according to Andrew Morsy of Sizmek, and in fact it can be an opportunity to augment it with more personalised, innovative formats. The growth of programmatic direct and guaranteed provides advertisers with a better sense of where their ads will be served, while the power of location data can be used to enable some truly innovative ad formats.
“We all have six apps that we look at before we’ve even woken up in the morning. Mobiles are turning into personal computers in our pocket, but they’re more than that; they’re personal”
Terry Hornsby, director of programmatic, GiveMeSport
In a fireside chat with our chairman Paul Gubbins, GiveMeSport’s Terry Hornsby explained how the personal nature of mobile was crucial for publishers who make use of social channels to reach consumers, and how successful publishers have to constantly be examining their use of ad tech to maximise efficiency and ensure that readers receive a flawless experience that isn’t slowed down by sluggish software.
“Tablet and mobile has historically been snackable, short-form content, 30 seconds clips and news updates. But because of the improvement in screen size, resolution, and because publishers have been doing such a good job creating it, we’re actually seeing big growth in long-form content; people consuming TV, sporting events and other longer videos.”
Sam Wilson, director of publisher business development, SpotX
SpotX’s Sam Wilson delved into the changing world of programmatic video, and how publishers can monetise both short- and long-form video content through a growing number of channels. He also touched on the importance of cross-platform identification in a time when consumers are reaching brands and publishers through a huge variety of means.
“We’ve got a very small, very lean team which means you can do lots of things very quickly, we’re very agile. Programmatic allows us to scale without the challenges of a large, legacy sales team. Which is why we have such a programmatic focus.”
Steph Miller, head of sales, marketing services, Zoopla
Steph Miller from Zoopla chatted with Paul Gubbins about the company’s approach to programmatic, covering everything from the split between open exchange and private marketplace, the looming threat of GDPR and how important brand safety is to both advertisers and partner businesses.
“My experience of trying to sell in-app advertising to brands is that the scale and the data exists in a format that advertisers don’t necessarily understand. The internet has made niche scalable, and even small publishers can find a substantial audience out there, and target them precisely.”
Andrew Morsy, managing director for UK, Sizmek
Speaking as part of our panel debate, Andrew Morsy from Sizmek spoke about how in-app advertising offers brands and publishers a huge range of mobile-native options that aren’t available to desktop or mobile web, both in terms of targeting and ad formats, and that in order to take full advantage of mobile, they need a presence across a variety of digital channels.
“Media buying today has shifted, but while we can make all the technical improvements and find all the efficiencies that we can, it will always be about those personal relationships and personal moments. The way forward is marrying those personal relationships with the scale of data.”
Tara Müller-Neff, senior platform and programmatic specialist for EMEA, Google
Kicking off the afternoon session at the Summit, Tara Müller-Neff from Google laid out the search giant’s programmatic plans for the next year, which will have a tight focus on programmatic guaranteed and enabling publishers to optimise towards high viewability, low waste, simplified deals and larger scale.
“Convincing developers and publishers to integrate an SDK is a bit like trying to bathe a cat.”
Rob Beecroft, general manager for UK, AddApptr
AddApptr’s Rob Beecroft explored the differences between mobile web and apps when it comes to monetisation, and how reducing latency and page loads has become a crucial issue for publishers, advertisers and the ad tech industry when it comes to the battle against ad blocking. He provided details on how publishers can simplify the ad tech that they employ in their processes without sacrificing targeting, analytics or reporting.
“Everything that can be made more efficient, will be made more efficient. The only reason you won’t go programmatic is if you’re looking for something really bespoke.”
Christian Baesler, managing director for UK, Bauer Xcel Media
Christian Baesler from publishing giants Bauer Xcel Media sat down with Paul Gubbins to talk about how the firm was adapting its legacy business to programmatic, with up to 98 per cent of its ad sales taking place programmatically in some markets, and how the additional levels of data that digital provided wasn't just shaping advertising, but also content.
"The machine, when you connect all the parts together, is so complicated that no-one understands it, and perhaps now is the time to simplify."
James Rosewell, CEO, 51Degrees
For his presentation, 51Degrees' James Rosewell touched on the importance of user experience, and how growing innovations in ad tech need to be balanced with a user-centred approach to publishing and advertising that focuses on speed, especially on mobile devices where an instant, personal connection is what is expected by consumers.