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Trends

Gartner Names MediaMath a Leader in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech

October 16, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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Today, we’re thrilled to announce that MediaMath has been named a Leader in the Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech.1 This is the third evaluation of MediaMath by a major analyst firm in less than 18 months, and we’re happy to see our independent, omnichannel platform being recognized as a market leader once again. You can access the full report here. 

The Magic Quadrant is a market research report prepared by Gartner analysts that evaluates companies in different industries to provide an overview of a market and its trajectory and maturity. Providers are assessed on their ability to execute and for completeness of vision. The quadrants include “Challengers,” “Leaders,” “Niche Players” and “Visionaries.” As part of the evaluation process for a Magic Quadrant, Gartner analysts review a vendor demo, overview of capabilities and client references. For this inaugural Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech, Gartner included technologies for managing advertisements across all channels, including display, video, mobile and social, with functions for targeting, campaign design, bid-management, analysis, optimization and automation of digital advertising. 

We are the leading DSP in the “Leaders” quadrant and were recognized as an ad tech leader for our completeness of vision and ability to execute. We believe our strengths include: 

  • Clear product vision: All of the products we design and build at MediaMath encompass the principles of consumer-first, open and enterprise—the tools that empower marketers to delight customers and drive real business outcomes. We’re partnering with the best-of-breed technology companies, like IBM, Akamai and Oracle, to incorporate these principles into our entire product portfolio, all with the end goal of “making marketing everyone loves.” For instance, we are partnering to create an open, enterprise-class, pseudonymous identity solution, punctuated by our support of the IAB’s DigiTrust initiative to build shared identification infrastructure and a product development partnership with Oracle around cross-device recognition, measurement and attribution. We are also working to clean up the supply chain by applying blockchain and related technologies to solve long-standing transparency issues through our work with Underscore CLT and eliminating as much fraud as we can through our Curated Market premium media offering 
  • Investment in artificial intelligence: MediaMath’s optimization is built on our proprietary “Brain” algorithm, now in its fifth generation, and goes well beyond rules-based systems. We also invite clients to “bring your own algorithm” to plug into our buying platform. We are working with IBM Watson to bring their industry-leading AI capabilities into our tool set, enabling the extraction of predictive signals from exposure to large amounts of data, including unstructured data such as weather and sentiment. Marketers can leverage this data to make better bidding decisions, converting this data into actionable insights that can be used to tailor marketing messaging.  None of our peers offers this level of machine-learning prowess. 
  • Transparency at all levels: We provide full transparency into the media-buying process in all areas, including costs, data and tactics, and we are cross-channel, open and partner-philic in everything that we do. MediaMath has long been a leader in giving more transparency and control to clients through the evolution of our sales materials and processes, business practices and technical documentation. We did this first by being among the first movers to deliver a completely self-service offering; then by introducing tools for clients to manage their own media and data supply chain directly (e.g. private marketplaces and ability to access their own supply contracts within the platform); and, most recently, the unbundling of our platform fees through modular pricing and, on a software basis, through modular software APIs.  

We are so proud to see the work that we have put into our open, buyside-aligned platform over the past 11 years being recognized by the analyst community. We will continue to build our products and services in a way that helps marketers realize business outcomes while putting their consumers first.  

Download the Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech to learn more about: 

  • Market evaluation and analysis of the key ad tech vendors 
  • Key strengths and cautions for each vendor 
  • Customer references highlighting real-life experiences with multi-channel advertising technologies 

Download the report 

1. Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech, Andrew Frank, Lizzy Foo Kune, James Meyers and Eric Schmitt [Oct. 11, 2018] 

Disclaimer 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose

MediaTrends

Video, Mobile and Native, Oh My! Tips for a Successful Omnichannel Holiday

October 11, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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Written in collaboration with native advertising partner Sharethrough.

It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas—at least at some stores. Not content to wait for Halloween, many retailers this year began putting up their holiday decorations before Labor Day. Christmas is closing in on summer!

The data shows they’re on to something. Some 8% of consumers begin making holiday purchases in September (and another 8% before that), according to the National Retail Federation. Even if they’re not yet purchasing, many shoppers are starting to research items in October, often browsing on their mobile devices. Keep reading to understand the top trends helping marketers capitalize on the evolving shopper journey across devices and the funnel to drive the most impact this Q4.

Mobile merry-making                

Not surprisingly, much of the spending we see in MediaMath’s platform is clustered around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and a lot of the action is occurring on mobile devices. According to MediaMath analysis of 2017 holiday campaigns across the globe, desktop and mobile traffic both spiked during those key days, but there were more uniques on mobile. A good strategy then is to go heavy on prospecting tactics on mobile and use desktop for remarketing where consumers are doing more shopping research. November is when both researching and purchasing spike (at 33% and 36%, respectively) according to NRF, but more people research in October (25%) than in December (11%).

When it comes to the type of ads, in-feed native ads should be on every marketer’s wish list. Some 70% of people use their phones to make purchase decisions during the holidays. In-feed native ads drive 29% higher purchase intent than standard banners. One ecommerce retailer saw a 79% jump in conversions with native compared to display strategies with identical targeting.

The good thing about native is it fits anywhere in the funnel and works for brand objectives ranging from raising awareness to driving conversions. Some 39% of consumers will search a brand online if they see it in a native ad headline. Marketers can purchase native directly in MediaMath’s platform workflow leveraging inventory from partners like Sharethrough.

Storytime

Video can help you capture the emotions and attention of your target shoppers early in the awareness phase. You can follow up video branding campaigns with native, display and other formats to bring consumers down the funnel. Ideally, you can seamlessly integrate video creative alongside other ad formats for your holiday campaigns, reaching your audience with multiple ad formats to build brand storytelling and eventually lead consumers down the purchase funnel.

According to the native advertising specialists at Sharethrough, a few best practices for native creative will go a long way toward improving the story that your brand tells consumers. For instance, while you might assume that shorter headlines do better in this environment, headlines need to tell a story. “Thanksgiving Recipes” gets the point across, but is too generic to prompt anyone to click. But “10 Mouth-Watering Recipes That Everyone Will Love” all but dares you not to click.

Thumbnail images should also tell a story. Don’t just show a product—present a slice-of-life moment where the product is being used. For instance, a picture of a virtual reality headset is dull, but an image of someone engaged with the device as friends look on is more engaging. Finally, on a practical level, avoid using text in images because it might get cut off. If you must place text on images, then make sure the text is centered.

Make your list (and check it twice)

Since many consumers begin thinking about their gifts in October, leverage granular targeting based on real-time browsing when possible. It’s important to reach these consumers early because CPMs spike in December, when everyone else is trying to target the same consumers. The messaging a marketer employs to reach these consumers depends on the industry. CPG brands need to reach consumers when they’re in store, while jewelry retailers might use addressable TV to reach their target consumers.

Wrapping up

This holiday season, marketers have an opportunity to use multiple touchpoints to reach consumers before they click “buy.” In addition to mobile, video and in-feed native, marketers can also employ audio and digital-out-of-home ads to influence target consumers on their list. The trick is to get started sooner than the competition when CPMs are lower and consumers are more open to messaging.

MediaTrends

MediaMath and OpenX Talk Cleaning up the Supply Chain At Advertising Week NY

October 5, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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It’s been a busy week for MediaMath and some of our clients and partners at Advertising Week New York! Our subject matter experts participated in four MediaMath sessions and three partner sessions. One of those sessions was a fireside chat with our partner OpenX on opt-in video with MediaMath GM of Media and Growth Channels Lewis Rothkopf. Lewis later sat down with OpenX Co-founder Jason Fairchild to talk on video about our strengthened commitment to policing fraudulent supply partners and what steps we are taking to ensure quality in our platform (read more in coverage by AdExchanger). Watch the interview below.

IntelligenceMediaTrends

Blockchain and Adtech: First Things First

October 4, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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This byline by Underscore CLT President Isaac Lidsky originally appears on MarTechSeries.

Let’s not get way out ahead of ourselves.

Yes, blockchain will solve many of digital marketing’s longstanding structural challenges. Far better, it will usher in a new wave of innovation. Publishers, marketers and their customers will benefit greatly, with more meaningful interactions that engender trust and loyalty—and produce better results at lower cost.

But first things first.

The mere availability of better technology does not yield the will to adopt better business models that leverage that technology. Quite the contrary, prominent wrinkles emerge whenever technology forces an industry to consider “better.” Better for whom? Better how? Better when? To be extreme about it: those who perpetrate fraud will resist technology that detects fraud. To be less dramatic: innovation is as much threat as it is an opportunity, and it’s often unclear initially which is which.

Here we arrive at a chicken-and-egg problem: Do we blame the internet’s legacy “pipes” for the opacity, complexity and intolerable friction in digital marketing? Or do we blame entrenched interests in the industry for failing to deliver something better?

Either way or both, ours is an industry that has tended to meet intermediation and complexity with more intermediaries and greater complexity. The result is, unsurprisingly, a mess.

Far too often, there is a disconnect between (1) value provided and (2) cost.

A disconnect because thorny, practical realities can impose economic risk or other challenges. A disconnect because pricing models can obfuscate practical realities (with good intentions or bad). A disconnect because obfuscation is an invitation to exploitation—”where there’s mystery, there’s money,” as the saying goes. A disconnect because some deliver too little, charge too much or both.

A disconnect because most ad impressions these days involve numerous companies, and as the circle widens, complexity grows exponentially, and with it the number and extent of…disconnects.

The business of digital marketing is a bizarre poker game in which some folks cheat, everyone bluffs and neither the number of players nor their identities is necessarily known to all the contestants. As advertised, it’s a mess.

Now we have blockchain to help clean up the game, but it has entered the poker room at an awkward time. We’re mid-hand, towering stacks of chips around the table, many players deeply invested in the status quo and champing for another deal.

“I’ve got a great idea,” says blockchain. “Let’s turn up the lights all the way, identify ourselves, flip over our cards and play everything straight. The chips are far more valuable if we work together—let’s divvy them up ‘fairly.’”

Because blockchain is the anointed harbinger-du-jour of transparency—in business practices, economics, functional value, etc.—the poker players are expected to celebrate the suggestion. Make the pie bigger instead of fighting for a bigger slice? Everyone must love that idea. Force out all the bad actors? You’ve gotta want it bad unless you’re one of them (and you’re not, of course). Put down your cards mid-hand and (truly) partner with your committed opponents in a new, as-yet-undefined endeavor? In the name of transparency, we demand an enthusiastic “yes!”

We’ve not been disappointed; the lip service is impeccable. From all corners of the industry, we hear the cry of “blockchain!” Now the buzziest of buzzwords, the message is clear: it’s here and it’s happening, so even if you don’t understand it, don’t believe it or don’t want it, you’d better pretend that you do. There’s a lot of pretending going on.

We know better. In actuality, the thieves lurking in the corners are wondering whether they should run away, cop to their cons, protest their innocence, cook up new hustles, work the old ones a few more times before the curtain falls or all of the above.

Many of the players simply want to keep playing the game they showed up for—or at the very least, to finish the current hand!

Those with the biggest stacks of chips aren’t too excited about redistribution, and those with dwindling stacks are similarly reluctant to let any of their chips go. And yes, bluffing is part of the game. But if you play well, you’re rarely caught doing it. It’s one thing to be suspected in general and another thing entirely to be caught red-handed deal after deal.

Blockchain will not be universally embraced anytime soon. Its adoption is an existential threat for some, a temporary crisis for others, a strategic dilemma for most and a complex reordering of business relationships for everyone. It’s this challenge—the business implications of the technology—that we now confront. We miss the forest for the trees if we see blockchain as a technology. It’s not; it’s a momentous opportunity to improve the way business is done.

  • Are you willing to change the way you do business?
  • Are you willing to carefully confront the real-world practicalities and complexities that have led to this moment—to understand how they’re accommodated today and ask how blockchain can help us do better tomorrow?
  • Are you willing to expose to your customers how you charge, for what, when and why? Are you willing to show your cards, stop playing poker and start rebuilding the industry?
  • Are your partners, vendors, clients, and competitors willing to join you?

Blockchain has already given us magical technological achievements to celebrate, and there will be many more, in our industry and others. But first things first: are you really ready to use it?

IntelligenceTrends

Delivering on the Promise to Re-Architect Programmatic Advertising: MediaMath and IBM Watson Marketing Announce Media Optimizer, a New Solution Connecting AdTech and MarTech and Infusing “AI Everywhere”

October 2, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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A year ago, MediaMath Founder and CEO Joe Zawadzki and IBM Chief Digital Officer Bob Lord stood on stage at DMEXCO and painted a picture of the future of marketing. The vision they laid out would solve many long-standing challenges that have prevented marketers from unlocking the full potential of brand engagement, and help them deliver marketing that customers would truly love. Those hurdles ranged from poorly-constructed, 20-year-old plumbing built on technology like pixels and redirects, to clunky workflows and siloed data, which have hampered the industry’s ability to delight consumers with fully personalized advertising. On that stage, the two companies committed to join forces to reshape the advertising industry by connecting paid and owned media into a single view of the end-to-end customer journey using AI-powered marketing technology.

It was a tall order, but over the last year, IBM Watson Marketing and MediaMath have made significant progress—and we have results to share. Together we have pooled our industry insight, data science expertise and software development prowess to build competitive offerings leveraging technologies across Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Infrastructure that are already delivering tangible marketing outcomes.

For the last 11 years, MediaMath has been pioneering technology innovations to connect marketers and consumers more effectively, promoting transparency and preserving trust with measurable, meaningful experiences that are responsive to consumer needs and wants. We are proud to call IBM Watson Marketing a partner in this endeavor, and today we’re excited to provide an update on what we’ve been up to.

Coming Soon: IBM Media Optimizer

Together we combine an open platform—purpose-built for marketers and powered by Watson intelligence—with scaled, brand-safe inventory, exclusive data and industry-leading training and support. Our joint technology enables marketers to reach the audiences they want, with the right messages at optimal times, with the scale they need to achieve the business outcomes they desire. In early pilots, campaigns are experiencing, on average, over 35 percent improved performance and 70 percent increased win rates.* These are real results, enjoyed by real marketers like you. Improved consumer experiences and programmatic marketing operations. Better decisions. Competitive advantage. Bottom-line results.

A bit more about what we’re actually building (learn more during IBM Watson Marketing and MediaMath Advertising Week New York presentations throughout this week):

  • IBM Media Optimizer, Powered by MediaMath: We’ve connected the MediaMath TerminalOne platform to provide a combined DSP and DMP that works seamlessly with the Watson Marketing stack. This is a complete AdTech-plus-MarTech solution, which includes these features:
    • Intelligent Bidder: Infused with Watson intelligence, Intelligent Bidder allows marketers to prioritize an endless range of unstructured attributes, from sentiment analysis to weather patterns, to optimize campaigns.
    • Universal Behavior Exchange (UBX): UBX is the component that enables bi-directional audience and event data transfer between Watson Marketing products and MediaMath’s DSP/DMP platform, creating a unified user identity across AdTech and MarTech solutions.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s so much more to come. Visit with IBM Watson Marketing and MediaMath at Advertising Week New York where we’ll present more details around these exciting updates. Sign up for ongoing updates at www.mediamath.com/ibm. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

IBM Watson Marketing and MediaMath. Imagine that.

* Source: IBM Watson Customer Engagement 2018

MediaTrends

CBSi Adopts Omnichannel Strategy Across the Richest Media to Build Subscriber Base for All Access Service

October 1, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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CBS Interactive (CBSi), a division of CBS Corporation, is the premier online content network for information and entertainment. More than 1 billion users visit CBSi’s 33 properties every quarter. With MediaMath, they increased their subscriber base by 25%.

In 2014, CBSi launched its subscription service, CBS All Access, with the goal of securing 2 million subscribers by October 2017. All Access differentiates from other streaming services by offering access to live events online, and is unique from CBS’ TV offerings through its exclusive content such as “The Good Fight,” “Star Trek: Discovery” and Will Ferrell’s “No Activity.”

To entice its consumer base to change their viewing habits and subscribe to a new service, CBSi needed to make high-impact placements on premium inventory to leave its audiences wanting to follow exclusive stories online. CBSi also sought to ramp up its online audiences across enough niche group types to support a wide range of programming and content.

CBSi began partnering with MediaMath in 2014 and chose the technology company for its omnichannel demand-side platform. Through a combination of MediaMath’s omnichannel social offering, cookieless, cross-device identity solution ConnectedID and proprietary data solution MediaMath Audiences, which uses predictive modeling to reach high-value audiences based on their demonstrated interests and behaviors, CBSi executed true omnichannel campaigns around several of the marquee shows exclusive to CBS All Access.

See how a true omnichannel campaign across five channels drove results  

Download this case study to learn how:

  • A privacy-compliant, cross-device identity graph helped accurately attribute mobile conversions
  • Facebook’s traditionally walled garden inventory purchased through an integrated, streamlined workflow allowed CBS to extend its programmatic audiences and attribution data to the social media platform
  • Digital-out-of-home impacted brand lift

 

DataTrends

Cover Story: Focus On Future-State Skills To Build A Customer-First Culture

September 25, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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This story originally appears on Which50

Nobody gets out of bed in the morning determined to make their consumer’ lives harder — now more than ever. These days, building a customer-first culture is critical to success. But that doesn’t make it easy.

Which-50 and MediaMath recently convened a Thought Leadership Lab (TLL) in Sydney with representatives from banking, finance, FMCG, property, media, and technology industries to deep-dive into these issues.

Not all participants were authorised to speak for their companies, so we have included their ideas and insights without reference to their organisations to enable them to share freely.

The first lesson to emerge from the day was that despite (or perhaps because of) all the development in digital technology, and the emergence of sophisticated platforms and analytics, the actual work of putting the customer-first is as complex as ever.

Gone are the days when companies only had one or two channels to consider. In some industries, consumers may have as many as 20 to 25 different ways they can connect to a brand.

All of those various touch points need to be connectable, and data needs to flow seamlessly and immediately across all the various internal boundaries that make up the departments of the modern enterprise, in order to get the immediate customer requirement.

Even when the number of channels is smaller, new channels emerge, each with their own complexities and challenges.

Take radio, for instance. In the past, you might have sweated on whether the consumer was listening to you in a car or at their kitchen table. Technology has changed that mindset forever.

According to a Digital Platforms manager at one of the country’s leading radio stations, “We’re fundamentally a radio company, but really what we are is audio everywhere”.

The executive’s company now focuses on traditional broadcast, as well as on streaming, and it also has a large podcast network which extends beyond the typical radio content.

“Wherever consumers are going to consume audio, we’re going to go there as well. That’s the future state for us.”

Connected home is another area where the media company needs to understand its place in the hearts and minds of its audience. “Yeah, that’s the next big audio channel. It’s about working out a connected home strategy. How do our consumers, our listeners, find us on those platforms? How do you get the skills to integrate into the devices and then you know, how do you commercialise it?”

And it needs to do this in the context where its traditional agency partners who might have been expected to do some of the heavy lifting in research and strategy in the past, are also trying to find their feet.

“Consumers are way ahead of marketers in that sense. Marketers are still grappling with issues such as measuring ROI whereas consumers already love the channel,” she said.

For executives like this, a big part of the challenge is applying measurement to these new channels. “We need to understand who is the real audience. So it’s about getting the DMP [data management platform] in place. It’s about partnering with companies that are really rich in data, and having that second-party data partnership to help us better understand who is actually engaging on our websites with us. That also means finding a compelling reason for people to register or log in with us so we can properly track them.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Trends

Why In-Housing Programmatic Isn’t All-Or-Nothing Choice

September 20, 2018 — by Parker Noren0

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This byline originally appears on MediaPost

The question of whether or not to take programmatic in-house is often presented as a binary choice. It’s not.

Brands like L’Oreal, Sprint and Netflix that have taken 100% of their programmatic in-house are merely one end of a continuum. In reality, few brands have taken that route.

A 2017 Association of National Advertisers report found that only 14% of brands were reducing the role of their external agency because of in-house expansion. The challenges can be worthwhile, but only if a brand understands its ultimate goal in making the shift.

Here are the top reasons why organizations are considering alternative approaches:

Costs

As the roll call of brand names suggests, establishing your own programmatic capability in-house can be expensive. One analyst said that companies should be spending at least $20 million a year before they consider going in-house — otherwise, they won’t be spending enough to generate savings to make the transition worthwhile. However, other non-multibillion-dollar companies have successfully in-housed by concentrating spend to justify the cost of more full-time programmatic talent.

Talent

Talent is the biggest expense related to in-housing programmatic. Programmatic is a new discipline — it’s only been around for a decade — and it’s not taught in most schools. There is a finite number of people with this type of expertise, which can make setting up your own program challenging.

The problem of finding programmatic talent is so acute that some organizations have poached employees from outside their office region, even out of their country in some cases. For brands with offices in tech hubs, this search might be slightly less cumbersome. The good news: You can rely on the professional services talent of your technology partner to fill the gaps until you can get the right internal people onboard.

An individual choice

The root of the in-house versus outsource argument is which results in better marketing outreach over the long term. In a recent report, we outlined four models for managing the evolution of programmatic media:

The Contract King: A brand owns its technology stack and data, but the agency continues to have full control over planning and execution.

Happy Commune: Some or all parties sit at the table and have regular points of contact.

Special Ops: The agency plans to bring strategy and execution in-house, but continues to rely on its agency for outsourced operations.

The Lone Ranger: A brand takes full control of its addressable media tech stack and the agency no longer plays a role.

Deciding which model is best is an individual decision and based on the talent available, the long-term goals of the brand and financial needs, among other factors. Automation is a wild card in this mix.

Marketers who are asking if they should take programmatic in-house may be asking the wrong question. A better question is, “Which needs are currently being unmet, and what is the best way to resolve them based on our organization’s appetite for change?”

DataTrends

Econsultancy and MediaMath Examine Consumer-First Marketing in 2018 and Beyond

September 10, 2018 — by MediaMath0

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You don’t have to be a CMO to know that there’s a disconnect between the vision of what marketing is capable of and its current reality. As a consumer, the gap is evident as well.

Consumers are barraged by increasingly annoying, intrusive, irrelevant or over-bearing ads. There is a growing concern that their attention and personal data are being exploited by bad actors, while they are given little or no say in the matter. Meanwhile, the proliferation of media touchpoints means marketers are being forced to manage increasing complexity in their marketing activities, yet continue to have limited tools to efficiently execute and measure its impact. The result is an alarming level of distrust and tension in the industry, massive waste of time and resources and a general stifling of innovation.

The problems are clear, but fortunately, the solutions are near at hand. That being said, making the vision a reality is not easy.

Our research with Econsultancy finally quantifies this disconnect. Their survey of more than 400 marketers from around the world shows how the industry is recognizing a consumer-first approach to marketing, but still struggles to execute it.

For instance, 92% of respondents agree that integrated tech and data allow for seamless, effective advertising, yet 63% of advertisers and 96% of agencies believe that their adtech and martech are insufficiently integrated. And that’s just one of the interesting facts we discovered that quantify the disconnect.

Dream vs Reality: The State of Consumer-First and Omnichannel Marketing

Download this guide to learn:

  • What is keeping marketers from doing omnichannel right
  • The impact of GDPR on marketing efforts
  • The one capability most marketers want in the next five years

 

DataTrends

100 Days Later: Why GDPR Has Been Good for Google and Facebook Most of All

September 7, 2018 — by Dave Reed0

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This post originally appeared as a byline in Campaign.

It has been more than three months since companies operating in the EU implemented the regulatory framework with the aim of stamping out opaque and irresponsible handling of consumers’ personal data.

So how is Europe’s €8bn programmatic advertising and marketing sector doing post GDPR?

Overall, it’s clear the buying and selling of digital advertising has already become a lot more ordered and transparent, with far greater respect towards consumers, which is years overdue, GDPR is a much-needed force for good. Across the whole sector – brands, agencies, media owners – GDPR has forced innumerable conversations about how to protect consumer privacy and personal data.

Thousands upon thousands of man hours have been expended on preparing for and executing this at large companies Europe wide and beyond. What’s emerging very clearly is a digital industry that’s sleeker and more responsible, but also as powerful as ever in its ability to build meaningful connections with consumers.

But if the picture is generally positive for brands, things are more nuanced for the publishers. Larger publishers tend to have the resources to shoulder the regulatory burden and establish reputations for GDPR compliancy quickly. However, some have struggled to get the right consents from consumers or have hit technical issues, impacting businesses that are already under pressure.

Many have begun to consider becoming part of a pooled identity framework owned and responsibly operated by an independent third party. Deterministic people-matching, to identify individuals across devices, can help ensure that publishers can capture marketer budgets in the manner in which those marketers wish those budgets be spent.

Across the sector, the larger players – including agencies – have been at an advantage, as they’ve got the resources to vet their data, identify and eject risky partners and potentially fight investigations and fines if it comes to that. Some entities providing audiences, faced with having to strip out consumer data that is now heavily regulated, for instance health, ethnicity, politics or location, have suffered or even stopped doing business in Europe.

All this has, of course, been pretty good for the two behemoths of the sector – Google and Facebook, both of which have alternative means to obtain consumer consent. Indeed, Google’s strong recent results are thought to reflect a shift in spend towards companies with large amounts of first-party data.

What’s good for Google and Facebook – who are often both partners and competitors to other players in our highly complex industry – isn’t necessarily beneficial for everyone else, though.

In response to GDPR, Google and Facebook have raised the walls around their ecosystems, with Google, for instance, restricting the use of its identity system to external partners. This means forcing advertisers to be more fragmented across platforms, tools and inventory sources, making advertising more expensive for buyers and more annoying for consumers.

Google has indicated that it will, but does not yet support, the Internet Advertising Bureau Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework, meaning that, at least for now, already embattled publishers need to deal with both Google’s own rules as well as the emerging cross-industry standard.

Fortunately, alternative solutions are emerging that meet or exceed legacy capabilities while also recognising and respecting consumers and their wishes. Indeed, the true north for the industry is the promise of buying tools that are inclusive of all media and data whether that resides in open or “closed” environments.

So, there are challenges with the GDPR – it’s consumed vast amounts of management time and made it difficult for smaller players to keep pace. Of course, if you get the GDPR wrong, there could be a fine of €20m or 4% of global revenues.

That said, we are still in an uncomfortable and uncertain period as there is no body of precedent for how it will be investigated or enforced yet.

In a final analysis, whatever the transitional inconvenience, the challenges of the GDPR are easily outweighed by the benefits. We are building a more transparent industry shorn of dubious practices. We are connecting with consumers – whose trust we all ultimately depend on – in a more honest and, therefore, meaningful way.

And we are embedding standards that will enable our industry to develop and continue to grow steadily and sustainably.