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PROGRAMMATICTechnologyTrends

The Ad Platform: The Next Phase of Programmatic Maturity?

February 5, 2020 — by MediaMath

Global Head of Ecosystem, Jeremy Steinberg, joins Principal Analyst at eMarketer, Nicole Perrin, to discuss why accountability is still a challenge and how the supply chain can come together to create better, more mature programmatic markets.

“If you can create a rules-based environment that has a very simple principle that everybody can adopt and operate their business on what that will do is help marketers say, ‘I really like this content on this one website or app. It creates a great experience for consumers and drives great results for my brand.’ And that content owner, at the same time, will know through automated means the same information and can optimize their experiences for consumers.”

DataTrends

Embracing the Changing Cookie Landscape to Create a Better Internet for All

January 16, 2020 — by Wilfried Schobeiri

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Earlier this week, Google announced it will phase out third-party cookies in its Chrome Web browser by 2022 to bring more stringent privacy standards across its online advertising platforms and tools.

Before we go down the rabbit hole, it’s important to define exactly what wasn’t announced this week: a unilateral motion by Google to end the third-party cookie without a replacement. Rather, Google has announced its intention to replace the cookie in the next two years with a set of technology standards that gives end users more control over their browsing experience and privacy. Those technology standards don’t yet exist, and Google is asking for engagement from the technology ecosystem to work together to provide a viable consumer- and competition-friendly alternative to the third-party cookie.

Said another way, this move doesn’t mean the end of consumer identifiers or the end of personalized advertising and the companies that enable it. It means embracing the ongoing change in our industry and moving away from obsolete technology towards more relevant identifiers, as evidenced in our collective embrace of mobile and CTV IDs. The world is increasingly omnichannel, and any holistic identity solution needs to care about the totality of media, not just a single channel.

To come up with the alternative to the third-party cookie, we—publishers, advertisers, the technology platforms that support both, and web developers—need to come together to work with Chrome on developing consumer-friendly, privacy-sensitive technology solutions that enable: 1) publishers to continue to monetize their content through advertising—which for many, remains >80% of revenues; 2) advertisers to continue to market to relevant audiences and measure the efficacy of their marketing message; and 3) consumers to be more deeply engaged in the value exchange of advertising for free, relevant content while having control over how their data is being used, having confidence that it is being used fairly and respectfully, and having the right to change and/or erase it at any time and ensure it isn’t being used without their consent. Being clear about the role of the consumer in the value exchange between advertisers and publishers is more critical than ever, as consumers continue to demand and deserve strong checks and balances when it comes to use of their data.

We don’t think these three things are in conflict—in fact, our top brands and agencies and their media partners are increasingly voting with their dollars on a supply chain that stands for these principles. We also think we’ll see a growing trend of publishers and advertisers working closely together on bidirectional data transfer solutions. And we fully support Google’s desire to collaborate in getting to a solution appropriate for all parties. It’s with this same spirit that we brought together over a dozen industry partners to launch SOURCE by MediaMath, through which we are building a new, rules-based model to enable digital advertising to operate with transparency and trust.

On MediaMath’s part, we’ve been working on technology solutions with our partners that leverage authenticated user signals, first-party identity solutions, bidirectional data transfer, greater use of contextual parameters, and more to either replace the hole created or reduce the burden on advertisers left by the eventual absence of third-party cookies. We’ve maintained open dialog with several privacy councils, the major federal and European data governance bodies, the major trade associations, and the browser vendors, and we look forward to getting deeply involved in the technical standards work that’s ahead of us. In addition, the identity work we are doing with partners like LiveRamp and Akamai is fundamentally built on addressing these issues.

An announcement without a complete solution in place puts the industry in a precarious and uncertain position. We’ve been spending a lot of time over the last week at CES and in other meetings discussing our plans for the future with many clients, and we imagine others are, too. Like GDPR before it, we expect this anxiety will accelerate further consolidation amongst those who don’t have the resources to heavily invest in response to this change. We knew this change was inevitable, but Google will have to be careful with their next steps, given the antitrust risks that exist with owning the industry-leading browser, publisher ad server, search provider, video content publisher, and demand-side ad server in addition to several major demand-side offerings and one of the largest ad exchanges.

We will continue to believe that an industry standard that is neutrally governed is the best approach to solve for the interconnection of consumer privacy and advertising. And if Google’s efforts over the next two years can create a standard for all browsers, one that is both consumer- and competition-friendly, that’s a good thing for the industry.

EducationMediaTechnologyTrends

How CTV is Driving Greater Accountability and Addressability in Marketing

December 16, 2019 — by Laura Rodriguez-Costacamps

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We are in a golden age of TV content, much of which is only available in connected environments, not through traditional linear. Consumers are inherently drawn to the superior viewing experience TV offers, and publishers are following suit, running a significant amount of their impressions on connected TV platforms. This shift from linear to CTV is enhancing advertisers’ abilities to reach and engage consumers, lowering rates of general invalid traffic and leading to higher video completion rates for premium publishers. And as we’re seeing through our SOURCE by MediaMath offering, brands and agencies can use CTV to reach real people with real ads, helping embed greater accountability and addressability into the entire supply chain.

We recently sat down with Adam Lowy, Chief Commercial Officer at SOURCE by MediaMath partner, Telaria, and our own resident TV experts Mike Fisher, VP/Head of Advanced TV & Video, and Aulden Kaye, Director, Advanced TV & Video, to discuss why the time is now to use CTV to deepen marketers’ direct relationships with customers, and just how we can do it. Listen here.

Trends

12 Months of Strengthening MediaMath’s Product and Partnerships Pay Off with Industry Recognition by Gartner

October 22, 2019 — by Wilfried Schobeiri

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Just three weeks after launching SOURCE by MediaMath, we’ve been recognized as a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader.

MediaMath is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech for the second year in a row, based on our completeness of vision and ability to execute. We believe that what has led us to this point is our robust product roadmap, which has been focused these last 12 months on reengineering the ecosystem to make it 100 percent accountable and addressable by 2020.

Simply put, we go where the market needs us. We were first to market with supply path optimization and take an aggressive approach to active supply chain management that continues to evolve with our effort to drive accountability—real impressions on real content properties—across the ecosystem. We rebuilt our identity offering earlier this year to lay the groundwork for increased addressability—knowing that you are reaching a real human across screens and speakers with your ads—with improved identity resolution, an open approach that lets brands and agencies choose the best solution for them and the ability to export their data down to the log level for activation across all of their paid and owned marketing activities, all with consumer respect at the forefront.

But we know it goes beyond just the product. Another of our strengths—and part of our SOURCE offering—is that we put equal weight on both tech and talent to help our clients achieve higher return on investment with lower level of effort. We help clients solve their business problems, acting as partners throughout our relationship. Our strategic Account and Professional Services teams are dedicated to our clients and partners throughout their full digital marketing evolution with MediaMath, from solution design and onboarding to the education, services, support, custom solutions and consultation required to reach and exceed their business objectives.

According to Gartner, “The Ad Tech Magic Quadrant focuses on vendors that integrate three functions that also can be acquired separately: demand-side platforms (DSPs); data management platforms (DMPs); and dynamic creative optimization (DCO).” Gartner also affirmed in the report that, “A key decision in the evaluation of ad tech providers involves the issue of neutrality—that is, the principle that ad tech platforms should be independent of the media interests they mediate and measure.”

As the leading independent programmatic company, we have steered the evolution of the demand-side platform sector since 2007. Our business is now a globally scaled, enterprise-grade DSP and DMP that delivers personalized digital advertising across all addressable touchpoints. We are thrilled that the market has come along with us for the ride to prove out the potential of digital advertising to deepen marketers’ direct customer relationships, fairly reward good content and deliver fantastic experiences to consumers.

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.

Gartner 2019 Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech, Andrew Frank, Lizzy Foo Kune and Eric Schmitt [Sep. 12, 2019]

EducationIntelligenceTrends

The Impact of AI on Martech

July 9, 2019 — by Debbie Taylor

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key player in how technology got to its current state. It is already widespread in many industries, including healthcare, entertainment, and retail. Without it, consumers wouldn’t have been able to experience smartphone assistants, product suggestions, and predictive text responses. It’s truly revolutionized every digital native’s life.

On the digital marketing front, it continues to make huge waves, we see its application everywhere and how it is bridging the gap from the desire to truly show the right ad to the right person at the right time to make that everyday reality in how advertisers execute.

Take a look at our new e-learning video ‘Introduction of AI & Martech’ to find out more!

MediaTrends

How to Up-level the Quality of Your Supply in 2019

June 26, 2019 — by Pranjal Desai

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Programmatic is central to nearly 40% of overall planning and execution of media buying by Asia-Pacific (APAC) marketers[1]. India specifically is the fastest-growing country for digital ad spend across the globe in 2019, with a 28% boost compared to last year[2].

It is this very rapid growth that has also created challenges in the ecosystem, including a supply chain riddled with fraud, intermediaries that add little value and uncertainty of the exact path to the impression. The internet as constructed was never intended to sensibly connect the diverse and complex technologies brought to bear by the myriad or adtech and martech constituents in our industry. In fact, most of the longstanding problems we’ve seen over the last few years – such as fraud and lack of transparency—have been caused by this complexity. From the core technology service providers to third-party data providers, advertisers are often unaware of how much spend is going to intermediary fees versus publishers.

However, the future is looking brighter. Select industry players are hard at work creating a more accountable, effective, trustworthy media supply chain from which all parties—marketers, publishers and consumers—can benefit. One of the ways that starts is through access to trusted, high-quality supply that is not blocked by partners that don’t add value.

How can marketers build the best supply strategy?

All of this means that the single most important thing a marketer can do when it comes to determining the best media strategy is ‘never assume’. With high levels of complexity across the supply chain, it is vital that marketers analyse their supply strategy and avoid making the wrong call. Marketers should build or buy specialist insights required for their brand-specific marketing campaign.

For many major brands, this means building a supply team to integrate their technology into the bidding stack. However, the expense and expertise required for this remains to be a challenge for many brands, which is why choosing the right media agency is so critical. The right agency can add real value as they can pool the demand of multiple advertisers in negotiating deals, provide deep industry expertise and negotiate vertical specific deals.

But it also means partnering with the right technology vendor. There are key things to look for:

  • Adoption of the IAB’s ads.txt initiative, which increases transparency by allowing publishers to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory
  • Supply-path optimization to find the most direct path to the impression by removing intermediaries
  • A supply code of conduct that specifies behaviors that your vendor will and will not tolerate from its supply partners

In the end, the aim is to use the most optimal path to reach your user rather than hoping to find the user on specific supply sources. It is pertinent to have a holistic approach to a media supply strategy which can help everyone in the ecosystem—marketers, publishers and consumers alike —get the quality they deserve.

EducationTrends

The Talent Behind the Tech

May 30, 2019 — by MediaMath

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Humans still matter in programmatic. In fact, people are increasingly becoming part of the consideration criteria for businesses shopping for a DSP and DMP. Sales and Service Criteria contribute to 20% of the overall purchase intention when considering a DSP and 24% when considering a DMP, according to Advertiser Perceptions.

We know how important it is to combine talent with tech to enable marketing to positively influence business goals. We wanted to introduce you to some of our own talent, the people helping our clients get the most out of their tech. Our Professional Services team is 200+ strong and includes a mix of diverse individuals from a range of backgrounds. The ProServe team spends its days servicing and working with people, from clients and partners to our Product and Sales teams, further proof that the need for the human touch in this crazy adtech work persists. Watch our video “The Talent Behind the Tech” to hear more from the experts who bring strategy, technical direction, campaign best practices, education and, ultimately, delight, to our clients and partners. Watch a clip below and visit here to see the full video.

PeopleTrends

Highlights from the 2019 APAC Leadership Forum

May 15, 2019 — by Priya Darshani

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Following the success of our summits in NA and EMEA earlier this year, we launched our first MediaMath Leadership Forum in APAC this past March 27-29th. We gathered at the stunning Ritz Carlton resort at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia with a stellar attendance of key leaders from partners, agencies and brands across Australia, Singapore, Korea, and the US.

The objective was to kick off an “unconference” that brings together senior thought leaders from across APAC in a relaxed setting to drive interactive learning about cross-regional opportunities and share perspectives around how we can collectively work towards transforming the marketing ecosystem for good, setting a forward-looking tone for 2019 and beyond.

Key topics discussed during the forum included future market trends and our product vision to support these needs, the future of people in programmatic, best practices around building a successful programmatic and data strategy and deep-dive roundtable sessions on identity, supply and AI moderated by MediaMath subject experts.

Knowing who your consumers are

The main focus areas essential for a thriving ad tech ecosystem are identity, supply chain management, the application of AI and ML and progressing the dream of true omnichannel outcomes and workflow. As an industry, we can identify devices as never before, while the number and types of devices are increasing at a record pace. Stable, persistent device IDs are core to achieving an accurate, anonymous digital representation of consumers. There are many challenges in bringing this to life, and some solutions exist, but it’s still a very siloed approach.

Creating a quality supply chain

Several factors have contributed to the complexity of the programmatic supply chain as the marketplace has matured. In recent years, transparency has been one major theme for the industry. Clients’ needs and sophistication may vary; some of them may want to look under the hood to see how the supply chain works while others are less concerned about it. A must-have for clients is super clean, performant supply for the best value, something we are working on at the behest of some of the biggest industry names like P&G. There is a need to understand that just because the walled-garden platforms are some of the most economical doesn’t mean the quality is the best. There is a continual challenge to balance price and quality, and often performance-based KPIs tend to push out discussions around either CPM or supply. We need to focus on business outcomes driving the conversation, combined with a transparent supply chain to drive better performance.

A is for AI, not automation

Many marketers still equate programmatic with automation, but automation alone does not guarantee the best business outcomes. In the data-rich world of modern marketing, optimal results require intelligent automation through machine learning (ML).  Fraud, privacy and transparency were all significant concerns/challenges raised at our summit. Whether or not AI and ML can help with better filters to help overcome this challenge is a question that remains unanswered.

And P is for people

While we have already addressed the hype in recent years around the need for AI in performing high-value advertising tasks, the next step is to be adaptable enough to apply it to almost any advertising campaign promptly. AI and automation will also help with talent management. With the rapid growth of the industry, we have really and truly stressed the talent pool. Finding the talent that has programmatic experience and retaining them is a challenge. AI and automation will relieve some of this pressure as the industry continues to grow. It will allow the talent pool in aggregate to mature and strengthen by taking care of the operational tasks, and this benefits all of us. The future of people in advertising means working on more strategic functions vs. repetitive jobs.

There is not and will not be one ideal digital marketing talent ecosystem. It will depend on the brand, the business objectives, the size and the geographical presence. It can be any combination of in-house, agency or consultancy if we ensure alignment on strategy, incentives, goals, communication channels, knowledge management and enablement and the best solution to maximise ROI with a level of effort that is optimal across those involved.

We are excited to help our clients and their partners tackle these opportunities in the year ahead, working to benefit marketers, agencies, publishers and consumers with a better advertising ecosystem that creates wonderful experiences

Click here to watch the recap video from the summit.

Trends

Amplifying the Call for a New Media Supply Chain

May 6, 2019 — by Joe Zawadzki

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I recently re-read Marc Pritchard’s powerful call for a new media supply chain that “levels the playing field and operates in a way that is clean, efficient, accountable and properly moderated for everyone involved.”

The marketing community tends to be reading the same tea leaves, but P&G’s voice often galvanizes industry to act because of its position in the market. The timing of Pritchard’s speech could not be more opportune from my point of view—we signaled our commitment to re-building our industry with greater quality, transparency, control and privacy when we announced our last round of financing last year.

The current digital supply chain is failing both advertisers and publishers, much less consumers. But not even P&G, with all its advertising might, can right the ship alone. And they are just one side of the solution—publishers are ready for this work as well. It will take a motivated and united alliance of leading marketers and agencies, working with the right tech companies and the right publishers, with the right values and purpose, to build this new production line.

Here’s what needs to be done.

Quality

Pritchard says that P&G will “invest in places where brands are proven safe, where the content is known and controlled and where there is third-party measurement, auditing and accountability.”

We get it. By focusing on partners with aligned values, we reward those that are working for better outcomes for marketers, publishers and consumers. We’ve already taken proactive steps on behalf of our clients as a class to ensure our supply-side partners truly add value, such as having better access to fraud-free supply. The supply chain code of conduct that our industry must enforce and uphold includes:

  • Actively monitoring for auction games and other behaviors that are not in brands’ best interest like unnecessary fees, and not buying from supply providers that violate this;
  • Shaping supply to work for brands by using supply-path optimization (SPO) to find the cleanest, most direct and performant pathways to the underlying impression. We must reduce unnecessary intermediaries by enabling our inventory to be obtained in two or fewer “hops” or connection points to the actual inventory source;
  • Increasing transparency and lowering costs, passing value back to the marketer; and
  • Rewarding publishers that do it right with greater investment, and better yield.

Independence

With the fragility of the Google ID, Facebook’s measurement discrepancies and new formats and channels without the same standards as “legacy digital”—television, out of home, audio—brands and agencies need partners capable of supporting off-platform and cross-platform measurement. The success of their marketing, their ability to build a stable marketing organization, infrastructure and process depends on it.

Brands and agencies deserve and should increasingly demand a scaled, open, integrated DMP and DSP, free from the conflict of interest and privacy concerns associated with owning a media platform that collects and processes sensitive and personally identifiable information for purposes not necessary for advertising. We can and must unify data with privacy-friendly, GDPR-compliant marketing solutions. The data relationships belong to brands, and they should be viewed and analyzed within analytics products or exported to them at the event level—keyed off pseudonymous user IDs—for their own analysis.

Privacy

The industry must share P&G’s commitment to consumer privacy in law and, most importantly, in practice. Like P&G, we have been working with the Privacy for America coalition. We recognize that the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act strongly signal the desire of policymakers to put consumers first and update law for the digital age. We will work to honor the letter and the spirit of these laws, but believe that one set of strong standards would be better than a patchwork of state laws of varying quality. We wait with anticipation to see how Congress responds to the Privacy for America proposal, to determine if it is the right fit for better protecting consumers from harm while delineating for industry which practices are reasonable or not in the digital economy without favoring and further concentrating market power in the hands of a few.

Control

Marketers deserve better accountability and outcomes from their advertising. We know that one of the ways in which marketers have aspired to the latter in recent years is through “in-housing” technology ownership and changing up their relationships with agencies. Yet, we see day in and day out the importance of brands’ partners in acting as trusted advisors that manage media-buying operations and bring new approaches and ideas to foster stronger brand outcomes.

We believe that increasingly brands will adopt a model of “triangulation” in which the brand, agency and tech partner each has an important seat at the table in driving strategy and operations. We see it as less about wrestling control away from one entity and more, as Pritchard puts it, about “discerning what work should be done [in house] versus what work should be done externally.”

What’s next?

The above is going to take a lot of work. The foundations are there. We’ve modernized the technical integrations and recrafted commercial relationships so they better align with marketer business goals and are transparent for all parties and respectful of their interests including, and especially, consumers.

Once we have an addressable and accountable supply chain, what should we do with it? It would be the perfect environment for deep attribution to the true business goals of marketers. It would mean replacing media proxies that treat impressions as commodities for data-driven campaigns and relationships as the ingredients to true business outcomes—sales in the moment and over time.

In order to make sense of the volume of impressions and insights, we simply must use math—sophisticated AI/ML that harnesses the billions of real-time connections that take place every day and turns them into results. Our long-standing capabilities in allowing sophisticated marketers to bring their own—or IBM Watson’s—attribution, optimization and data science find their best expression on top of this modernized supply chain.

Over the last three quarters, our team has been working with our supply partners, clients and industry trade associations to do our part in creating an aligned ecosystem built on principles and values that we can manifest in code. The purpose of the work we have started to create a more accountable, addressable supply chain is to make good advertising—benefiting people as consumers, and the companies and causes they support.

I will be a loud voice on these issues and put our company’s decade-long legacy of leadership and innovation behind my words as we pledge an even deeper commitment to creating, in the words of Mr. Pritchard, “a new media supply chain that is both a force for growth and a force for good.”

DataTrends

5 Steps to Improving Multicultural Marketing Campaigns

April 23, 2019 — by Daniel Sepulveda

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This byline originally appeared on Chief Marketer.

Consumers’ needs and wants are often ephemeral, and borderless transactions are continually evolving and thriving, which makes it essential for marketers to consider the multicultural dimensions of their campaigns.

Techniques like programmatic marketing enable marketers to quickly personalize advertising for audiences, helping to build trust, relevancy and meaningful connections. Of course, a crucial part of this is considering the needs and interests of the communities you want to connect with, and making sure your communications are inclusive and positive.

Here are five key tips to consider.

      1. Know what your customers want

Before developing creative assets and marketing messaging, it’s key to know the features, functions and benefits that are most important to your target audience. Don’t rely on instinct. Leverage your existing market research or invest in some to analyze which product attributes are most and least important in driving product choice for the people and communities you want to reach. To understand these differences, marketers should explore running a conjoint analysis to determine how features, functions and benefits are prioritized at a cultural level. Depending on your level of statistical experience, there are many guides available online, from academic through to more general.

      2. Properly allocate budget

By performing marketing segmentation analyses, marketers can determine how to split their campaign budget wisely. For example, in knowing what your audience wants, marketers can then take things a step further to run a cluster analysis, which is a statistical approach that groups people together based on distinct similarities. For instance, the variables of culture, city and per-capita income could be introduced to project the revenue opportunity, thus guiding budget. Based on the cluster, a brand may see that City A weights higher on cultural groups 1, 2 and 3; these have a typical per capita of $X. Clustering doesn’t necessarily require statistical programming, as it can be run from Microsoft Excel, and is a good option for brands that are not able to run advanced analytics such as marketing mix modeling.

      3. Use contextual targeting

Contextual targeting aligns brand messaging with ad and consumer experiences, and is a great campaign set-up tactic. For example, by marrying target language with keywords and interest topics, as well as competitor terms, you can maximize the chances of reaching someone, with relevance, who is exhibiting high intent to interact with, or purchase from, the brand.

     4. Consider behavioral nuances as part of set-up

Consider how behaviors differ across cultures. Suppose that you want to reach cultural audiences across Europe. Consider how “pay days” differ country to country. Some locations pay salaries weekly, some bi-weekly (or fortnightly) and others, monthly. As a result, you should consider your campaign’s pacing, potentially increasing spend around salary days. In the same way, lifestyle is something else to consider as a factor when setting up your day-parting rules for marketing across cultures. Research shows that “wake-up time” is typically the same but “go-to-sleep time” differs, with countries in Asia typically going to bed later.

When thinking about reaching cultures in your local market, consider how they share information in their communities and how they will share and experience your brand. Be mindful of topics that are important to these cultures. Pew Research is a great resource” As with reaching cultures across borders, pacing and day parting also play into this space, in addition to ensuring that the right creative imagery and messaging are used. Don’t simply use the same creative, opting to change only the text. This won’t resonate, and it will seem transparent.

   5. Optimize budget based on log data

Check browser language data by exploring user logs and event logs. Where, for example, a multicultural campaign is in two languages (say, Spanish and English) and the data shows that 80% of traffic is using a Spanish browser language setting, re-calibrate the budget to meet the skew. Drive people to the Spanish creative and, therefore, the Spanish landing page. Also use this opportunity to evaluate if you need additional creative.