The Crawl, Walk, Run Guide To Audience Suppression

October 19, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appeared in AdExchanger. 

Brands often have a long list of people they don’t want to show ads to: customers who just bought a product, current subscribers, non-subscribers or a group of people in their CRM database they know won’t qualify or be interested in a product.

To avoid showing ads to people – a technique called audience suppression – brands need tech, talent and a strategy to back up their choices. Audience suppression done right cuts down on media costs and makes customers happy. Done wrong, it can annoy them and send KPIs plummeting.

Here’s what agency and tech experts have learned along the way about how to do audience suppression right.

How has this tactic been used historically?

Direct mail marketers use audience suppression all the time to make sure the same person doesn’t receive too many offers, or to avoid exposing them to a better offer right after they convert to an okay offer. Email marketers have continued this tradition, withholding certain messages from subscribers unlikely to be interested in them. But in other mediums, like TV, marketers haven’t been able to use the tactic – although that’s changing.

My brand is just getting started. What’s the basic way to use audience suppression?

Make sure you aren’t showing ads to users who just bought something online.

Before advancing on to anything else, brands need to use this simple, high-value technique. “Suppressing converted customers from your retargeting campaign is critical to optimizing,” said Serge Del Grosso, SVP of media services at Merkle.

Still, many brands have a hard time even doing that right, continuing to show ads long after an online purchase. “That is the most common holiday complaint from family and friends,” said MediaMath Chief Product Officer Jacob Ross.

I’m crawling. How do I walk?

Brands can also suppress customers who don’t have the right purchase profile to qualify for the prospect pool, advised Del Grosso. And they can suppress prospects that have already been exposed to an ad multiple times – though figuring out just when to give up requires detailed analysis.

Or, instead of not showing ads to users who converted, brands can mix things up by showing users a different offer – like a camping backpack to go with their hiking boots.

Good audience suppression also needs to work across devices.

“We have one customer that sells subscriptions for a TV service,” said LiveRamp CMO Jeff Smith. “Similar to a direct mail marketer, they are always tweaking their offers to acquire the customer. The last thing they want to do is offer that customer they just hit on a web browser with the basic offer [who converted] and give them the advanced offer on the mobile device.”

How do I run?

Smart advertisers will understand the customer life cycle for their products and use that knowledge to inform audience suppression strategies.

“You should not be suppressing audiences in perpetuity until you have built up a healthy picture of how your customer historically interacts with your brands,” said Essence’s Jon Taylor, global director of data strategy. “I certainly wouldn’t suggest suppressing audiences from day one if you are uncertain about when you should bring them back into the targeting mix.”

Brands make audience suppression more effective by bringing together offline and online purchase data. “Offline transactions are as important as ecommerce transactions in looking at what customers to suppress, ” Del Grosso said.

A bank, for example, needs to bring together online and offline databases in order to smartly suppress audiences.

“If you just use online information about your customers, you aren’t taking into consideration all of your customers that already have credit cards, for example, in an offline database,” said Bryan Simkins, technology solutions partner at Transparent Media Partners. “You may be wasting acquisition media dollars on customers who already have a credit card because your systems aren’t connected.”

What will mess up my campaign?

“One of the most common mistakes is the time lag between the conversion and removing them from the prospecting pool and retargeting pool,” Del Grosso said. Campaigns require active management to ensure customers are moving in and out of the right suppression buckets.

Second, brands shouldn’t start suppressing audiences right out of the gate. It’s better to let a campaign run across a broad audience and then start making decisions. That way, traders can look at the average ad frequency before conversion, for example. Otherwise, brands risk removing people who were still on the path to purchase or incorrectly excluding audiences.

Data quality is also a biggie. If brands want to suppress ads to women, and the data is only 50% accurate, they’re wasting money on media and on data, Ross said. And brands might be making incorrect assumptions about their audiences. For example, men may use the product, but maybe women are buying the product as a gift. 

How do I measure the ROI?

Audience suppression can move the needle on almost every brand metric, from CTR to sales. Focusing on the proxy metrics, like clicks, can be an easy way to get a feel for efficacy. But it’s even better if the brand or agency can connect new audience suppression strategies to sales or a cost per acquisition.

“We have a number of clients looking at a CPA [cost per acquisition] on the financial services side,” Del Grosso said. “When the operator starts seeing the cost per order creeping up, that’s a trigger that tells us our costs are going up and we need to refresh our audiences.” The agency will then suppress users that haven’t converted after a high frequency or bring back others that haven’t been served ads in a while.

Brands should also keep qualitative metrics in mind. “The softer aspect is not wanting to make your brand seem creepy because you are following them around with an irrelevant message. That’s part of the ROI too,” said LiveRamp’s Smith.

“You have to think about what the true lifetime value is of exposing users to ads over and over again,” MediaMath’s Ross said, himself a veteran of retargeter Criteo. But making determinations about lifetime value is difficult, and one he thinks is best solved by machine learning algorithms. 

What technology do I need?

Brands definitely need a DSP to optimize quickly. If brands need to activate in multiple places, they may need a separate DMP. If they’re bringing in CRM lists or offline data, a data onboarder may also be in order.

Do I need to hire anyone with special training?

Mastery of DSPs and DMPs is a must, said Essence’s Taylor. “Historically, segmentation skills have existed further back in the campaign planning process, in strategic planning. We need to bring more of that thinking forward into campaign management and data management.” That said, most media planners are adept at doing audience suppression – but analytics experts will help refine strategies and provide more insight.

What’s the future of audience suppression?

Better identification will enable omnichannel audience suppression. Suppressing audiences across multiple channels, like television, out-of-home and digital, is the oasis that agencies and tech companies are plodding toward. There is steady progress in cross-device and cross-channel identification of audiences, which will pave the way for omnichannel audience suppression.

Also, brands want to start doing audience suppression using people-based identifiers, not cookies, which will make it easier for brands to tie their decisions to business outcomes like sales.


Social Advertising is Getting Less Antisocial

October 16, 2017 — by Sara Skrmetti0


Marketers have woken up to the fact that their communication with consumers needs to be consistent across every touch point. There’s just one problem: Some touch points remain resistant to becoming part of an omnichannel solution.

Take social networks. While video and mobile advertising have mostly folded into a 360-degree view of the consumer, social as a channel remains siloed. Mainly, that’s because the largest social networks are walled gardens, meaning they don’t make their data available or their auctions open. This makes everything about campaign execution hard – separate platforms, discontinuous and manual optimization and incomplete pictures of performance and attribution.

This situation won’t last. The market demands that social becomes more of a standard component of an omnichannel solution. In time, the market will win.

Forrester’s view

The latest proof that social is not exceptional came in the Forrester Wave Social Technology Q3 2017 report in August. The report portrays a market divided by small players with DSPs and marketing cloud solution providers waiting in the wings.

Forrester counts 144 vendors, which range from agencies to pure-play tech companies. As the report notes, “most are small fish managing microscopic media budgets.” Most reported less than $80 million in social ad spending running through their platforms in 2016.

Forrester predicts that social adtech won’t be its own category for long. There is already consolidation and although U.S. social ad spending will increase from $4.1 billion in 2016 to a projected $21 billion this year, the amount of ad spend managed by the top players in the space didn’t even double. Where’s the rest of that money going? To the social networks themselves.

Social ad buying has remained immature because the tech involved has remained immature for a long time, aside from the tech provided by the social networks directly. Many social ad companies are managing campaigns on behalf of advertisers, while the rest of the adtech ecosystem has leaned toward self-service. That indicates that many marketers are still figuring social advertising out. As the report notes, DSPs including MediaMath are beginning to offer social ad inventory alongside their RTB inventory. Eventually, social ad buying will be standard in DSPs, and ultimately absorbed into marketing cloud solutions, Forrester predicts.

My take

I couldn’t agree with Forrester more on this subject: Social can’t remain its own category for much longer. Currently, consumers spend about 50 minutes a day on Facebook properties alone out of a total of roughly 12 hours of daily media exposure. Marketers now realize that they need to coordinate their messaging during all of those 12 hours.

That said, the social networks won’t make it easy. It is in their best interest to remain walled gardens for a number of reasons, but this desire to stay separate won’t withstand the market’s demand for an omnichannel solution that includes social from activation to optimization, all the way through to measurement.

Market demand caused Facebook to partner with Visual IQ and the Neustar-owned MarketShare last year to provide third-party attribution. Similarly, they have partnered with a number of firms on third-party viewability measurement. I predict we will see more of this – the market will push walled gardens further toward transparency and independent verification.

I don’t expect the social networks to abandon their walled garden status any time soon. The siloed nature of social advertising will remain a challenge for marketers a bit longer, but I am confident the market will work out a solution that allows social to be one component of a 360-degree view of the customer.


Taking Digital Marketing to the Next Level with AI and Cloud

September 14, 2017 — by MediaMath1


By Bob Lord, IBM Chief Digital Officer, and Joe Zawadzki, MediaMath Founder and CEO

Let’s talk about how far digital marketing has come and be proud of that for a moment.

Twenty years ago, it was just an idea. Then, 10 years later, programmatic marketing heralded a necessary move toward a better marketing future fueled by data, powered by technology and driven by math.

Today, advertising can be found across connected screens, all controllable with a touch of a button. Ads get billions of impressions a day, touchable through APIs and UIs, which is something that was impossible just five years ago.

Marketers are breaking down organizational silos where collaboration across brand, agency, tech, media and data is finally seen as not simply necessary, but right. Real-time machine learning is used for more than half of every dollar spent in digital, where a 100-percent programmatic future is on our doorstep. Data-driven marketing is moving from one way to do marketing to the way marketing is done.

Still, the reality is we need to go much further.

If you listened only to the press, you’d hear a cacophonous cry of “fake news, fake traffic, fake metrics.” You hear that the infrastructure that manages the now billions of dollars flowing through digital marketing pipes isn’t up to the task anymore. Pixels, redirects, JavaScript and headers are the stuff of a startup industry, not the foundation for mature marketing at scale. Perhaps worst of all, experiencing that moment when kids see an ad and exclaim, “Ugh, I hate advertising.” This, above all, is a daily reminder that we can and must do more.

If marketers really want to pay off the promise of marketing as an engine of business, the connection of thought and deed—the 3 percent of the gross domestic product that powers the other 97 percent, that enables the free internet, that consumers don’t hate and could even learn to love—to move from rendering banner ads to driving business, they know they need to change.

MediaMath and IBM saw in each other something important: a shared worldview, a desire to do better and the will and capability to make it happen. So we’ve partnered to take the next evolutionary steps together. What does this mean? It means we’ll work to:

  • Develop infrastructure that connects brands, consumers and all of the companies in between in a way that is enterprise-class, open and smart.
  • Infuse AI into real-time marketing decisions across all channels, arming the marketer to do her job better with insights as opposed to reports.
  • Delight the human behind the screen with advertising people don’t just tolerate, but appreciate as entertaining, informative and meaningful.

By providing marketers with a neutral, security-rich computing environment and giving them the ability to maintain ownership of their data through the IBM Cloud, marketers will have the insights they need to deliver the campaigns consumers want.

MediaMath and IBM are building the foundation that makes great marketing that moves at the speed of human beings possible, and we are incredibly excited to see what you make of it.



Market Forces Drive Addressable TV To Become Reality

August 30, 2017 — by John DeFilippis0


This article originally appears on MediaPost. 

YouTube, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix all have mountains of data on their users. They are also digital natives that operate on the backbone of the Internet.

For these companies, content delivery is automated, data-driven, smart, fast and on-demand. It is of course no surprise to see those that are ad-supported set their sights on TV ad dollars. For all of them, digital video and originals are at the top of the priority list and this is what will finally drive the industry to broad addressable TV solutions.

For years, addressable TV advertising has been an ideal that was often theory more than reality. Rather than place a television buy that reached tens of millions of households, but would only appeal to a small minority of those households, the addressable buy promises to largely remove the waste.

On its face, the appeal of such a targeting mechanism is clear: efficient marketing meant to drive higher ROI.  In the digital world, if a  campaign was targeted to people in the market for a new car, the TV buy could follow suit instead of relying on broader targeting aimed at everyone who was watching the same TV program at the same time. (Of course, addressable targets by the household meaning if a family of four resides there, no one will be sure if the target consumer will be watching at any given time).

What has made the prospect of addressable TV advertising frustrating for many marketers is that while it is technically achievable, the economics are sometimes difficult to balance.  Meanwhile, tapping data from third-party sources requires extra work for  marketers and it may not always be worth the effort.

But there may be a real shift in the market coming soon. The highly targeted audiences that are and will be available from the media giants mentioned earlier will (eventually) attract marketer budgets that are earmarked for traditional TV — cable, networks, local, etc. Traditional TV, the incumbents, will not passively stand by as the market shifts. The stakes are too high. So this is one of the primary market forces having an impact on change in the traditional TV industry. The other is a change in consumer behavior. Consumers want top quality programming, this is nothing new, but they want it on-demand and on all devices, which is an inherent characteristic of digitally delivered content today. Evolution is inevitable.

As a result, I expect to see a  rise in addressable TV advertising, but it will remain a relatively small slice of the market for the next few years as the industry sorts itself out.

The current state of addressable

At this writing, tens of millions of homes in the U.S. are able to receive addressable TV advertising and some 70 million will be able to get it by 2020.  But just a fraction of homes are actually being served ads this way. According to eMarketer, addressable TV accounted for just 1.3% of the total market in 2016, a figure that the researcher predicts will jump to 3% by 2018.

As those numbers indicate, addressable has been used more for experimentation than a  regular line item on media plans. So far, carmakers have shown the most interest in addressable. For example, Toyota promoted its Prius Prime to 18-49 year-old tech savvy consumers with annual incomes of $75,000-plus last year. Hyundai placed a similar addressable buy to promote its Genesis model, targeting consumers with annual salaries of $100,000 or more.

Marketers, looking to gain more of a 360-degree view of their customers, are also clamoring for more data so they can connect all of their audience buys across all screens. Ultimately, driving outcomes that build a business is the goal and knowing what budget to spend and where to spend requires a holistic planning, execution, measurement, and optimization effort. That said, I don’t expect the addressable TV market to crack wide open too soon. There is much invested in the history of the industry; cable operators, for instance, are likely to keep experimentation on the edges until they see a clear benefit.

But the momentum is moving toward an addressable world. That means that even though addressable TV has been on the table for years and the pace of progress, for some,  has been a source of frustration, marketers may soon start achieving what until now has merely been an idea.


Solving Ad Fraud This Year

August 25, 2017 — by Kyle Turner0


Ad fraud has been menacing the digital ad industry for years and has grown beyond critical mass…Though one study by the Bot Baseline report predicts that fraud will fall 10% this year, not everyone agrees. An estimate by Adloox claims that ad fraud will cost the industry $16.4 billion this year, up from $12.4 billion last year.

The report details that nearly 20% of digital ad spending was wasted in 2016 and up to 29% of programmatic spending ran on invalid traffic.

From my vantage point, as head of Inventory Quality at MediaMath, I would agree that this industry problem is bad. In part this is because fraudsters are ingenious about inventing new ways to rob advertisers and steal from the ecosystem. Here are the three biggest trends I’ve seen this year:

1. Counterfeit/”spoofed” domains. In a sleight of hand, fraudsters show premium domains during the bid request (like but when the impression is served it actually arises from something like, which is phony. This may lead to putting the legit domain ( on an advertiser blacklist. One of the tools available to mitigate this issue is ads.txt, a tech tool developed by IAB Labs that helps to identify fake or unauthorized sellers. MediaMath supports ads.txt and is eager to see publisher adoption grow.

2. Invalid traffic. Also known as “non-human traffic,” this is a bit of a misnomer as it can actually be created by humans. Whether generated by bots or people, malicious invalid traffic wastes marketers’ money and undermines confidence in the digital media ecosystem. The scope of such activity is huge; security firm Imperva found that 28.9% of all web traffic last year came from “bad bots.” MediaMath leverages a mix of proprietary techniques and certified third party vendors to combat invalid traffic, and does not tolerate invalid traffic being sent to our platform

3. Brand safety. This isn’t a new issue, but it garnered new attention this year as journalists highlighted instances of brands advertising on brand-unsafe video content, along with an increased awareness of the challenge of “fake news.” Many advertisers have taken steps to limit their exposure to user-generated content and rely on ecosystem partners to enforce brand safety across their campaigns. MediaMath’s Curated Market guarantees marketers that their messaging won’t run on brand-unsafe properties.

What will fraudsters come up with next year? Unfortunately, it’s likely that the cat-and-mouse game between ad tech providers and bad actors will continue. But we hope that this year will represent a turning point in the industry’s efforts to combat fraud. Leveraging the right tools and partners, marketers can help ensure that their ads run in clean, safe, authorized, authentic and well-lit environments.

If you’re attending IAB AdTech & Data Brazil, head down to see our General Manager of Supply, Lewis Rothkopf, speak on Inventory Quality and Brand Safety Tuesday, August 29.


Will Blockchain Upend Digital Advertising As We Know It?

August 22, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appears on MarketingDive.

Even as digital advertising reaches parity with TV in terms of media spend, the space is having a decidedly rough go of it in 2017. Some of the most influential marketers in the world like Procter & Gamble are peeling back tens of millions of dollars from digital budgets as issues like ad fraud, brand safety, wonky metrics and general non-transparency continue to siphon off dollars and hamper business performance.

Online ad companies, to put it pointedly, are quickly losing the trust of brands. But for those who still cherish digital’s flexibility, wide creative canvas and globe-spanning scale, blockchain technology is looking more and more like a balm to many of the channel’s glaring and growing blemishes. Two pillars of blockchain — micropayments and smart contracts — were cited by multiple sources interviewed for this piece as being able to clean up and greatly simplify the digital media supply chain.

That shift that would, in turn, cause a lot of disruption, and shake up an agency and ad tech space that’s repeatedly had trouble catching up with the demands of digital transformation and a quickly fragmenting media landscape.

“This has the potential to really change the game in terms of how agencies are compensated,” Dustin Engel, head of analytics and data activation at the independent full-service agency PMG, told Marketing Dive. “This opens the floodgates in terms of what actions are actually going to be the most meaningful for my business.

“If I want to talk to new customers, I can actually establish micropayments if certain criteria are hit,” he said, noting that those criteria can be as granular or broad as an advertiser wishes. “That really changes things for advertisers, which turns into more spend. It’s just a question of, how does an agency deal with a change in their economic model and contracts with their advertisers to be able to manage to that?”

Breaking down the blockchain basics

Marketers can be forgiven for not knowing the nitty-gritty of blockchain given how nascent the technology is. First manifesting in a white paper by the elusive computer programmer Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, blockchain quickly gained traction in the financial sector in the forms of Bitcoin and Ethereum. But how does it actually work?

“At the core of every blockchain is the distributed ledger — a distributed database of sorts — which keeps full copies at multiple locations that are kept in sync through the open internet or private networks,” Wil Schobeiri, CTO at MediaMath, explained in an emailed statement. “Every time a transaction occurs, it’s replicated to and verified by all participants in the network. The record of transactions is always available to every participant, and they are notified with each new transaction.”

Parties in a blockchain are linked together by what are called smart contracts, and desired actions can be accounted for individually in micropayments executed in real time. Engel pointed to MetaX, which runs the adChain protocol, as an early example of blockchain being leveraged for digital advertising.

“What blockchain brings to the industry is really just the ability to coordinate and come to a trusted conclusion on data,” Ken Brook, co-founder and CEO, MetaX, said in a phone interview. “You can trust it because it’s secured and no one owns it — there’s no incentive to modify this information that’s being accessed.”

Creating a secure digital business environment will only become more pressing as government regulation in response to cybersecurity and fraud threats looms larger, per Brook.

“This industry has always been known to be unregulated by the government,” he said of digital advertising. “If we’re not enforcing guidelines and standards that protect data and allow us to be responsible, then we’ll continue to see the government step in, place fines and get more involved.”

For marketers, the tech also presents an opportunity to rectify the long-standing neglect of online consumers who are inundated with often intrusive ads but rarely acknowledged or rewarded for their time. The same payment system between advertisers and publishers under blockchain extends to consumers, who can be given tokens for engaging with ads, providing data or completing other activities that add brand value, creating a more equitable exchange that could stymie the adoption of ad blockers, according to Brook.

“What blockchain creates is essentially an active consumer,” Engel said. “That’s existed for some time — I will pay you if you do X, Y and Z, and typically the result of that has been you get somebody to sign up as a lead, not necessarily a sale. It’s basically wasted money and the illusion of lead volume.”

Marketers, in an example from Engel, could also compensate influencers not only to demonstrate and buy products as they do now, but also socially influence around those products at scale via micropayments, clearing waste in the influencer market and making the channel more actionable. And blockchain, or at least a steadier adoption of micropayments applied to these business areas, could be arriving far sooner than some might expect — within the next 18 to 36 months, sources said.

Risks and roadblocks

Unlike other emerging tech areas, blockchain won’t need to reach critical mass to make a serious dent in the industry. All it really takes is one standout example to attract more interest, according to Engel. He said that, while fraud is a top concern — an estimated $16 billion in ad dollars is lost to bot traffic annually — the split of working to non-working dollars put into marketing is what truly pains digital advertisers at the moment.

“You could have a large advertiser that really cares about their ratio of dollars that are actually working dollars versus non-working dollars saying, ‘Hey, look at the amount of middle layers I could potentially cut out if an open exchange exists and I can ensure reduced fraud and high brand equity’ — that is something that can turn the tide quite a bit,” he explained.

On the other hand, one notable disaster that calls into question blockchain’s security proposition could turn marketers away. Enthusiasts often tout blockchain as being “unhackable,” which is almost certainly untrue, according to Alanna Gombert, former GM of the IAB Tech Lab, who recently resigned from that position to pursue a role in the private sector.

To read the full article, click here.


Facebook Cracks Down on ‘Fat-Finger’ Accidental Ad Clicks

August 14, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appears on AdvertisingAge

Facebook wants to fix the pile-up of “fat fingers” and hair-trigger mobile ads that lead to unintended clicks.

The company has decided to stop charging advertisers in its Facebook Audience Network if a person clicks on a mobile ad but backtracks within two seconds. That’s a telltale sign of an accidental click, according to Brett Vogel, Facebook’s product marketing manager.

It is also setting new requirements on ad formats in the audience network so they are less quick to register a click and send people to a new page.

Facebook Audience Network, or FAN, is an ad network used by apps, games and publishers to serve ads like the ones served on the social network. Facebook sells the inventory to its customers but lets them reach beyond its own properties.

The changes affect only FAN and not Facebook’s own mobile properties, which don’t run the kind of ad units that most exacerbate the problem. Some publishers make it too easy to click on ads, likely hoping to boost their fortunes on pay-per-click buys. It’s particular easy to mistakenly hit an ad, for example, when a game that requires tapping the screen a lot suddenly serves a pop-up.

“It may be short-term profitable for publishers,” Vogel said, referring to cashing in on inadvertent ad clicks. “But it doesn’t add any value for people or advertisers. And it’s not in the long-term interest of publishers looking to sustain a profitable business.”

Facebook on Tuesday announced the updates along with changes to the ways it reports metrics to advertisers. It will now offer a “gross impression” stat to advertisers, showing them how many total views an ad received, including impressions that don’t show up on their bills such as those caused by bots.

The company has been making an effort to improve its transparency with advertisers ever since a measurement failure last year gave brands with bad data about performance on the social network.

Fat thumbs and accidental clicks are a problem as old as mobile, and so long as there are advertisers that cut corners and publishers with bad ad formats, people will frustratingly hit an unwanted ad.

“Invalid clicks are a pervasive issue, particularly on mobile devices,” said Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate, a digital ad measurement company. “Many marketers still optimize toward clicks, and some sellers are taking advantage of this by optimizing their placements and code to generate more invalid clicks and reap the benefits. The ability to identify and eliminate invalid clicks should be on everyone’s checklist.”

In apps, display ads have a 5.8% accidental click rate, according to Pixalate data from July. Facebook’s ad network is primarily used inside mobile apps.

“Optimizing” away from click-based campaigns could be the key to solving fat thumbs. More sophisticated advertisers are starting to demand outcomes from ad campaigns and not just clicks. There is a certain breed of ad buyer that is more concerned with racking up clicks at a low cost per-click, even if that costs the brands that employ them in the long run.

“We’re trying to get clients out of those wrong metrics,” said Floriana Nicastro, mobile product solutions manager at MediaMath, an ad tech platform. “All some advertisers want is a low CPC and they aren’t checking what happens after the click.”

MediaMath, Facebook and others are trying to move the advertisers to care about sales downloads, store traffic and not just these clicks.

At this point, talking about clicks and fat thumbs could just be a distraction in the face of more pressing metrics issues for Facebook, according to Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a publisher industry group that often finds itself on the other side of issues with the social network.

“Brands are focused on a more mature advertising ecosystem to help build desire and demand yet this is optimization of lousy direct response metrics,” Kint said by e-mail. “The entire discussion is akin to your mail carrier preventing your junk mail from getting wet.”


Marketing Wiki: Tab Distraction

August 8, 2017 — by Laura Carrier0


Quick: How many tabs do you have open on your browser right now? OK, you can stop counting. It’s a lot, right? So how did this happen? If you’re on the web all day, it’s not surprising that you keep opening new tabs. Often when you click on a link, it launches another tab. It’s not unusual to have a dozen or more tabs open at one time. While this probably ranks low on the list of modern white-collar workplace annoyances (well below, say, dodgy Wi-Fi or slow trail mix refills), it rises to the level of minor annoyance for marketers because it makes attribution more difficult.

  • What is tab distraction?

Let’s say you’re in Chrome and have a bunch of tabs open. One is open to J. Crew’s website because you’re about to buy a short-sleeve shirt in Japanese indigo chambray. But the other tabs are markers of various ways you’ve wasted the day so far, including Reddit, TMZ and Facebook. So let’s say right before you decide to checkout at J.Crew, you go to Facebook, which has a J. Crew retargeting ad waiting for you (as would Reddit, TMZ and many of your other open tabs). Then you go back to continue completing your purchase of that short-sleeve shirt in Japanese indigo chambray on J. Crew. Even though it didn’t help make the sale in this case, Facebook will get credit for this sale on last-touch attribution models.

  • Why is this a big deal?

Last-touch attribution may be an inaccurate way of giving marketing credit for purchases or other desired actions (some compare it to making the team that scores last the winner of a basketball game), but it’s still standard practice for many companies. Tab distraction adds to the issue of giving too much credit to the last ad seen before conversion which in this common example didn’t even help make the sale and under-credits all of the marketing that actually did influence the customer’s behavior. That attribution not only impacts measurement of the efficacy of the set of marketing that led to this conversion, but also affects future spending because the marketer thinks “Facebook led to this sale, so I’ll spend my money there.”

  • What can be done?

An industry shift towards multi-touch attribution helps mitigate the impact of this issue, and is one of the most significant steps that marketers can take to ensure that they are understanding the effect their marketing is having on their customers’ behaviors. Consumers’ continuing exodus to mobile is also making tab distraction less of an issue.


In-house, agency or consultancy?

August 7, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appears on The Drum.

In the year since the last ATS Singapore, a lot has happened in the adtech industry: transparency issues rage, with complexity and issues like viewability and fraud taking centre stage, header bidding has also started to be adopted in Asia Pacific as publishers arm themselves against the duopoly.

As with many conferences about the digital advertising sector, the tone of the conversation had flip flopped between accusations against bad behaviours, calls to arms to work more collaboratively with creatives and the occasional Devil’s Advocate asking whether anyone really cares? Perhaps it is all just industry hot air?

While the tone and opinions bounced around, one key theme persisted: complexity. Grounded in the call from P&G’s Marc Pritchard for better scrutiny on the transparency of media, much of the conversation looked at who is best placed to manage the complexity that will inevitably still exist. Can the agencies regain trust? Will brands take this in-house? What about newcomers to this, such as the consultancies?

Senior professionals from brands, agencies, suppliers and publishers offered their thoughts on what the industry needs to do, particularly in Asia Pacific. The Drum selected some of the key points from across the day on this ongoing global debate.

Marcus Cho, regional multiscreen performance and precision marketing, Asia Pacific at Johnson & Johnson

Cho came from the point of view that FMCG brands did want to see more consolidation and convergence in the programmatic space, particularly around data and agency structures. This was largely driven by the imperative, shared by many brands, to build a single customer view.

“We want to see harder metrics, we want to look at how we measure the sales, use ecommerce data or transaction and credit card transaction data. From what we have seen, those who are providing soft metrics will face a midlife crisis in programmatic,” he said.

“We work closely with trading desks and AORs but we do see convergence and our point of view is in full stack solutions that run through agency partners and partners such as Google and Oracle etc. Once we plug in analytics, we want to see more, a single point of view on marketing and operations. The need state is to see end-to-end analytics through single view on programmatic and operations,” he added.

On the point of using consultancies, Cho stated his confidence in agencies as experts in media but said big companies may still turn to traditional consultancies for bigger picture strategies.

Sanchit Sanga, chief digital officer, APAC and MENA at Mindshare

Sanga’s reaction to the threat of consultancies was to state his confidence in media expertise, arguing that consultancy firms couldn’t provide the insight that agencies could.

He also addressed the topic of agency transparency, referring to GroupM’s recent launch of Mplatform, an adtech platform that promises to answer the client need for a single customer view by using an open universal ID.

“We are big believers at Mindshare and Groupm, that through Mplatform the disclosure and transparency issue gets sorted pretty quickly. You can see it even in the open desks we run for Unilever and HSBC which are 100% transparent; we do believe the future is revealing all costs to clients,” he said.

On the topic of consolidation, Sanga’s key concern lay with the duopoly of Google and Facebook. “in terms of the consolidation of technology, we don’t see walled gardens as anything but a threat to democratic technology. I don’t think all marketers are savvy enough to understand they are playing into hands of two companies who are not revealing the single source of truth,” he said.

Matt Harty, senior vice president, Asia Pacific at The Trade Desk

Harty took on the question of in-housing and whether brands were going direct to adtech partners like The Trade Desk.

“The more sophisticated marketers are wanting to take control. The most sophisticated clients want to take more control and want to be able to see inside of the tools,” he said.

However, he warned: “It is a mistake for people to not take the servicing that the agency has to offer. We have been down this road before; search gives us that lesson and shows us where to go. We had search specialists, then in-house popped up and now it sits in agency again. There just isn’t the amount of talent that can be dispersed.”

Harty argued that if each fortune 500 business across Asia Pacific wanted an in-house programmatic person, the talent wouldn’t be there. “You would be frankly hard pressed have 100 people across APAC that can independently run campaigns.”

“Agencies needed to be centres of excellence but it shouldn’t discourage us for allowing the client to be more empowered than ever before,” he added.

Rahul Vasudev, managing director, APAC at MediaMath

In terms of the duopoly, moderator Wendy Hogan, marketing transformation and strategy director at Oracle asked whether any players in Asia Pacific were attempting to educate the market, as Google and Facebook are. Google itself is almost at the end of the first year of a large-scale training programme for programmatic in Singapore, created in conjunction with the Singapore government.

“Through our training we have trained 10,000 people globally. We get them to focus on outcomes and not get confused by the plethora of terms and technology. The handshakes that take place to enable great marketing should be invisible,” he said.

Prashant Kumar, senior partner at Entropia

Kumar shared a stage with Sukesh Singh, vice president, APAC at Adform to discuss full stack solutions and shared an example of how Entropia was helping Tesco in Malaysia with a digital transformation roadmap.

He commented: “The single biggest challenge is complexity and some in the industry seem to have a vested interest in keeping complexity alive.”

Much like Vasudev’s point of view, he said the market should be helping to reduce complexity for the brand, which would allow them to focus on real business outcomes, not the technology and terms.

He also added that complexity was not just about losing money to margins and ad tech costs: “At the early stage, if the client is bogged down by operational issues and the agency teams are bogged down, you lose sight of larger strategic picture. Complexity is not just about operational cost, it is about what being bogged down by complexity and chaos does to creating the future; you lose sight of insights and ideas. Each time a marketer tries to do agency work, they do less of a marketer’s work.”


Three Major Omnichannel Challenges Today

August 4, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appears in DMN News.

Omnichannel has been top-of-mind for marketers since the advent of digital media, and it’s hard to argue with the progress businesses have made in omnichannel marketing over the last decade or so.

Indeed, the industry has come a long way from extolling the benefits of omnichannel to today’s world, where businesses not only understand the benefits of omnichannel marketing, but are increasingly facing pressure from customers and partners to be omnichannel as a standard.

“Today, omnichannel marketing across all addressable channels and inventory, coupled with identity resolution and machine-powered optimization are table stakes for all media buyers and as a result, enriches the consumer experience,” says Dan Rosenberg, chief strategy officer at MediaMath. Not only does omnichannel execution allow you to manage the frequency of ads… but by adopting a more audience-based approach, marketers will be able to consolidate as many addressable channels as possible to enable one-to-one storytelling and messaging, no matter where a customer is connected.”

There are a few key areas of contention that continue to challenge omnichannel marketing as a concept, and marketers will likely grapple with these for the next few years.

Managing the customer journey

The customer journey is extremely difficult to track these days. It’s harder than ever for marketers to distil the customer journey down into the neat funnels that were once standard to the marketing process. Still, marketers are going to have to figure out how to engage customers across disparate channels as best they can.

“Managing consumer data across channels is a challenge with teams that are historically silo’ed and not incentivized to share data. Marketers need to understand the 360-degree customer journey, so that a marketer can address a given consumer’s concern in the moment,” Rosenberg says.


As is the case for practically all digital media, privacy and data ownership will continue to be big concerns for brands doing omnichannel marketing, particularly because of the multiple channels and touchpoints involved.

“As part of privacy, marketers should be good stewards of consumer data, and not advertising too aggressively or invasively with the use of frequency caps. Using frequency caps across channels curb the number of times a consumer sees advertisements from a given marketer on any device,” Rosenberg says.


Similar to privacy, marketers doing omnichannel have a vested interest in the advertising industry’s battles with fraud.

“Fraud has been a longstanding issue within advertising where marketers are realizing that fraud is susceptible across all channels including fake bot data, fake social media profiles and not just an ad tech,” Rosenberg says.

There’s little in the way of best practice here, as these are issues that affect all of marketing, not just omnichannel, and the progression of technology advances and exacerbates problems like privacy and tracking the customer journey.

In the end though, omnichannel is well worth the effort.