TUI, the7stars and DataXu on taking programmatic to the next level | M&M Global

TUI, the7stars and DataXu on taking programmatic to the next level

Experts in programmatic attended an exclusive invite only breakfast hosted by M&M Global and DataXu at Kettner’s in London to discuss the key issues affecting the field.

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A panel debate was chaired by C Squared managing director, publishing, Jeremy King, with topics for discussion including making programmatic creative, how to combat ad blocking, and the future role of media agencies.

TUI head of media Sammy Austin started by saying that the level of understanding in programmatic varies significantly across agencies and advertisers. “I think it’s a really hard area to get your head around because there are so many innovations,” she added.

DataXu senior vice president and managing director for Europe Chris Le May said: “In terms of what programmatic is, you can probably go around a room asking for definition and get a very varied answer, in terms of whether they understand it.”

Clients aren’t overly concerned by programmatic, according to the7stars co-founder Jenny Biggam. “I think they are concerned with results,” she added. “We don’t have clients coming to us asking for a programmatic strategy – they’re more interested in the technologies and partners we’re using.”

Looking at changes in the field, Austin felt more advertisers want to spend in programmatic and are now thinking about bringing it in house, while Biggam discussed how the advance was leading to more data and tech literate hiring. “It completely changes the type of people you will see within a media agency in the future,” she added.

Austin commented: “I think one of the main things we look for is if someone gets the overall concept of programmatic, then the rest they can pick up on the job as experience.”

“I think what’s changed is the way we work with our agencies. There’s still definitely a role for agencies but more of a collaborative approach.”

Agency role

Biggam felt that, because experts are talking to experts, the role of the agency is becoming increasingly difficult. “The role is tougher than any other media challenge,” she added.

Le May claimed he is seeing a more “cooperative triangle between technology provider and agency”.

“The brand seems to take a much deeper interest in the technology, aside from the media buying side of programmatic, the exhaust product is a huge amount of consumer data which is useful to other stakeholders within the organisation,” he added.

“I think it’s an interesting dynamic and that demonstrates to me that certainly the larger brands have a lot to gain and a lot to lose from what an effective programmatic strategy can bring to them.”

“I think marketing has always started with consumer insight and understanding the customer,” said Biggam. “Programmatic just gives an additional layer of understanding to that. The exhaust product is behavioural data and I think that’s what’s really changing marketing now.”

Le May felt that it is important to have specialists in different areas of the marketing chain. “You can’t have data driven analysts coming up with the creative content for brands,” he said. “Programmatic is adding an additional rich layer of audience understanding on top of what they already have.”

Austin spoke about the virtue of having transferrable skills. “I think actually initially that programmatic has destroyed creative,” she said, going on to discuss how the inappropriate use of content had led to the increase in downloads of ad blocking software and how consistency across channels is key.

“As an advertiser, I like partners and agencies to be as transparent as possible,” she said, adding that TUI demands about transparency in things like how its partners are making money, what percentage they are taking, and what it is paying for brand safety and data.

Biggam discussed the fundamental relationship her company has in place for media buying and selling: “We don’t buy media at one price and sell it to a client at another, we wouldn’t dream of doing that, we charge for the time it takes. If we buy an impression for two pence, we’ll sell it for two pence.”

Programmatic growth

Austin believes there will be growth as programmatic moves in to other marketing channels like radio, TV and OOH, but Biggam argued that, in order for this to happen, they really need to define what programmatic means, adding that in its current definition it couldn’t be applied to many other channels

Le May talked about the importance of utilising available data, like weather information, and using it intelligently.

With regards to brand safety and fraud, Austin talked about the importance of working with a third party who is an expert, and extolled the virtues of not overserving ads and annoying them, whilst investing more in dynamic creative and native.

Overall the panel agreed that programmatic is in a good place to continue to grow, that education is important, as is creativity and collaboration. The agency still has a huge role to play in making sure advertisers are educated, but the area is in a good space and 2016 is going to be very exciting.

For many more insights into the programmatic issues covered, the entire session will be viewable in a video on our channel shortly.

Anna Dobbie


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